Today’s Featured Author: Phil Duncan

Today I welcome author Phil Duncan to my blog to discuss his latest book, Wax, a young adult novel about a boy who comes back from the dead with a whole bunch of new problems.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born and raised in a small farming town in Eastern Washington State. After an eight year stint in Seattle, I now call Portland, OR home.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

While there is no one character in Wax that is based on me or my life, I see bits and pieces of my personality scattered and amplified in all of the characters — both my attributes and flaws. I see a lot of my hometown in the story’s high school, so while everything is changed a bit and fictionalized, former classmates of mine who have read the book recognize certain settings.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

I usually have dozens of ideas for stories in my head at any given time. Slowly, one will emerge as the squeakiest wheel and start snapping in place. Once I can clearly see the story from beginning to end, then I’ll sit down and start fleshing out the characters, plot points, and everything else.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Outlining is the most labor-intensive part of my process. I spend a lot of time mapping out each scene in the book before setting out to write the first draft. With a good outline in place, I can focus on more nuanced things while writing, without worrying about the direction of the story.

Please tell us about your current release.

Wax is a young-adult novel that follows Yancey Muncy, a hapless 15-year-old who after a tragic accident ends up dead. However, this fate is short-lived as Yancey is brought back to life by a scientist only to be blackmailed into using his new and improved body to do the scientist’s bidding. This forces Yancey to not only readjust to his ordinary life, but to make decisions that that have huge consequences.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was a little tired with the “zombie” genre, but thought there was still some interesting, unexplored ground to cover. I was drawn to the Shelley’s Frankenstein — the original tale of the undead — and wanted to toy with the idea of a modern “Boy Frankenstein” and see how a “second” life would play out within the frame of typical teenaged life — gym classes, high school crushes, sibling interactions, etc.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

Wax was outlined and written mainly in my neighborhood 24-hour coffeeshop. I tend to make a lot of notes in longhand before transferring them onto a computer, because I like the freedom of just having a notebook with me whether I’m at a cafe or park or wherever. When it comes down to the editing process, I usually lock myself up in my home office.

What book are you reading write now?

I tend to read a lot of comics and graphic fiction, which I think is probably obvious to anyone who’s read Wax. I like very visual storytelling and find comics such as Chew and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service to be great inspiration.

Book Description

Wax_book-cover-1Yancey Muncey is dead. Or, he was. Raised from the grave by the shadowy figure of Dr. Blankenship, Yancey is now back in high school, hanging out with his best friend, and working up the nerve to ask the girl of his dreams to the upcoming Halloween carnival.

But not everything is the same as it was before: Yancey’s eyes are yellow, his skin is blue, and he’s indestructible. As if that weren’t bad enough, Dr. Blankenship has made it his life’s mission to hunt Yancey down. Because the only reason Yancey is alive again is to help the good doctor destroy his rival.

An average boy with a new lease on an extraordinary life, Yancey must battle high-trained security and high school bullies in his quest to get back to normal. What’s the worst that can happen after all? He’s already dead.

About the Author

PhilDuncan_WaxHeadshotPhil Duncan is the author of Wax, a young-adult novel published by RainTown Press, as well as of various short fiction published both in print and online. He is a graduate of Goddard College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and the University of Washington’s English program. A former Jacob K. Javits Fellow, Duncan recently served as a Creator-in-Residence at the Tokyo Wonder Site-Aoyama in Tokyo, Japan. He currently lives in Portland, OR.

You can learn more about Phil on his website.

Wax can be purchased on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author: Crystal Crichlow

Today, I have young adult, fantasy author Crystal Crichlow on my blog with an excerpt of her novel, Winter Rose.

Excerpt

Blue Rays of Light BackgroundI stood in the cold, dark forest, watching and waiting for any hint that I wasn’t dreaming. I had to be dreaming. The ground was green, the trees, the moss covered rocks; this was an alien planet. Everything was so peaceful and quiet. I had forgotten what it was like to not have a sea of white all around me. Standing ahead of me were two intertwined oak trees covered with moss and roses. It was beautiful, mystical. It felt like love and magic.

“Winter,” cold air carried the voice through the trees in a rainbow colored pattern. They swirled in the air in circular waves, caressing my face. I shivered as the wind picked up ferociously, tousling my hair and rustling the leaves all around. I looked frantically through the blackness of the dense forest, trying to locate the direction this mysterious voice was coming from. There was something beautiful about the way my name was whispered. It made me feel all fuzzy inside. The voice whispered my name again and again until the intertwined oak trees opened up with a loud crackling sound, a bright light shone through the darkness and an angel stepped out. He was tall, dark and very beautiful. His face was perfectly symmetrical, with two dimples the size of quarters, but his eyes…his eyes were a fiery black color that pierced through my body and burned the very pit of my stomach. I should have been frightened, every limb and bone in my body told me to run away, but I felt a pull that was more than emotional. It was physical; like something tugged on my heart with such intensity that it impelled…no, dragged me towards it. I felt like I knew him, like I wanted him and as I got closer my breath caught in my throat. My body jerked as he shoved his ghost-like hand in my chest. There was no pain, no fear as he pulled his hand out with a triumphant smile. He held something in his hand, at first I couldn’t see what it was. I looked closely through the mist that had suddenly clouded my vision. The angel had taken my heart. He smiled at me lovingly and walked away, back into the dark trees.

About the Author

Crystal Crichlow is a young adult, fantasy writer. When she isn’t writing, Crystal enjoys watching reality T.V, and reading books about zombies. She has one published novel with Solstice Publishing called, Winter Rose and two other books in the works. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her family and two cats; Cee Cee and Socks. Visit her website for more information.

Winter Rose can be purchased from Solstice Publishing and Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author: Travis Simmons

Today, I welcome fellow fantasy author Travis Simmons. Today he is talking about A Lament of Moonlight and and his upcoming release, Desolation.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

This year? Honestly I knew that I was a writer, but I didn’t start feeling like a writer until I started talking about my writing to people.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Not many at all. I think my most recent novel DESOLATION (which will be out June 11th) played on the emotions of separation I was feeling at the time of writing it.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

DESOLATION is facing the last round of edits on my end, and then the cover art and interior formatting will take place. I can actually share with you a blurb of the book.

“Asher St Paul thought it was just a typical zombie apocalypse like in the movies, until the necromancers crawled out of the woodwork. Since the undead have chased the living into hiding, the necromancers are able to roam freely in a new America of their making. Asher is seeking safe harbor. The need for safety is what drove him from his home in Philadelphia Pennsylvania before it was shelled. He has searched from quarantine to quarantine, always finding them overrun with zombies until he hears of The Refuge, a military compound in Binghamton New York.

With his family and lover lain to rest by his own hand, he has nothing left to lose and gives everything he has to reach the safe haven. But questions arise when he reaches The Refuge, mainly, how has he been able to sustain multiple zombie bites and not change? He thinks he has found safety in the military compound turned quarantine, but he was wrong. Even now there is a necromancer trying to make The Refuge their kingdom of the dead.”

Desolation is about so much more than zombies though. In this telling of the apocalypse, necromancers are the real monsters.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I continue writing because the characters refuse to stop chattering to me. I keep writing because I am not satisfied yet, I have this need to tell stories, and there are so many to tell, and they just keep coming!

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Research for a fantasy novel is surprisingly extensive for me. I like to play on tales and legends from our own world in hopes that the novel is more realistic for the reader. I tend to research monsters and myths more than anything, and use those as a backdrop for the story and as creatures you meet along the way. Obviously I like some pretty obscure creatures as well as more traditional ones.

If is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

A Lament of Moonlight is part of The Harbingers of Light series. The next one is A Symphony of Starlight and it takes place on the moon of their world O where darkness has already settled in and taken over.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I think Abigail, she has some pretty interesting things in store for her, and she is just a fun character anyway, she is stuck between believing in strange things because she is still young, but trying to be an adult because she is getting to that age where she is starting to lose her fantastical musings she held as a child.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I assume this means any world in any book? Harry Potter for sure. Reading those books I really wished it was real and I was a wizard. How silly is that?

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

At the moment I have a writing table set up in my room, and some pretty good things come out of me there. I also just bought a digital recorder so that when I get random thoughts I can record them. I imagine walking this Spring and Summer will turn out some pretty amazing ideas.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Right now I am pretty fond of David Eddings. I have always loved his work, but I really wish they were available on kindle, because I would so buy all of them!

What book are you reading right now?

Right now I am reading several books, the most recently read are LUMEN by a friend Joseph Eastwood and A Spell for Chameleon by Pierce Anthony.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey. They have been really detrimental in shaping what I want to write.

Book Description

LoM new cover resize“O is a land of magic and mystery. A place where, in ages past, there was a storm of fire from the heavens. At ground zero, the people were deformed, their shadows stolen from them. Their shadows were changed by the magical storm, and created a new demonic race called shadkin. The shadkin took up residence at the most magical, most holy places across the world, trying to choke out the light, and usher in a new darkness.

In the Fey Forest, one of the last holy bastions, the shadkin are winning.

When Abigail, Melvin and Ruby find an alien butterfly at school, there doesn’t seem anything fateful about it. But when the butterfly escapes and they chase after it they are lead on a dark adventure full of magic, shadkin and danger. When they meet a being from the moon she tells them about their ancestors, pilgrims from a foreign land, and the Godslayer they brought with them; a weapon that a dark goddess is searching the cosmos for. What is more, they are the harbingers of light, people chosen to champion in the light against the darkness.

They have no time to lose. The dark goddess is slipping through the stars, ever closer to their home world. They have one night to find the root of her power and destroy it before she finds them, and the mythic weapon Godslayer, that will insure her dominion throughout the universe.”

About the Author

Travis Simmons

Travis is the author of The Bonds of Blood, the first book in his epic fantasy series The Revenant Wyrd Saga. He has also written a young adult novel called A Lament of Moonlight which is book one of his pre-apocalypse series The Harbingers of Light. He is currently seeking publication for the first book of a third series, a zombie novel called Desolation. When he isn’t writing he is helping his family and trying to live a normal, under the radar life. His interests lie in cooking, gardening, green living, and human rights advocacy. He is a huge supporter of the Trevor Project and all agencies that seek to preserve natural resources and protect pets from abuse.

“Unlike most authors, I have not always loved reading and writing. I hated it until I was in 7th grade. My teacher wanted us to read the entire semester. She told me to go to her book shelf and pick out a book that I was interested in. I found one of my first loves: David Eddings’ Pawn of Prophecy.

I think it was at that point, getting lost in a book I love to this day, that I knew I had to do this. I had to create the same magic for others that Mr. Eddings created for me.”

Find out more about Travis on his website or Facebook page. You can also follow him on Twitter.

You can purchase A Lament of Moonlight on Amazon and Lulu.