Q&A with the author of I, Kidney

I KidneyI, Kidney: A Novel
By Chris Six
Publisher: The Chris Six Group
ISBN: 978-0989918244
ASIN: B00QMRHDW8
Pages: 326
Genre: Literary Fiction, Family Saga

Joe Zizzi’s childhood in the 1950s had everything a kid could want–pro athlete dad, wonderful mom, cool big bro. When the ’60s kick in, this ideal life is violently shaken: a car crash claims his mother’s life and his father’s career, and brother Matt becomes distant and disturbed. Over the years, Joe learns to cope and carves out a niche for himself as a college sports star, and later as a coach and writer, but he can’t quite shake the family legacy. Diagnosed with kidney failure, the semi-pro husband and devoted dad has life-and-death decisions to make–and life wins, though perhaps only by a slim margin.

Q&A

What inspired you to write I, Kidney?

I was a healthy, functioning adult, and then I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. I suddenly found myself apologizing for being tired all the time and feeling generally rotten. It’s a genetic mutation and it runs in my family, yet people were asking me what I did to get it. It took ages before my doctors explained what my treatment options were, and I went into treatment—dialysis–with little understanding of what it entailed. I needed a book to explain this whole process to me, and so did my fellow dialysis patients. Most (all?) of the health professionals working with me seemed to need a book to explain the patient experience—the stigma of misunderstood illness, the pain and discomfort of treatment, the uncertainty of finding a donor–to them. One day I realized that I’d have to write this baby myself.

How did you come up with the title?

I woke up one morning, sat bolt upright in bed, and said I had to write the book, and this was the title. Calling it I, Kidney was a brainstorm—titles like I, Claudius and I, Tina are so immediate. And some doctors do tend to look at patients as just the organ of their specialty.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
One was killing off characters that readers have gotten to know well. Before this, either the death was part of the back story, so the reader doesn’t meet the person directly, or the character was an actual real-world figure and therefore in the public domain, so to speak.
The other was making the medical details accessible. How not to get too technical, or too graphic. Joe’s progress in becoming an informed patient gave me the opportunity to teach readers about how dialysis works and—important to professionals as well as lay readers–how it can affect an individual patient.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The specific picture: no one wants to be sick. No two people’s experiences of illness are the same, even if they share a condition. Illness, physical or mental, shouldn’t be stigmatized.
The big picture: Everybody has a story. We need to talk to, listen to, and understand one another. Nobody is disposable in this life. Or any other life.

Who designed the cover?

The family photo on the cover was drawn by Eugenia Cameron, a Bronx, NY-based art teacher and art therapist. She’s the illustrator for The Chris Six Group, responsible for 95% of the drawings in The Basket of Seeds and the covers of New York Brain and Moish and the Mob. The art folks at Amazon supplied the eye-catching kidney.

What books are you reading now?

Fiction: The Good Inn by Black Francis and Josh Frank with drawings by Steven Appleby. It’s cinematic (and it’s about a film), surrealistic, whimsical, and rooted in real century-old incidents. The melding of text and artwork gives the presentation an antique and otherworldly air. I’m not giving anything else away, except that Black Francis is Frank Black of Pixies,  ”Teenager of the Year,” etc. fame. Come for the visuals, stay for the story.
Nonfiction: Manson by Jeff Guinn. As with his startling Go Down Together about Bonnie and Clyde, the author gives readers the family pathology and the sociopolitical pathology that fueled the notorious murderer, with insights into America’s fascination with charismatic killers. Now that the sixties are getting to get shrouded in myth, it’s an important document and a first-rate complement to Helter Skelter and other Manson lit.
(I’m just a book reviewer at heart.)

