Author Corner–Mary Borsellino

E: Hi, Mary!  Welcome to Erindipity.  I trust you found the place ok?

M: Thank you so much for having me, it’s a pleasure.

E: Your book, The Devil’s Mixtape, is being released as a second edition.  Can you tell us what’s new with this edition?

M: The new edition has fanart from readers, which is always an exciting treat for me and which I’m really glad to be able to share with everyone. There’s also a very grim little short story by me, ‘Shots and Cuts’ that felt like it fit thematically with the novel.

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E: Looking through your catalogue, the title that jumped out at me as very different from the rest is Sharpest—a tour diary.  Can you tell us a bit about it?

M: It’s funny that you say it jumps out as very different, because in many ways I feel like it’s the direct ancestor of The Devil’s Mixtape – both are about live music, physical travel, and using those things to cope with loss and darkness. Sharpest came first, and dealt with my own experiences, and then Mixtape was the translation of those themes into a fictional narrative.

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E: You have a series, The Wolf House, which deals with vampires and werewolves.  How is your series different from all the other vampire and werewolf stories?

M: It doesn’t actually have werewolves! I love werewolves, but the use of wolf in the title refers more to how the vampires are pack animals. I also wanted to invoke that little red riding hood vibe, of stepping into a place that seems welcoming but is very dangerous.

If anything, the other horror creature which appears – though only through reference, not as a character – is Victor Frankenstein’s creation.

I guess the thing which makes my series different is that I wanted to tease out the things usually only addressed in metaphor by vampire stories, and make them manifest as their actual selves rather than just as oblique references. The first book opens with a discussion about how vampires are still scary because of AIDS, but later on there’s an actual character with HIV. Queerness is present in the text, not just the subtext. One character had an eating disorder when she was alive, and that plays into how she feeds as a vampire. Things like that.

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E: You also write a lot of steamy books and stories.  What do you like best and least when working with erotica?

M: I like how easy it is to write short stories in erotica – apart from occasional anthologies, other genres of writing aren’t as big on short stories, but they’ve made up the bulk of my erotica work.

What I like least is probably the way everyone immediately asks ‘are you going to sell 70 million, like fifty shades?’ as soon as they find out I write in the genre!

E: You write for both YA and adults.  Subject matter aside, what adjustments do you make when writing for these different audiences?

M: None, really. YA appeals to me because it tends to play with broader strokes than adult fiction; all the emotions and stakes and events are bigger and louder. I don’t really have much of an interest in writing anything mundane or cynical, and I think those are what makes a book ‘grown up’. Adults can read my books, teens can read my books.

I’ve never been sure what differentiates the two audiences from one another, I think the books in the two categories tend to be more different from one another than the two groups of readers are.


E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc.?

M: I do! On 30th July at Warragul Library in Melbourne I’m giving an author talk with my friend Narrelle Harris, who also writes vampire novels. And at some point in the next few months I’ll have a launch for a novel I’ve got coming out, but I don’t know the details of that one yet – I’ll post ‘em on maryborsellino.com as soon as they’re worked out.

E: What are you currently working on?

M: I’m writing three video games right now. I’m enjoying the challenge of writing a more open-ended narrative form; the rules are different to straight up fiction, but I’m loving it so far.

 

 

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Guest Post–Johnny Worthen

Yesterday, Johnny stopped by the blog to discuss his latest novel, The Unseen, Eleanor.   Today he stops by to give authors some advice about what to do when your work-in-progress stops being “in progress” and starts being “your work.”

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Some advice for authors

I’ve been a writer my entire life, keeping journals, making newsletters, blogging and creating, but it was until recently I decided that I would be an author.

Writing is easy. It is a solitary experience, it’s creative and personal. Authoring however, needs the involvement of lots of people and people require compromise. This is the hardest part of the being an author. You need alpha readers, beta-readers, publishers, content editors, line editors, cover designers, reviewers and of course, readers. All of these people will pass judgment upon your work.

Even before it’s for sale, the work is out of your hands. If you’re lucky, you’ll work closely with your editor. If you’re not, you’ll be lucky if they tell you what changes they made. If the stars are aligned properly, you might have a say in the cover design, but probably not. All this makes a creative person cringe. Too many cooks. Too many critics.

I knew all this before I got my first my book picked up. I braced myself for the worse, feeling helpless and defensive as if my own child were on trial. I’ve been lucky though. My experiences with Omnium Gatherum and Jolly Fish Press, my two publishers so far have been awesome. However, just in case they weren’t before I sent out a single query letter, I formulated a plan.

Fellow writers and authors, let me tell you my secret plan for handling all this meddling in your work. A way to get past the trolls who give you one star. Let me tell you the only remedy you have, the only part of your career that you truly control, the answer to the question of what now:

Write another book.

That’s it. Make it better than your last one. That’s really all you can do. Give yourself another swing at the ball. Take your experience and your talent and go again. Look ahead as much as possible, not back. Write another book.

Check out my new book, ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN.

“A riveting supernatural character study wrought with the pains of first love and the struggles of self-acceptance.”

— Kirkus Reviews   ELEANOR (THE UNSEEN)

ELEANOR on Amazon

 

And to see love made real with Magick, do not miss  BEATRYSEL

— Unsatisfied with the ancient grimoires, the Magus made his own. Unsatisfied with the ancient demons, the Magus made Beatrysel. She was a creature of love, but there is no love without hate, no light without darkness, no loyalty without betrayal. And demons covet flesh.

BEATRYSEL on Amazon

 

 

Recommend It Monday–Beatrysel by Johnny Worthen

Since I knew I would be spending a lot of time trapped on an airplane (which didn’t crash afterall), I loaded up my current ebooks and got some reading done.  I don’t like reading ebook format.  It has nothing to do with the quality of book.  It’s a sensory thing, like eating pears.  Sure, they taste good but they feel like I’m eating grit.  That said, I’ve had this copy of Beatrysel for a long time now and it’s one that I’ve really been wanting to read, so I did.  It’s wonderful.

In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I will say that Worthen is a friend of mine.  That said, this is still a damn fine book and I wouldn’t be reviewing it otherwise.

He did a good job creating characters that I cared about.  The opening scene was a little disorienting until you read further along.  I thought it was an interesting choice to give us the scene and then later on (more than a few pages) give us the context for that scene.  I think that choice made the scene more meaningful.

He writes beautiful prose.  Seriously, never underestimate the value of a well crafted sentence.  There were a couple of places where I, personally, would have worked it a little differently for smoothness and flow, but there weren’t very many of those.  His writing is engaging and keeps you interested from start to finish.

I’ve always been fascinated with the occult, so this book was great for that.

If I had to sum up Beatrysel, it would be:

If light, then dark; if love, betrayal; if joy, pain.

Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome to Erindipity!  Take a seat, have a beverage.  I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can.  Charlie!  Don’t be rude.  Greet our guest.

Unintelligible corpsy sounds.

J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.

E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL.  I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it.  Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.

J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.

BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.

Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.

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E: This is your debut novel.  What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?

J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.

And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.

E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel.  Well done, Sir!  What is the title and what can you tell us about it?

J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”

ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.

ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.

E: Today is also the cover reveal.  Well, don’t just sit there!  Show it to us, man!  How did you choose this cover?

J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.

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E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one?  Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?

J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.

I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.

I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete. 

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?

J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Johnny on his blog, his website, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.