Tag Archives: Inspiration

Chatting with… Axel Howerton

The Trick: Axel is the brains behind the popular Coffin Hop for horror writers at Halloween. The Treat: his book hot Sinatra just came out and he’s talking inspiration. Enjoy, peeps ♥

 

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

“uhhhhhhhhh…”

It’s a dialogue transaction that every writer knows like the back of their QWERTY hand. Sometimes we hear it so often that the ol’ mental third round bell rings and we lunge out of the corner screaming “YO MOMMA GAVE ‘EM TO ME”. Sometimes we stuff our hands in corduroy pockets and mumble an apologetic “here and there”. And sometimes, someone as lovely, talented and congenial as Anne Michaud asks, and you dig deep and give honestly in the name of art and entertainment.

Hot_Sinatra_300dpi_2x3DSMy latest experiment in the fictional pursuits, Hot Sinatra, is a throwback to the pulp fiction of the 20’s and 30’s, typified by the likes of Hammett and Chandler, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Carroll John Daly, Raoul Whitfield and the like. Stories about hard men who used fists and guns to save endangered dames and foil the plans of nefarious millionaires and dangerous gangsters. The language was highly colloquial and tied to the time and place, most of it actually created by writers with no ties to the real nitty gritty of crime in the 30’s. More often than not, the criminals and gangbangers picked up their slang from the pulp mags, like Black Mask and Detective Story.  Today’s idea of “Detective Fiction”, and the archetype of the “square-jawed, two-fisted hero”, came directly from those pages of adventure and crime-fighting.

Chief among my own inspirations from the era was Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, main man of most of Chandler’s oeuvre. Marlowe was smart, but tough, wily, but always just naïve enough to fall for the wrong girl, or the wrong explanation. I love the idea of an everyman hero who is actually a far sight beyond the everyman. Smarter, nobler, more loyal, and always letting his own morality hobble his potential. He never quite makes the big payoff. He always misses happiness and contentment by a hair’s breadth, and always because he tries to be a better kind of man. Maybe it’s my own struggles with the dreaded potential, or the idea that, maybe… just maybe, this will be the day that karma pays back. Whatever it is, the contradictions inherent to those characters intrigue me.

So I sat back, filled to the brim with hundreds of pulp detective stories, and thought about how to best approach such a story. I wanted to bring it into a modern setting, but without the lazy fallback of everyone wearing zoot suits and talking like bad Bogey impersonators. I didn’t want to pull a Romeo + Juliet and just throw archaic language in the mouths of modern characters.  I settled on making my protagonist a man-out-of-time, struggling to fulfill the expectations of a real-life Phillip Marlowe, personified in the ghost of a dead grandfather. It gave Mossimo Cole the background to act more like a stand-up guy of the 30’s and speak in the kind of rambling, self-reflecting narrative voice that Raymond Chandler perfected so many decades ago. It also gave me occasion to work in some of the reverence and respect I have for my own grandfathers, one who was a kind, but serious man, who led a very hard life. The other is one of the most generous, gregarious and charming storytellers I have ever known.

So many other inspirations fell out of me like surging rivers of pop-culture ephemera, everything from punk rock to tattoos, from Sinatra to my own horrible coffee addiction, and a liberal dose of my own misspent youth and experiences with alcohol abuse and self-destructive nihilism.

One last inspiration I really should mention is that of my dear departed friend, Ryan “Foxy” Fox. Much of that previously mentioned “misspent youth” was spent in the company of Foxy. He was that one dude in a million, who lit up every room he entered, and left with the friendship and goodwill of every single person present. Foxy was a whirlwind of energy, a constant source of mirth and merriment, and the best friend a guy could ask for. He was a rockabilly rebel, lead singer and guitar-slinger of The Nightstalkers, wild and unkempt and exploding into every corner of the world. His untimely death left everyone he knew with a hole in their hearts, and my own is still scarred and empty in that spot. I didn’t plan on writing him into the story, but he came out, loud and strong and alive as ever. I like to think Foxy is the real heart of the story, and the one person Mossimo Cole could never live without.

