You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.
Abraham Snow’s friend, Brooks, is in trouble and needs help.
Q: What real life, personal mystery have you used in your manuscript?
Some friends and I were on a road trip to a convention once when we got off at a weird exit and stopped into a weird gas station/diner where weirdness abounded. It was the closest I’ve ever come to stepping into The Twilight Zone. I used the experience in a story called 85 NORTH for the Weird Tales volume of Tales From The Zero Hour. Sadly, the book has been delayed for a few years so it hasn’t come out yet. Hopefully, one day soon.
In no particular order, off the top of my head, and subject to change:
Darwyn Cooke - The Parker series, DC: New Frontier, The Spirit
John Byrne - Fantastic Four, Superman
Roger Stern - The Avengers, Amazing Spider-man
Walt Simonson - Thor
Scott Snyder - The Wake, Batman, American Vampire
Gail Simone - Secret Six, Batgirl
Ed Brubaker - Criminal, Velvet, Captain America, Winter Soldier
Q: What’s your favorite Matthew McConaughey movie?
A Time To Kill. I also enjoyed The Lincoln Lawyer (as well as liking the book), Two For The Money, and True Detective.
Q: Your favorite Joker?
Mark Hamill is my Mr. J. now.
Good question. Nothing springs to mind immediately, but there are some character moments, interplay between certain characters that I find incredibly humorous. That’s where most of the humor in my books comes from. Some of those make me laugh.
Q: What is the opening sentence of your work-in-progress?
That’s the opening to SNOW STORM.
Q: The request is simple. Post the first sentence(s) for the first 3 chapters in your WIP. If you need to use 2 sentences, that's OK.
Here’s the first 2 sentences from the opening 3 chapters from SNOW STORM.
Getting in was easy.
Getting out was a different matter.
“How long you in town?”
Brooks was staying at a hotel a short walk from Angelo’s so he and Snow paid the tab and walked the rest of the way. It was too nice of an evening to worry about a cab.
Q: Are you comfortable talking about what you’re working on? I am interested in knowing how you all answer the sometimes dreaded question, “What are you working on?”
Q: Has technology killed the modern thriller?
Not at all. As technology grows and improves, we, as authors, have to come up with new and creative ways to craft our stories by working with the technology. Smart phones and texting have required certain plots to evolve I think. Before cell phones a plot could revolve around a character learning of an assassination plot happening across town and they have to get there to stop it. Today, that plot is simply foiled by a phone call or text. As writers, we have to find new and inventive ways to tell that story.
My stock answer for “Where do you get your ideas?” is usually “Anywhere and everywhere” and this is true. Inspiration can strike from anywhere. Sometimes you read something, see something, hear something, smell something whatever, that kicks off your muse in weird and unsuspecting ways. That’s part of the beauty of writing, isn’t it?
Q: Who will be involved in the movie version of your book?
Q: How much writing do you plan to accomplish this summer? Are you on track?
My to do list is pretty full for the year and into 2015 already. Lots of deadlines to hit. It’s definitely a busy year for me. I’m as close to on track as I can get.
There have been times when I get really into what I’m writing and lose track of time. One time, I started writing around 6 a.m. Saturday morning (I forget why I was up so early) and next thing I knew it was dark outside. I’d been writing for hours without realizing it. No food, no drink, no bathroom. Haven’t had too many like that though.
Q: Do you sell more ebooks or print? What supporting activities drive those sales?
Q: Your Favorite Leslie Nielsen Movie?
Q: Do any of you hand-write your manuscripts?
Nope. I go straight to typing. I do sometimes write notes by hand, if I’m not at the desk to type them down.
Q: What’s your favorite Denzel Washington Movie?
That’s a tough one. Fallen, The Bone Collector, Training Day, Man on Fire, Devil in a Blue Dress, so many good movies to choose from.
I haven’t watched a lot of SNL, but I loved Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and John Belushi. Oh, yeah. Also, Eddie Murphy.
Q: Do you meditate? Or perhaps take a some time to sit silently and let the ideas flow before writing each day?
Q: When was the last time you cleaned off your desk? What did you discover?
Cleaned it off last week. Discovered the color of my desk. It had been so long since I'd seen it I had forgotten. hee, hee...
Q: Do you include an appendix of terms in the back of your book. I have been thinking about including one in my own that would be a few pages long.
I don’t. Haven’t felt the need to do so.
I prefer to trust that the tech works. I don't spend a lot of time explaining the tech. If the ships in my story have a "Quartz Optic Drive" (a term I just made up) that gets us across the galaxy at a certain speed, then I say that's what it does and get on with the story. That's worked pretty well for me so far.
I don’t have to understand Warp Drive in Star Trek or Hyper Drive in Star Wars. The characters use it so that tells me it works. I don’t need to know how. I know not everyone feels the same and that’s okay. That was the approach I took when I wrote Earthstrike Agenda and Samaritan.
Most of the time it’s character first, but sometimes I have a plot and then have to figure out which character best fits that story. Not every story is perfect for every character and not every character will handle a plot the same way.
For example, if I were to put the characters of Detective John Bartlett, Abraham Snow, and FBI Agent Harold Palmer (from my novels Deadly Games!, Snow Falls, and Evil Ways, respectively) in the same plot, each of them would go about it differently, taking different paths, responding to situations differently based on their characters as written. If I were to force the characters to do things out of character for them then the readers will notice and the story will ring false so I have to stay true to who the characters
To use an example that more people might recognize than my characters (although, please feel free to buy and read the novels mentioned above) take John McClane from the Die Hard movies. For three movies he was portrayed as a man who was not up on the latest technology. When they did Live Free of Die Hard, it would have been out of character for him to be able to hack the cyber-terrorist villain so they had to give him a partner. Having McClane change to fit the plot would have played wrong for the audience (as witnessed in A Good Day To Die Hard where McClane became something of a superhero).
After answering this question, I now have the urge to team up, Bartlett, Snow, and Palmer. Hmmm... There's that darn muse again.
Q: Have you found self-publishing with either Smashwords or Amazon worth it?
I have self-published a few things, but have found that most of my sales tend to be on books I do for publishers. Doing some things on my own has helped me learn more about the production side of things, which has been valuable in work I do for publishers, I think, in that it means less time they have to spend reformatting my manuscript.
I love all things Star Trek, but Deep Space Nine is my favorite series. I re-watch it more often than the other Star Trek shows.
Q: When you approach completion of your book, what makes you most nervous? Meeting all the deadlines? The cover art? The marketing? The sales?
Q: What color best describes your protagonist and why?
Abraham Snow from SNOW FALLS and the upcoming SNOW STORM is best described as gray. He’s been living in the shadows a long time and has only recently stepped out into the light, metaphorically speaking.
I won’t mention the book’s name, but I started reading it and just couldn’t get into it so I just put it down and picked up another book. Some books just don’t grab me. Not that it’s bad, just not for me.
Q: I am an avid reader and film watcher and worry that an idea may be a distant memory, rather than a bolt of lightning. You can easily check names on Google, but how do you check plots to know yours is original, considering the massive archive of work out there?
Oh, and don’t worry. If you did unconsciously lift a piece of your story from somewhere else, someone will no doubt tell you. There’s a whole group of people out there just waiting to let you know all about it.
There are times when you are vague because you want to set a scene in a Chinese restaurant. You don’t get too detailed on what is where because the production will go out and find a restaurant that fits their needs and once they have that location down, will set things up to fit the space.
Q: ....and is there a set format for description of scene before dialogue starts, presuming that you have to be concise as possible.
Sure. Although, there are slight variations, here’s a snippet from my script for the recent Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” episode.
|Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” page 1|
|Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” page 2|
You can watch Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence” now at www.starshipfarragut.com, in the film tab above, on YouTube, or below.
And here’s a couple sample pages from a graphic novel I wrote several years back called Yin Yang: Bounty Hunters.
|Yin Yang Page 11 script|
|Yin Yang Page 11 finished|
|Yin Yang Page 12 script|
|Yin Yang Page 12 finished|
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If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and more.
Thanks for listening to me ramble.
Let’s do this again soon.