Cover Reveal for The Recalcitrant Project!
Tulsa, OK [March 20, 2017]—D.C. McGannon, Co-Founder and Publisher for Wyvern’s Peak Publishing, announced today that acclaimed young adult author Lauren Lynne has joined the Wyvern’s Peak Publishing family. Her young adult dystopian novel, The Recalcitrant Project, will be published late Spring 2017.
“We are thrilled to have Lauren as part of our publishing family, and excited to further share her unique talents with young adult fiction fans everywhere,” said McGannon. “Lauren is an amazing human being, and a spectacular storyteller. We have supported each other over the past many years, and I believe she truly represents what we are trying to accomplish here at Wyvern’s Peak Publishing. Readers are going to love her new novel, and her fans, I think, are going to be pleasantly surprised as Lauren just keeps getting better with each new book she writes.”
The Recalcitrant Project, which will be available in both paperback and ebook formats, is Lauren’s first venture into the young adult dystopian genre. She has previously self-published The Secret Watchers series for young adults to great success.
About Lauren Lynne
Lauren Lynne is the author of the young adult fantasy, action-adventure series, The Secret Watchers. She graduated from both Oregon State and Portland State universities with degrees in education. Lauren focused her Secret Watchers series toward teen reluctant readers but has drawn in enthusiasts of all ages. She’s passionate about sharing her love of reading and writing with everyone.
The Pacific Northwest, with its vivid and varied panoramas, is where Lauren makes her home. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, working with students, reading, gardening, or hiking around Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, or the Oregon Coast.
Her next book, The Recalcitrant Project, is her first dystopian young adult novel. To learn more about Lauren and her current and past work, visit LaurenLynneAuthor.com.
About Wyvern’s Peak Publishing
Wyvern’s Peak Publishing is a publisher of fine young adult and middle-grade fantasy, science fiction, and adventure books. Born in Orlando, Florida, Wyvern’s Peak Publishing is now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is actively involved with causes supporting libraries, bullying prevention programs, reading programs, and encouraging young authors to find their voice. For more information, please visit WyvernsPeak.com.
Dave Hassler Interview
First some fun trivia – give me some juicy details…! What is your favorite place to eat? Why? Why? The Original Taco House on 36th and Powell in Portland. Arguably, it’s in the bottom third for “quality cuisine,” but I love it – classic American-style Mexican food straight from the Sixties, with the décor to match. I have a lot of fond memories of the place from childhood, and, family myth has it, my parents had a date there once.
What is your favorite junk food vice? Gotta be nachos.
What does a typical day look like for you? If I’m not at my part-time job, I get up late, around 8:30 or so, drink some tea, and putter. Then, I tackle personal projects, scan the writing/editing boards, fool around with my ham radio gear, run errands, read, write, watch some TV. If I’m at the job, the day looks like this: get up early, go in, process/shelve returns, help patrons, come home, eat, TV, sleep. The weekends could be anything from taking a walk or easy hike (I’m no kid anymore), going out to the movies, hanging out with friends, going to see a sporting event. Beer and wine are often involved. I’m usually with my girlfriend, Sarah.
Favorite book or film? Why? For a book, it’s a toss-up between The Brothers K by David Duncan and Almost Famous by David Small. They’re both “baseball books,” but really more about dreams and what can happen to people when the dreams get shattered, twisted, or derailed. For a movie, I have to agree with that eminent arbiter of culture, Peter Griffin: “Roadhouse.”
Any movies that you really want to see? Nope.
What’s on your reading list right now? I’m a fairly random reader. Usually, I’ll go to the library or a bookstore with a topic or person in mind and then browse until I find something that looks satisfactory. Lately, it’s been 20th century political biography, physics and biology for the layman, and there’s always a little science fiction brain candy close at hand.
We all have our little things when it comes to reading that bug us. What makes you cranky when you read a novel? Dialogue that over-uses characters’ names. No one speaks like that. We know who we’re talking to (to whom we’re talking). Also, dialogue in perfect, grammatically correct English. Again, no one speaks like that.
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? I have several hobbies, but my main one is amateur radio. I have a station set up here at home, and I can talk to people all over the world. And yes, some of those radios have vacuum tubes. I also have a rotary-dial phone, so there you go.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? If it’s strictly for fun, I like a novel with a fast pace, a definite problem for the protagonist to solve or overcome, and (preferably) laser pistols and hyperdrive.