In the end, I think my little novel has come out pretty damn well. It has been lauded for its voice, for its ability to invoke the Phillip Marlowe’s and Sam Spades of yesterday, while remaining a thoroughly modern story of love and violence, crime and comedy. I like that. I’m proud of that, and I sure hope you’ll give it a chance.

Hot Sinatra is available now in paperback and eBook formats from most online retailers and retail outlets including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

 

twilight oneAxel Howerton is the author of the quirky neo-noir novel Hot Sinatra, the mini-anthology Living Dead at Zigfreidt & Roy, and a bevy of short stories and hidden gems. Axel is the co-creator of the annual Coffin Hop author extravaganza and the long-time editor of http://www.eyecrave.net. His work has recently appeared in Big Pulp, Fires on the Plain, Steampunk Originals, A Career Guide To Your Job In Hell and the holiday anthology Let It Snow: Season’s Readings For A Super-Cool Yule. Axel is currently working on several projects, including a Steampunk novella for the Empires of Steam & Rust series, and a bottle of Irish whiskey.

He lives in Western Canada with his two brilliant young sons and a wife that is way out of his league. You can visit Axel online at http://www.axelhowerton.com


Chatting with…Amy Bartol

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When an author has a new book coming out, I’m always curious as to what inspired them for the story, so I jumped on Amy’s blog tour wagon and invited her to tell us more about Incendiary ♥

AB: In 2007, my best friend, Molly, had sent me a book for my birthday.  It was entitled:  I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak.  The book is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey.  Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.  After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, was funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric.  It read like you could step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, see what he is seeing.  In short, it was amazing.  But, there was a message at the end of the story that struck me as if it was written just for me.  It says, quote: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of.

At the time, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a “writer;” I only knew that I wanted to see if I could produce a story worth reading.  I know it sounds counterintuitive because you’d think that it would be a logical conclusion that I wrote a book so I could be a writer, but for me, it was more like I became a writer because I had to write a book—I had to tell a story.  I didn’t have“be a writer” aspirations, maybe I did when I was younger, but when I began writing Inescapable there was no real fantasy of becoming an author. Inescapable just began as an experiment to see if I could write a book—I wanted to see if I was capable of writing a story and then LIKING what I wrote.

Incendiary Book CoverThe inspiration to write about angels came about while I was reading “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. I stumbled across a stanza that had the word “Seraphim” in it.  I was annoyed that I didn’t know exactly what that word meant because I’m preoccupied with words.  I googled it and found that Seraphim are angels, and not just any angels; they’re the highest rank of angels in Heaven.  Angels have ranks?  I had thought.  Really?  I did some research and discovered that a theologian in the fifth century named Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite wrote about a hierarchy of angels.  The angels from my stories are loosely based on Pseudo-Dionysius’ writings, but I took a lot of poetic license in my writing.

It took me several more months to work out that I could do it, that I could write.  I kept saying to Tom (my husband), “I should write a book, don’t you think?  Do you think I should write a book?  What if I wrote a book?”  Finally, Tom gave me his MacBook and said, “Here, write a book!” Translation: Sheesh, woman, stop bugging me! * (But in a cute, sweet way.)

He never got that laptop back.

I named the first file: Here We Go.  I began to write with the thought that it was just for me and that I would never show it to anyone—it was just an experiment to see if I could do it.  That mindset gave me the freedom to write anything I wanted.  Everything I wanted.  I was under no obligation to censor it in any way because, hey, I was the only one who would ever read it, right?

It was ON.

Soon after I started writing, I began to hear the characters I created.  Literally. They would wake me up in the middle of the night—talking.  (I know it’s weird, but really, really cool, too.  BTW, Russell talks the most and is always the funniest.)  I call whatever it is that happens “catching the stream” because once I began to hear the characters speak, it was like I was floating easily down a river.  I just had to type what they (the characters) said.  They sometimes took me places I never expected the story would go.  It was literally like I was watching a movie in my mind and I just needed to describe it in words so that it made sense on paper.

Then, in about four months, I finished it. (The rough draft, that is.)

A strange daring happened to me after that:  I let the story escape from my computer and into the dreams of others…and now I can’t stop writing. I can’t wait to tell you what happens next…

amybartol*** You can catch Amy on her blog, she also tweets**

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood…

WHotbSmallWEBFive novellas based on Devin O’Branagan’s bestselling novel, Witch Hunt!
You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! Devin O’Branagan has handpicked writers to take up her characters’ stories and explore what happens next.
The anthology begins with O’Branagan’s own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.
Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won. This anthology contains novellas by Devin O’Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh. All five authors of the anthology are available for discussion at Devin’s writers’ forum. This is the link to chat with them: Chat With The Authors!
Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!

My Review: When I began reading Witch Hunt: Of the Blood, I never expected to be thrown into such a realistic world of love, betrayal, acceptance and rejection. Not only was I amazed at how each story portrayed a different aspect of the Hawthorne clan by depicting one of its character, but the overall anthology feels more like a complete novel than a multiple authors book.The witches world is pretty much ours, albeit their fright to be discovered, judged and killed, for the most part.

I never thought it’d be that easy to identify with witches, but the one that stood out the most was Krista Walsh’s Circle Unbroken. Well-written, poetic and unique, this tale strike me not only in originality but for its compelling plot – my favorite of the lot.

Anyone who’s a fan of witches, historical elements or just a book rich in flavors, pick this one now.


Chatting with… Krista Walsh

It must have been a treat to work with characters of someone else to tell your own story – how did it come about and how did it change your own approach to writing?

KW: I first read Devin O’Branagan’s original Witch Hunt novel last year and loved it – especially the story set during the Salem witch trials. When Devin and I started talking about a possible anthology sequel, I was honoured to be asked to participate and grabbed Bridget’s character right away. It was only when I started writing  that I realised how tricky diving into someone else’s world can be. In order to maintain consistency and a seamless continuation from the original, I had to find the balance between recreating the voice of Devin’s Bridget and exploring the voice of my own. The difference of 9 years between the stories gave lots of freedom to create my own story, but it was definitely a new way of working with characters.

How did the research process go – did you already know about witches, Salem and all that jazz, or did you have to dig to find out about it?

KW: For this story I lucked out. Witch trials of all kinds are my passion subject, so I’ve been reading up on them for years. It was a relief to finally have a chance to put that reading to use. For the sorts of magic I used throughout the story, I have Devin to thank because of how well she set it up in Witch Hunt. My research focused more on the smaller details of the setting and era, which was good fun.

Will you be writing about witches in the future?

KW: Witches always have a place in my writing. I have three completed novels in the editing stages and they’ve all involve historical witchcraft or modern day sorcery. I love the possibilities that witchcraft can offer a story, something that has limits and doesn’t just solve problems, something they have to work with, and sometimes against. The novel I’m working on editing now is called Evensong, which is a story about an author who gets trapped in his own fantasy novel (and yes, there’s an enchantress in this one as well).

KSW

Krista Walsh enjoys writing literary fiction, as well as historical and dark fantasy. Publications include contributions in the Day of Demons and Bleeding Ink anthologies.  She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about her at www.theravensquill.com

Follow her on Twitter at @krista_walsh


Chatting with… AJ Brown

Southern BonesAnother great horror author has launched a collection of short stories recently, and I happen to virtually know this guy: AJ Brown worked on the copyedits of Tattered Souls volume 2, in which Misery of Me was published 🙂 So I decided to ask a question on each of the different stories you can find in SOUTHERN BONES. Enjoy ♥

The first story made me go back years, when I used to visit Chincoteague Island with my parents to see the wild horses…what inspired you to write this story?

