#KINDLEALLSTARS TONI DWIGGINS

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today, I talk with Toni Dwiggins

FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

Toni: I saw a post on Kindleboards called “I’m looking for a few good writers,” and I had to check that out. Anyone who is looking for writers is going to get my attention. It’s like seeing a post along the lines of “I’m looking for someone who likes coffee and scones”—I’m there.

Once there, I saw that there were some very dedicated people involved, and a couple of very big-name writers. I was intrigued, and not a little intimidated.

But the clincher was: “all proceeds will benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.” Enough said. I wanted to join that project.

FS: What’s your contribution called?

Toni: ‘Excerpt from BADWATER’. BADWATER is book one in my Forensic Geology Series. ‘Excerpt’ is self-explanatory. Hmmm…I think I need a new title.

FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?

Toni: Two forensic geologists—a young woman and her father-figure mentor—are working a case in Death Valley. They’ve been called in by the FBI to use their geological skills to track mineral evidence from a stolen shipment of radioactive waste. They are up a canyon following a lead when someone sabotages their car, leaving them with no food and little water in the hottest place in the US in the middle of summer. The story is how they survive that ordeal, and how they learn that the radioactive material has been unleashed, and just how fragile the harsh desert can be.

FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?

Toni: I love the outdoors, I’ve hiked and camped in Death Valley, and I always thought it would make a great setting for a story. I’m writing a series about forensic geologists, and for the first book I wanted a setting that was both enthralling and dangerous—Death Valley. And then I learned that there used to be a radioactive waste dump on the perimeter of the National Park.

FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?

Toni: I adapted it from a scene in my book BADWATER. The scene was pretty much self-contained, but I did need to make some changes so that it would stand alone. Also, I needed to write a new ending.

FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?

Toni: I hope to find readers who like the kind of stories I write. My stuff is something of a hybrid—part mystery, part thriller, part adventure. I think the piece in the anthology gives the flavor of the book, and of the series. So—I’m looking for my audience.

FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?

Toni: I’m a plotter—until I get sidetracked and then I’m pantsing.

I’m writing a series so I already have the main characters set, and the framework of the story–the protags are forensic geologists. So there must be a crime or two, and there must be earth evidence for my characters to analyze.

Next I come up with a setting/theme. The stories concern environmental issues; for instance, the third in the series is about an undersea experiment gone wrong, in a nearshore hypoxic zone.

Next I get to know my villain(s)–what motivates them, why they do what they do, what kind of havoc they wreak, how they threaten people and the environment.

The conflicting goals of the protags/antags lead to scenes. I usually sketch out the major scenes all the way through–kind of an in-depth outline. Invariably, I detour from the outline in the writing, as the characters come more alive and chart their own course—the seat-of-the-pants part. But I always refer to my outline, to be sure I don’t head off into la-la land.

I write at a computer beside a window looking out on trees and, usually, squirrels. My cats love the squirrels. SQUIRREL!!! A bit of a distraction now and then. I’ve tried writing at Starbucks but that’s more distracting than cats hissing at squirrels.

FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?

Toni: Short, sweet, and blunt. I’ll quote from the first email I got from him:
“I love your writing, but … I don’t like how it ends. At all. I don’t know what your thoughts are on fixing it, but I hope you have some, because everything between the intro and the end are kickass.”

He was right, of course. The ending worked only within the context of the book. As a standalone, the piece needed something new. I tried to make it kickass.

FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?

Toni: Wow, that’s a tricky question to answer. Everybody? Let me say this: I’ve been reading excerpts of the other contributors and I’m honored to be included with all these writers. Some real talent here. I’m partway through Bernard’s Whitechapel book…and wow. Then, of course, there is Harlan Ellison. I read his stuff way back when and was hooked.

FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.

Toni: Since my genre is mystery/thriller, I’d go for a writer like Dennis Lehane or James Lee Burke or Laura Lippman. Hey, a girl can dream.

FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?

Toni: More writing. Squirrel-watching. Cat-calming. Coffee-drinking. Whenever I can: hiking, skiing, kayaking. Book club with friends. A lot of family time. My younger daughter is studying in Bordeaux this year and so hubs and I are going to France for some R&R and wine and cheese and touring.

FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?

Toni: I’m just doing final edits on book two in the Forensic Geology Series. The title is VOLCANO WATCH. It takes place in my forensic geologists’ home town—Mammoth Lakes, in the Sierra Nevada range. A volcano is rumbling, and FEMA has sent a rather psychopathic emergency-ops guy to get the town ready to evacuate, and the mayor’s body has just been found in a glacier.

I hope to have the book up by December. Then onto book three.

FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?

Toni: That I am absolutely thrilled when somebody reads my stuff and enjoys it. That I’d love to take them along for some mystery and adventure—get them out into the environment!

FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!

Links to BADWATER:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/BADWATER/Toni-Dwiggins/e/2940012940414
http://smashwords.com/books/view/65431

Personal links:
http://www.tonidwiggins.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toni-Dwiggins/293769983970874
http://www.twitter.com/@ToniDwiggins

#KINDLEALLSTARS NATASHA WHEARITY

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today I’m talking with Natasha Whearity

FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

Natasha: I heard about it through my mum’s friend’s mum. She is a friend of Bernard’s and suggested that I give it a shot as it was for a really beneficial cause and my mum knew how fond I was of writing.

FS: What’s your contribution called?

Natasha: The Endgame (cue dramatic music.)

FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?

Natasha: It’s about a school shooting. Loads of people have been like ‘WOAH’ when I told them because it’s quite a ‘unique’ subject to base a short story on. My friend Jos even made a big point of asking ‘WHY?’ I would write something about that, but I think it’s a really interesting thing to write about. It’s a very tragic thing for many reasons and I wanted to capture that in this story. Plus, apparently I’m good at writing depressing stories. Not sure why…

FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?

Natasha: I don’t think I could just pin it down to one thing. I’ve never written a short story before this one so I didn’t know what I needed to include. I researched some information and found that twists and hooks were really important. The song ‘I don’t like Mondays’ by The Boomtown Rats (Bob Geldoff is a God in my opinion) was my biggest inspiration. As was my best friend Ellen who introduced me to that song.

FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?

Natasha: I wrote it specifically for the Kindle All Stars.

FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?

Natasha: I love how this is to promote ‘Indie’ writers. That’s so cool. I just hope that people like my writing and everyone else’s because it’s supporting such a worthy cause. I hope that people want to buy more of my work in the future. I’ve always said that my dream in life is to be sitting on a bus or a train whilst I hear people talking about my books and wanting to know what comes next. That would be just plain awesome!

FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?

Natasha: Lots of writers have patterns and rituals when they write, but honestly, I just write when I feel like it. There are some days when I can’t think of anything to write. I will literally sit there with a blank document in front of me screaming at myself and my writer’s block and there are other times that I lock myself away in my room for hours on end, even to the point where I consider pulling an all-nighter or missing meals (and everyone knows how much I LOVE food and my sleep.) I tend to write in my room because it’s the only place I can get peace and quiet and be myself. I have a broken chair that I sit in. I should really get a new one but I’m fairly superstitious and I’ve been putting it off for a pretty long time now in case the chair is the source of my writing powers! It has only been recently that I’ve acquired the act of planning, thanks to my English Literature teacher who stressed how important it was in planning essays. Since then, I always plan stuff before I write, even if I just write a rough plot down on a saved text message in my phone. Planning is everything!

FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?

Natasha: It was exactly that! Bernard’s been brill. Seriously. I don’t know how you can be both critical and encouraging at the same time, but he manages to do it. And in a good way too!

FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?

Natasha: Honestly, I’m excited to be included alongside everyone in this anthology! I’ve read loads of Kindle All Star’s excerpts and I’m already so excited to read what they’ve written! It’s an honour to just be published full stop.

FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.

Natasha: Yes, it’s an honour to be published alongside so many talented writers. I would love to appear in an anthology with J.K Rowling or Jodi Picoult as they’re my two favourite authors! I know that would be very unlikely as they’re both pretty famous and all, but that would be…. Well, words can’t describe it!

FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?

Natasha: Helping to fight evil. Love that. I’m a superhero by day too. No, only joking. I love writing and doing school work – as geeky as that sounds. I desperately want to go to Warwick University next year, so I’m hoping all of my hard work will pay off! I love drama and being a drama student, because there’s just something about drama kids that makes us different from everyone else. I love playing guitar too. I love my music – Muse, Led Zep, Van Halen are all phenomenal. Matt Belamy is my God. As are Slash and Bono. I love hanging out with my not quite normal friends because they’re just bonkers and hilarious and they make me laugh. I love watching Friends. That programme is the definition of awesomeness.

FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?

Natasha: I’m always working on something – the problem is, I never end up finishing anything! That’s why I loved writing this short story because it was short and intense and it meant that I could focus on five pages and not an entire novel. However, my aim is to write a book about a teenager or multiple teenager’s lives at university as I feel there is an open market for that sort of book and plus it is an experience I will be going through next year! I’ve also always wanted to write a story for children – something of an adventure genre would be fun!

FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?

Natasha: Hello! And um, buy this book. And um, I hope you’ll look out for me and other Kindle All Star’s in the future, because you should.

FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!

http://www.kindleallstars.com

#KINDLEALLSTARS MILES CRESSMAN

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today, I’m chatting with Miles Cressman.

FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

Miles: When I was more active on the site Kindleboards, I saw a small topic about it and was very curious. I decided to give it a try and could not have been more happy with that decision.

FS: What’s your contribution called?

Miles: “Deconstruct.”

FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?

Miles: It’s about three central characters: Plot, Sentence, and Word. Each of these characters are striving towards a Point, but they’ll only get there if the writer who creates their journey allows them to. It’s a deconstruction of the writing method we all undergo.

FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?

Miles: The Deconstructionist literary theory of Jacques Derrida, who proposed in the ’70s that literature is three-dimensional, and because of that we can “play” with language, creating and destroying it at the same time.

FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?

Miles: This story was written approximately two years ago for a creative writing challenge on a different forum.

FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?

Miles: I hope that people will seek out my novels as I am writing them, and I hope to have two out by the end of the year.

FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?

Miles: I tend to write late at night on my couch in my living room, with earbuds on listening to either jazz, jazz hiphop, downtempo electronica, or classical music. I prefer flying by the seat of my pants and seeing where takes me. I know where the end goal is, but the journey might take a few side paths.

FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?

Miles: My experience was very similar. A lot of his critiques were even-handed; at times he would lauding the way I write, in others he would be berating me for making silly mistakes. It was an educational experience because it showed me, straight up, where my problems were and why I kept making them. It was pretty awesome, actually. I never felt like he was giving up on me.

FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?

Miles: William Vitka is a member of a forum I frequent, and I’m looking forward to his contribution the most. He’s a great writer, and a cool dude.

FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.

Miles: If I could be in an anthology with fantasy giant George R. R. Martin, I just might have a heart attack early. But damn, it’ll be the best heart attack ever. It would be wonderful to check that off on my personal bucket list.

FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?

Miles: I work as a tutor on my school’s campus teaching foreign exchange students English; primarily, I teach them how to speak, write, and read English but at the same time teach them common college student slang and American culture. I also work as a caregiver for an old lady, cleaning her house and doing minor things for her every day.

FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?

Miles: I am continuing work on The Dream Cosmopolitan, which I hope to tentatively have finished by the middle of November. That’s all I have in the pipeline for now, and I’ll be taking a break to drum up some ideas for The Dream Fragments, the third novel, which will be a series of short stories.

FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?

Miles: Support indie authors. You’d be surprised how incredible their work may be, and even though there might be thousands of them now, their voices need to be heard and read. Keep on the lookout for the next Kindle All Stars anthology, it’ll blow your mind just like the first one.

FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!

Twitter: @Azure_Horizon
Website: http://www.paeantodreams.wordpress.com

#KINDLEALLSTARS KERI KNUTSON

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today I chat with Keri Knutson.

FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

Keri: I first heard about KAS on Twitter. It was when Bernard first had the brainstorm, before he even had the idea that it should be a charity anthology. I emailed him a story the same day.

FS: What’s your contribution called?

Keri: “A Certain Doorway”

FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?

Keri: Maybe it’s a traditional ghost story. Maybe it’s not.

FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?

Keri: My dreams are often about houses and the secret spaces within them. I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of finding something inside your home that you didn’t know existed. When I was a child, we actually found a walled-up room in our basement. I still remember the cowboy wallpaper on the walls. I also have to credit the late, great Robert Leman, who was a brilliant writer. His Nebula-award-winning short story “Window” gave me the ghost of an idea that eventually became “A Certain Doorway.”

FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?

Keri: It was already written. In fact, it was one of the first short stories I wrote as an adult.

FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?

Keri: I have a mystery series featuring struggling actress Maddie Pryce ( in collaboration with my writing partner Susan Branham). The first two installments, Darker by Degree and Director’s Cut, have received some good reviews, and I hope that people would enjoy my writing style and want to read more. I adore Maddie, and we’ve plotted her adventures through seven more novels. I’ve also published several short stories, a vampire novel called Running Red, and have several upcoming projects that will be published in the next six months, including another horror novel based on the Wendigo legends — Dead of Winter — the first in a light paranormal series, A Willingness of Witches, a compendium of short stories called Dead Girls and Other Stories, and the third Maddie Pryce novel, Curtain Call . I’ve never felt constrained by genre, even though horror is in my wheelhouse, so I hope readers are willing to follow me around a bit.

FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?

Keri: I write when I can. And actually I write when the voices in my head won’t shut up. I have five kids and a small business, so that’s often in the middle of the night or in the carpool line or waiting for drama or choir or soccer to let out. I write on the backs of envelopes and receipts, scribble things at the dinner table or in the bathtub, yell things out when I’m talking on the phone. As for plotting, I definitely subscribe to the Stephen King suggestion that writers are archeologists. We uncover the bones of the stories, and if we’re careful enough, we uncover a whole skeleton, complete. My characters definitely tell me what’s going to happen next, and woe be unto me if I don’t listen to them.

FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?

Keri: I think I was tremendously lucky in that “A Certain Doorway” had already been extensively edited. When I submitted the story, Bernard emailed me back with some suggestions and I accepted the ones I found helpful. It was all done over two emails and was mostly painless. The great thing about being edited by Bernard is he was very straightforward about what he thought would be helpful, but also very willing to not step on another writer’s voice. It’s a very fine line to walk when you’re both an editor and a writer, and I think Bernard walked it magnificently.

FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?

Keri: With no hyperbole, I can tell you that Harlan Ellison is one of my childhood idols. Stories like “Jefty is Five,” “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” “Croatoan,” “A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet,” those are all stories I devoured, that became part of my own internal library. (Interesting coincidence, my mom’s senior college thesis was titled “Croatoan.”) The fact that I would be in an anthology alongside Harlan Ellison is literally a dream come true. I get choked up just thinking about it. But in addition to that, I’ve read some of the offerings from my fellow writers and I’m just elated at what this anthology contains. I think that the writers included are all tremendously talented and have bright futures. On a personal note, I suggested to a dear writing friend of mine, Richard Roberts, that he should submit, and he was accepted. I’m just tickled because Richard is one of those rare talents that just transports you to a magical place. If he’s not a tremendous success in the future of fantasy, I’ll eat my hat.

FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.

Keri: I would love to see F. Paul Wilson include a Repairman Jack story. That would be the ultimate in cool. Also Joe Hill is just stupendous. Albert Berg is mostly unknown, but a great talent. Dan Simmons, whom I met at a writer’s conference years ago and was enchanted by, wrote one of the best short stories I ever read, “The River Lethe is Full of Tears,” and I would be really chuffed to be published alongside him.

FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?

Keri: My day job is as a professional editor. While I make most of my living editing non-fiction, I’ve also edited several fiction books. I’m branching out into doing cover design, because I find it really soothing and fun. I’ve designed all my covers and covers for friends, and I find it such a change from writing that it’s like a vacation. Other than that I’m a full-time mom, a pro hockey fiend, a beer connoisseur, a zombie preparedness expert, and I’m unnaturally fond of my DVR.

FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?

Keri: I’m deep into the Maddie Pryce series, have several short stories knocking on my cerebellum, and am working my way up to my opus – a novel about a detective with a deep, dark secret involving a serial killer who may or may not be dead. Think Dennis Lehane meets Stephen King. My to-do list for fiction seems to grow by the day, and the great thing about indie publishing is that no matter what genre my imagination gravitates toward at the moment, there’s a place to find a readership.

FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?

Keri: I love writing, and I hope that love shows in my craft. Regardless of what I write, I hope it touches someone and gives them that moment, that same thrill I get when I read something great. Check out my novels and short stories, and watch this space: I’ve got worlds to set spinning and you’re welcome to visit them all.

FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_at_ep_srch?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=Keri%20Knutson

http://keriknutson.wordpress.com
http://spectralobelisk.blogspot.com
http://publishingyourslef.blogspot.com

Her twitter handle is @KeriKnutson

#KINDLEALLSTARS JOSEPH S WALKER

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today I chat with Joseph S Walker

FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

Joseph: Bernard made a post about his idea for the project on a Harlan Ellison message board I frequent, and I was immediately interested. I got in touch with him immediately, and he was very encouraging in asking me to submit a story.

FS: What’s your contribution called?

Joseph: “Peripheral”

FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?

Joseph: My story is about a woman who’s been keeping a terrible secret for decades. On what initially appears to be just another day at work, her secret comes out and she must finally pay a price.

FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?

Joseph: It’s based on an idea I’ve been playing with for some time. Although other themes emerged in the writing, the initial idea had a lot to do with isolation. We live in this very wired world where we’re all connected to each other and everybody has hundreds of online “friends,” but so many of us spend days and weeks at a time really being alone, just staring at a little screen as we type. I was interested in this notion of being cut off from the world at the same time that you’re deeply connected to it.

FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?

Joseph: I’d been batting the idea around in my head for a while, but I didn’t write the actual story until the KAS opportunity came along. Something about the story and the project seemed to be a good fit.

FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?

Joseph: Well, obviously if people like the story I’d love for them to seek out more of my work. I have a story, “The Penthouse View,” in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, which should be on the stands in November. There are also a couple more upcoming anthology stories I’m really proud of, and I’ve got about a dozen other stories out for submission. I’m taking a kind of dual course in my career. I’m seeking to publish my short work in magazines and anthologies, while my novels will be self-published for e-readers. I really think this is the way more and more writers will be going in the future, reaching out for readers directly instead of going through traditional publishers and agents. So if you like “Peripheral,” please consider looking for my crime novel Five Million Dollars and the Green-Eyed Girl, which is available for Kindle (at Amazon), Nook (bn.com) and all other major e-readers (Smashwords). I’m well into my second novel, A Death at Haven, and I expect to have that posted for sale in the first couple of months of 2012.

FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?

Joseph: I do most of my writing at night; I like the isolation and the lack of distractions. I don’t really do formal outlines. My initial planning takes the form of brainstorming and maybe a few notes, but I don’t do formal outlines. I sit down with a sense of the characters, the initial situation, and where I want to see them end up, and I go from there. The biggest challenge for me is that I work online (I teach courses for a couple of online colleges), so getting myself to sit back down at the computer at the end of the day is sometimes the last thing I want to do. The more you establish that rhythm of writing every day, though, the easier it comes and the more productive it is.

FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?

Joseph: Bernard was very positive about my story, which was terrific. His suggestions almost all had to do with taking things out to streamline the story more and get to the central turning point more efficiently. It was tough because I had to take out some character beats and dialogue I liked very much, but I have to agree that the story is stronger because of those changes. As for the pieces I took out, I can already see how a couple of them might form the seeds of new stories going in different directions. Everything gets used!

FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?

Joseph: Hands down, Harlan Ellison. Harlan has been my writing idol since I was a teenager and first discovered his fierce, honest, spectacular voice. The idea that I’m going to be on the same Table of Contents with him, let alone that he might get a copy and actually read my work, is thrilling.

FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.

Joseph: Aside from Ellison, my favorite contemporary short story writer is probably Steven Millhauser. His work is endlessly inventive, and his writing is clean, precise and tight, just beautiful stuff to read. In a completely different style, it would be great to get one of Joe Lansdale’s wild, violent, sexy tales.

FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?

Joseph: As I mentioned, I teach online courses in literature and composition. It can be exhausting work, but also very rewarding, since I work with a lot of nontraditional students who are very grateful for what higher education can do for them. I’m also an avid book collector and a big fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, so I’m having a pretty good year there!

FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?

Joseph: I’m actually in the middle of working on an academic paper right now—sometimes the demands of the real job do intrude, and I find it very difficult to work on two different things at once. As soon as that’s done, though, it’s right back to A Death at Haven, which I’m very excited about. It’s another crime novel, and I think it’s going to turn out to be the best thing I’ve done so far.

FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?

Joseph: First and foremost, the KAS Project is for a great cause; if you haven’t done so already, please buy the book! Beyond that, I hope you enjoy my story, and I hope you’ll look for more of my work. Even if it’s not me, take some time this week to support a writer by buying their work. As all the Resistance Front All-Stars could tell you, writing is a tough, lonely thing to do, and yours might be the sale that keeps us going!

FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!

#KINDLEALLSTARS ALAN DEAN FOSTER

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

Today I talk to Alan Dean Foster. You can see my previous interview with Alan HERE

Hello Alan. Thanks for agreeing to this quick interview. Firstly, thank you for joining the project. It means so much to so many of us involved in the Kindle All-Stars anthology that you are contributing to it. We’ve all grown up reading your work and enjoying it – – and now we get to be involved in something alongside you!

ADF: It’s my pleasure. Giving back to worthy causes is a better measure of a human being than just about anything else.

You’ve appeared in a fair number of anthologies over the years. Do you think the short story is a dying breed? Or do you think it’s just finding itself a new habitat?

ADF: It’s a whole new world out there, short story-wise. Maybe not yet the heyday of the pulps back in the ‘30’s, but with the advent of on-line publishing there are multitudinous opportunities that never existed before that short story writers can access. I put up a novella, BOX OF OXEN, via Kindle publishing that no genre publisher would touch. Only grossed a couple of hundred bucks so far, but the little checks keep coming and more importantly, the work stays “in print”. It’s a fascinating time to be writing short fiction.

I know from visiting your site over the years that you’re always at work on something, whether its an original novel or a novelisation. How often do you write short fiction, and do you do it more or less than you used to?

ADF: It all depends on someone asking me for a story. I love a challenge, and themed anthologies are always fun to contribute to. Occasionally, but only occasionally, I’ll write something just for myself…like the Mad Amos Malone stories, two of which recently appeared in the magazine of Fantasy & Science-Fiction. I love writing shorts.

Your story is called ‘Redundancy’. Is it a story you wrote before hearing of the Kindle All-Stars or did you write it especially for the project?

ADF: REDUNDANCY originally was commissioned for an issue of an in-house computer magazine designed to focus on a specific kind of artificial intelligence.

Without giving too much away, what’s the story about?

ADF: How a machine intelligence might logically reach a beneficial conclusion without the benefit of being specifically programmed to do so.

And what gave you the ideas behind the story?

ADF: As I said, it was a specific commission intended to address a fairly narrow topic. That it has appeal beyond that is very gratifying.

Harlan Ellison is also involved in the project. Have you ever met Harlan? He certainly comes across as a big personality… is he like that in real life?

ADF: I first met Harlan in 1969 when I was a grad student at UCLA and trying to sell stories. David Gerrold was putting together a couple of anthologies. I submitted one to David called SILENT SONGS IN STONE. David couldn’t use it but thought it might be suitable for a little anthology Harlan was putting together called DANGEROUS VISIONS. So I moseyed up to Harlan’s house and handed him the story. He loved the ending but hated the story itself. Would I be interested in rewriting it while taking into account some suggestions of his? I said that I would, and proceeded to do three revisions, none of which made the grade. I then sent the story to John W. Campbell at Analog, who had published my first story. Campbell loved the story but hated the ending. Very valuable lesson there for a young writer. Over the decades Harlan and I occasionally throw things like classical music suggestions at one another. I believe he has stopped calling me “kid”. This is sad, as I have now missed any opportunity to call him “pops” or “old-timer”.

Last time I spoke to you, your fantasy novel Madrenga was finished. Have you sent it off yet? Has it got picked up?

ADF: It’s off, it’s being read. News at eleven.

Before I go, are there any developments on your Oshanurth Trilogy? I’ve been hearing about it for a long time via your site. I loved Cachalot when I read it, and can’t wait to see what you do with a story set in the water again.

ADF: Same situation as MADRENGA.

This last question might be a bit tricky for you Alan. It’s a bit of a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ type question, but if you were going to recommend one of your books or series to a Kindle All-Star reader whose never read your work before… which one would you choose as a starting point?

ADF: MIDWORLD. Not too long, 100% me. For something more recent, SAGRAMANDA. And any of the short story collections.

