Daily Archives: May 16, 2015

Interview with Dallas Sutherland, author of The Thinking (The Landline Chronicles)

thethinkingbanner

About the Book

The Thinking

Title: The Thinking (The Landland Chronicles #2)
Author: Dallas Sutherland
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

LANDLAND BECOMES ITS OWN SAVIOUR …

The Greying snakes across Bigriver towards Landland … all the lands are in turmoil. Meah combines her power of thinking with the magical Book of Colours, and joins the Bigriverland army to fight the horrid Firbog. Faith, Hope, and Charity, the white many-headed-winged-thing, returns. Auntie Beryl has become the evil Queen Berilbog– she must be stopped. Many-headed-winged-things soar high over battle-fields, three-humped-beasts-of-war go on the rampage, and, from out of the mists of the greying, slithering Homunculi goad them on.

Meah’s magical plans are not what Landland needs– Firbog hordes swarm across a dried up Bigriver into Landland, cutting their way through The Scented Forest, all the way up to the tip of Mount Beacon.

Chaos reigns supreme, Landland writes its own story … but the story is all wrong. Meah looks for a way to escape. Will she find her father, The Biggo, again? Can they win their way home– should they leave Landland and all their friends in the clutches of Auntie Beryl, the Grey Lady?

Author Bio

Bio Photo1 DallasSutherland

Over the last twenty-five years, the Author has exhibited a creative bent across a range of industries including graphic design, fine arts, and trompe l’oeil murals. He has lectured in fine arts and studied Art History, Literature, Adult Education, and Creative Writing. Works include play scripts and short stories. The Greying is his first published novella, with further books planned as part of the fantasy series. He draws inspiration from myth, legend, and fairy tales.

He lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with his partner Kerri, and daughter Ruby.

 Links

Website
Goodreads
Blog
Kindle ebook
Book Two (Print) (40% Discount code: JFFFB85D)
Book One (Print) (40% Discount code: JFFFB85D)

 Giveaway

Win 10 series of 3 Landland Chronicles character/map posters, five signed books and five eBooks. Go here to participate: https://dallasws.wordpress.com/books-1-and-2/

Book Excerpt

‘What is it Captain? Why are they stopping?’ Meah asked.

‘I’m not sure, but whatever it is, it’s not going to be pleasant.

A singing, sighing sound cut through the air, and Meah stood helpless as the ground around the Elvish kicked up.

‘It’s a hornet! A javelin squad with a machine javelin.’ Captain Bobb said, ‘Really nasty.’

A second hail of javelins splintered the ground around the Elvish, and then he was down. The Firbog came on at a trot down the hill towards him.

Meah stared in horror, desperate for something to help. It was like watching an old movie; the sun-lit patch of ground became a screen, surrounded by the thick cinematic fog of the greying.

The Elvish picked himself up and continued to run with a loping gait. Closer and closer to the river he came. His last mad dash for freedom erupted on-screen in full motion to the chilling sound of a three-humped-beast-of-war. Laughing like a hyena, it emerged from out of the greying at stage right, and thundered across the screen at a gallop. The Homunculus rider goaded the beast on with a whip and a lash towards the Elvish.

‘We’ve got to do something!’ Meah screamed.

At a signal from Captain Bobb the VDF let loose their crossbows. The missiles fell short, hissing and plopping into the water. The Captain dropped the magniscope and reached for his longbow.

The great splayed hooves of the three-humped-beast-of-war hammered at the turf, making a ga-thumping sound which echoed across the water.

Captain Bobb took careful aim and let his arrow fly. It shot straight and true, hitting the homunculus in the side of the neck. The beast, now riderless, continued its mad gallop across the screen and on into the fog on the other side.

The little Elvish half fell and half dived into the river and tried to swim across.

‘He’ll never make it, the crosscurrent’s too strong,’ Captain Bobb said.

The Elvish struck out towards the middle of the river. He made it about half way across before the current caught hold.

The Firbog reached the bank and set up the hornet again. Javelin bolts peppered the water around the swimmer.

Captain Bobb took careful aim with the longbow and picked off two of the attackers. Soon the Elvish was out of range of the Firbog. The current continued to drag him down river.

Meah’s only thought was of rescue, and in an instant she was barefoot and dressed only in her fibrepillar underclothes. Without a backwards glance she leapt into the river and stuck out towards the Elvish. He was still in the middle of the river but drifting downstream away from her.

