An Interview With….

When I made the decision to start writing a book blog it was as a medium to help me get my thoughts and opinions on the books I was reading out there. Over time it has evolved and turned into a way for me to meet like-minded individuals, find dozens of inspirations for books to read and also helped me showcase the work of indie authors. Just a couple of weeks ago I reviewed the ‘Americosis’ by Haydn Wilks. He was kind enough to give up some of his time for a quick interview for the blog and here’s what he had to say.

americosis

If you had to use three words to describe your book ‘Americosis Vol.1’ to someone who was contemplating reading it, which words would you use?

Judging from feedback I’ve gotten from readers so far, ‘vulgar’, ‘violent’ and ‘wild’ seem to crop up a lot. Whether you consider those adjectives to be positive or negative should give you a good idea of whether you’ll enjoy the book or not!

Do you have a routine or a special place that you do the majority of your writing and how do you overcome writer’s block?

I try to just force myself into writing as often as possible. I’ll often go to a coffee shop to write, as I find knowing I’m basically paying to be somewhere with the purpose of writing makes me less likely to get distracted. In the same way, I find I get a lot more done following a method of doing a first draft by hand and then typing it up on a computer later. Writing on computer, it’s far too easy to go back and change stuff as you’re going along, spend ages rewording the same few sentences over and over again, then just click onto Facebook or Reddit and lose an hour clicking links, watching clips and reading articles. Writer’s block isn’t so much of a problem as just getting the work done; I’ve lots of ideas I’d like to write about, sitting down and getting them written is the hard part

Is there any particular authors or books that have inspired you? And what is it about their writing that you love so much?

I really got obsessed with Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis when I first read their books as a teenager, than a few years later I did the same thing with Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. I think Palahniuk and Easton Ellis’ books have an air of cynicism that was irresistible to my angsty teenage self, while the back attraction with Kerouac and Bukowski is how they weave fictional narratives out of their own real-life experiences.

Americosis has a lot of storylines going on, how did you come up with the plot and interweave them together so well?

Thanks for saying they came together well! Americosis is the second book I’ve put out, and my first novel, The Death of Danny Daggers, also focused on a large cast of characters whose stories overlap and interweave. I think in some ways it felt more instinctive to me to do that, rather than focusing on a smaller number of characters. Maybe it’s kind of an attention deficit kind of thing, wanting to jump between lots of different stories, and I think with the first book more than Americosis, it was kind of reflecting the way everyone you ever meet now ends up on your Facebook friends list or permanently connected to you in some way. You meet someone in a bar on holiday, have a fun night, add them on Facebook and never speak to or see them again, but you’ll have this constant stream of updates about their life – I guess this idea of expanded social networks is something that’s worked its way into my writing. As for the plot itself, it was a gradual idea that kind of snowballed over time as I would add more and more notes about it until I had enough elements to work with that I decided to sit down and start writing it.

One of the things I loved about Americosis was that it pulled me in enough to want to read more, what would you say the trick is to engaging your audience in a novella?

I’m glad you think so! My first attempts to write something were all screenplays, and something that I’ve carried over from the reams of screenplay writing guides I pored over as a teenager were each scene needing to have some kind of purpose. I ended up cutting tens of thousands of unnecessary words from my last novel, and it made me release that in a novel you may have way more space to go off on tangents and divert from the plot, but scenes still need to have some kind of relevance to be engaging. I think with the first volume of Americosis, having lots of different strands and characters that I want to introduce that will be built on more in the rest of series, it was quite easy to make the novella very fast-paced.

I believe you’re currently penning the 2nd volume to Americosis, can you give us an idea of what we can expect?

I’m nearing the end of the writing and editing process, I’m hoping Volume 2 will be out within the next few weeks. It’s carrying on directly from the end of Volume 1, so all the story strands that are introduced there are continuing, but it’s going to become bigger as well, covering more of America, both in terms of the story’s geography and the kind of characters included. In Volume 1, the time traveller who’s come to save America says he’s gained all his knowledge of American culture from movies; in Volume 2, he decides there’s a particular group of movie superheroes who he needs to reach and a supervillain that he needs to take out, not releasing they’re all just actors. And Hank is in hot pursuit, so you can expect some action-packed scenes where those two collide. Back in New York, the virus is spreading further and further, and John Baldini decides to target his estrange wife, Erica. It’d be giving too much away to say what goes down between those two!

What are you reading at the moment? Are there any books due to be released that you’re looking forward to?

I’ve just started reading David Mitchell’s ‘The Bone Clocks’, and found it really engaging so far. In general, it takes me a while to get around to books, so I don’t keep an eye on the upcoming release lists; I’m much more likely to hear about a book through reading reviews when it’s just come out, or pick up on a recommendation from a friend. A couple of books I’m looking forward to reading when I get around to them are the autobiography of Frank Turner, an English singer-songwriter who went from a moderately successful but really good post-hardcore band to selling out Wembley Arena with his solo stuff. I’m sure his years of roughing it, sleeping on sofas and touring the world playing shows will make for interesting reading. And I just heard the other day about a writer from my hometown of Caerphilly, Thomas Morris, who’s written a short story collection set there called ‘We Don’t Know What We’re Doing’ that’s gotten good reviews, I’ll definitely be interested to check that out.

 Any final words?

If anyone reading this is interested in checking out Americosis Vol. 1, the eBook is now available completely free from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Volume 2 will hopefully be out by the end of the month, early September at the latest. And you can also get my first book, The Death of Danny Daggers, as a paperback or eBook in all the same places!

You can read more about Haydn here http://www.haydnwilks.com/ which also includes links to the places you can buy his work.

If you’re an indie author and would like me to review your work then please do get in touch.

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

Georgina

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Superheroes, Sass & Mystery.

The First Death of August is the debut novella from Matt King. This is the first of many short stories that are connected to the Circle War series, which Matt is currently writing.

TFDOA

I can’t quite remember how Matt came on my radar but I think we must have exchanged a couple of tweets for one reason or another and it wasn’t long before I started following him. On Twitter he’s funny and engaging and when he posted that his book was available on the Kindle, I just had to buy it. The thing that first struck me about ‘The First Death of August’ is how instantly likeable and mysterious August is, you don’t learn or find out much about his origin, which adds to the intrigue.

Before long it’s easy to see that August is a no nonsense guy, on a mission to track down the even more mysterious Gemini and stop their evil ways. There’s plenty of action involved in this first instalment as well as plenty of humour, and sass. It may seem odd to say this but girls are going to fall in love with August and guys are going to want to be him. The way he deals with the situations he finds himself in is effortlessly cool and he takes everything in his stride. Well written, perfectly balanced and ending with a cliff hanger, this will leave you wanting more.

Matt was kind enough to share some more information about the novel, the series as a whole and even tell us what’s he enjoying right now in the literary world with More Books Than Shoes. Here’s what he had to say.

August was a really intriguing character, but there wasn’t much mentioned about his origin, can you tell us more about that? I’m not a huge fan of superhero origin stories simply because the origins aren’t nearly as interesting to me as the characters and their actions as a hero. That being said, I included August’s origin in the first chapter of GODSEND. It’s short and sweet and totally doesn’t involve a lab disaster. You can check it out on my site: www.kingwrites.com

There was a lot of mystery surrounding the storyline and the character of Gemini, can you tell us what we can expect from that character? Gemini starts out as more of an urban legend. He’s a destructive force that’s never been seen. When you finally meet Gemini, you start to realize what drives him and maybe feel a little bit sorry for him. Not too sorry, though. He’s still a maniac.

One of the most interesting traits of August is that he can’t seem to be killed, what inspired this trait? August is so excited to be a hero, he flaunts his healing ability as though it’s something special. Among the other champions, healing is kind of a basic requirement. What August finds out later is that he’s easily the weakest of the people chosen to fight in the Circle War and that having the power to heal doesn’t mean much when your opponent can rip your head off.

In this first book August managed to get tied up with a snake and scared the town bully, can we expect more of the same thing? Oddly enough, there are more snakes in GODSEND. Not sure what that says about me. Maybe I just like limbless villains. He spends most of the book tracking down others like himself, though, which is a group pretty far above town bullies in terms of abilities.

There seemed to be a lack of female characters in the story, are there going to be any popping up? Definitely. Two of the central gods in the book are women, including the series villain. One of my favorite characters, Aeris, shows up as a co-main character of the second and third book.

Which novelists and books inspire you the most? My books are like a combination of traditional novels and comic books, so the people who influence me come from both fields too. I love Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Victoria Schwab, to name a few. As for books, some of my favorites are The Stand, To Kill A Mockingbird, Preacher, Bone, and The Lost World.

Can you tell us what the hardest process is for you when it comes to writing? What have been your bigger challenges? My biggest problem is that I’m a fairly slow writer. It takes a while for me to finish a novel. That’s mostly because I spend too much time editing as I go along, so in recent years I’ve tried to do less of that and concentrate on getting stuff completed, regardless of whether it’s the perfect sentence or not. That’s what revisions are for.

Is there any advice you could offer to people wanting to write their first book? Finish it. That’s the hardest part. The next hardest part is realizing that your first work may not sell. So many people quit the process early on because they get discouraged. Don’t let that happen. If your book doesn’t sell, keep writing. The only way you make it is to keep writing.

What’s the best book you have read this year? I’ve actually hit a bad patch as far as my reading goes. Too many DNFs lately. I’m really loving what I’ve read of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab, so I’ll go with that as my favorite so far.

Any final comments you’d like to share with the readers of the blog? Both THE FIRST DEATH OF AUGUST and THE TRIA are short stories connected to the Circle War series of superhero novels I’m writing. I hope to write at least one more before the first book comes out. The next one may center on the gods of the series. Or maybe it’ll have August fighting orangutans. Haven’t decided yet.

Well it’s certainly got me intrigued. You can check it out for yourself, the book is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk for just 99p.

Happy Reading fellow book nerds!

Georgina

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