I’m sure I did but in case I’ve forgotten, The Boy who Lit up the Sky, Book 1 in the Two Moons of Rehnor series is on sale now for a limited time. For only 99 cents you can start the acclaimed series. That’s about 1/4 the price of latte, probably the cost of just the foam. It’ll last a whole lot longer and give you far more enjoyment than that cup of foam too. Go ahead. What are you waiting for?
I’m still over in Merry Olde England this week although I’m sorry to say I didn’t get to see the Queen
while visiting Windsor. I did have a lovely time looking at a bunch of crypts though which makes me think that seeing dead royalty may actually be more interesting than seeing live ones. Now, I’m up north in Nottingham visiting Sherwood Forest and Major Oak where legend has it a dude in green tights used to hang out. I had no idea this is where Peter Pan actually lived. Wait. Wrong dude in green tights. The sign here says Robin Hood. Ah well, I knew it was one of them. At any rate, after visiting Major Oak which is definitely worth seeing if you like big old trees, I going to pop into this local pub, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem for some afternoon refreshment. It’s a little dark in here but I see tending bar is author Kirsty Fox. Kirsty has written a new book called Dogtooth Chronicals and while she pours me some ale we’ll have a little chat about it.
Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.
Kirsty: Small apocalypse, shades of dystopia. A reflection on a hopeless generation. Chronic chaos, magic realism & hair of the dog.
Naomi: Excellent. It’s got everything we’re going through now except for that dog hair thing. By the way, what kind of ale is this?
Kirsty: Morland Old Speckled Hen. What do you think?
Naomi: Well, it’s not bad if you like old spotted chickens that have been fermented and malted. Back to your book though, who is your favorite character and why?
Kirsty: In terms of main characters Wolfgang, because he’s completely nuts but at the same time quite brilliant. He was a lot of fun to write. I wrote most of his P.O.Vs when feeling peculiar – either over-caffeinated, slightly drunk or suffering insomnia! I have a favourite small part character though who only appears early on called Rufio. He’s just such a genuinely funny, loopy human bean, I wish I knew him in real life!
Naomi: Sounds like half the characters sitting around this bar. Sorry, don’t mean to insult anybody. Don’t mind me, I’m just an American. Go back to your beers. If Wolfgang called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something.” What and where would you go with him?
Kirsty: We’d go to the Red Deer pub in Sheffield, as that is where the friends meet post-apocalypse. We’d just have a few pints and chat, nothing extraordinary, just good fun.
Naomi: Yes, post apocalypse I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than going to a pub. What’s the hardest part about writing your book?
Kirsty: Cutting it down to the right size. It’s a big book even now, I had to be quite brutal at times during the editing process. Luckily I managed to find and awesome editing team (Flourish Editing) who really understood my work and what was needed to make it that bit better.
Naomi: What’s the easiest part?
Kirsty: I found much of the book easy to write as it was just there in my head, the things that I’m passionate about, the people I spend time with. It was just a matter of getting it on paper & making it work. Non-writers tend to say ‘How do you come up with ideas?’ but I agree more with the writer Chuck Wendig who says it’s more like ‘How do you make them stop?!’, or how do you pick the right ones. It took me half a decade to develop this book because I wanted to get it right, for my writing to have matured.
Naomi: Yes, well I waited two decades so it could all sufficiently age. Now my writing is approaching geriatric. If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?
Kirsty: The statue of a wolfish dog howling at the sky. It would be patterned in dogtooth, black & white. I hope I can get away with that as white is sort of a non-colour?!
Naomi: It’s your world, love. You can get away with anything you want. Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?
Kirsty: I studied Fine Art, I’m a big film-addict & I’ve worked as a bartender for many years. I’m now trying to set-up my own business in niche publishing and running a database of creative freelancers. I would like to write for films & television as well as novels, I’m working on some projects. I like to keep things fresh & interesting.
Naomi: Speaking of fresh and interesting, what’s the ugliest thing in your closet?
Kirsty: Metaphorical or real?!
Naomi: Your choice. I’ve heard everything from monsters to sweaters from Christmases past, way past.
Kirsty: I like shopping for second-hand clothes, but I think I have great taste (it’s my taste). Everything is quite arty but not eccentric. I have a paisley tea-dress that my ex-boyfriend hated. There is also a handsome skeleton called Derek who tells me secrets about the future.
Naomi: Isn’t a handsome skeleton an oxymoron? Does Derek wear the paisley tea-dress? What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?
Kirsty: A bar blade, various pens, creams, lipsalve. Bartender vs creative. I just got a tablet but it was a business-related purchase, I’m an analogue/paperback kind of woman at heart.
Naomi: Does Derek know that? Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.
Kirsty: I take bits and pieces of people from real life. None of my fleshy well-developed characters are based on one real person. There is a scene where they find a dead body trapped under ice, that dead character was a bloke called Hugo I worked with briefly. He could tell I didn’t like him very much, so he asked me to kill him off in the book I was writing, as a joke. So I did! (I don’t genuinely wish people dead of course.) It’s a cameo, really.
Naomi: I imagine you’d have a lot of material being here every day. What’s your favorite game? Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?
Kirsty: My sister was the game person, I never liked set games, I just liked to pretend stuff and make up stories (surprise, surprise). Wolfgang would be good at the game of pretend, but nothing competitive that requires common sense. I used to play sports when I was younger, Wolfgang would be terrible at them.
Naomi: What about the Derek dude in your closet? I imagine he’d be terrible at sports too. I bet he’d be good at hide and go seek though? Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy/fiction?
Kirsty: Dogtooth Chronicals isn’t proper fantasy, but it has strong fantastical elements.