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I grew up in a reading family with books all over the place. The whole world seemed to be writing—novels, plays, poems, songs, song parodies—so it was natural for me to want in. And I’ve hit all those genres over the years, even if only to some limited extent.
When I was in school, if anyone messed with me, I threatened them with literary revenge—“I’m writing a book, and you’re in it!” As I grew older, I realized I could address bigger, deeper wrongs by writing. It’s still a core motivator for me.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My new novel concerns an Interpol agent–but it’s not a normal spy yarn. His assignment takes him into a very public field and this story into a very different genre. I’m also treating that other genre in ways it normally isn’t. I intended to try my hand at something commercial, but I immediately broke all the rules of how these stories are done because I’m not wired to do commercial and the two genres allegedly don’t go together. Right now, current events in a particular field are lining up with aspects of my story, so when I start pitching it to agents, someone should say how timely it is and grab it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I work best narrating the story onto tape—it’s especially helpful in creating first-person narrators and organic dialogue, which I act out complete with voices. The challenge is transcribing what’s been said. I’m slow at it, and I stop to edit and ponder. I’m looking into transcription services to save my sanity.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?     

As a teenager figuring out how to write fiction, I took Catch-22 as my bible—everyone had terrific names, the dialogue flew like missiles, and the overriding vibe was that life is insane but you have to fight on. This was where I was as a budding writer, and I probably haven’t changed all that much. The Group by Mary McCarthy showed me that I could get away with spotlighting multiple characters in depth. A Clockwork Orange demonstrated that I could write in another English if I so desired. Kurt Vonnegut’s works gave me permission to link all my stories into a universe. These were all formative experiences. More recently, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde urged me to try new things in my work, and I’m indebted.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

Whatever it is, it always seems to be literary fiction first. I, Kidney is a family saga, and between what I’ve finished and what I’m still working on, I’ve hit a number of discrete genres, but they always come back to being literary fiction. Even my new spy idea can’t help being literary.

What are your favorite themes to write about?

The ambiguities of identity—racial/ethnic, gender, generational. Concepts of fame, local or larger. Men becoming better men. And every story I write has at least one character who is a writer, visual artist, or performing artist. I’m probably missing a few, but these are major.

Do you see writing as a career?

I get paid to write promo materials, so that writing is my job. I like to think of my novels as my career, but most folks I know mistake it for a hobby.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

One: don’t feel you have to put something on paper every day. If it has to incubate in your mind for months before you sit down to the keyboard, fine. There’s no one way to go about writing a novel.
Two: respect your characters–you created them. Love your main characters, warts and all. Hate your villains, even though they may have some desirable traits. Honor the ones who have the smaller roles: without them, the big players can’t do their job.

Q&A From the Author of Approaching Twi-Night

Approaching Twi-NightApproaching Twi-Night
By M. Thomas Apple
Publisher: Kinoshita Kijitsu Press
Published: February 2015
ISBN: 978-4905426660
ASIN: B00TI3WVJ8
Pages: 243
Genre: Literary Fiction, Sports Fiction

An aging baseball player is given one final chance at professional and personal redemption in small town America as he struggles to come to grips with his past, his sense of self, and his career.

Journeyman relief pitcher Jonathan “Ditch” Klein was all set to be a replacement player during the 1994-1995 baseball strike…until the strike ended. Offered a contract in the minor leagues, playing at the same Upstate NY ballpark he once found success in high school, Ditch has one last chance to prove his worth. But to whom? A manager with an axe to grind, a father second-guessing his pitching decisions, a local sportswriter hailing him as a hometown hero, a decade older than his teammates and trying to resurrect an injury-ridden career…Ditch thinks he may have a possible back-up plan: become a sportswriter himself. The only question is whether he is a pitcher who aspires to be a writer, or the other way around…

Author Q&A

What inspired you to write your first book?

The germ of this story came when I was engaged in a master’s of fine arts (creative writing) program. I had moved to the Mid-West just after graduating college, having had a fall-out with my father over what now seem like unimportant issues but at the time were incredibly crucial to me. While trying to come up with ideas for a story, I was frequenting a local minor league park with friends about once every two weeks, and at some point it occurred to me to combine a fictionalized version of some of my recent experiences with the story of a minor league ballplayer. But once I finished the draft, and finished the program, I set the story aside for a while. Almost two decades, in fact.
In the meantime, I moved to Boston, worked several different temporary jobs, then came to Japan and became an English teacher. Finally, after several years of non-fiction writing, I thought I should go back and try my hand at fiction again. Lo and behold, the draft of my “baseball” story was discovered, and I set about editing and rewriting my younger-self’s work. Why hadn’t I published it before? Perhaps at the time it was initially written the book resembled my own life too much. Now, with twenty year’s worth of distance, I was finally able to reshape the story and make the characters come to life, keeping that sense of father-son generational conflict but also giving more flavor to the story, and ending it more satisfactorily.

How did you come up with the title?

The “twi-night” of Approaching Twi-Night refers to a once-common practice of playing two baseball games back-to-back starting in the late afternoon. The first game would often last just until twilight had started, and then the second game would begin at night. For the main character, this also refers to his reaching the twilight of his baseball career. In fact, the title of the story precedes most of the story itself. I had the ending already written, and just had to find a way to reach it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The plot of the story revolves around the main character who is approaching the end of his career, but is unwilling to let it go and uncertain what he will do once it’s all over. Most of all, he is afraid of failing…failing himself, and especially failing his father. Yet at the end, just after he feels he let a chance NOT to fail escape his grasp, he finally realizes that it is failure, not success, that defines us, and allows for ultimate reconciliation.

How much of the book is realistic?

I think most of the story is extremely realistic. When I was originally workshopping sections of this book, a common criticism was “we know you’re not a minor league baseball player, so it’s unrealistic.” But the dialog and the interactions among the players and among family and friends are very real. Some scenes are based on events in my own life – modified and fictionalized, of course – and I think many people can relate to what the main character goes through: a failed relationship, bickering with relatives, trying to make sense of various problems and twists in life that seem to have interrupted career plans. I used to play high school baseball competitively, so the description of in-game play is fairly realistic. But I’m extremely proud of the scenes in which family members interact in a small-town community. It’s as real as it comes.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Too many books to count! Among the first books (and therefore most influential to a younger me) were the Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis) and  A Wrinkle in Time (for some reason I never got into the next two books – later three – of the so-called Time Quintet). I became obsessed with anything Isaac Asimov ever wrote, both fiction and non-fiction, especially his Robots of Dawn and Foundation series. But at the same time, I was also interested in sports, particularly baseball, particularly books about Jackie Robinson. An early favorite was In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, which I later taught in an advanced EFL class in Japan.
Some people find it odd that I enjoy both sports books and science fiction/fantasy. The solution is obvious: I need to write a book about baseball in space!

What are your current projects?

My work keeps me busy with both teaching and research, but fictionwise I’ve been working on a science fiction novel, set of novels, really, which has begun to take shape the past couple months. I’m also outlining and starting to do some research on another baseball-oriented novel set in Japan, in the “corporate leagues,” which are amateur teams owned and run by Japanese companies.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I think the dual-narrative structure of this book stands out as unique. The “baseball” chapters refer to the main character using his nickname (“Ditch”) and focus on the interaction and development of the baseball players during the short season. The “literary” chapters always refer to the main character as “John” and explore his relationship with family, friends, and, in a sense, himself as he learns how to approach the end of his baseball career. The last chapter implies that the character “Ditch” may actually be a creation of “John,” who is either a pitcher who became a writer, or a writer who always wanted to be a pitcher. I deliberately left it up to readers to determine which is true: Ditch or John. Or both.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I’ve read widely in many different genres, but the direct influences for this book are non-fiction books about life (and lives) in the minor leagues. “Heart of the Game” by S L Price is a recent favorite. Modern-day classic, I would even call it. As an undergraduate at Bard College [Annandale, NY], I was introduced to Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, so I’m sure it influenced my writing. I’m also strongly influenced by the “Master” of the short story, Raymond Carver, and his depiction of average, slightly dysfunctional American small town families.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?
On the surface, Approaching Twi-Night could be described as a “baseball novel,” but it’s really a book about family relations and coming to terms with growing old. So in that sense it’s very much general fiction. Most of the story focuses on detailed description, internal monologue, and character reflections, calling it “literary fiction” would also be a fair assessment.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Yes. All the time. But it’s not entirely accurate to call it a “block.” More like an “impasse.” Meaning that it’s temporary. When I get to a point where I don’t feel any words coming out, I take a break. Play a video game. Read a book…especially non-fiction. Most of all, I go outside. I live near a mountain, so hiking is easy, and necessary, to clear the mind and just think of nothing at all. I find it a good way to refresh my thoughts and it helps me clear any impasse and focus when I return to the computer.

Approaching Twi-night AuthorAbout the Author:
Originally from Troy, New York, M. Thomas Apple spent part of his childhood in the hamlet of Berne, in the Helderberg escarpment, and his teenage years in the village of Warrensburg, in the Adirondack Mountains. He studied languages and literature as an undergraduate student at Bard College, creative writing in the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing MFA Program, and language education in a Temple University interdisciplinary doctoral program. He now teaches global issues and English as a second language at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. Approaching Twi-Night is his first novel. A non-fiction book of essays about parenting and childcare (Taking Leave: An American on Paternity Leave in Japan, Perceptia Press), is scheduled for publication in late 2015, followed by a collection of short fiction and poetry (Notes from the Nineties) in early 2016. The lead editor of the bestselling Language Learning Motivation in Japan (Multilingual Matters, 2013), he is currently co-editing a non-fiction educational research book, writing a science fiction novel, and outlining a baseball story set in the Japanese corporate leagues.

Find the Author Online Using the Following Links:

hometwitter-webtreatsfacebook-logo-webtreats

Author Q&A From the Author of Inside a String

Inside a StringInside A String
By Tom MacLear
Publisher: Water Forest Press
ISBN: 978-1494886271
Pages: 105
Genre: Poetry, Literature

Inside a String is a collection of Poems, Essays, and Lyrics of one man’s take on the human element of America from the Beat movement of the 50′s to the Counter Culture of the 60′s thru the ‘X’ and ‘I’ generations, “Delivered in Spoken Word, Prose and Transcendental and Spiritual Abstract.”

When asked what his intended message is behind, Inside a String, MacLear reponds, “I want people to think. And I want people to care about words again. I want people to realize that reading words is the most accessible, reliable, affordable and most powerful medicine made available to everyone in this world.”

Tom MacLear, along with his singing partner, Heather Waters won Best Country Song 2014 by the Hollywood Music In Media Awards for last summer’s U.S. Country Radio Favorite: ‘SOMEDAY.’

Author Q&A

What inspired you to write your first book?

A)  There has always been something more inside of me than just singing, writing, painting or performing.

Do you have a specific writing style?

A) I hope not_ I hope that what I do,  is just me…

How did you come up with the title?

A) Played with the words for a very long time.  Some think it’s inspired by the unified string theorem, but only in part.  It best describes the intertwined relevance of all factors in humankind that create a fabric of thought and being as we project toward ‘something’ in this life …

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A)    A theory of relativity exsits within physics to explain matter, time and space, I strongly believe that there is a theory of relativity which explains all spirituality, philosophy, social dogma and the unifying factor of everyone’s personal ethos within a human ‘collective’ _  I present a starting point in my writing and I hope to stir curiosity within the reader to pursue what is out there in ‘everything’ … ‘the collective world.’

How much of the book is realistic?

A) All writings are from personal experience from my life, unless it is duly noted as a work in an editorial view from an outside looking in.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A) Yes_ I’m not one of fiction.  I find greater inspiration is actual world around us.

What books have most influenced your life most?

A)    Leaves of Grass, Walden’s Pond, Portrait Of A Man, Old Man And The Sea, Grapes Of Wrath. The People (Carl Sandburg)

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

A) Walt Whitman

What book are you reading now?

A) I try not to read when I work.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

A) We have just lost Maya Angelou, she was my favourite contemporary.  I mostly follow the ones who are writing about the world and its status__  Mark Leibovich,  Akbar Ahmed,  Princess Ameera ,  Mickey Edwards (The Parties vs. The People) a must read! Craig Unger (Boss Rove)! …so many others to mention….

What are your current projects?

A) I am currently writing and collecting works for my second volume of SA’s, Short Stories, Poems..

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

A) The obligation

Do you see writing as a career?

