Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks
 
 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.

And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Jeremy Hicks
 
 
A native of Alabama, Jeremy Hicks spent several years working as a field archaeologist throughout the Southeast before teaming up with his longtime friend and co-author, Barry Hayes, to realize a shared creative dream.  The writing team of Hicks & Hayes created an original horror-fantasy environment (Faltyr™), wrote a screenplay (The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers) to introduce it, and then adapted it into a novelization of the same name.  As a result, their first novel will be published by Dark Oak Press and Media in the summer of 2013.
As co-founder of Broke Guys Productions, Jeremy has co-written three other as-of-yet unproduced screenplays, including the first sequel to CoAS: Finders Keepers.  Another of his screenplays, a darkly comedic horror tale about meth zombies plaguing a trailer park in Alabama, placed as a Top Finalist in the 2011 Cherub Films Horror Screenplay Competition under the title Night of the Living Rednecks.
 Jeremy Hicks is also a short story writer, poet, and infrequent Yahoo! contributor.  Three of his poems (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fascism, Do Not Waver, and Midnight Dzohkar) are available online via Yahoo! Voices.
 
Where do your ideas come from?
Like musicians and artists, writers draw their inspiration from a number of sources.   For me, some of my inspirations include music and art.  Other writers are a big inspiration, however.  The stories we hear along the way and the people that we encounter blend and flow and reshape themselves into ways for us to tell our own truths in ways that are familiar to an audience familiar with our common myths, legends, symbols, and even shared pop culture aspects such as music, art, comics, films, and television.
What is your funniest/ awkward moment at a convention/signing event?
That would be the overenthusiastic fan who decided to check the size of my package at a convention.
Do you base your characters on people you know or know of?
Sometimes.   I have written stories where elements of characters came from people in my life…or at least people in public life, such as celebrities, politicians, or historical figures.  But some stories take a more personal note.  Others serve therapeutic purposes.  You’ll be reading one of those in Luna’s Children, the upcoming Dark Oak anthology.  And another is under consideration for publication.
Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?
I tend to outline most of my work, some of it more heavily than others.  Though a number of those outlines change as I write, I prefer to have a guide so that I don’t get lost in the woods.
Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what do you listen too?
I liken music to my emotional state, so I tend to use it for inspirational purposes as well as setting ambience in general.  So the music that I use depends on what I’m trying to write.  For the Cycle of Ages Saga, I usually listen to heavy metal or hard rock, typically something symphonic or instrumental.  Old school metal legends, like Ronnie James Dio, were a big influence on our novel, Finders Keepers, but instrumental/ambient artists, such as Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana, played a big part as well.
Do you have any signings or appearances coming up?
My co-writer (Barry Hayes) and I will be appearing at several conventions in the next couple of months.  We’re scheduled for Con*Stellation and HallowCon in October, Memphis Comic & Fantasy Convention in November, and the Phenix City Toy & Comic Book Show in December.  We’ve had a couple of local signings and are looking into booking more in the Southeast as our schedule allows and where fans demand us.  So if you’d like to bring the Cycle of Ages Saga to your local bookstore, let us know.
 
 
 
 
What book do you read over and over the most?
The book that I keep coming back to over the years is one of the most absurd yet astute tomes in the world.  Nay, the universe!  I absolutely love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well as all things Douglas Adams.  If you’re looking for humor, wisdom, and accurate observations on human behavior, I suggest that you read all five parts of the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy.  Then pick up copies of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul.  You won’t be disappointed.
Is there a book or book series that you recommend to people?
I just did. 😉
 
At what age did you start writing?
I’m a born storyteller.  Even before I could write, I drew stories.  But as soon as I could, I started writing out little tales, mostly spooky stories.  I was heavily influenced by the stories of Kathryn Tucker Windham, Gus Grimley, and Edgar Allan Poe and emulated them from an early age.  One of those early stories, a tale about an archaeologist and a mummy, was published in my school paper in 5th grade.
 
Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you?  If so, how do you deal with it.
I’m dealing with it now actually, so I’ve slowed down quite a bit.  It’s frustrating and often tied to a recurrent problem I have with depression.  So I tend to write in bursts.  I might clock a thousand words in an afternoon or in a particularly bad week.  At other times, I’ll crank out a novelette in less than a month.  Sometimes I can harness that funk and use it to create.  If not, I relegate my activities to mission planning, marketing, and other promotional work until I break through that barrier.  At other times, I find myself stuck because I’m not sure how I want to approach a particular scene or twist in a story.  In that case, I’ll sit back and let the idea percolate in creation station until it’s ready to put on paper or into a Word document.
What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?
Never give up.  Never give in.  Never stop editing.
 
Thanks Jeremy. Look for his story…
Deep Diving Death-Defying Dwarves of the Deep
In
Capes & Clockwork.
 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks
 
 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.

And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Jeremy Hicks
 
 
A native of Alabama, Jeremy Hicks spent several years working as a field archaeologist throughout the Southeast before teaming up with his longtime friend and co-author, Barry Hayes, to realize a shared creative dream.  The writing team of Hicks & Hayes created an original horror-fantasy environment (Faltyr™), wrote a screenplay (The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers) to introduce it, and then adapted it into a novelization of the same name.  As a result, their first novel will be published by Dark Oak Press and Media in the summer of 2013.

As co-founder of Broke Guys Productions, Jeremy has co-written three other as-of-yet unproduced screenplays, including the first sequel to CoAS: Finders Keepers.  Another of his screenplays, a darkly comedic horror tale about meth zombies plaguing a trailer park in Alabama, placed as a Top Finalist in the 2011 Cherub Films Horror Screenplay Competition under the title Night of the Living Rednecks.

 Jeremy Hicks is also a short story writer, poet, and infrequent Yahoo! contributor.  Three of his poems (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fascism, Do Not Waver, and Midnight Dzohkar) are available online via Yahoo! Voices.

 

Where do your ideas come from?

Like musicians and artists, writers draw their inspiration from a number of sources.   For me, some of my inspirations include music and art.  Other writers are a big inspiration, however.  The stories we hear along the way and the people that we encounter blend and flow and reshape themselves into ways for us to tell our own truths in ways that are familiar to an audience familiar with our common myths, legends, symbols, and even shared pop culture aspects such as music, art, comics, films, and television.

What is your funniest/ awkward moment at a convention/signing event?

That would be the overenthusiastic fan who decided to check the size of my package at a convention.

Do you base your characters on people you know or know of?

Sometimes.   I have written stories where elements of characters came from people in my life…or at least people in public life, such as celebrities, politicians, or historical figures.  But some stories take a more personal note.  Others serve therapeutic purposes.  You’ll be reading one of those in Luna’s Children, the upcoming Dark Oak anthology.  And another is under consideration for publication.

Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?

I tend to outline most of my work, some of it more heavily than others.  Though a number of those outlines change as I write, I prefer to have a guide so that I don’t get lost in the woods.

Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what do you listen too?

I liken music to my emotional state, so I tend to use it for inspirational purposes as well as setting ambience in general.  So the music that I use depends on what I’m trying to write.  For the Cycle of Ages Saga, I usually listen to heavy metal or hard rock, typically something symphonic or instrumental.  Old school metal legends, like Ronnie James Dio, were a big influence on our novel, Finders Keepers, but instrumental/ambient artists, such as Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana, played a big part as well.

Do you have any signings or appearances coming up?

My co-writer (Barry Hayes) and I will be appearing at several conventions in the next couple of months.  We’re scheduled for Con*Stellation and HallowCon in October, Memphis Comic & Fantasy Convention in November, and the Phenix City Toy & Comic Book Show in December.  We’ve had a couple of local signings and are looking into booking more in the Southeast as our schedule allows and where fans demand us.  So if you’d like to bring the Cycle of Ages Saga to your local bookstore, let us know.

 
 
 
 
What book do you read over and over the most?

The book that I keep coming back to over the years is one of the most absurd yet astute tomes in the world.  Nay, the universe!  I absolutely love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well as all things Douglas Adams.  If you’re looking for humor, wisdom, and accurate observations on human behavior, I suggest that you read all five parts of the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy.  Then pick up copies of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul.  You won’t be disappointed.

Is there a book or book series that you recommend to people?

I just did. 😉

 

At what age did you start writing?

I’m a born storyteller.  Even before I could write, I drew stories.  But as soon as I could, I started writing out little tales, mostly spooky stories.  I was heavily influenced by the stories of Kathryn Tucker Windham, Gus Grimley, and Edgar Allan Poe and emulated them from an early age.  One of those early stories, a tale about an archaeologist and a mummy, was published in my school paper in 5th grade.

 

Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you?  If so, how do you deal with it.

I’m dealing with it now actually, so I’ve slowed down quite a bit.  It’s frustrating and often tied to a recurrent problem I have with depression.  So I tend to write in bursts.  I might clock a thousand words in an afternoon or in a particularly bad week.  At other times, I’ll crank out a novelette in less than a month.  Sometimes I can harness that funk and use it to create.  If not, I relegate my activities to mission planning, marketing, and other promotional work until I break through that barrier.  At other times, I find myself stuck because I’m not sure how I want to approach a particular scene or twist in a story.  In that case, I’ll sit back and let the idea percolate in creation station until it’s ready to put on paper or into a Word document.

What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?

Never give up.  Never give in.  Never stop editing.
 
Thanks Jeremy. Look for his story…
Deep Diving Death-Defying Dwarves of the Deep
In
Capes & Clockwork.

 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Jeremy Hicks
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.
And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Jeremy hicks
A native of Alabama, Jeremy Hicks spent several years working as a field archaeologist throughout the Southeast before teaming up with his longtime friend and co-author, Barry Hayes, to realize a shared creative dream.  The writing team of Hicks & Hayes created an original horror-fantasy environment (Faltyr™), wrote a screenplay (The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers) to introduce it, and then adapted it into a novelization of the same name.  As a result, their first novel will be published by Dark Oak Press and Media in the summer of 2013.
As co-founder of Broke Guys Productions, Jeremy has co-written three other as-of-yet unproduced screenplays, including the first sequel to CoAS: Finders Keepers.  Another of his screenplays, a darkly comedic horror tale about meth zombies plaguing a trailer park in Alabama, placed as a Top Finalist in the 2011 Cherub Films Horror Screenplay Competition under the title Night of the Living Rednecks.
 Jeremy Hicks is also a short story writer, poet, and infrequent Yahoo! contributor.  Three of his poems (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fascism, Do Not Waver, and Midnight Dzohkar) are available online via Yahoo! Voices.

 

Where do your ideas come from?
Like musicians and artists, writers draw their inspiration from a number of sources.   For me, some of my inspirations include music and art.  Other writers are a big inspiration, however.  The stories we hear along the way and the people that we encounter blend and flow and reshape themselves into ways for us to tell our own truths in ways that are familiar to an audience familiar with our common myths, legends, symbols, and even shared pop culture aspects such as music, art, comics, films, and television.
What is your funniest/ awkward moment at a convention/signing event?
That would be the overenthusiastic fan who decided to check the size of my package at a convention.
Do you base your characters on people you know or know of?
Sometimes.   I have written stories where elements of characters came from people in my life…or at least people in public life, such as celebrities, politicians, or historical figures.  But some stories take a more personal note.  Others serve therapeutic purposes.  You’ll be reading one of those in Luna’s Children, the upcoming Dark Oak anthology.  And another is under consideration for publication.
Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?
I tend to outline most of my work, some of it more heavily than others.  Though a number of those outlines change as I write, I prefer to have a guide so that I don’t get lost in the woods.
Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what do you listen too?
I liken music to my emotional state, so I tend to use it for inspirational purposes as well as setting ambience in general.  So the music that I use depends on what I’m trying to write.  For the Cycle of Ages Saga, I usually listen to heavy metal or hard rock, typically something symphonic or instrumental.  Old school metal legends, like Ronnie James Dio, were a big influence on our novel, Finders Keepers, but instrumental/ambient artists, such as Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana, played a big part as well.
Do you have any signings or appearances coming up?
My co-writer (Barry Hayes) and I will be appearing at several conventions in the next couple of months.  We’re scheduled for Con*Stellation and HallowCon in October, Memphis Comic & Fantasy Convention in November, and the Phenix City Toy & Comic Book Show in December.  We’ve had a couple of local signings and are looking into booking more in the Southeast as our schedule allows and where fans demand us.  So if you’d like to bring the Cycle of Ages Saga to your local bookstore, let us know.
What book do you read over and over the most?
The book that I keep coming back to over the years is one of the most absurd yet astute tomes in the world.  Nay, the universe!  I absolutely love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well as all things Douglas Adams.  If you’re looking for humor, wisdom, and accurate observations on human behavior, I suggest that you read all five parts of the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy.  Then pick up copies of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul.  You won’t be disappointed.
Is there a book or book series that you recommend to people?
I just did. 😉

 

At what age did you start writing?
I’m a born storyteller.  Even before I could write, I drew stories.  But as soon as I could, I started writing out little tales, mostly spooky stories.  I was heavily influenced by the stories of Kathryn Tucker Windham, Gus Grimley, and Edgar Allan Poe and emulated them from an early age.  One of those early stories, a tale about an archaeologist and a mummy, was published in my school paper in 5th grade.

 

Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you?  If so, how do you deal with it.
I’m dealing with it now actually, so I’ve slowed down quite a bit.  It’s frustrating and often tied to a recurrent problem I have with depression.  So I tend to write in bursts.  I might clock a thousand words in an afternoon or in a particularly bad week.  At other times, I’ll crank out a novelette in less than a month.  Sometimes I can harness that funk and use it to create.  If not, I relegate my activities to mission planning, marketing, and other promotional work until I break through that barrier.  At other times, I find myself stuck because I’m not sure how I want to approach a particular scene or twist in a story.  In that case, I’ll sit back and let the idea percolate in creation station until it’s ready to put on paper or into a Word document.
What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?
Never give up.  Never give in.  Never stop editing.
Thanks Jeremy. Look for his story…
Deep Diving Death-Defying Dwarves of the Deep
In
Capes & Clockwork.

 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Alexander S. Brown

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Alexander S. Brown
 

 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.

And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Alexander S. Brown
 
 





 
Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008. His first book, Traumatized, is a short story collection that has received rave reviews from horror fans throughout America. Although, Brown began as a horror author, he has recently published three young adult steampunk tales, which can be found in the anthologies, Dreams of Steam vol 2 and 3, and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells.  His poem, “Maters” was later published in the magazine, Midnight Screaming Volume 3, #4. His most recent endeavor is the paranormal anthology, Southern Haunts, which he edited and composed with author, J.L. Mulvihill. The special edition of Traumatized and his horror novel, Syrenthia Falls will be released in the fall of 2013.
 
 
Do you base your characters on people you know or know of? 
I tend to think that all characters I create have been influenced by someone in my life.  Sometimes it’s obvious who the character represents; other times, it’s more vague.  I suppose it depends on how much the individual has impacted my life.
 
Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?
 I plot out novels and novellas. Very rarely do I ever plot out a short story.
 
Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person?
Well, since I mostly write horror, I would have to say that one of my steampunk characters would be more suitable to meet.  In all honesty, I would like to meet my superhero Hester from Capes and Clockworks.  The reason is because I never knew she existed in me.  Of course, I always had a love for Ironman and the movie Freaks, but I never knew the two would come together as they did.
 
What is your latest project/release? 
My newest monster soon to hit the market is my novel, Syrenthia Falls.  This is being published by Dark Oak Press.  I warn readers in advance.  This book isn’t nearly as delicate as its title.
 
Favorite authors?
My favorite authors would have to be H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Chuck Palhanuick, Anne Rice, Jillian Flynn, Alice Seabolt, V.C. Andrews, David Moody, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Scott Sigler.  This is only a partial listing.
 
How much of you is in your characters? 
Quite a bit of me is in my characters.  I’ll let you decide exactly how much after you meet me and then read my works.
 
Do you prefer writing short stories or novels?  And why? I enjoy both equally.  It is actually a difficult pick between the two.  Short stories and novels are two completely different monsters.  Sometimes a thought is deserving of a short story; other times it is deserving of a novel.
 
What are you working on now?  I am currently editing the sequel to Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us.  The sequel, Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness, is an anthology composed by editor Louise Myers and myself.  I recently finished a vintage Halloween collection called The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out which I believe Pro Se Publishing is going to grab.  I have my manuscript, Looking Glass Creatures, in the hands of Seventh Star Press and I’m outlining the sequel to my novel, Syrenthia Falls, for Dark Oak Press.
 
Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you? 
If so, how do you deal with it?  Writer’s Block used to be a problem for me.  It isn’t anymore.  You have to train yourself to write and see where your writing takes you.  As the author, Angela Sparrow, once said to me, “You can write a sentence.”
 
What are 3 things you feel every aspiring writer should know? 
1. Believe in your work.
2. When you write, make sure you have a nice pacing, relatable characters, and believable dialogue.
 3. Advertise, advertise, advertise.  Never turn down a review, interview, or public speaking opportunity.
 

 
 
 
 
Thanks Alex for your time.
Look for Alex’s story, Indestructiblecoming soon in Capes& Clockwork.
 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Alexander S. Brown

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Alexander S. Brown
 

 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.

And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Alexander S. Brown
 
 





 

Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008. His first book, Traumatized, is a short story collection that has received rave reviews from horror fans throughout America. Although, Brown began as a horror author, he has recently published three young adult steampunk tales, which can be found in the anthologies, Dreams of Steam vol 2 and 3, and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells.  His poem, “Maters” was later published in the magazine, Midnight Screaming Volume 3, #4. His most recent endeavor is the paranormal anthology, Southern Haunts, which he edited and composed with author, J.L. Mulvihill. The special edition of Traumatized and his horror novel, Syrenthia Falls will be released in the fall of 2013.

 

 

Do you base your characters on people you know or know of? 

I tend to think that all characters I create have been influenced by someone in my life.  Sometimes it’s obvious who the character represents; other times, it’s more vague.  I suppose it depends on how much the individual has impacted my life.

 

Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?

 I plot out novels and novellas. Very rarely do I ever plot out a short story.

 

Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person?

Well, since I mostly write horror, I would have to say that one of my steampunk characters would be more suitable to meet.  In all honesty, I would like to meet my superhero Hester from Capes and Clockworks.  The reason is because I never knew she existed in me.  Of course, I always had a love for Ironman and the movie Freaks, but I never knew the two would come together as they did.

 

What is your latest project/release? 

My newest monster soon to hit the market is my novel, Syrenthia Falls.  This is being published by Dark Oak Press.  I warn readers in advance.  This book isn’t nearly as delicate as its title.

 

Favorite authors?

My favorite authors would have to be H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Chuck Palhanuick, Anne Rice, Jillian Flynn, Alice Seabolt, V.C. Andrews, David Moody, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Scott Sigler.  This is only a partial listing.

 

How much of you is in your characters? 

Quite a bit of me is in my characters.  I’ll let you decide exactly how much after you meet me and then read my works.

 

Do you prefer writing short stories or novels?  And why? I enjoy both equally.  It is actually a difficult pick between the two.  Short stories and novels are two completely different monsters.  Sometimes a thought is deserving of a short story; other times it is deserving of a novel.

 

What are you working on now?  I am currently editing the sequel to Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us.  The sequel, Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness, is an anthology composed by editor Louise Myers and myself.  I recently finished a vintage Halloween collection called The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out which I believe Pro Se Publishing is going to grab.  I have my manuscript, Looking Glass Creatures, in the hands of Seventh Star Press and I’m outlining the sequel to my novel, Syrenthia Falls, for Dark Oak Press.

 

Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you? 

If so, how do you deal with it?  Writer’s Block used to be a problem for me.  It isn’t anymore.  You have to train yourself to write and see where your writing takes you.  As the author, Angela Sparrow, once said to me, “You can write a sentence.”

 

What are 3 things you feel every aspiring writer should know? 

1. Believe in your work.

2. When you write, make sure you have a nice pacing, relatable characters, and believable dialogue.
 3. Advertise, advertise, advertise.  Never turn down a review, interview, or public speaking opportunity.

 

 
 
 
 
Thanks Alex for your time.
Look for Alex’s story, Indestructiblecoming soon in Capes& Clockwork.

 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Brent Nichols

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Brent Nichols.

 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.
And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Brent Nichols.
 
Brent Nichols is a Canadian writer of steampunk, science fiction, and fantasy. His stories can be found in the anthology Shanghai Steam from Edge Publishing and in eSteampunk Magazine. His novel Lord of Fire will be released by Double Dragon Publishing in 2014.



Do you base your characters on people you know or know of?

Officially, no. There might be the occasional pain in my real-life neck who shows up as a villain, or perhaps the village idiot, in a story. I’m not naming any names, though.
I write a lot of strong, spunky, fearless female characters. My model to some degree for those women is my sister, Jodie. She’s always inspired me. She’s tough and courageous, and she’s smart and funny, and I look at the fun that I have being around her, and I try to make that come through on the page. I want my readers to say, “Wow, I really like her, and I want to spend more time with her.”

 

Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?

I’m mostly a plotter. I like to know where a story is going before I set out. My outlines are often quite minimal, but I always have one. Often the middle of the story is a bit of a mystery to me until I get there, but I generally have two things in mind: a fun place to start the story, and a high-impact ending that I’ll build toward.

 

Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person?

I wrote a zombie play called ZOMG, which my sister performed in the Vancouver Fringe in 2013. The protagonist, Brenda, is one of the most fun characters I’ve ever written. She’s a tough, cynical, smart-mouthed butt-kicker, and she would be an absolute blast to hang out with. So long as I didn’t make her angry.

 

How much do you write each day/week?

My word counts fluctuate wildly. In January of 2011 I started keeping a log of my daily word counts, and it was a real eye-opener. I think 8000 words was my all-time high for one day of writing, and there have only been half a dozen days where I broke 5000. My daily average over a year is less than 2000, but it’s hard to pick out patterns. I firmly believe in writing every day, though I often fail to actually DO that.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no quality difference at all in the words I create on a 5k day compared to the words I produce on a 1k day. There is a perception out there that, if you write quickly, you’re a hack. It’s not necessarily true.

 

Can you tell about your experiences working with publishers?

It’s only in the last year and a half that I’ve started placing some short stories in anthologies. It’s been fascinating seeing how different publishers and editors work. One anthology had a high level of professionalism, with cogent, insightful suggestions from the editor and a PDF proof of the story for me to check over before it went to press. That company produced a beautifully-crafted book that I’m proud to be part of.
Another publisher accepted my story and paid me, gave no feedback at all, and apparently threw the book together with as little effort as possible. The book is perfectly legible, but it’s ugly and it looks amateurish. It hardly belongs on the same shelf as the other anthology.
I also placed a novel with Double Dragon Publishing this year. They are a well-established Canadian publisher, primarily of ebooks in the fantasy and science fiction genres. They assigned a freelance copy editor to my book, and she sends me emails pointing out little inconsistencies and asking about potential errors.
So far I’m not making much money from the publishers I’m working with, but some of the editing has been absolutely priceless. I’ve gotten better manuscripts, and above all I’ve gained real insight from working with good editors.

 

What is your latest project/release?

I’m writing a series of steampunk/Lovecraft novellas called the Gears of a Mad God series. I’ve released the first five books, and I’m tinkering with book six. I have a rough draft, but it needs a lot of work. They’re darkly funny books full of action and adventure, with a plucky heroine who cobbles together steam-powered gadgets to get herself out of scrapes.

 

How much of you is in your characters?

That’s a good question. My first novel, an unpublishable wreck that taught me a huge amount, was all about me. The protagonist was pretty much me, with a bit of wish fulfillment mixed in, written in the first person without the benefit of much insight. I was 18 when I wrote it, and I didn’t know myself terribly well, and the resulting novel isn’t too impressive.
It’s much harder to see me in my characters now. I’m in my forties now, I’m more complex, and I have a greater understanding of myself and of other people. That makes it easier to write a greater variety of characters. I can take one facet of my personality, flesh it out, bring in elements from other people I’ve known, and turn that into a character. I might create a character who has one of my minor personal character traits as a major part of his or her character. There’s a bit of me in there, but it’s certainly not me.
I’m also more likely these days to be fascinated by traits that other people have that I don’t share. I’ll create a character who has very little in common with me, as a way of exploring bigotries or convictions or strengths that I don’t have.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a series of sword and sorcery novels set in a Tolkein-esque world. I’m also putting the final touches on the sixth novella in my “Gears of a Mad God” series of steampunk/Lovecraft books. I was getting psyched out by the “Gears of a Mad God” series, taking it too seriously, and getting nothing done. I started the sword and sorcery stuff to give myself a break and make writing fun again. I’ve been quite pleased with the result. “Bone Magic” and its as-yet-untitled sequel are fun, rollicking stories with that high adventure component that makes writing, for me, a pleasure.

 

Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you? If so, how do you deal with it.

Sometimes I get into a bad headspace where my thoughts just chase themselves in circles and I get nothing done. I usually try to put the manuscript on hold and come back to it later. Sometimes a fresh perspective after a break is all I need. Sometimes I end up abandoning a manuscript for good.
There are times when I can work my way through whatever’s blocking me. Anxiety is usually a significant factor, so sometimes I can simply remind myself that it’s just some letters on a page, nothing to get uptight about.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and either look at the bigger picture and re-think the structure of the story, or go smaller and write myself an outline for the chapter. Five or ten lines in point form are often enough to help me see the chapter or scene in manageable bites.
When I need to take a break from a manuscript, I usually switch to something new. This often results in a sudden spike in word counts, but it can lead to a proliferation of half-finished manuscripts. I don’t want to think about how many stories I’ve got on my hard drive, waiting for me to finish them.

 

What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?

There is a lot of good writing advice out there, and you should do a Google search and read a bunch of it. One thing you’ll find is that writers will contradict one another. You need to ignore a significant portion of the writing advice you receive. The key is figuring out which parts to ignore.
Similarly, you should find beta readers or a critique group and get feedback on your writing, but once again you need to ignore a significant portion of what you hear. Critiquers will contradict one another. Critiquers will just plain be wrong. You need to listen to only half of what they say. The trick, of course, is figuring out which half.
There is value to be gained from editing and re-writing, but only so much. It could be that the best use of your writing time is to set aside the manuscript you’ve been agonizing over, call it complete, and write something new. Don’t be one of those poor saps who has one novel, or even just one chapter, or half a chapter, after a decade of writing. Editing and tinkering have a certain amount of value, but so does moving on and writing a new manuscript.  

 
Thanks Brent for your time. 
Look for Brent’s story, ‘The Gears of Justice’ in Capes & Clockwork.



 

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Brent Nichols

Capes & Clockwork author interview with Brent Nichols.

 
Capes & Clockwork is an upcoming anthology from Dark Oak Press which fuses the beauty and elegance of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. As part of the ‘gearing up’ to the release of ‘Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam’, I’ll be interviewing some of the great authors that contributed.

And now on the stage, right here for your reading pleasure is…. Brent Nichols.
 
Brent Nichols is a Canadian writer of steampunk, science fiction, and fantasy. His stories can be found in the anthology Shanghai Steam from Edge Publishing and in eSteampunk Magazine. His novel Lord of Fire will be released by Double Dragon Publishing in 2014.



Do you base your characters on people you know or know of?

Officially, no. There might be the occasional pain in my real-life neck who shows up as a villain, or perhaps the village idiot, in a story. I’m not naming any names, though.
I write a lot of strong, spunky, fearless female characters. My model to some degree for those women is my sister, Jodie. She’s always inspired me. She’s tough and courageous, and she’s smart and funny, and I look at the fun that I have being around her, and I try to make that come through on the page. I want my readers to say, “Wow, I really like her, and I want to spend more time with her.”

 

Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?

I’m mostly a plotter. I like to know where a story is going before I set out. My outlines are often quite minimal, but I always have one. Often the middle of the story is a bit of a mystery to me until I get there, but I generally have two things in mind: a fun place to start the story, and a high-impact ending that I’ll build toward.

 

Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person?

I wrote a zombie play called ZOMG, which my sister performed in the Vancouver Fringe in 2013. The protagonist, Brenda, is one of the most fun characters I’ve ever written. She’s a tough, cynical, smart-mouthed butt-kicker, and she would be an absolute blast to hang out with. So long as I didn’t make her angry.

 

How much do you write each day/week?

My word counts fluctuate wildly. In January of 2011 I started keeping a log of my daily word counts, and it was a real eye-opener. I think 8000 words was my all-time high for one day of writing, and there have only been half a dozen days where I broke 5000. My daily average over a year is less than 2000, but it’s hard to pick out patterns. I firmly believe in writing every day, though I often fail to actually DO that.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no quality difference at all in the words I create on a 5k day compared to the words I produce on a 1k day. There is a perception out there that, if you write quickly, you’re a hack. It’s not necessarily true.

 

Can you tell about your experiences working with publishers?

It’s only in the last year and a half that I’ve started placing some short stories in anthologies. It’s been fascinating seeing how different publishers and editors work. One anthology had a high level of professionalism, with cogent, insightful suggestions from the editor and a PDF proof of the story for me to check over before it went to press. That company produced a beautifully-crafted book that I’m proud to be part of.
Another publisher accepted my story and paid me, gave no feedback at all, and apparently threw the book together with as little effort as possible. The book is perfectly legible, but it’s ugly and it looks amateurish. It hardly belongs on the same shelf as the other anthology.
I also placed a novel with Double Dragon Publishing this year. They are a well-established Canadian publisher, primarily of ebooks in the fantasy and science fiction genres. They assigned a freelance copy editor to my book, and she sends me emails pointing out little inconsistencies and asking about potential errors.
So far I’m not making much money from the publishers I’m working with, but some of the editing has been absolutely priceless. I’ve gotten better manuscripts, and above all I’ve gained real insight from working with good editors.

 

What is your latest project/release?

I’m writing a series of steampunk/Lovecraft novellas called the Gears of a Mad God series. I’ve released the first five books, and I’m tinkering with book six. I have a rough draft, but it needs a lot of work. They’re darkly funny books full of action and adventure, with a plucky heroine who cobbles together steam-powered gadgets to get herself out of scrapes.

 

How much of you is in your characters?

That’s a good question. My first novel, an unpublishable wreck that taught me a huge amount, was all about me. The protagonist was pretty much me, with a bit of wish fulfillment mixed in, written in the first person without the benefit of much insight. I was 18 when I wrote it, and I didn’t know myself terribly well, and the resulting novel isn’t too impressive.
It’s much harder to see me in my characters now. I’m in my forties now, I’m more complex, and I have a greater understanding of myself and of other people. That makes it easier to write a greater variety of characters. I can take one facet of my personality, flesh it out, bring in elements from other people I’ve known, and turn that into a character. I might create a character who has one of my minor personal character traits as a major part of his or her character. There’s a bit of me in there, but it’s certainly not me.
I’m also more likely these days to be fascinated by traits that other people have that I don’t share. I’ll create a character who has very little in common with me, as a way of exploring bigotries or convictions or strengths that I don’t have.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a series of sword and sorcery novels set in a Tolkein-esque world. I’m also putting the final touches on the sixth novella in my “Gears of a Mad God” series of steampunk/Lovecraft books. I was getting psyched out by the “Gears of a Mad God” series, taking it too seriously, and getting nothing done. I started the sword and sorcery stuff to give myself a break and make writing fun again. I’ve been quite pleased with the result. “Bone Magic” and its as-yet-untitled sequel are fun, rollicking stories with that high adventure component that makes writing, for me, a pleasure.

 

Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you? If so, how do you deal with it.

Sometimes I get into a bad headspace where my thoughts just chase themselves in circles and I get nothing done. I usually try to put the manuscript on hold and come back to it later. Sometimes a fresh perspective after a break is all I need. Sometimes I end up abandoning a manuscript for good.
There are times when I can work my way through whatever’s blocking me. Anxiety is usually a significant factor, so sometimes I can simply remind myself that it’s just some letters on a page, nothing to get uptight about.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and either look at the bigger picture and re-think the structure of the story, or go smaller and write myself an outline for the chapter. Five or ten lines in point form are often enough to help me see the chapter or scene in manageable bites.
When I need to take a break from a manuscript, I usually switch to something new. This often results in a sudden spike in word counts, but it can lead to a proliferation of half-finished manuscripts. I don’t want to think about how many stories I’ve got on my hard drive, waiting for me to finish them.

 

What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?

There is a lot of good writing advice out there, and you should do a Google search and read a bunch of it. One thing you’ll find is that writers will contradict one another. You need to ignore a significant portion of the writing advice you receive. The key is figuring out which parts to ignore.
Similarly, you should find beta readers or a critique group and get feedback on your writing, but once again you need to ignore a significant portion of what you hear. Critiquers will contradict one another. Critiquers will just plain be wrong. You need to listen to only half of what they say. The trick, of course, is figuring out which half.
There is value to be gained from editing and re-writing, but only so much. It could be that the best use of your writing time is to set aside the manuscript you’ve been agonizing over, call it complete, and write something new. Don’t be one of those poor saps who has one novel, or even just one chapter, or half a chapter, after a decade of writing. Editing and tinkering have a certain amount of value, but so does moving on and writing a new manuscript.  

 
Thanks Brent for your time. 
Look for Brent’s story, ‘The Gears of Justice’ in Capes & Clockwork.