INTERVIEW

Dallas, What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I’d like to be able to say that I leap out of bed to write, but that’s maybe for the future. I leap out of bed to help other people. I facilitate support for people with severe and persistent mental illness. That means, I link them in to whatever they need within the community, and walk with them as they move forward with their lives. Then, I step back and make sure everything keeps on working for them. In that sense, it makes for a very rewarding journey each day, and of course everyone is different, we all need to work on different areas of our lives.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Massacio: he was a famous Early Renaissance painter, and probably the first one to accurately utilise the new found theory and principles of perspective. I’ve always been an artist, so I would liked to have been there and watch him paint using this. It was an exciting time for artists, with knowledge of perspective having been reinvented after it was lost way back in Ancient Roman times.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
The Thinking follows on from book one: The Greying. It’s a dual-world chronotope, fantasy quest. Actually, it’s a pastiche of the fantasy genre and uses elements of parody and metafiction to heighten the interplay between characters and readers. That was my original intention, but I also wanted the story to be a true fantasy quest, and here I was influenced by Celtic myth and legend, and also faerie tales. Here’s another thing you might want to look at: antonomasia.

Essentially, Meah, our 13 year old protagonist, uses some strange artistic powers to help save Landland from the ravages of the greying, which is a blanketing mist seeking to sap the colour out of everything. Meah takes flight on Faith, Hope, and Charity, the many-headed-winged-thing, to battle against her Aunty Beryl who has also been transported to Landland. Auntie Beryl is now Queen Berilbog, and she commands legions of Firbog soldiers. They are a hairy dog-like race. Queen Berilbog wants to use the greying to take over all the lands. Meah and her father, The Biggo, try all manner of things to stop the Firbog moving forward, but Landland itself, begins to write its own story, and chaos reigns supreme. Meah must decide whether to leave or stay and fight.

The story will continue in the third book of the series. This will probably be called The Telling.

Tell us your writing process
Initially, I just begin with a basic idea, a scene, a character or two. Then I get to a point where I might need to do some research, read more for inspiration and to find the right underpinning elements, and work out a basic plot, which I don’t religiously stick to. I do let the characters take the lead when they need to, or rather in this case, the meta-fiction begins to take its own course. When I come back to write again, I go over and redraft and edit what I have already written. It helps to get back into the right mindset before I write more of the story. So, in the end I’m left with a book that is already fairly well edited and has also been through a lot of redrafting.

What has and has not worked for you that you can share with aspiring & upcoming authors?
I think that too much social networking tends not to reach my target readers, who are middle-grade readers, but I do this anyway, because you never know. Approaching mainstream publishers takes too long and there are not many who will take unsolicited manuscripts. Don’t keep sending that ms off again and again. If you have faith in your writing abilities, then go straight for the jugular. So, I can say that small independent publishers are out there, and easy to work with. They will still market your books and promote the author, just like mainstream publishers do. Studying the craft of writing is an important thing to do. I’ve studied literature, children’s literature, and creative writing. This will help authors comprehend literary concepts and theories which can provide good underpinning for writing.

Creating an author platform online is also something to do. It can be fairly cost free if you do this right. This includes blogging, website, Twitter, GooglePlus etc. It all helps to get your message out.

I’m not saying I’ve got it right, yet.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
It began when I was studying literature and writing essays about literary works. I also had the chance to produce some creative work which was well received, so I thought I might just be able to do something with it. As a child, I always loved to write stories at school, so I guess it comes from there as well.

Tell us about your main character
Meah is a 13 year old girl who is not only on a quest to save Landland, but futhermore, she is searching for ‘Self’. She is strong-willed, resourceful, and finds the determination to succeed. Naturally, she is equipped with some magical gifts and helpers along the way.

What are you working on next?
I’ll be working on the third book in the series next. I’ve also had another book recently published: You’ve Got Bunyip in Ya! This novella draws on Australian Aboriginal myth and legend.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Well, I can say that I’ve worked as an artist: painter, sculptor, arts lecturer, muralist, and graphic designer. I use these skills to create the book covers and the interior illustrations. I’ve designed some posters which will be prizes in The Thinking promotional giveaway.

Who are your favourite authors?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Juliet Marillier, Tim Winton, Jo Nesbo, Roald Dahl, Paul Jennings. These spring to mind, but there are a lot more. I usually have favourite books rather than authors.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Free time? What’s that? Just kidding. House renovations, gardening, family things.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
When The Landland Chronicles series is all done, I’d like to focus on a contemporary literary piece of writing. I’m not sure what this will be about, but I suppose it will be set in Australia as that is where I live.

Any final thoughts?
I’m looking forward to getting back into writing, now I’ve done the promotional thing.

Advertisements

Interview with Mikey Campling author of Trespass

trespassbanner

About the Book

166_0.218591001427739589_tp_cv_hr

 Title: Trespass
Author: Mikey Campling
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Booktrope

Three stories, separated by five thousand years, united by one deadly secret:

Somewhere, sometime, the stone is waiting.

Trespass combines gritty, edgy modern-day action with a thrilling adventure across time. Discovered over 5,000 years ago, the Darkeningstone affects everyone who finds it.

