Monday, December 14, 2015

Author Spotlight: Brian G. Burke.



Author Spotlight: Brian G. Burke
In this week’s author interview, I meet up with bestselling Irish author, Brian G. Burke and discuss his novels, The Other of One, a fantasy trilogy. 

What is your book about?
The Other of One is a dark fantasy based in rural Ireland at the turn of the 20th century. It’s about a boy named William Muldoon who gets summoned to a mythical world underground. There he meets a community of fantasy beings who tell William that he is actually the reincarnation of Mysun Margyle, the only known guardian in existence that has the power to confront their eldest nemesis, Drevol Briggun.
Book one follows William, and his merry band, into the heart of Lythiann’s darklands in search of Mysun’s old sword; the very artefact which could awaken the hero within. Along the way, they clash with (and befriend) all sorts of dark and wonderful creatures. Meanwhile, William learns more about his mysterious past, present, and even his future.
In book two things get much darker. Frightening visions of William’s future come to light as a shadow of mistrust and betrayal holds sway over his group. All the while, young William is finding his journey harder and harder to deal with the closer he gets to Briggun’s lair.

What inspired you to write this book?
It actually happened by accident. I went travelling for a year with some friends, and when I was away I started writing a fantasy story called “Kaddareth”. I was really getting into it, so much so that I cut my trip short by 6 months to come home and concentrate on it full-time. I even enrolled in a creative writing course so as I could give it my best shot.
Then, one day we were given a 1,500 word assignment where we had to write the intro to a novel. So, I started writing this story about a young boy from Ireland, named William Muldoon, who was suddenly summoned to a magical kingdom underground.
3,000 words later, there was still no sign of me letting up. I was enjoying every second of this new story, even more so than Kaddareth. So, I ended up scrapping Kaddareth in favour of this one, which became The Other of One. Strange how some things pan out.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
That’s a tough one. Not to sound corny, but there’s a place in my heart for all my characters, in one way or another, good or bad. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory here either — with book three yet to be released — but, so far, I’d have to say that Icrick Tum is my favourite character. He’s a kind little furry chap, whose help is absolutely unconditional. We need more of that in the world, I think. As for my least favourite, well, Briggun is the epitome of everything we detest and fear in this world. He instils despair and sadness just for the sake of it. It thrills him, you see…no other reason. He doesn’t do it for wealth or cause; just to fulfil his own sick desires.

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
Fantasy has always been a huge draw for me because it’s one of the few genres where you can place multiple categories under one banner. You can incorporate elements of magic, action, horror, tragedy, comedy, romance, war and spirituality all in one and get away with it. You can be as weird as you like and it’ll still work because, well, fantasy is expected to be “out there”. I can really let my imagination run wild which is why, above all, I like to write fantasy.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to attempt something outside of the genre. For instance, I have an idea for a story involving the racial divide in America back in the 70’s, which ends up in murder. I’d really like to tackle that one, sometime.

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
The Other of One is a trilogy, part three of which is due out Christmas 2016. Books one and two are already available on Amazon. As far as “expecting more” is concerned, all I can really say is that, the more my world grows, the more ideas I have…and who knows where that could lead (wink-wink).

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
I’ve always loved writing. From as far back as I can remember. I always found it to be a great release and an ideal way of getting out of my own head for a bit. It’s like anything creative, or anything you’re truly passionate about — once you invest yourself in it completely, then nothing in the outside world really matters.
People automatically assume Tolkien to be the main inspiration for my stories; for The Other of One, in particular. And he definitely played a part. But I’d have to say that the likes of Stoker and Hill are probably my main inspirations. They could spin out an entire paragraph, without stopping, and make it sound like poetry. Incredible!

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
Apart from Dracula, I’d have to say The Hobbit. Either that or The Woman in Black. Love The Woman in Black. I’ve read those multiple times. You have to love Roald Dahl, too. I mean, who doesn’t love hearing about those two Twits or George’s concoctions? It’s the kid in me talking, I guess.