A) Seems to have been working for a few years now

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

A) No

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

A) My parents, life in theater, growing up in the arts.  It’s all I’ve known.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A)  “Like it or not, the more science grows, the more god is explained”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A) Filling your self with the art in order to feed others ‘the colours’ while maintaining an unabridged self within.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A) Hemingway.  Was no other__  and has been no other like him since.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

A) I have not yet done this, but intend to very soon.

Who designed the covers?

A) Myself

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

A) It was the most liberating thing I had done in a long time.  The hard part was sticking to the guidelines I had set myself to.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

A) Oh yes…..  you’ll find out in my next work….. 😉

Do you have any advice for other writers?

A) You will know what your importance is, as long as you can stare yourself in the mirror every day without blinking.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A) Read, then write of your own life (better than mine) then share this life with others so that they will write and share even a better one than yours, and on and on ……

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

A) Having to open some very dark, dark days to bring them to paper.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?
A) Where do you feel they exist?  I haven’t a clue

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
A) painfully

Do you write an outline before every book you write?
A) Absolutely_ many times over, then sometimes, not at all

Have you ever hated something you wrote?
A) Yes

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
A) All of this…………..

Inside A String AuthorAbout the Author:
Award winning songwriter, producer, entertainer and poet Tom MacLear has captured a span of life from the east to the west in his new book, Inside a String. Those familiar with Hemingway, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Dylan and Ginsberg will enjoy the “Beat” flavor of the poetry in this book as well as some of the more simple, straightforward attacks on our hearts and our senses. These poems speak to the reader and take us on that wonderful journey from the depths of city life in NYC to the beautiful coastlines of California and everywhere in between, wherever our minds choose to travel as we take a magical ride with poet, Tom MacLear.

Find the Author Online Using the Following Links:

hometwitter-webtreatsfacebook-logo-webtreatslinkedin-logo-webtreats

Author Q&A – From the Authors of Mother of Dreams

Mother of DemonsMother of Demons
A Department 18 Novel
By Maynard Sims
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Published: August 2015
ISBN: 978-1619229822
ISBN: B00WYTF3OI
Pages: 226
Genre: Supernatural Crime Thriller/Horror

The hunt is on!

Alice Logan has gone missing, and Harry Bailey and Department 18 have been called to help find her. The main suspect is Anton Markos, a satanic cult leader who has a predilection for young women like Alice. Members of Markos’s cult start turning up dead—shredded by what seems to be a wild animal. Is there a madman within the cult? Or is it something far more horrible?

Can Department 18 discover the impossible truth and end the spree of murder, insanity and carnage? Or will they become the prey?

Author Q&A

What inspired you to write your first book?

Our first published book was a collection of ghost stories in 1979 – Shadows At Midnight – published in hardcover by William Kimber & Co of London. There were ten ghost stories that everyone said were inspired by M R James but in fact we preferred H R Wakefield, Andrew Caldecott, A N L Munby, L T C Rolt and E F Benson. In 1999 we had the chance to have the book re-issued through Sarob Press and we re-wrote the stories and added two more in an expanded and revised edition.
Do you have a specific writing style?

 

We now have a Maynard & Sims style. It was a painful process to get to the fluent process we have now. We started with short stories back in the 70’s and all of those stories were a learning curve of course. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were both not only learning to write – and all writers develop at different speeds – but we were also learning to write with another person. Those two things combined certainly made for a combustible mix.

One way it would work was one would start a story, stop for a variety of reasons, hand it over to the other for them to finish. We then had a jointly written story. We decided very early on that each story should have one author voice – by which I mean more than just a style, although a cohesive style was important. Another way we did it was for one of us to completely write a story and then hand it to the other to edit, revise, as needed. That was when a lot of rows began. How dare he suggest changes to my precious story? We had a meeting place by the river, near the pub, and after a row, sometimes hours after, we would meet up there as if by pre-arrangement and come to an agreement about the story. Pregnant pauses were our specialty, with silence as a weapon. Over the years we have smoothed it all out. We are open and honest with each other, and no offence is taken when change is suggested.

Taking it right up to the present day, when we write as many novels as stories, we each write the complete book/story and then hand it over to the other for revision which includes proofing, copy editing, as well as revising if we feel it needs it. With each book we spend days at the end reading it together, page by page, for grammar, continuity, repetition and other flaws we find.

With the novels, each has been different. We find it is important that a book has a single voice – an author point of view, a narrative drive the reader can connect with. Luckily our styles have developed over the years into a single M&S style so there is never a case of anyone being able to see the joins. So we write separately – we live about 25 miles apart – and send a finished piece via email. The other reads and proofs and revises. Usually there are typos of course and continuity issues but often paragraphs or whole chapters are added in.

How did you come up with the title?

Our current book is book 5 in the Department 18 series of supernatural crime novels. It is called Mother Of Demons. It is loosely based on the Artemis legend, and she was reckoned to be a mother, and she mixed with demons and so the title kind of wrote itself. Titles are funny things. Sometimes we get a story idea from a line in a piece of music and that becomes the title. Other times the content of the book dictates the title
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

No, we write for pure entertainment – thrillers that thrill.
How much of the book is realistic?

The factual elements about police procedure are as realistic as we can make them based on research and conversations with serving police officers.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, thankfully.
What books have most influenced your life most?

With Mick it is the 87th Precinct novels of Ed McBain which are wonderful. With Len it is the novels of Jack Higgins.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

One another.
What book are you reading now?

Writing at the moment so never read when the writing process is ongoing as it is far too easy to get distracted. On a recent holiday Mick read a Simon Kernick, James Patterson, Paul Finch, Sandra Brown and Clive Cussler. Len is reading factual books for his current Department 18 novel and a 1950’s set crime novel.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are lots of good genre writers out there.
What are your current projects?

Department 18 book 6, Jack Callum book 2, Bahamas book 4, a standalone supernatural novel, a standalone thriller and a romance novella on the writing front. With books written and getting published there is always promotional work to be done, proofing and so on. That would be Department 18 book 5 Mother Of Demons out from Samhain, a e-novella, Convalescence out November form Samhain, and our tenth collection of ghost stories and strange tales, Death’s Sweet Echo out this year from Tickety Book Press.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Hugh Lamb, Steve Jones, Don D’Auria.
Do you see writing as a career?

It is now we have both taken early retirement from the long term day jobs – long term as in forty+ years each. Writing has always been a career in the way we have approached it seriously and professionally but it has never paid enough to be able to support us financially.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Mother Of Demons has gone through our usual vigorous editing revising and proofing process whereby whoever wrote it hands it over to the other and they take it apart and rebuild it. It is the best we can make it before we send it off to Don.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Mick was always interested. At school his best subject was English and he read books every day. Len began with comic books and migrated to anthologies and it was actually Len who wrote the first story, inspiring Mick to follow and we never stopped form there.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Mother Of Demons is about Department 18 which is a fictional (or is it?) unit of the government that investigates paranormal and supernatural events. It used to have its own website but it got hacked – which conspiracy theorists might wish to look into – was it accidental or where forces behind it? Now the department lives and breathes at a page where the history and a few case files are located http://www.maynard-sims.com/contents/DEPARTMENT%2018.htm
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Writing is the most natural thing in the world. The marketing, promotional stuff is hard but the actual sitting in front of the screen and creating stories and characters is sublime. There is no better feeling that to lose yourself in the pages and feel the story, the plot, evolve. We write organically, rarely planning out in detail and so the story flows with the characters. Finding an agent has been hard – we don’t have one. We have a thriller series with three completed novels and a new crime series that we want to get published but it is not easy. Our supernatural standalone novels and the Department 18 novels have a great home at Samhain with Don, and our short stories and erotic romances (under a pseudonym) also have good home but out crime and thrillers are hard to get placed for some reason.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Mick – Ed McBain – his stories and his characters in his 87th Precinct series are always fresh and interesting. Len – Jack Higgins for the action and pace of his thrillers.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Only to London for book events.
Who designed the covers?

Samhain do all our horror covers and before that it was Dorchester / Leisure. Our short story collections have been the various publisher’s choices. The three thrillers we published last year through our own Enigmatic Press were done by Len’s son Iain Maynard (Maynard Art & Design) and they are very good.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The middle part of any book is always the hardest and Mother Of Demons was no exception. The first 25/30000 words tend to flow pretty well and the ending, say the last 10/15000 words are generally okay. It is that middle section where the pacing needs to be maintained and the characters have to explain themselves a bit that is hard work.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up. Write every day. Write what you want to read. Send it off to an agent. Keep sending it off until you get one. Send stories off to magazines and anthologies. Don’t take reviews too seriously – good or bad.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?

Mother Of Demons, in fact all the Department 18 books are supernatural crossed with crime. We also write standalone supernatural novels that have a variety of themes – ghost stories, creature features, ancient curses. We write erotic romance under a pseudonym. Our short stories are ghost stories and strange tales. Our thrillers tend to be crime / action.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

We have been writing a long time and life throws stuff at you that you have to deal with. Deaths, divorce, births, marriage, all the usual life events that can knock you off your stride. Our writing history sort of settles into roughly ten year periods – the early traditional ghost story period of about ten years from 1974: a middle period, when we wrote a lot without sending much off for possible publication. During this period we wrote and broadly destroyed about 11 novels, and wrote numerous stories. This ‘barren’ period lasted about ten years from about 1984. The third period began around 1994 and is when we began again in earnest and happily continues to the present day. During this period a lot of the published work featured on our website, bar the novels, was written. The fourth ten year period began around 2004 with the publication of our story collection, Falling Into Heaven. This phase is dominated by novels. But we have also produced two ghost story collections. From 2014, the new ten year period, we have been very prolific and long may it continue.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?

No. Start with an idea, often vague, about the plot and let the characters flow where they want to go. We pull in the reins and make sure continuity is right but often what happens is as much a surprise to us as we hope it is to the reader.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Everything. We have never had much confidence.

Mother of Demons authorAbout the Authors:
Maynard Sims is pen name for authors L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims when they right together.

They are the authors of the thriller novels, Shelter, Demon Eyes, Nightmare City, Stronghold, Let Death Begin, Through The Sad Heart, Falling Apart At The Edges, and the Department 18 books Black Cathedral, Night Souls, The Eighth Witch and A Plague Of Echoes, have been published in paperback and ebook. The fifth Department 18 book, Mother Of Demons, a ghost story, Stillwater, and a novella, Convalescence are scheduled from Samhain for 2015. Erotic romance novels under a pseudonym have been published.

2015 will also see the publication of the Bahamas trilogy of thrillers, Touching The Sun, Calling Down The Lightning, and Raging Against The Storm. They are working on a crime series under a pseudonym, and a standalone thriller.

Their first screenplay, Department 18, won British Horror Film festival Best New Screenplay Award 2013. They have several other screenplays in various stages of development, including funding.

Numerous stories have been published in a variety of anthologies and magazines. Collections include, Shadows At Midnight, 1979 and 1999 (revised and enlarged), Echoes Of Darkness, 2000, Incantations, 2002, The Secret Geography Of Nightmare and Selling Dark Miracles, both 2002, Falling Into Heaven in 2004, The Odd Ghosts, 2011, Flame And Other Enigmatic Tales, and A Haunting Of Ghosts both 2012. They are working on their tenth collection.

Novellas, Moths, The Hidden Language Of Demons, The Seminar, Double Act, and His Other Son have been published in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2013 respectively. is out exclusively on Kindle, 2013.

All their short stories and novellas were published as a uniform eight volume collection in 2014 as The Maynard Sims Library.

They worked as editors on the nine volumes of Darkness Rising anthologies. They co-edited and published F20 with The British Fantasy Society. As editors/publishers they ran Enigmatic Press in the UK, which produced Enigmatic Tales, and its sister titles. They have written essays. They still do commissioned editing projects, most recently Dead Water, and they are working on an anthology as editors for the ITW. They also do ghost writing commissions.

Find the Authors Online Using the Following Links:

hometwitter-webtreatsfacebook-logo-webtreatsyoutube-webtreats_2youtube-webtreats_2linkedin-logo-webtreats