Spotlight: Justine Laismith

Introducing Justine Laismith who has recently signed her middle grade fantasy novel set in modern day rural China called Secrets of the Great Fire Tree with RCPIt is slated for release in November of 2018 under the imprint RadiantKids. Get to know Justine Laismith as an author.


Synopsis:

TBA


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I first wanted to be a writer when I was seven. However, I never did well in English Language or Literature at school. This discouraged me. When it came to choosing subjects, my teacher expected me to take the Arts subjects, because “girls are better at them, while boys are better at Math and Science.” So I chose the Science options to prove a point. Nevertheless, I wrote poems and stories as and when they came to me, but these were for my eyes only. On rare occasions I shared them with a couple of close friends.

A few years later, a local boy, not many years older than me, made me cry. Afterwards, I knew I wanted to be like him. He made me cry with words on a page. Over the years, even though I pursued a Science career, the enjoyment of turning blank pages to words never left me. I channeled this into my work and wrote scientific papers on my research. After some years, I took a career break. With a break from science, the logical side of my brain took a back seat and let the creative side of my brain dominate. I started writing fiction again.

My writing inspiration comes from what I see around me, with a simple “What if?”. Then I try and answer that question.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I grew up in Singapore, a country proud of its multicultural identity. This exposed me to a plethora of languages and Chinese dialects. While I call myself bilingual, I can understand, to varying degrees, Cantonese, Hokkien, Malay, French and Japanese. I am also part-Paranakan, which is a unique blend of two cultures: ethnic Chinese people who speak and practice Malay customs. When I wrote Secrets of the Great Fire Tree, I have subtly incorporated all these diversities.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I grew up reading books like Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. These took me to a world I never knew. I also read poorly English-translated books of Chinese stories, books highly rated in their original language but clearly lost in translation. For an English-speaking Chinese girl living in tiny Singapore in the Far-East, these reading experiences sent the message that good English books are only made up of authors and characters from traditionally Western culture. If I wanted to read books in English, I had to settle for stories I could not directly relate to. In other words, I had to read them as an outsider. At this point, I lost interest in reading.

Over the decades, globalization and immigration has resulted in several third-culture kids, never truly knowing their roots, nor knowing their mother-tongue at the same level as a native. By showcasing the stories and voices of protagonists from your conventional western worlds, RCP is filling a gap for readers seeking identifiable characters. At the same time, diverse writers can tell a story that, although is in a setting familiar to them, is not the traditional western backdrop. With good narration and an intriguing plot, they will take their readers along. In doing so, they open the readers’ eyes and break down the cultural and language barrier.

4.What do you think makes a great middle grade fantasy? How do you think your piece Secrets of the Great Fire Tree fits into or varies from that description?

I like stories that take me to a different world, but with links to our own world to make it relatable. This is why Secrets of the Great Fire Tree is set in modern day China. I decided to use superstition as a gateway to fantasy because they are deeply-rooted in many traditions. Pushing these boundaries allow me to be creative with something we practice out of habit; never questioning but no longer fearing the consequences. However, Secrets of the Great Fire Tree deviates from middle-grade fantasy because it is also, in part, a realistic fiction. Left-behind children is a reality in China, the flip-side of economic growth in the cities.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

I now pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and how it makes me feel. Then I challenge myself to describe it in words. When I watch a movie or show, I don’t just take a seat and enjoy the ride. I think about what makes me root for the characters, or hate them. I also analyze how and why two personalities who started off with nothing in common come together as the story develops.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Secrets of the Great Fire Tree? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

I am most excited about sharing the rural life in China. As I mentioned earlier, I see myself as a third-culture kid, who never really knew her roots. When writing this book, I carried out a lot of research and even traveled to China. China holds a quarter of the world’s population and consists of over 50 ethnic minorities. Naturally, I cannot tell everything in one story, but I hope I managed to give a flavor of this fascinating culture.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women and those writing middle grade fiction?

Writing is a journey. Enjoy it. Turning a blank page into words that tell a story is special, because you’ve created something new. Once I was told by a consultant that women don’t give themselves enough credit for their achievements. So this is especially for women writers: don’t be daunted by the fear that no one will like your work. Write what is in your heart. That passion will come out in your story and someone, somewhere out there will love it and feel glad that you wrote it.

Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell Audiobook Edition Narrated by Bradley Pittman & Jaime Lee-Lewis

The wait is over! Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell’s audiobook edition in now available! Theodric is narrated by Bradley Pittman and Cassia by Jaime Lee-Lewis. You can learn more about the voice talent here. You can purchase your copy on Audible, Amazon or iTunes! Listen to the sample of the first two chapters on SoundCloud. New Audible listeners can also take advantage of a free audiobook!

Old Hollow: The Town of Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker

The History of Old Hollow

Early Spring, 1865. The Army of the Potomac has cut a path of destruction through large swathes of enemy territory in its relentless pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s once-vaunted Army of Northern Virginia. Union cavalry men have raided every town, village, and hamlet in the Virginia countryside between Petersburg and the James River in search of food and supplies for the Northern Army’s men and horses. Every town, that is, but Old Hollow. Even as nearby towns like Cumberland succumb to the Yankees, Old Hollow remains virtually untouched, as if protected from the outside world by some unknown, unseen force.

The town’s beginnings are a mystery. No record exists to tell the story of how and when it first came into being. Some in neighboring communities say it was founded by English settlers in the late 17th century who tried and failed to eke out a living as tobacco farmers. Others say its history goes back further, that the town began when a small group of colonists wandered west after being exiled from Jamestown for practicing witchcraft and Devil worship. No one knows for certain.

Whatever its origins, Old Hollow and the outside world are on the verge of a violent collision with the arrival of a trio of Union cavalrymen seeking shelter for a wounded comrade. Led by Captain Benjamin Lawson, the Yankee soldiers think they have stumbled upon a quiet, little town that, somehow, someway, the Union Army has missed. What they don’t know is that something diabolical awaits them in the dark recesses of an ancient, white tree in the forest north of town. That something is hungry.

The She-Wolf of Kanta: Thomas Farrell’s Mill by Marlena Frank

Thomas Farrell’s Mill

When Thomas Farrell inherited his father’s mill, there was only a single grinder, and it was human powered. The hard physical labor meant a high turnover rate, and the mill was anything but profitable.

After the invention of Liquid Lead, and the harnessing of werewolves to do the hard labor, Thomas not only gained a profit on his mill, he expanded it. He added grinder after grinder, in a haphazard fashion, gleefully improving on the equipment and finding ways to streamline his workforce.

Only something happened shortly after he built the sixth grinder. Some say Thomas had a mental breakdown after witnessing one of his human workers be mauled. Others said he fell from the scaffolding that crisscrossed the grinders. Regardless, shortly after the grinder was finished, all talks of expansion abruptly stopped.

The Mill is now a well-known feature of Kanta, with its tall smokestacks and regular influx of trappers for supplies and trade. Behind it’s castle-like walls and guarded entrances, grinders churn all day and all night.

 

The She-Wolf of Kanta: The City of Kanta by Marlena Frank

The History of Kanta

Kanta used to be a small city with big hopes and dreams. The people pushed back the wilderness and claimed the land for their own, creating a haven amid the old forest.

Then the werewolves came. They surged each night, and diminished the population in droves, adding survivors unwillingly to their numbers. The streets were stained with blood. Cries could be heard all through the night. Finally, only three buildings remained: the jailhouse, the pub, and the mill. When the city was on the brink of destruction, a madman had a crazy idea.

Thomas Farrell found a way to harness the werewolves’ power. With a concoction he called Liquid Lead, he helped the city of Kanta truly fight back. More than that, he turned werewolf trapping into a profit.

The city is now a destination for survivors, but also attracts scavengers and thieves. The desperate suffer in Kanta and the naïve often meet grisly ends. The werewolves are a blight, but the city of Kanta is truly diseased.

Spotlight: Marlena Frank

Introducing Marlena Frank who has recently signed her young adult dark fantasy filled with werewolves and horrifying thrills entitled The She-Wolf of Kanta with RCP. It is slated for release in April of 2018 under the imprint Legion. Rebecca Treadway will handle cover design. Editing, map-making, and more will soon be underway. For now, get to know Marlena Frank as an author.

