Thank you so much for taking a break from your website and blog, Archer’s Aim, and gracing us with your presence. I’m excited to have you here, so let’s jump right in!
Can you tell us a little about The Black Bag? It's a paranormal fantasy short story I wrote over a decade ago. The main character gets tangled with, not one, but three highly vindictive witches in an ill-conceived contest. The original story appeared in the Webzine, Mindflights in 2010 and was re-printed in OtherSheep in 2011. In 2012, it won first prize for best published short story at the SCWC conference. I decided to self-publish it again this year as an e-book with some editing tweaks.
What was the inspiration for The Black Bag? Honestly, not much. I suppose I had a concept of a black bag that came to mind and I began to build a plot from such a kernel idea and then one thing led to another. As an author, I look for ideas in anything I see, read or experience as inspiration. I once saw an old car missing a lock in the trunk which triggered the idea of a short story. I think if you're looking for ideas you will find them all around you.
Why did you choose to write a short story as opposed to a full-length novel? At the time I wrote this I was learning more about writing through short stories so those were the kinds of ideas I was generating. I was - and still am - pursuing short fiction publication.
Where does your story take place and when? As far as when, the timing is its own since it occurs in a secondary world, in a place called Canderlin Valley. I intended to write a set of short stories set in this venue. Canderlin Valley is a remote area dotted with wilderness, farms, villages and small towns where wild magic can prove dangerous and old stories find their way into the lives of the characters.
What are you working on now? I'm working predominately on the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga entitled, The Bow of Destiny. It's an epic fantasy series set in a secondary world. My intention is to self-publish the book no later than the spring of 2015. The rough draft of the second book, An Arrow Against the Wind, is almost finished so I hope to have it ready for publication by the end of 2015. I also have a parallel series in the works with most of books one and two in rough draft. Lastly, I'm working on a variety of short stories for submission to fantasy markets.
Why did you choose independent publishing over main-stream? My writing lay dormant for a number of years for many reasons but with the amazing growth of independent publishing the last few years I wanted to jump into the water. There is so much more information and opportunity available with digital publishing than ever before. I'm not disinterested in traditional publishing and, in fact, I'm rather inclined to become a hybrid author much like Michael J. Sullivan. But I think independent publishing gives an author a chance to show "proof of concept" for their work. I'm targeting e-books only in hopes of re-releasing with hard copy one way or the other.
When I worked with you to edit The Black Bag, what was your favorite part of the process and your least favorite? My least was the idea of editing again. My favorite was discovering the variety of issues the piece still had and correcting them.
How do you feel The Black Bag benefited from the editorial process? I think that the story is much better - it reads more tightly and the confusing points have been eliminated.
How long have you been writing? Off and on for thirty years. I first completed my original book for The Bow of Hart Saga in the early 1990's and was even offered a contract with a small publisher at the time. The contract was not what I wanted so I shelved it at the time around other unfortunate events and it stayed mostly dormant for over a decade with a few failed re-boots during that time.
What advice would you give to other writers? Take your time and be diligent with writing. There's so much to learn and apply that you need to time for your writing to age. Explore different styles of writing. Also, build your following over the web well in advance of publication.
Thanks again, PH. Happy writing!