South Korea is Having a Moment

One of my new year’s resolutions was to read more foreign books and watch more foreign movies. (In translation of course, I’m your typical uni-lingual North American.) I have found some wonderful writers, such as Leonardo Padura from Cuba and Spain’s Arturo Perez Reverte. But lately I’ve been watching and reading more from South Korea. They are definitely having a moment.

Besides winning the Best Picture Oscar for Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer has become a TV series on TNT–although the jury is still out on how good it is, and why it’s so Asian-free is something of a mystery. He’s one of those directors that, while I don’t love everything he’s done, is always worth a watch. (Seriously, The Host is an under-rated blast, Okja is too earnest for its own good.) And, although he didn’t direct it, Train to Busan is the best Zombie movie I’ve seen in a very long time, and I’m not a big fan of the brain-eating undead.

A month or so ago I shared with you my love of the historical fiction/zombie series, The Kingdom. Netflix has a bunch of Korean films and series (Black is creepy AF), and wherever (and whenever) they’re set, they have this air of being just different enough to be intriguing. Not Chinese, not Japanese, and definitely not what I’m used to.

There have also been two books recently that I really enjoyed. The first, is The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim. It’s an easy-reading oddball take on a political plot and the assassin hired to make it all work. Again, it feels like a standard political thriller but the world it portrays is just slightly… different.

The other book, and the one that’s getting all the international buzz, is Kyung-sook Shin’s, “Please Look After Mom.” It’s the tale of a family forced to deal with the changes in family dynamics, class and how little we know our parents and each other. It won the Man Asian Literary Prize, and is a staple of book clubs. While it’s not quite perfect (the changing POVs have no logic to them) it is an engaging, dramatic and heart-tugging story.

I know next to nothing about South Korea, and know very few people from that background, I suspect that will change as I go down the rabbit hole like I did with Hong Kong gangster films and all things Toshiro Mifune.

And I’m not alone. A colleague of mine in Northern California is hooked on the Korean version of Telenovelas. BTS is jump-starting puberty for a whole generation of tweens. Like, I said, the country is having a moment of pop culture relevance it’s never had.

What movies or books from other cultures and languages are you taking in? Maybe more importantly, why not?

Sarah Tasz- You Think Dead Malls Are Creepy? You Don’t Even Know

I’ve said before that there is a surprising amount of writing talent here in Las Vegas. One of the more prolific and involved folks is Sara Tasz. We met through Sin City Writers, which is a growing and eclectic group. She heads up the efforts on the Tuesday night group (Check Meetup for details) and heads up the online critique group that’s gotten us through this time we can’t meet in person. I’m a Thursday person, so I don’t get to see her or read her stuff in utero as I’d like. But, she has a new installment in her Dead Mawl novellas, so this was a good time to introduce her to all of you. BTW You can pre-order it here.

Sarah, tell the nice people about yourself and what you do.

I wrote my first (what I would consider) “professional” piece when I was in the eleventh grade. It was a one-act comedy play for my community theatre group. When I saw people interacting with the story I’d written, both the actors putting their own spin on the words and the audience laughing and smiling as they watched, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to tell stories that people wanted to engage with and experience. I did a fair amount of scriptwriting through college and shortly after, both for stage and film, but fiction is the one place I can make anything happen regardless of time or budget—both of which are pretty big roadblocks when you’re writing in fantastical genres, like I tend to do. Maybe I’ll return to scriptwriting at some point, but I think that would only be for the fun and collaboration. But novels, novellas, etc give me the freedom to tell the stories I really want to tell.

Your new book is “The Mourning Sun.” What’s the deal there?

The Mourning Sun, will be the fourth book in the Dead Mawl novella series (technically, it’s the fifth, but only if you count the prequel/origin story released in the omnibus and just recently as a standalone). The series is about a group of blue-collar workers—custodians and security guards—who strive to vanquish the evil entities lurking in the partially-abandoned Edensgate Shopping Center. The town they live in was once a prosperous mining city, but it was wrecked by these entities. Our heroes managed to trap the creatures (somewhat) in Edensgate, but they still try to escape again pretty much nightly.

