Fans of Powerless, The Testing, Hunger Games and the Maze Runner will crave this world of iniquitous secrets, intrigue, and desire to find a place in society.
Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?
Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success.
But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.
So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn’t right.
Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.
Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?
STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath, because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.
While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the “Character Assassin” because she has a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.
In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who or anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door.
Writing is in my bones. I think I wrote my first short story when I was in fourth grade. In middle school I spent a lot of time honing my creative skills by building unusual scenarios in my head and sharing them with others. By high school, I was really into screenwriting—because I love movies—and I carried at least two or three notebooks around with me at all times. Each notebook was a different screenplay. The stories were all garbage, but it really spurred me on. In my “new adult” years, I wrote a couple of really dumb romance books. I’m not sure why. I don’t even like reading romance. The books were completely unsatisfying and I quickly scrapped them.
When Lord of the Rings came to the big screen, it changed my life forever. I knew I wanted ot write something different at that time, but I wasn’t sure which direction to go. Then I watched Lord of the Rings and read Dragonlance and it was like a lightbulb went on. Now, if I read a book, it needs to have some sort of fantastic element. When I write, it has to bend or break the rules of reality in some way. I can’t NOT write anymore. It’s a form of escapism and is as much a part of me as my bones, and as necessary as air. I get bored when I’m not writing!
Switching Perspectives: Writing the Opposite Sex
I’ve read books where male writers create needy, clingy, or whiney female characters and it drives me absolutely crazy. I also have read books by female writers create ultra-masculine, hero-complex, too hot for school male characters, and I also can’t stand them. Personally, I feel like I have a small bit of an advantage. My stepson is older now, and I’ve been around him, watched him interact with others and venture out into the world. I’ve listened to him talk about becoming an adult, girls, and politics in a way that is definitely very much indicative of guys his age. When I write, I find that channeling some of his voice helps me create stronger male characters.
Ugene is certainly no exception. He starts off a bit weak and whiny (for very specific reasons), but that changes quickly. I’ve been told (by male beta readers) that I do a good job depicting male emotion and connection, and that I really know how to nail those awkward moments. Honestly, I find it easier to write male characters than female characters.
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What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Esraa Yousry same name as my Pen Name
Where do you call home? Besides my own house? In a library but of course, my house with my beloved family and my loved ones.
Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m a designer, video editor, and screenwriter. I’m good at directing also.
What is your family like? When I say My family is the best I mean it. Incredibly, wonderfully, talented and loving. We’d die for each other.
Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Of course, astrology is my favorite hobby. I’m a Taurus so I love knowing more about Astrology.
Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? And how can I forget? even though we are not together anymore but I still respect him to this day. That’s all.
What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? That’s a hard question, many terrible things happened to me that I can’t even name one, honestly.
What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? My family, that’s where it all began, they inspired me to start all of this. Professionally? for three or two years. As a hobby? maybe five years ago.
Who is your role model? My role model is Maya Angelou for sure.
What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is losing my loved ones. Maybe that’s why I’m overprotecting them, that sometimes they think that I’m controlling them.
Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? I’m more into paperbacks, hard-covers.
Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Maybe once? you know they always say never judge a book by its cover, but I did once and it was the worst.
What is your favorite film based on a book? Let me be clear, I hate when books are turned into movies. It loses its identity.
What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Literature.
What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? I don’t have any on my wish list recently, I don’t know why or maybe It’s just me. But nothing really attracts me right now. Recently, books are cheap and that’s my own opinion maybe it’s wrong.
What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? At the moment, I’m not reading any. I’m currently supervising the writing of some new books by new writers.
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? The name of my most recent book is In Your Absence: Emerald Lover. It’s all about relationships, culture, beauty, love, family and pain.
Is the above book part of a series? Yes, the book is part of the In Your Absence series.
How did you come up with the covers? Who designed the covers of your book(s)? The cover is Inspired by my African culture and roots. The cover is designed by me.
Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? The answer is yes. Actually, the songs I was listening to inspired me to write more of what I even expected to write in this book.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? The title is a secret, that only a few will understand but maybe if you read it you will understand why I gave it this title.
Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? No, I don’t have a book trailer.
How did you come up with the idea for your latest book? My culture, my family and my own experiences.
Let’s talk now about your writing process.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I change my mind a lot so, I’m a Pantser. I start at the beginning and let the characters and situation determine what happens next.
Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I’m a self-published author.
If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I choose to be a self-published author so I can do whatever I want, I can control my whole writing process from writing to publishing.
What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? “To pen down something isn’t a big deal. But to pen, something that has never been said or something spoke like never before takes courage and skill.”
What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? My advice is to ask themselves why do you want to become a writer? If you want to do it for the love of the writing itself then do it, if not for the whole process then just let it go. It’s not for you. But if you do it for the whole Idea and process of writing then just try to be professional in every way and in everything that you do, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes. Of course not, you’ll fail many times but it makes you more educated. Write on a regular basis and know who you are writing for.
Mark Lukens has been writing since the second grade when his teacher called his parents in for a conference because the ghost story he’d written had her a little concerned.
Since then he’s had several stories published and four screenplays optioned by producers in Hollywood. He is the author of many bestselling books including: Ancient Enemy, Sightings, Devil’s Island, The Exorcist’s Apprentice, Followed, and more. He is a member of The Horror Writers Association.
He grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. But after many travels and adventures, he settled down near Tampa, Florida with his wonderful wife and son … and a stray cat they adopted.
It started with rumors of a plague that turned people into flesh-eating predators. The governments of the world and the media tried to suppress it, but little by little the truth got out. The economy had been in a freefall, banks closed, protests turned into riots, people began hoarding and panicking. And then on a Friday morning, the collapse came.
After the government office where Ray Daniels works shuts down, he just wants to get home to his wife and kids. On his arduous journey home, Ray gets a call from Craig, his supervisor, inviting him and his family to his home where the answers to the collapse and the Ripper Plague are waiting for him, but the phone call breaks up and Ray only hears the word Avalon.
When Ray gets home to his family, the TV stations have been replaced with a loop of the President of the United States declaring martial law. The electricity and water are shut off soon after that. They hole up in their bedroom for the night – they have no weapons, little food, and no information about why everything collapsed so quickly.
After Ray’s neighbor, Helen, holds a secret meeting to try to fight back against martial law, she asks Ray to help her blind daughter Emma, promising that Emma can help him and his family find the way to Avalon. But what is Avalon, and what does Emma know about it?
Hours later, after soldiers in gas masks take Helen away, Ray has no choice but to flee with his family. Society has crumbled within the last twenty-four hours. Hordes of flesh-eating infected are loose on the streets. The police and military are doing their best to fight back, but they are losing the battle now. The collapse is here, and Ray wants the answers that Craig has, but he must keep his family alive first.
Josh Hooper has always been a screw-up. He’s done his share of jail time and has battled drugs and alcohol throughout his life. But since moving to Pittsburgh with his sister, Josh has gotten clean and turned his life around . . . just in time for the apocalypse.
As society begins to collapse on a Friday morning, Josh drives into the city to get some lifesaving medications for his nephew. When he tries to avoid the mass of panicked people and gridlocked traffic downtown, Josh is arrested, beaten, and detained.
Josh and some of the other uninfected are taken to a FEMA camp miles outside the city as the Ripper Plague continues to spread. They are taken to the camp for their protection, but Josh soon realizes that the camp is not what it seems to be . . . he believes terrible things may be happening there. Not only does he need to get back to his sister and nephew, but he needs to escape the evil brewing in the camp.
At night, while making his plans to escape, Josh dreams of a beautiful blind woman who calls to him, inviting him to head south to join her and others. And there’s someone else in his dreams, a man in the shadows with eyes that shine in the darkness, an evil man who will try to stop Josh and the others. But Josh can’t worry about people he sees in his dreams, people that he convinces himself aren’t real, because even though the chances of his sister and nephew being alive and uninfected are dwindling, he has to try to get to them.
Luke is not a nice man. He’s not a good person. But he’s a fighter . . . a survivor. A former MMA fighter who was sent to prison for attempted murder, Luke is accepted into a crime family run by Vincent, and during his years there he’s trained in weapons and the art of delivering pain.
When civilization collapses, Luke is sent to protect Vincent’s brother and his family. Luke finds the family slaughtered and the brother responsible, already infected by the Ripper Plague. After killing the brother, Luke knows he needs to flee the city. But with martial law declared and Vincent vowing revenge, sending the assassin who trained Luke after him, Luke’s chances of getting out of the city don’t look very good.
But Luke won’t give up, and with help from a woman who’s nearly as skilled and deadly as he is, Luke finds himself heading out of the city, on a new path, a journey south. In his dreams, Luke has seen a beautiful blind woman calling him south to be with her and the others. But there’s someone else in his dreams, a shadowy man of pure evil who is amassing an army to collect and control all the food and dwindling resources left behind. Not only will Luke and Wilma have to contend with the hordes of rippers on their journey, but they will have to run right through the shadowy man’s dark army.
Ray, Emma, and Mike are on their way to Doug’s cabin in the woods, their hope of refuge, when they drive into a trap in a small mountain town in West Virginia, a trap set by the Dark Angels, a gang controlled by the shadowy man they’ve seen in their dreams, the man who calls himself the Dragon.
Just when things are bleakest, Josh helps save Ray and the others. Josh is shocked when he sees Emma, the woman he’s seen in his dreams, the woman who has helped him along the way. And Josh has also seen Ray and Mike in his dreams. And he’s seen Luke and others. He knows that they are all meant to be together . . . if they can survive.
Miles away, Luke has made his way south from the Camp, but he gets trapped in the small town of Heaven, West Virginia, hunkered down in a building, the place surrounded by Dark Angels. But Luke has weapons and ammo to hold them off for a little while. A Dark Angel calls out to Luke on a megaphone, trying to convince him to surrender and promising that he has a surprise coming for him.
After a nearly-deadly encounter with a horde of rippers, Ray drives Josh, Emma, and Mike right into the battle in Heaven, West Virginia. And soon they are banded together with Luke. But now they are trapped together, making plans to escape, as the surprise the Dark Angels have promised comes into town.
Will they make it to their refuge, the cabin in the mountains? And if they do, is the refuge truly the safe place they’ve been dreaming of . . . or is it even more dangerous?
Kate Crawford’s world was shattered when the Collapse came. It seemed like one moment she was a university professor of Anthropology, and the next moment she was hiding in her home from the Ripper Plague, tortured by nightmares of a shadowy man with shining eyes. And then the Dark Angels came to her neighborhood, marking front doors and searching homes – she had no choice but to leave.
She planned to travel west, back to her hometown in the mountains of North Carolina, back to an oppressive family she vowed never to return to . . . but she has nowhere else to turn now.
Before she can even make it out of the city, she’s stuck on the roof of a building with a possible madman, the streets below overrun with tens of thousands of rippers. But she knows she needs to get out of the city, because the blind woman in her dreams tells her to head west, telling her that there are others like her, that they will all be together . . . they just need to find each other first.
Ray, Mike, Emma, Luke, and Josh think they’ve found their refuge at the West Virginia cabin, but it all falls apart when Luke finds tracks in the snow at the edge of the woods. Someone has been watching them. A ripper? A Dark Angel? Someone else? Soon they find their stalker, a young woman, but is she who she says she is? Can they believe her story?
To the south, in North Carolina, Lisey brings a horde of rippers to Kate’s parents’ home where Kate, Brooke, Petra, and Max are holed up. They don’t have time to pack their truck as they try to get away from the mob of rippers. But even if they get away, they don’t realize that something is waiting for them in the shadows of the woods just down the street.
Each group faces its own challenges, yet they are getting closer and closer to coming together. They need to be strong because the Dragon and his evil forces have ramped up their game, herding them where he wants them, ready for the final attack.
I’ve always been a writer because I’ve always loved to write, but I guess I first considered myself a professional writer when I optioned my first screenplay. Even though none of my scripts were ever made into movies (at least not yet), it still gave me a thrill that complete strangers in Hollywood felt that my writing was good enough to be made into a film, and production companies were considering investing huge sums of money on stories that had just popped into my head. After a few years of pursuing my screenwriting dream, my dad and my best friend both told me I should look into self-publishing on Amazon/Kindle. So I did. I’d been working a regular job for years, and by that time my wife and I had saved up some money. I told her that I wanted to quit my job and really pursue writing one hundred percent for the first time in my life. I told her I would give it six months, and if it didn’t work out I could always find another job. Up until that point I felt that I had only been giving my writing part of my time and not taking it seriously, treating it more like a hobby, hoping for a lucky break. It was scary to quit my job and pour everything into my passion, but my wife agreed immediately that I should try it—she knew how much writing meant to me. I turned one of my screenplays, Ancient Enemy, into a novel and put it on Amazon near the end of 2013, and to my surprise it took off in a few months. Complete strangers were buying and reading my book. I felt that same thrill I had when I had optioned those four screenplays, but this was even better—it was finally a dream come true for me.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOVIE?
It’s difficult to select a favorite movie without breaking them down into genres: favorite horror movies, or sci-fi movies, or comedies, etc. But if I had to pick only one movie as my favorite, it would be Lonesome Dove (which was actually a mini-series on TV in the late eighties, so I hope that counts). I watched Lonesome Dove when it first came on TV (I believe in 1989). I was mesmerized, and I immediately bought and read the book written by Larry McMurtry. I’d never been a huge fan of westerns at that time, but Lonesome Dove seemed to be different than a typical western; it was an epic journey and the characters seemed familiar yet larger-than-life at the same time. I’ve seen many great movies over the years, but that one is still my favorite.
WHICH OF YOUR NOVELS CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING MADE INTO A MOVIE?
I can imagine most of my novels being made into movies, and I would be thrilled if any of them ever made it to the screen. I always thought Ancient Enemy would be a really scary movie on the screen, if the special effects were good enough. That novel started out as a screenplay originally and had some interest for a little while, but nothing came of it. Sightings also started out as a screenplay and it was optioned for years, so I think it would transfer well into film. The Exorcist’s Apprentice started out as a treatment (but the studio passed on it at the last moment), and I could still see that as a movie, or even a limited series. I would love to see Devil’s Island and my latest Dark Days post-apocalyptic series made into films or a series.
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C.A. Gray is the author of three YA Amazon bestselling trilogies: PIERCING THE VEIL (magic and quantum physics meet Arthurian legends), THE LIBERTY BOX (dystopian metaphysics and mind control technology), and UNCANNY VALLEY (dystopian coming-of-age with neuroscience and super intelligent A.I). She starts with some scientific concept that she’s interested in learning more about herself, and then creates lots of epic chaos and high-stakes action to go along with it. Her stories are free of gratuitous violence, language, and sexual content, and she abhors depressing endings… but they’re not all kittens and rainbows either!
She also listens to and reviews audiobooks on her website (www.authorcagray.com), Goodreads, Instagram, and on her podcast, Clean Audiobook Reviews, where she also occasionally interviews other authors.
By day, C.A. Gray practices naturopathic medicine, podcasts, and writes medical non-fiction under her maiden name (Lauren Deville). She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband Frank, and together they maintain an occasionally contentious film review blog (under her real name: Lauren Baden. Three names. Yes.) She’s kind of the queen of multitasking–so in her spare time, she creates whatever meals or crafts she found most recently on Pinterest, drinks lots of coffee (Aeropress btw) and occasional wine (reds–and she saves the corks for craft projects), works out (while listening to audiobooks), and studies the Bible (about half of the podcasts on Christian Natural Health are scripture meditations). …She does sleep, too.
Join her newsletter for best-of-the-month reads, freebies and giveaway information, as well as new releases! http://eepurl.com/F3rof
I love when I get to interview a guest author and really get to know them. C.A. Gray is a pleasure and I’m proud to be hosting her book.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on something a little different this time. It’s an early chapter reader/middle grade series in which three 9-10 year old kids (Gabe, Elizabeth, and Marty) apprentice under a time-traveling magician called Thrylos, traveling to various critical moments in history. They must battle against the evil magician Kakovoulos, ensuring that history turns out as we know it, rather than taking a much darker turn. I love the historical research I get to do for this one! For instance: did you know that Julius Caesar was once kidnapped by pirates? Or that Plato was once sold as a slave? Or that in 1908 an asteroid nearly hit London that would have wiped out the entire city? True stories, all. Not sure how my kids are going to save the day, but they totally are… Now I just have to figure out the whole illustration thing! 🙂
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The first novel was Intangible, and the original name for it was Ripple Effect. It referred to a quantum mechanical principle, but it was just so vague. Intangible isn’t much better, I’ll admit, but I wanted an alliteration theme with all one word: Intangible, Invincible, and Impossible is what I came up with. I know better now — I need to have some keywords in there!
Who designed your book covers?
Now I do them all on Design Crowd so each is done by a different person, though I’ve used a few designers more than once.
How did you come up with name of this book?
Actually I originally intended to call it just Bloodline. It was the name of a sermon series at my church, and I thought, that would be an awesome book title!! But then I decided, not enough keywords for Amazon searching. And since it was about descendants of Atlantis, and that’s a BIG keyword, bingo. (Then I ended making Bloodline the name of Kai’s band.)
