Author Interviews

Meet Lauren A.R. Masterson

Ink Smith: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Lauren: I do most of my writing at home, either on the computer or hand-written in my journal. I have many documents with different stories that I like to rotate working on. My journal is usually used for new ideas or new stories that I have, giving me utter freedom with creative thought.

31403074_10155353551125933_1063321335691739136_nMy process is that I write whenever I can; whenever I have the time. Even when I’m not feeling particularly inspired, I do my best to at least read a chapter or two of something that I have previously written to get me in the mood so to speak to work on something. Other times, I have to set a timer for myself to ensure that I don’t forgo eating or sleeping while working under the sway of inspiration.

During the editing process, I sit with a piece and read it out loud to find obvious mistakes and ensure flow. When working on larger plot arcs, I like to use sticky notes so that I can rearrange plot points and ensure that I have closed all the loose ends in the story.

Ink Smith: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?

Lauren: Love of the Sea started in my fantasy fiction writing class in college (2010). My professor, and now friend and mentor, Tina Jens, gave us an excellent writing exercise to inspire new ideas. The “What if?” “And then” and “Oh Shit!” method is what originally sparked this story. I have always loved mermaids, but the original Little Mermaid story bothered me that she would sacrifice so much for unrequited love. I wanted to rewrite the story so to speak with the ending she truly deserved.

Lauren AR MastersonI worked on the story diligently until I graduated (2011). After that, my time was completely devoted to my modeling career. It wasn’t until I retired from modeling and became more active with my art and writing again that I picked this novel back up (2016). Since then, I made it my mission to complete this story and see it published. I spent a grueling four months working exclusively to complete the novel.

Ink Smith: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Lauren: Of course, one of my all-time favorite authors is J.K. Rowling. That’s a given. However, the author that particularly inspired the style in which I write, and the way that I perceive magick in fantasy fiction would be Juliet Marillier. I have read the Sevenwaters Trilogy many times over and dissected everything I love about the plot, characters, and style of storytelling. I emulate Juliet as much as possible in my own writing to try and achieve that mystical “old world” style that she has mastered.

The other most influential author to my writing is Lewis Carroll. From The Hunting of the Snark to Alice’s Adventures Underground I adore the British style and the poetic storytelling. I often find myself rhyming when writing my rough drafts for any story. The simple way these stories convey so much meaning in so few words is something I strive for in my own writing.

 

5 Fun Facts About the Author:

  • I am the co-editor of Cloud Orchid Publishing and create experimental art books with my best friend co-editor Bryan Thompson.
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  • I love illustrating my stories, as well as creating art in general through a variety of mediums; although digital drawing is used most often.
  • I’m a huge history nerd and have particular interests in French, British, and Japanese history.
  • I volunteered at the West Suburban Humane Society for over five years before going away to college. My current pets are all rescues.
  • I learned French at a young age, and still speak it quite well today (though I am a bit rusty). I also learned basic Japanese and strive to improve my language skills.
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Michele McAvoy & The Gorilla Picked Me!

Native Ink Press: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Michele McAvoy: 
Anywhere where I can hide from my family. Seriously, I have two small children and a husband who all want attention, so I sneak away to write. I will write early in the morning (for an hour or less) before I sign onto my law job and the same at night when all are asleep (and I should probably be sleeping, too). During those times not only do I write, but I also market my published books and keep myself in the loop of the industry (ie: get caught up on Twitter, a virtual playground for children’s book authors).

 

Native Ink Press: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?

Michele McAvoy: The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from when I was a little girl. As a Girl Scout Brownie, I attended a daddy-daughter dance. When I was little, I was chubby and felt like I didn’t stand out in a positive way like my friends who were tall and skinny. During the dance, my daddy stepped away and a dancing gorilla appeared. The gorilla picked me up and danced with me. It wasn’t until my 30’s, years after my father had passed away, did I think that it was possibly him in that gorilla suit. Simple moments can define a person and I love that my father’s love gave me this special moment. He is no longer here for me to ask if it was, in fact, him in that gorilla suit. It’s his forever secret, and I love that too.

The Gorilla Picked Me! has gone through many (many!) revisions. The first draft came pretty easily and closely resembles the final story. But there were many revisions in between as I tried to navigate the opinions of publishers who don’t prefer rhyme, and as I perfected the rhyme and meter to stand out on a professional level.

 

Native Ink Press: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Michele McAvoy: I love Andrea Beatty and her children’s picture book, Rosie Revere Engineer. Ms. Beatty is an inspiration for writing in rhyme and I love the message of Rosie Revere, that little girls can do anything they put their minds to and to never let others steer you away from your passion. Be yourself!

I also love picture books illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. A personal favorite of mine (and my 5-year-old daughter’s) is I’m Bored written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. This funny picture book pegs how little kids think and get frustrated and Ms. Ohi’s illustrations are fun and full of positivity.

Finally, I love Dav Pilkey, the genius behind The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Mr. Pilkey came to my rescue in my struggle to encourage my son (now 8 years old) to read. His fabulously flawed mischievous characters, George and Harold, kept my son’s interest and got me through First and Second Grade reading logs. Mr. Pilkey’s unhindered imagination and attention to what kids like (not grown-ups) is an inspiration for all those writing for children.

On a more mature level, I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (at this point it’s become so mainstream I’m afraid it’s a cliché.) But, I’m a romantic and complicated like Elizabeth Bennet, so Mr. Darcy gets me every time!

 

  

About the Author

Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author, an attorney and a mother of two young children.  Michele’s love of books began as a young girl excited to order Troll books at school (that Troll traveling bookstore was the best!)  As a child, she loved taking trips to the Barnes & Noble in the Village of NYC to buy Judy Blume when visiting with her grandmother.  Michele always enjoyed the quiet creativity that came along with reading and writing.  She now finds peace in her often-hectic days when she’s writing.  Michele’s debut picture book “My Superhero Grandpa” is the recipient of a 2016 Children’s Moonbeam Book Award.  She is excited about the release of her newest picture book “The Gorilla Picked Me!” coming in 2018.  Michele graduated cum laude from both New York University and Brooklyn Law School and considers herself a “cool nerd.”  She currently lives in the suburbs of New Jersey and embraces her “joisey” accent (it’s a losing battle otherwise).

Michele’s book The Gorilla Picked Me! is available for pre-order on our website, Native Ink Press and Ink Smith Publishing. The pre-order sale includes a hardcover, author signed edition! You can pre-order your copy here.

Connect with  Michele on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

Meet Michele McAvoy!

Michele McAvoy Headshot

Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author from New Jersey. As a child, she read Judy Blume and drew Garfield comics. For her 10th birthday, she asked for a pink typewriter. Michele always loved the smell of new books. Now all grown-up (typewriters near obsolete) she loves bringing joy to children through her own books. The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from her childhood. Michele’s debut children’s book My Superhero Grandpa is the recipient of a Children’s Moonbeam Book Award.

The Gorilla Picked Me! is currently on sale for pre-orders on the Native Ink Press website. Pre-order copies will be autographed by the author and mailed on release! Get your copy today!

Connect with Michele on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

 

BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:

The Gorilla Picked Me!

An Excerpt from Rob Burton

I wanted to get back to Annie, back to my cottage in Mount’s Bay, back to my books and leisurely coffees at Myghal’s place, although now his cover had been blown, maybe that was a thing of the past too.

My phone buzzed under the table. I pulled it out of my pocket and swiped it on. I noticed there was no signal. I checked my watch. Time had stopped too. So why did the phone buzz? There was no obvious announcement on the screen. I scrolled through looking at the apps seeing if they had an indication of a message. My Nye app was glowing green.

Nye, the ghost from 12th century Scotland who had haunted me in London when all I wanted to do was kill my girlfriend who had run off with my best mate. Nye, who had given me the hypersphere so we could do away with the ghastly red caps and lead me into a murderer’s den so we could save Annie from a gruesome death at his hands.

Was she here? Arriving like the 7th Cavalry to save the day? I took in a big sniff hoping to smell the familiar tarry smell of a good malt whisky that usually indicated she was around.

