Well... I FINALLY managed to thaw out after that somewhat unprovoked attack by Elsa and Zarracka on my last post. It's amazing what a hot soup and a cuppa tea will do!
I still can't believe they froze me! All because I didn't include Elsa in the Top Five Awesomely Kickass Heroines! Oh, and the way that Elsa looked at me when I said Let It Go wasn't my favourite song! I mean, seriously? Geez, this Elsa is really far up her own...
Er... moving on!
Today on my blog we have another wonderful author to chat to! After getting to talk to him via Twitter, I invited him for a little chat today - and I hope you guys will join me in welcoming him! Please give a big hand to - Mr David Berger!
David, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview. So, what inspired you to get into writing?
I was first inspired to be a writer when I was a child, when my sister and I would write stories about the Smurfs. They were the “in” thing back then, so she and I would come up with pretty intriguing stuff, from my recollection. I wish I’d kept some of those stories, come to think of it, but this was before computers (1970s). Now, serious writing began when I was in high school and wanted to tell stories, largely influenced by my love of Greek mythology and fantasy novels. I wrote story after story of epic adventure tales, using heroes (and heroines) from Greek myths in new situations.
Who are your favourite authors?
I tend to like fantasy and science fiction writers the most, and in no particular order, I’d say J. R. R. Tolkien, David Eddings, Marian Zimmer Bradley, S. P. Somtow, Frank Herbert, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, and I can’t forget Neil Gaiman.
Anyone who mentions Tolkien is ok with me! :D So, being a writer, I have to ask - which, in your opinion is more important – story or characters?
Characters. And I say that after having written two novels, largely because it’s the conversations I have with my characters that drive the plot. I usually have an idea of how I want a story to go, but sometimes the characters don’t want to do what I want… they truly do have a sentience all their own. Character backstory usually drives the plot forward. As a reader, I get tangled in a good tale, but if the characters don’t fit the story or if they’re too universally simple, I lose interest. The development of character for me is paramount.
I tend to agree with you there. So what do you look for in a good story?
After appealing characters, I look for nuances throughout the plot that snag my interest. Hidden gems, if you will. If I smirk as I’m reading because the author has put in a subtle reference to something—like mythology or an allusion to another book, for example—I’m hooked. Or, if the subtleties of a character’s persona catch my interest, I feel like the author created layers for me to find. Sometimes, just implying that something exists, like magic, without actually stating it directly is enough for me to keep reading.
What’s the best advice you can give to inspiring authors?
First, write and read as much as you can. The more you read, the better a writer you become over time. And, subsequently, the more you write, the better you appreciate what you read. If you’re writing fantasy, then you should read as many diverse works in fantasy as you can find. Second, and certainly this should go without saying, have professional editors look over your work before you publish. Nothing takes the reader out of a great story than a poorly edited novel.
Good advice! Now about your current work, what is the title of it?
My most recently released novel is the second in the Task Force: Gaea series: Memory’s Curse, the sequel to Finding Balance. My soon to be released (soon, as in late 2014/early 2015) is The Liar’s Prophecy.
Can you tell us a little about it?
Memory’s Curse follows right where Finding Balance leaves off, with the four members of the U.N. Task Force: Gaea having to find and vanquish an ancient primordial being known only as The Nebulous One who is hunting the Olympian gods. However, the gods have all vanished except for Apollo. In the process of locating this evil entity, the team members—Aegis, Aether, Zodiak, and Talon—find themselves battling against powerful memories that may prevent them from successfully completing the mission. And, this novel draws on some Lovecraftian ideas, so The Nebulous One’s power is quite formidable as well.
Oooh! You mentioned Lovecraft - that gets two thumbs up from me! Have you worked/are you working on anything else?
I contributed two short stories to an LGBTQ anthology called New Years to Christmas: 15 Queer Holiday Tales. One story, “The Hanukkah Gift,” tells how two gay, Jewish men, Aaron and Jason, meet, and “Father’s Day” continues their relationship and involves some of their families. They’re foundational stories with a little bit of romance that I would like to build into a novel someday.
Cool. Do you have any favourite characters in the story?
Hard question! But, in the Task Force: Gaea series, one of my favorites is Brandon, also known by his codename: Zodiak. He wears an ancient amulet that allows him to channel power from each of the zodiac signs, and with some, he can physically transform into them, like the centaur archer for Sagittarius. His story goes through some interesting turns in both novels, and his connection to the earth, Gaea, figures prominently in both. Another favorite is Dr. Aleta Halston, codename: Talon. She was genetically fused with a white eagle and can sprout wings at whim. Her tool (not really a weapon) is a silver javelin that allows her to channel Zeus’ lightning. Her sarcastic humor takes people off guard a bit, and because of that, she can seem a bit harsh. But, I really like her.
Now I ask this to EVERY author I interview, but if your book was turned into a film/TV series, who would you get to play the characters?
Interestingly enough, I was approached by 490 Entertainment out in L.A. to turn my first novel into film. Currently, they have my film treatment, and I should be hearing back soon about how they're going to proceed. Now, my wish list? Well, Dan Fairmont, aka Aegis, would be played by someone like Joe Manganiello, although he should be early 30s. For Brandon Jeffries, aka Zodiak, I’d easily say Channing Tatum. For Aleta Halston, aka Talon, I would go with Ayisha Issa, who played a priestess in Immortals. For Sarah Jacobs, aka Aether, I would go with Emma Watson.
Oh wow! That's awesome! :D Well best of luck for that! So, so you have any other hobbies other than writing?
I’m an avid reader, comic book fan (Wonder Woman is my favorite), graphic designer, and I’m a fitness and running nut.
Wonder Woman is awesome! Are you a summer or winter person?
As a teacher, I’m going to say summer person, but having grown up in New York, I’ll say winter. I love the cooler weather much more. I’d rather bundle up than be sweating.
Night owl or morning person?
Oh, night owl, easily. I can tell those birds how it gets done, too. I’m much more creative at the wee hours.
Do you have a favourite food/drink?
Sushi is my favourite food, by far. I would live off it if I could.
Now, this is one of the most important questions I have ever asked. Who would win in a fight between a zombie ninja dragon and a cyborg unicorn with advanced weaponry? XD
I’m going to go with cyborg unicorn with advanced weaponry, partly because I’m not a fan of zombies, but I also think a cyborg has more capabilities, especially with that horn. You just never know what it can become.
Now you said that you were an avid comic book fan earlier - so I think you'll like this next one! You're a superhero - which powers would you like? Oh and here is a picture of Wonder Woman since you mentioned her. You're welcome!
Superstrength or superspeed?
Hmm. I’ve been a comic fan my whole life, so I’d have to say super-strength. Once I’ve gotten somewhere quickly, what else would I do? I know it works for the Flash, but I think muscle over motion for me.
Fair enough. Flight or teleportation?
Something about the power of flight is alluring to me. I’d like to see where I’m going, I suppose. I’ve always had those dreams where I can fly, and the idea of soaring above the clouds seems more like freedom from restraint to me, something I wish I had more often.
This one I'm sure fans of Superman will appreciate. Gale-force breath or freeze breath?
Gale-force breath, definitely. Once you’ve frozen you’re adversary, where’s the fun in that? I’d like to play with my foe a little before I use my super-strength to knock him across the globe.
Remind me never to tick you off! XD Heat vision or telekinesis?
Telekinesis! Moving objects with the mind has much more potential than heat vision. Besides, I could move fire, so I’d be able to get the best of both.
Very true! Worked for Dark Phoenix I suppose. Ok, finally, Invincibility or accelerated healing factor?
The true hero in me says healing factor so I can feel my own mortality a bit and keep me honest, but part of me wants to say invincibility. Nah, healing factor for sure. Best to psych out my foe and let him think he’s gotten the best of me, then I can surprise him when I’ve healed.
Well thank you so much to David for taking part in this fun little interview! Hopefully you guys enjoyed it and you can find links to follow David on his Smashwords page:
Not only that, but David is kindly offering a special code for BOTH of his books through Smashwords, so if you want to check them out - all this week they are available! All you have to do is click on the links below and use the corresponding code to get them!
Task Force: Gaea - Finding Balance: Use code TQ58D on checkout
Task Force: Gaea - Memory's Curse: Use code EW39X on checkout
Thanks David for taking part! Another author interview/giveaway next week!
Disclaimer: Once again, all images above are copyright of their respective owners. I claim no ownership on any of them.