 

 

 

 


Synopsis:

The Huntress Becomes the Hunted

Mercy has always dreamed of becoming a werewolf trapper like her father. In Kanta, one must learn how to survive one way or another. A dark-skinned, blue-eyed young beauty, Mercy understands that she brings out the beast in monsters and men. When a routine werewolf delivery turns into a vicious assault from a pair of human traffickers, Mercy’s life changes forever. Somehow she must endure in a dangerous city where women and werewolves are hunted.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. When I was very young I started writing them, and that turned into fanfiction that I did for fun. College came and I turned away from writing for almost a decade, until I rediscovered it again in 2010. I wrote a fantasy story on a whim and got it published. That’s when I knew I was hooked.

Outside of writing, I’m very active in the Atlanta cosplay community. I got involved two years back, met some great friends, and have been a regular con-goer ever since. I mostly cosplay anime characters that I love or admire. Our group has even started making CMVs (cosplay music videos), usually with a dark flair. At my day job, I work in IT, but that’s not as much fun to talk about.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I’ve always been drawn to monsters. My mom used to put on horror movies while my two sisters and I got ready in the morning, so I was exposed to a variety of horror. Sometimes it was dark and gruesome, sometimes cheesy and funny, but always entertaining. I’ve been drawn to werewolves since as long as I can remember, and they seep into my work often.

Regarding myself, my house is decorated in all sorts of fantasy and horror memorabilia. Some guests get nervous when they see the mantelpiece covered with human skull replicas, or come across my sister’s animal skull collection. Our living room has classic horror movie posters like The Raven and Army of Darkness staring down on the guests, and Han Solo adorns the space above the most comfortable chair. Most of our friends have just grown used to it, but some guests are put off by how much fandom merchandise we collect, including Batman, Disney, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and various anime that we enjoy.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

To me, this means shining a light on voices that might not normally get the attention they deserve, whether it be due to race, gender, or socioeconomic level. In my story, there are plenty of male characters who could have taken the spotlight. They all have legitimate story arcs that I could have chosen to explore, but I went with Mercy instead. She was someone who might be easily overlooked in a typical fantasy book, but I felt she had a powerful story to tell of her own. She has the odds stacked against her from birth and she has to work hard to claw out a piece of existence for herself. To me, I think that’s both powerful and inspiring.

4.What do you think makes a great young adult dark fantasy story? How do you think your piece The She-Wolf of Kanta fits into or varies from that description?

A good YA dark fantasy story requires two major aspects: the coming-of-age of a teenager and an inexplicably dark world that the poor teen is stuck in. Coming-of-age is thrown around often when talking about YA, but I think a main theme is transformation. What this really means is the way the teen must learn to grow up, whether that be due to a relationship, violence, abuse, or something simple like moving across the country. The dark world is fairly self-explanatory, but what it typically means is a world that nobody would actually want to live in until the hero changes it for the better (if they can).

In The She-Wolf of Kanta, Mercy is thrown into an unforgiving world where people are regularly hunted by werewolves. She’s doubly unlucky by being female since women seem to be targeted more by werewolves. On top of that, her father even wishes that she was a boy instead, and considers her sex a curse. As the story progresses, she encounters more and more dangers that she must somehow survive. This fits in well with the concept of a YA dark fantasy. I chose not to include a romantic subplot, which are common in YA novels, because Mercy is too concerned with trying to survive.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

When I went to college, I never thought that I would ever write seriously again outside of the occasional fanfiction. I considered my love of it a lost part of my life. When I submitted my first short story on a whim back in 2010 and it actually got published, I thought maybe I’d give it another chance. That was when the floodgates opened, and suddenly I was writing like mad.

In college, I worked on my Computer Science degree, which engulfed me for a good seven years. When I finally emerged, I had forgotten what it was like to read for fun. Since I started writing regularly, I finally gained the motivation to attend writing conventions, be part of writer groups, and in the past few years have started seeing myself as an author. It took some time to realize that and adopt it as part of my identity. Allowing myself to write again helped rekindle my love of it and allowed me to enjoy it even more after such a long hiatus.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to The She-Wolf of Kanta? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

I’m most excited about an aspect that will probably be the most controversial. The enslavement of the werewolves within Thomas’ mill is painful to read about, but it’s also revealing of the nature of the town and its lack of humanity. Werewolves by definition can’t choose how they lose their humanity; however, others can. Werewolves are still, essentially, people. Yet, Thomas and others forget this because they no longer recognize them as humans. This cycle happens often in history: it’s easier to justify torture and enslavement when people are seen as animals.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

It’s easy to excuse writing as a non-essential part of life and put other things ahead of it. I often hear other women say that they simply cannot find the time, which, though understandable, also means that it’s not a priority in their life. Carve out whatever time you can to write, even if it’s only thirty minutes each day. Don’t listen to people who try to convince you that it’s a waste of time. Only you are capable of telling your story, and there’s no way to tell how well it will be received if you never write it.

Cover Reveal: Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker

Audiobook

ISBN-10: 1-946024-19-8

ISBN-13: 978-1-946024-19-0

eBook (ePub Edition)

ISBN-10: 1-946024-18-X

ISBN-13: 978-1-946024-18-3

ASIN: Coming Soon!

Release Date: February 27th, 2018 (February/April of 2018)

Synopsis:

Come Forth, O Dark Ones, and Avail Thee of Our Blood.”

Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end.

One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured from Antietam to Gettysburg. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles upon a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Only Lawson, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd manage to escape into a thick forest.

There, Lawson discovers the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds there is far more terrifying than anything he’s witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.

Advance Praise:

FROM THE EDITOR

The Civil War has left scars both physical and unseen. Few towns in the South have escaped devastation, but one has been left mysteriously unscathed. After Union scouts survive a harrowing battle with Rebel soldiers, they seek help for a wounded man in Old Hollow. Instead of aid, they encounter a nervous woman who warns them to leave, a doctor who seems strangely reluctant to help, and a preacher who ministers to his congregation in a most unusual way. There is evil in Old Hollow, but it may not be solely supernatural. It may also be in the deeds people do to one another and the lengths they will go to to save their own skins. –Luann Reed-Siegel

Cover Reveal: Object Relations: A Novelette by Rebecca Lee

 

Trade Paperback

ISBN-10: 1-946024-06-6

ISBN-13: 978-1-946024-06-0

eBook (ePub Edition)

ISBN-10: 1-946024-07-4

ISBN-13: 978-1-946024-07-7

Audiobook

ISBN-10: 1-946024-28-7

ISBN-13: 978-1-946024-28-2

ASIN: B0716RHFHS

AppleID: 1253619936

BN ID: 2940157338435

Release Date: May 9th, 2017 (May/June of 2017)

Synopsis:

Object Relations Theory: A form of psychoanalytic theory postulating that people relate to others in order to develop themselves.

Through long divisions of interpretation, words sectioned into sentences. Uncomfortable, they bunched together, worried their independence lost. Together, all the words decided they should be bound in unison forever. Their books stain the beliefs that we continue to hold.

Rebecca Lee’s collection of vignettes demonstrates the various imaginary relationships of personified objects. From door knobs to smartphones, everyday encounters come alive.

Spotlight: A. M. Deese

Introducing A. M. Deese who has recently signed her young adult fantasy novels Ignited, slated for release in 2018, and Submerged, slated for release in 2019, with Radiant Crown Publishing. Desiree DeOrto Designs will handle cover design. Editing, map-making, and more will soon be underway. For now, get to know A. M. Deese as an author and the world of the Dance of the Elements series.

 

 


 

 

Synopsis:

A NOBLE DAUGHTER.

A FORMER SLAVE.

SCORCHED EARTH AND DANGEROUS GAMES

“Jura imagined it sounded like rain.”

Juggling death is nothing new for seventeen-year-old Jura, daughter of the First of the Thirteen, successive rulers of the Republic of the Sand Sea. However, when a blood chain ensnares her father, she is thrust into the seat of power and forced to rule her elders.

To Tylak, water had never tasted sweeter.”