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I LOVED writing the initial tension between Ada and Kai as they got to know each other, and Ada wasn’t sure what his deal was. I knew what was happening and I still felt the suspense!
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Oh I’d totally hang out Esme (I’d say Kai, but I’m married) 😉 and she’d take me to the Mermaid Cove where we would swim with the mermaids! And then she’d take me to the Faerie Glen. I never even give the faeries any page time in this book, but I’d like to meet them.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I think all of my main characters have aspects of me in them, because I imagine how I would react in a given situation or how I might say something, and I put that in their heads or their mouths. But I suspect I’m pulling all of my characters from experience, whether it be myself, others, or fictional archetypes. You write what you know.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
A little bit of both. I have outlines, but the outlines are pretty fluid. Sometimes as I’m writing a scene, I realize that something needs to be said or done that I didn’t plan for, and I just go with it.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
This book is a bunch of my favorite things, all meshed together: romantic suspense, a Cinderella-ish story, a secret society, mermaids, magic, and mythology… how could you not be intrigued? 🙂
Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Marissa Meyer or Orson Scott Card. Both of them have such distinctive narrative voices (though completely different from one another.) I could read anything by either of them, no matter what it’s about, and be engrossed. I want to know how they pull that off!
When sweet Ada Edwards meets the mysterious Kaison Hughes, lead singer of the biggest band in the world, she can’t understand what he sees in her. Despite everyone’s warnings about him, she’s rapidly falling in love. But it’s obvious he has a secret, and he’s not all he appears to be.
Kai’s life isn’t his own, and his fame isn’t the half of it. As a member of a secret organization known as the Elioud, descended from the Atlantean daughters of the Pleiades, he’s been commissioned with a task: to reintegrate the lost line of Maia into their ranks. It just so happens that Ada is the one they’ve been looking for. He doesn’t know what they intend to do to her, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is the prize for a successful mission: one unqualified wish, which he intends to spend on his beloved sister’s freedom.
There’s just one problem: Kai’s falling in love with Ada, too.
When the succubus Lorelei sees Azaziel across Lost Angels, she knows he’s been kicked out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen. She resolves to do whatever it takes to bring the angel down.
Unfortunately, Lorelei doesn’t realize that Azaziel has an agenda of his own. Taking her back to a burned-out church, he forces a mortal girl’s soul into the devil girl’s flesh. Then the succubus needs to find an exorcist who can cast the ghost out of her.
With all the supernatural warriors of Los Angeles looking on, neither the angel nor the succubus can imagine how love will derail their plans…
If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness in the City of Angels?
After their escape from the ashes of Lost Angels, the succubus Lorelei and the angel Azaziel want nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of LA, has threatened to devour Lorelei’s new-grown soul if she doesn’t bring about Azaziel’s downfall. Meanwhile, Aza is keeping secrets of his own that threaten the tenuous peace between Heaven and Hell.
Three archangels come to town to try to set things right, but friendships are fracturing. The demon in charge of fallen angels is sniffing around. And Los Angeles is about to be caught between a devil and the deep blue sea.
Loren Rhoads is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of the novel Lost Angels about a succubus who sets her sights on an angel and ends up possessed by a mortal girl’s soul. The sequel, Angelus Rose, came out in February 2020.
Loren is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, a space opera trilogy set after a galactic war has wiped out much of humanity.
She is also the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.
You won’t be surprised to know that she likes long walks in the moonlight and old graveyards.
Sixteen years have passed since an unstoppable plague ripped through the world killing billions.
A few desperate, mis-matched groups of men, women, and children found their way to a small town and learned how to survive, then thrive.
Now death is stalking them once more!
Newly appointed First Officer, Jude Sinclair, is under pressure when death follows a group of struggling survivors into town.
As the townsfolk sicken then die after a short, painful illness, Jude is desperate to learn how to stop the disease and save the town from extinction.
Deacon Carlisle lost everyone he loved to the plague and then ruthless survivors, now all he wants is to protect his new family and escape the infected town, but the unthinkable happens when his son disappears.
With the sickness claiming lives, and the boy missing, Jude and Deacon must rely on their own ingenuity to discover the truth, and save everyone they love.
Does Jude have what it takes to protect the town from its invisible enemy?
Can Deacon rise to the challenge of saving his son?
What is the truth behind the deaths and the boy’s disappearance?
‘Deer Among Wolves’ is book 1 in ‘A World in Ruin’, a series of action-packed and intriguing tales of life after the apocalypse.
British author, Rebecca Fernfield, is a lapsed medievalist who spends her days plotting the overthrow of evil regimes and devising intricate plans to rescue their victims. She’s also given to flights of fancy about the end of the world and what she’d do if supermarkets suddenly ran out of chocolate, wine and other essentials. She lives among the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Vikings and Saxons once fought and where, sometimes, on foggy mornings, you can still hear the echoes of clashing swords.
I’m excited to welcome James Murdo, author of ‘Siouca Remembers‘ to my blog today.
Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…
Where do you call home?
London, UK. Brought up mostly in Highgate but I’ve lived all around. I’ve also just received Irish citizenship (very topical).
What is your family like?
Brilliant, argumentative (at times) and understanding. I’m fortunate to have a great family and we’re all very close.
If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
We moved from a flat to a house when I was 5. I remember the flat being enormous with the biggest garden imaginable. Turns out, it was tiny. The house we moved to was great – near parks, good transport, and more importantly, my siblings and I had our own bedrooms (finally!). Only thing that bothered me was the central heating. I can assure you it never ever worked.
Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
Exercise, rock climbing, increasingly healthy eating (intermittently punctuated by periods of regression), comedy…
What is your greatest dream?
To go to space. I’m ambivalent about going to another planet in comparison with living in space itself. I wish I’d studied Asteroid Mining.
What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I became enamoured with reading during a family holiday when I was very young. Everyone else was out in the sun, but I was captivated. I devoured anything, although I had an affinity for ghost stories. My older sibling bought me “The Algebraist” (Iain M Banks, my favourite author who I often bang on about) from a local bookshop for an early birthday, precipitating my love of sci-fi, my degree (Physics), and a significant part of my mindset.
Who is your role model?
A lot of people, but – apologies for the cliché – my parents.
What is your greatest fear?
Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
Used to prefer paperbacks (or hardbacks), tried e-books and found my reading experience unchanged. I understand some people are averse to them, but for me, they work. I like volume and instant reading gratification; I don’t like waiting for books to arrive. I am still waiting to be fully converted to audio-books, I love the good ol’ radio too much.
What is your opinion of novellas?
I prefer lengthier books as I like to become completely immersed for as long as possible, and I read very fast. Some say I skim, and that would be fair.
Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
What is your favorite film based on a book?
LOTR. Looking forward to more.
What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. My mother recommended it. Paperback actually!
If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Not to cop out, but there would be so many, and this would depend on what second of the day I thought about it, the weather, the news, so much. Sorry. Da Vinci definitely, though. He’d make it every time. Probably a Neanderthal too, although fame-wise, not sure…
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
‘Siouca Remembers’: A cerebral part-space opera, part-epic fantasy spanning time and space. A first contact story twisted and on steroids.
Is the above book part of a series?
Short answer, no. It’s part of the ‘Wanderer Universe’, of which there are currently 6 books. There’s the ‘Wanderers series’ (currently consisting of 3 sequential books: Gil’s World, Searching the Void, Infinite Eyes), and 3 independent/standalone books (Long Paradise, Fractured Carapace, Siouca Remembers).
Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
Lots that happen to appear on the radio, some that I reserve when trying to write chapters in a certain style, and often silence.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
I thought about it for a long time, solicited the opinions of family and beta readers. Siouca is an important character.
In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
I have a few, some AI, some biological, and some in between. My style of writing is mosaic-like which can take some getting used to, but everything always comes together in a satisfying conclusion (I hope). That’s why I like to caveat that it’s “cerebral sci-fi” – not to toot my own horn, but to emphasise the multiple storylines. I sometimes also say “hard sci-fi”, although I’ve found that term can be a little ambiguous and not too well known amongst readers.
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
For Siouca – respect for life.
Will readers like or dislike this character?
What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
Lots of different things inspired me. Irodiel (one of the characters) was part-conceived following a dream.
Let’s talk now about your writing process.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
It varies, but I only have the vaguest plots. Anything more is a waste of time for me, as I constantly alter and re-write them when I have new exciting ideas. I like to keep most of the plotting in my head – which somehow works out alright.
Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
The writing itself – it comes in clumps and I need to be inspired (internally). I’m envious of writers who talk about aiming for 1,000 or 10,000 words a day. For me, the story comes when it comes.
Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
A few factors, but for simplicity: time and expedience.
What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Write more, worry about promotion less. I still need to follow that advice.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
Don’t think, just do.
Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.