Today Stuart Land, a very versatile author, visits my blog. I won’t fill the time we have with my words, but rather invite him to sit down and brace himself for some good, old-fashioned grilling. 🙂
Hi Stuart, Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’d like to start with some personal stuff before we move on to talking shop. If that’s okay with you?
Well, I don’t have much of a choice since you have me chained to this chair.
I had to, you just kept running away and hiding! You’ve had quite a ride through life, what do you think shaped you most?
That’s a hard one. My life has been like chapters in a book, so if I took out a chapter, I wouldn’t be complete. Each phase has helped shape me, both the good and the not so good. Each career I went into I fully immersed myself in, so each had a lasting effect on me. Also, I’ve been fortunate to have lived through a lot of American history, like the race riots in DC and Maryland, the anti-Vietnam riots in DC, the Haight-Ashbury experience, Martine Luther King’s March on Washington, and more. These things profoundly shaped my life.
What says more? A Picture, a thousand words, or a sculpture?
Ha! Tricky question, since I work with all three. For me, now, I’d have to say a 1000 words. That’s where I get the most pleasure. I love working with visual imagery, like making my own book covers. And of course, sculpture, which I’ve done for a very long time, and have my work all around the world. But telling stories is what I really love the most now.
If there’s one thing you are most proud of, what would that be?
Besides finishing each novel and screenplay I write, it would probably be helping other writers reach their potential.
Where would you rather live? Snowy mountains, or a hot, sunny beach?
Well, neither, since I live on the side of a mountain in northern Thailand, near Burma. I love snowy mountains, especial skiing on them, but I lived on or near the beach several times, in Venice, CA, Florida, and Thailand.
That’s the extent of how personal I intend to get. Wasn’t that bad, right?
These handcuff are itchy.
You’ll get used to that so stop twitching. 🙂 But, like I said before, you are here to talk shop. So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
You mean I have to choose just one of my babies? That’s hard because I write in so many genres. Okay, I won’t talk about my vampire series, ORIGINAL BLOOD, that now has two books out. Or my Science Fiction novel, ENDLESS SKY, that just got nominated for Best Read of 2012 by the Paranormal Romance Guild. Or the other four novels. Instead, I’ll talk about EPIPHANY, my only speculative fiction story.
About the book
Doctor Sam Enright and his geneticist wife, Dorinda, face turmoil in their small town when a dozen adolescent girls show up pregnant at Sam’s office—and they’re all virgins. When their own daughter falls victim to the same fate, the Enrights rush to Homeland Security for answers. As the questions multiply, they realize they’re at the vanguard of a worldwide epidemic. When events escalate, a disparate group of international doctors, scientists, and mothers-to-be are brought together at Dorinda’s genetics lab in Middle America. They race to find the cause and meaning of the mysterious pregnancies, but every discovery reveals a new, worse scenario, leaving humanity’s very existence in question.
This story is very special to me because it seemed to have been given to me by the universe. I got the original plot idea after waking from a dream. I immediately wrote it down. I had the whole general story. However, I had no characters. There’s no story without characters. It took ten years for the characters to arrive. But they didn’t arrive through a dream. I just sat down and refused to get up until I wrote the first chapter. I’ve never has such a difficult beginning. Then, like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I had the first sentence. It was the most difficult first sentence I’ve ever written, and the most poignant.
The rest of the chapter came really fast, but when I t was finished. I was right back where I started. If you read the book, you will see what I mean. Still, since I can be pretty stubborn, I sat there until the words started flowing again. Once they did, I stayed up all night writing. The rest of the book wasn’t so easy because it required a huge amount of research, study, and interviews with experts in their fields. It’s the hardest book I’ve written to date. When it was done, I had some young girls read it to see if I captured their spirit, thoughts, and attitudes. I was much relieved when I got the thumbs up. Since then, I’m happy that mothers have also appeared to approve, even if the story freaks them out. It freaked me out too.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
Actually, I did. I considered a longer title, but couldn’t think of one that wouldn’t give away the story. This title is great though, because when you’re finished the book, you’ll go, yeah, right.
Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?
Maniacal laugh that goes on for ten minutes. Probably what most authors dislike: taking time away from writing to do marketing, which I’m personally not so good at. The writing itself, including the research and even rewrites, I love!
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
That’s a giant conundrum for me. I have no idea what works. One time I gave away a book on Amazon to see what that was all about. It was free for one day. It got 2700 downloads and went inside the top ten. Not one person left a review. Does that mean my book sucked? Not according to the 5 stars reviews I have received. I think people just like getting stuff for free, but never get around to reading it. Personally, I do three things when I look for a book. I check the cover, read the blurb, and read at least the first page. I can tell in one page whether a person can write or not. I try to do the best I can on all three of those things. Also, I like doing interviews, because the food is usually good. But that spotlight you have shining in my eyes…
Yeah, well there are certain things an author has to endure. 😉 Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Well, blood figures a lot in my vampire books. Other than that, I don’t get into food and drink enough to make it stand out. I leave that to chefs and RR Martin. In real life, well, I live in Thailand, so that should say a lot. But since I get to travel to other countries, like China, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, etc, I pretty much like all Asian food. Luckily, where I live there’s a vast variety of international food of very high standards, so I get plenty of Italian, Japanese, Mid-Eastern, and other yummy edibles. I’m not much of a drinker. Never drink wine or beer, so need to rely on friends if it turns up in a story.
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
My favorite dish needs no recipe…it’s sushi.
NOM! Mine too!
Okay, now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
Well, let’s see…I’ve been in three military coups. One in Greece, and two in Thailand. While bad things happened to others, mostly the protestors or those fighting the soldiers, for me and other foreigners caught in the middle, the soldiers and the demonstrators alike, were all very nice. In all three situations, it was like a giant party. Of course the tanks in the streets and live bayonets were a little disconcerting. But the eerie thing was that all the soldiers were smiling. In Greece, I was on a boat when the coup started. One soldier threw his beer over the side of the ship, and it hit the rail and then my head. He and his friends came to my aid, making sure I was all right. Then they bought me a beer (the only beer I ever had) and we sat around talking for an hour, though no one knew what the others were saying. I’m pretty sure coups aren’t generally so heartwarming.
Usually, my best stories come when I’ve had a few cups of saki…or I zone out and write a novel for three to six months.
So, about these handcuffs…
Yeah, yeah, I’ll let you go, for now. 🙂 But you have to promise to come back and bring me a Spicy Tuna Roll! 🙂
Let me end by telling the readers they can find you online at:
Web site * Blog * Facebook * Linkedin * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * About me
Tell me dear readers, do you like it when an author writes in more than one genre?