Who are your favorite authors? Mike Reznick, Verner Vinge, Harry Harrison, Harry Turtledove and Poul Anderson for science fiction (John Scalzi is quickly becoming a favorite); Hemingway, Plath, Carver (poetry and stories), Kundera; Richard Dawkins.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself? Task-oriented, willing, curious, cynical, humorous, careful, thoughtful.
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why? The bargain bin, because it may have a great book in it, and I’m cheap (just go ahead and make that the eighth word that describes me).
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it? I quit my job at an insurance company — talk about soul-killing! — to set up my editing business and between clients I get to write.
What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you? “Are you trying to tell me that I should put one piece of pipe inside of another?” For context, this came from a chapter on building a portable antenna mast.
What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books? Just talk to people. Be genuinely interested in what they’re doing and what they have to say. There’s no magic bullet.
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? To read, sci-fi; to write, poetry.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? I was once told that I was out of my mind to think that anyone would be interested in my story, and that I couldn’t tell it “right” anyway. Another person told me that the exact same collection had touched her very deeply, that she was moved to tears. This experience taught me that I should trust myself and write what I need to write. Some people will get it, some people won’t. You can’t please everyone, and it’s foolish to try. But if you can reach someone, make that connection, you’ve done something good.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite? I love creating and communicating my view of the world, of the human condition. When I can do that with a well-crafted sentence and/or paragraph, so much the better. What I don’t like is the pounding my fingers take. After 15 years in journalism and not being a touch typist, I’m more than ready for voice recognition software.
What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer? Most exciting? Not getting instant results is frustrating, another artifact of my journalism career. I’m still used to writing a story in the afternoon and seeing it in print the next morning. As for exciting, I’ve won peer-judged awards for political commentary and sports columns.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other? The short answer is, “The computer, mostly.” For almost every kind of writing I want to use the computer — it’s efficient, and I have a wealth of tools at my immediate disposal, both in apps and online. But when writing a poem, I always want pen and paper. It makes me feel closer to the work. I usually do my first rewrite of a poem on the original, scratching out, adding in, drawing arrows and brackets all over the place.
What do you do when you are not writing? I enjoy getting out and walking around, reading, camping, travel, my ham radios, and watching sports.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now? Not really. At heart, I’m still a pen-n-paper guy.
What draws you to your genre(s)? I’ve written in a number of genres, but in non-fiction, what I really like is the opportunity to discover truth — to write about a subject in a factual way. Come to think of it, I feel exactly the same way about poetry.
For our writer friends: What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans? I don’t feel I can speak on this with any authority. I write because that’s the impulse I feel. I certainly don’t try to gauge the public’s interest and write to its tastes. I understand that social media is the currently accepted way to expand one’s base, but I’m not a blogger or heavy self-promoter.
Along the same lines, what advice do you have for writers about the writing process and their development as writers? It’s the old “write what you know.” Yada yada yada. Yeah, it’s totally cliché, but I don’t know of any other avenue that produces authentic results. I would say to a beginning author to bash out a first-draft manuscript, non-stop, then look it over, maybe after three or four weeks. Fool around with it, play with it, and make the voices of your characters sound like people you know.
What advice would you give to a younger you? How has reading influenced you? I would tell my 25-year-old self to keep reading, and to be a little more brave when it came to sharing his work — with the public, with agents, with publishers, with magazines, with fellow writers … everyone. I feel I’ve really missed an opportunity to have my writing read by more people than has been the case.
Are you a plotter/planner or do you prefer to dive right in? I plan. An outline is essential for longer work. Even with a poem, I like to think about the topic for a while before diving in.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I’m more willing now to take on different kinds of writing, more open to new (to me) ways and forms of expression.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why? I will often put on the local classical station, because I like some background noise and it’s the least distracting. But if I’m writing poetry, I like it quiet.
Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice? My freshman English teacher encouraged me. His only advice was to keep writing, so I did.
Please tell me about your novel. The novel is set in 2053 Tacoma, Washington, and concerns a young man who becomes disillusioned with the U.S.’s authoritarian government. Through a series of misfortunes, he ends up in a prison camp and later has to rebuild his life.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite character is Beck, the domestic security officer who hounds the protagonist. She’s got a whole trainload of baggage, and it makes her a very interesting character to explore. If there’s another novel in that universe, it’ll be with her as the protagonist.
What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? No particular author inspired me, but I’ve been reading sci-fi since I was 7 years old, so I’m sure there’s plenty of influence. If I had to peg one of those authors of my youth, I’d say Ben Bova.
Dream big… Your book has been purchased to be turned into a movie script and you have been asked to list the people you would most like to play each role. Who do you choose? Fun question! Mike (my protagonist) would be played by Zach Quinto or Kunal Nyaar, Beck would be played by Sarah Shahi (but she’s have to go blonde), Syd would go to Kirsten Dunst, and Ansel would be either Steve Martin or Bill Murray.
What else do you have in the pipeline? A non-fiction book about a prominent athletic contest that, I think, was the last of its kind.
Links – Where can people learn more about you and your work?
www.vanportmedia.com — there and amazon.com, of course! www.amazon.com/Triple-Charlies-Advice-Recipes-Bachelor-ebook/dp/B01N0OEARU and www.amazon.com/Propagation-Dave-Hassler-ebook/dp/B01M8IKBGZ
Inspiring teachers to inspire their students at the Oregon Reading Association’s (ORA) Winter Institute!
The Winter Institute included workshops and author talks.
Coming Soon! The Recalcitrant Project
NEWS! Between now and April 1, 2016 The Recalcitrant Project is available for beta readers. If you are interested, let me know. Happy reading!!!
I am thrilled to announce that in the spring of 2016 you can expect a new novel. I am venturing into the world of dystopia! Please join me on my latest adventure. If you like The Hunger Games… give this a try!
Re·cal·ci·trant, adjective: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline. Recalcitrant, noun: a person with an obstinately uncooperative attitude.
They’re not sure who I am. They think I’m an outlier – someone who lies outside the norm. So why haven’t they killed me yet? Perhaps they hope to reprogram me because they need me to put the finishing touches on their deadly game. They are desperate to know what is in my head and how I can outsmart computers but I will never tell.
My name is Elise Andrak and I live in the new North. I come from a sparkling city that everyone believes is perfect, but I know otherwise. I know things I should not know. I’ve seen things I was never meant to see or understand. I’m seventeen years old and I’m wanted… dead or alive by my own government. This is my story – believe it and be assured that it’s true. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by their lies anymore. Save yourself before it’s too late. Only you can free yourself from this, but you have to have the courage to try. I hope I have the courage to escape The Recalcitrant Project.
Elise and her classmates are up for their final trial before graduation except that something goes horribly wrong. As they enter their trial, Elise comes to realize she’s seen it all before, but how? In a dream? In a message? In a computer game? Yes, the computer game she’d been beta testing. The question remains… why her? And what does it all mean?
Our history books tell us that after the third world war everything changed. Our government, in an effort to protect those of us who remained, took away nearly all of our personal rights and freedoms. A universal way of living was established for the populace, supposedly for our safety. At the time the citizens agreed it was for the best, but as always, there were a few who were unafraid to speak out. Dissenters were made an example of and many simply disappeared. During that time a legend was born and even though the government tried to kill the idea, it lives on: It says that one will come who will break the system and save us from our crushing government. Personally, I don’t care about all that. My life is normal, but then I’ve never known any different. I know it is best to just go on, do your job and not cause any trouble. The latest news confirms this.
“As a result of the civil unrest that has broken out among our citizenry, new laws are being enforced. Those who do not conform to the lot they are given and choose to defy our great nation shall be reconditioned, so on this day, February 26, 2066, we the government, will begin a new system of eradication of those citizens we find to be obstinately uncooperative in their attitude toward authority and discipline.”
…And so begins the Recalcitrant Project.
Destiny – Owen’s Final Adventure.
We come to the end of a series and… as readers and writers, many of us are filled with joy and sadness. We have fallen in love with these characters and it is difficult to let them go. We want to know what happens next. These characters have become our friends. We have to know if they are happy and well. We miss the way they have made us laugh and cry – the way they have touched our hearts. Perhaps more than anyone I will miss Owen, Lucie, Marlo, and the others. Owen was my first protagonist and like a first boyfriend he will always have a special place in my heart.
Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.Purchase Kindle and PaperbackTHE BUZZ
5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog
“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author
“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences. The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review
OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:
Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.
Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!
Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email
L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
4. What do you love the most about writing for young people?
Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?
Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
Usually about 6 months.
7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J
THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…
Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
• The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
• The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
• Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.
Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
• Andy means brave or courageous.
• Alden means helper.
• Hannah means favor or grace.
• Imogenia means blameless.
Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
• Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
• In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
• The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.
The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.
• Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
• In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
• Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
• In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
• In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.
If you’re local… Please join me at The Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar in Canby Oregon! The bazaar runs from Dec. 2nd until the 13th.
Wednesday preview from 5 – 8 pm (a small donation goes to local charities)
Thursdays from 10am to 6pm
Fridays from 10am to 6pm
Saturdays from 9am to 7pm
Sundays from noon until 5pm
Author signings – local artisans, artists and craftspeople – amazing desserts and soup at lunch time!
Learn more here – https://www.facebook.com/The-Red-Mitten-Christmas-Bazaar-440789499299653/?fref=ts
Warner Grange Hall – 10100 S. New Era Rd. (Just north of Canby – 1/4 mile off of 99E.)
See you there!
We began this journey together, as father and son, with the goal of writing a story that spoke to friendship, overcoming obstacles (and the ultimate evils in our world), and of the power of working together to face the biggest challenges in our lives. Yes, it’s full of monsters, peril, and steeped in exciting mythology and folklore, but it centers around the powerful bonds formed between an unlikely group of friends as they face a unique set of challenges. We wanted to write a story that we would be proud to read aloud to our then newborn son/baby brother (who now, years later, has read them through twice more). It has turned into the adventure of a lifetime as we are meeting people from all over the world who are falling in love with Charlie Sullivan, Darcy Witherington, Nash Stormstepper, and the twins Lisa & Liev Vadinknov – along with a wild, often humorous, and mysterious cast of humans and monsters alike.
Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon is the next adventure in the series, which takes us across the ocean to the Old Country, then on to Book 3: Council of the Hunters, where the group’s character and loyalty face the ultimate tests when they meet a surprising and spooky new cast of characters. The Dragon Gate (Book 4) will be released soon, and there will be a total of 6 books in the series!
Welcome to my interview with novelists, C. Michael McGannon and D.C. McGannon, co-authors of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters (YA); KAOS Obsidere: The Nightmare Has Begun (Adult, Horror) an interconnected short story horror collection.
Okay guys, What is your favorite junk food vice?
Michael: Oh, that’s a hard one. What are we calling junk food? (Chocolate can be good for you, right!?) Probably have to go with cheeseburgers. Any time I go to a new place to eat, I have to test out their cheeseburger. If they have a good burger, then I’m happy.
Any movies that you really want to see?
D.C.: I am really looking forward to Crimson Peak out this October. I’m really due for something gothic, dark, and spooky, and I love Guillermo del Torro! Also, the Peanuts movie! Yay!!
Do you have a favorite book or film?
Michael: Yes! Multiple! I’ll just throw two at you. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is my favorite fun, gritty, and imaginative novel ever. Of all time. But I would be amiss not to mention Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, which quite literally kept me up at night and had me chomping at the bit to finish Alek and Deryn’s story.
What’s on your reading list right now?
D.C.: Three books actually. Survive the Night by Danielle Vega; I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter; and the Three Investigators series by Alfred Hitchcock. We were gifted with a whole set of the Three Investigators recently after doing a library event, and our whole family is so excited to have these gems!
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first?
Michael: Oh dear. Comic books and graphic novels section. There are so many lovely, twisted stories in there!
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
D.C.: Drinking coffee, hiking, or a night of board games with the family. Is there anything else really? Hehe.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Michael: Usually scribbling notes for another project (in the most disorganized way I can manage), doodling up some weird chimerical beasts, or spending time with my family and my friends.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write?
D.C.: I have to listen to instrumental music. I can’t have any words singing in my headphones or I get distracted. So, if I’m writing young adult, it’s high energy dance music. If it’s horror, it’s usually really epic movie soundtracks, or very ethereal, moody music.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Michael: Every book has its own challenge. Strictly speaking about our newest title, KAOS Obsidere, getting into the mindset of the characters and letting that loose in the writing. For instance, I had to learn the process of how you would turn human skin into a canvas, and then I had to put myself in the shoes of someone carrying out that process. It’s a small piece in the final draft, but it was enough to make me shudder as I got into that dude’s head.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
D.C.: In Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, it’s Charlie. Lisa would be a close second. Because they’re both leaders in an unassuming way. Quietly courageous, yet willing to do what it takes for their friends. Charlie is a quiet storm and Lisa is an intelligent girl, who is bold and loyal. I love those attributes about each of them.
The next two questions are for Michael:
What else do you have in the pipeline?
Without dropping titles, there are a few projects that we are working on alongside the Charlie Sullivan series and the KAOS stories. The one I’m looking forward to the most has been on the backburner since we started writing Charlie Sullivan and is something that I would consider a blend of gothic horror, steampunk, and dark fantasy.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
The Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series is definitely young adult dark fantasy. KAOS Obsidere is the first dark fiction/horror title to be released under Dark Waters Press, our new imprint, and I would consider some of the stories within to be weird fiction.
Back to you D.C.:
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, yes! Stick together and work together, and learn to overcome differences. If we can do this, the world will be a stronger and healthier place to live! No bullying!
For KAOS, I think, even though it’s horror, it’s about looking at the world differently. Realizing there are very ugly things going on around us, but there is also hope. There is love. And we need to hold on to those things. It’s a brutal set of stories to be sure, but if you make it through and read the author notes, you’ll really be able to hear our hearts through the stories.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For the Charlie Sullivan series, it is a constant challenge to stay true to our target audience. It’s real easy to try to write for everybody. That’s not successful writing. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we are writing for “this” person and stay on target. I think that makes a stronger story.
For KAOS, it was an emotional and spiritual drain. So much of the stories are a very spiritual and emotional experience and I had to come up for air quite a bit while writing those. They are important stories though, so I had to get through them and then take a break from writing and ease back into it.
Michael, tell us about your approach to the writing craft:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Pretty early on, between fourth and fifth grade. I’ve always told stories. As a kid, I was constantly drawing characters and monsters, and each one had a backstory, a mission, a personality… I wanted to turn them into movies. But around that gradeschool time, I realized that I enjoyed telling the story on my own, introverted as I was. Writing words on a page sounded a lot easier than trying to become a director.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hahaha, my obsession with chaos and order. In my creative cycle, I usually am trying to drive myself a little crazy, and that involves destroying my room, playing the absolute weirdest music I can manage to find at that moment, or creating fun and cryptic mindmaps for brainstorming. Then I try to exist in that state until the writing is finished. Afterward, I clean the heck out of the apocalyptic wasteland that is my room.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. I try to never allow it to stop me, though. Even if what I write in the midst of that block is utter bullcrap, I’m still writing, getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper. Later on, I go back and scrap what I had written before and do it again, better, or if it’s usable then I can just refine what’s already there. Work through the struggle!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If writing is truly what you want your career to be…don’t ever stop. Writing is not for everyone. This is not easy, it isn’t always fun (although most of the time it’s a crazy blast!), and just like any other career there will be days when you feel like a failure and want to throw in the towel. Don’t give up. Write with everything you have. Getting that story into a person’s hands is worth it, every time.
How about you D.C., what are your thoughts on the writing craft?
Did you have any teachers in school that encouraged you to write? What was their advice?
My fourth grade teacher encouraged me to write, but I don’t remember any specific advice beyond just do it. I mean, what are you going to tell a fourth grade boy. Haha!
My high school theatre teacher and chorus teacher were perhaps the most influential people in my academic life. Dani Dilks and Doc (Brian) Lanier. Those two will never know the impact they’ve had on me, though I’ll try to repay that. Both of them were rocks of encouragement for me, especially through some difficult storms in high school, and were always pushing me to dig deep creatively and live that out. Not just on stage, but in life. I appreciate their resolve and patience more than words can describe.
My children. And the opportunity that I had to write my first book with my oldest son. It’s been such a privilege as a father to get to do this!
Because I love it, and I believe the art of the story is perhaps the most important gift to the human race. Sometimes, I feel we’ve lost the ability to share our stories, caught up with all the negativity in the world. But there’s so much good too, so I have hope. One day I hope it becomes a norm again that families and friends sit around the campfire or the evening dinner table and share their hearts, their stories, with each other.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?
I love you and thank you! Your words, meeting you, your reviews, your tears and laughter about these stories, are what keep my fires burning. It’s a privilege to write and I thank you for being that person who picks up one of our books and takes the time to read it. You are a hero!
Thanks Monster Guys! You’re the best!
Links for D.C.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?