AJB: Many people have said they thought Wild Horses iss based off the song of the same name by U2.  Let me go ahead and clarify, it isn’t.  Though I love U2, this story is based on a field along Highway 378 here in South Carolina.   There were wooden fence posts that held up the old style metal fence that we often see in rural areas all over the world.  There were trees opposite the road and in that vast field that stretched left to right (and vice versa if you drove the opposite direction).

One evening on the way home from work, I saw a horse running loose in the field.  It caught my attention to the point of me pulling onto the highway shoulder and just sitting there watching this beautiful creature gallop and trot about without a care in the world. Later that night I sat with pen and paper and out flowed the story of Prince, the king of the Wild Horses.

Unfortunately, that field is no longer there, and niether is the horse (it has since been turned into a well-to-do neighborhood–oh the sins of progress).

If you had a star to wish upon, what would it change in your life?

AJB: I would wish to be smarter.  No, seriously.  Nothing has ever come easy for me.  In school—and even now when I take classes for work—I would spend hours studying and would end up with a low C.  I have to really concentrate when trying to learn or I won’t retain it.  It’s the one area where I, admittedly, am jealous of my older brother.  He can hear or read something once and never forget it.  He can look at something for a minute or two and know how to fix it. He is probably the smartest person I’ve ever met.  I would love to have just a tenth of his intelligence.

I’m an atheist, so I never understand the devotion people have to religion – but if you had written your own bible, what would be its first rule?

AJB: That’s a good question.  I can honestly say, I would probably go with something along the lines of the Golden Rule. Love one another, to love your neighbors as you would yourself.  Yeah, I know it sounds like a cop out answer, but that would probably be my first rule.

Ugh, I used to have a neighbour that was just as annoying, but in a more creepy way – that man scared everyone in the neighbourhood…who inspired you to write about the woman in the red stucco house?

AJB: The Red Stucco House wasn’t inspired by a person.  I had been walking down the hall at work one day and the first line–or at least the first four words–popped into my head.  “She loved that house…”  It’s not a profound thought, or really anything that would make most people think twice.  But, you know yourself, as a writer, anything is fodder for a story.  I chewed on the thought for a while, asking why she loved that house so much.  In my head I could see a game show host like Bob Barker walking around with the Barker Girls pointing out all the different reasons she loved the house.  I took Barker out of the equation and focused on the materialistic aspects and the story just kind of wrote itself.

There’s something utterly scary about extreme weather, as events throughout recent years have proven – have you ever survived a tornado, flood, etc?

AJB: The closest I’ve come to a major storm or weather event was Hurricane Hugo back when I was in my very early twenties.  It tore up Charleston and much of the coast and even did significant damage in the little town I lived in at the time, but nothing like the damage seen from Hurricane Sandy or Andrew or Katrina.  In South Carolina, most of the really bad storms seem to skirt by us.  Every once in a while, though…

It’s always so comforting to have strangers to be the bad guys, but I’ve noticed you take a lot of family as center stage of your horror…care to explain why horror is always more scary when it hits close to home?

AJB: It’s easy to be afraid of strangers.  You see someone walking down the street that may be a little shady in appearance and you cross the street hoping he doesn’t cross as well.  You’re mindful of the neighborhood you just drove into because the houses may be a little dilapidated and there are people sitting in rickety chairs out on the lawn, smoking and just kind of looking rough, wearing old clothes with holes in them and they may or may not be dirty.  It’s easy to see someone with a scowl on their face and have that nervous edge surface along your skin.  It’s just easier to be afraid of folks you don’t know.

People tend to trust family and friends, they tend to let their guard down and even overlook some quirks that they would find disturbing–or at the very least uncomfortable–in other people.  Most people can’t imagine a loved one hurting them or someone they know.  They can’t imagine a spouse would try to kill them, or that their kids could become horrible monsters.  Do you think Ted Bundy’s parents thought he would end up being a serial killer?