Naomi: So it’s improper fantasy?
Kirsty: I think some people think the stuff I write is crazy but they’re too polite to say. You have to forget about friends and family when writing, otherwise there wouldn’t be any swearing, drinking, drugs, violence, sex. Not that the book is full of these (well, maybe the first two). Also those POVs that go to a very dark place in a character’s head, I think you need to be able to identify, understand how the human brain fits together with their life. You need to identify without being cursed with the same darknesses. Otherwise ‘bad’ characters appear one-dimensional.
Naomi: Whoa. I don’t get a word of that. Do your friends understand you when you talk like that? I’m sure these characters around the bar don’t.
Kirsty: I think my current friends understand why I write what I write. Would I have said the same back in my school days as a teenager? Hell, no. I was very quiet at school to avoid people thinking I was bat-shit mental. When I started to paint a lot of dark, brooding things that was when it all started to come out, but it was more frustration at not being able to say what I wanted to.
Naomi: Well, it certainly sounds like you can say whatever you want now. I’m just going to try one of those pickled egg things you’ve got in that jar. By chance are these egss from an old speckled hen too? In the meantime, the rest of you can find out more about Kirsty and Dogtooth Chronicals by going to the following links:
Today, I’m off visiting Windsor Castle in hopes of seeing the Queen. Actually, I have no hope of seeing the Queen but while I am here, I’ll try to poke my head in a few windows just in case I can espy her dusting or vacuuming the rugs. In the queue of mad hoards waiting to get within these ancient stone walls, I just happen to run into Mathew Bridle who would like to chat about his book The End of Mor.
Naomi: Well hello Mathew. It’s good to see you today. I see you brought your brolly with you being that it’s pouring down rain (a little British lingo for those of you in Rio Linda) but not your house monkeys.
Mathew: Yes, hello Naomi. The house monkeys are off being educated and one always needs a brolly here in Southern England.
Naomi: Yes, quite, quite. I recall it well from my past life when I frequently visited this area for work. At any rate, let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.
Mathew: Young wizard takes a step on the dark side of life, gets hunted down, then sets about putting things right.
Naomi: Oh very good, Mathew. You did it in exactly 20 words. That is an amazing achievement that only a fraction of authors are capable of doing.
Mathew: Thank you, thank you. I am in fact a product of the British school system.
Naomi: And English is in fact, your first language. Now, moving on, who is your favorite character and why? Because you so expertly answered the first question, you may now use more than 20 words from here on out.
Mathew: Icthus, a humanoid-toad-like creature. He is what he is, has nothing to hide and compels you to speak the truth.
Naomi: Would he be offended if you told him he was as ugly as a toad? I imagine a humanoid-toad-like creature wouldn’t really win points in the “looks” department.
Mathew: Well no. He would understand.
Naomi: So, if Icthus called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something” What and where would you go with him?
Mathew: Fishing, with a camping stove as he loves his food.
Naomi: Would you love his food? Does he eat human food or toad food? How would you cook a grub or worm over your camping stove? Actually, trying to visualize this is making me ill. Instead, let’s discuss what is the hardest part of writing your book.
Mathew: Procrastination. I’m doing this when I should be writing an essay.
Naomi: And what does your wife think about your procrastination? Wait. Don’t answer that. This isn’t the Dr. Phil show. Do you have Dr. Phil in the UK? What’s the easiest part of writing your book?
Mathew: Ideas, I have way too many. Filtering out the right ones for the moment can be a pain.
Naomi: If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?
Mathew: A white plasma ball. The electrical energy reminds me of the magic in the story and white of the coveted inner fire.
Naomi: Do you do anything else besides procrastinate…I mean, write and if so what is it?
Mathew: Read and play video games with my kids.
Naomi: Uh oh. Video games with the house monkeys? Be careful Mathew. One of my house monkeys is currently in video game rehab. This means we have locked him back in his cage until he breaks his addiction to League of Legends. It was interfering with that education thing. Be on guard, Mathew. I warn you.
Mathew: Thank you. I will
Naomi: What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?
Naomi: I would ask you what you are doing in your closet but I suspect it relates to both procrastination and video games. I’m beginning to feel a great sympathy for your wife.
Mathew: She’s okay with it. Actually, the ugliest thing is probably my bright yellow fleece (really bright)
Naomi: What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?
Mathew: Rubber gloves.
Naomi: I am not even going to begin to go there. Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.
Mathew: Arrborn, a priest is actually based on two real people: Brian Blessed for his over the top, effervescent life and Morgan Freeman for when the character is being more thoughtful and philosophical. Most of my characters are based around real people, I find that it makes it much easier to hold conversations in your head between them.
Naomi: What’s your favorite game? Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?
Mathew: My favorite all time game would be live dungeons and dragons, played it many years ago, so yes my character would be good at it. In general I play role playing games unless I just need to kill something, then it’s a shooter.
Naomi: Why am I not surprised? Do you like to play D&D in your closet with your rubber gloves on too? No. Don’t answer. Moving on, did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy/fiction?
Mathew: Definitely, it’s what makes all the magic happen.
Naomi: Something is definitely happening. Did your friends ever wonder the same thing? That craziness, I mean.
Mathew: What are friends?
Naomi: The people talking to you in your closet?
Well, the line has finally started to move so I’m on my way to visit the State Apartments and the Queen’s Doll House. While I’m checking out the miniature tiaras, you can find out more about Mathew and his books online at:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007JWPK1g
Seriously. I’m talking to the FreeBookDude today and I’ve already discovered he doesn’t have a horse. Take a listen over here: