Today I am introducing Andy Peloquin, a speculative fiction author. For something different I asked Andy a series of questions and he has given some wonderful answers! Read on to find out about Andy, his writing, and learn from his experiences.
So, what have you written, Andy?
1) A fantasy/sci-fi/historical/metaphysical fiction set in Atlantis, called In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I know it's a rollicking fun time of a read. (I'm giving it away on my website, if anyone is interested)
2) Blade of the Destroyer, the first part of a dark fantasy series. The main character is a half-demon assassin anti-hero, so you know it's going to be one heck of a great read.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
He's an interesting mix of human and inhuman. He's half-demon and has lived for thousands of years, but his memories only stretch back about 50 years. But those years have made him cynical, mistrustful of everyone, and a bit of a cold-hearted bastard.
Yet he has a soft spot for certain people--beggars and the outcasts of the city. He sees himself as a protector of sorts.
What are you working on at the minute?
I'm in the middle of finishing up Book 2 of the series, as well as a secret side-series set in the same world. This side series is a trilogy that will be published all together once this dark fantasy series reaches its conclusion--4 or 5 books from now.
Why do you write?
It's my way of giving the world a window into my heart and soul, but it's also my only way to be artistic. I've always envied artists, painters, and anyone who can create something out of nothing. Writing is my way to let out the inner creativity that has been bottled up for so many years.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I've come to understand a lot more about what makes a book "good" or "great". In reading, reviewing novels, and writing my own, I've realized that the plot is nowhere near as important as the character. If you have a good character, he/she can hook people, no matter how much of a bastard they are. Look at Loki from the Marvel movies--he's the fan favorite, not Thor.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Waiting! I had it ready to self-publish back in November 2014, but I wanted to shop it around to traditional publishers. When it got picked up in January of this year, I was hoping for an April launch date. And here we are in August!
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read voraciously, but not as much as I'd like. I listen to audiobooks while lifting weights, read while at the beach, and read e-books while on the treadmill. My favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, E.R. Burroughs, and Scott Lynch.
How are you publishing this book and why?
I'm going the traditional route of using a publishing house (J. Ellington Ashton Press). I knew this book/series had the potential to be amazing, so I needed more eyes to go over it and make sure it was up to snuff. It's all about putting out the best product possible!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give is "keep at it". If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, that means you've got to invest at least 15 years of writing 2 hours per day in order to reach that level of expertise. Better start now, right?
What do you think makes a good story?
A good character. Plot is not as important as the character. Suffering and failure are also key to making a story good. They are what make people human, and thus relatable. The more your characters fail, the more your audience will root for them, and the more their eventual success will mean.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
You can find me at ALL of my links, listed below:
Special Note: I'm giving away FREE copies of my first novel In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent on my website. Pop in there and grab a copy of your own!
If only I could bring them back…
Madeline sat at the end of the long dining table, a silver plate and cutlery before her. A servant delicately placed pieces of meat and vegetables on it. She wasn’t hungry. She didn’t feel much of anything besides loneliness.
“You must eat My Lady,” Madeline’s nurse, Teresa, said beside her. She was concerned.
Madeline looked down at the food in disgust. The smells coming from the plate made her stomach turn. She didn’t want to eat.
Teresa sighed. “Madeline, you have eaten barely a morsel for a week. You are withering away.”
“That’s fine,” Madeline murmured.
“My Lady! Many people care about your wellbeing. You are the Lady of this town now since your late mother and father…” Teresa trailed off.
“No one knows me. No one really cares who I am. Only my position and my wealth. Wealth I no longer want.”
Teresa’s voice changed from gentle concern to sternness. “You have responsibilities to the people of this town. Your parents both understood this and made their best efforts. They never intended to leave you with this duty so early but now you must do your best to continue their work.”
Madeline pushed her chair away from the table angrily. It made a loud screech across the stone floor. The nearby servants cringed visibly.
“Madeline! Your food!” Teresa yelled after her.
“Give it to the town’s people; they’ll appreciate it more. There, duties fulfilled.”
To read more of Wither click here.
Soon my second novel will be released!
Guardian Core, the second book in my Sky Stone series, will be available tomorrow for purchase. I have learnt so much from writing these first two books and I would like to take this opportunity to speak about one lesson in particular.
In the past I was one of those aspiring authors who would barely give an editor a moment of thought. It was too expensive, too much hassle. I believed this until I had completed everything I could with Guardian Core. I had polished it as best as I could alone and with a little help from friends and family. Little did I know how far from good enough that was.
I’d like to now introduce into this post the lovely Vanessa Wells. Vanessa is a copy editor who has been a guest blogger on this site previously, with her post Yes, you CAN afford an editor. She recently contacted me, hoping to interview me for her own blog, and in the process she became my editor.
Never having had a professional editor look over my work, I had no idea what to expect. What it became was a wonderful and clear representation of how Guardian Core could be taken further. She was very thorough, and I cringed a little internally at the number of red notations made on my manuscript, but I agreed with almost all of her suggestions. She asked the right questions so that she could personalise her skills to me. She worked fast and With Vanessa assistance, the finished product is better than I dreamed it would be.
I am far prouder of what I have created now that I know that it is comma and word perfect. Now, I am aware of some of my favourite phrases and lines and can look out for overuse in the future. And yes, Vanessa… I fixed a bunch of those “raised eyebrows”!
I am converted! From now on, all of my books will be looked over by a professional editor.
Check out Vanessa's website here: http://wellsreadediting.ca/
Check out my interview here: http://wellsreadediting.ca/2015/07/interview-with-ya-fantasy-author-scarlett-van-dijk/
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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