Have you written other books we should know about?
Just this trilogy, so far. That and a few short horror stories which can be found on my website/blog. Some authors can bang out 4 or 5 books a year, and more power to them. Me, I’m quite a slow writer. Besides, loose ends, I hate them. I need to figure a story out completely before pressing ‘publish’, and that takes time. Forcing myself to get something out there, just for the sake of it, takes all the enjoyment out of it for me.

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
Simple. Write first, edit later. If you have a story in your head, and you know where it needs to go, then you literally need to fire it all down on paper. Don’t think about it. Forget how it sounds. Then put it away for a few weeks before returning to it with fresh blood, and start editing. I learnt this the hard way.
At the end of the day, an author is always learning. Our styles, however subtle, are ever changing, so we’ll never be completely happy with how our work reads. We are our own worst critics, and this can be a curse if we’re not careful.
So jot it down, take a break, review your work, then edit, and when you’re done editing…publish and forget about it! Otherwise you could be stuck rewriting the same story over and over again, ‘till you’re old and grey. Not good.

Where can we find your book?
Book 2 on Amazon (Free on kindle unlimited)

Where can we find out more about you?

 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Author Spotlight: Alexandra Swann



Author Spotlight 
In this weeks Author Spotlight, I interview Alexandra Swann, co-author of, The Twelfth Juror, a contemporary Christian fiction.

What is your book about?
The Twelfth Juror is a Christian fiction suspense mystery.  Megan Cleary is a successful attorney who seems to have everything. But her perfect world is shattered when one night, while working late, she is brutally attacked by a stranger. After the attack, Megan’s world unravels and the more she tries to regain control the worse things get for her.

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother, Joyce, and I co-author a lot of books. Her book, The Warrior, has been downloaded 80,000 times on Kindle since its publication. She actually had the idea for the ending to this book before we wrote the story, and the story grew out of that. Basically the inspiration for this book is our experience with loss. When you go through a devastating loss it changes you, it changes your life, and how you look at life. Nothing is ever the same again.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
I love Megan—she is so self-centered and self-confident at the beginning of the story, and we get to see how she grows as a person through what happens to her. I also love Mother Harriet. She is very grounded and sensible, although Megan overlooks her initially. My least favorite is definitely Jeff—I dated a guy like Jeff when I was younger, and he gives special meaning to the term “fair weather friend.”

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
We only write Christian fiction and inspirational fiction. I love having the opportunity to share faith and hope through stories. But the story has to be good—the faith element can never be a supplement for a good story.

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
This is a standalone. We thought about writing a sequel, but the story does not really lend itself to a sequel, so I don’t think that will ever happen.

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
Mother was constantly writing when I was a child. I think her love for it drew me to it. She loved to tell us stories and to write all kinds of short stories and poems. We got started writing together because when I finished school, I had more time on my hands than she did. We would talk through story ideas and I would write them. These days, she has more time than I do so she writes a lot more than me.

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
I can’t limit it to just one. I have read A Tale of Two Cities about three times. To me that book is great inspirational fiction. We don’t think of it that way because it is a classic, but it is this beautiful story of laying down your life for a friend with a little scripture worked in against this wonderful backdrop of Revolution and love and loyalty and loss. 
I feel the same way about Les Miserables. It is an amazing story that is so moving and yet timeless.

Have you written other books we should know about?
Joyce and I have co-written The Fourth Kingdom which was a top four finalist in the 2011 Christianity Today fiction of the year contest. (Christian author Erin Healy, who has co-authored with Ted Dekker, was also a finalist for that awarded and we both lost to Anne Rice). That book was written in 1989 and published in 2010. 
We wrote the sequel The Force, in 2013.   
Both are available as a box set called The KingdomChronicles.
In 2012, I wrote a novel called The Planner which came out of my experiences working with real estate for 15 years. Joyce and I co-authored the sequel, The Chosen. Both of those are also available as a box set called W.
I am working on a new novel called The Invitation, which is more inspirational than Christian fiction, but I am excited about the project and the message of the story.

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
Don’t give up. You have days when you want to because being an author is so difficult, but don’t give up. Keep going. If you have the stories, keep writing, working and building your audience. A dream is work sacrificing for.

Where can we find your book?

How can we find out more about you?