Saturday, April 30, 2011

What caught my attention in Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

Below is a section of the third chapter of Lord Foul's Bane. It's what hooked me. A mixture of foreshadowing, including hints of some of the places and 'player's to come, not only in the first novel, but throughout the trilogy (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever).

The word choice, names, multiple titles--it just set the atmosphere for me. There were times the first novel proved hard to get through, especially as I was busy in college, but it really set up the rest of the trilogy well, and a read that I would argue rivals Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Anyway, here it is:


… “I have had many names,” the voice said. “To the Lords of Revelstone, I am Lord Foul the Despiser; to the Giants of Seareach, Satansheart and Soulcrusher. The Ramen name me Fangthane. In the dreams of the Bloodguard, I am Corruption. But the people of the Land call me the Grey Slayer.” …

…“But I have wasted time enough. Now to my purpose. Heed me well, groveler. I have a task for you. You will bear a message for me to Revelstone—to the Council of Lords.

“Say to the Council of Lords and to High Lord Prothall, son of Dwillian, that the uttermost limit of their span of days upon the Land is seven times seven years from this present time. Before the end of those days are numbered, I will have the command of life and death in my hand. And as a token that what I say is the one word of truth, tell them this: Drool Rockworm, Cavewight of Mount Thunder, has found the Staff of Law, which was lost ten times a hundred years ago by Kevin at the Ritual of Desecration. Say to them that the task appointed to their generation is to regain the Staff. Without it, they will not be able to resist me for seven years, and my complete victory will be achieved six times seven years earlier than it would be else.

“As for you, groveler: do not fail with this message. If you do not bring it before the Council, then every human in the Land will be dead before ten seasons have passed. You do not understand—but I tell you Drool Rockworm has the Staff, and that is a cause for terror. He will be enthroned at Lord’s Keep in two years if the message fails. Already, the Cavewights are marching to his call; and wolves, and ur-viles of the Demondim, answer the power of the Staff. But war is not the worst peril. Drool delves ever deeper into the dark roots of Mount Thunder—Gravin Therndor, Peak of Fire-Lions. And there are banes buried in the deeps of the Earth too potent and terrible for any mortal to control. They would make of the universe a hell forever. But such a bane Drool seeks. He searches for the Illearth Stone. If he becomes its master, there will be woe for low and high alike until Time itself falls.

“Do not fail with my message, groveler. You have met Drool. Do you relish dying in his hands?”

The voice paused, and Covenant held his head in his arms, trying to silence the echo of Foul’s threats. This is a dream, he thought. A dream! But the blindness of the mist made him feel trapped, encapsulated in insanity. He shuddered with the force of his desire for escape and warmth. “Go away! Leave me alone!”

“One word more,” Foul said, “a final caution. Do not forget whom to fear at the last. I have had to be content with killing and torment. But now my plans are laid, and I have begun. I shall not rest until I have eradicated hope from the Earth. Think on that and be dismayed!”

Yes, I think Lord Foul makes a pretty good villain.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Interview with SF/Fantasy Author Stephen Zimmer

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Stephen. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

First and foremost, thank you very much for the chance to join you here and hang out for awhile! I really appreciate the chance to talk about my work, though as an epic fantasy writer, you may end up with an epic-scale interview!

I’m an author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky, with two active fantasy series. I primarily write epic-scale novels, with the Fires in Eden series and Rising Dawn Saga, both from Seventh Star Press. I have two different editors, one for each series, which has helped with keeping a nice release schedule that sees a new book out about every seven months, with the two series alternating.

Fires in Eden is medieval fantasy in nature, with a slight twist in that it involves a number of modern day characters that get taken into the world of Ave near the beginning of Crown of Vengeance. So far there are two books out in the series, the aforementioned Crown of Vengeance, and Dream of Legends, which came out recently, with book three set for around January of 2012. Readers who like this series tend to be those who like authors like George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and the kinds of writers with immersive, epic series that you can really dive into.

My Rising Dawn Saga is an epic-scale urban fantasy, and has significant dashes of horror, sci-fi, and techno-thriller elements. It is a little harder to directly compare to something out there, but I always say that if you like the kind of topics you see in Jim Butcher books, and like epic-scale stories with ensemble casts, then this series just may work well for you! Very heavy on the mythical and supernatural. It includes book one, The Exodus Gate, and book two, The Storm Guardians, with book three on the horizon just around mid-summer.

I also write short fiction, the most recently published being “In the Mountain Skies”, a steampunk tale introducing the Solomon Maccabee and Harvey characters. It is found in Kerlak Publishing’s Dreams of Steam anthology. You will be seeing much more of Solomon and Harvey in the future!

If I was asked to describe my writing, I tend to gravitate towards building stories with ensemble casts, and weaving a larger story together using multiple character threads. The larger story is viewed through different angles, or perspectives, depending on the character thread. I sometimes work a little bit of a literary edge into it, and enjoy developing some complexity and layering in the plot.

My influences include my first ones such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as others like George R.R. Martin, Glen Cook, Clive Barker, C.S. Friedman, David Gemmell, Robert E. Howard, and others.

In order to keep up with all of this, I drink lots of Monster Energy drinks….!

Completing epic-scale works at the rate you do certainly requires more than Monster Energy drinks. I say this because you also attend a lot of book signings, writing events and SF/Fantasy conventions. For those writers who struggle to fit it all in, can you tell us a little bit about what works for you?

It does require a little more than a moderate allotment of Monster Energy drinks, although the green cans do come in handy on some of the more marathon sessions. I think just being consistent in writing is the main thing for me. I try to write nearly every day. Obviously, in a convention run, this doesn’t happen on the weekends of the events themselves, but when I am back home I am hard at it first thing, early in the morning.

I also don’t allow myself to linger long on a thread where I am not flowing easily. I try not to “force things” in a given session, but work where the momentum is going. I’ve found that this really helps to make each session very productive. The key is getting the most out of time. You’d be surprised at how much time you can waste if you are inefficient.

The other part is compartmentalizing. By that I mean keep the Facebook, blogging, and other more interactive or promotional activities in their own time box and don’t let them bleed over into the times that you set aside for writing, research, and the rare moment of R & R. It can seem very structuralized, but things can get away from you in a hurry otherwise.

I do have the additional advantage of having developed and worked on these story lines, characters, and other elements for many years now, dating back to the mid 90’s in the case of the Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden series. That depth of engagement with these two series also helps to keep things on pace.

Last, I believe the good working relationship I have with Amanda DeBord on the Rising Dawn Saga and Karen Leet on the Fires in Eden series, as my editors, helps keep the schedule on course. I strive to hand them as clean of copy as possible, so that they can put their attention on refinements rather than larger problems.

Above all, though, this is all my big playground. I love creating these stories, so it doesn’t seem like “work” to me, even though the hours spent are tremendous. I feel most comfortable when I am immersed in writing on one of these two series, so it never seems like “pressure” when I am working on them with the kind of schedule I am on with Seventh Star Press.

Who would you identify as the audience for your writing, and is it the same audience that would enjoy your films?

After four novels, I have begun to see a few certain groups emerging with the two series. One group consists of dedicated fans of high fantasy, epic fantasy, and heroic fantasy, and these gravitate largely towards the Fires in Eden series. The second group is made of fans of urban and paranormal fantasy, technological thrillers, and science fiction, a little more diverse of a group in terms of reading tastes. This group gravitates more fully to the Rising Dawn Saga. The third group is comprised of a core of readers with a very broad reading range, and these tend to overlap between the two series.

Having a medieval fantasy and urban fantasy series running together definitely broadens my range, in terms of the potential readers that some aspect of my work will appeal to.

It has been especially interesting to watch the readership that is forming for the Rising Dawn Saga, though. I have had readers that are hard science fiction fans and military thriller fans who like it a lot, and who normally don’t pick up any fantasy-oriented books. I think they find the eclectic mix of things, such as the supernatural alongside high end military hardware, to be intriguing, with just enough of the story grounded in reality, political issues, and technological issues that they can buy into the plot.

