Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview with the author of the newly released paranormal romance, Running Home. Meet Julie Hutchings!



Today I have a very special surprise. As the Books of the Dead Press’s recently acquired books have been published, you might have noticed that I’ve been inviting the authors over for brief interviews. Well, in addition to John Taff’s The Bell Witch, which has been doing quite well, another book was released last week titled Running Home. It even topped 25th place in the Dark Fantasy category on Amazon with its initial release. Readers seem to be loving it, so I’m glad I’m not alone in my opinion. Another surprising fact, not only is it Julie’s first published book, but the first in a trilogy. I got a chance to read Running Home and couldn’t help but be pulled in. Here’s the summary, a few comments other authors have made after reading it, followed by my review:

Death hovers around Ellie Morgan like the friend nobody wants. She doesn’t belong in snow-swept Ossipee, New Hampshire, at a black tie party––but that is where she is, and where he is: Nicholas French, the man who mystifies her with a feeling of home she’s been missing, and the impossible knowledge of her troubled soul.

Nicholas followed an abomination that is one of his own, but finds that fate has driven him to New Hampshire. He is a being of the Shinigami, a heroic vampire order that save their victims from more tragic ends. And he knows why Ellie is human repellent… why physical agony grips them when apart.


"Running Home by Julie Hutchings is set to be one of the leading debut novels of its genre."
~ Dylan J. Morgan: best selling author of Hosts and the Blood War Trilogy

"This is like the Dark Knight of vampire books. Up there with not just Anne Rice, but Stephen King."
~ Phil Cone, author of Paddy Nemesis

"Running Home has a dark beauty which entwines the mundane and the magical."
~ J.C. Michael, author of Discoredia

"A fascinating take on vampires, unlike anything I've seen before, filled with a rich and beautiful culture. I was left simply begging for more."
~ J. Liz Hill, author of Bound

"I can't remember a time I've enjoyed a vampire novel so much. The blend of self-aware characters and unique, fresh mythology made for an engaging, addictive read. I believe I have found my new favorite urban vampire story."
~ Frances Button, Opening Line Literary 'Zine

"Forget about creatures that glitter, change forms, or howl under the full moon bathed in the blood of their victims. They aren't nearly as important as the human element...and it is the human element Julie Hutchings never forgets in Running Home."
~ Lydia Aswolf, Host of Lydia's Literary Lowdown

My Review:
Eliza's story in Running Home is one of intrigue, vampires, love, hate, and destiny. Eliza, Kat, Roman, and everyone else are so real and vivid that you can't help but feel for them, their troubles, and their growing inner turmoil. The pain and events within this story can best be described as a cursed blessing that pulls you from one line to the next, never letting go. If you are a fan of the Twilight series or Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy, Running Home is right up your alley.

And so I am very happy to welcome Julie Hutchings to the party today. This is a great start to an exciting writing career for Julie and the writing pair known as the Undead Duo. They even blog at deadlyeverafter.com. I hope you enjoy our little diatribe.

WK: Thanks for joining us, Julie. That’s a great book you wrote, but the question on most people’s minds after reading Running Home is, what are you working on now?

JH: Thanks. Editing a novel called The Harpy about a girl named Charity whose terrible life and emotional turmoil evolve her into a vengeful monster with a very questionable mission. I will soon be editing The Animal as well, a novel that I needed to break up with for a little while. I finished it, and it needed some alone time before editing. And of course, I’ll be diving head first into the sequel to Running Home.

WK: Wow! Sounds like you have a variety of projects underway. Can you tell us what inspired Running Home?

JH: Sure. It was the product of having a baby. I suddenly had a capacity for fear that I never had before, just a bone-crushing horror of ever losing that child somehow made me bring my forever fear of death to life through Ellie in the novel. She has a really close connection with death, not by choice. We’re a lot alike that way.

WK: I see. I would never have guessed that was the inspiration, but it certainly makes sense. I couldn’t help but notice that this is geared similarly to another very famous collection of stories. What do the inevitable comparisons to Twilight mean to you?

JH: I have no issue with being compared to Twilight. The books are very different, and Twilight  was the first book I read on maternity leave, in that haze you find yourself in, and I fell in love with it. I loved the way this really awkward girl in a beyond ordinary life had a hidden extraordinary one where it didn’t seem possible. I wanted that feeling, but for grownups. Twilight gets a bad rap for the writing, but it’s writing that appeals to every age, across the world. The woman is living the dream! I’m not afraid to like what I like, I don’t give much of a shit who disagrees. Turns out millions of people all over the world agree with me.

WK: Good point. There is a lot to be said for reader’s preferences. In the end, they determine which books succeed or fail based on their opinions and reviews. I’m sure if every author could, they’d develop a writing routine to make every book a success. So what does your writing routine look like?

JH: When it’s not summer, when the entire world seems to implode on me, I get up for 5AM Writer’s Club on Twitter, and get a couple of child-free hours of work in then. I tend to write a bit all day, a paragraph here, a page there, and edit as I go. A couple of nights a week I go to my childhood friend Kristen Strassel’s house to write. I do listen to music, always different for each work. I try not to overwrite my first draft just to have to go back and pull a bunch of unnecessary crap later.

WK: Now that’s a bit unusual. How has having a writing partner helped you get Running Home off the ground?

JH: Kristen was the first person to ever read any of the book. She was one of the first people I told, and when she told me she had a book idea she’d been toying with, we became The Undead Duo. We committed to each other. Running Home was already finished by then, but completely handwritten, all in a hundred notebooks. Kristen encouraged me not only to transfer it to a laptop, but to query it, and go to conferences, and get on Twitter to promote it, and start Deadly Ever After with her. Without that once or twice a week commitment, and constant talking to each other about our writing, I don’t think I would have ever done with it what I have. Kristen also convinced me to quit my 10 year job to focus more on my writing. Best decision she ever helped me make.

WK: Quitting your job for writing is a difficult decisions, especially with finances on the line. I’m glad you made the leap and hope it works out for you. If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

JH: Teaching karate. It’s the other place I feel completely at home.

WK: LOL. Again, not quite what I expected. Julie, you are certainly full of surprises. What can we expect in the sequel to Running Home?

JH: Running Away brings Eliza closer to her fate, to Japan, where we meet a lot of new characters, and see a whole new side of our girl. I have the first draft done, but I want to change quite a bit of it. The last book in the trilogy is going to be Crawling Back, and I’m really looking forward to giving you something unexpected there. Nobody is really what they seem to be. I’m a jerk like that.

WK: That sounds like an exciting story and one I’d love to read more of. Keep in touch, and try to keep that little one of yours away from the Shinigami. The last thing you need is them taking note of the little tike.

So readers, if you enjoyed Twilight or Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series, you need to check out Julie Hutching’s new release, Running Home. You won’t regret it. It’s available in e-book right now at a great price.

To follow Julie Hutchings and keep in touch with her upcoming releases, here are a few methods of contacting her:


Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Author Interview with John F.D. Taff



Today, I have a special guest, fellow author published through Books of the Dead Press, John F.D. Taff, author of Little Deaths and the upcoming novel The Bell Witch.

WK: Welcome, John, and thanks for coming. You can put that cigar out anywhere… well, anywhere but there. Do you realize that’s a real stuffed Tasmanian Devil  you just ashed on?

JT: Sorry ’bout that. I’ll find you a new one that looks a bit less ragged next time I’m in the area.

WK: Thanks. Now, John, a common question I’ve been asked is about inspiration. It seems like something all writers have to address, so what about you? What is your inspiration for writing?

JT: Everyone.  Everything. Eveywhere. Every moment.  And that's not a joke.

WK: Well, that’s one way to put it. You can find inspiration for stories everywhere you look, at least from my experience. Once I was even inspired by this fine-looking woman. After our business was transacted I had to—wait, that came out wrong. She was my good friend’s mother and a finely dressed estate agent. You should have seen her… Nevermind. That’s a story for another day. So, what made you write The Bell Witch?  

JT: I've been fascinated by The Bell Witch since I read about it in grade school.  It's one of the best-known, well-documented poltergeist cases ever.  And most of the ghost stories I'd read as a kid were set in Ye Olde Englande.  So, that this was in America (OK, nearly 200 years ago) made it more visceral to me.  So, it's been floating around back there in the recesses of my brain for a long, long time.

WK: I find a lot of garbage floating in the recesses of my mind at times. It takes time to sift through it all and find the gems amongst the trash. Often, it’s better to just go with what you know. Does your inspiration ever come from people you know?

JT: Absolutely.  To be a reader is to be a listener and an observer.  Characters I write are all little pieces of just about everyone I've ever encountered.  I think you take away pieces of people you meet.  If you're smart, you incorporate them into your work.

WK: Well said. I couldn’t agree more. Life is chock full of people and events to draw from. While not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

JT: I read… a lot.  Mostly history—Civil War, Ancient Egypt & South America—some fantasy and scifi.  What don't I read a lot of?  Horror.  And the reason for that, simply, is I don't want a lot of that floating around in my brain when I sit down to write.

WK: That’s certainly understandable. Sometimes I wonder if maybe something I wrote was subconsciously pulled from another story or something I saw in passing. I would never intentionally copy someone else’s work, but you never know where some of these ideas are coming from. People sometimes say, “That sounds just like so-in-so.” It’s almost like they are accusing you of plagiarism. Thankfully, normally whoever is mentioned isn’t anyone I’ve heard of, so I haven’t had to worry about unintentionally copying someone’s idea, or at least being confronted by it. Either way, the stories would be different, but I strive to be original, as I’m sure you do, too. Speaking of famous people we like to copy (just kidding), who are your favorite authors?
JT: Peter Straub.  Hands down.  The Throat is, hands down, one of the best books I've ever read.  I like Jack Vance, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Stephen R. Donaldson in fantasy and scifi.  I like travel writer Bill Bryson a lot. Tolkien, King (of course), Gaiman, Barker.

WK: I recognize a few of those and agree wholeheartedly. Now, you just finished a novel that is coming out today if I recall correctly, The Bell Witch. Do you have a celebration activity or something you like to do when you finish a novel?

JT: I sigh a sigh of relief, and then sigh again because it's time to work on selling it.

WK: What about characters? How do you choose character names, and are they important?

JT: Character names are vastly important.  They have to sound "right."  I spend a lot of time in picking names.  What makes me laugh these days is so many writers think their characters have to have interesting names, rather than ordinary, everyday names.  I won’t point fingers, but look at Will Smith's character's name in the abysmal After Earth:  Cypher Raige.  Ugh.

WK: I haven’t actually seen that one yet, but I’m a fan of Will Smith movies in general. Which movie/drama series do you love the most?

JT: I'm a big Star Trek fan, though the latest two films aren't my favorite.  I enjoyed the remake of Battlestar Galactica.  And I am awaiting with immoderate joy the arrival of the final book in Stephen R. Donaldson's decade's spanning Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Last Dark.

WK: Star Trek is great. The Trouble with Tribbles was classic. You should have seen this tribble one time in band camp… just kidding. No, I wouldn’t go there. So, what genre do you enjoy writing about most and why?

JT: Here's the thing.  I find that most of the stuff I write isn't truly, really horror.  I mean, I have more of a Twilight Zone-vibe to my stuff.  It's dark, sure, and creepy, and there's an atmosphere of dread, of something wrong in my work.  But some people don't think it's horror.  OK with me.  It's what I enjoy writing.  No, really, it's not even that.  It's what I write; what comes out of me, regardless of whether I like it or not.

WK: Well said. It isn’t like we have control over the words coming out of our mouths or through our pens. What do we look like, journalists? Creativity exists without limitations or much structure. So, speaking of structure, what's your writing routine?  In other words, where, how, when, any strange rituals?

JT: No strange rituals, I suppose.  I am a night owl, so I don't really get going until late afternoon.  I write mostly at night.  When I'm really going, I like some hot tea and a cigar.  Other than that, no strange rituals.

WK: Great, so no greased pigs or mud wrestling. You’re missing out on all the fun, John.  What about your room? Maybe it’s more fun. Describe the room where you write? Music or no music?

JT: I live on the banks of a very rural river.  My house sits a moderate throw from said river, and the windows of my main room open onto it.  I love the country.  I love trees.  I love wide, sweeping vistas.  I am not, so much, a fan of crowds and people and houses jammed cheek-by-jowl together.  So, my desk faces out the window.  I have a swanky laptop and a nifty 27-inch monitor so my aging eyes can actually see what I type.  I listen to music when I write, but it has to be wordless…classical or movie soundtracks, just something to make a little white noise.

WK: Exactly. Sounds just like how I write… boring with few distractions. Sounds like we’d get along just fine. Here’s a little test—rejection letters… save 'em or throw 'em out?

JT: I used to save them, amassing a rather startlingly large file folder.  But I find them mostly distracting and disheartening.  And I have a rather mawkish predilection for going back and reading and rereading them.  Does me no good.  So, now I save them in email form, just to remind me where I've sent stuff and where it's been rejected.  But I don't revisit them in any way.

WK: John, it sounds like you enjoy abusing yourself… just a little. I’ve gotten so many rejections, I know what’s in them. Half the time you wind up hoping to find a check, dollar bill, feather, chocolate, anthrax, something besides the inevitable words of rejection—even when it’s the same letter you’ve read for the eight thousandth time. Don’t do that to yourself. I’m glad you’ve drifted away from the predilection for the time being. And thanks for coming, John.

JT: Thanks for having me.

WK: Would you mind taking the stuffed Tasmanian Devil with you? He’s looking a little crispy around the edges where you’ve been snubbing that cigar?

JT: Sure, anytime.

WK: Thanks and remember folks, The Bell Witch will be out today. I got a special pre-release look at it and was blown away. The cover is incredible too. Get your copy. You won’t regret it. I’ve included my review below.


The Bell Witch Review:
by Weston Kincade

Need a good haunting? John F.D. Taff has certainly given the Bell Witch folktale new life. The Bell Witch is a superb story that grips you early, keeps you guessing, and will linger in your mind long after the last page has come and gone. As Taff says, “get a cup of tea, light up a good stogie, stoke the fire, and settle down in your easy chair.” The Bell Witch will keep your eyes blazing across each line and your heart pounding as this torturous ghost story unfolds. Don’t pass it up.

Available on Amazon.com.

 


Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances

Monday, August 5, 2013

Want Episode 2 Free? Get Amazon to Pricematch!

It was a nice surprise to find this morning that Episode 2 of A Life of Death has been released on Sony and Barnes and Noble for free. Now it's time to get Amazon to price match them. If you could take a minute to help, I'd be extremely grateful. There is a "tell us about a lower price" link on the Amazon book page.

Episode 2 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Death-Episode-ebook/dp/B00DXYDJXK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375716043&sr=8-2&keywords=a+life+of+death+kincade

Just click the link, post either the Sony or B&N link below in the window that pops up along with 0s for cost and shipping, then hit submit and once enough people have done it, Amazon should price match. It could take 4 people or 40. Amazon keeps things pretty confidential, so I don't know, but if you have a minute to do so, it would be greatly appreciated.

Episode 2 at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-life-of-death-weston-kincade/1116227680?ean=2940045153096

Episode 2 on Sony: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/weston-kincade/a-life-of-death-2/_/R-400000000000001092796

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances