Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coming Soon! Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the ‘Coming Soon’ blog hop (hey, that rhymes!) – the perfect place to find out what's next on my table. Never heard of me? No problem! Now's the perfect chance – the 'blog hop's job is introducing interested readers to upcoming writers.

I want to thank my fellow writer, Rose Blackthorn, for inviting me to answer the following questions about my current projects, the writing process, and what tingles my spine.

  • What are you working on right now?
My hard drive bears a mother lode of unfinished short stories, novels, and novellas so each day I pick the one that whines for the most attention and give it lots of love. When I've coddled it enough, I open up the middle-grade mystery novel I wrapped last month and revise it till it's raw.
  • How does it differ from other works in its genre?
My central character, Newton McKnight, is a boy genius who solves mysteries around his small Midwestern town. It's a tribute to kid detectives of yore. No, not the Scooby Doo crew. Think more along the lines of Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, and Lewis Barnavelt. The book is comprised of three interweaving tales in which Newt and his pals Jazz and Addie face off with a "haunted" locker, a bank-robbing "vampire," and a "fiend" on a football field. Aside from entertainment, my goal is to use language that will challenge middle-grade readers to broaden their vocabularies. I don't dumb down anything. If a reader doesn't know the meaning of a word, he or she is encouraged to use context clues to define it. If that fails, it never hurts to pick up a dictionary.
  • What experiences have influenced you?
Most of my childhood was spent exploring the woods and fields near my rural lake home with my friends, especially at night. We would get each other worked up by telling ghost stories and old local legends, like the one about the farmer who allegedly drowned his wife in the very lake near my house. Sometimes, it was said, you could hear her spirit wailing out by the dam. I never heard it myself, but it made for a heck of a mystery.
  • Why do you write what you do?
I write primarily speculative fiction because it opens a seam in our world, which can often seem mundane, and lets us peak at another world within. By examining this new world through a speculative lens, we can take what we see and apply it to ourselves. I don't just write to entertain. I try to present new ways of looking at things -- and learn from it in the process.
  • How does your writing process work?
Almost always a story begins with a single scene, which I then build layers around like a poisonous little pearl. Occasionally, a particular sentence or turn of phrase clicks in my mind and ends up being the catalyst for a 100,000-word novel.
  • What is the hardest part about writing?
Finding ample time in which to do it. Being a stay-at-home father of two young children does not foster the ideal conditions for committing to my craft. However, after 8:30PM (aka their bedtime), all bets are off.
  • What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
A collaboration with another writer I admire would be a fun project. Seeing how your ideas meshed (or didn't), sacrificing, and working together for the good of the story -- that seems like an exciting creative outlet.
  • Who are the authors you most admire?
I could spend a lot of time here, divding and subdividing categories and genres, but you can probably guess my favorites are congruent with many other writers of spec fiction. Most recently I've been immersed in Gillian Flynn. I read Sharp Objects and Dark Places back to back then had to find something else to occupy my time until I could get to the store to pick up Gone Girl.
  • Who are new authors to watch out for?
A whole new generation of speculative writers are finding their feet. Watch for breakouts from Eric Guignard, Suzanne Robb, and Armand Rosamilia. And of course, the three fantastic writers I have tagged below, as well as Rose Blackthorn who included me.
  • What scares you?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to...well, you know.

Now that we're better acquainted, click the links below to read the blogs of three fellow writers, who will be joining me on the ‘Coming Soon’ blog tour next Wednesday.

Rebecca Snow

Bennie Newsome

Mandy DeGeit

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