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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

Brian Rathbone Interview
10/1/2011 9:51:51 PM
YA author Brian Rathbone discusses his latest novel, upcoming releases and the writing life!
I’d like to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, YA author Brian Rathbone. We first ‘met’ a few years back here on authorsden.com and since then, he’s become even busier than ever before! I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Brian. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

BR: I've long been a technology geek. I enjoy writing code, image manipulation in Photoshop, and getting broadband access for people in rural areas. Those without access to the global digital economy are at a severe disadvantage.

Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?

BR: I disliked writing in school, though I should say that I disliked being told to write something. It wasn't until I discovered speculative fiction that I found the desire to read, and as I read fantastic tales from David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Melanie Rawn, and many others, I found the desire to write my own story. A busy career kept me from writing for a long time, but when I found the time to write, I couldn't type fast enough. Still can't.

Your debut novel, The Dawning of Power, a trilogy all neatly wrapped up in one book has been receiving great reviews. My daughter has read it at least three times and still loves TDoP! What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Catrin Volker?

BR: It has been wonderful to hear from folks that have enjoyed the story, and to know your daughter has read it three times really warms my heart. The story formed over countless nights of lost sleep. When I wrote code all day, if I didn't do something to take my mind away from code before sleeping, I would dream about writing code all night. I occasionally solved problems in my sleep, but it was exhausting. I learned that creating story lines and plot ideas for those books I always said I was going to write was a great way to get myself to sleep. My dreams were always a lot more interesting. My wife also appreciates that I would no longer sit up in bed in the middle of the night and say,"Ah hah!" before running into my office to fix the code.
Catrin Volker is a teenage farm girl who, through a series of unforeseeable events, becomes the most powerful person on Godsland. Though she might be the kind of person you would want to have power, since she has no desire for it, the rest of Godsland might not see it that way.

Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open The Dawning of Power?

BR: A new age of power has returned to Godsland after thousands of years. All that remains of the last age of power are legends and myths. When the goddess Istra returns to the skies of Godsland in the form of a comet storm, no one is prepared. The Dawning of Power chronicles the first years of that new age.

The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to go the indie route?

BR: I'd love to say that it was for creative control and ideals alone, but it really wasn't. I didn't want to have to slug my way through the slush pile and collect my fair share of rejections. Once I realized that I had little to attract an agent or publisher outside of my books (no audience, no sales record, no massive media outlet), I decided I would need to change that. Using indie publishing, new media, podcasting, and social networking seemed like a good way to do it. I must say that my idea of indie publishing in 2008 was to form my own company, White Wolf Press, LLC, pay for editing, cover layout, interior layout, and running 1,000 copies on an offset press. It was an investment, and it has paid off, but it wasn't easy.

Who would you recommend this mode of publication to?

BR: I wouldn't recommend anyone run an offset press run these days, unless they were absolutely certain they could sell enough to break even. Any way you look at it, print runs are risky. Now that print on demand has become a viable option, it provides lower margins, but there is no risk beyond the publishing costs. I do recommend anyone going indie in publishing work with a professional editor, cover designer if possible, layout, etc. If you are skilled at doing these things yourself, then go for it, if not, get help.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?

BR: Be genuine, be a real person, create meaningful relationships, and if you are going to give something away, make it something of real value.

I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?

BR: My writing time is limited, so I have to set tough goals for myself. I try to write 10,000 words every weekend, or edit 50,000 words. I don't always achieve my goals, but most of the time I do.

Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.

BR: I do both. I have an overall story arch that covers nine books. I generally have a rough outline in place when I start a book, and then my characters get ideas of their own and hearty chunks of outline fall away. I know where I'm going; I'm just not always certain how I will get there.

Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?

BR: I often play an old video game I've had for at least a decade. I get bored with it very quickly, and my mind starts to wander. That's about when I fire up iTunes and put on a playlist of upbeat classic rock. I know all the songs, and there are no surprises--it's subliminal. If I try listening to the radio or Pandora, new or unusual songs break my concentration. After that, I try to just let the muse flow from my fingers. No fear, no apprehension, no stopping, just write.

At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?

BR: I hit a pretty solid wall after a tragic loss, and I had a great deal of trouble regaining my enthusiasm. Eventually grief turned to procrastination, and I knew I needed to suck it up and get on with it. I've often found that coming up with one-line quotes for the beginning of my chapters gets my imagination into gear. The first quote I wrote after that block was: "Procrastination robs the world of countless treasures." It's still one of my favorites.

Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?

BR: I'll never forget Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and the way it made me feel. It was the first book I ever enjoyed reading. Later, David Eddings showed me how much I could relate to his characters. Say what you will, but Margeret Weiss and Tracy Hickman showed me how funny and memorable characters could be. Tasslehoff Burrfoot is still one of my all time favorite characters. I'll admit that there is a carved wooden wizard in my office, and I named him Fizban. There is a single white feather a fixed to the top of it. Oh, and my wedding band is white gold--just in case. Yeah, you could say that speculative fiction writers have shaped my life. If anyone ever offers me a Magic Kingdom for Sale, I'll buy it!

What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?

BR: Getting fan emails is still a surreal thing to me, but I love communicating with my readers. Hearing that my stories have helped people find their way out of a dark place or helped them at a time when they were in pain and couldn't sleep. Somehow my words brought them some solace, and that meant more to me than anything.

What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?

BR: My reading time has been scarce, and I've been doing more listening while driving than reading, but I have a great love of podcast novels, so it's not a hardship. I'm currently listening to Alex White's Maiden Flight of the Avenger, which is a prequel to The Gearheart, which I also loved, though I feel the prequel might be best experienced after listening to, or reading, The Gearheart. You can get both free at Podiobooks.com. Alex really does a great job on the read and production. I met Alex when I interviewed him on Podioracket.com.

My daughter was thrilled to hear there will be a sequel to The Dawning of Power. Can your fans expect this in the near future?

BR: I'll admit that a number of people would be rather unhappy with me if they knew I was doing this interview and not finishing some final edits for Regent, book one of The Balance of Power trilogy, which is due out in ebook and paperback in late October 2011. I'm very excited about it.

What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres?

BR: You're good. I have to tell you. Within five years, I hope to be writing and speaking full-time. In the meantime, I'll continue to write when I'm not fighting to get more broadband for people in western North Carolina. It is an uphill labor of love.
As for branching out, I just couldn't help myself. A story for a contemporary action adventure piece grew in my head and demanded I write it, at least write the beginning I thought. Then my wife and sister-in-law got a hold of it, and all I've heard since is,"Do you have a new chapter for us?" You're hearing it here first. My latest novel, Lure, is due out in December. It's like Indiana Jones meets Ghost Hunters meets Saving Grace. Though it's a bit more adult than the Godsland series, I'd still say it's PG-13.

Very cool, Brian! I’m sure my daughter will be eagerly awaiting Lure as well as the sequel to The Dawning of Power! Again, thank you so much for taking the time to discuss your works and to share in your writing process. For more information about Brian Rathbone and his novels, check out:
Website: http://BrianRathbone.com
Follow Brian on Twitter: .brianrathbone
Where to buy the book:
Call of the Herald and Inherited Danger are free at all major ebook retailers and audio versions are free at Podiobooks.com.
http://www.amazon.com/Call-Herald-Dawning-Power-ebook/dp/B003ZUYQCA
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Call-of-the-Herald/Brian-Rathbone/e/2940011060342
http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Call-of-the-Herald/book-hp3U-hcIIkC2Dj3Kq0s3UA/page1.html
http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/brian-rathbone/call-of-the-herald/_/R-400000000000000245647
http://www.podiobooks.com/podiobooks/search.php?keyword=brian+rathbone


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