Category Archives: Interviews

Author Interview: G. Wells Taylor

[G. Wells Taylor was the guy who got me started with self-published books. Years ago I knew such things existed, but I’d never had the incentive to try them out. All that changed when I stumbled across the site and downloaded a copy of Mr. Taylor’s book When Graveyards Yawn. In the pages of that book I met “PI in zombietown” character Wildclown; it blew my mind. Since then I’ve been addicted to the amazing and unfiltered weird that the channel of self-publishing opens up. Today’s it’s my great joy and pleasure to present to you my interview with the man who started it all…]

All of your books seem to feature the undead in one way or another. What is it that fascinates you about zombies and vampires? Is it simply the horror of imperfect immortality, or is there something more?

Zombies and vampires are fitting tools for exploring the horror of imperfect immortality, as you say; but I also see them as dire warnings against imperfect mortality, since they inhabit negative aspects of our own collective identity. Zombies fly in the face of the democratic ideal of safety in numbers and instead invoke the image of mob rule and soulless conformity. Vampires suggest the hypocrisy of individual superiority mocked by an utter dependence upon and envy for their inferior prey. These uncomfortable contradictions make these monsters so human and therefore, captivating to both readers and writers.

In my experience the journey to becoming a seasoned writer is more tangled and complicated than most readers will ever know, so what’s your story? When was the moment you realized, “I want to tell stories,” and how long did it take your dream to come to fruition?

In the early days, I used to illustrate and write stories for my own entertainment. I did well in art class, and thought painting and illustrating would be my way of figuring out my personal puzzles. However, during my first year of art college, I realized that I had many more than a thousand words to say about each picture I generated; so I began to suspect that I would find commercial or fine art to be lacking for me as a sole means of self-expression.

I dropped out of college to work for a few years before eventually returning to study journalism and English literature in university. In the meantime, I had been writing stories and banking manuscripts.

I did annual submissions to publishing houses with little success, but was not discouraged. I knew my stories did not fit the mold. Imagine pitching Wildclown to a publishing industry that was shifting to a more conservative and risk-averse business model.

I thought of myself as a writer despite the fact that people pointed out I wasn’t making any money at it. I didn’t get the point and kept writing anyway.

I mentioned before that you write fiction that primarily focuses on the undead —a topic which has gotten more than its share of attention in the past few years— and yet your stories put a fresh spin on the established tropes: the World of Change posits the question: what if every living thing became effectively unkillable? In Bent Steeple your villain is a pedophilic vampire. In the Variant Effect a wonder-drug makes certain people begin to crave human flesh. And my question is, what is it that drives you to take these tropes that everyone thinks they know backward and forward and say, “Fellas, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”?

I yearn for something original when I read books. I want to be surprised and entertained by the experience, so I am obsessed with putting something new into the over-worked and overpopulated genres in which I write. I have to be passionate about a book before I can write it, so discovering something unique is essential to lighting that fire.

If you were given the power to imprint a unique monster of your own creation into the cultural consciousness what would it be?

I think my “skin eaters” from the Variant Effect are leaving a mark on readers. I sure have a lot of fun writing them, and I suspect their back story might be sufficiently believable and unsettling to leave a lasting impression. They give me the creeps.

[Albert here: ya’ll can meet the skin eaters for yourselves in Mr. Taylor’s books The Variant Effect and The Variant Effect: GreenMourning. They are super creepy. But don’t take my word for it. Go. Read.]

Conversely, if you were given the power to completely remove one single work of fiction from the pages of history and the minds of men, what would it be?

That’s a hard one. I’ve got too many favorites to focus on a single work of fiction that doesn’t turn my crank. It is a rare book that I will put down once I’ve started reading it. There is usually something of value in every piece of fiction.

From what I can tell, you’ve started self-publishing your books digitally before it was “cool”. What led you down that path? Were you rejected by the mainstream publishing world, or did you always know you wanted to be a solo act?

Historically, the Canadian government has subsidized Canadian publishers in an effort to mitigate the cultural impact of the much larger American publishing industry. Those subsidies went to Canadian publishers and fiction writers that focused on Canadian stories: culture, immigration and history.

So Canadian genre fiction writers were “solo acts” whether we liked it or not.

That left me sending manuscripts to American publishing slush piles. As you know, just prior to the eBook Revolution there were few traditional publishers who accepted unsolicited manuscripts. So the search was on for an agent. When I read that few literary agents were accepting unsolicited manuscripts, I began to think that my books would end up in an attic to be discovered by a relative long after I was dead. While an imperfect outcome, it would have to do.

However, a friend in IT and now business partner, Richard Van Dyk had assured me over the years that developments in technology would eventually push the old publishing industry model to the wayside, and opportunity would come for independent writers through digital content, electronic reading devices and the Internet. He used the rapidly changing music industry model of the time as an example.

While I had my doubts, I soldiered on and started publishing my work online, then after a few missteps with the under-utilized print-on-demand technology, the eBook came into being. That eBook publishing technology validated independent writers, and allowed me to connect directly to the reader.

Compared to many of the people I know in self-publishing you’re substantially…more mature. Do you feel that your age and experience gives a leg up on your younger competition? Or does the generational gap cause more problems than good?

I think Indie publishing is moving onto a relatively even playing field where talent is free to trump all other factors. Age and experience have just made me more disciplined. I’m better at committing my time and doing the work.

I’m gonna geek out for a minute here and say, that I absolutely LOVE your “P.I. in Zombietown” character Wildclown. Where did the idea for a hardboiled private investigator who happens to dress in full clown regalia come from?

Years ago I was working at a psychiatric hospital in a northern Canadian city that was also home to a doomsday cult. Its members dressed up as zombies and the Grim Reaper. They seemed to do this randomly, appearing Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon or Friday night, at any time of year.

Needless to say, after the initial amusement wore off, they became a little depressing. Imagine strolling down the street on a sunny day and passing a gang of fake zombies chanting about the end of the world. I had at that time developed a voracious appetite for hard-boiled detective fiction, a genre I wanted to try my hand at writing. So one day as I passed the zombie horde, I heard a wisecracking voice inside my head that I soon recognized as Wildclown. Mix in a few late nights, a typewriter and Canadian Club whiskey and you’ve got a P.I. in Zombietown.

The doomsday cult’s costumes may have inspired Wildclown’s need to disguise his true identity. The fact that he chose a gothic clown might have had something to do with my interest in Shakespearean tragedies in which insightful “fools” are always popping up at the worst of times.

Speaking of hard-boiled private investigators, a lot of your leading men tend to be hard-drinking, fast-living, loners. What is it about that kind of character that speaks to you?

I find the hard-boiled perspective an excellent way of viewing our world where the gray area has bled into the black and white. It is a practical mindset soaked in defiance, humor and skepticism. The first-person narrative of Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe or Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op was an echo of the inner monologue I was already hearing on the long nights I spent writing.

Shoot us some sage words of writing wisdom. What can the rest of us struggling writers do to up our fiction game?

Just do the work and add something to it every day. Take lots of notes and organize them. Be prepared and trust the process. Get someone to edit, and someone to read. If you feel anxious, depressed or grumpy, you should probably be writing.

Author Interview: Evelyn Lafont

[Back in the olden days of early last year when I was new to Twitter, I crossed paths with many an author, but few which stuck in my mind so well as Evelyn Lafont. I’d say it was because her writing blog was one of the few I was reading back then that took a more cynical and realistic approach to the world of writing, but in reality it probably had more to do with the fact that her Twitter handle was @KeyboardHussy. She’s been mostly off Twitter for a while, but she pops her head up every once in a while, and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me.]

I’ve noticed that there seems to a kind of aversion to mid-length fiction in the traditional publishing world, and yet all of your Vampire Relationship Guide books are novellas, and you seem to be doing rather well with them. What’s the deal here? Is mid-length fiction fundamentally more difficult to sell, or is that paradigm dying as ereaders grow in prominence?

I wish that I was enough of an authority to actually answer this question for you. I write the kind of books that I want to read. If I want to read short, serial and mid-length fiction, I can’t be the only one, right?

I’m interested in your approach to your Vampire Relationship Guide books. How difficult is it to write a vampire romance that pokes fun at the genre, but still appeals to fans of the source material, AND stands up on its own as a story?

The way that I approached it was to make fun of a genre that I happen to enjoy. I think a different thing happens when a writer mocks a genre that he hates or thinks less off. There is a superiority, lack of respect and lack of understanding that shines through and makes the reading experience unpleasant for those who do like the genre, and that means his actual audience is people who hate the genre and frankly, that’s a harder sell.

Also, I work to put boundaries around my poking. I wanted to explore the practicalities of a human having a relationship with a vampire and make it more uncomfortably real than other books in the genre, but I wanted to also have a real, true love story at the core.

A while back you made a pretty bold decision to stop tweeting and blogging as a writer. Can you talk a little about what prompted you to back off from social media, and how that has worked out for you?

It’s hard to answer this question without coming off like a witch, but Imma try. Okay, so I’ve been sitting here in silence for about 10 minutes trying to think about ways to be diplomatic. I can’t, so here goes. Social media takes up too much time and for me, is very draining. In my freelance career, I’ve used social media, blogging and other Internet marketing tools to great success. In fiction it’s … different. I assumed, in the beginning, that my developed skills would translate from freelance to fiction, but I was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. I can’t have that level of energy drainage and still keep up with all my other obligations, especially when the amount of books that Twitter actually helped me move was, like, a venti cappuccino’s worth.

I do still blog on, but I don’t generally talk about writing or issues that affect writers.

Who do you favor in the battle for supernatural domination? Vampires, or Rage Virus-Infected Cyborg Elephants?

I favor whoever’s winning and my loyalties can shift as quickly as Mario Andretti. (I really hope he drove a stick shift, or that joke won’t make any damn sense.)

In the wake of Twilight it seems there has been a huge increase in both the demand and supply of supernatural romance books. What, if anything, do you think this fascination with “superhuman as romantic interest” says about us as a culture?

I think it says that we enjoy easy answers and we don’t enjoy that life is temporary.

You get one wish. You can fundamentally alter reality in any way you please. What is it?

No way. Uh-uh. I saw that episode of Twilight Zone and it doesn’t end well.

You work as a freelance writer in addition to writing romance fiction. How difficult is it to separate writing for work and writing for yourself?

I don’t know that it’s difficult so much as tiring. The average freelancing day for me involves anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 words—sometimes more if I have a special order. And these words are non-negotiable. There is no option to cry, “Writer’s block!” Freelancing supports my single-income family and I have to succeed or we’ll be living in a van down by the river, and I don’t think the cats would like that very much. If I’m working on white papers, brochures, PowerPoint presentations or ghostwriting a book, then there are design elements involved, data to analyze and create charts for, outlining, etc. If I’ve got a video script to create, there’s a lot of reading out loud and editing down content for time. I may also have interviews, phone appointments with new clients, proposals and contracts to complete, billing, accounting, on and on and…

After all that, on West Coast time, Evelyn comes out. But sometimes, I’m just too tired or drained to indulge her as much as I’d like. Believe it or not, right now, I’m actually in a waterfront condo that I rented for a few days just to let Evelyn breathe. All my freelance deadlines are met so she can just run and play and think and dream. Oh yeah, and type.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression though. I realize that, sitting in my comfy office chair, under a fat blanket and equally fat kitty, drinking coffee and listening to the sound of music and wooden wind chimes, I’m not exactly suffering under the weight of a really hard job. It’s not that, but it feels like both the freelance and the fiction need the same skill set and often, by evening, that skill set is tapped out.

Your books unabashedly (and rather explicitly) feature people sexin’ it up, and as a fully certified prude I gotta ask: what’s it like writing all that steamy bedroom stuff?

It’s actually a lot like having sex. Sometimes you’re not in the mood so you have to focus on other plot elements, sometimes you want it—so you do it and you do it well, and sometimes you have to do something to get yourself in the mood.

In the days of your blog you made some interesting statements about marketing tools that you’ve found that seem to work really well, but you always played your cards close to your chest. I don’t want to steal trade secrets or anything like that, but is there ANYTHING you can share with the rest of us beleaguered self-pubbers?

The problem with revealing everything you know is that everyone then runs out and tries to replicate what you’ve done, and now your tricks are no longer effective. I’m all for helping people, but I will never understand the compulsion of indies to share all their secrets so they water down what was once an effective marketing or advertising technique.

What I will tell you is:

1. Don’t limit your distributors. There are months that I rock iTunes, and months that Amazon is my big store. Other times Barnes and Noble sells a hefty chunk, then All Romance. You can’t limit the number of places you sell through. Soon, I will also have everything out in paper because that has been limiting my sales.

2. You can’t compare apples to oranges, nor can you expect them to sell the same way. I sell romance—one of the most popular genres for those using e-readers. I also work almost exclusively with series and serials, both of which allow addictive romance readers to stay with the same cozy characters for a very long time.

In my experience, most of us writers have at least one writer we LOVE, but no one else has heard of. Who’s yours? Who makes you want to stand on the rooftops and shout, “HEY! Ya’ll need to be reading this!”

I mostly read mainstream or classic books, so I’m not sure if I actually have a hidden author to expose. One of my favorite funny authors, Marta Acosta, is not as widely read in the genre as I think she should be—so I guess I’ll go with that.

[Evelyn writes the erotic vampire comedic romance series The Vampire Relationship Guide as well as some other stuff. Check it out! (Assuming, you know, that you’re into that kind of thing.)]

Author Interview: Joseph Devon

[Today, I’m pleased as pumpkins to introduce for your reading pleasure an interview with one of my favourite authors, Joseph Devon. You may or may not have seen my reviews of his books, Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions, but if you haven’t just take my word for it and check them out. They’re awesome.]

1. In your books Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions you spin some interesting philosophies and concepts that have a pseudo-religious feel to them. What if any outside influences led you to envision this strange kind of afterlife?

There are so many different versions of the afterlife out there, I’m pretty sure Probability Angels is a mish-mash of everything I’ve encountered on that topic.

I would say some of the biggest influences, though, are Zen Buddhism and the ancient Greek gods. Zen Buddhism doesn’t exactly have any hard and fast answers about the afterlife, or this life even, but there’s a playfulness in its philosophies, a kind of constant checking and rechecking with reality to make sure it doesn’t get too full of itself or too reliant on rules from the past. So you have stories of children outwitting Zen Masters, or over-thinking pupils being fed SUPER thinky things by their chuckling masters to try and get them back to the here and now, and the occasional stooge-esque slap to the face.

I think the reality of the afterlife I’ve presented draws a lot on those notions. Epp is constantly telling his students that they have the ability to be correct just as often as he does, assuming they open their damn eyes. And he certainly has ways of slapping them across their face to get their attention…like dropping them off of the Eiffel Tower. So the notion that reality is the only master and everyone is a student kind of runs through everything, I think that comes from Zen.

And then the ancient Greeks gave me the wonderful ability to write gods who are allowed to fuck things up. The Greek and Roman gods were, I mean they were children. Big, powerful, typhoon-causing children.

You have stories like the Iliad and the Odyssey where the humans involved are dealing with their emotions and faults on a very noble level. Achilles mopes in his tent, refusing to fight and dooming thousands of Greeks to death because of his absence from the Trojan war, but he is very aware of these consequences and has some heartbreaking speeches about the difficulty of sitting by while his kinsmen fight and die.

And then you have the gods running around like lunatics, undercutting each other, backstabbing, scheming, causing chaos and mischief and never thinking about it for a second. I’m not saying that the characters in Probability Angels are that reckless, but the notion that an immortal could be just as much of a fuck-up as any given human at any given moment…well that notion has always stuck with me.

The example I always come back to is that in Probability Angels there’s a fairly important event that Kyo shows up late for because he forgets to adjust for differences in time zones.

2. Probability Angels was originally published as a loosely connected series of short stories on your blog, that slowly congealed into a more cohesive whole. Looking back on that experience, how do you feel about the concept of serial stories? Do they still have a place in modern literature?

I think the internet is probably the perfect medium for a serial story. I keep waiting for one to catch on. There are tons of them out there but nothing has really caught fire. And there are plenty of larger publishers tinkering with the concept, but they really seem to be taking current works and cramming them into a serial concept.

I want to see someone really run with it and create a great story. I kind of think that will be one of the first truly big success stories of internet fiction. It just seems like it’s SUCH a perfect place for it. I kind of want to try one myself but, and I’ll get into this on a later question, I have to admit that my writing method does not lend itself to serials. I could take a finished product and divvy it up and release it in serial form, but as I mentioned that’s a little different.

I barely made it through Probability Angels. Barely. But, yeah, man doesn’t a website seem like the absolute perfect place to tell a story bit by bit?

3. You can send one tweet to yourself ten years ago. What is it?

HA! I wouldn’t have been on twitter ten years ago so I wouldn’t be able to receive it. Mwahahahahaahaokay I’ll answer for real.

So I get 140 characters to send to myself ten years ago? “Keep writing. There are highs and lows coming but building up a library of work you can be proud of is the most important constant.”

4. I know you’ve done a lot of research into advertising and publicizing your work, so spill the beans for the rest of us. What works? What doesn’t?

Man I wish I had an awesome answer to this question. But I don’t. I have a long list of things that don’t work…which sort of makes this embarrassing to talk about. That being said I’m trying to come around to sharing more of the results from all of my experiments in marketing. But since I’m not an established best-seller yet my brain likes to tell me that I’m a failure still, and, as such, I have no input on this subject.

I’m working on telling myself, “These ideas didn’t fail, they provided needed information on what doesn’t work.” But that’s tough for me. Still, as I said, I’m hoping to generate more discussion about this with writer’s like you and pool resources more. I think I’ll be revisiting this more often on my site. It feels so unnatural to me to display my failures for everyone though…right.

At any rate I have good news. A lot of the attempts I’ve made so far have required money. Not a ton of money, but about twice a year I usually am budgeted for a large push somewhere or to purchase a sizable ad campaign. And those haven’t worked. They didn’t make me blow up.

That’s my best news: money isn’t the answer. A large budget does not seem to be the key hurdle to success.

That makes me pretty happy because everyone deserves their shot. Other than that it’s a complete freaking mystery what works. Still. And I hate that.

So many people treat marketing like voodoo, or they assume that the last, final, push that brings a book into the spotlight is the whole story. Which is annoying because there was so much work before that breakthrough point for almost every book.

I’d like to bring some logic to this party, I’d like to bring some real knowledge in, especially for people starting from scratch. Frankly, the more I write the more I look forward to success not for myself, but because then I’ll have some real data that I can turn around and share with all the other writers out there struggling in a market that seems mostly dominated by witchcraft and a complete lack of empirical evidence. I think it’d be pretty great to lay out a process that writers starting with three readers can follow in order to find their audience.

5. I’ve seen your picture, and I suspect you’re Brendan Frasier trying to reinvent himself as a writer. Admit it! You’re him aren’t you?

Ixnay on the Andonbray Asierfray alktay.

6. Going back to your process on Probability Angels for a moment, how important is it to know where you’re going with a story? Do you still fly by the seat of your pants or do you tend to plan your newer books out more carefully?

I used to be very concerned about outlines and having my structure laid out before I started writing. It got to a point where I became way too locked in and I wasn’t able to react when something interesting appeared during the writing process. I would hammer that spontaneous and interesting idea down in order to stick to my outline.

That was when my outlining was at its peak and that was when I decided that I hated writing like that. It was devoid of life, of fun, of breath and interest and…well I didn’t like it.

So I came up with the 26 Stories in 52 Weeks project. I would write a new short story every two weeks for a year online. And that’s where Matthew and Epp first appeared. They started as a short story. But I kept going back to their world over the course of the project and eventually realized that an entire book was there and the project ended with me wrapping up Probability Angels with my last few short stories.

That was weird. I had already published these stories online, people had read them and loved them, and since I had done it that way I absolutely didn’t want to change them. And yet I wanted to change them because when you take them all as one book there are places I felt like I could have edited or added clarity or what have you. Introduced characters earlier maybe. But I didn’t let myself do that. Haha…that was sort of my final exam in order to break myself free of writing with an outline. Was I able to listen to my readers, accept that *they* had accepted the book as a whole, and just let it stand? Yes. Yes I did. But it was rough.

And then I put it all together and released it as an actual book, and I stand by that. But…damn sometimes I wish I could jump up and down in front of some reviewers and say, “No no no, wait, it’s a series of short stories!” Which of course is impossible, not to mention unfair. I released it as a book and I stand by it as a book.

Anyway, I went from one extreme, outlining everything, to the other extreme, having absolutely no idea that I was even writing a book. I think between those two I’m much happier staying away from outlining and writing more in the moment.

However, I say that knowing I can go back and rewrite. I love rewriting. It can save anything and…it’s just so important. Persistent Illusions was a bit of a mottled mess at the end of the first draft, especially the ending. Hell, I didn’t even have my ending after my first draft. I still didn’t know what scene would close out the book. But I was able to rewrite and mold the first draft into a whole work and then things started falling into place.

So, yes I still plan things out, but I never let my outline write my book for me. And I still fly by the seat of my pants and hurtle through parts, usually pretty terrified, with no idea what I’m driving towards.

But the key addition is the ability to rewrite. That’s where everything comes together in the end, somewhere around the eighth run-through. 🙂

7. What should I have for dinner?

I’m convinced that ancient cavemen would ask each other this, crippled by indecision as to which part of the mammoth they felt like gnawing on that night.

Well probably not…but I do tweet this question near constantly. Coming off of an afternoon of writing emails and story and notes, it usually hits me like a wall to the face that I have to mash up proteins and vegetables in my mouth and swallow them for energy. On the other hand, I LOVE food and I’m very aware of how transcendent great food can be.

So usually I tweet this when my utilitarian need for starch collides with my urge to be transported to a new world through spices and succulence. I’m never happy with my answer.

8. As a self-published/indie author what is it you see other indie authors doing that you wish you could tell them all to stop?

There are a lot of specifics that I could go into, but seeing as how I haven’t cracked this nut yet I don’t feel like I should be giving out advice. And I think that’s the overall message I’d like to give here.

All too often I see indie authors and new writers ingesting blogs and articles about publishing and taking them to heart. I do this too. A blog with a community can be a very convincing thing. And these bloggers and article writers have ideas and theories…but that’s all they are. Ideas and theories.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to myself after getting very worked up by a blog article and been like, “Wait, this person hasn’t even *written* a book much less tried to publish one. Why am I taking their opinion so personally?”

Publishing is in flux right now, and the experts know some stuff, sure, but nobody knows what’s going on in reality. I mean you have heads of traditional publishing houses giving very hard-line opinions about how things will be, but these are the same people that sit around doing nothing while Amazon, of all places, went out and invented the e-reader.

I don’t mean to bash anyone here, my point is just that you’re SUPPOSED to be out there doing what nobody else thinks is right. That’s how progress comes about. Not because some head of industry plans it but because tons of people out there collectively practice trial and error until some things start to work consistently.

Basically I’m counting on you to go out and try things that I would never think of, because otherwise they won’t get tried. And who knows what’ll work? It’s a process of discovery.

I mean in the early days of television the actors would literally walk off set mid-show while the camera followed them, stand next to a product, endorse that product, then walk back on set and get back in character and go on with the show. And the experts in advertising at the time thought they had a pretty good thing going. Then you think about how much more advertising had to develop, and still has to and it seems silly to take the stance that some people know exactly what’s right for an industry and that nothing is going to change.

Look, just go out and do.

And it’s good to stay in touch with the community, but never forget that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about either.

9. What does your stack of “to be read” books look like? (Given the digital nature of our reading world, it need not be an actual stack.)

Awhile ago my “to be read” pile became a laughably impossible-to-climb mountain of titles ranging from physics textbooks to ancient poems to murder mysteries to I don’t even know what. I got to a point where it was clear I could either jettison the entire thing or be crushed under it.

Figuratively. I didn’t actually have a mountain of books hovering over me.

So I jettisoned it. I no longer have a reading list. When I finish reading something I pick up whatever catches my fancy or the last decent recommendation I heard. I have maybe one other book on my kindle besides what I’m currently reading, but the list never gets much longer than that.

I figure a complete random selection of books is just as good as a massive list of books that were suggested to me basically at random.

And, let’s be honest, does anyone actually go through their TBR pile in order? I would always scan through it and grab something that tickled me at that moment, which is pretty much what I do now. It’s nice. It was a very freeing feeling to not have that mountain anymore.

10. Since there are loyal fans of your first two books, when you’re writing further in the series do you feel a certain obligation to those people, or do you still try to write for yourself?

Oh yeah. There’s always a ton of pressure.

It seems like most book series or movie series get worse as they go along. Many I’ve enjoyed certainly do that. So I’m constantly nervous about making any of the mistakes that I’ve faulted other artists for…not that I have an exact lock on what happens to cause series to become diluted over time.

But then I get nervous that ALL I’m thinking about is not making mistakes, and that I’ll wind up with a safe third book that doesn’t, you know, have anything happen in it because I played it so safe. I worry about trying too much and I worry about staying too safe. The inside of my head is a very weird place.

So, yes, I feel a very large obligation not to go all Jar-Jar on my loyal fans, but I also want to throw in new stuff because the third book should stand on its own as a good read and not just be a mopping up process.

I think in the end I just have to trust my gut, but I’m currently at a point in the process where story-lines are still very open-ended and lots of decisions have yet to be made and I catch myself over-thinking things a lot.

[Once again, thanks so much to Joseph Devon who is a super author and a wonderful person (as far as I can tell from his Twitter). Do check out his books. They’re awesome.]