The philosopher Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Whatever you do, don’t break the chain.”
Today, I am the next link in a chain of great authors providing micro interviews, as well as recommendations for other authors you might enjoy.
First, I’ll tell you about the author who pulled me into this tangled chain of vocabularian (I decided that’s a real word, so pffft) excellence. Her name is Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and she’s not only a great author, but a silly, geeky lady who is currently training the cutest service dog on the Interwebs. We met when she wrote to point out a typo in my first Abigail Abernathy story. Free editing!
A quick word of warning: I’m sick today, so I take no responsibility for any sort of incoherence that may or may not flow freely throughout this post.
All About Laura
Laura was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame her childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized and award-winning animal trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer.
Laura is the author of the not-Japan fantasy works Kitsune Tsuki and Kitsune-Mochi. Just today, she released the cover from her upcoming book Con Job, which is currently in revisions. What happens when a group of geeks have to solve a murder at a convention? Well, you’ll have to buy the book when it comes out to find out.
All About Me
So, this is the part of today’s program where I tell you about myself, answer a few questions regarding my process, and give you a bit of insight into what makes me…me.
In the words of the immortal Cid, Yee-haw, here we go.
What am I working on?
Like most writers, I have a lot of different projects at varying levels on completion (read: getting ready to actually start).
I would say that the project that is furthest along is an epic fantasy novel with heavy western and steampunk elements. I created a magic system based around firearms, primarily pistols, and a society that lives in a massive cliffside city alongside a desert. It has love and adventure and airships and cat people and shootouts that span a city of floating platforms and caves in the side of the cliff. Plus two of the characters are based on Nathan Fillion and John Hurt. Put the two of them in a movie together, and I’m there.
I’m also starting a new series based very roughly on Genghis Khan’s war with the Jin Dynasty in China, but set in an alternate fantasy world of my own creation. True to form, there will be plenty of steam technology, as well as a heavy dose of magic and maybe a dragon or two. I think there will be words in it. How many, I’m not sure yet. At least seven.
Abigail Abernathy’s adventures are also going to continue. I’ve been working off and on on Abigail Abernathy and the Purgatory of Pennies for quite some time, and home to release it in the near future. In this story, our heroine is drafted into helping a local bank update their analytical array, and of course nothing goes to plan.
There are also a few more books that are hovering somewhere in the outline phase. One of them is about a directionless college student who finds a doorway to an underground city of goblins in his grandmother’s basement. Another is about a girl who discovers that her mother is an angel, and that bad things are coming. Last, I have a story about a fantasy-comedy demon who escaped Hell and became a lawyer with his succubus girlfriend.
If you would like to receive updates whenever I send a new project out into the world, feel free to sign up for my mailing list in the sidebar of this page
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The primary difference between my writing and other steampunk is that I tend to stray from the traditional Victorian Britain setting in favor of more fantastical settings. My Name Is Michael Bishop was set in a small city in a unique fantasy world, and my upcoming novels are each set in their own world. Only the Abigail Abernathy stories are set in the traditional Victorian England.
Steampunk also tends to be driven by action and adventure, airship races and space pirates, and more often than not a dollop of Jane Austin-esque romance. So far, my stories have been more thoughtful and slower paced, focusing on the characters and their internal struggles as they strive toward their goals. I wouldn’t call them literary fiction, though they tend to have a bit less action than steampunk readers are used to.
Of course, my upcoming works are entirely different animals and so far have quite a bit more action than I’ve written before. It’s a challenge, but also fun.
Why do I write what I do?
I’m not entirely sure. I just write what speaks to me. There are a few themes that tend to recur in my writing, mostly because I’m a sucker for those kinds of stories. I like redemption arcs and happy endings. Though no ending can ever be completely happy and still be believable, I tend to stay far away from tragedy. I like redemption stories because I don’t believe anyone is completely evil, and that it is never too late to make things right.
How does my writing process work?
I would love to say that I sit myself down and start hammering out the words, but recent months have proven something of a dry spell on the creative side. Recent months have proven a perfect storm of obligations, physical and mental health problems, terror that nothing will be as good as my earlier work, and to be honest, laziness.
When I do write, I tend to outline heavily. Every major character has a history, family, and set of goals that are worked out before I even type the first word. I not only outline major plot points, but each and every individual scene along the way. Most of the time, I stick very close to the outline, but there have been times when I strayed depending on how the story unfolded.
I also tend to edit as I go. When I finish a section, I do a single rewrite and continue. Every so often, I go back and re-read old sections to make sure that the voice is consistent and that there is just enough foreshadowing to keep things interesting. I have a few people who do beta reads for me along the way, so there usually isn’t much left to do once the initial draft is completed.
One of the biggest recommendations I can make to authors is to either read their drafts out loud or use a text to speech software to listen to it. I find ten times as many errors that way as I do when I’m just reading. My TTS software of choice is Ivona, using the “Emma” voice.
All About Others
Now, here are a few other authors that you may enjoy. They are local writers here in Washington State, and their work is awesome.
S. Evan Townsend – S. Evan Townsend also writes scifi and fantasy. I’m doing a beta read of his upcoming novel, which is full of humor, aliens, and muuuuuuurder.