My novels do tend to have a bit of complexity in terms of the number of characters, layers, and threads, so I would have to say that my readers are not the type who are fully satisfied with a lighter style of reading material. They are willing to be more dedicated in focus and attention to a book, and do not mind seeing a literary edge from time to time. I like to think that I have a nice payoff for them, as they begin to uncover the layers and range of elements embedded throughout the story.

Of course, now with Solomon Maccabee and Harvey coming into play with my steampunk short story in Dreams of Steam (Kerlak Publishing), called “In the Mountain Skies,” the range of possible readers may grow a little more! We’ll just have to see.

The readers of my books definitely have no trouble in engaging with my films, but the opposite is not necessarily true. Film viewers who are not readers consume stories in a very different manner. The things that work well in books do not necessarily work as well in film, and vice versa, so this last group of dedicated film viewers is also distinctive in nature.

If you could meet any two individuals, the first an author, and the second being someone unrelated to writing or publishing, who would they be and why?

This one is a fairly easy one for me, as two individuals immediately leap to mind. As far as authors go, J.R.R. Tolkien, because he was the writer that sparked the fire in me regarding fantasy. I would love to just sit down, have a pint of beer, and enjoy a conversation with him. Would be even better to have the visit in a quaint pub, like the one where the Inklings met. I gained a liking for mashed peas when I visited England a couple years ago, so pub food is always a nice bonus! I would really like to get at some of the things that were most important to Professor Tolkien in regards to his writing, in terms of the themes and issues he set out to explore in a fantasy context.

The second part of your question is the historical Jesus of Nazareth, and I am addressing this in the context of meeting someone in a face to face, physical capacity. I have had questions I have struggled with my entire life, and I would love to have the opportunity to just ask a few things that have burned within me, and caused me a great deal of trouble from time to time when it comes to contemplating the larger questions of life, the universe, and the nature of the human spirit. I would like to get past all the difficulties of interpretations, translations, interior understandings, and other similar things, and be able to speak plainly on a few key matters. There are so many portrayals of Jesus throughout history, and so many layers to work through, it seems, that it would be nice to just meet Him in a simple manner, like visiting with my mother and talking in the kitchen. My gut instinct tells me that I would finally be at ease after such a discussion.

Writers, especially of fantasy and science fiction, create worlds for readers to explore and enjoy, and for characters to inhabit. It seems they are often filled not only with wonder, but also strife. Given the choice of one of the worlds (from your two main series), which would you prefer to inhabit and why would you select it over the other?

Of the two worlds, I would have to say Ave from the Fires in Eden series. The reason is pretty straightforward.

The world depicted in the Rising Dawn Saga is a parallel world to our own. The story takes place in a setting that, in terms of time, is slightly ahead of ours. As such, inhabiting that world would not involve much of a difference from this one, assuming I did not become involved in something that “parted the veil” to the worlds beyond, as happens to several characters in the Rising Dawn Saga.

The non-physical realms in the Rising Dawn Saga are extensively developed, from the wondrous Middle Lands, to Adonai’s realms, to the places like the Grey Lands and other realms located within the Abyss, but they remain pretty inaccessible to the average inhabitant of Terra (the physical world that is close to our own). Ave’s lands and realms, no matter how exotic in nature, are much more accessible to its occupants. It also has some jaw-dropping places within it, which are not limited to land surfaces!

Great dangers and strife are present in both, in an imminent sense. The Ten-Fold Kingdom of Diabolos in the Rising Dawn Saga is like a realm of entire worlds, and it threatens both physical and non-physical realms. Similarly, in the Fires in Eden series, the Unifier is threatening all lands that resist bending knee to Him. The danger and strife factor is about six of one, and a half-dozen of the other, in truth.

