Saga Community interviews with local Artists…
NEW! An Author Interview “Chain Style!”
Out of the blue, an early supporter of my novels contacted me via Twitter and Facebook to let me know how I had positively influenced him in his writing endeavors. It was a great moral boost to read his encouraging words and to hear about his own progress. Through that renewed contact, I agreed to provide an updated interview based on a few questions that each author had to answer. I love talking about the books and my experiences, so it was not hard to answer the questions and it was a lot of fun. Enjoy!
1. What are you working on? I am solely focused on understanding marketing and increasing readership. Like so many other new writers, I had a specific story inside of me that I just had to write. So, I wrote that story but paid little-to-no attention to understanding the market or my intended audience. I had immediate book sales when each book was published because of a great support group, but as soon as those readers purchased the books my sales quickly dwindled because I was unable to gain new readers. I believe this is mostly attributed to my lack of a sustained drive toward interacting with potential new readers. Now, I’m going to become more involved in local community efforts that deal with new artist endeavors to share what I have learned and to hopefully increase awareness of my novels. I won’t be too hard on myself for my mistakes, however. I was, after all, in combat every year from 2003 to 2013. I was satisfied with just getting the novels published. Now, I am going to have some fun!
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre? I believe many writers within my genre focus as much on the new world they are creating as to the characters within them. First and foremost, I wanted to create an exciting story, but I also wanted to create characters that were as human as the readers that would meet them. There are no elves, dwarves, dragons, or magic swords in my books because I wanted to focus on character development; each of my characters has flaws that they have to work through in the same ways that all of us have to on a daily basis. So, I spent less time on developing intricate races, lands, and history and put a lot more time into building believable heroes and villains that readers would be interested in. I also believe that written stories can contribute to the preservation of our culture. I intentionally wrote about my experiences in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, through the lens of an Epic Fantasy novel, to express the emotions I felt in combat and to describe my feelings on the state of our society from the time of 9-11 to the present.
3. Why do you write what you do? When I have gotten an important chapter right and can feel the emotions of my characters coming off the pages I… What can I say? Writing is a passion! I can’t imagine anyone writing fiction that doesn’t fall in love with their characters. When you can see them in your mind, and in your dreams, you have to put their actions and feelings down on paper. You want to see them come alive.
4. How does your writing process work? I start with a plotline, chapter outline, and a beginning and end for each chapter. Once it’s time to write the chapters, which I do in chronological order, I sit and close my eyes and think of one word that describes the scene and the tone of the chapter. I strive to capture the reader’s attention in that first word, first sentence, and first paragraph. At the end of each chapter, I try to think about where this sets the story up for follow-on plot developments. Sometimes, I have to ensure I write in a good transition to the next chapter. Other times, I have to intentionally develop a cliffhanger to keep the readers guessing… Much later, often between the first and second drafts, I go back through the chapters and add descriptive details and work on the flow of my style to ensure it has a good pace for readers. I often read the entire manuscript out loud in “narrator tempo”…just to see if it flows.
I want to thank Adam for recontacting me on this initiative. It was great reading about his own writer efforts, and his debut novel sounds brilliant. I can’t wait to read it. You can find Adam Kingsnorth on Facebook and read about his efforts at the below link:
The Creator of The Erinia Saga, Tod Langley, discusses the intent behind this collaborative, community-based site for artists:
- A primary question on many readers’ minds is, “How is The Erinia Saga webpage different than any other author site?” I designed The Erinia Saga as the foundation for my writing endeavors, which I am sure is the same for all writers. The primary difference between this site and anything else that I’ve seen is the focus on collaboration and interaction among various local and regional talents (authors and artists). The intent behind The Erinia Saga webpage is to highlight how various artistic talents, like writing, music, art, and dance can be combined to tell stories. I also want people to learn from each other while promoting new and talented artists. It’s a community thing!
- Why do you think The Erinia Saga is important? There is a lot of great talent out there, and most of those talented people will never get a chance to reach an audience that could really appreciate their endeavors. What if an outstanding indie rock band in the Midwest combined their musical talents with a gifted, digital photographer, and their musical story is transformed into images? What if a young and dedicated writer teamed with a painter? What if a songwriter read a novel and wrote a song that was performed live in front of a local festival? The concept I am trying to promote is that each talent/genre has its own support base, but those support bases may be too limited to reach a broad audience that would allow talent to be showcased. By combining resources, and developing projects that tell stories through music, literature, art, and dance, I think we can bring the ancient craft of storytelling to the modern age. We may also gain more support than what we might accomplish on our own. It’s about modern artists developing a community that works to support each other and get their work seen and heard.
- This sounds like a great idea, but it also sounds daunting? How are artists, writers, and musicians supposed to get started? I hope they will start by contributing to this site. People can submit related blogs, be interviewed, and leave samples of their work for comment by our support groups. Those that want to learn more about creative writing can participate in an experiment where we write a novella together. Cairn’s Story is the background story to one of the main characters within The Erinia Saga. Periodically, I will post new sections to the story, and anyone can leave a message, ask a question, suggest a change to the plotline. They can even submit sections that they would like to see added to the storyline, altering Cairn’s fate. But, The Erinia Saga is also a place for people to ask questions about their own endeavors. Perhaps, this site will motivate others to create similar activities at the local level.
- You mention local and regional. Why do you place so much emphasis in these areas? As a writer, I realize the publishing world is changing. The chances of getting a deal with a traditional publisher, achieving ‘best seller’ status, and being recognized as a leader in Fantasy fiction are very limited. I believe that the best way for talented and creative people to reach a broad audience, that is supportive, is through local support. I would rather go and meet people that share something in common with me (my hometown, state, or region) than be just another participant at a large venue where I’m half a stadium away from someone famous. I think a lot of people out there are ready to focus more on what is happening in their local area than pay attention to things at the national level.
- Why are you doing this? I’m a dreamer! I don’t want to give up on my creative writing projects, and I don’t want to see others give up on their dreams, either.
- What is one thing that most people won’t know about you from reading your bio, or from knowing you personally? It’s stated in the bio, and my friends and family probably realize this from reading the novels, but most don’t know how deep my conviction is about the topic: my writing is influenced in a significant way by my involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been in combat every year from 2002 to 2012. I volunteered, and was selected, for “sensitive” operations. I was awarded various medals and recognized by senior leaders within our government. I was a Soldier and an officer, and now, I’m an advisor helping share what I learned to help protect our Soldiers and defeat threats. While in combat, I saw the best of humankind. I saw respect, dedication to duty, courage, and sacrifice. I also saw sorrow, anger, hatred, fear, horror, and death. My novels are meant to be entertaining, but The Erinia Saga is also supposed to be thought-provoking. If you don’t feel like you are in the middle of a battle, if you don’t feel like you understand the characters in my books, then I need to work harder on my craft.