MORE ‘IN DISCUSSION WITH…’ INTERVIEWS ARE COMING

I wanted to add a new section to this site, of interviews with writers and other creatives, so I created the ‘In Discussion With…’ page. I have many more interviews lined up. But for now, to recap, I have interviewed:

Harry Hunsicker, where he discussed his latest release, THE DEVIL’S COUNTRY.

Bernard Schaffer, talking about his self-publishing career and his novel THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT, out soon from Kensington Publications.

Dayton Ward, who detailed what it was like writing a tie-in to Star Trek Discovery, and the publication of his latest Trek novel, HEARTS AND MINDS.

I will have news soon of further interviews but for now, if you’ve missed any of the interviews above, why not give them a read?

“Punch as hard as you can. Drive them into the corner and don’t let up.” IN DISCUSSION WITH… BERNARD SCHAFFER

Today I’m in discussion with Bernard Schaffer. I’ve known Bernard for a long time, and we’ve collaborated with each other, and edited each other’s work for years. Not only is Bernard an author, he is a full-time police detective, and father of two kids.

A career spanning twenty years has seen him become a decorated criminal investigator, narcotics expert and child forensic interviewer. Since I have known him, Bernard has been a formidable champion of independent publishing. His experience working the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA is present in much of his work.

It’s that real-life experience that makes his novel, The Thief Of All Light, so vivid and realistic (it’s released by Kensington Publications in Summer 2018). I was fortunate enough to be a beta (and early editor) on that book, and can tell you that it’s no surprise to me that Kensington wanted to publish it. Not only that, but they signed Bernard for a sequel, too. I’ve always been a fan of his work, but The Thief Of All Light is truly his best yet.

You can read the interview by clicking here!

Thoughts On Harlan Ellison

In 2011 I found myself submitting a short story to the anthology Resistance Front featuring none-other-than Harlan Ellison. Suffice to say I didn’t know that much about Harlan, only that he’d written the best of the TOS episodes, City On The Edge Of Forever.

I asked Alan Dean Foster if he would be interested in contributing to it as well, and was surprised when he agreed. I passed him over to Bernard Schaffer, editor-in-chief of the project and set about conducting interviews with all the writers involved. When it came to getting one from Harlan, he told me point blank he didn’t do email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. However he would grant me an interview if I could source him several magazines available here in the UK featuring him. Suffice to say I didn’t bother (sort of walking away from my first contact with the man rather deflated). It wasn’t until I did some reading online that I learned what kind of man Harlan Ellison was, and why it was not out of sorts for him to expect me to send him stuff for an interview.

In early 2013 my good friend Bernard did an interview with Matt Posner (author of School of the Ages), and he had this to say:

Harlan . . . I’ve never spoken openly about what happened with Harlan but I think enough time has passed to do so. Harlan was always one of my literary heroes. He still is. I’d kill for him, so don’t misunderstand anything I say. Over a period of a month or so, I was in constant contact with him. Emails, faxes, phone calls, mailed packages. He is a font of information and even his simplest emails will make you feel embarrassed to call yourself a writer. We talked about life, love, family, politics, his experiences as an author, Dangerous Visions, everything. In the midst of all that, Harlan offered to edit Old-Time Lawmen. I was flabbergasted.

To go from a kid who stood in line at Philly Comic Con to get his signature to an author working on a project with him was staggering. But it gets more amazing. He actually rewrote the first page of my story and signed it. I have, in my possession, a one of a kind Harlan Ellison manuscript that contains my characters and world in his words. He gave me a very honest, and correct, critique of the story and I told him I would get to work right away. I went into a frenzy of writing. It was like his insight to my work unlocked something in me, and I completely overhauled my style. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I sent him the new version. I thanked him for his honesty and told him how he’d helped me, and I waited.

 Now, let me back up a moment.

 Harlan is very ill, and what I think happened was that the month we were in such close contact, he was feeling better. He had some energy. He was excited about the project. That all changed when his illness reared up. The last phone call I got from him was that he’d received my story, and that he could not do anything more for me. I had, to quote, “Gone beyond the boundaries of imposition.” I had no idea what to say. I muttered an apology and he told me to save it. And then something really crazy happened. I knew this was it, so I thanked him for everything. What else could I say? He’s a literary giant and I’m a peon and he took the time to share a little of his insight with me. I told him I would always be grateful.

 He said, “Yeah, I’m just a wonderful fucking human being.”

 And then he hung up. We never spoke again. In more ways than one, it was a definitive experience for me as an author. Probably as a person.

I do believe that after that interview Bernard did have some contact with Harlan again. But that was his experience working closely with the man. Perhaps, reading it, it was not completely out of character.

Side note: Alan Dean Foster did his interview with me to promote the anthology and had the answers back the same day. I’ve had email contact with Alan on and off for years and have always found him very pleasant and approachable.

So I read about his famous bust-ups (including the Sinatra fiasco) and his lawsuits (my god, Terminator?). I found myself fascinated with watching his video clips on Youtube, his interview segments. I read the story he’d contributed to Resistance Front, an original version of Emissary From Hamelin. I grabbed a copy of I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream and read the entire collection. I went on to read Shatterday, Approaching Oblivion and his version of events surrounding the aforementioned Star Trek episode City On The Edge Of Forever.

When Hard Case Crime reprinted his classic crime novel Web Of The City, I managed to get myself an uncorrected proof of it.

Have I known him personally? Apart from two exchanges on his message board, no. My only real connection with him is to be published in the same anthology.

No, I came to know Harlan Ellison the writer, the artist, the champion of short fiction, the uncompromising voice. And I’ve got so many works of his to seek out and devour. I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. But thus far, I dare anyone to read I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream (the story) and not feel dumbstruck by the intense darkness of the piece. Or read One Life, Furnished In Early Poverty and not have your heart broken.

As of this writing, Harlan Ellison is laid up after having had a major stroke. But apparently his mind is still there. Well, I don’t find that hard to believe. The man is an unstoppable force, a creative cyclone. And one day the vessel that carries him will die. But not Harlan Ellison.

That master of words will live on forever.

Get SUN HAMMER PART 1 for FREE all weekend long! RT @ApiarySociety

Bernard Schaffer and I present:

FAR FROM HOME & GRENDEL UNIT: SUN HAMMER

Readers have loved our crossover between the Far From Home universe (mine) and the Grendel Unit universe (his), and to celebrate the fact that Far From Home: The Complete Series has found success in the charts, I’m making Part One: The Eyes Of The Enemy FREE from today all the way up to Sunday!

I encourage you to grab Part 1 for FREE and then get your hands on Part 2: Suicide Planet by Bernard Schaffer to find out how it ends!

You will not be disappointing. And if fans demand it, there will be more teaming up between these two universes in the future . . .

 

CALLING ALL FAR FROM HOME FANS!

A couple of things.

1) As of next week I will be writing Far From Home 9, 10, 11 and 12 exclusively. This means no more delays, no more long waits. You’ll get #9 in August, and then the last 3 very shortly after that. I think you’re all going to love it.

2) I am really thankful to all of the readers who take the time to a) get in touch and b) leave an honest review. You don’t know how much it means to me that people are enjoying the series. Again, thanks.

3) Which leads me to ask a favor. I recently collaborated with best-selling independent author Bernard Schaffer on a crossover from my series to his. It’s called:

FAR FROM HOME & GRENDEL UNIT

SUN HAMMER PART 1: THE EYES OF THE ENEMY

and 

GRENDEL UNIT & FAR FROM HOME

SUN HAMMER PART 2: SUICIDE PLANET

respectively. And both installments could really do with a review or two.

If anyone would be interested in reading the both, and perhaps leaving an honest review afterward, feel free to contact me tonyleehealey@gmail.com and I’ll send you copies.

I think it’s a great story that readers of the series will enjoy – it’s a prequel that involves Captain Singh and his second in command Jessica King – and I think you’ll dig Bernard’s series too. There’s a character in Grendel Unit called “Monster” and I for one would like to see him get his own spin-off, but hey, that’s just me.

If any of you kind people DO get in touch, and DO leave a review, I’m sure I can send you something a little special. Such as a signed book . . .

Here’s the link to Sun Hammer Part 1 US or UK

and the link to Sun Hammer Part 2 US or UK

My Superbia 3 Review

Superbia 3 is an absolute tour de force by author Bernard Schaffer. Funny, gripping and at times uncomfortable, the series continues to deal with the realities of Cop life whilst at the same time resolving the plot threads of the first two Superbia’s.

The longest of the series, it doesn’t feel like it. The story cracks along, and Schaffer’s writing has never been better. This is a writer continuing to grow and mature. In a way it reads like a Michael Connelly novel. By that I mean razor sharp dialogue, surprising plot twists and great characterisation. Schaffer is up there with the titans of the industry, and showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

I don’t want to spoil any of Superbia 3’s plot for readers, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Frank, and what a good thing, too. This is one series I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to. Now where did I put that The Departed DVD?

YOU CAN BUY Superbia 3 (Book 3 of the Superbia Series) BY CLICKING THIS LINK