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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Review: Daughter of Nothing

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Hi bookies (you book-venturers)!

Today, I will be reviewing my very first audio book! I had never tried listening to an audio book for various reasons. But now that I have, here is my review on it. Let’s take a look at the information provided first.

Title: Daughter of Nothing
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi.
Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
 *While the powerful seek immortality, the Scions struggle for survival.*

Few people know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school hosts 36 exceptionally gifted students. They train every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.

At least, that's what they've been told.

Only one student - a 17-year-old named Jacey - suspects the truth. Driven by her undying loyalty to her friends, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are...and what the headmaster truly means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.

Daughter of Nothing is the first audiobook in an amazing new series for fans of young adult dystopian fiction.

Eric Kent Edstrom - author of Starside Saga - is back with more lovable characters, thriller pacing, and shocking twists you’ll never see coming.

This audiobook was really interesting. The author does a great job in initially disorienting the reader. You can’t tell what is really going on at first. Here’s a general description of the story without giving anything away:

This book is told from Jacey’s point of view, a 17-year old girl. She is a scion, which means she is one of the select few that are being trained in a special school for children to help restore the world after a cataclysm has destroyed much of it. Or is she? After a series of events occurs, Jacey begins questioning for the first time if the world she knows is real or a lie. Raised isolated from the rest of the world, the scion school on a remote island is all she knows. She wholeheartedly believes in their mission, but should she? What really happens upon graduation? Where do they go? And why is the director of the school showing such a special interest in Jacey’s progress? Obviously, these and other questions are answered in the book.

This was my first audiobook ever. At first, I felt that the narrator’s voice was a bit robotic. But her voice soon warmed up and adapted according to each character’s speaking parts. I think that she does a great job in making the story come alive. I didn’t want to stop listening and felt as if I were watching a movie.

I greatly enjoyed the story, but there were two things that detracted from it. First off, Jacey being so clueless was driving me crazy. It’s a good sign that the author is really able to show things from Jacey’s point of view. You see her struggle to put together all the clues, but with limited sources to draw information from and her upbringing, she takes a long while to put the pieces together. Because of this, I think the reader is able to deduce what is going on long before the main character does. This can be a source of frustration because you want to know what happens after Jacey figures everything out, but this is delayed for a while.

The second thing that detracted from the story is that I have encountered similar story lines in other books. That means that after the story reached a certain point, I knew, more or less, what was going on and what was going to happen. Of course, the smaller details are flexible, but I wish the waiting period between figuring out what was going to happen and it actually occurring was shorter. Despite this, I enjoyed the story overall and am hooked, left wanting to see what happens in the next book.

TL;DR

Pros: great story, interesting, well-written, left hooked.

Cons: familiar story line, slow progression of story line in some parts.

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Eye of Minds

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Hi bookies (you literary nerds)! Here’s a new review for you.

Title: The Eye of Minds
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
# of pages: 310

So let’s jump right into this. This book is quite interesting. Sci-Fi books about virtual reality, connecting your brain to a virtual ‘net, or especially life-like videogames are always iffy for me. Some are very good, others are too deep, and some are just not my cup of tea and I can’t muscle my way past the first few chapters. The description seemed more or less interesting, but it still depended on how the author chose to develop the story, right? Just take a look at the blurb:

An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

This book started out iffy to me, but it wasn’t too focused on world-building which actually helped me. It focused on the situation, what’s going on, and that was interesting enough to keep me going.

Michael is a rich gamer kid who loves gaming above all else. Gaming is basically his life. Whenever he’s not gaming, he’s just doing the regular things that have to get done to get through the day. His best friends, Bryson and Sarah, have that in common. The three are an amazing trio out to have fun who have good programming skills and apparently to much time on their hands. With nicknames like the Terrible Trio, the Trifecta to Dissect-ya, the Burn-and-Pillage-y Trilogy, shows how they aren’t the most mature kids out there, but they just want to have fun with friends. However, they’ve never met in person. With terms like the NerveBox, Coffin, VirtNet, Core, Portal you know you’re talking about a futuristic setting.

Now about the main characters, all three are young teenagers who can be classified as gamer nerds. But they have the computer skills to back it up. So while they may not be anyone important in real life and they may be looked down upon, they don’t mind because they matter to each other and are hackers with advanced skills in the gaming world where they usually live anyway.

Unfortunately, their carefree life is about to come to a sharp halt. A secret organization blackmails Michael into helping them catch a criminal mastermind in the gaming world who is not satisfied with infecting the game- now when he kills in the game, you’ll die- or worse- in real life. So not only does Michael have to catch a killer with nearly unreal, advanced computer skills… He has to do it without any help, besides that of his two best pals. If he loses, it’s game over for his life. Or so he thinks. What is the killer’s obsession with Michael? What is the secret behind his identity and motives?

This book does a good job in world-building, despite the challenges. However, the plot can get a little slow in some parts. I think I most enjoyed Michael’s interactions with his friends. He is someone who spends a lot of time in his head, but he doesn’t really get anywhere with all that thinking. Strangely enough, though his friends are the only ones that matter in his life, Michael doesn’t really share any of the problems that really worry him. He is a sort of confusing character that when you look back on it, doesn’t seem to have much depth. The ending was a total surprise though and a real cliffhanger that neatly sums up all the small details that don’t really make sense in the book.

So this book, to sum it all up, is not really my cup of tea. Despite that, I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading the second book. I give this book a 3/5. Keeps a good interest level but can be a bit tough to slog though at times. If you love videogames and wish you could live in them, maybe this book is for you. What’s your favorite genre? Let us know in the comments below.

Review: Yesterday’s Thief

Hi bookies (you raving book lovers),

I know that you’ve probably been waiting for the next book to check out, right? Or maybe you have been enjoying a good book yourself and want to read some more. Either way, I am happy to present this new review on Al Macy’s “Yesterday’s Thief”. Here are the basics:

Title: Yesterday’s Thief
Author: Al Macy
Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery

Now the blurb:

It’s the year 2020, and Eric Beckman is a mind-reading detective.
Although he reads only the conscious thoughts of the people he interviews, it usually gives him enough of an edge to overcome his inexperience as a PI. But mind reading is hell on relationships. Trusting comes hard when you know what people are really thinking.
The case of his life lands in his lap when a beautiful woman materializes during a televised baseball game. She floats in midair, then drops to the ground, comatose.
Beckman is at her bedside when she wakes up. From the moment she opens her eyes, she has him under her spell. He vows to figure out where—or when—she came from, even if it kills him.
The stakes increase when she disappears without a trace. Worse, she holds the key to a worldwide energy catastrophe. If Beckman can’t find her and unlock her secrets, economies will collapse, and the world will spiral down into chaos.

Let’s do things a little differently this time. First of all, my rating for this book is 3/5 stars. It is an good book to pass the time, but nothing I will be raving about or dying to read. It’s just kind of a “Meh” book.

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Why? Well, let’s get into that.

The good: The author does a really good job for the introduction. He gets straight to telling the story. It just so happens that this beginning is very unique. A mysterious woman just appears out of thin air in the middle of a broadcasted baseball game… Yeah, definitely not your usual beginning. So you immediately want to know more, of course. You meet your main characters and get a brief description of the main characters and co. Our main character, the mind-reading private investigator, has all the right connections/friends to meet the mysterious woman as she is in a temporary coma.

I’ll be honest. At first I had big hopes for these interesting characters. I mean, mind-reading powers? Awesome! Mysterious woman materializes out of thin air? Great! You later find out she time traveled- yet another topic I am fascinated by. Everything seems to point towards a great story developing. Even the cover and blurb sound/ look professional and cool! Unfortunately, that’s where the bad starts to kick in.

Maybe one of the things I was most disappointed by was the lack of character development. I mean, you can do so much for this story just by giving a little bit of backstory. How did Eric get his powers? Since when has he had these powers? It is hinted at that he has had it for some time. How did he first feel when he discovered them? How did he discover it? As for Viviana, our second main character, what was her childhood like? How did it feel living with a genius? When did she develop her knack for burglary skills. How did she justify it?

As for the world building, it’s decent but things like the world situation and struggle with energy and economic problems can be explained more. The society is futuristic but we are not given too much in regards to the societal advancements. There is a romantic relationship, unfortunately, it’s my least favorite kind: the insta-love kind. There is a physical attraction between the two characters involved and that’s basically it. They throw all sense and reason to the wind and “trust” each other that easily. It kind of feels like they are just lonely and desperate for some type company.

Now, despite these shortcomings, the story is decent. It doesn’t go the way you expect. There are quite a few twists that throw you off and keep the story interesting, enough to keep you interested. Think mind-reading, learning languages, natural disasters, burglary adventures, manhunts, romance, an “evil genius”, and life-threatening wounds. Plenty to keep a fast-paced story running. Would I read this again? Probably not. Once is enough. And if I had known before hand what it would be like, I would probably just save it for a rainy day, when I have no other reading material, but feel like relaxing with a casual book.

What do you think about this book, readers? Do you think that you would read it? Does the blurb convince you? What would you want to know about our main characters? Hope you enjoyed this review!