Jake was too smart to believe the rumours about Scaderstone Pit, but now he’s in more danger than he could ever have imagined.

In 1939, as World War II looms, the lives of two men will be changed forever.

Over 5,000 years ago, a hermit will keep the stone a secret. But someone is watching him – someone with murder in his heart.

When it finds you, what will you see when you look into The Darkeningstone?

Author Bio

mikeycampling

Mikey grew up in North Yorkshire, but he refuses to be classified according to Northern stereotypes, which is just the sort of bloody-minded attitude you’d expect from a Yorkshireman.  During his first day at school, he discovered the wondrous world that is The Book Corner, and he has never really left it.

He now lives in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with his wife, two children, and a black Labrador called Lottie who will only bark when she’s asleep. And lots and lots of books.

You can find out more on Mikey’s website: mikeycampling.com

You can also get two free books, free audio stories and free artwork by joining his mailing list at: mikeycampling.com/giveaway

Links

http://mikeycampling.com/
Amazon
B&N
Facebook
Twitter

LinkedIn
YouTube
Google

INTERVIEW

Tell us about you
I grew up in North Yorkshire, near the North York Moors, and that must have had some influence on me. We Yorkshiremen tend to be fairly stubborn and straight talking, and we like to think that we get stuck in and make a good job of things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, it’s that you need a damn good work ethic. I spend a lot of time rewriting, editing and polishing. And then, when one book is finished, you pick up a blank sheet of paper and start all over again. That might put some people off writing, but I love it.

I now live in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with my wife, two children, and a black Labrador called Lottie who, for some reason, can only bark when she’s asleep.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Although it may sound a bit twee, I can honestly say that my family are my greatest inspiration. I spent several years as a stay at home dad, and while it was harder work than many people might think, it was a wonderful opportunity to play a full role in my children’s journey through life. Even now, although the kids are much older, we still make time to be together as a family every day.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I’m torn here between choosing a great scientist or a wonderful writer. I think I’ll settle on Charles Dickens. He had such tremendous energy and drive that I’m sure a day in his company would be a roller coaster ride. I’d love to tag along to one of his famous readings. He didn’t just know how to write, he knew how to put on a show and how to thrill an audience. If I had to pick someone living, I’d quite like to go on an expedition with Ray Mears. I find his survival skills quite fascinating and I’d love him to show me how some of our earliest ancestors lived and thrived with only basic materials and their own skill. We’d have to go somewhere nice though – I draw the line at tropical jungles full of snakes and bugs.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
I don’t want to drop any spoilers so I’ll try and give a flavour. The Darkeningstone books have interconnecting stories that take place over several different time zones at once and they span 5,000 years. I began by asking myself a simple question: What if my mobile phone rang, but there was no caller? What if I’d strayed too close to a mysterious energy source? I like the idea that some places feel mysterious and powerful – they seem to resonate through time. I’m fascinated by the dramatic events of history but also by people’s daily lives. I like to try and imagine what it must have been like to live in those times. I started to wonder about the lives of people 5,000 years ago. Their lives were shaped by the basic forces of nature. They must’ve lived, worked and thought in ways we find hard to imagine. But what if there was some sort of portal – a doorway that could offer a glimpse into those distant times? And if a modern day person had that experience, how would they react? What would be the ramifications throughout history? And so the Darkeningstone was born.

Tell us your writing process
I started out by writing longhand but now I only use pen and paper for notes and planning. There’s quite a lot of planning for the Darkeningstone books as I have to make sure that all the timelines connect properly and that I don’t cheat the reader. They aren’t easy books to write but hey, that’s what I’m here for. I don’t mind putting the work in, so long as the finished story is fast-paced, richly complex and absorbing.

I do some outlining but the way I really love to write is just to let the story flow. I know it isn’t a fashionable view, but to me, if I over-plan, it kills some of the fun. I like to discover the characters as the story unfolds. And as the characters come to life, they shape the story. I like to think of us going on a journey together. I write on a PC using either Word or Scrivener, and I write whenever I can. I like to get up early on weekends so I can write in peace while everyone else is having a lie in. When the first draft is complete, I go back over it and rewrite it and rewrite it until it’s as good as I can make it. It’s not fair on the reader to rush the process. I’m not churning out off the shelf stories here, I’m crafting something that I hope will stand the test of time. Did I succeed in that? I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

Do you have any advice on what has and has not worked for you that you can share with aspiring & upcoming authors?
This is hard to answer because the situation seems to change by the week. What didn’t work was launching work that wasn’t as good as it could be. I made that rookie mistake and it’s my only regret in my publishing journey. I’d advise every writer to hire a professional editor. If you can’t afford one, then wait until you can, but never launch a book that isn’t ready.