Ultimately, though, the world of Ave would take me to a place completely different from my own, and entails the medieval world, with a presence of the mystical and magical, that I’ve always wanted to experience for myself. I feel that I have a good sense of what it is like to experience Terra, and for that reason I would give the world of Ave the edge in a choice between worlds to inhabit.

If you had the opportunity to be interviewed by an individual (via radio, television, podcast, newspaper, blog, etc.), who would you like to be interviewed by and why?

Terry Ervin, because he conducts thorough, engaging interviews! Wait, I am being interviewed by Terry Ervin right here, so I guess you’d want me to move on to another selection!

Well, since you are referring to the future, perhaps Oprah? It would be groundbreaking for her to host a small press fantasy author as her book choice, don’t you think? I am confident that an appearance on her show would knock my print and eBook sales figures up by at least five or ten more units! (humor intended, folks!)

Or maybe we can go with hard rock DJ Eddie Trunk, host of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic, as he is one of the coolest media personalities on the planet, and there are many, many hard rock and metal bands with members who fly the flag of fantasy literature. I’m not kidding in the latter regard, as I am always amazed to learn of the musicians in this genre who are very well read fantasy enthusiasts.

I’ll throw a third suggestion out there; George Noory of Coast to Coast AM. I think he would absolutely love the topical areas and storyline contained within the Rising Dawn Saga.

This is actually a very hard question, as I am really flattered and honored to have any zine, blogger, podcaster, or other media person, no matter what size their audience is, take enough interest in my work that they want to interview me, or have me on their show.

There really is no single individual in this regard. I hope that doesn’t sound like an evasion, but I’m thrilled to be on anything, from an interview on a fantasy blog site like Bookworm Blues or Watch Play Read, to a podcast visit like ones I have done with Jon Klement of DragonTalk Radio, or mainstream appearances like I did on a morning show in Memphis on the ABC affiliate there while touring in support of The Storm Guardians. All end up being special visits, for their own unique reasons.

I will say that Oprah, Eddie Trunk, and George Noory would be pretty darn cool, though!

You’re very right, Stephen. Sometimes narrowing things down to only one can be very difficult, and a single selection may not be the right answer. But, with that in mind, one last question before we wrap up. What is one of the tougher lessons you’ve learned as a writer?

I think the toughest lesson that you have to learn and adjust to as a writer involves steeling yourself for the long haul. Unlike the mediums of film, video games, or music, books are not something that is as quickly consumed by the public.

The path of being a writer working to have a career is often laborious, and must be measured by small, incremental steps. That does not mean that lightning doesn’t strike from time to time, but a writer must understand that this is a marathon in which you must always strive to grow and develop in your craft, all the while shouldering the load of getting out there and representing your work, and promoting it every way you can, as nobody else is going to do it for you.

In many ways, the path gets even harder after being published, and you must approach it in a very calm, resolved state of mind. You have to wear multiple hats, and quickly get a bearing on time management. There are going to be many days when you are very tired or don’t have a dollar in your pocket, but things still need to get done, or be addressed. Not the easiest of adjustments sometimes, but very necessary ones if you desire to have a sustainable career.

Great answers, Stephen. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks so much for the opportunity to visit with you, Terry. I hope that readers have been able to glean a little more regarding what my work is about, and my approach to it. I’ve enjoyed this interview greatly, and hope to have a return visit with you again in the future!

You find out more about Stephen Zimmer by visiting his website: and his publisher (where you can learn more about his books and view some book trailers).

Here are a few places his books are available a varitey of places, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble (ebooks are $1.99 and $2.99).


If you are an author or know one who might be interested in being interviewed for Up Around the Corner, please contact me through my website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"The Exchange Box" soon to be released as a Mystic Signals Exclusive Story

In May my short story "The Exchange Box" is slated to be released as a Mystic Signals print exclusive story.

To the right is art related to the story (which may also be the cover for the print anthology).

Teaser: A single mother is approached by a strange man with a very unusual business arrangement. Thinking only of the money and providing a better life for her son, she agrees, but what will the ultimate cost be?