Jura must track down her father’s assassin and balance a country on the verge of collapse. To find the Prince of Shadows and uncover the truth, Jura puts her trust in Tylak, a former slave accused of stealing from the Everflame—a man she once condemned to death.

In a world where water is currency and enemies lurk around every corner, Jura will use her wits or risk igniting a world war.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I’ve never wanted to be anything else. My aunt (who is only 8 months older than me) learned to read before I did and I remember being insanely jealous of the skill. I wrote my first story when I was around four or five years old. It was about dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure my grandmother has that yellow legal pad floating around somewhere.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

Well, when I get consumed by a scene it’s hard to think of anything else, I must write the scene down immediately! However, I don’t plot out my stories, I prefer to let the characters tell me what to say. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the characters don’t always know what’s best for the plot. Whenever I find myself stuck in a scene I go outside and pace around my deck, usually while on the phone with my (oh so patient) sister. I’m trying to get better at outlining but I fear it will always be a struggle for me.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I think in today’s world it is increasingly important to share diversity in fiction. We’re so fortunate to live in a world that can share information faster than it takes to whisper Google. I think readers are ready to meet unique characters who are a departure from the genre stereotypes. I find it easier to connect with protagonists with realistic flaws; no character is purely good or heroic and no character is purely evil. Ignited has several different points of view and readers discover its world through the eyes of characters from varying characters each with their own unique outlook on the plot.

4. What do you think makes a great young adult title? How do you think the first two books in your four book series Ignited and Submerged fit into or vary from that description?

If there is a formula for what makes a great young adult title I’d like to know it! I suppose what makes a title great is in its ability to clearly and quickly excite the reader and hint toward the book’s plot. I hope Ignited and Submerged give the reader a sense of action and excitement as well as give hints toward its plot.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

Writing has given me a wider perspective, I tend to look at things from different points of view because I love diving into the minds of two differing characters. I also think it has affected me in the sense that everything is a story to me. I see or hear something and my natural reaction is what if

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Ignited and Submerged? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

I’m probably most excited to share my world. As a child, a favorite game of mine was “pretend.” Pretend I’m a unicorn, or pretend the ground is lava, pretend I’m a wizard… I suppose I never grew up in that way, I enjoy the process of creating a unique new world and sharing that vision with others. I hope the world of Ignited is a new experience for my readers. I want them to be intrigued by the mysteries of the world and lose themselves in its exploration. Although, I do also have a soft spot for a few of my characters, Kay already has a spin-off series dancing in my head.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

Don’t listen. Don’t listen when someone tells you you’re not good enough or when you receive a rotten rejection letter. Don’t listen to the inner guilt at the hours you spend writing (when you could be a better daughter, wife, mother, etc) Don’t. Listen. And never give up.

Spotlight: Ambrose Stolliker

IMG_9916

Introducing Ambrose Stolliker. He will be the first author in our eBook and audiobook imprint Legion next year. Abbie Waters has just completed the first round of proofreading and more edits are coming soon. Till then, get to know the author behind this Civil War themed horror story!


Synopsis:

Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end.

One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the burden of command and the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured at places like Antietam and Gettysburg. His sole desire is to see his men survive the final days of the terrible conflict that has engulfed the country for five bloody years.

The fortunes of war, however, have another fate in store for Lawson and his men, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles into a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Two of his men are killed outright, and Lawson, Lightfoot and Boyd barely manage to escape into a thick forest.

There, Lawson discovers that the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose yet another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small, out-of-the-way town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds instead is far more terrifying than anything he has witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I think I’ve wanted to be a storyteller from a very early age. Like many people in their early to mid-forties, my love of storytelling was born on a warm, summer day in 1977 when my mother took me and my older sister to a movie theater to see Star Wars. The movie and the story made an indelible impression on me. The story and mythology of Star Wars were presented on such a grand scale, how could it have not made an impression on me? From then on, I loved listening to and telling stories. Not long after, I developed a deep love of reading, especially fantasy, science fiction and horror. I wrote my first book, an unfinished fantasy novel, at the age of nine, and have been pretty much writing nonstop since then, either as a newspaper and magazine journalist or as a fiction writer.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I spent twelve years banging out 12-inch to 20-inch news stories in noisy newsrooms at daily and weekly newspapers. You’d think I’d be able to work in just about any environment and still write and write well, but when it comes to fiction, I can’t. I need silence. Some writers can listen to heavy metal while they write, but not me. I’ve got to have quiet, which isn’t always possible when you’ve got a rambunctious four-year-old boy in your house. Luckily, I have a nice, quiet office where I can close the door and focus on the work.

3.RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

Hopefully, it means we’ll see more stories featuring characters and themes that are outside the normal clichés we see in so much writing today. The best stories always feature characters that do the exact opposite of what’s expected, or what society as a whole perceives as the norm. I think great writing challenges our preconceived notions about the world we live in and the lives we lead.

4. What do you think makes a great horror story? How do you think your piece Old Hollow fits into or varies from that description?

I’d characterize Old Hollow as a classic horror story set during the Civil War. I think any horror story worth reading has to do two primary things – gradually build a feeling of suspense or dread and tell a story wherein the reader becomes invested in the fate of the main characters. Almost as important, I think, is setting. It just so happens that I am a Civil War buff and have spent a great deal of time reading about and researching the conflict that defined so much of who we are as Americans today.  Being well versed in that particular time period makes it easy (and enjoyable) for me to create evocative settings for the reader. Old Hollow is not the first Civil War story I’ve written, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

Well, every time a writer puts pen to paper, asks someone to read something they’ve written or submits a story for publication, they’re taking a chance at being rejected. In one sense, I think my career as a journalist helped me develop a pretty thick skin where my writing was concerned. It just became part of my everyday life to receive and absorb criticism of the material I’d turned into my editors. For the most part, I knew their criticisms always came from a good place – either a desire to make the story better for the reader, or to make me a better writer, or, under the best of circumstances, both. So, when I started writing fiction and submitting it for publication, it never really fazed me when the rejections started rolling in. Like most writers, I had moments of self-doubt that I would ever get published, but I never really considered giving up. Now, my ambition is to be able to write horror fiction full time, and I’m not there yet. Sometimes, I worry I’ll never get there. But that doesn’t stop me from writing.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Old Hollow? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

The characters, first and foremost. Writing about Benjamin Lawson, Jordy Lightfoot, Emil Boyd, Nan Forrester and Preacher John was a lot of fun. Each one brings something different and important to the story. Lawson and Jordy are probably my two favorite characters in Old Hollow because they’re both so very different from one another. At the same time, they complement one another in critical ways, and function well together as they try to navigate and survive the war and the situation in which they find themselves in Old Hollow. I love the dialogue between the characters too, especially Jordy’s dialogue. His voice and patois were really fun to write. Finally, I love the themes that emerged as I wrote and revised the story over three separate drafts – the danger and inherent hypocrisy of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism; the sense of brotherhood and comradery that is developed between soldiers during times of war; the notion that one’s word and personal honor stand for something, even (and perhaps especially) when given to someone we might consider an enemy; and the importance of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there?

Easy. Write as often as you can, and read as much as you can. I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, five days per week. I don’t always accomplish that, but that’s my goal. I don’t think one can become adept at anything if one isn’t willing to practice and put in the time necessary to develop one’s craft. Also, I’ve learned over the years, both as a journalist and a fiction writer, that the real work begins with the second draft. First drafts are easy. First drafts are fun. You’re basically just vomiting the words, story and characters onto the page, and not thinking too much about plot, or how good the writing is – at least that’s how I approach first drafts. But revision? Revision is hard. And essential. Finally, you’re going to face a lot of rejection and criticism. I started writing seriously in my early thirties. I sold my first story when I was 36 or 37. It took about seven or eight years to make that first sale. Then I had to wait another year or so for the second. I’m 43 now, and STILL not writing full-time, so that should give aspiring writers an idea of what it takes to make it in this business. I consider myself marginally successful in having secured a dozen or so publishing credits that netted me any kind of money. It’s a long haul. It’s natural and even healthy to get discouraged once in a while, but the one thing a serious writer can absolutely not do is to stop writing. So, don’t.