There are no men like me. There is only me.

All posts in "Interviews"

A Conversation with Christopher Lansdown

Published December 27, 2016 in Interviews , Lyonesse , Silver Empire - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Fellow author Christopher Lansdown very graciously invited me to join him on his YouTube channel to discuss, among other things, Short Stories and Lyonesse. I had to put him off for a few days due to losing my voice to a cold and the Christmas holiday itself. Last night we finally managed to sit down together. I had a blast talking with Chris. The one complaint that I have is, I suspect, the largest one you’ll have, too. The conversation ran kind of long. Er, maybe a LOT long, at two and a half hours. I hope that I prove interesting enough to hold your attention that long.

View the video at the embed below.

An Interview With S.D. McPhail – Part 3

Published July 29, 2016 in Interviews , Silver Empire - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Last October, by a stroke of good fortune and timing, I was offered a chance to review one of the most unique novels I’ve encountered in a long time. After a few months of discussions, my friend S.D. McPhail agreed to allow me to publish it. Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is, without a doubt, one of a kind. I’m also pleased to say that it’s not just unique – it’s also actually good. The book is available for pre-order now, and will be available for purchase this Saturday. I highly recommend buying a copy and reading it. But if you can’t wait until Friday (and let’s face it, you really are that excited about this book!) I’ve got a three part interview with Ms. McPhail.

As with my typical interviews, one part will post each day through the end of the week. Wednesday’s Part 1 focused on the book itself. Yesterday’s Part 2 focused on Ms. McPhail’s experiences with writing and publishing. Finally, Today’s Part 3 focuses on Ms. McPhail herself. As always, these interviews are presented unedited.

 


 

Aside from authors and works previously listed as inspiration, can you tell us what your own favorite sff authors and works are?

One of my all-time favorite books is Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I adore Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since Carrie, although I had to take a break from him for a long time after Cujo. I’m still catching up on some of his books I haven’t read yet. J.K. Rowling is my idol. If only I could be as imaginative as she!

 

Favorite current sff show and/or movie?

Just saw Star Trek Beyond and it currently tops my favorite recent movie list. But that list is subject to frequent change and if next year’s Kong: Skull Island is as good as the trailer, it will have a turn at the top of the list. There are likely to be several at the number one spot in the interim between those two.
The other day I finished binge-watching the Netflix series Stranger Things. Loved it! Comparisons from fans ranged from The Goonies to E.T. to Stand by Me, but I found it strongly reminiscent of Super-8, another on my all-time favorites list. Just read that it’s confirmed for a second season, so go watch all eight episodes of the first season now so you’ll be conversant when everyone else finds out about this little gem.

I am also waiting, rather impatiently, for the return of Game of Thrones.

 

Favorite current non-sff show and/or movie?

Favorite TV show is Big Bang Theory. Love me some loveable nerds. As a history nerd, not to mention a fan of Matthew McConaughey, I loved Free State of Jones. Now I want to read the book it was based on.

 

Favorite current sff books?

I’ve been on a YA binge lately with books. Finished the phenomenal Ashes trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick not long ago. Just started reading White Space, a more recent book by Ilsa, and it’s equally amazing.

 

Favorite current non-sff books?

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America was fascinating. True history again, about Dr. H. H. Holmes, the serial killer whose “Murder Castle” must have been the inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel.

 

What did you do before you became a writer?

I was a marketing communications specialist who wrote a lot of copy and created marketing materials, brochures, proposals, technical documents, illustrations, presentations, and website content for all kinds of clients.

 

Do you still have a “real” job? If so, what do you do?

Yes, I have a real job. I am a writer.

 

Do you have a college degree? If so, what in?

Yes, my degree is a Bachelor of Business Administration. Maybe if I had majored in English, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to discover the joys of writing fiction.

[Editor’s note: from what I can tell, majoring in English seems to have the opposite effect.]

 


 

And that’s it for this interview – but you really should take the time to check out her book!

An Interview With S.D. McPhail – Part 2

Published July 28, 2016 in Interviews , Silver Empire - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Last October, by a stroke of good fortune and timing, I was offered a chance to review one of the most unique novels I’ve encountered in a long time. After a few months of discussions, my friend S.D. McPhail agreed to allow me to publish it. Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is, without a doubt, one of a kind. I’m also pleased to say that it’s not just unique – it’s also actually good. The book is available for pre-order now, and will be available for purchase this Saturday. I highly recommend buying a copy and reading it. But if you can’t wait until Friday (and let’s face it, you really are that excited about this book!) I’ve got a three part interview with Ms. McPhail.

As with my typical interviews, one part will post each day through the end of the week. Yesterday’s Part 1 focused on the book itself. Today’s Part 2 focuses on Ms. McPhail’s experiences with writing and publishing. Finally, Tomorrow’s Part 3 will focus on Ms. McPhail herself. As always, these interviews are presented unedited.

 


 

What made you decide to get serious about writing?

For many years I worked in a corporate environment at various companies, sometimes in positions that were interesting and challenging, other times not so much. When the work got really boring, I started a blog where I wrote movie reviews. I discovered that I enjoyed analyzing what made me like or dislike a film. Most often it came down to how original or well-executed the story was, not the actors or the special effects. Critiquing other stories got me thinking about the kind of story I would like to write. When the contract on my day job ended, that left me with lots of time to do more than just think about it.

 

How long did it take you to write your first novel?

A ridiculously long time because I was learning how to write fiction while I was trying to write a novel.

 

How much time do you spend writing every day?

Not enough and not as much as I would like. I try to put in at least four hours a day. Some days I do well, occasionally I am elated to have spent a good six or eight hours at the keyboard. Then there are the days that life interferes, and I feel guilty about neglecting my characters.

 

Is the second one going any faster?

See the last question. The next one should go must faster because I learned so many valuable lessons while writing The Origin Key.

 

Do you enjoy the writing process or is it a slog?

There are days when it is definitely a slog. On those days, nothing seems to flow easily, the characters refuse to cooperate, and every idea feels trite or stale or obvious or boring. But when it starts to flow well and I can get into the zone, there is no better feeling. That’s when writing is most enjoyable and makes the slog to get there worthwhile.

 

Did you try submitting your works to any traditional or other indie publishers before you settled on Silver Empire? If so, what was the response like?

I sure did. And I made the egregious newbie mistake of querying agents before my novel had been edited and polished enough. I got back polite, standard rejections that showed not the least bit of interest. So I kept rewriting, found an amazing story editor, and continued to query as I made my novel even better. I still got rejections, but usually more personalized with encouraging comments such as “Even though we are not interested in this one, please feel free to query us in future with other novels.” After many, many rejections, it became clear that my story didn’t fit neatly into a single publishing pigeonhole. It blurs lines between genres and isn’t quite like anything else on the sci-fi/fantasy shelves. I believe a lot of the rejection wasn’t due to a poorly written story, but rather an unwillingness to embrace something refreshingly different or a perceived difficulty in marketing a genre-bender.

 

You’re with a pretty small and new publisher. What made you decide to go with us instead of just self-publishing it?

Even though I had heard of a few amazing success stories for self-published authors, I realized those were the exception and not the typical experience for new writers. I could have self-published, but knowing how much work an author has to put into marketing their books these days—whether traditionally or self-published—I wanted help from someone who already knew the ins and outs. I wanted a partner with publishing experience so I could concentrate on writing the next stories in the series while we developed a marketing strategy to sell books. After researching you and Silver Empire, I felt like we would work very well together.

 

How has your publishing experience been so far?

It’s been fantastic! Being able to meet with my publisher and talk in person is an enormous confidence-booster. You’ve been extremely responsive and offered some great ideas. I can’t thank you enough for being willing to listen to me and explaining the business side of things when I have questions. With a small publisher, there’s a lot more personal attention that I’m not sure I would ever get with a busy, overworked agent or a big publishing house.

 


 

That’s it for part 2. Tune in tomorrow for a bit more about Ms. McPhail herself!

