Last month, I was persuaded/brainwashed by two acquaintances of mine--T.L. Gray and Jeff Suwak--into participating in an arcane Internet ritual known as a "blog hop." Apparently a chain of authors have mentioned others on their blogs, leading readers to their blogs, where they would write a bit about themselves and lead readers to blogs further down the road.
It seemed kind of like a benign, friendly version of a pyramid scheme, so naturally I was eager to take part. I'm no expert in blogs or hopping, so if I hop too hard and you fear for your safety, please feel free to stop me.
As part of the hopping process, I'll be answering four interview questions, but I'll get to that in a moment.
First, a bit about the man whose blog proceeded me in the hop, Jeff Suwak:
Jeff Suwak lives and writes in the magnificence of the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of the dark fantasy novella Beyond the Tempest Gate. He is also a regular contributor to The Prague Revue and songplaces.com. Some of his recent short fiction publication credits include The Colored Lens, Plasma Frequency Magazine, and The Writers Tribe Revue. He enjoys being berated on Twitter, and is a velociraptor in human skin.*
Blog/Site -- http://jeffsuwak.com
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/jeffsuwak
Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/authorjeffsuwak?ref=hl
*I may have added the bit about the velociraptor.
Now, I'm supposed to answer four questions! I did not come up with the questions; they were provided to me by a person or persons of unknown origin. What terrifying webs we weave when first we play the blog hop game.
1.) What am I working on?
In the immediate present, I'm responding to blog hop questions.
In the very recent past, I was shaking in bed and trying to recover from exhaustion-related illness stemming from last week's release of City of Light.
However, to actually answer the spirit of the question, I will soon be moving on to my next project. When I pull my quivering mass back together and muster up some energy, I'll be embarking on my next project: deciding which of my many ideas I want to write next. I'm starting a new series, the first book to be released this fall...and I don't know what it's going to be. It's an adventure for everyone, isn't it?
It's not that I don't have any ideas. To the contrary, I have far too many viable story ideas, and now I have to pare it down to the best ones. My favorite idea right now involves two books released simultaneously. One of them follows one character through the story, and the other follows the same events, but from the perspective of a different character. Since the two characters are opposed to one another, and they go through completely different events over the course of the story, the books would look very different. They could be read separately, but if you read them together, you get a lot of context that you would miss otherwise.
That sounds like a lot of fun, but it would require me to write two books at once. That may be...ambitious, for a fall release.
2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Man, I had a hard time not responding to this question with a joke.
The Traveler's Gate Trilogy, my only completed work at this time, differs from most fantasy novels by virtue of being quick, streamlined, and light on detail. It's relentlessly focused on plot and action, with very few of the slow, world-building stretches that make up most works in the genre.
Not that I have anything against the big, doorstopper fantasy books. Far from it. But that's not the story I wrote.
I also do my best to play on reader expectations. The Chosen One isn't the hero, the rebels aren't necessarily the good guys (nor is the empire totally evil), and the crazy old hermit who trains the young hero is actually crazy.
I also try to blend a dry, quirky sense of humor into the books. That's less of a strategic consideration on my part, and more of a compulsion. I've tried writing stories without jokes before, and I couldn't stay awake long enough to get words on the page.
3.) Why do I write what I do?
Because fantasy is inherently more interesting than any other genre.
I may have started some fights with that statement (then again, on this blog, maybe not), but from my perspective it's true. Take the craziest thing that's ever happened in history, and then imagine that it was all part of a hyper-intelligent dragon's mad plot.
See? Inherently more interesting.
I write fast-paced action fantasy because I feel like there's a niche for that, especially on Kindle. There are certainly some great action-driven fantasy novels out there, but they seem to be vastly outnumbered by the big, plodding historical tomes. I had a theory that there were a substantial number of people out there who wanted to see some smaller, quicker fantasy novels focused around vivid magic systems and engaging action scenes.
So far, it looks like that theory was correct.
4.) How does my writing process work?
There's lots of procrastination involved.
Honestly, having the idea, fleshing it out, and coming up with an outline is the easy part. I could do that stuff all day. I barely have to think about it. To me, the part I have to work on is actually hammering out a first draft. That requires weeks and months of daily sitting down and pounding out words, all the way until you have a complete story. Then comes the editing, of course.
To me, the hard part of the drafting process is keeping myself disciplined. A lot of times I'll finish a scene, and a powerful force will take over my body, completely out of my control. When I regain consciousness, I'll realize that I've been on Reddit for two hours.
Definitive proof for spiritual possession? You be the judges, ladies and gentlemen.
I have to enlist family and friends to badger me into working at a steady, disciplined pace. They provide me with the accountability I need to work at this job like a professional. It helps now that I have fans badgering me on my blog, too, I'm not going to lie.
Even with all that, though, I often let tasks slip through my fingers until the last possible minute, at which point I have to lock myself into a cave for two months with no TV, Internet, or entertainment of any kind until the project is done. I'm looking at you, City of Light.
So those are my answers. Revel in your newfound edification.
I'm supposed to call out three other writers to continue the hop, but I didn't contact anyone. Therefore, go on and check out Lewis Dix. He's the author of I, Minion, a fun fantasy novella about the battle between a Hero and a Dark Lord as told by one of the Dark Lord's skeletal minions.
I don't know Lewis in real life, but he comments on this blog every now and again, and he even helped edit City of Light. He's a cool guy, and his book is both short and cheap. There's a link above, but I'll link it again now:
Check it out!
This book has been out forever at this point.
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