There’s an old saying, hold your friends close, hold your enemies closer.  Even that little proverb suggests that the people that could harm you the most are not the people you love, but enemies or strangers for that matter.

Let me pose the question back to you and the readers out there:  Which would be more disconcerting to you, a stranger who kills a child or a mother who kills her child?  They are both horrible in their own right, but the mother who kills her own child would be far worse, in my opinion, than a stranger killing a child.  The mother with her unconditional love or the stranger with no feelings at all toward the child?  To me, the most horrific events happen within the family–and often those things are covered up by other family members, which makes it that much worse.

AJBrownA.J. Brown is a kook. It’s true.  Ask him.

A.J. Brown is also a storyteller who dabbles in some of the darker words in writing.  He is a southern gentleman who enjoys strawberry Kool-aid, Legos and The Walking Dead.  Oh wait, did we say southern gentleman?  Who are we kidding?  He may be southern, but a gentleman?  Nah. He’s a country boy from a redneck family.  The southern accent is real. His new collection, Southern Bones, can be found online and in print format.  Check it out. You won’t be sorry.

The links! The links!
Southern Bones on Amazon or in print
AJ’s blog
AJ’s  facebook

Mistral

I’m no fan of French music, but Mistral Gagnant by Renaud always made me so sad…which inspired me for this flash fiction. Enjoy, peeps ♥

Sitting with you on that bench reminds me of a better time, how your little hand used to feel in mine, and your laugh sounded like the sea, peaks and rolls. But then the sky fell down on our heads, on your childish hopes, and everything changed. Even you did, you grew up and I grew old, after we lost everything and everyone.

“I won’t do it,” you say, looking straight ahead just like your mother did before an argument. Before they took her away from us, leaving a kid and her old man, barely able to sustain us both.

“You have to.” I want to scream and shout, but end up breathing out in a whisper. “You have to prove you can, or they’ll end you.” After six years of hell, hiding and scrapping life off dark corners, I thought you’d knew what to do, what would happen if you didn’t.

Dawn stretches before us, hungry birds over head at war, picking at the fresh corpses. Soon, they’ll fly down at me; not fast enough, the bullet will go through my head.

“It’s time, darling.” I stare at your eyes, sad and angry and hungry. “Then you run until you can’t no more.” Something I can’t do anymore, something I used to be best at. But then one of their weapons bit my leg and ate my flesh. It smells, it creeps up, it kills me little by little – like leaving you behind. Or are you leaving me? I can never be sure.

“But we’re the good guys, Dad…” Don’t you dare, not after all this time. Please clear your throat, please wipe your nose and stand proud – I choose when I leave, and I say it’s now. “Why do I have to…”

“Kill me, so they won’t follow.” I’ve told you so many times, weren’t you listening? What can’t you understand? “Kill me, so you will be free.” And live, a vow I can’t keep, anymore. “Do it.”

You raise the gun to my head, place it between my eyes, and cry. But don’t, think of no one depending on you, how your old bastard of a father promised you a good life but gave you trouble, in the end. The end, of a worthless existence: the end of yours, with mine.

I close my eyes, seeing the wind through your hair, the sun blinking your tears of laughter. I hear it, your voice whispering my name, your cold fingers holding tight to my hand, and the promise that soon, we will be together again.


Chatting with…Colin F Barnes, take two

My good friend Colin F Barnes (writer and Anachron Press editor extraordinaire) has a new book coming out, so I invited him to talk about it – and you lucky peeps have 2 chances to win the ebook by tweeting about the giveaway (with a @ColinFBarnes mention, so he can track it).  The winners will be picked next week, good luck ♥

Tell us about this new book of yours, Mr. Barnes.

CFB: Artificial Evil (Book 1 of The Techxorcist) is a story of origin and what makes us human. It’s set in post-cataclysmic 2153 where the last remaining population exist within a dome city called City Earth.