It’s an ensemble cast—it jumps around into a few different heads depending on the installment—but it mostly focuses teenager Cari Hembert who stumbles onto the secret in the first novella and who we follow continue to follow in some capacity throughout the series. The Mourning Sun picks up right where the third book left off, and without giving too much away, on the morning after a very intense night that culminated in Cari arriving home to see her mother being attacked by a monster.

I love that your heroes are janitors and regular Joes. I mostly deal with the same kind of folks. What is it that inspired you to write this?

The heroes in Dead Mawl don’t really have magic powers in the traditional sense—they are more like D&D fighter class heroes, if that means anything to you. They each have a weapon proficiency that gives them extra skills in combat (accuracy, strength, etc), and the longer they work at the mall they gain higher endurance, faster healing, and even the ability to go for a long time without sleep. The villains, on the other hand, have a lot of magical abilities–summoning monsters and creating illusions are the big two we have seen so far—so there’s an element of research and experience that affects our heroes’ chances of being successful too. I think I like that part the most. I really don’t favor stories that have a superpowered badass just show up and fix things immediately (or they could fix things if his/her personality didn’t get in the way somehow). I like uneven matchups where the good guys must rely partially on knowledge and grit to get through it. And these heroes get hurt, even with the healing—I think every installment has seen at least one injury to a major character—so the stakes are personal as well as metaphysical.

As far as roots—the quick answer is that back in 2014 I wrote a couple pieces of Army of Darkness fan fiction. They were just for fun, but I liked the characters I created so much I cut out all the borrowed IP, reconfigured the plot, changed the setting from an S-Mart in Michigan to a semi-abandoned mall in Nevada, and here we are.

The longer answer is that I worked several blue-collar jobs when I was in high school and into college, including cashier and custodian, and I’ve had it in my head to do a hero story about characters in those fields ever since. These jobs are physically demanding, they are often boring and repetitive, they are looked down on as unskilled, and yet without people in these roles we would be lost. With everything that has happened over the past few months I think people are starting to get it, which is nice. Hopefully, it translates into higher wages, but we will see.

I’m going to smile, nod, and pretend I know what a D &D Fighter Class whatever is, but I get it. And Fan Fiction has started the careers of a lot of writers. Who do you read that people should know about?

This is always a tough question for me because I’m pretty all over the place. As far as writers in and adjacent to my genre, I’m a big fan of Grady Hendrix, Drew Magary, Jim Butcher and Stephen King (of course). I also enjoy some of the more delicate contemporary fantasies that have come out in recent years, like The Night Circus, An Unkindness of Magicians, and The Rook. Currently, however, I’m reading through James Ellroy’s L.A. Quarter series—I just finished The Big Nowhere and will move on to L.A. Confidential next–and I’m loving pretty much every minute despite having no magic at all. There’s very little genre-wise that I won’t try, except for maybe straight-up romance—and even then I might roll the dice if the premise sounds interesting enough.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

ou can preorder The Mourning Sun on Amazon or buy my books on my website: www.sgtasz.com. That’s where I have my blog, which I try to keep up with once a week or so. I also have a Medium publication (https://medium.com/the-uglycat) where I exclusively feature pieces about Vegas/by Vegas writers.

And here is my social media:

Twitter: @ugylcat24

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sgtaszauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sgtasz/

Amazon Author Profile link: http://amzn.to/2EvT4oV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18849380.S_G_Tasz

Sign up for my newsletter using the form on the left hand side of the page and get secret free stuff plus the first look at my upcoming book Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk. Of course, you can find all my novels on my Amazon author page.

Cyberpunk & Behind Blue Eyes: Anna Mocikat

When I signed with my publisher, Black Rose Writing, I began reading some of my fellow BRW authors. One of my favorites is Anna Mocikat who has a backstory nearly as interesting as her books. I first read Shadow City (the sequel is out in the fall) and in going down THAT rabbit trail I realized her first five novels were written in German. Well, that sounds like someone I needed to talk to…

Give us the Anna Mocikat story.

I’m an author of Sci-fi, Dystopia, and Cyberpunk novels, with my latest book Behind Blue Eyes, just released this month. Before I started writing and publishing books, I used to work in the film industry for many years. I learned my craft as a writer at Film School Munich, where I studied screenwriting.

Behind Blue Eyes is my sixth published novel and my second in English. Before moving to the US in 2016, I published several books in Germany.

When not writing or reading, I love playing video games in my spare time. It’s a great source of inspiration for me. I’m a proud dog-mom of three rescues who keep me company when I’m writing.

I also produce cinematic book trailers for fellow Indie authors. Check out my Youtube channel to see my work!

I’ve read Shadow City, and look forward to the sequel, Dark City. Meanwhile, you’ve got a new book out. (Wayne’s note: dang, I thought I was cranking them out!) What’s Behind Blue Eyes about?

It’s a Cyberpunk Noir story. In a not so distant future, society has gotten rid of everything that made human life miserable in earlier times and has become a utopia. It is so perfect that it needs killer cyborgs to hunt down everyone who disagrees with it.

What is it about the story that compelled you to publish when you’re already in the middle of another series?

The roots of the story is the idea of three mega-corporations ruling the world, who are in constant war with each other. All factions have developed super-advanced cyborgs as the ultimate weapon, which they send out to fight each other.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Ghost in Shell and I took much inspiration from it for my story. But I’m also a big fan of Blade Runner and 1984.

So it’s ripped from the headlines, huh? Who did you read that corrupted you and got you writing?

I’m a big fan of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, who are the fathers of the dystopian genre. I also enjoy books by Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, and Stanislaw Lem very much. Lately, I have been mostly reading Indie authors. There are so many hidden gems out there if one steps away from the mainstream bestsellers and is willing to explore.

Where can we learn more about your work and see what you’re up to?

www.annamocikat.com

My Youtube Channel

www.facebook.com/amocikat

Twitter

www.instagram.com/annamocikat

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8072081.Anna_Mocikat

And Anna’s Amazon page

Sign up for my newsletter using the form on the left hand side of the page and get secret free stuff plus the first look at my upcoming book Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk. Of course, you can find all my novels on my Amazon author page.

Raphael in Rome with Stephanie Storey

I know nothing about painting, I really don’t. I envy people who can paint, draw and sculpt, but those aren’t skills I possess. While I find the Renaissance fascinating as history, I’m embarrassed by how little I really know about the key players. That’s where Stephanie Storey comes in.

I met Stephanie at the 2019 Las Vegas Writers Conference and we’ve remained in contact ever since. Her first novel, “Oil and Marble: a Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo.” was terrific, and she has just released “Raphael, a Painter in Rome.” Read it, seriously.

Stephanie, what should people know about you?

I’m an art nerd and television producer out in Hollywood, which means, yes, I write about art history, but hopefully in an entertaining way. I was born and raised in Arkansas, but after living in Los Angeles for nearly twenty years, my husband — an actor and Emmy-winning comedy writer — and I travel the world full-time, well, not during the global pandemic. We are currently sheltering in place by a lake in Arkansas, which is the perfect spot from which to write my next novel and host a talk show from my living room. That’s right, Covid-19 has apparently pushed me to launch my own chat show where I connect virtually with some of my favorite writers to talk about their passions, process, and what makes their work relevant to your life today. At least this time, I really like the host. 

What’s your new novel about?

My newest novel is entitled Raphael, Painter in Rome, which hopefully tells you that it’s about Raphael the Renaissance painter not the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle. These are the years when the young, brilliant painter of perfection Raphael was decorating the pope’s private rooms while Michelangelo was just down the hall painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, as they went head-to-head in the deadly halls of the Vatican to see which of them would become the greatest painter. This period in history–full of war, conspiring cardinals, and dangerous love affairs–is traditionally told from Michelangelo’s perspective, but I let Raphael tell the story of these events in his own voice, as he asks himself: “Is there a version of this story where I get to be the hero or does Michelangelo–and his miraculous ceiling–end the victor every time?”

What is it about that story that so fascinates you?

I’ve been obsessed with a guy by the name of Michelangelo for about twenty-five years, ever since I studied art in Italy as an undergraduate. I traveled to Florence and saw the David for the first time and then went down to Rome to see his Pieta and the Sistine, and my life was changed. I eventually set out on a pilgrimage to see every Michelangelo on public display in the world. But always, in the back of my head, lurked his most serious rival, Raphael. Raphael who was handsome and charming and beloved–the opposite of Michelangelo in so many ways. I knew I wanted to write a novel about their rivalry during the Sistine years, but the more I dug into the story, the more Raphael kept talking. He, frankly, wouldn’t shut up. So eventually I had no choice but to throw out Michelangelo’s point-of-view and let Raphael tell his own version of events. Now, Raphael doesn’t only rival Michelangelo as a painter in my mind, but in my heart, too. 

I love the fact that the e-book has links to the actual artwork you’re talking about which really brings it to life. What’s your favorite part of the book?

You ask impossible questions, Wayne! I can’t pick just one! But I’ll highlight the one that I keep reading at my events (virtual for now!): It’s when Raphael and Michelangelo meet face to face for the first time. Raphael has snuck into Florence’s city hall and is trying to get a glimpse of Michelangelo’s designs for a fresco he is about to put up on the wall. Michelangelo is a paranoid recluse who doesn’t let anyone look at his work before it’s finished, so when he catches Raphael spying, Michelangelo climbs the scaffolding to take a marble hammer to Raphael’s head… I love this scene because it’s the first time Raphael sees Michelangelo’s drawings, and he’s shaken as much by the sculptor’s talent on paper as by his temper. I also love seeing Michelangelo through Raphael’s eyes because we not only get to see the disheveled stinky sculptor of history, but also a man consumed by passion and drive and desperation… to me it’s a beautiful portrait of Michelangelo that only a guy with the heart of Raphael could capture. But also, at this moment, when he’s faced with the dynamism of Michelangelo’s personality and art, Raphael has a chance to expose what drives him: a desire to bend the world toward beauty.

Where can people learn more about the wonder that is you, and see your new author talk show?

My website is StephanieStorey.com where you can learn about the history behind the novels, brush up on your writing skills, or find a museum to visit (once museums are open again). You can also see my talk show “Storey Time” where I interview other authors on my Team Storey YouTube Channel. Or you can find me on GoodreadsBookbubBarnes and NobleAmazonTwitter, FacebookInstagram, or search for my book recommendations on BookShop.org which supports local, independent bookstores!

By the way, since Stephanie has such fabulous taste, here’s what she said about my upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk:

Turmel offers a refreshingly modern take on werewolves, while leading readers on a blood-thumping, high-stakes ride through the underbelly of Chicago. I never thought I would look forward to the company of a werewolf, but Johnny Lycan’s quick wit and gruff candor made me think, “Now, there’s a hairy mythical creature with whom I’d like to sit down and have a beer.

Stephanie Storey, author, Raphael, Painter in Rome.

Sign up for my newsletter using the form on the left hand side of the page and get secret free stuff plus the first look at my upcoming book Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk. Of course, you can find all my novels on my Amazon author page.

The Steel Dragon and a Vegas Publisher- Michael Anderle

One of the most surprising things about living in Las Vegas is the depth of writing talent that spends at least part of their year here. I was surprised, when reading a new series called Steel Dragon, to learn that it’s co-author and head of LMBPN Publishing is a Vegas-ite. (Still looking for the right word. I’m guessing Las Vegan is wrong, it sounds like a Mexican vegetarian taco stand)

Another surprising thing since jumping deep into the Urban Fantasy waters is that the business model is different from most other publishing–this is all about series and shorter books. Given that, I thought I should learn a bit more about Michael and his work…

You are a busy dude. I really enjoyed the first Steel Dragon book and the series is getting stronger as it goes (I’m 3/4 of the way through book 3.) What’s your deal?

I’m both an author, CEO of LMBPN Publishing, and creator of the indie author group 20Booksto50k(R). My first series did amazingly well and now LMBPN has over 700 titles out, with over 200 audio titles produced by LMBPN and about 300 or so licensed to other audio companies. One of our stories is presently being shopped for possible video consideration. We typically release the equivalent of about 24-28 60,000 word titles a month.

For most authors, What’s your book about?” is a simple question. For you not so much…

Which one?  LOL  Let’s go with Steel Dragons.  This book is a collaboration between Kevin McLaughlin and myself. We decided to consider what would have happened in the present day if a shapeshifting super-government of dragons ran Earth. While the dragons didn’t get into the fiddly-bits of human politics (the United States Government still exists for example), they do scheme amongst themselves and have to deal with the occasional uprising of powerful humans who seek to overthrow their power.  In comes a unique dragon, born as a human…
This is a unique story, what is it that appealed to you? Besides, you know, dragons.

In this story, our main character slowly learns about her powers and how they help her protect her ‘people.’  As a dragon (which is new to her) she has an overwhelming sense of being protective and it makes her go a tad berserk upon occasion.  She must learn how to deal with the extra emotions while growing up in the SWAT job right out of Law Enforcement college. She is getting an extra leg up, and no one in her group knows why, yet.

It is a unique take on the tropes to be sure. Who are you reading?

I enjoy John Conroe (I recently interviewed him for our podcast – fanboy moment). Others outside of LMBPN include John Ringo (some series), Dakota Krout, C.R. Daems, Christopher G. Nuttall, Laurence E. Dahners, David Weber, Elliot Kay and many many others.

I look forward to attending 20 Books in November. Where can we learn more about you and your work?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Anderle/e/B017J2WANQ 

LMBPN: http://www.lmbpn.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LMBPNPublishing/ Kurtherian Gambit: https://www.facebook.com/TheKurtherianGambitBooks/

And if you haven’t already joined my email list, you should do it and get a FREE story that few have ever seen, and is available on my site only to those who subscribe. Signup is on the left side of this page. You’ll have links to cool interviews with other authors and learn all about my upcoming book (a werewolf detective, no Zombies!) Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. it’s coming November 19 from Black Rose Writing.

One Week to Get a Free Story

If you’re a regular visitor to these shores (and by shores I mean this dinky little corner of the interwebs) you may have seen some of my short stories that have been published elsewhere. If you haven’t you can find them here. Of course, all but one. That one you can only get if you subscribe to my newsletter.

See the newsletter signup on the left hand side of the page? Fill it in and you’ll get a link to a story no-one else has had the chance to read yet. I’ll send the super-secret link in next week’s newsletter.

“Sponging” took 3rd place in Storgy’s 2019 Flash Fiction competition and is available here. I’m also betting you didn’t buy it soooooo…

If you want a free look at this 995 word tale about horseracing and petty revenge, you have to be a subscriber to my newsletter. You’ll receive word about fun interviews and updates on the upcoming publication of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

Go ahead. I promise not to bombard you with spam and you’ll continue to receive bonuses and updates on what’s going on in my writing world.

Of course, that still gives you plenty of time to read my other novels such as The Count of the Sahara, Acre’s Bastard and the thrilling sequel, Acre’s Orphans, all available on my Amazon Author Page.

A thousand blessings for being in my orbit. I’m doing all I can to make it worth your while. Don’t let the weasels get you down.

A Modern Soldier in Ancient Rome- Jackie Anders

When you write historical fiction AND fantasy, as I do, finding others who mix the two is always fun. Add to that Jackie Anders is also a Black Rose author (Black Rose will be publishing my new novel in November,) and I knew I had to speak to her.

Jackie, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere.

I am glad to be featured on this blog! I am a mother of three, teacher, writers’ podcast co-host, and an author. So why am I an author? I have always loved to write. However, my journey began when I was five. I began by writing music and lyrics. After a few years of staying up until two in the morning reading books, I decided to start writing books instead of music. My first book was Phoenix: Field of Mars that I queried for over a year until I finally got a publishing contract with it releasing in Dec. 2018. Now, I have Phoenix 2: By the Sword which released in Feb. 2020 and Arion Rising that released in Sept. 2019.

What is Phoenix: Field of Mars and the rest of the series about?

Phoenix: Field of Mars and Phoenix: By the Sword are the first two books in the Phoenix Trilogy. Phoenix begins with a young career woman that expectantly falls into a U.N. Special Ops mission that takes her from 2018 to First Century Ancient Rome. After learning her new reality, she discovers that the team’s mission is to stop a biochemical scientist from unleashing a deadly virus on the unsuspecting 1st Century people in order to change history.

