Category Archives: Author Interview

Story Molecules – Guest Blog by Ellen Behrens of Ellenbooks

Deb has a great way of finding the hidden stories in the places she visits and the people she sees, don’t you think? Writers get asked a lot where we get our ideas and we usually tell them, “Everywhere!” But how do we get to the point where we can see those hints of stories?

I can’t speak for Deb – she has her own way of finding threads of stories in the places she visits and people she meets, and her stories and novels are great evidence of this.

In my case, I give a lot of credit to my mother, who raised four kids (she had three kids three years old and younger at one point) and was forever inventing ways to keep us entertained, especially in the confines of our four-door car on very long road trips.

“Look at that house! Who do you think would live in a house like that?” she’d ask, and we’d quit squabbling long enough to swing our heads in the direction she was pointing to see what the house looked like. Sitting in a grocery store parking lot, waiting for Dad to run in for a few groceries on the way home, she’d say, “Which car do you think that woman will go to?” And we’d pick out the vehicle we thought matched her – and usually we were all wrong. People, of course, surprise us all the time.

Pretty soon, everything started to be a question: “Why in the world would anyone want to be out in weather like this?” Mom would say, hand on hip, looking out the big front window into blowing snow. We’d swarm to stare with her at the hunched man, head bowed against the brutal, sub-zero temperatures. Hmmm… What would drive someone out into the drifting piles of frigid white? Was he out of bread? Would the store even be open? What would he do if he got all the way there and it was closed? Our brains turned the possibilities over. We traded theories, my mother long vanished back to the peace and quiet that reigned once again in our small house.

My imagination is in overdrive these days. Living and traveling full-time in our RV, I’m bombarded every day by this sort of stimuli: how do people make a living in this tiny town where every business is boarded up? Why is there a two-track trail leading into that stretch of prairie? What does that sign “No NPS Allowed” mean?

That sign had a lot of meaning behind it, it turns out. That detail, plus a few others, swirled around in my head. I started writing. Then re-writing. Eventually I had a story, then a book I titled Pea Body, after the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, in the Outer Banks.

Pretty soon its main characters, Walt and Betty Rollin, full-time RVers, reappeared in Yuma Baby, the second in the Rollin RV Mystery Series, another story born from images and details gathered during my nomadic life.

Superstition Victim, set in a Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona (though never named in the novel), is in progress, plunging Walt and Betty into yet another who-dunnit.

Ideas? They’re out there, floating around in numbers as uncountable as molecules of air. What have you seen today? What did it make you think of? Will you write about it?

Many thanks, Deb, for letting me share a bit of what goes on when some of those story molecules hit me!

Ellen Behrens is a novelist, short story author, and nonfiction writer. Her Rollin RV Mystery series has given her the reputation as “RVers’ favorite writer.” Her books are available in print and e-book format for all major e- reader devices. Behrens’ first novel, “None But the Dead and Dying,” came out in 1996 from Baskerville Publishers. Former Fiction Editor for Mid-American Review, she received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 1993. Find out more about her books at ellenbooks.com, or drop her a note at ellenbehr@aol.com if you’d to be part of her inner circle and receive personal alerts about upcoming publications and events.

 

Interview at Ellenbooks

There’s an elite group . . . and I don’t say that lightly . . . of authors who manage to balance life on the road with writing. I was honored when Ellen Behrens, an outstanding author and fellow RVer, asked to interview me for her blog. Please click the link below and stop by to say “howdy”. While you’re there, check out Ellen’s delightful series, Rollin’ RV Mystery series!

Fellow RV Novelists: Deb Sanders

Who’s Your Favorite Leading Lady?

Author Beverley Bateman is talking about heroines during the month of May at her blog. I was honored to be interviewed about this voluminous topic even though we barely scratched the surface. Please join me as I discuss my favorite heroines! I’d love to hear about your favorites . . . and why you think these ladies are top notch!.C’mon over and leave a comment!

http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/

 

Author Interview with Tamara Linse (Earth’s Imagined Corners)

It’s my extreme pleasure to chat with author Tamara Linse today. She’s penned a historical novel based on the life of her great-grandparents, which is fascinating in itself, but the woman behind the keyboard is just as interesting. I can’t wait for you to meet her.  Start with the interview but please stay for the excerpt from “Earth’s Imagined Corners”. It’s the most delicious treat you’ll have all day!

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TL: I am so honored to hang out with you today! And I can’t wait to check out what you write.

Earth’s Imagined Corners was a loving project to which you devoted your time, talent and perseverance for years. Now that it is a realized dream, was it worth the effort? Anything you would change about the process?

TL: Great question!  Yes, it took me 15 years from initial conception to publication, and I can say without hesitation that it was definitely worth it.  I don’t even know if “worth it” is the right term.  Writing, especially fiction, is just something I feel compelled to do ~ I don’t know if you feel the same.  There’s nothing scarier than a writer who isn’t writing, and it makes me feel calmer and saner when I’m creating.  Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes hard. The hardest part is getting started after being away from it for a while, but once I’ve started it’s usually a glorious slide down a snowy hill ~ exhilarating, challenging, lovely. If there’s anything I would change, it would be how long it takes me. Seven years per novel seems a little long. I’d love to do a novel year, and I know I could do it. I’ve written a full draft in five months. But the world not only doesn’t care if you’re writing ~ it actively works against you writing, especially if you’re a woman.  It would rather you be doing what it wants you to do. Working, cleaning, cooking, taking care of others, and so on. And it doesn’t just sit back and sigh. It enters the writing room and cracks jokes and suggests you do something else. So that would be the other thing I would change: my ability to block out the world and carve out time to write. I know it’s my own fault too. I’m a good girl and a people pleaser, and it’s much easier to do what the world wants me to do than face my own demons to write.

Even though Earth’s Imagined Corners is based on the lives of your great grandparents, you still brought the era to life with details you couldn’t possibly have known. How much time did you spend researching the late 1800’s to provide authenticity to the period and dialogue which was beautifully portrayed in your story?

How much of the story is fictional and how much fact? Was it challenging to apply creative license knowing you were altering the details of your family history? How did you decide which parts needed embellishment?

all interviews and guest blogs - Frank and Ellen Strong xTL: I’ll tackle both of these questions at once.

Oh, gosh. Lots of research.  And thank you so much for your kind words! You made my month! Some of the best fiction involves research, I think.  And besides, I love research, and it’s much easier to wander down the alleys of history than to face the blank page. The wonderful Nebraska writer Ron Hansen said that the history is another country, and you have to treat it like that. Figure out its customs and language.  I thought a lot about the story’s dialog. Who knows how people talked in 1885? Just like today, what was written was probably different than what was said. But I also wanted it to sound to the reader like real people talking. To compromise, I wrote the dialog as I would any other, and then I tweaked it and took out the words that either weren’t contemporary or don’t “feel” historical and then put in words that do feel historical. For me, communication and clarity rank above “truth” (as if there is only one truth). I read historical newspapers, and The 18th Annual Report of the U.S. Commissioner of Labor in 1900 reported prices in Chicago and I extrapolated backwards. Men worked an average of 290 days a year and made $553.52, while women worked an average of 295 days a year and made $313.42. Inventions such as electricity were making their way across the continent. Electrical infrastructure began reaching Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas in 1882. Kansas City had mule-drawn cable cars in 1881, but by 1885, they were powered by electricity. Work began on the “Additional Penitentiary” in Anamosa, Iowa, in 1873. In 1885, it held 281 inmates. Electric lights were actually at the prison when James would have been there—they were first used in December of 1882. Fictional purposes—sorry. The inmates built their own prison, first in wood and then in stone. The cookbook The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith is fact. First published in 1727 in London, the cookbook was republished almost verbatim in 1742 by the Virginia printer William Parks, the first cookbook published in the Colonies.

The American Memory Site of the National Archives is an amazing resource for researchers, and much of their material is online, and so I didn’t have to travel to Washington D.C. to access it. Fortunately, there are birds-eye views of downtown Kansas City from 1879 and 1895, perfectly framing my time period. I also had the tremendous good fortune—for me, not for the residents of KC West Bottoms—of having a vast photographic evidence to draw from. That’s because the Bottoms flood regularly, and people take lots of photos during these natural disasters.  “The Patch” was a 4.5-acre area in the West Bottoms west of the Armour Packing Factory. If anything, I built it up a bit. Citizens of the Patch were evicted in April of 1910. I moved the flood from 1881 to 1885. There was a great flood in 1844 that came through the West Bottoms with a deafening roar and filled it bluff to bluff. It was reported that, during the night of the flood, cries were heard but the flood was too overwhelming to attempt rescue. The next day, rescuers found Louis Tromley perched in a tree, his wife in a tree a hundred yards farther on, and his son sitting on the peak of the swaying house. Later that day, onlookers saw Tromley’s house floating with the current, with Tromley’s favorite dog perched on its top. Tromley yelled out the dog’s name, and the dog let out a mournful wail. Tromley almost plunged into the water to save it. In 1881, an African American man named Levi Harrington, 23, was lynched—hung and shot—from the Bluff Bridge for killing a policeman named Jones, a crime Harrington did not commit. It got little coverage in the papers because it happened the same day that Jesse James was shot in Saint Joseph.

Little things. President Cleveland did have a mistress. Sara’s paste opal jewel exists, and in 2003, it was for sale by The Three Graces, Houston, Texas, for $1,380. The description of passengers getting cozy during a train wreck that is told by Moses is from Bill Nye’s 1882 Forty Lies and Other Liars. I based the rats at the river on an account given by a man who grew up in Kansas City in the twentieth century—the 1960s, I think. Thomas’s Tsististas are the Cheyenne, and the words from the Cheyenne language is from the Dull Knife College web site, but their spelling is my own. And so much more.  I love history. My master’s thesis was on 1850 Overland Trail pioneer diaries.

As far as it being based on family history, I was lucky in that I had some bare facts but not so much information as to overwhelm me. He was in prison, and they moved to KC and had a store. That was almost all I knew.  And when you write fiction, you can’t be constrained by what happened. You have to get the details right, but if you’re worried about offending someone or being “right” whatever that means it’ll strangle you. Yes, you want to be accurate, but you have to have more loyalty to the logic of the story and to good storytelling. So I would say my process was to have a rough plot and characters based on my grandparents, and then to forget they were my grandparents and go where the story took me.

You have two more books scheduled in the series. Will you write them separately or concurrently? Is it difficult to stay focused on this project or are you itching to write something different?

TL: Ha!  No, I’ll write them chronologically. But as you hint, it’s hard to stay focused on one project. There are just so many great ideas, and I want to do them all and not let them get away!  For example, right now before I go further on the second in the series, Numberless Infinities, I want to finish a young adult called Pride, which is Pride and Prejudice set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s part of a YA series where I take British classics and set them in contemporary Wyoming. It’s so much fun! The hardest part is getting started, and once I start, it’s best if I don’t stop. Though it often happens.

Tamara on ErnieAfter reading your “long” bio, I was completely charmed by this multi-faceted person called Tamara Linse. (Readers, you can learn more HERE) I also was raised with a taste of the “old” world and new, living part time on a farm without modern amenities. I know that experience enhanced my ability to maneuver life. How did it affect you and what do you think is the most valuable lesson you learned from those days? On the flip side, what did you hate about it?

*blush* Thank you!  I hate those short dry bios, don’t you?  I want them to read like a Dickens novel! Your life sounds fascinating.  I hope you’re writing about it!  There’s a lot of my upbringing in my short story collection How to Be a Man. It was and is hard to be female on a ranch. Men have the respect, and if you’re how_to_be_a_man_tamara_linse_coveran intelligent little girl, you look around yourself and think, how do I have respect, since I’m not a guy? Many western girls come to the conclusion that they need to be men as much as they can. It’s very self-destructive when you deny something you essentially are. It’s like being black and passing as white or being homosexual and passing as heterosexual.  Plus you really hate yourself.  The poverty of it wasn’t very nice either. The most valuable lesson I learned was pigheadedness. I attribute pretty much any success I’ve had in life to sticking to things, even after a lot of reasonable people would have given up.  Another thing I learned, which I’m sure you did too, was self-reliance.  When something happens, you just need to bow your head and get after it. No use belly-aching.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

TL: You know, I really haven’t thought much about this. That’s another of  the legacies of my upbringing ~ I had to teach myself to dream big. If you grow up thinking you can’t have anything, you don’t let yourself want things.  But I did always want to travel to England and Ireland, and I was able to do that in 2002 after I graduated with my master’s.  But if I were allowed to dream, it would go something like this. A sprawling house in the south of France or a bungalow on a carribean island, like Hemingway’s Finca Vigia. Write all morning, drink and laze about and socialize in the afternoon and evening. All this would involve someone else cooking and cleaning, of course! So, you know, I’d like to live in writers’ paradise!

TL: It’s been such a pleasure, Deb! Thank you! Stay in touch!

♦♦♦♦♦

Earth’s Imagined Corners

The Round Earth Series

Book 1

Tamara Linse

Genre: Historical Fictiocover

Publisher: Willow Words

Date of Publication: January 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9909533-1-9            

ASIN: B00T18RRNK

Number of pages: 472

Word Count: 130,000

Book Description:

In 1885 Iowa, Sara Moore is a dutiful daughter, but when her father tries to force her to marry his younger partner, she must choose between the partner—a man who treats her like property—and James Youngblood—a kind man she hardly knows who has a troubled past.

When she confronts her father, he beats her and turns her out of the house, breaking all ties, so she decides to elope with James to Kansas City with hardly a penny to their names.

In the tradition of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Earth’s Imagined Corners is a novel that comprehends the great kindnesses and violences we do to each other.

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

Anamosa, Iowa, 1885

Sara Moore should have nothing to fear this week. She had been meticulous in her entering into the ledger the amounts that Minnie the cook requested she spend on groceries. She had remembered, just, to include her brother Ed’s purchase of materials to mend sister Maisie’s doll house and to subtract the pickling salt that she had purchased for sister Esther but for which Esther’s husband Gerald had reimbursed her. She stood at her father’s shoulder as he went over the weekly household accounts, and even though her father owned Moore Grocer & Sundries from which she ordered the family’s groceries, he still insisted she account for the full price in the ledger. “No daughter of mine,” he often said, though sometimes he would finish the thought and sometimes his neatly trimmed eyebrows would merely bristle.

Despite the buttressing of her corset, Sara hunched forward, somewhat reducing her tall frame. She intertwined her fingers so that she would not fiddle with the gathers of soft navy wool in her overskirt, and she tried not to breathe too loudly, so as not to bother him, nor to breathe too deeply, in order to take in little of the cigar smoke curling up from his elephant-ivory ashtray on the hulking plantation desk.

As always, the heavy brocade curtains armored Colonel Moore’s study against the Iowa day, so the coal oil lamps flickered in their brackets. Per instructions, Sipsy the maid lit them early every morning, snuffed them when he left for the grocery, lit them again in anticipation of his return at seven, and then snuffed them again after he retired. It was an expense, surely, but one that Sara knew better than to question. The walls of the study were lined with volumes of military history and maps of Virginia and Georgia covered in lines, symbols, and labels carefully inked in Colonel Moore’s hand. In its glass case on the bureau rested Colonel Moore’s 1851, an intricately engraved pistol awarded to him during the War of Northern Aggression. Sipsy dusted daily, under stern directive that not a speck should gather upon any surface in the room.

Sara’s father let out a sound between an outlet of breath and a groan. This was not good. He was not pleased. Sara straightened her shoulders and took a breath and held it but let her shoulders slump forward once more.

“My dear,” he said, his drawl at a minimum, “your figures, once again, are disproportionate top to bottom. And there is too much slant, as always, in their curvatures. I urge you to practice your penmanship.” His tone was one of indulgence.

Inaudibly, Sara let out her breath. If he was criticizing her chirography, then he had found nothing amiss in the numbers. The accounts were sound for another week. Later, when he checked the numbers against the accounts at the grocery, there was less of a chance that she had missed something.

He closed the ledger, turned his chair, and with both hands held the ledger out to her. She received it palms up and said, “I will do better, Father.”

“You would not want to disappoint to your mother.” His drawl was more pronounced.

So he had regretted his indulgence and was not satisfied to let her go unchecked. His wife, Sara’s mother, had been dead these five years, and since then Sara had grown to take her place, running the household, directing the servants, and caring for six year-old Maisie. Ed needed little looking after, as he was older than Sara, though unmarried, and Esther, the oldest, was married with two daughters and farm of her own.

Sara straightened her shoulders again and hugged the ledger to her chest. “Yes, Father,” she said and turned and left the room, trying to keep her pace tranquil and unhurried. She went to the kitchen, where Minnie had a cup of coffee doused with cream and sugar awaiting her. Minnie gave her an encouraging smile, and though Sara did not acknowledge what went unsaid between them—one must shun familiarity with the servants—she lifted her shoulders slightly and said, “Thank you, Minnie.” Minnie, with the round figure and dark eyes of a Bohemian, understood English well, though she still talked with a pronounced accent, and Sara had only heard her speak the round vowels and chipped consonants of her native tongue once, when a delivery man indigenous to her country of origin walked into the kitchen with mud on his boots. Sara tucked the ledger in its place on a high shelf and then allowed herself five minutes of sipping coffee amid the wonderful smells of Minnie’s pompion tart. Then she rose, rinsed her cup, and applied herself to her day.

The driver had Father’s horse and gig waiting, as always, at twenty minutes to nine. As Father stretched his fingers into his gloves, pulling them tight by the wrist leather, he told Sara, “When you come at noon, I have something unusual to show you.”

“Yes, Father,” she said.

It seemed odd that he would concern her with anything to do with business. He left her to the household. He had long tried to coerce Ed into the business, but Ed’s abilities trended more toward the physical. He was a skilled carpenter, though Father kept a close rein on where he took jobs and whom he worked for. All talk of renaming the business Moore & Son had been dropped when Father had recently promoted the young man who was his assistant, Chester O’Hanlin, to partner. Mr. O’Hanlin had droopy red muttonchops and a body so long and thin he looked a hand-span taller than he really was, which was actually a bit shorter than Sara. Mr. O’Hanlin didn’t talk much, either, and he seemed always to be listening. He held himself oddly, cocking his head to one side, first one way and then the other, his small dark eyes focusing off to the left or right of the speaker. His nose, long and wedge-shaped, seemed to take up half his face. “Chester, the Chinaman,” Maisie called him outside of his presence because of the way he stooped and bobbed whenever their father entered the room.

tamaraAbout the Author:

Tamara Linse jokes that she was raised in the 1880s, and so it was natural for her to set a book there. She is the author of the short story collection How to Be a Man and the novel Deep Down Things and earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for an Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer.

Find her online at www.tamaralinse.com and her blog Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl at www.tamara-linse.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tlinse

Twitter https://twitter.com/TamaraLinse

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TamaraLinse/posts

Author Interview: Mark Lein of AN EMERGING THREAT

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An Emerging Threat

The Seeker’s Burden

Book One

Mark E. Lein

Genre: High Fantasy/ Epic FantasyAnEmergingThreat_Cover

ISBN: 1493592890

ASIN: B00G4LS6AK

Number of pages: 176

Word Count: 33,000

Cover Artist: Glen Wilkinson

Book Description:

An evil stirs, casting a shadow across the Islands. Two men begin quests to find the source of the darkness. One is a young scholar, given no choice but to follow the path ahead. Tragedy shapes him, nearly driving him to despair; an inner struggle pervades his journey.

The other is a warrior forced to the task through a sense of responsibility. His royal blood and his knighthood drive his course. Their searches, though separate, have the same goal: to find whatever or whoever may be responsible for the darkening of their world.

This book tells the story of their journey and the creatures, both friend and foe, that they meet along the way.

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

Chapter 12: To Meet A Ruler

Oliver lost count of the platforms they passed before the swaying cart slowed. Ahead the overhead lights grew in size, brightening the area with an unnatural glare. For the third time he tried to get some information on what was going on. “Sirs, where are we going? Have I done something wrong?”

Stony, expressionless faces looked through him and no reply was forthcoming. Oliver sighed, slumped back in his seat and watched a large gold- en hued wall and massive gate creep into view as they slowed. They came to a stop on what seemed to be the bottom of the chasm, a flat stony surface covered in rock dust. Here, the rail line ended.

A cheerful looking goblin strolled up and en- gaged the cart’s braking system before looking the occupants over. “Welcome be to you young friend.” He said to Oliver. “What brings you to the ‘Floor of the Sea’ as we call it?”

Before Oliver could reply one of the armored goblins spoke sharply in their grating language and the rail worker quickly backed away, his cheerful look fading into something closer to apprehension.

Oliver was led to the large metal door. Two torches stood on either side of an inscribed plate embedded in the wall. Just above the plate hung a rope. The leader of the soldiers reached up and pulled hard on the rope once and stepped back to join the other two soldiers. Nothing happened at first, then a low rumble of sound came from be- hind the wall and then silence once again.

Oliver started when the gate began to open. Slowly, the heavy door swung on silent hinges, opening into darkness. As the group moved through the gateway, small pinpricks of light flamed to life. Candles, hundreds of candles standing on narrow stone pillars, lit the space beyond the wall. Behind each candle stood a young goblin, alternating male and female. They were spaced every ten or so paces.

The illuminated area showed that they were moving through a cleft in the cliff face, winding as it followed the natural curves of the rock. A cold draft of air made Oliver shiver as they walked. The silence was just about to make him crazy when the trail widened and the line of candles ceased.

Ahead was a solid wall of darkness. The soldiers halted and stood quietly. Oliver waited with them, shivering in the subterranean cold, glancing at the solemn candle bearers around them.

The sudden boom of a drum shattered the silence as more candles flared to life. Oliver drew his breath in sharply. The group stood at the entrance to a long natural cavern, not unlike the one underneath Sun Fire Citadel. The floor was not smooth, jagged rock shot up in all directions, making the room look as if a giant mouth had opened. At the far side of the cavern a score or more goblins stood gathered around a single goblin seated on what appeared to be a throne. The hall was formed out of living rock, the throne itself little more than a shelf of stone bordered on each side by two round boulders.

Waved forward by another armored goblin that stood next to the throne, Oliver’s group crossed the distance between the entrance and the rough dais. The three goblins that had brought him knelt on one knee, plate armor folding smoothly as they moved. Oliver quickly did likewise, returning to stand upright with the guards. Only then did he meet the eyes of the goblin sitting on the throne.

He was old, not old like Oliver understood, more ancient than any human he had seen. He seemed a part of the stone chair that held him. The gray skin was creased and cracked, the features loose. His hair was but wisps of white strands that stuck out of the simple iron circlet on his brow. The eyes were different. Alive, even young, they pierced through Oliver and made him lower his gaze and redden in shyness.

“Welcome to the Deep Fallows young human.” The voice grated like millstones. “I am Bosgar, leader of the Goblin race. It is my great honor to meet you. I had grown worried I may not last until this day.”

Oliver stumbled through his reply. “Good sir, it is I who should be honored. Is there something that I have done wrong?”

The room erupted in coarse laughter, the sound reverberating off the rock walls as even the candle bearers joined in. “Nay, tall one! You have done nothing wrong and I am sorry for the secrecy of your journey here. My captain enjoys putting fear into outsiders in general and he had to be talked into allowing you this deep.” Bosgar pointed with a smile to the leader of the three goblins that had escorted Oliver.

With a hearty bellow of laughter the accused turned to Oliver and embraced him, squeezing the breath out of him. “You be a right solemn human, and it did me good to see you not quake in your boots!”

Released, Oliver stood in relieved confusion, a smile breaking out as the laughter and conversation continued unabated. The goblin leader raised a hand above his head and all fell silent. “Now as to why you are here, we must talk. We do not allow humans access to this place for sport. My scouts have reported that the Citadel called Sun Fire is destroyed and that you were the only one seen leaving the island.” At Oliver’s startled look Bosgar raised his hand reassuringly. “They followed you to protect you until you could come before me. I have need of understanding what danger is on our threshold. I understand loved ones may have perished, but please tell us what transpired on that dark island as time may be of great importance.”

Oliver spoke haltingly. “Sir, it is as you say, I am from Sun Fire. I had never left until yesterday.” Bosgar bade him and the others nearby take seats and then nodded to Oliver to continue. Oliver then spoke of what he had seen, relating the events as best he could remember, hiding only the details of the cavern and its secrets. Throughout his tale the goblins looked at one another and made whispered comments back and forth.

When Oliver finished his story, the goblin Leader stood and clasped his arms with an iron grip. “Child, you will be from this day, a part of my people, a son of a lost island. We weep with you in your loss and rejoice in your life. You are welcome to stay here and need only ask for anything.”

Author Interview:

Tell us about yourself.

I am an avid reader. You might say an extremely passionate reader. For as long as I can remember, I read. Whether it was historic America or Europe, Narnia, Middle Earth, or the Four Lands of Shannara, I spent hours of each day of my childhood in the worlds authors had created. Before kids, my Mother had been a high school English teacher and she taught me and my siblings the joy of reading. By the time I was 12, she had read A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and Where the Red Fern Grows to us, among many, many others.

Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Arthur Conan Doyle were as influential in my life as Louie L’Amour, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Timothy Zahn, Isaac Asimov and Dr. Seuss.

When did you start writing?

I wrote for fun in high school and college, thinking I was a better writer than I truly was. I attempted poetry, short stories, and even a song or two with little to no success. I wrote in some ways because it was easier than to verbalize. I never was good at speaking in public. When I did, to include briefing Generals as an Army officer, the number one thing I did to prepare and have success was write a “speech” to make sure I truly internalized what I had to say. Yes, writing has helped me speak.

What do you write and why?

For a couple years I had a blog where I wrote Non-fiction posts about experiences (to include time spent in Africa and Iraq) and beliefs. For the last year or two I have focused on writing Fantasy.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Surprising myself. As I write about a character for example, I keep finding more small details about the character that I never thought of before, small nuances and traits. It keeps me involved and interested to find out what will come out of my head next! The ever involving and living world is what keeps me coming back.

Tell us about your current and future projects.

An Emerging Threat, Book #1 of The Seeker’s Burden series. Forthcoming books: Path of Darkness, Book #2 of The Seeker’s Burden series. The first draft of book #2 will be complete in Early February and I hope to publish it by April 2014.

Tell us about the fantasy world in The Seeker’s Burden series.

The Tri-Islands are generally peaceful and inhabited with several normal and not so normal living things. There are humans, the largest kingdom is Astar, direct descendants of the first humans to come to the land. The human enclave of the Seekers are scientists who study the solar realm and attempt to contain its power. The Savoq are a tribal and nomadic race of human that inhabit the south. They are in constant war with each other.

Then there are Goblins who inhabit the hill country in the West and are renowned for their mining and metal works. The humans and Goblins have a wary peace, only having contact through trade. The last race in the Islands is the Ash. Little is known about them, only whispers and tall tales.

The world is set in a typical Epic Fantasy medieval setting with a couple exceptions, mostly relating to the more Science-focused equivalent of magic. There is also a bit of steampunk.
What is a fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book?

I used past experiences to build parts of the world. The Savoq and their lands are based off my time in Iraq and Kenya, while a few of the situations the characters go through are ones that closely resembled ones that I lived through. See if you can guess which. 😉

Where can we contact you and/or buy your book?

You can contact me and find links to purchase my novel at: https://borderleinpublishing.squarespace.com and you can follow me on: https://twitter.com/MarkLein12  

KS_Pic_2.largeAbout the Author:

Mark grew up in small towns across the country, spending most of his childhood in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas.

Throughout his life, his favorite books have been sci-fi and fantasy, anything Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Terry Brooks and a little Isaac Azimov.

Graduating from college in 2004, he became an Army Infantry and Intelligence Officer and continues to serve to this day. While deployed to Iraq for 14 months back in 2007-09, he began writing with this book in mind. His civilian work includes Intelligence Analysis and providing expertise with military training programs.

He now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife of 9 years, Emily, and his three children, Oliver, Lucy, and Alexander.

www.markelein.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheSeekersBurden

https://twitter.com/MarkLein12

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7375868.Mark_E_Lein

Author Interview – Anthony Renfro – A Zombie Holiday Trilogy

Author Interview – Anthony Renfro – A Zombie Holiday Trilogy.

Thanks to Ch’kara SilverWolf for a great interview and introducing us to a cool new Zombie novel!