I’ve had some success with making a book permafree. I wrote a novella as an add-on story to the Darkeningstone novels. It was quite hard to slot a new set of timelines into the existing stories without dropping spoilers or confusing readers, but I think that the book Breaking Ground, is a nice addition to the other books. It adds a layer of extra detail to the existing books, it’s a quick read, and it gives people a taste of my work for free. And all it cost me was time and effort.

My advice is simple – keep writing. The more material you have to promote, the easier it becomes. I’d also advise writers to get going with their email list. Giving away work is a good way to attract readers and that can be combined with Facebook adverts to attract attention (check out Mark Dawson’s free video course – he can explain this better than I can). I use Mailpoet (a WordPress plugin) to manage my newsletters and I recommend it. I send the emails via Mandrill (a free service from Mailchimp).

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. When I went to visit my first school at the age of four, everyone thought they’d lost me, but I was sitting quietly in the book corner. I’d never seen anywhere so magical, and some might say, when they see my huge and sprawling collection of books, that I’ve never really left it. My first efforts at story writing, outside of school work, was to try and create my own versions of Kipling’s Just So Stories in an exercise book. I’m sure my versions weren’t very original but I remember the thrill of conjuring stories from my imagination.

Tell us about your main character
My main character in Trespass is a teenage boy called Jake. He begins the story as a fairly typical, disenchanted teenager, but we soon learn that, like all real people, he’s a complex character trying to come to terms with growing up, his relationships with his estranged parents, the importance of friendships – there’s even a hint at a potential romance. We also discover how he reacts when confronted with real danger and the threat of terrible violence. Jake has to grow up very fast indeed and leave his childhood behind him.

What are you working on next?
The next Darkeningstone novel. I’m currently nearing the end of the first rewrite. Its working title is Outcast although that may change before publication, and like Trespass, it’s a full-length novel. You’ll meet some of your favourite Darkeningstone characters in this book, but there are lots of new ones to encounter, and many unexpected twists and turns. The last thing I’d want to do is trot out a ho-hum book just to fill the series – that would be cheating the readers. The book has to bring new life, new characters and new situations into play.

There may be a fourth Darkeningstone book in the future. I originally planned to write a trilogy, but although Outcast will be the third book in the series, Breaking Ground is only a novella and I may want to explore the possibilities of the Darkeningstone in greater depth. I also have a collection of darkly suspenseful short stories coming out in summer 2015 called A Dark Assortment. After that, who knows? I have so many other great ideas for completely different books rattling around in my head that anything could happen. Watch this space folks.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I’m a pretty keen cook so we eat well in our house and I’ve almost banished the takeaways from our table. I’m not a puritan about it, I’ve just got to the point where I look at premade food in the supermarket and think I could do better myself. We also have a couple of allotments where we grow our own fruit and veg. I even brew my own wine, and though my winemaking efforts are a bit haphazard, the end result usually turns out to be pretty strong.

Who are your favorite authors?
I read very widely so this is difficult. I do have a few books on permanent standby duty by my bed: The Complete Works of Saki, Vintage Thurber by James Thurber, and The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Those are all books I can dip into when I’m between novels. I like to read classics such as Dickens and Thomas Hardy, but I’m also a fan of modern writers, e.g. Hugh Howey’s Wool Trilogy. I like Iain Banks for his sheer originality, but I’ll happily read children’s authors such as Michael Morpurgo and David Almond. Douglas Adams has had a massive effect on my teenage years, so I must mention the Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy books. It’s a terrible thing that Douglas Adams died so young – he was such an original voice and I’m sure he would’ve gone on to share more of his wonderful ideas with us all. 

I could go on all day. Let’s get a coffee and a slice of cake and talk about books – what could be better?

What do you like to do with your free time?
I do enjoy my daily walks with Lottie, our black Labrador. I complain when it’s pouring with rain and the fields are awash with mud, but it does me good to get outside and recharge my creative batteries. A walk is always good, but it’s more fun when we take Lottie along. I also have a weakness for browsing through second-hand bookshops, though I’ve been trying to limit my paperback purchases since I also started reading on my Kindle.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
After the next Darkeningstone book, I’d like to go back to a dystopian sci-fi book that I’ve been working on in the background. It’s set in a future where people live in isolated pockets on high ground (I won’t tell you why) and of course, there are conflicts and adventures to be had whenever people are forced into living together.

Any final thoughts?
I feel very privileged when someone takes the time to read my work. And if someone makes the extra effort and leaves a review or contacts me in some way, then I feel honoured by their attention. We all lead busy lives and have many calls on our time, so when someone invests their time in reading my work, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. And as for lovely reviews – well, they’re better than riches. A nice review or comment on twitter will always make my day. So while you’re here, reading this interview, please accept my thanks for your time. Basically, you rock.

 

%d bloggers like this: