5 MINUTE INTERVIEW: MATTHEW COX

Today I’m talking to Matthew Cox. Best known for Division Zero and the upcoming Virtual Immortality (the 19th of May 2014). I recently collaborated with Matt on the Far From Home spin-off, Operation: Chimera (published by Curiosity Quills). That will be out soon. The whole process of working with Matt has been a joy, and I can’t wait to work on other material with him in the near-future.

Hello Matt. Thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Firstly, congratulations on the release of Division Zero. To someone who doesn’t know your work, how would you best describe it?

Matt: Division Zero combines elements of Cyberpunk with the Paranormal in a story that has elements of mystery and crime fiction. Born with the ability to see (and harm) the dead, Kirsten gets off to a bad start in life with a mother who thinks she is a tool of the Devil. Now a police officer in the psionic division, she gets to handle all the weird nastiness that no one else dares go near.

Kirsten’s emotional journey is as much a part of the story as the detective/crime elements, as she deals with her past and finds her way toward solid footing in the future.

You’re best known for The Division Zero series. What’s on the horizon for you? A continuation of your recent work, or something new?

Matt: I’m currently in the middle of another series, The Awakened, which follows other psionic individuals in the same setting who have more potent gifts, but are also extremely rare. There are three more books left to write in that series, and I may do a fourth for Division Zero if the muse visits. I’m thinking about some fantasy projects as well, and there is a chance I may do something ‘contemporary paranormal.’

If you were to talk to your readership in person, and you only had one shot at it, what would you say?

Matt: I hope I was able to help you escape the doldrums of the real world, if only for a short while.

There’s a lot of discussion, both online and in the press, about the ‘state of publishing,’ and the ‘rise of amateur writers.’ What do you think? Has the advent of independent publishing really just handed a loaded weapon into the hands of amateur hobbyists, or is it all about empowering authors more than ever? What are your thoughts?

Matt: I saw a quote a few weeks ago, something along the lines of a professional writer is just an amateur that didn’t give up. I can’t say I remember who said it, but I think there’s a fair amount of decent stuff that never saw the light of day because of the opinions of a small group.

Yes, there is bad writing, but readers are a savvy lot and independent publishing really puts power into the hands of readers. The people who enjoy fiction are the ones making the decision what “sells.”

Both ways have their strengths and flaws, and I don’t feel as though I’m in any position to opine on which one is “better”, but the truth has got to be somewhere between the two.

Getting away from books for a moment, what else are you up to at the moment?

Matt: I also have a habit of eating and sleeping on occasion, and there’s that whole day job thing as well. I am still a tabletop gamer, we play once a week when people can show up.

For the other writers reading this, what advice do you have to offer them? What works for you when it comes to setting pen to paper?

Matt: Years ago when I first got it in my head to try and write something, I just had an idea, sat down, and started whacking at keys. I didn’t get very far, got lost, distracted, and gave up. Sometime later, when I went back to it I had more determination and I decided to write up a brief outline of each chapter. With that sort of roadmap to go by, I didn’t get lost and I finished one.

I know there are “pantsers” and there are “outliners” and many writers can just sit down and go. It’s a personal choice and something that I had to do in order to get through it. The one exception was Caller 107; however, its origin was from a dream and the initial write up was a transcription thereof. In a way, I suppose that was an outline as well, but I never wrote one out for it.

Lastly, I used to do something like this a few years ago in my interviews. I’ve adapted it for this latest batch.

I have five questions for you. Ready? Here we go. Give me your honest answers.

1. If there were to be a film of your life, who would play you in the lead role?

Matt: Probably Chevy Chase.

2. Following the same line of thought, if there were to be a film made of any of your work, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?

Matt: I’m not honestly sure. I don’t watch a lot of tv as of late so I’m not really sure who’d make a good Kirsten. I pictured Dorian as a “late thirties” Tony Shalhoub while writing it.

3. What are you reading at the moment?

Matt: The most recent book I read was Silicon Man by William Massa.

4. What are you listening to at the moment?

Matt: Queensryche.

5. This is stolen directly from James Lipton, but what the heck. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Matt: So, do you believe I exist now? No worries – all is forgiven.

Lastly, where do you see yourself in twelve months time? What will you be doing? Where will you be in life? Where do you hope to be?

Matt: It would be amazing if writing took off and I could make a living at it, but I know that only happens for a few lucky authors. I expect I’ll still be where I am now, writing and working. Though, I do hope that in a year’s time, I’ll have a large number of people who have found a modicum of entertainment in my writing.

Well, that’s the end of our little interview. Thanks for participating. I’m sure everyone will love [Division Zero].

MAtt: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<– deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.

5 MINUTE INTERVIEW: DIETMAR ARTHUR WEHR

Today I’m talking to Dietmar Arthur Wehr. Best known for The Synchronicity War series they recently released.

Hello Dietmar. Thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Firstly, congratulations on the release of The Synchronicity War Part 3.

Dietmar: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be interviewed. It’s the first time I’ve been interviewed as an author.

Tell us a little bit about The Synchronicity War series. To someone who doesn’t know your work, how would you best describe it?

Dietmar: It’s meant to be a gritty, no-holds-barred look at Mankind’s desperate attempt to avoid extinction at the hands of a dangerously paranoid alien race. Lots of action but also some character development including the introduction of fully sentient Artificially Intelligent entities who become Humanity’s loyal allies. The thing that makes this series different from other military SF is the fact that the main character is getting precognitive visions that help him in his fight with the aliens. He can’t control his visions and hasn’t told his Space Force superiors about them. They think he’s a tactical genius and are giving him more responsibility. His fear is that he’ll be in command of a key battle that will determine Humanity’s fate and won’t have a vision to guide him.

You’re best known for The Synchronicity War series. What’s on the horizon for you? A continuation of your recent work, or something new?

Dietmar: I’m not quite finished with the SW series yet. I’ll write Part 4 which will bring the Synchronicity War to a conclusion. While I don’t have any specific plans right now, I can see myself writing another series, at some point, that takes place in the same Synchronicity War universe.

If you were to talk to your readership in person, and you only had one shot at it, what would you say?

Dietmar: I would say that I write what I like to read and I like military SF with lots of action. My favourite author is David Weber and his Honor Harrington series. I’ve tried to use his first HH book, which was faster paced than his more recent books, as a model for my SW series. And like Weber, I’ve tried to make my space combat as realistic in terms of distances, momentum, acceleration, etc. as possible. My books are designed to appeal to sci fi action junkies. If that’s not your cup of tea, then don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There’s a lot of discussion, both online and in the press, about the ‘state of publishing,’ and the ‘rise of amateur writers.’ What do you think? Has the advent of independent publishing really just handed a loaded weapon into the hands of amateur hobbyists, or is it all about empowering authors more than ever? What are your thoughts?

Dietmar: I think that independent publishing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows writers, who can’t find a literary agent or publisher, to get their books in front of the public. I’ve always wondered how many really good manuscripts never saw the light of day because the author couldn’t find an agent to represent them or perhaps not the right agent. I’ll use myself as an example. I managed to get the name and contact info for the agent who represents Jack Campbell who writes the Lost Fleet series. I sent that agent one of my earlier novels, that had lots of military SF action and got a reply back saying that my novel didn’t fit in with the kind of SF that the agent wanted to represent. What I couldn’t understand was that he was ALREADY representing exactly that kind of SF thru Campbell’s series.

So independent publishing gives writers like me a chance at actually having our work read by people who are looking for it. But the opposite side of that coin is that retailers like Amazon, aren’t making it easy to be successful. Having a good story is just the first step. With hundreds of new novels being added to the market for each genre weekly, a writer has to get his new book noticed within the first 30 days or it’ll get lost in the crowd. A lot of new writers fail to do that with their first book and they then give up on writing. I experienced a very steep learning curve the hard way. By the time my SW novels started appearing, I had already made the usual mistakes and learned from them with my earlier books. Retailers could make it easier to find the hidden gems that fall through the cracks.

Getting away from books for a moment, what else are you up to at the moment?

Dietmar: My ladyfriend and I are getting involved with the Steampunk movement. We’re working on our costumes and when they’re ready, we’ll be attending steampunk events. My steampunk persona will be a 19th Century German time traveller.

For the other writers reading this, what advice do you have to offer them? What works for you when it comes to setting pen to paper?

Dietmar: What seems to work for me are habits that I think a lot of other writers would disagree with. I don’t plot out the next book in detail in advance. I have a rough overview but sometimes I don’t even know how the book will end when I start writing it. I used to have trouble finishing a project. Writing short stories never really appealed to me. What got me over the hump of finishing a novel was joining NaNoWriMo, which is the National Novel Writing Month project on the net. The idea is to start writing a 50,000 word novel on November 1st and finish the first draft by November 30th. In order to do that, you should write an average of 1700 words a day and that’s a habit that’s useful to have later on. After finishing my 50,000 word novella, I later expanded it to 80,000 words and then I was able to write a complete novel. I don’t know if other writers experience this too but I find that the more you write, the easier it becomes. If I had to condense my advice down to one sentence, it would be this. Write everyday even if it’s only a few hundred words but also pace yourself. It’s easy to make the mistake of getting into a groove and writing 5,000 words in one day and then feel burned out the next day.

Lastly, I used to do something like this a few years ago in my interviews. I’ve adapted it for this latest batch.

I have five questions for you. Ready? Here we go. Give me your honest answers.

1. If there were to be a film of your life, who would play you in the lead role?

Dietmar: Definitely NOT Brad Pit. I’m not that good looking. People have told me that I look a little like Robert Mitchum when he was younger. If I had to pick someone my age now,

I’d say Kenneth Branagh.

2. Following the same line of thought, if there were to be a film made of any of your work, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?

Dietmar: Matthew McConaughey as Victor Shiloh and Jamie Alexander as Amanda Kelly.

3. What are you reading at the moment?

Dietmar: Right now nothing because I’m in the middle of a writing project but I’ll probably buy David Weber’s next Honorverse novel when it comes out.

4. What are you listening to at the moment?

Dietmar: I’m a big Enya and Fleetwood Mac fan plus a little Celine Dion.

5. This is stolen directly from James Lipton, but what the heck. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Dietmar: In order to answer that honestly, I’d have to reveal more of myself to your readers than I’m comfortable with.

Lastly, where do you see yourself in twelve months time? What will you be doing? Where will you be in life? Where do

you hope to be?

Dietmar: I hope to have just published novel #10 with enough financial success to kick back and pursue some other interests. I’m not going to stop writing altogether because I like doing it but it would be nice not to have to write because of financial pressure.

Well, that’s the end of our little interview. Thanks for participating. I’m sure everyone will love The Synchronicity War series.

Dietmar: Thank you for interviewing me. It was fun.

Dietmar Arthur Wehr was born in Duisburg, Germany in 1954. He’s lived in Canada since 1957. After getting a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, he climbed the lower rungs of the corporate ladder for two decades. At age 58, he embarked on a career as an SF author. He has one son who lives with him, no pets and has a ladyfriend who is the quintessential hippy flower child.

www.dwehrsfwriter.com

5 MINUTE INTERVIEW: DAVID K. HULEGAARD

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Today I’m talking to David K. Hulegaard. Best known for his sci-fi/noir Noble series, he recently launched the Hulegaard Books podcast, a weekly show featuring interviews with contemporary authors.

 

Hello Dave. Thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Firstly, congratulations on the upcoming release of Noble: New World Order.

 

Dave: Thank you very much, kind sir! It’s hard to believe that the trilogy is coming to an end after four long years. It’s been one hell of a ride. Sad to wrap it up, but anxious to dive into the next project!

 

Tell us a little bit about the Hulegaard Books podcast. To someone who doesn’t know your work, how would you best describe it?

 

Dave: Basically, I wanted to create a marketing opportunity for independent authors. Marketing is very expensive, and at the end of the day, that money is better spent on beautiful covers and editing services. I don’t claim to be a podcasting guru or anything, but the show has gotten great feedback so far. At the very least, I’m having a lot of fun getting to know other authors, and I hope they’re enjoying the opportunity to talk about their work, as well as address issues that we face as authors.

 

You’re best known for the Noble series. What’s on the horizon for you? A continuation of your recent work, or something new?