To manage resources, the owners of the city—the shadowy benefactors ‘The Family’—have implemented a death lottery to control the population and limited resources. The book is from the point of view of family man Gerry Cardle. He’s the lead algorithm designer for the death lottery, but somehow, inexplicably, his numbers have come up despite him being on the exemption list. A malicious Artificial Intelligence has broken into City Earth’s network and ‘possessed’ Gerry. He has just seven days to live, to find out the truth, and save the city.

He does this with the help of two criminals who live ‘off-the-grid’ within the dark corners of the city. A teenage girl (Petal), and an ageing priest (Gabriel) help Gerry in his search and reveal a much wider, more dangerous plot and reveal a horrifying truth.

Sounds awesome, dear friend – but tell me, I’ve noticed many horror writers (which is a genre I know you love to write) also dab into Sci-Fi, dystopian worlds, I wonder if it’s because genre authors like to write genre in itself or is it because horror and Sci-Fi are linked, somehow?

CFB: Thank you, Anne. I think it depends on the writer. I personally like to blur genre lines because I like the added flavours that horror, and SF bring. Together they work well because of the fear of the unknown. And with regards to dystopian societies, they bring their own horror. So for me, they are easy bed-fellows. I do think, however, that horror although can be considered a genre in of itself, it’s also a flavour that can be given to many of other genres such as SF, Fantasy, Crime etc…

So what would be the inspiration for this new book – I want names, book titles, etc.

CFB: Initially I wrote it as a short story. It was really just an experiment. I dreamt up the dome city and the character of Gerry and wanted to see it where it went. In terms of what was behind the ideas I would say it’s probably the influence of Blade Runner and Neuromancer, as well as playing Shadowrun as a kid amongst myriad other inputs. This is the closest to my ‘truth’ in terms of writing as I can currently get to in terms of outlook, themes and subject matter.

What’s next for the writer and editor? Any cool projects coming out??

CFB: So many things, my head spins just thinking about it. From a writer’s perspective I have a gothic novella coming out later in December by Fox Spirit Books called ‘Heart for the Ravens’, and I’m releasing a horror novella around march time titled ‘of Darkewood & Ivory’. Beyond that I’m also working on the two follow-ups to Artificial Evil (Assembly Code and Alpha Omega) and hope to have those ready for mid 2013.

As an editor, things are super busy. I’ve got an anthology due out in February (Urban Occult), and 6 novellas in my new Pulp Line range of stories. You can find more details on these at
www.anachronpress.com.

Follow Colin on his blog tour!!

Ebook:

Anachron Press

Amazon: US | UK |

Epub: Kobo | Lulu

Print:

Anachron Press

Amazon: US | UK |CreateSpace

***

Colin F. Barnes is a writer of dark and daring fiction. He takes his influence from everyday life, and the weird happenings that go on in the shadowy locales of Essex in the UK.

Growing up, Colin was always obsessed with story and often wrote short stories based on various dubious 80s and 90s TV shows. Despite taking a detour in school into the arts and graphic design, he always maintained his love of fiction and general geekery. Now, as a slightly weathered adult, Colin draws on his experiences to blend genres and create edgy, but entertaining stories.

He is currently working on a Cyberpunk/Techno thriller serial ‘The Techxorcist.’ which combines elements of Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Horror.

Like many writers, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, with his favourite authors being: Stephen King, William Gibson, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Albert Camus,  H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith,  and a vast array of unknown authors who he has had the privilege of beta reading for.

Website: www.colinfbarnes.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ColinFBarnes


Chatting with… Rosanne Rivers

This week is a double treat: interview + cover reveal of Rosanne Rivers, a debut YA author!

After the Fear

In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.

Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.

Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.

Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.

Ladies and gents, here’s Rosanne Rivers.

RR: Hi!

What’s your book about and where did you get the idea for it?

RR: Well the book is set in England in the year 2099, where Roman-style gladiatorial battles are the government’s way of raising money to pay off the nation’s enormous monetary Debt. It follows Sola as she trains to become one of the top fighters (Demonstrators) in England, falls in love, discovers unlikely secrets and deals with the oppressive society she lives in.

As mundane as it sounds, I actually got the idea from the huge deficit England has at the moment! Politicians are always going on about it over here. I liked the idea that when you’re born, you’re already born with a personal debt that you can be called upon at any time to pay off. When it came to how someone was going to pay this off, I looked to football. There’s so much money in it, it’s crazy. No matter how much debt we’re in, we’ll always find a way of spending money on the things we like. So I made football matches into Roman-style one-on-one battles, and in my book that’s the hobby which everyone loves and is willing to spend money on.

For the rest of the society, (trigger cameras/ a mandatory social networking site called Debtbook etc) I just looked at the world we already live in. When I started writing, the government in England were talking about introducing cameras which activate when they hear certain ‘trigger’ words. And then there’s Facebook, which fits so perfectly into a dystopian world that it’s scary! Every element in my book is from something which I could see happening in the future, but sometimes it’s an augmented version.

Love this – you actually pluck inspiration from actual events…oh so scary, we’re this close to a dystopian world coming to life, me thinks.

My favorite movies/books have always been dystopian: 1984, Blade Runner, Brazil, Hunger Games trilogy…which stories would you consider your favorite and how did they play in your own writing for this book?

RR: Yeah it is a bit scary . . . yet so much fun to write about!

Oh I haven’t read Blade Runner or Brazil, I’ll have to check them out! My favourite dystopian books have to be The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Delirium, (with Inside Out and Uglies coming in very close, too!). I’m a bit slow to the game but I’ve just start reading Divergent, which is awesome. I think the dystopian trend certainly gave me the confidence to write and finish this book. Before The Hunger Games, I would have worried that no one wanted to read about a killer teenager! Once I had the idea, a lot of my inspiration came from history books and tales of gladiators. The camp in ATF is very much based on a Roman ludus, with lots of the training techniques being adapted versions of those used by gladiators.

Cool beans, bringing in History into your books…which makes me wonder, what’s your next project? Will you stay in the futuristic genre or jump trains?

RR: I’m so glad you asked. I’m just in the research and plotting stage of my next book . . . It’s a YA fantasy following a young woman who is part of an all-female organised crime gang. So it’s a detour from the futuristic genre, but there will still be lots of fighting. This time though, I’m hoping to get the reader on side with the ‘baddies’, because let’s face it, we all have a dark side!

Rosanne lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series.

She blogs, she tweets, she has a Facebook page, and so does her book – don’t miss out and subscribe to be notified about After the Fear


The Next Big Thing Blog Tag

My new Twitter friend Linda Bloodworth tagged me with this blog hop and I’m happy to oblige:) So here we go….

What is the working title of your book? KILLER GIRL
Where did the idea come from for the book? AN AMAZING DREAM I HAD A MONTH AGO.
What genre does your book fall under? YA/NA THRILLER
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? CHRISTINA RICCI, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, MARK STRONG, ALAN RICKMAN, JOHN CUSAK…
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A GIRL MUST BECOME A KILLER TO AVENGE HER PARENTS’ DEATH.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? WHO KNOWS? IF I WISH UPON A STAR…
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? ERRR…NOT DONE, YET.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? GILLIAN FLYNN’S TRILOGY, TANA FRENCH’S IN THE WOODS, KENDARE BLAKE’S ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.
Who or What inspired you to write this book? THE CHARACTERS KEEP POPPING IN MY HEAD.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? IT’S DARK, TWISTED, SCARY, FUNNY, HEART-WARMING, FAST-PACED AND SHOCKING.

In the spirit of this blog hop, it is now my turn to nominate 5 bloggers who will answer these questions:

Krista Walsh

DD Syrdal

Marianne Su

Darke Conteur

Ren Warom

Don’t forget to hop to their blogs and meet their WIP:)