As Kyla encounters hostility and strife on her journey, she is surprisingly protected by the team’s leader, Capt. Christopher Eriksen. Even though Eriksen has many internal struggles from what he’s seen and done, he inspires her to trust in something bigger than herself. But as Kyla and the team race to stop the impending genocide, Kyla’s biggest fear is no longer the known threat. It is the not knowing if she will ever be able to get back home.

What is it about the story or the magic system that appealed to you? Why this story?

The huge appeal in my stories is ‘hope’! Yes, I have adventure, action, historical fiction, romance, military, and spiritual undertones, but overall my stories about hope!

Who are the authors who influenced you and who do you like to read?

If you enjoyed the Twilight Zone, then you know who Richard Matheson is. He was one of my favorites. One of his novels became a movie, I Am Legend. I also enjoy Ayn Rand, H. G. Wells, Diana Galbadon, and Francine Rivers.

Where can we learn more about everything you’re up to?

I am on Twitter: @jandersbooks,  Instagram: jandersbooks,  Website: jandersbooks.com, Facebook: Jackie Anders – Author, and Goodreads: Jackie Anders

You can also tune into our writer’s podcast that I co-host called By the Moonlight Writers Podcast!

And if you haven’t already joined my email list, you should do it and get a FREE story that few have ever seen, and is available on my site only to those who subscribe. Signup is on the left side of this page. You’ll have links to cool interviews with other authors and learn all about my upcoming book (a werewolf detective, no Zombies!) Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. it’s coming November 19 from Black Rose Writing.

Submitted for Your Binging Pleasure- Korean Historical Fiction Zombies

Okay, you’re stuck at home (or at least have minimal choices for entertainment) and you’re thinking, “I wonder what Wayne’s watching right now?” As one does.

The answer is, I”m watching Season 2 of The Kingdom on Netflix, and if you’re not, what’s wrong with you people? It is the perfect mix of historical fiction (Korean history: Sword fighting, arrows flying, those HATS) and Zombies. Yes, Korean zombies. If you’ve seen Train to Busan, you know South Koreans do zombies better than anyone. Even if I’m compelled to make the worst pun ever. DAD JOKE ALERT: If you don’t want to hear it, skip to below the second picture now.

Image result for kingdom season 2

You were warned. It’s kind of the WOKKING DEAD. Okay, I feel better. I”ve been carrying that inside for a week with no one to tell it to. you were warned.

Kingdom

The Duchess won’t watch it because zombie shows have sound effects that gross her out. Her Serene Highness, who is a big zombie apocalypse prepper, won’t read subtitles ( # 4 on my parenting fails) so I’m inflicting that gag on you.

Did I mention those hats?

Image result for kingdom season 2

if you’re stuck at home binge-watching, give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Of course, there are other options to kill time:

Read one of my novels, The Count of the Sahara, or the 2-part Lucca Le Peu Stories, Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans.

You could enjoy one of my short stories, they’re listed here on this page.

And if you haven’t already joined my email list, you should do it and get a FREE story that few have ever seen, and is available on my site only to those who subscribe. Signup is on the left side of this page. You’ll have links to cool interviews with other authors and learn all about my upcoming book (a werewolf detective, no Zombies!) Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. it’s coming November 19 from Black Rose Writing.

Cover Reveal: The Long-Distance Teammate, coming in January 2021

Among all the activities involved in trying to get my new novel into the world, it’s important to remember what pays the bills. Kevin Eikenberry and I are excited to announce the cover reveal for our new book, The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere.

The logical follow-up to the Long-Distance Leader, Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership, it will focus on those of us who work from home or remote locations. Can you be more than just another member of the team, but an engaged, satisfied, and productive teammate?

Be productive, build relationships, and work with your long-term goals in mind. Coming January, 2021.

NOTE FROM WAYNE: In a month or so I am going to be offering a FREE story, not seen anywhere else, for subscribers to my newsletter. Please use the form on the side of the page to get on board and learn more about my work, including the upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

And if this is your first introduction to me and my work, check out my novels on Amazon.

Demons & Being In the Wrong World at the Wrong Time with Amanda Fleet

Not to make this all about me, but I am incredibly nervous about my first Urban Fantasy novel coming out in November. After all, up til now, most of my work has been nonfiction/business-y stuff or Historical Fiction. This week’s guest, Amanda Fleet, has gone through a similar journey, what with the launch of her new Guardians of the Realm series. The second book comes out March 7.

I know you’re a bit of an over-achiever. Tell us about yourself.

Oh, toughest question first! I’m not good at talking about me!

I’m a writer, living in Scotland. I used to be a university lecturer, teaching physiology to medical students (and science students in the early days). At the start, teaching the students was fun and the non-teaching bits were okay too. But after a couple of decades and a series of terrible managers, although the students were still great fun, the job was literally almost killing me (serious arrhythmia and a breakdown), so I left. I now write as my ‘job’ though the pay and conditions suck. 😊

I’d like to say “When I’m not writing, I like to…” but I’m always writing. Or thinking about writing. But I can multitask, so I can think about writing while walking, running, or gardening, all of which I enjoy. Living in Scotland, we have some amazing countryside, right on the doorstep. You’d have to be spectacularly unimaginative, not to be inspired by it.

What is your current series about?

The current book – Aegyir Rises – is about a life-stealing demon who’s accidentally freed from his prison on Earth. He’s determined to have revenge on the people who put him there and is convinced that a local woman, Reagan Bennett, is his nemesis Aeron. She thinks she’s Reagan Bennett, although she is plagued with dreams of a different world where she’s called Aeron. And someone keeps leaving her odd things on her kitchen table – things that only she can read, or things that could be used to defeat the demon – if she is Aeron. Can she defeat the demon before he kills everyone she loves?

What is it about that form of magic or character that appealed to you? What are the roots of the story?

There’s not actually any magic in it, per se. I’ve always loved the idea that the antagonist is the hero in his/her story. Aegyir – the demon – thinks he’s absolutely in the right. And for a long time, I’ve played with the ideas of parallel worlds and people being in the wrong place. These all came together to some extent in the Guardians of The Realm trilogy. Aegyir Rises is the first book in the trilogy. The second book, Aeron Returns, comes out next week!

As someone who has written in other genres first, and now has branched into this crazy world of UF, what has been your biggest fear and what has surprised you?

I’ve written in a number of different genres now, from medical thriller, through women’s literature, crime, and now urban fantasy. There’s not really been a plan to it. I write the stories that are burning a hole in my head. So, in many ways, the only fear has been the normal one of “Will anyone ever buy these books?” And as ever, the surprise is that, yes, some people do!

I suppose the biggest difference moving from crime-writing to urban fantasy is the level of description. My crime publisher pared most descriptions back and just wanted plot and action. My fantasy editor wanted much more detail – of characters, surroundings etc. That was a difficult shift in some ways.

Which writers inspired you?

As a child, I was obsessed with Gerald Durrell’s books, and a series of books written by a vet – James Herriot. After that came an Agatha Christie phase, interspersed with Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Bronte sisters. By the time I was at university, I’d shifted towards Terry Pratchett, and an author whose name I wish I could remember – she wrote fantasy books about a parallel world accessed via specific portals, and the books were humorous.

More recently, I’ve devoured pretty much anything written by Patrick Ness, and a lot of Neil Gaiman’s stuff. Crime-wise I would read anything by Harry Bingham – his Fiona Griffiths character is fantastic. Chris Brookmyre is great, as is C.L. Taylor. I’m currently impatiently waiting for Hilary Mantel’s third book about Thomas Cromwell “The Mirror and The Light” (the final part of the Wolf Hall trilogy) to come out in paperback.

Where can folks learn more about your work?

Website: https://www.amandafleet.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaFleetWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amanda_fleet1

Book Bub: @AmandaFleet

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/amandafleet

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandafleet/ (though yet to post anything!)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/amandafleet (though I don’t like Goodreads and am never on there…)

NOTE FROM WAYNE: In a month or so I am going to be offering a FREE story, not seen anywhere else, for subscribers to my newsletter. Please use the form on the side of the page to get on board and learn more about my work, including the upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

And if this is your first introduction to me and my work, check out my novels on Amazon.