I'll be sure to let you know when it becomes available.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt 2011

This morning was the local Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Federation of Churches. A great time for all of the kids in town--especially as the rain held off.

The picture to the right shows just a small section of the event, with a some of the Kindergartners. There are four areas set up by age group.

It's fun to watch. Most of the kids start out going for certain colors. Then they get serious and, as a dense pack, move across the the field in unison, almost like locusts, snatching up every egg remaining in sight.

Inside the eggs, a note reminding the children that Jesus loves them, a piece of candy, and a small percentage have a tag for a prize to claim. My daughter (the Kindergartner) got a kazoo, a notebook and a small puzzle. My older daughter (Jr. High) helped set up and distribute the prizes. Smiles and laughter everywhere.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Interview with Action-Adventure and Fantasy Author David Wood

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, David. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing:

I’m a father of two, teacher by day, author by night. Under my “real” name, I write action-adventure novels with a bit of an Indiana Jones flavor. Under my pen name, David Debord, I am the author of the fantasy series, The Absent Gods. When I need a break from writing, I coach youth sports and co-host the ThrillerCast podcast (No, it’s not about Michael Jackson) with friend and author, Alan Baxter.

Can you tell us a little about your action-adventure novels, and why you decided to author them using your “real” name, unlike with your fantasy series?

My action-adventure novels feature two former Navy SEALs who keep finding themselves caught up in searches for an artifact of religious or historical significance. I describe them as Clive Cussler meets National Treasure meets Indiana Jones. I think I chose to use my real name because deep down I feared no one but friends and family would read my books, and I wanted to make them easy to find. Fortunately, that has not turned out to be the case at all. By the time I completed The Silver Serpent, the first Absent Gods novel, I had gained a following in the thriller genre, and didn’t want to create any confusion. Consequently, I went with Debord, my maternal grandfather’s surname, to retain a family connection.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for the locations and artifacts in your action-adventure novels?

Locations are usually a mix of places I’ve visited and places I’d like to visit. I chose most of the sites included in Cibola while my wife and I were on our 10th anniversary trip to the American Southwest. As far as the artifacts go, it’s a mixed bag. The central artifact in Dourado was inspired by a single Bible verse I stumbled across. In Cibola, the artifact that sets the plot in motion was inspired by a brief article about the discovery of an old Spanish outpost, and I let my imagination run wild from there. The book in-progress is a bit different. It was inspired by a book on the psychology of killing, and worked backward, asking “what if” questions until I came up with a MacGuffin that could work for what I had planned.

You indicated, you’re a teacher. Do your students know you’re an author? If so, has your experience as a writer and published author in any way impacted how you teach—has it affected how you approach reading and writing in the classroom?

I didn’t say anything about it for a long time, but I kept copies of my first David Debord book in my classroom library. One day, a student picked it up and said, “Cool! My dad has this book!” I couldn’t resist admitting that I had written it. After that, the word spread quickly. Now most of my students already know about me before they get to my classroom at the beginning of a school year. I now co-sponsor the Authors’ Club at school, and the fact that I write seems to encourage and inspire my students. In the classroom, I think it buys me a little extra credibility in the minds of student and parents alike. I think being a writer actually made it harder for me to teach writing. It’s difficult to teach someone how to do something that you do so naturally that you don’t really know how you do it. It forced me to dissect the writing process and understand what it was I was doing. That made me a better teacher and also a better writer.

The student must have picked up your first novel in The Absent Gods series, The Silver Serpent. What is the series about and what age range would enjoy reading it, and your action-adventure novels?

In The Absent Gods, I explore the concept of what happens when the thing you want most in the world, and the fate for which you are destined, are at odds? The story begins with the classic motif of the dissatisfied young people in a remote village who get caught up in what seems to be a traditional quest story, but it soon becomes much more. The book is geared toward adults, but teens would enjoy it as well. The same is true of my action-adventure novels.

Taking a wide view of writing and being a published author, what is one bit of advice that you would like to share with other writers, especially those early in their career or seeking to get their first novel published?

Being a writer is both a wonderful endeavor and a lonely one, and it’s important to have a support system. The internet makes it very easy to connect with other writers. Depending on where you are in the process, you might want to join an online critique group, meet other writers who are seeking representation or publication, or self-publishing. Just don’t make the mistake of spending all your time online visiting writing-related sites, listening to podcasts, and not actually getting around to writing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m also the co-host of ThrillerCast, a podcast devoted to the thriller genre. Check it out at, or download it on iTunes. If you’d like to learn more about me and my work, visit me at or

My thanks to Terry for the interview. Looking forward to reading Blood Sword!

You're welcome! And I know you're busy working on your next Action-Adventure novel. Don't hesitate to let us know when it's available.

If you are an author or know one who might be interested in being interviewed for Up Around the Corner, please contact me through my website.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

SFS Presentation Follow-up

I had a great time returning to SFS. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak to eight groups, varying in size from 20 to nearly 100 students. It's hard to tell exact numbers because, for one session, my discussion was electronically channelled to an overflow room, and another session consisted of a group viewing the recording of my first period presentation (while I ate a quick lunch). But the overriding reason--I was too busy to count!

In addition to meeting students and talking to them about writing, answering questions, and giving away signed copies of Flank Hawk, I had the opportunity to speak with a few of my former teachers from back when I attended St. Francis.

If you're interested, here is the link to view my the first session, which was recorded (obviously). It's pretty good, but like anything else, I improved over the second and following sessions. Running time is about 43 minutes.

A big thanks goes to Virginia Rodeman and Kathy Gullette for doing what it took to make it happen, to Sue Kenny for photos of the event, Joe Sweeney and Steve Loomis for catching me up on what's happened at SFS over the years, and Carl Janke--it was good to see you again and hope you enjoyed a stroll (even if fictional) down memory lane with "Skull Face Returns."

And, SFS Students, keep those email questions coming!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Interview with Dark Urban Fantasy Author Erica Hayes

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Erica. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing career thus far.

Hi Terry! Thanks for inviting me. I started writing when I was at high school. I read mostly fantasy – my favorites were Dragonlance and Janny Wurts, I guess that dates me, huh? – so that's what I tried to write. But I didn't get serious about it until many years and several boring jobs later. I finished a few manuscripts, and joined some writers groups, both online and in real life. Swapped some critiques, learned some stuff, got a couple of short stories published. When I first started submitting novels to editors, I got some really constructive rejections that helped me a lot.

So by the time I reached the point where I was submitting to agents, I was pretty confident that my work was good – it was just a matter of finding someone who thought it was commercial. I signed with my agent in mid-2008, and we made my first sale – my Shadowfae series – later that year. Now, I've written four books for that publisher, and I'm working on a few more projects in the background.

You’re more than welcome for the invite. You’ve worked hard to improve your skills and hone your talent so as to find a publisher. Where did you get the idea for the Shadowfae series and how did you design the world created for it?

Melbourne – the setting for the series – is the nearest large city to where I grew up, and it's a place where the murderous clashes between the local gangsters get a lot of publicity. They're front page news, and get TV shows made about them, that kind of thing. I started wondering why these guys would behave like that, and being a fantasy nut, of course I decided it was because they were controlled by warring demons. And that's the basic premise of my series – Melbourne is ruled by a demon lord and his vampire mafiosi, only no one realizes it, because the supernatural creatures hide themselves from human eyes with magical glamour.

After that, designing the world was easy. I knew I wanted it to be a dark and sensual place with very few rules. Most of the locations are real. Only there are insane fairies and vampires and who knows what else lurking on every street corner!

The world of the Shadowfae Chronicles is definitely filled with a variety of magical creatures. If you were destined be such a creature inhabiting that world, which would you choose to be and which type of creature would you definitely not want to be, and why?

Well… all their lives kind of suck, actually :) The demons are the toughest, but they're self-absorbed and lonely, and always under attack from other demons who crave their power. No one messes with vampires, because they're hungry and violent and can kill you without breaking a sweat, but it's not a very nice life. Fairies are cool and funky, and they're mad so they have a lot of fun, but they're mostly poor, because they can't hold down a job, and get pushed around a lot. Maybe I'd be a banshee, like Mina from Poison Kissed. She's tough and pretty and takes no nonsense, and she can kill people with her magical song. That'd be cool!

I’d have voted for a fairy, maybe a water one. But you’re right. They do get pushed around a lot. The world of the Shadowfae Chronicles is dark, filled with sex and violence, with characters plotting--some vying for power or revenge, while others simply struggle to survive or escape. When you write, who do you see as your readers or audience, and does this have any influence on the novels you produce?

Absolutely it does. There's no point in trying to sell a book if you've written something no one will want to read. I'm aiming at readers of dark urban fantasy and romance, because that's what I love to read. But those two groups aren't always the same people!

So for the romance readers, I have to make sure the ending is satisfying, and that the romance part of the plot stays front and center. Romance readers also like a certain kind of romance hero – he's basically a strong, sexy, decent guy, even if he's got a dark and twisted streak. I have to make sure I don't buck those expectations too much, or I'll alienate that audience. Some of my heroes are a bit left-of-center – I've done a snake shapeshifter, for instance, and a serial killer. Not your typical romance heroes! So it's a lot of fun trying to make those characters strong and sexy and desirable, while still staying true to themselves.

Whereas for urban fantasy readers, it's more about the rich world-building, and the heroine, who needs to be a strong, take-charge kind of girl. My heroines tend to be the little people – they’re not the toughest or most powerful character. So it's cool fun bringing out the strength in those characters, even when they think they haven't got any. That's more interesting to me than a heroine who kicks everyone's butt all the time – but again, that's kind of an expectation in that genre. So I stray too far from it at my peril.

When you began writing, what were your goals and where are you at with respect to achieving them? At this stage in your writing career, have you updated and/or established any new goals to shoot for?

Oh, yes. The goal-setting never stops! When I began, I was doing it for fun. I subbed a few short stories to some small e-zines and they got accepted, and I started to think my writing wasn't too bad. Boy, was I wrong :) There's such a big leap in technical skill from almost-there to selling professionally. I mean, it's a subtle leap, but it's huge.

So I decided I wanted a pro sale. I never made one, not in short stories. But by then I was writing novels, which really appealed to me – I'm a strategic, rather than a tactical, thinker. I like the big picture. I decided I needed an agent. Then the goal was to sell a book. Then to sell more books in that series. Now, I want to sell another series, diversify, reach more readers. Win a RITA, make the NYT list… ha ha! One day…

But also personal writing goals. My Shadowfae series has new main characters for each book, but one day I'd really like to write a series with a continuing MC. That's a different challenge.

For those who might not know, the RITA is a major Romance Writers of America award.

Okay, the next question isn’t really writing related. If you could go to lunch with anyone, living or deceased, who would you choose, where would you dine, and what would you hope to discuss?

Well, if God's available, I'd really like to have a chat! We could go to the pub, have a few beers… Or Genghis Khan. He'd have some good stories to tell over a nice roasted pig or something. If I had to pick an author, probably Stephen King, just because I love his books and he seems so weird.

Quite an array of choices, Erica. Each would definitely be interesting. As we’re approaching the end if the interview, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. It's been great fun!

You’re most welcome!

You can learn more about Erica through the following links:

Erica Hayes: Urban Fantasy Author Website and Blog

Her work can be found in bookstores everywhere as well as online at and


If you are an author or know one who might be interested in being interviewed for Up Around the Corner, please contact me through my website.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coming Soon: Author Interviews

I have a number of author interviews in the pipeline. I intend to include them as a regular occurrence here at Up Around the Corner. I hope you find them of interest: A variety of authors representing an array of genres, with questions that aren't 'run of the mill' and answers along the same lines.

If you're an author, or know of one, use the contact page via my website to inquire about an interview (if there is an interest).