Well that’s it Alan! I don’t want to take up too much of your time as I know you’re a very busy man. Hopefully we will chat again soon!

www.alandeanfoster.com
www.kindleallstars.com

#KINDLEALLSTARS EL PRESIDENTE

WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?

A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.

Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.

To kick the interviews off, I travelled to Arrugado Fondo. Several hours rattling along in a sweaty bus filled with peasant farmers and numerous livestock later, I arrived at the Hacienda Del Maestro; the personal residence of El Presidente himself. After being searched from top to bottom and checked for any concealed weaponry I was ushered inside and seated in front of the man himself. An interpreter joined us, and an assistant brought in some iced teas which I was thankful for, given the humidity.

El Presidente! As of this interview, we’re mere weeks away from the release of Resistance Front. Are you excited?

>(Whispering into the ear of his interpreter) “El Presidente say he no ever get excited. El Presidente only expect what is best. Next question!”

Your own submission is ‘Old Time Lawmen’ – tell us about it.

>”El Presidente has written the new national short story that all school children will carry back and forth from school to their homes. One millions of copies of ‘Old Time Lawmen’ has been printed and will be learned by all citizens in this free country or else.”

When you first announced your intention to do something like the Kindle All-Stars, did you ever see it coming together the way that it has?

>”El Presidente say Kindle All Star project is great example of this country diverse talent in the art and study of social science. Only capitalist pig dog would suggest otherwise.”

You’ve spoken before about Harlan Ellison and the Dangerous Visions anthologies being a big influence on your vision of the Kindle All-Stars. What does it mean to you to have Ellison involved?

>(El Presidente backs away from his interpreter and shakes his head. The interpreter holds up his hands and speaks rapidly in a foreign tongue, making the dictator obviously uncomfortable. Finally, the great man speaks, and the interpreter nods.) ”….El Presidente have nothing to say on this man you call Ellison. Even El Presidente is no crazy.”

As much as you’ve spearheaded the project, you’ve also been editor to 30 writers who couldn’t be more different… what’s that been like?

>”El Presidente nearly institute national arrest of all so-called authors and confinement to mental facility for anyone who no agree with his excellency’s perfect editorial suggestions. Luckily, his eminence have big, big heart and he give abstinence to all stupid writer persons.”

Was it your intention to draw together such an eclectic mix of talent?

>”El Presidente prefer only story about great nation, to show rest of the world our superior writerly abilities. He say deadline forced him to give what is called compromise.”

This project is your brainchild. What is your ultimate vision for it?

>(Confused looks between El Presidente and interpreter.) “El Presidente no understand this question. Ultimate vision is always for perfect government for the people, by the people, we the people. With El Presidente in charge, obviously.”

What’s your message to anyone who owns a Kindle? Why should they buy Resistance Front?

>”All people who enjoy life and not sitting in cell eating stale bread and unsupervised visits from lonely guards will do best to buy copy of Resistance Front. Viva la Revolution!”

And to anyone hoping to submit something for the next Kindle All-Stars collection, what are you looking for? What is the continuation of your ‘dangerous vision’?

>”El Presidente suggest you check the News and Updates page of National website http://www.KindleAllStars.com for amazingly intelligent clue to next project. All will submit.”

You mentioned on twitter about me naming a planet after you in ‘Redd.’ Well, it’s just a little tip of the hat. You didn’t start this project expecting everyone’s respect. You earned it naturally over the months it’s gone on, and in a way you earned the moniker of ‘El Presidente’ too. I’m very proud to say that I’ve been involved with this project with you and everyone else, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that. And naming a planet after you is just my way of saying thank you for what you’re doing for every writer involved in this. As I said to Laurie, she’s just lucky I didn’t name an entire star system after you…

>(El Presidente instructs his armed guards to lower their weapons.) “El Presidente say your decision is good one and keep you and your family healthy for many centuries. Keep up good work. He also say solar system name for him had better be in your next story if you no want to wind up story for Amnesty International website.”

Well that’s our little chat over with. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope for the best. I hope we hit #1 in the Kindle Store, and that we raise some serious dosh for those kids. I hope that people realise ‘Resistance Front’ isn’t just the title of an Indie book and that it is a call-to-arms against an outdated and antiquated publishing system due for retirement.

www.kindleallstars.com