Writer Wednesday – Janie Franz

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1. Who are you?
Janie Franz
2. What type of stuff do you write?
I write fantasy and some archaeology-based adventure. I also have a couple of contemporary novels (romances for want of a better word)–one about Hollywood and one about the music industry.
3. What do you want to pimp right now?
My six-part Bowdancer series (The Bowdancer Saga and The Lost Song Trilogy).
4. What if your favorite book?
Besides my own? Seriously, unlike many writers I love reading my own work. As for other authors I love Stuart Clark’s Project U.F.L. trilogy and I really enjoyed NM writer Susan Slater’s Rollover. I’ve been a fan of Tony Hillerman and, yes, I LOVED the Harry Potter books.
5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a retired freelance journalist, specializing in music. I’m currently a publicist for a NM music festival, and I do a lot of petsitting/housesitting in New Mexico. I’m a mother and grandmother. I used to be a radio announcer, taught yoga and relaxation, and was a booking agent and publicist for a jamband.
6. What link can we find you at? https://authorjaniefranz.wordpress.com
Words from the Author…
The first con I ever attended was a science-fiction conference in Fargo ND. The guest author at that con was Margaret Weis, the author of the Dragonlance Chronicles. Those were some of the first modern fantasy novels, other than Andre Norton’s work, that carved out a whole new niche for writers.
The thing that impressed me most about Margaret Weis was the fact that she was everywhere! She tablehopped when she wasn’t on a panel. She visited with everybody. When she came to sit at a table where I was visiting with a friend, I was impressed with how ordinary she was. She was a famous author, but she was also human and very funny.
For me as an aspiring writer, with a lot of starts in a drawer, I realized that being a published author was possible. People–real human people–actually did it. And that one way to market was by showing up and talking to people. It was a great eye-opener for me.
Many years later, as a published author with eleven titles out, I am following Margaret Weis’ example: Be Present. As a guest author of Imaginarium in Louisville this September, I hope to Be Present as much as possible.

Writer Wednesday – Bobby Nash

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…
My name is Bobby Nash. I am a writer. I write novels, comic books, short stories, and screenplays. It’s the coolest job.

Here’s my official bio…
About Bobby Nash:
From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, 2013 Pulp Ark Award Winning Best Author, Bobby Nash writes a little bit of everything including novels, comic books, short prose, graphic novels, screenplays, media tie-ins, and more.
Between writing deadlines, Bobby is an actor and extra in movies and television, including appearances in Deviant Pictures’ Fat Chance, FOX’s The Following, USA’s Neil, Inc. and more. He is also the co-host of the Earth Station One podcast (www.esopodcast.com) and a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.
Bobby was named Best Author in the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards, his first professional writing award. Rick Ruby, a character co-created by Bobby and author Sean Taylor also snagged a Pulp Ark Award for Best New Pulp Character of 2013.
For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at http://www.bobbynash.com, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBobbyNash, and http://www.twitter.com/bobbynash, among other places across the web.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I’ve been a published author since 1992, but I didn’t really start producing regularly published material until around 2005. In that time I’ve worked on some pretty cool projects for a few different publishers. You can get the full list of my work at http://www.bobbynash.com, but here are a few of the highlights:

Novels: Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, Earthstrike Agenda, Fantastix
Comic Books: Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell, Demonslayer, Domino Lady vs. The Mummy, Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot”
Short Prose/novellas: A Fistful of Legends, Tales of The Rook, Zombies vs. Robots, The Ruby Files, Lance Star: Sky Ranger, Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars, Domino Lady, Secret Agent X, The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible, The Spider: Extreme Prejudice
Graphic Novels: Yin Yang, I Am Googol: The Great Invasion
Screenplays: Zenoids: “Animal Crackers”, Starship Farragut: “Conspiracy of Innocence”
Media Tie-In: Green Hornet Case Files, Green Hornet Still at Large, Nightbeat

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m always juggling multiple projects at one time.

At the moment, I am working on the first (of many, I hope) Ghost Gal novel for Raven’s Head Press. I’m doing production work on the Operation: Silver Moon graphic novel I wrote so it can go to press this month. I’m also working on a Honey West/Domino Lady novel for Moonstone Books. I also have a screenplay in the works I’m co-writing with a writer friend of mine on, and doing rewites on a short film I wrote that goes before the camera in May. There are other odds and ends that make up my day as well. I co-host the Earth Station One podcast, keep my websites up to date, social media, things like that. There never seems to be a shortage of things to do, which is nice.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
I remember reading and enjoying the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid. I checked them out from the school library. They were great. The first novel I recall owning was Han Solo’s Revenge. My Mom ordered books from a catalog and I was a big Star Wars fan. I saw it in her ordering form and she bought it for me. I still have it.

What are your three favorite books?
This is a tough one to answer because the answer is always changing. The first three that come to mind today are Airframe by Michael Crichton, Whipping Boy by John Byrne, and DC’s The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. I’ve read them multiple times.

How many books to do you read at any given time?
It varies. Sometimes it’s one at a time, sometimes three. It depends on my mood.

What are you reading now?
Right now I’m bouncing between three novels. So Close The Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison, Honey West: This Girl For Hire by G.G. Fickling, and I just started Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Lose all track of time.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I have re-read a few novels over the years, but only a small number. There’s always something in my to read pile I’ve not read yet.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely, especially when people who share the same interests as I do recommend a book. I’ve discovered many fantastic readers because someone said, “you have to read this.”

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
I love to recommend a good read to others, even if it’s not one I wrote. [laughs]

What do you look for in a good book?
I like to be entertained. Tell me a good story and I’m excited. Make me fall in love (or hate) with your characters and I’ll come back for more. What I don’t like is to be bored.

Why do you write?
It’s the only way to get the stories out of my head. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true because the ideas never stop coming. There are more story ideas rattling around in my brain than I can write. I will never have the chance to get to all of them. I love telling and crafting stories and creating characters. It’s fun.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I’d probably be sitting in an office doing something uninteresting.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. Ideas come from anywhere. I wish I had a better answer, but the ideas and inspiration come from all around. I will say that deadlines are great motivators.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
Writing has taught me that I can persevere and accomplish things with a lot of hard work and dedication. When I first started down this path, it was tough. There were (and still are) many rejections and criticisms. As a writer you are advised to “have a thick skin” but sometimes that is easier said than done. It would have been so easy to give up way back when. Thankfully, I didn’t give up and stuck with it and today I’m being contacted by publishers asking me if I would like to work for them. That’s pretty amazing. I wish younger me could have seen me now.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
It’s weird, but the one I find most often is meeting people who assume I’m rich because of the number of books I’ve worked on. Sadly, published author does not automatically equal wealthy author. I wish it did. I think my life would be a little simpler if that were the case, but it’s not. Far from it, in fact. I’m still chasing that brass ring.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
There are a lot. We’re not all rich. We’re not always drunk or high. That sort of thing. Also, the police never ask me to help them solve crimes.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Right now, it has never been easier to get your work in print. The downside of the that is that it takes a lot more to make your book(s) stand out against the millions of other titles out there. I don’t have the answer for how to rise to the top because, if I did, my books would be selling better than they are [laughs]. There is more to being a writer than writing. You have to market your book(s) and yourself. You have to get out there and meet readers, talk to people, sell it. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time. Writing the novel is only part of the job.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh, sure. Poor writing style or clumsy turns of phrase. There is always something I look back on and realize that I can do it better or differently now. That’s not to say it was wrong the first time (although, sometimes…) but as I learn new techniques and develop new skills, how I approach certain things is different. I learn from those mistakes.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
There are so many dream projects. I do enjoy writing media tie-ins and I’ve had fun with the few I’ve been fortunate enough to write for, but there are a few out there I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at eventually. Stargate SG-1 or Stargate: Atlantis would be fun. I pitched a novel to the publisher that holds the license, but never heard back. It would have been fun, I think. I love Star Trek and Star Wars, but I’m not sure I’m the right writer for novels based on those properties. On the comic book side of things, an opportunity to write The Fantastic Four would be incredible. I love those characters. There are more, of course, but those are currently at the top of my list.

How do you deal with your fan base?
I feel fortunate to have a fan base that interacts with me. I answer every email, question, and comment sent to me or left on my website or at conventions. I attend as many conventions/signings/conferences as I can afford to get out and meet readers and creators face to face. I love meeting fans and potential fans of my books.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
Secrets. I’m pretty much an open book. Sometimes I think I share too much. [laughs]

Anything else we should know?
I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to check out one of my books, leave a review, or just say hi. I love what I do and hope to continue doing it. Please feel free to visit me at http://www.bobbynash.com or on social media.

Writer Wednesday – Kathryn Sullivan

I first met Kathryn at a convention a couple years ago, intrigued by her “Chicks Dig Time Lords” antho.  Since then we’ve run into each other in several places here and there, most recently inside the covers of Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells.  This is her.

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
I’m Kathryn Sullivan. Hi!

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I write young adult fantasy and science fiction. I’ve been writing since I was young and had several short stories published before a publisher decided to take a chance on my books. I’m also owned by a large cockatoo.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
THE CRYSTAL THRONE and TALKING TO TREES are my young adult fantasy books with wizards, elves and talking horses. AGENTS AND ADEPTS is a collection of my short stories – some fantasy, some science fiction – and the talking horses snuck in there as well. I have a short story in CLOCKWORK SPELLS AND MAGICAL BELLS with elves and dwarves, and my children’s picture book, MICHAEL AND THE ELF, was just released by a different publisher.

I’m a big Doctor Who fan and I have a short story in a Doctor Who anthology by Big Finish, an essay in the Hugo-winning CHICKS DIG TIME LORDS and a review in OUTSIDE IN. More information can be found at my website: http://kathrynsullivan.com

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’ve been working on two projects. The first is a YA science fiction book set on a colony planet, and the second is a continuation of my galactic agents series from three short stories in AGENTS AND ADEPTS.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
My family were big readers. There was a bookcase full of books in the bedroom my sister and I shared and my parents expected us to read if we got up early on Saturday. There were shelves of books in our basement – my brother’s collection of Hardy Boys, my sisters’ collection of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Judy Bolton and others, my mother’s set of the Oz books and my father’s big collection of science fiction and fantasy. I remember my mother reading the Oz books to my younger sister and I.

I also have fond memories of my public library, which when I was very small was inside the fire station.

What are your three favorite books?
Only three? My three favorite books from my past, the ones which influenced me, are Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS, James Schmitz’s AGENT OF VEGA, and James White’s HOSPITAL STATION. Favorite ones I like to revisit are Janet Kagan’s MIRABILE and Diana Wynne Jones’ HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and YEAR OF THE GRIFFIN.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
Usually three. Right now I just finished IRON HEARTED VIOLET by Kelly Barnhill, on my Kindle I’m reading THE CROW GOD’S GIRL by Patrice Sarath, and the book beside my bed is WORLDSOUL by Liz Williams.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Lose all track of time.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
And the answer depends on what mood I’m in. When I was in my teens and twenties I would re-read THE LORD OF THE RINGS once a year. Now I might go on a Janet Kagan binge and re-read all her stories. Or I’ll look at the stack of new books waiting-to-be-read and instead re-read all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles series or Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden universe. Or Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series. Or…

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Eventually. I’ve got a big stack of books in the to-be-read pile. But it depends on who is doing the recommending and if their taste is similar to mine. I don’t pay any attention to NYT bestsellers.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very. I’m usually on panels about new YA books and I’m the one who will bring a list. And I let my local public library know if I’ve found a new author or book they should get.

What do you look for in a good book?
Characters that catch my interest, good world-building and an engaging plot.

Why do you write?
I started writing when I was 14 because the science fiction and fantasy of that time had very few female main characters. I wanted more stories with characters I could identify with. I continue to write because I keep coming up with characters and stories that demand to be told. When characters start stomping around in your head demanding that you tell their stories, believe me, you tell their stories.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I just retired last year from the job I loved as an academic librarian. I wanted to be a librarian in the moon colony, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From everything around me. Newspaper or magazine articles might trigger a story idea. I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day site (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html ) every morning and check a couple of anthropology news sites as those have also been good story triggers. Sometimes just an interesting picture will do it.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I need deadlines.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
Two of my sisters have been freelance artists, so I know they understand how much work it is. I’m sure some of my friends and co-workers probably thought I was very antisocial because I always seemed to be busy when they wanted to do things. But now I have friends who understand there are times when I’m busy and times when I need a break.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I keep hearing that all writers are rich and that they make a lot of money when a book is published. I’d like it to be true, but, sadly, it’s not.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Patience, persistence, and knowing when you need editing. Self-publishing has become so easy for some that they take no time to make their work the best they can before rushing into print. Some don’t even try sending their work out to publishers. Others try the big traditional presses but not the smaller presses or e-publishers. There are a number of good small presses and e-publishers who are looking for authors.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh, lots. I sent my first book out when I was fourteen – taught myself how to type, looked up the markets – but neglected to see what the standard manuscript format at the time was. Single-spaced, typed on both sides of the paper – I’m not surprised that one was rejected as quickly as it was.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
There’s been a few audio and media projects I would have liked to have been involved with. I would have loved to have written a Doctor Who book but I couldn’t think of a book-length idea.

How do you deal with your fan base?
I have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KathrynSullivan.author) and a webpage (http://kathrynsullivan.com) . I also go to several science fiction conventions and young writers conferences during the year. I enjoy talking with fans; they re-energize me to get back to my next story.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I’m not sure what they’d be surprised by. Maybe that my cockatoo plays catch. She has a great pitching beak and the signal when she wants to play is often her toy landing on the laptop keyboard. Though that’s mentioned on my Facebook page. That along with being a Doctor Who fan, I’m also a big MacGyver and Stargate SG-1 fan. Though recently I’ve been watching more Phineas & Ferb, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Legend of Korra and Transformers Prime. It’s probably no surprise that I’m looking forward to THE HOBBIT.

Anything else we should know?
For those who are interested, I have a list of conventions that I’ll be attending on my webpage (http://kathrynsullivan.com/appearances ).

Thank you!

 

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