Saturday, October 5, 2013

Author Interview: Co-Writers James Wymore and Aiden James

I'm happy to have James Wymore back on the blog today, along with his co-writer for The Actuator: Fractured Earth, Aiden James. I was lucky enough to interview both of these extremely busy authors, and find out about their book and the anthology contest set in the Actuator universe. Here's a bit about the book to get your interest piqued:

On a secret military base tucked in a remote desert mountain, a dangerous machine lies hidden from the American public. Known as “The Actuator”, this machine is capable of transforming entire communities into alternate realities. In theory, these often terrifying realities are reversible.

The scientists in charge of this machine employ operatives called Machine Monks, who attune their minds to manifest single ideas from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. These ideas are then superimposed upon sparsely inhabited areas for testing. For a while, the enigmatic Actuator cooperates with the experiments, using dampeners to limit the affected area. But those in charge of the project eagerly anticipate exploring the full potential of this amazing device.

Experiments progress to where they feed more than twenty different genre ideas simultaneously into the Actuator’s database. Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur dismantles the dampeners. The affect is catastrophic. The entire world is plunged into chaos, and familiar landscapes become a deadly patchwork of genre horrors. Overnight, the Actuator becomes the worst menace the earth has ever seen, claiming lives in staggering numbers.

Can a few surviving Machine Monks band together to set things right again? It all depends on whether Red McLaren and the Monks can survive their journey through the various realms that separate them from the Actuator, where ever-present orcs, aliens, pirates, and vampires seek to destroy them. They must move quickly, as time is running out to stop the Actuator and the villain who controls it and the earth’s destiny.

Get it now on Amazon for Kindle. Also available on Barnes and Noble for Nook and Kobo for Kobo.
You can get the trade paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

And now let's hear from the authors!

Interview with James Wymore:
Mara V: What can you tell us about your latest release The Actuator: Fractured Earth?
James: Somebody builds a machine capable of transforming the whole world into anything the user wants.  A group of people who enjoy various types of fiction get together to experiment with the machine.  An unknown saboteur activates it and they break the world into patches of every genre imaginable.  People begin dying in real life horrors, fantasies, and science fictions.  Only a small group of people in the world even know what happened.  So they are working frantically to try and put it right.  It's a pretty fun ride.
MV: This is your first coauthored book. What was the experience of working with another writer like?
James: I think it went so well because Aiden is really nice.  We never had any problems as far as communication or planning.  I've heard horror stories about projects like this, but I have no complaints at all.
MV: What can you tell us about the process of co-writing a book?
James: I've actually collaborated on a writing project before.  Although I wrote the whole book, my second book, Exacting Essence, is a collaborative project with R. A. Baxter.  We both write in the same world.  Each collaboration is a unique situation.  Every person is different, so the projects have to fit the specific relationships for the people involved.  I've heard people talk about co-authoring as if a list of rules will work for everybody.  That hasn't been my experience.  It's a lot of communication between everybody involved.  Most authors don't do it because it's more work for less percentage of the royalties.  But I really like to.
MV: It looks like you have another project on the horizon. What is Salvation about and when can we hope to see it?
James: It's a military fantasy (high fantasy) I wrote last year.  I have a contract for it already.  But I've been so busy with editing and writing, that I'm putting it off for just a little while.  Hopefully in a few months things will settle down to where I can give it the attention it deserves.  I love the ideas in Salvation.  It kind of came out of nowhere and just demanded my attention.  It's always fun when a book does that.
MV: Curiosity Quills recently announced that an anthology for The Actuator series is on the horizon. Tell us about the plans for this anthology, and what you are looking forward to the most with it.
James: The call for submissions is already out: http://curiosityquills.com/giveaways-contests/borderlands-anthology/  It's a fun idea.  The Actuator world is so diverse and amazing that I can barely scratch the surface of it in the trilogy.  But through this anthology (and maybe another one) I hope to see a lot more of the potential in it explored by other authors.  I've had several people talk to me about stories for it and I'm really excited by what they've suggested.
MV: You stay pretty busy with a full-time job, family, and a full-time writing career. What’s next for you? Besides the vacation you deserve. =)

James: Writing is my vacation.   Actually, I'm trying my hand at a comic book script.  I've always wanted to, so I thought I'd slip that in.  You know, because I have so much free time.
Interview with Aiden James:
MV: Your first book, The Forgotten Eden, was based on a bedtime story you made up for your kids that became so much more. What can you tell us about the transition into writing professionally?

Aiden: It was a tricky process, as I expected immediate success--both in terms of being good as a story teller and financially. I didn't make a dime for another nine years, and didn't find consistent financial success until 2011--nearly fourteen years later. As far as the story telling angle, my first effort was terrible, and my wife suggested I give up. But she was testing me...to see how much I loved writing stories. Through determined trial and error, I steadily improved, and finally was at least 'signable' to small press in 2004 (seven years after I started). I still strive to get better and better at telling stories, and doubt I will ever be completely satisfied with what I create.

MV: First book experiences tend to be filled with hard lessons learned for writers as they get to know the business end of writing. What did you do differently for your second book because of lessons you learned from the first?

Aiden: Ha! Great question. Get to the point quicker--that was what I set out to do. And, again, this is something I still seek to get better and better at. How to tell a dynamic story? Limit the details to where you steadily feed them to your audience. Start fast and keep up the pace, but never overload your readers with more than they can comfortably digest.

MV: To date, you have nineteen titles available since you first published in 2006. Does this mean you have achieved the seemingly elusive author dream of writing full time? How do you balance this with your personal life?

Aiden: I am a full time author, and have been self-sufficient since July of 2011. It came fourteen years after I started, and it was a challenge up until then. Most of my jobs required 50+ hours of work each week, since I was a call center supervisor/manager throughout most of those years. Even though I am full time now, it is incredibly hard to balance my personal life. Writing and inspiration are not always things one can sit down and do on the spot. Sometimes that works, but most often, I feel it is better to write when you are inspired to do so. If you need to get the train running, maybe a little music, extra research, etc can get things going. That being said, I do try to write something everyday, when working on a new book. Usually, that means churning out anywhere from 300 to 2,000 words. If I get in a pinch with deadlines, then the 2,000 might become 3,000 or even 4,000 words.

MV: Some of the titles you’ve released recently have been co-authored. You’ve worked with three different authors to bring different series to light. What have those experiences been like?

Aiden: Actually, it is now five different authors. I started with J.R. Rain, and added Michelle Wright late last year. This year, I am also working with James Wymore, Lisa, Collicutt, and Mike Robinson. The collaborative experience is different with each author. Some books, I write 80 to 90% of the story, and in others, the other author takes over the lion share. Almost all of the books start with my outlines, but there are no hard and fast rules in the creative process. The big thing is staying consistent enough to where my audience recognizes my style--even though they certainly recognize my co-authors' styles, too. In truth, cowriting is a great way to explore new viewpoints and storylines. I love it! :-)
MV: What can you tell us about upcoming projects?

Aiden: Two projects will be released in September: "Hurakan's Chalice" with Mike Robinson, which is the third installment of The Talisman Chronicles (a long awaited third book), and J.R. Rain and I will be releasing the third Nick Caine book next week ("Pyramid of the Gods"). Then, in late October comes a new novella series with Michelle Wright, entitled "Blake 187: The Zombie Revolution". And there will be at least three more books released by the end of 2013, including the fifth Judas Chronicles installment ("Tyranny of Coins"), and the second book of The Actuator series and The Serendipitous Curse series.

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