An Interview With S.D. McPhail – Part 1

Published July 27, 2016 in Interviews , Silver Empire - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key

Last October, by a stroke of good fortune and timing, I was offered a chance to review one of the most unique novels I’ve encountered in a long time. After a few months of discussions, my friend S.D. McPhail agreed to allow me to publish it. Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is, without a doubt, one of a kind. I’m also pleased to say that it’s not just unique – it’s also actually good. The book is available for pre-order now, and will be available for purchase this Saturday. I highly recommend buying a copy and reading it. But if you can’t wait until Friday (and let’s face it, you really are that excited about this book!) I’ve got a three part interview with Ms. McPhail.

As with my typical interviews, one part will post each day through the end of the week. Today’s Part 1 focuses on the book itself. Tomorrow’s Part 2 focuses on Ms. McPhail’s experiences with writing and publishing. Finally, Friday’s Part 3 will focus on Ms. McPhail herself. As always, these interviews are presented unedited.

 


 

Congratulations on the pending release of your first novel!

Thank you so much! It’s quite a surreal feeling.

 

Where did the inspiration for Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key come from?

It’s probably the culmination of a lifetime of reading science fiction and fantasy. I tend to prefer adventure stories with a hero who keeps getting back up after being knocked down and who, perhaps reluctantly at first, has the guts to do the right thing even when it’s much easier to simply walk away.

But I’m guessing you’re looking for a more specific answer than that, so here goes. I’ve always loved studying ancient cultures. In fact, my first year as an undergrad was spent majoring in archaeology/anthropology. I am fascinated by how television’s Ancient Aliens can take the most ridiculous theory and make a case for how extraterrestrials were involved in human history, with no way to prove it. I’m also a fan of classic movies, including silent features from Hollywood’s earliest golden era such as 1924’s The Thief of Bagdad starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Combine all of that and add in the premise of another classic movie, 1937’s Lost Horizon about an ancient peaceful society hidden somewhere in the Himalaya Mountains, and call me inspired.

 

Which works and authors would you say influenced the book?

That’s hard to narrow down. I’m a big fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars, not to mention movies like Indiana Jones, Independence Day, Galaxy Quest, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Dan Brown’s books featuring the intellectual hero Robert Langdon are definitely in the mix. Someone told me The Origin Key could be described as “Aladdin meets Mission Impossible.” I can’t really argue with that.

 

What was your favorite moment of the book to write?

I had it on good authority that you know you are truly a writer when your fictional characters talk to you during the writing process, and perhaps even at random moments throughout the day when you aren’t writing. I experienced an argument with one of my main characters who refused to say the bit of dialog I was typing for him. I tried to convince him that he needed to say it exactly as I had written it, but he was adamant. He won the argument and I changed the dialog. When I realized what had happened, I was elated because I finally felt I was a real writer!

 

What was the hardest part of the book for you to write?

I could answer with “the middle” since it was a bit of a challenge to weave together a lot mystery and intrigue to keep the reader guessing about the final outcome. But what may have been more difficult was writing the fight scenes. Everything that was perfectly choreographed in my mind was not so easy to describe clearly and succinctly.

 

How many more books do you plan for the series?

Right now, I plan to keep writing about Dodrazeb and Rasteem as long as I can invent new adventures for him. I also want to feature some of the other characters, such as Laneffri or Kamran or even Vestanji as the main character in their own novel-length story. So the answer is “a bunch.”

 

Can you give us a hint of what we should expect in the next book(s)?

There will be more revelations about the complex history of Dodrazeb and perhaps what exactly it is the scholars continue to search for. My short story A Ruby for Dyree is sort of a Dodrazebbian fairy tale that Rasteem discovers may contain more fact than legend. It features a ruby that isn’t simply a ruby. Oh, and more than one white tiger.

 

Do you have plans for any more novels outside of Treasures of Dodrazeb?

As a matter of fact, I do. An idea for a cozy mystery series set in a small town in Mississippi populated by eccentric characters with crazy secrets is on my radar.

 

Can you tell us when we should expect your next novel?

I wish I could say very soon, but it might be next year. I’m working hard at writing the next Dodrazeb adventure as fast as I can, but I don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed. I want it to be as entertaining as possible, and that takes time.

 


 

That’s it for part 1. Tune in tomorrow for a bit more about how Ms. McPhail approaches the writing and publishing process!

 

  • An Interview with S.D. McPhail – Part 1
  • An Interview with S.D. McPhail – Part 2
  • An Interview with S.D. McPhail – Part 3

An Interview With Mike Cernovich – Part 3

Published July 15, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

A few weeks ago, as I was finishing up my review of Gorilla Mindset, I reached out to Mike Cernovich for a blog interview. He graciously agreed.

Mr. Cernovich is the author of the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset as well as Danger and Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity and Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Health. He’s also the producer of the upcoming documentary Silenced! about the decline of free speech in the modern west. Wednesday’s Part 1 focused on his bestselling book, Gorilla Mindset. Yesterday’s Part 2 focused on writing, publishing, and business. Finally, Today’s Part 3 focuses on Mr. Cernovich himself and his upcoming projects. As always, this interview is presented unedited exactly as he gave it to me.

 


 

Aside from authors and works previously listed as inspiration, can you tell us what your own favorite fiction authors and works are?

 

What non-fiction books have been the most helpful to you in finding your own path?

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Nietzsche’s stuff is great as well.

A book about cognitive biases called The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making also completely changed how I viewed “truth,” along with my own abilities to know the truth.

 

What did you do before you became a writer?

Lawyer.

 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you’ve long since left the world of real jobs behind. How long ago did you do that, and how did you know you were ready for it?

I’ve been living 100% off of my books and websites for a couple of years, I think.

 

Do you have a college degree? If so, what in?

Philosophy and Legal Studies major, and and I have a J.D. (law degree) as well.

 

What would you say was the single biggest event in your life that set you onto the path you’re on today?

I was falsely accused of rape.

 

If somebody asked you for just one piece of advice on finding their own successful path, what would you tell them?

There’s no such thing as a “big break.” If you’re waiting for that big break to come, if you expect someone to discover you, you’re dead.

Life is a bunch of “little breaks.” Keep hustling every day for years and years. Then, like me, people will say, “Where did that guy come from? He’s an overnight success!” If only. I’m at best a 20 year overnight success.

 


 

And so ends my interview with Mr. Cernovich. Once more I’d like to thank him for taking the time to answer these questions!

 

An Interview With Mike Cernovich – Part 2

Published July 14, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
"Danger & Play" by Mike Cernovich

“Danger & Play” by Mike Cernovich

A few weeks ago, as I was finishing up my review of Gorilla Mindset, I reached out to Mike Cernovich for a blog interview. He graciously agreed.

Mr. Cernovich is the author of the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset as well as Danger and Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity and Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Health. He’s also the producer of the upcoming documentary Silenced! about the decline of free speech in the modern west. Yesterday’s Part 1 focused on his bestselling book, Gorilla Mindset. Today’s Part 2 focuses on writing, publishing, and business. Finally, Tomorrow’s Part 3 will focus on Mr. Cernovich himself and his upcoming projects. As always, this interview is presented unedited exactly as he gave it to me.

 


 

What made you decide to get serious about writing?

I also wrote out of passion, but to make a living doing this, I had no choice other than to get serious.

 

How long did it take you to write your first book?

Since Gorilla Mindset was my life’s work and was published last year, 37 years sounds about right. Sitting down to write took between 6 and 18 months.

 

How much time do you spend writing every day?

2-4 hours.

 

Do you enjoy the writing process or is it a slog?

I love writing blogs and Twitter posts. I do not enjoy writing books. The process of writing, re-writing, editing, formatting, etc. bores me.

 

You’ve been picked as an ?editor at large? for Castalia House. Have they published any books you’ve picked yet?

The people I want to write have less confidence in themselves than they should.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

But there’s no hurry. Life is a long game.

 

Can you talk about anything forthcoming that you’re looking at for them?

We need a solid book on nationalism, as there isn’t an fair treatment of nationalism in America. RamZPaul is the man to write this book, but he’s never written a book. I’d like to sit down with him and get him writing. I’d also like to get a book by Steve Sailer or John Derbyshire out.

 

You’re working on an upcoming documentary film. How did that come about?

To change culture, you must make movies. Must. It’s not optional. As much impact as I have on social media and through my writing, you can’t compete with films. Full stop.

I knew I had to do a film on free speech, but had no idea how to make that happen. I met a film director through Milo Yiannopoulos and decided to take the risk.

I agreed to fully fund Silenced (silencedmovie.com) myself. It certainly caused me some anxiety to agree to outlay that kind of money without any guarantee that I’d get it back.

With book writing, I’m a profit-making machine. With films, who knows?

I had to apply my own Gorilla Mindset methods to calm myself down.

I ran a Kickstarter, which raised nearly $80,000 from 1,000 people (some donations came in after the Kickstarter had ended).

Working on a film while finishing a book and growing a massive social media profile while exposing hoaxes and breaking news has worn me out and it’s time to relax.

No one ever said changing the culture would be easy!

 

Care to tell us a bit about the film itself?

Who is censoring us? When you write something (or don’t write something) is it because the government might kick down your door? In the West, that isn’t a problem. The issue is that we are censoring each other.

Silenced looks at what free speech means to people from all walks of life. We talk to Milo Yiannopoulos, Anthony Cumia, Alan Dershowitz, Dave Rubin, Scott Adams, and many others from all walks of life.

 

Got any ideas what’s coming down the pipeline after Silenced?

Truthfully I may take some serious time offline. I have been “on” for about three years straight now and am really starting to feel it.

Some say Andrew Breitbart was killed by Twitter, and I am starting to understand that.

Even when living your passion, it’s important to take some down time.

I also have a child on the way. Don’t be surprised if I go quiet for a few months around November.

[Congratulations, Mike!]

 


 

Thus ends Part 2. Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion as we talk about Mr. Cernovich himself.

 

An Interview With Mike Cernovich – Part 1

Published July 13, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
"Gorilla Mindset" by Mike Cernovich

“Gorilla Mindset” by Mike Cernovich

A few weeks ago, as I was finishing up my review of Gorilla Mindset, I reached out to Mike Cernovich for a blog interview. He graciously agreed.

Mr. Cernovich is the author of the aforementioned Gorilla Mindset as well as Danger and Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity and Juice Power!: How to Juice for Healing, Fat Loss, and Lifelong Health. He’s also the producer of the upcoming documentary Silenced! about the decline of free speech in the modern west.Today’s Part 1 focuses on his bestselling book, Gorilla Mindset. Tomorrow, Part 2 will focus on writing, publishing, and business. Finally, Friday’s Part 3 will focus on Mr. Cernovich himself and his upcoming projects. As always, this interview is presented unedited exactly as he gave it to me with the small exception of a slightly corrected book title.

 


 

What made you decide to write a book on mindset?

I got tired of reading books full of anecdotes and theories on happiness and mindset. Those books left you feeling that mindset existed and could be trained, but there was never a mindset training manual.

Imagine reading a book about lifting weights. The author tells you the life-changing power of going to the gym while sharing stories of people who improved their lives by going to the gym. Then imagine this book doesn’t contain a single workout program or explanation of what it means to “go to the gym.”

 

[Editor’s note: I don’t have to imagine it. I’ve read it.]

Well that’s what the mindset genre was like. There were no training programs. Gorilla Mindset isn’t a theory book. It’s a training manual for your mind.

 

Which works and authors would you say influenced the book?

Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is the category leader, and that book helped me when I was 19 and trying to figure life out. I always wanted to write a book on that level.

 

What was your favorite part of the book to write?

Probably the health and fitness section. We all know that going to the gym confers aesthetic benefits. I hadn’t seen anyone tie in going to the gym with mindset and lifelong cognitive health.

 

What was the hardest part of the book for you to write?

The whole book was brutal to write, and that’s why I finished it a few months later than scheduled.

Writing blog posts is easy. I can do those all day. Writing a comprehensive theory on mindset where every section ties together….that was a real challenge!

 

How did you go about researching the book?

When I was in a bad mood, I’d ask myself why. Then I’d deconstruct that mood. I’d share these thoughts with others, get their feedback, and create systems and methods to eliminate bad moods.

In other words I didn’t spend much time reading other books! Gorilla Mindset is a practical book based on real-life experience of myself and my many readers, friends, and podcast listeners across the world.

 

A lot of the book is clearly written from personal experience. Did the changes in your own life come about gradually or was it kind of all at once?

Gradually. There was never a single “a-ha!” moment where everything came together all at once.

That’s why Gorilla Mindset has different chapters and sections, which while forming a cohesive mental model of the world, are also separate.

Learning to control my self-talk was especially helpful to me as an introvert. For others, self-talk isn’t as much of problem. Those people are more anxious and full of worry, and thus the Gorilla Mindfulness sections are a game changer for them.

 

You have several interviews with subject matter experts in the book. Did you find it easy to get them to agree to interviews, or did you have to approach multiple people in each field to get enough for the book?

It was easy because I’ve been online for years. By virtue of being around for a long time, awesome people come into my life.

 

Can you share one or two of the most inspiring success stories from those who have read your book?

Several people have told me they were suicidal before finding my writing. That means more to me than learning that someone is meeting a lot of girls or whatever – even though Gorilla Mindset does give people more confidence to be outgoing, take more chances, and meet more people.

It’s also common for people to start making a lot more money after reading Gorilla Mindset.

 


 

That’s it for Part 1. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Part 2, where Mr. Cernovich shares his insights on writing, publishing and business.

 

 

An Interview With Declan Finn – Part 3

Published June 13, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
"Honor At Stake" by Declan Finn

“Honor At Stake” by Declan Finn

When I started reading Declan Finn’s early novel A Pius Man, I reached out to him and asked if he was interested in doing a blog interview. He graciously accepted. As before, this interview will be in three parts, posted over three days. I hope to have my review of the novel up next week. The first part focuses on the books – particularly on The Pius Trilogy. The second part focuses on his experiences with writing and publishing. This third part focuses on Mr. Finn himself.

You can find out more about Mr. Finn’s works at his web site.

Bold text is my questions. The rest is Mr. Finn’s response, presented without editing unless noted.


Aside from authors and works previously listed as inspiration, can you tell us what your own favorite sff authors and works are?

Those are easy: Timothy Zahn’s body of work, from his Star Wars to his Baen. John Ringo, most specifically his Princess of want series. J. Michael Straczysnki, for Babylon 5. And when I want Star Trek, Peter David and only Peter Dated. Zahn has characters who think, mostly spies. Ringo balances humor and action. JMS is where I learned character and construction of story. And Peter David for when I just want to go off the wall.

Favorite current sff show and/or movie?

Of current shows, right now, the best fantasy show on television is probably Grimm, with science fiction being The Flash. (Unlike some people, I have problems seeing Person of Interest as science fiction, considering most of the action is with plain old bullets. I also have problems seeing NetFlix as television. Yes, I’m a Luddite).

Like everyone else, I’m a fan of the Marvel films and Lord of the Rings. But most recent SFF film? Ender’s Game. I liked the novel The Martian, but the film had too much “I think I can top 2001: A Space Odyssey” during the course of filming.

Favorite non-sff show and/or movie?

I’m a fan of 24, and thankfully, it’s coming back. No idea if the new version will be good, but here’s hoping.

And, since we’re not talking about recent works in this question, Die Hard is my Christmas movie. From now and forever. [Editor: Yippie Kay Yay!]

Favorite current sff books?

Iron Chamber of Memory, by John C. Wright. And Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine. Though I recommend the upcoming The Big Sheep by Rob Kroese

Favorite non-sff book?

Verticle Run, by Joseph Garber. I read it many moons ago, so I don’t know if it’s easily attainable. But if you can get your hands on it, do so. More recently than that, most anything by James Rollins.

What did you do before you became a writer?

Writer at NYU’s school of Polytechic University. Which means I was part of the creative end of the pool.

Do you still have a “real” job? If so, what do you do?

I spend 12-15 hours a day either doing promotional material or write. I’d say I have a real job now.

I do actually try for a “real” job whenever I can. Why? Because a 9-5 job would actually allow me to get more reading in on public transportation. Right now, I feel like I’m a failure if I’m not constantly working nonstop on my various and sundry projects.

Do you have a degree? If so, what in?

Master’s degree in history. I gave up part of the way through the PhD when I discovered that the college I was at was all about personal politics than actually doing the work.


Tune in tomorrow for part 3.

An Interview With Declan Finn – Part 2

Published June 10, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
"Honor At Stake" by Declan Finn

“Honor At Stake” by Declan Finn

When I started reading Declan Finn’s early novel A Pius Man, I reached out to him and asked if he was interested in doing a blog interview. He graciously accepted. As before, this interview will be in three parts, posted over three days. I hope to have my review of the novel up next week. The first part focuses on the books – particularly on The Pius Trilogy. This second part focuses on his experiences with writing and publishing. The third part focuses on Mr. Finn himself.

You can find out more about Mr. Finn’s works at his web site.

Bold text is my questions. The rest is Mr. Finn’s response, presented without editing unless noted.


What made you decide to get serious about writing?

I’ve been serious about it ever since I was 16, when I discovered that I couldn’t not write. I don’t quite start getting detox if I don’t, but the voices in my head don’t leave me alone.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?

No idea. When I accidentally started writing a fan fic when I was 16, I just wrote. 15 months later, I stopped when I hit four novels. Also, they were single spaced, and around 200,000 words a piece.

Can you tell I didn’t have much of a life when I was 16? Or 17?

How much time do you spend writing every day?

Around 6-9 hours, depending on how much time I’m allowed by other concerns.

You’re with a pretty small publisher. As in, I’d never heard of them until I picked up your books. What made you decide to go that route?

Originally, I went with Damnation Books because a friend of mine was an acquisition editor who was “bored.” I sent her a project called Honor At Stake, and she liked it. Who knew?

Did you submit your books to any larger publishers before going with them?

With The Pius Trilogy, I had two agents for it. The second one took years, submitting to Doubleday. No one wanted it – okay, yes, there were a few editors who were interested, but the industry was so screwed up, the ones who were interested were laid off, fired, downsized, etc. Because I got my agent the same year tens of thousands of employees were being laid off from publishers.

Great timing, huh? So, I “gave up,” and self published – because patience might be a virtue, but so is prudence.

With my current books, I’m first submitting to this new publisher that I had never heard about before last year. Something called Castalia. Ever heard of it?

Heh. But, of course, given my optimistic nature, I’m already formatting these books to be self published.

It seems that some of your books are self published and some are indie published. Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences with both routes?

Indie publishing was fine, up to a point. It was nice having an editor and an illustrator, and someone on formatting, and not having to worry about those details.

On the other hand, waiting on distributors, and getting no input on how sales are going until royalties come in makes it feels like the book is being held hostage.

For us other indie authors, what’s been the most effective method of marketing your books?

Twitter. Social media in general. And by this, I mean being SOCIAL with people. I have managed more reviews off of simply interacting with people than anything else, including ads.

What’s been the least effective thing that you’ve tried?

For marketing? Posting links at random 12 times a day on Facebook.

Your publisher just got bought out. Can you tell us about your plans for your books?

Yes, the publisher I originally signed on with was purchased by another company. My original publisher had a backlog in the hundreds. The new company had been the successful publisher of 12 books a year. You can see where there could be some problems.

I’m taking my books – all of my books – and running for the hills. Actually, I didn’t want to take every last book with me, but when I asked about getting the rights back, it felt like they couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. It could just be that they assumed I wanted to leave, but I thought there could have been more conversation about it. Or any conversation. I sent in the question, and the next thing I knew, my works were being wiped from the servers.


Tune in tomorrow for part 3.

An Interview With Declan Finn – Part 1

Published June 9, 2016 in Interviews - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus
"A Pius Man" by Declan Finn

“A Pius Man” by Declan Finn

When I started reading Declan Finn’s early novel A Pius Man, I reached out to him and asked if he was interested in doing a blog interview. He graciously accepted. As before, this interview will be in three parts, posted over three days. I hope to have my review of the novel up next week. This first part focuses on the books – particularly on The Pius Trilogy. The second part focuses on his experiences with writing and publishing. The third part focuses on Mr. Finn himself.

You can find out more about Mr. Finn’s works at his web site.

Bold text is my questions. The rest is Mr. Finn’s response, presented without editing unless noted.


Where did the inspiration for The Pius Trilogy come from?

Back when I was a history major, I did a paper on Pope Pius XII, who was, back then, often slandered as “Hitler’s Pope.” I read through it, banged my head against a wall a few million times, and moved on to the next course.

A few months later, a novel that used historical events as a background to the primary action. Premise… nothing new, really. Evil Nazi Catholic church, blah blah, snore. Okay, so what? Big deal…. But, hmm, wait, I know that character’s name. It’s historical. I know that name too. Hmm….

I skipped to the back of the book to read the author’s note and the works cited page. I had normally assumed that this author had read one side of the argument, and wrote another evil Catholic church story based on that. But, no, I had read these books. All of them. He had done his homework, and had completely and utterly twisted and warped what was in his research. He directly contradicted details that both sides agreed on, then saying it was true. I could take it if he had just said “I’m writing fiction, not commenting on a historical debate.” But he took a side and lied about facts that everyone agreed on.

Dominoes fell in my brain. People not only read this crap, they believed this crap. Most readers would have almost no intellectual background to separate the wheat from the chaff (seriously, how many people have history degrees focusing on the religious and cultural activities of Europe in World War II?)

by reaction was somewhere akin to the quote of the eminent physician and research scientist, Doctor Bruce Banner. Hulk smash.

Fine. Simple. Easy. Two could play at this game. If people got their history from entertainment, I would take up the strangest project ever imagined. I would write a thriller that was (a) thrilling, (b) factually accurate about the Catholic Church in the Holocaust.

Then I had to write it. That was fun.

Which works and authors would you say influenced the series?

When you want to read about books that take history and science and make a good modern story out of it, who comes to mind? Brad Thor and James Rollins, of course. Granted, Thor’s gone a little off the rails lately (“assassinate Trump”? Really Brad?), but Rollins has always been solid.

What was your favorite moment of the series to write?

Of the entire series? It comes between some of the character moments between Scott and Manana in A Pius Man, the covering of the kidnap victims in A Pius Legacy, or perhaps the latter half of A Pius Stand. Because all out war has been interesting, especially since I had to throw out everything I really knew about warfare to write it (FYI: Everything I ever knew about infantry warfare comes from either John Ringo or Bernard Cornwell). Perhaps the end of A Pius Stand, mostly because I knew it was over.

What was the hardest part of the series for you to write?

Trying to balance the action versus the talking in A Pius Man. Considering how much history, characters, and data I had, I wanted to make sure no one fell asleep.

The series is explicitly referred to as a trilogy. Any plans to revisit this series and/or these characters at a later date?

The characters will be coming back. No question … okay, the characters who survive will come back. In fact, when I had first written The Pius Trilogy, most of these characters were minor side characters in other works. Which became a problem when they started dying off. Why? Because the works they had appeared in hadn’t been published yet. Oops.

In fact, Sean A.P. Ryan and his cadre of mercenaries will be the stars of a comedy-thriller called Set to Kill. It’s set at WyvernCon in Atlanta, GA, and Sean has to keep the Puppy Punters “safe” from the “Tearful” and “Hydrophobic” Puppies. Because I’m subtle.

We don’t even go into the anthology of Pius Tales.

Of all the books you’ve written, which one is your personal favorite as a reader?

Of all the books I’ve written? Yikes. The Pius books are great just because it was so epic in scope. Though otherwise, it might be a tossup between Codename: Winterborn or Honor At Stake, mostly because it was so heavy on character.

Which one was the most fun to write?

Of the Trilogy? A Pius Stand. Of everything I’ve written, probably Set to Kill. I was laughing my tuchas off as I wrote it.

Which one was the most difficult to write?

Definitely A Pius Man, mostly because I was going to use it as a teaching tool while people were having fun. It wasn’t actually that hard to write, but a bear to edit … but for the record, my first draft just made my graduate paper into dialogue. I brought data dump to a whole new level of boring. Toning that back was tough.


Tune in tomorrow for part 2.