Author Interview: Eric K. Edstrom

Hi bookies (you paper/hardback, audio, and ebook lovers). There’s nothing quite like getting to speak to the person that creates a new world for you. How did they come up with it? And for those of you that hope to pen your own work someday, what tips can the experts share? Read on for our interview with Eric Edstrom.

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hardcoverlover: Hi! Thank you for allowing us to interview. I must say, recently I listened to your new audio book, “Daughter of Nothing”, and I liked it a lot. You left me hooked. You mentioned that this book is the first in a series and the ending of “Daughter of Nothing” makes that clear. How many books do you plan on making for this series?

Eric: The series is done! It’s four books long.

hardcoverlover: Wow! Done already? I guess you really don’t procrastinate! Now, I’ve always wondered something, especially when a story isn’t completely written yet. How do you decide into how many books you will divide a story?

Eric: When I was writing the series, I planned on making it a trilogy. But once I got through the beginning of book three, I knew it would be four books. It was total instinct. I don’t outline, so I just had a feel for it.

hardcoverlover: Cool! You have the natural skills for your profession. Are you a fulltime writer or do you have a day job as well?

Eric: I write fulltime.

hardcoverlover: Dream job, right there. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

Eric: My parents read a lot. My mother sparked my love of language by reading me Dr. Seuss when I was a little kid.

hardcoverlover: Who was your favorite author as a child?

Eric: Charles M. Schulz. I devoured Peanuts comics collections in these little paperbacks my grandfather had.

hardcoverlover: So the love of books is a family tradition, I see. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Eric: I was 40 or so when I completed the book now titled Bigfoot Galaxy: Expedition. I had tried and failed to write a novel many times prior to that.

hardcoverlover: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Eric: Probably when I was 14 or 15, reading fantasy novels all summer.

hardcoverlover: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Eric: I don’t take criticism to heart, so it isn’t tough. I think if anything I get frustrated if the criticism reveals the person hasn’t actually read the book. The best compliments are usually something about not being able to put the book down or that it kept them up reading. I love that.

hardcoverlover: I would too. How long does it take you to write a book?

Eric: I write between 1500 and 2500 words per day. But a first draft then goes through tons of revisions and editing.

hardcoverlover: Which writers inspire you?

Eric: Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tolkien, and a zillion more.

hardcoverlover: Where do your ideas come from?

Eric: I just start typing sentences. Pretty soon I have a character in a setting. I just follow that.

hardcoverlover: Wow, that’s a pretty unorthodox method! Your creativity must run deep. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Eric: See above. But sometimes writer’s block is due to depression or anxiety. I think those mental health issues should be dealt with first. Sometimes you have to give yourself a break. I’m fortunate in that I don’t get totally blocked. I just go through periods of lower productivity. That’s why I put an emphasis on my health, diet, sleep. Everything that gives me the physical and mental energy to keep writing.

hardcoverlover: Makes sense. Speaking of getting energy, what sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?

Eric: My YA dystopian heroine Jacey would order black coffee, because that’s all she’s ever had.

My fantasy heroine, Kila, would probably go for something super sweet. I suppose a mocha or something. Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t exist in her world.

hardcoverlover: I don’t really drink much coffee either. Maybe once a month? But on behalf of most people I feel I should say, “The horror! No coffee?!” Maybe this is what distinguishes your characters from others. Give us an insight into your main character. What does she does that is so special?

Eric: Jacey is a highly trained clone, though she doesn’t know it at the start. But she has an incredible ability to memorize anything she hears. This becomes in important power as she faces the forces that seek to oppress her and her friends.

hardcoverlover: Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

Eric: I am not a grammar Nazi, so the answer is no!

hardcoverlover: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Eric: My books are all professionally edited and proofread. I can’t see my own mistakes after going through a manuscript over and over.

hardcoverlover: Interesting. I recently received some tips on how to review your own work. It’s not easy, though. What did you edit out of this book?

Eric: Daughter of Nothing was originally very different. The first draft was only 60k words and the main character was Vaughan. But when I started revising it, Jacey stood out as a more interesting character. I deleted everything but one chapter and started over.

hardcoverlover: Whoa! Only one chapter?! I guess our readers will get to play “Guess which chapter”. Maybe you could have kept the other version, though. Those that are really big fans of your work would probably love to read the story from a new perspective as well. Who designed your book covers?

Eric: The current cover was designed by me.

hardcoverlover: Really? Wow! I guess you are talented in all the arts. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Eric: The only advice I feel qualified to give on this front is to write five or six before spending much time marketing. It might even be smart not to release any books until you have a handful ready. That way every dollar and hour spent marketing has greater earning potential over more books.

hardcoverlover: Thanks. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Eric: I love all reviews as long as they are honest.

hardcoverlover: You heard him, folks. Be honest in your reviews. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Eric: My website lists all my books. http://www.erickentedstrom.com. The best way to learn about me is to subscribe to my newsletter.

hardcoverlover: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Eric: Both. When a scene really captures me, it pulls me along. That’s energizing. When I’m unsure about where things are going, it gets slower. Not bad, but slower. That tends to make me tired.

hardcoverlover: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Eric: I have a pseudonym. Aric Shaw writes thrillers.

hardcoverlover: Ooh, nice. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Eric: I don’t look at it from either point of view. I write only what I want to read.

hardcoverlover: I guess I can see that, judging from your method of writing. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Eric: Finish! Just keep writing and finish that first novel. Then do it again and again and again.

hardcoverlover: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Eric: I collect typewriters and I have written a couple novels using only manual typewriters. So I’ll say the money I’ve spent on those.

hardcoverlover: Ink&Scales is also a big fan of typewriters. I will tell her to she’s not the only one. People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Eric: No. Anyone can be a “published author” by uploading a file and cover to Amazon. If you want glamour, focus on your Instagram and skip writing.

hardcoverlover: And here I thought you’d be wearing big sunglasses and dodging papparazzi. Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?

Eric: I don’t like the transportation part of travel at all. But I like seeing new places.

hardcoverlover: Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?

Eric: I can write pretty much anywhere. But I mostly write at home.

hardcoverlover: What is your favorite quote?

Eric: “Write. Don’t think. Relax.” —Ray Bradbury

hardcoverlover: Have you ever made a fake account to interact with fans over comments online to get some insights?

Eric: No.

hardcoverlover: Too bad. If somebody tries this, I want to hear about it. Can you tell us about your current projects?

Eric: I’m currently writing an epic fantasy series called Starside Saga. It’s about a 16 year old thief named, Kila Sigh, who awakens to a magic power she doesn’t understand and can’t control. It’s full of adventure, magic, twists and turns, and good vs evil. I love writing fantasy.

hardcoverlover: And I love reading it. Now for our fun questions:

Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

Eric: No. I’m not that absent-minded.

hardcoverlover: That makes one of us. E-reader or print book?

Eric: I prefer print, but I’ve read lots of ebooks.

hardcoverlover: Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?

Eric: I only kill them if they are on me or if they are a spider in my house. I don’t screech.

hardcoverlover: Suuuure you don’t… Just kidding! Chocolate or vanilla?

Eric: Chocolate is the only right answer.

hardcoverlover: Can’t say I disagree. Light or dark chocolate?

Eric: Dark!

hardcoverlover: Favorite color?

Eric: Black.

hardcoverlover: Few are brave enough to admit that. Dogs or cats?

Eric: This is tricky. I love them all. But right now we have a dog and due to his nature, we can’t really have a cat.

hardcoverlover: Tea or coffee?

Eric: Both. Coffee in the morning, tea the rest of the day. I put unsalted butter and coconut oil in both.

hardcoverlover: What kind of sick and twisted mind do you have? Butter and cococut oil in coffee and tea? I’ve never heard of such a monstrosity! *whispers* I’ll have to try it sometime. Favorite TV show?

Eric: Favorite of all time: Friends.

hardcoverlover: Do you like manga?

Eric: I have never read any manga, so I don’t have any opinion about it.

hardcoverlover: What question would you ask your favorite author if you could?

Eric: My question for any of them: Can I co-write a novel with you?

hardcoverlover: Is there a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview but never been asked?

Eric: Not really.

hardcoverlover: Okay. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Eric: I appreciate readers so much. No readers, no career. Remember, authors thrive on feedback and reviews.

hardcoverlover: Now you’ve heard it, bookies. Leave those reviews, give feedback, and spread the word! Thank you so much for your time, Eric!

 

Now tell us, dear bookies, who would you like us to interview next? Tell us in the comments below!

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Author Interview: Al Macy

Hi bookies (you bookworms),

As we finish a good book and turn to that last page with a satisfied sigh, a lot of times we begin to wonder how the story would continue. How did the characters live after the previously mentioned events? We begin to think: I wish the author had told us more about this or that. And as a result, we wish we could talk to the author and make those suggestions or ask him/her those questions.

Well, I’m happy to announce we got that chance. We have secured an author interview for those that want to get to know Al Macy a bit better. This is the time you get to see what he’s thinking, working on, and know more about the how he thinks. Feel free to ask questions to the author below and you might get an answer! Enjoy!

Author Interview

hardcoverlover: First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. So far, I have only read one of your books: “Yesterday’s Thief”. Tell us a little bit about it.

AM: It’s a paranormal thriller involving a mind-reading detective (Eric) and a jewel thief (Viviana). Viviana traveled forward in time to escape the police. I’d like to tell you more about what happens, but that would spoil things for the readers.

hardcoverlover: How did you get the idea for this book?

AM: I asked myself the question: “What would happen if someone materialized in the middle of a televised baseball game?” That’s it. That’s the whole genesis of the book. Next, I figured out how that might happen, what might have caused that.

In the same way, my first novel, Contact Us, came from a similar question: “What would happen if everyone on Earth sneezed at exactly the same moment?”

hardcoverlover: Wow! That sounds so easy! Of course, getting an idea and making a story out of it must be really different. You must put a lot of work into it, I’m sure. But, how did you come up with the title?

AM: In the past I’ve come up with titles on my own, just thinking about possibilities until one caught my fancy. Bad idea. Now, I come up with fifty or more ideas, and then present them in a forum filled with authors (kboards.com). The authors make comments and vote on which title they think is best.

My original title idea for Yesterday’s Thief was The Lady Unvanishes. I actually liked that title, but it’s derived from a Hitchcock movie that came out in the thirties! Yesterday’s Thief is more fun.

hardcoverlover: Yes, I think so too. Would you like to tell us about your upcoming book?

AM: I’m ninety-percent done writing The Universe Next Door. In it, Jake Corby, the main character in Contact Us and The Antiterrorist, is transported to a parallel universe with his dog and his eighty-three-year-old grandmother-in-law.

The grandmother was a mid-level character in Contact Us, but so many readers told me she was their favorite character that I had to give her a prominent role in the next book.

Here’s the first draft of the blurb:

Jake Corby is recovering from his last mission, enjoying life with his new family, when he’s sucked into a parallel universe with nothing but his clothes, his dog, and his eighty-three-year-old grandmother-in-law.
On this version of Earth, the dinosaurs didn’t go extinct and the world is ruled by a spacefaring civilization of dinobirds. If Jake wants to return home, he’ll need to not only survive but locate the rulers of Earth so they can send him back.
Worse, Corby learns that a universe collision is imminent. Unless he can adapt to his new reality and work with the dinobirds to ward off that danger, his universe, as well as countless others, will cease to exist.

But I’ve been really bad. I’ve started work on another book even though I’m not done with The Universe Next Door. This next one will be another Eric Beckman book (the main character in Yesterday’s Thief). Eric, the mind-reading detective, will go undercover in an insane asylum. I’m excited about it, but I can’t tell you more!

hardcoverlover: Sounds really interesting! Now, about your writing process: how long does it take you to write a book?

AM: It took me 4.5 months to write Yesterday’s Thief. This graph shows my progress (number of words written versus time):

Al Macy progress chart

I tried writing The Universe Next Door faster, but it’s not working out that way.

hardcoverlover: How do you name your characters?

AM: I use a tool that’s part of Scrivener, the novel-writing software I use. Here’s the dialog box:

Al Macy Scrivener namer.png

hardcoverlover: Hmm. That’s pretty interesting. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

AM: Outline all the way. Scrivener makes it easy. Here’s what things look like, outlined in Scrivener:

Al Macy scrivener outline.png

I’d show you the whole thing, and with text that’s actually big enough to read, but that would give too much away.

hardcoverlover: Dang it. I guess we will just have to wait for the next book! Sounds like this Scrivener is a pretty important tool. I think you have given aspiring authors a good idea of how to organize their stories. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

AM: I proofread my first several books by myself, but now I outsource it. I had to read a book six times to find all the errors. Aargh! It’s better to spend that time writing my next book. So now, I have a great editor who does that for me (Julie at FreeRangeEditorial.com).

hardcoverlover: Where do you write? Is your workspace the definition of “neat freak” or do you prefer to keep a “controlled chaos” atmosphere?

AM: I’ve got a relatively neat rolltop desk in my living room. It has a great view of the forest, and I’m heated from behind by our woodstove. This is what it looks like (but it’s rarely that neat):

Al Macy workspace.png

hardcoverlover: Ooh, looks cozy! How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

AM: I’ve written three novels and two nonfiction books. By the way, if your readers are so infatuated with me that they have to have more, more, more, my book Drive, Ride, Repeat is free on Amazon.

Yesterday’s Thief is my favorite so far.

hardcoverlover: Well, Mr. Macy, we really do appreciate the work you do and especially the time that you took to answer our questions despite your busy schedule. We look forward to your future books.

For more information on Al Macy, see his bio here or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.