 

Dave: A little bit of both, actually.  I don’t want to spoil anything from the Noble finale, but it’s definitely ripe for a spin-off. So, if you read it and love the new characters, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing more of them in the future. Aside from that, I’ve got a few irons in the fire, including a novella outside of my usual sci-fi/paranormal wheelhouse. Scary, but I love to challenge myself.

 

If you were to talk to your readership in person, and you only had one shot at it, what would you say?

 

Dave: I’m actually far more attractive under a certain type of lighting.

 

There’s a lot of discussion, both online and in the press, about the ‘state of publishing,’ and the ‘rise of amateur writers.’ What do you think? Has the advent of independent publishing really just handed a loaded weapon into the hands of amateur hobbyists, or is it all about empowering authors more than ever? What are your thoughts?

 

Dave: A great, but difficult question. I think the right answer is probably somewhere in the middle. On one hand, self-publishing is a fantastic tool for talented, left of centre-type authors that big publishing doesn’t want to take a risk on. It’s a chance for those authors to find an audience, and tell the stories they want to tell without compromise. On the other hand, with the barrier of entry so low, it also lets in folks that sidestep protocol for the sake of getting something published. They design book covers in MS Paint. They self-edit or skip editing altogether. There’s no way to filter those authors out from the folks writing the stories you should be reading. In the end, that creates a big problem. As independent authors, the burden of quality rests upon our shoulders, and rightfully so. We all need to ensure we’re putting our best foot forward, and allow readers to purchase with confidence.

 

Getting away from books for a moment, what else are you up to at the moment?

 

Dave: The Hulegaard Books podcast is going strong! Eight episodes are available on my website right now, with more waiting to be edited. Outside of that, I’m preparing for my move to the Great White North later this summer.

 

For the other writers reading this, what advice do you have to offer them? What works for you when it comes to setting pen to paper?

 

Dave: Don’t give up. Don’t be stubborn. Don’t take shortcuts. Think your ideas through before typing your first word. Outline your story, even if sloppy and incomplete. Write character bios, even if their personalities change along the way. No one will ever know the universe you’re creating better than you, so breathe it. Own it. Bring it to life. Reach out to others for feedback, and make sure you listen to that feedback. The best writers always do.

 

Lastly, I used to do something like this a few years ago in my interviews. I’ve adapted it for this latest batch.

I have five questions for you. Ready? Here we go. Give me your honest answers.

1. If there were to be a film of your life, who would play you in the lead role?

Dave: People always tell me that I look like Adam Savage from the TV show Myth Busters. Sorry, ladies, this bloke is taken.

2. Following the same line of thought, if there were to be a film made of any of your work, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?

Dave: For Noble: New World Order, I would cast Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) in a heartbeat to play Desmond Kalish.

3. What are you reading at the moment?

Dave: Division Zero by Matthew Cox.

4. What are you listening to at the moment?

Dave: Hammock, the most amazing band EVER!

5. This is stolen directly from James Lipton, but what the heck. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Dave: You look tired. Why don’t you grab that open seat next to Kurt Cobain.

 

Lastly, where do you see yourself in twelve months time? What will you be doing? Where will you be in life? Where do you hope to be?

 

Dave: Well, for starters, I’ll be in Canada. After that, hopefully right here, chatting with you about whatever project I’ll be working on. Save me a spot, will ya? 

 

Well, that’s the end of our little interview. Thanks for participating. I’m sure everyone will love Noble: New World Order.

 

Dave: Thanks, Tony! Always a pleasure to talk to you, and I mean that. I hope to have you as a guest on the Hulegaard Books podcast again sometime in the near future.

 

BIO: David K. Hulegaard is an author and student of film and music. He developed an extensive imagination at an early age while burying his nose into a mixture of R.L. Stine books and literary classics.

With an established professional background in marketing and community management, his thirst for expanded creative outlets blossomed. This led to the release of his debut novel in October 2010. He currently lives in Oregon City with his wife and dog. Citing a variety of influences, he loves to dabble within many different genres and settings to tell a story. Website: http://davidhulegaard.com/

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/David-K.-Hulegaard/e/B004CMUSX6

Amazon (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-K.-Hulegaard/e/B004CMUSX6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1395192239&sr=8-2