Nothing.

I pressed the app. This usually meant that she would appear in person, as it were, or at least show up on the screen for some face time.

Nothing.

Modred was watching me carefully.

“Hey, Chas.”

“Charlie.” I countered.

“How’s the food daddy o, bust a gut yet?”

“Fine, fine.” I pushed the plates away from me. “Lets get down to business. But first,” I pointed at the speakers “can you turn that shite off.”

Modred scowled a little but clapped his hands. Immediately the music stopped, and the flailing watusi zombie dancers skipped out of sight.

Sitting back, he clasped his arms behind his head in another macho manspreading cliché bullshit position. He smirked and nodded his head.

“The situation Charlie, my boy, is you have something that I want. And in return, I can give you something that you want.”

“What’s that?” I countered.

“Your life dude.” He clicked his fingers.

“But you don’t have it yet so how can you return it?

“Are you so sure? You are currently in the company of the dead. Death is all around you.”

“Death is a fact of life” I shot back nonchalantly, but not feeling at all nonchalant. We seemed to have entered into some sort of Socratic argument.

“Do you not fear death?”

“Why should I fear death? I do not know enough about death to fear it.”

“And yet you are here in the presence of death.” He gestured with his hands at himself and then to Tregeagle who gave his gravedigger smile.

“Maybe,” I argued, “that it is you who knows little enough about death because here you are still wandering the mortal plane.”

“’Tis the vindictiveness of thy miserable priests for causing I such pain and toil.” Tregeagle spat across the table.

“Ye mortals fear death as the raindrop fears the sun. ‘Tis but a moments work for both to be gone. Damn your priests and damn this game.” He rose from his seat like a pocketknife unfolding, all sharp angles and blades. His shirtfront flounced in an act of mutiny against the jagged movements of his body.

“Hold, Jan. Hold,” Modred stared down the table at me. His eyes returned to the golden glow of the beast that was surely within. “Let us play longer.”

There, I was being toyed with.

My hand was in my pocket holding my phone. I was willing it to buzz so the green light would envelop me for all to be well. I wanted to rest my brow once again against the pillow of Nye’s breasts as she hummed a simple tune.

“Tell me mortal.” Modred’s voice had hardened. “Why you are so sure about not fearing death?”

I turned so I could look Modred straight into his golden eyes.

“I know I shall die, maybe today at your hand, perhaps not. Maybe I will live until the Crown is forced to acknowledge my singular existence through the medium of a congratulatory telegram upon reaching my centenary, who knows? But you, and you.” I pointed my finger at Tregeagle. “You, the dead, know nothing. What have you got in your death? What rewards have you accrued? Nothing. You are barely remembered, and for the most part, you are forgotten.”

Modred stood, eyes blazing, fists clenched, and knuckles down on the table.

“Human, you are finished; you will give me what I seek. You will kneel at my feet and give up the stone.”

It was my turn to grin.

“Such is death, and you live in this hell or some other hell like place where your immortality is an unhappy, endless, striving for what? You know what?” I stood, and ripped my shirt open. I bared my sagging chest at him.

“Do your worst you evil cunt, because no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”

In my pocket, my phone burped.

In the hall, the stereo switched on.

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

On a loop, around, and around, and around…

 

About Rob Burton

Dr. Rob Burton was a professional sociologist for over 25 years at the University of Exeter, the Open University and the University of Plymouth. Now semi-retired Rob works in Nanjing, China teaching English and writing novels.  He has authored many academic articles and recently published, with a Chinese co-author, a crammer for Chinese students who wish to succeed with their IELTS speaking test. His first novel Meditations on Murder is available now on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.

His novels are firmly set in the Urban Fantasy genre where he brings his experiences of traveling the world and his academic interest in Cornwall, the Cornish, and the Celtic world to the fore.

Rob has an 18-year-old daughter back in the UK. Snook Doggy Dog, a female Jack Russell that he took with him to China and features in his books.

BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR: 

Meditation on Murder
Dr. Burton Unlocks the Secrets of the IELTS Speaking Test
The Castle of the Red-Haired Maidens
The Twelfth Rune
A Taste of English

The Twelfth Rune is his WIP (Work in Progress). He has also written a memoir under a pen name.

Connect with Rob Burton on his website, https://www.rob-burton.co.uk, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A Writing Prompt from Rob Burton

Dr. Rob Burton was a professional sociologist for over 25 years at the University of Exeter, the Open University and the University of Plymouth. Now semi-retired Rob works in Nanjing, China teaching English and writing novels.  He has authored many academic articles and recently published, with a Chinese co-author, a crammer for Chinese students who wish to succeed with their IELTS speaking test. His first novel ‘Meditations on Murder’ is available now on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.

His novels are firmly set in the Urban Fantasy genre where he brings his experiences of traveling the world and his academic interest in Cornwall, the Cornish and the Celtic world to the fore.

Rob has an 18-year-old daughter back in the UK. Snook Doggy Dog, a female Jack Russell that he took with him to China and features in his books.

Burton provided a fun writing prompt for those of you searching for your next project, looking to get in some writing exercise, or need to take a break from a project you are experiencing some writer’s block with. Off we go! Remember, give yourself at least 30 minutes to write after reading a prompt. If it goes longers, hooray! If not, you’ve at least given your brain a challenging break.

Is the Monkey King the world’s most popular superhero?

“Cloud-leaping, shape-shifting, demon-killing and magic staff-wielding, the Monkey King is perhaps the most enduring figure in Chinese literature and folklore. He is the ultimate bad-boy made good – he causes havoc in heaven, uproar under the sea, returns from the dead to continue his mischief, and even survives the fires of heaven. He is so powerful, only the Buddha can subdue him, but in the end, he finds redemption as the faithful servant and protector of the saintly monk Xuanzang, who is on a pilgrimage to collect scriptures.” (from the British Council Website courtesy of Rob Burton.)

 

Thank-you to Ink Smith Publishing for introducing us to this new author! You can check out an excerpt of Rob Burton’s work tomorrow. It will be posted on this blog!

Dr. Rob Burton

Dr. Rob Burton was a professional sociologist for over 25 years at the University of Exeter, the Open University and the University of Plymouth. Now semi-retired Rob works in Nanjing, China teaching English and writing novels.  He has authored many academic articles and recently published, with a Chinese co-author, a crammer for Chinese students who wish to succeed with their IELTS speaking test. His first novel Meditations on Murder is available now on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.

His novels are firmly set in the Urban Fantasy genre where he brings his experiences of traveling the world and his academic interest in Cornwall, the Cornish, and the Celtic world to the fore.

Rob has an 18-year-old daughter back in the UK. Snook Doggy Dog, a female Jack Russell that he took with him to China and features in his books.

 

BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR: 

Meditation on Murder
Dr. Burton Unlocks the Secrets of the IELTS Speaking Test
The Castle of the Red-Haired Maidens
The Twelfth Rune
A Taste of English

The Twelfth Rune is his WIP (Work in Progress). He has also written a memoir under a pen name.

Connect with Rob Burton on his website, https://www.rob-burton.co.uk, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

An Interview with Rob Burton

Ink Smith: Let’s get some basics out of the way! What is your favorite food?
Rob: I live in China at the moment so the opportunity for favorite food is limited. But I’m British so a curry would be top of the list, and surprisingly there are good curry houses here in China with authentic Indian cooks. Cheese is hard to get here in China, when I do manage to buy it from the local French supermarket (Auchan) I tend to eat it all in one go. Fish and Chips from a takeaway from my home city of Plymouth, UK is also something I miss big time.

Ink Smith: What is your favorite color?
Rob: Blue – and in particular the blue/turquoise of the sea. Any sea. I have always lived by the sea apart for the last six years living inland in Nanjing, China. I miss the sea, miss surfing in the sea, I miss just looking at the sea as the sun sinks into the horizon.

Ink Smith: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Rob: My writing goes in fits and starts – so I can spend a lot of time writing and then have a bunch of time off writing. I don’t get het up about it. I know that my unconscious brain is working it all out. I’m not a plotter and a planner. I don’t have an office with a big white-board covered in timelines and plots. Nor walls covered in post-it notes. I’m a pantser – my characters drag me through the story. I have the small corner of a two seater sofa of which the dog and the girlfriend have the majority of the space. I also get to write in my office at the school here in China where I teach English in the two office hours I have to do every day as part of my contract.

Ink Smith: What inspired you to write your first book?
Rob Burton: Discounting my PhD and the Chinese book, my first book started, as opposed to published, was Meditations on Murder. I worked in a British University that was trying to make me redundant and the relationship I had with my daughter’s mum was down the tubes so I wasn’t in the best of moods. So a lot of the dark stuff in the book is semi-autobiographical – I was getting my angst out there.

These are the first lines I wrote
Chapter 1.
I wanted to kill someone.
It could be anyone.
I wasn’t holding a grudge.
I just felt like it.
Why not?

Ink Smith: What is your favorite book?
Rob: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (who has recently passed away). I first bought this book in Holland where I was living and working. It was probably around the mid 70’s so the book had just come out. I cannot count how many times I have passed this book on never to get it back. Fortunately, it can often be found in Charity Shops, car boot sales and secondhand bookstores which are all my favorite shopping places.

Ink Smith: Did you learn anything from writing your book(s) and what was it?
Rob Burton: Writing about 12th century Scotland for The Castle of the Red-Haired Maidens was interesting. I wanted to get the period details right. For instance in common parlance, we would call the Norsemen that colonized northern Scotland and its islands ‘Viking’s when in fact they were called Lochlannach – which effectively means ‘Scandinavian’. Viking is a verb – ‘They went Viking.’

I also learned about weapons and stuff like that – for instance, chopping off a head with a single sword swipe would be very difficult despite the movies. As I am in China my main research sources are Google and Wikipedia, but also posting questions on the FB writer pages I am on.

Ink Smith: Do you have a specific writing style?
Rob Burton: I have no idea – I do write with my tongue firmly in my cheek and hope that people find the humor in my work, which does also have its darker side. I am not trying to be out and out funny but sometimes even the darkest things can give us a little chuckle.

Ink Smith: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Rob Burton: No messages. I have tried to add subliminal BUY MY NEXT NOVEL messages into the text but that doesn’t work. Nor does writing sentences backward so they read like a satanic chant – that didn’t work for The Beatles either.

Ink Smith: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Rob Burton: Reading, reading and more reading. I was one of those kids that dodged school and hid in the City Library reading all day. I failed at school and didn’t get to University until my mid 30’s getting my PhD in my 40’s. I do recall being asked once to join an A Level English Course at a college once on the basis of one of my stories but my parents said no as I was doing an engineering apprenticeship at the time.

Ink Smith: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Rob Burton: My favorite author is James Lee Burke. And in particular his detective series featuring Dave Robicheaux. I find Burke to be a very atmospheric writer. His stories do not seem to be hurried; they are well paced and draw the reader in. Also he answers his fan emails *blush*

Ink Smith: What is your favorite mythical creature?
Rob Burton: 
Although not mythical but revered by millions, Ganesha is my choice. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Ganesha writing.

Ink Smith: What are your current projects?
Rob Burton: 

  1. At the moment my novella The Castle of the Red-Haired Maidens is out with the editor. This is the back-story to Nye the 12th Century Scottish ghost who is a main character in my novel Meditations on Murder. In that book, she tells us she was horribly murdered – the novella covers that incident.
  2. I am also writing the second novel of the series with Charlie Simpson. (I wanted him to be a pretty ordinary man facing extraordinary circumstances – hence the boring name) I am about 50% through it at the moment. The Twelfth Rune is set in Cornwall and uses Cornish myths and legends to drive the story as Charlie has to pit his wits against Modred the arch Arthurian villain to rescue some lost religious artifacts and, of course, save the world again. (Is that too much of a spoiler?)
  3. I also earn some spare cash doing some writing and proofreading for Nanjing University and an English Training school. The translation department sends me English translations of works and I have to check the English. Recently, I proofed a book about Karl Marx (still popular here of course) and am working on a book about the various translations of the Chinese classic Dao De Jing by Laozi . (I am hopeless at proofreading my own stuff of course.)

Ink Smith: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Rob Burton: Write Like A Bastard Everyday – if I am not working on the novel, I am either blogging, writing on Facebook, or doing paid writing for other people. It’s not my main source of income but provides some extra cash.

Ink Smith: If you had to do it all over again, what would you change in your latest book?
Rob Burton: I would probably pay for a developmental editor to have a look at it. I made the mistake, being a proofreader myself, I doing my own editing and then publishing on KDP. A few mistakes were mentioned to me. Then I looked at it again after a few months and it was blindingly obvious it needed to be looked at professionally. Also, I was personally uncomfortable with having a substandard work out with my name across it – so it was also a matter of pride. So it’s now been edited and I have re-published it and I am happy now. But maybe a developmental edit could have made it even stronger than it is (currently it does have 5-star reviews on Amazon)

Ink Smith: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers
Rob Burton: Readers if you enjoy indie writers who offer their work at good prices and you enjoy what you read, please remember to go back and give the author a review – good or bad – reviews are the indie authors lifeblood and they help new readers find the new writers.

If this article has peaked your interest like it has ours, stop by Rob’s social media pages (https://www.rob-burton.co.ukFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram. ), or better yet, stop by his Amazon (Amazon UK) pages and pick up a copy or two of his books!

In addition, if anyone happens to be passing through Nanjing, China they can have a free audience with Rob over a beer and if they have a paper copy of his book he’ll even sign it.


A note to readers from Rob Burton:

Many young writers ask on the Facebook writer’s page that they want to start writing but they don’t know how or what to write. My advice is travel. See the world, have some adventures. Live life.

“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge.”
― Robert M. PirsigZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

 

 

Guest Author Interviews!

Hello everyone!

Ink Smith Publishing would like to help authors reach more readers! With an increase in staffing, we have decided to begin Guest Author Interviews on our blog (The Inkwell & Quill) and want to offer the opportunity to all of you.

I will also be posting your interviews on a separate blog, TBA, so that we can boost our SEO a bit. This blog is in the works!

This is no charge! We only ask that you share your interview with your social media following so that we can both generate some traffic. 

If you are interested in being interviewed, please e-mail: EditorInkSmithPublishing@gmail.com with your last name and author interview in the subject line (EX. ANDERSON, AUTHOR INTERVIEW). I will send you a form to fill out and send back. Please make sure to fill it out as thoroughly as possible.

*There are no restrictions on what kind of books you publish!

We look forward to hearing from you all!

Sincerely,
Corinne Anderson
Managing/Acquisitions Editor
Ink Smith Publishing

Meet Lorna Brown!

Lorna Brown, author of Debris (available in Spring 2018), has been writing for at least 13 years whenever she gets the chance. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and her stories have been published in numerous magazines. She lives in Massachusetts and goes back to her hometown in Ireland when she’s working on a story. She loves getting up at 5:30am-6:00am when the house is quiet to get work done (although she can’t stand it if there are no bananas!), or after her daughters go to sleep. And even when she’s not physically writing, she’s always thinking about her stories.

Regarding Debris specifically, the final draft is actually a rewrite of a story she wrote years ago. The story changed a lot from the rough draft to the final cut, so she essentially had to start over. She only spent four months (on the rewrite, when everything was all said and done) writing Debris, but she learned a lot of lessons along the way. Writing this book has helped her figure out her writing style and method, such as wanting to have a more detailed outline for her plots and subplots, as well as character development.

She has three daughters who she loves immensely and says they’ve made her a “big softie”- so much so she cries easily when she watches movies and shows, like The Voice. She loves to go hiking with her family and their dog and sees life as an adventure. She’s traveled extensively and finds it hard to stay in one place.

She is very excited for Debris to be available to the public. The release date for this fiction piece is Spring 2018 under the pen name L.M. Brown.

 

Q and A with Alec Arbogast!

Inksmith Publishing would like to offer a warm welcome to our new author Alec Arbogast, author of The Last Odinian! Below are some questions he has answered for us to help get to know him better!

Message from Alec: Hello! It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for reading, and let us share in our love of storytelling together.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: Even though they aren’t single stories, my favorites would be The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, and also The Great American Short Story Collection. They have both had a great impact on me. Regarding single, full-length stories, I first read The Shining by Stephen King when I was a teenager. It became a sort of catalyst for my creative mind, introducing me to the immense world of storytelling, the concept of tasteful, imaginative horror. It made me aware and reflect on the struggle between good and evil, and the grey area between the two.

Q: What is your favorite food? Favorite color?

A: My favorite color is blue, and I love Thai food.

Q: What/whom is your favorite mythical creature?

A: This is a hard answer to narrow down. Recently, I’ve been drawn to Slavic and Norse mythology. However, Medusa from Greek mythology is my overall favorite. She’s a singular, terrifying creature, who can make quick work of almost anything or anyone- even the Titans.

Q: Can you share a little of any of your current work(s) with us?

A: I have three writing projects I’m currently working on. One is an action-adventure novel revolving around an elite group of soldiers; one is a story that blends elements of time travel, mystery, and horror; and the other is a gangster drama set in post-Civil War America.

Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A:  I find quite a few aspects of writing challenging, but it’s always a good challenge. I’m drawn to historical fiction, and in these stories it’s a challenge to make sure I’m accurately representing the event while also molding it to fit my narrative. Pacing is another struggle as well, as I find it tends to do one of two things: the narrative flow develops naturally or can be hard to keep on track. Almost like an intractable horse, I feel like sometimes I have to nudge it in the right direction while it wanders off.

Q: Did you learn anything from your book(s)?

A: I learned the forbearance and discipline it takes to finish a full-length book, which can be equally an exhilarating and daunting process. I stretched myself intellectually at the same time as discovering who I was as an artist and what message I’d like to be sending. I also learned the worlds you create are a tenable space in your mind and can leave a mark on your soul.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: The Last Odinian originally came to me on a whim, to be honest. I started writing it knowing the setting and atmosphere I wanted—the haunting forests of the Pacific Northwest–and developed a narrative around that (almost similar to The Twilight Zone).

Q: Do you remember how your interest in writing began?

A:  I’ve always been interested in the function of stories, and produced some short films in school with a few friends. I didn’t discover the writing form of stories until a few years ago.

Q: Do you have a specific writing style?

A: My style varies from story to story, actually. I try to find a voice that feels right with each individual story, and the characters within. I think my prose tends to have a grounding in the contemporary style while borrowing from romanticism and transcendentalism.

Q: Who is your favorite author? What really strikes you about their work?

A: I have many favorites, but I’ll try and narrow it down. On the classic side, I admire Edgar Allan Poe’s complex prose. He tackles haunting subjects, like the inescapable reality of death, in a truly singular way. Edith Wharton made me a lifetime fan based on just one of her short stories, Afterward, due to her unique style. On the contemporary side, Stephen King has influenced me with his unending creativity, and I respect his voracious need to tell stories. His characters are always vivid and three-dimensional, and he has a pragmatic approach I admire. Craig Johnson has a sort of straight-forward and laconic approach to his prose, but it’s riddled with sardonic insight.

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Find a writing process that speaks to you. Some people prefer a meticulous preparation: a diligent outline, layers of notes detailing each character, the narrative mapped out beforehand, etc. Others prefer a more organic process wherein the narrative, characters, subplot, and all the other details just flow naturally. And these are just two examples of the compositional process- everyone develops their own process. Another tip is to be true to your story. Don’t let your own moral standards and ideologies overly influence your characters or narrative. It’s important to realize the difference between who you are and what you create within your writing. On a similar note, don’t be too concerned with your audience or their opinion of you based on your writing. Write how you want and what you want, and your creations will be truer. Finally, your final story will likely be quite different from how you originally wanted it to be, and that’s okay.

 

An Excerpt from The Last Odinian

 Seeing him in plain sight was an abhorrently different experience than through the peephole of his hotel room. Light and shadow played across Kendric’s mutilated face like a symphony of horror as he stood under the bar lights. Koenig forced the coffee down his throat and exhaled. Like a boxer caught off guard, he didn’t know whether to swing a punch or duck for cover. For a moment he just stared at the decrepit man, and the man stared right back, his one working eye fixed on Koenig. Words came to him at last, and he steadied his voice… “Any final thoughts?”

Have you met Dawn Napier, yet?

Our author, Dawn Napier, author of Star Pack, has a few more writing projects in the works. Check out Star Pack on our website! We took some time to ask her a few questions about her writing, her inspiration, and some other fun questions. Check out her interview below!

 

Dawn’s favorite color is red – so we decided to add a little color to our interview!

 

 

Ink Smith: What are your current projects?
Dawn: I’m currently writing a sequel to Star Pack, and I’m finishing a last coat of polish on a recently completed fantasy novel called Vellichor.

Ink Smith: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Dawn: It’s called Sea Pack, and it’s the continuing adventures of the space-faring werewolves I wrote about in Star Pack. They have moved on to explore the rest of our solar system, and they’re currently about to make contact with life on Europa.

Ink Smith: What is your favorite book?
Dawn: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Ink Smith: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Dawn: Science fiction is hard. My last couple of books have been fantasy, and in a fantasy novel if something’s not working you can just change the rules. But even with extragalactic werewolves I have to at least try to follow the laws of physics. NASA is finding out new things about our local planets every day, and I have to try to keep up with their discoveries so my book stays current while I’m writing it.

Ink Smith: Did you learn anything from writing your book(s) and what was it?
Dawn: I learned that you can’t world-build by the seat of your pants. I had to learn how to plot in order to finish it.

Ink Smith: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dawn: I don’t have any idea. It never occurred to be NOT to write it.

Ink Smith: What is your favorite food?
Dawn: Shrimp Fried Rice

Ink Smith: Do you have a specific writing style?
Dawn: I guess you could call it Stephen King meets Piers Anthony and their love child collaborates with HP Lovecraft.

Ink Smith: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Dawn: I had a few themes and symbols in the back of my mind when I wrote it, but I’d rather people read it and enjoy it on their own terms. I’d love to hear from people who have found messages of their own in it.

Ink Smith: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Dawn: I have no idea. I think I was about six.

Ink Smith: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Dawn: Don’t TRY while you’re writing. Don’t try to sound like anyone else, but also don’t try too hard to be original. Don’t try to make the story follow a certain path, and don’t try to guide your characters’ fates. You’ll find your own voice organically the more you write, but you have to sit back and let the muse do her thing.

Ink Smith: If you had to do it all over again, what would you change, if anything, in your latest book?
Dawn: I would have made the character’s names have meanings.

Ink Smith: Who is your favorite author, and what really strikes you about their work?
Dawn: Stephen King. I started reading his books when I was 12, and I loved how he wrote about kids. My parents divorced when I was 11, and during that turbulent time, I often felt that I was at the mercy of the four winds. In King’s books, the kids are the smart ones, the ones who understand what’s going on. And they’re the ones who have the power to stop the monsters. I found that deeply reassuring. I still read his books and feel soothed by his familiar voice. He probably wouldn’t appreciate me saying that I find his books soothing. But compared to the real world, sometimes…

Ink Smith: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Dawn: If you don’t have a library card go get one now. Libraries are a magical place where anyone can learn anything for free. They’re staunch defenders of the Constitution, and they will help you learn whatever you need to know without checking your credit or health history. Everyone needs to use and love their libraries, so they stay with us forever.

Ink Smith: Final thoughts?
Dawn: Just keep writing, just keep writing…

 

About Dawn Napier

Dawn Napier grew up in Waukegan IL, and upstate New York. She has a husband, three children, and a ridiculous number of pets. She grew up reading Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, Mercedes Lackey, and Piers Anthony. When she’s not reading and writing, she is hiking with her dogs, napping with her cat, or cleaning up after her herd of adopted guinea pigs.
Visit her online on Facebook and her website dawnsdarktreasures.com!