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Interview with Chuck Waldron, author of ‘Remington & The Mysterious Fedora’

U.S. born, Canadian novelist Chuck Waldron is currently working on his fourth novel, a thriller about an investigative blogger who uncovers more than he ever imagines…and has no idea what to do with his discovery.

His first novel, Tears in the Dust, is a mystery set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1937. When Alestair Ferguson volunteers to fight in the International Brigade he doesn’t realize the true price he will have to pay. Chuck’s second novel, Remington and the Mysterious Fedora, is a quirky fantasy, a story about what happens when a young man sits at the keyboard of a manual typewriter and puts on an old fedora. When the fedora and its mysterious power begins to whisper a story to him, the young man has a strange adventure indeed. His third novel, Served Cold, spans decades and stretches from the countryside of rural Ontario to a quiet artists’ studio in Tucson, Arizona. With lots of murder and mayhem in between, the story is what happens when a long-standing feud erupts into hot-blooded vengeance.

Chuck wrote over thirty short stories before setting out to write novels that are affordable and entertaining. He has attended writing workshops in Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Ontario, Canada.

“I grew up,” Chuck said, “listening to my grandfather, an Ozark Mountain story teller, spinning tales of the caves on his farm, describing them as hiding places once used by the Jesse & Frank James’ gang. It didn’t matter if the stories were true or not. Those legends set fire to my imagination, creating images that emerged slowly over the years, finally igniting as my short stories and novels.”

Now, thirty-plus short stories and three novels later, ideas keep coming, with more novels under development. Do they share anything in common? Each has its own unique voice and tale to tell, yet, at their heart, his stories tell about the human condition – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Chuck adds, “stored images that echo in my writing include train whistles in the night, Norman Rockwell childhood scenes, U.S. Army memories, blue collar jobs, university, a professonal career, and finally retirement. Many of my images are drawn from this pool of memories: places visited, sights seen, and people met. The rest I filled in with my imagination: dreams of places yet to be visited, sights yet to be seen, and people yet to be met.”

His literary roots were planted in the American Midwest and thrived when transplanted – over thirty-nine years ago – to the rich, cultural soil of Ontario. He and his wife, Suzanne, spend their summers in Kitchener, Ontario and are warmed by a winter sun in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

You can visit Chuck at http://www.writebyme.ca and at www.chuckwaldron.com. Visit him at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/writebyme and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wordstir.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Chuck. Can you tell us what your latest book, Remington and the Mysterious Fedora, is all about?

I was asked how I came up with the idea for Remington & the Mysterious Fedora, a quirky story that turned out to be one of my favorites.  The seed for the idea was planted during a conversation.  Someone said they had never seen a typewriter.   It occurred to me that in the blink of history’s eye the ubiquitous typewriter was consigned to antique stores and old junk shops.  How did that happen without my noticing?  The only trace typewriters left behind is the QWERTY keyboard on computers.

In Remington and the Mysterious Fedora the back room of a strange used goods store is a place where Josh finds an old Remington typewriter and a fedora with some mysterious powers.  As Josh embarks on his first novel-writing adventure, he find that his new hat has its own story to tell – of a time before history began – and it is quite demanding of Josh’s attention.  As the story consumes him, Josh’s life begins to unravel, and he soon finds he is unable to separate himself from the hat and the story.  That may, or may not, be a good thing.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Josh is a bright young man.   He has a slight problem.  It’s easy for him to begin projects but he often has a hard time sustaining them.  His curiosity about a typewriter he finds and the strange powers of an old fedora lead him to think he will write his first novel.  He finds himself in a bit of a jam when caught between two women wanting his attention.

There is a story within the story, which means another set of characters.  The main character is a woman in a time before history, when names are a reflection of their job within the tribe or group.  She uses all of her skills to survive.  As her story opens she is running for her life.  She is pregnant and possibly carrying a child with a unique destiny.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

The character of Josh is loosely based on a real person, but otherwise my characters are all figments of my imagination.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

As the story opened I had an idea of what the main character, Josh, was like.  I had a vision of how he might talk, walk and act.  Once he walked through the door of the second-hand store in the opening chapter his character took over, however, and led me on a journey of discovery.  As the writer I simply tried to keep up.

Q: Your book is set in a small city in Ontario, Canada.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

The city was only a device in my own mind.  The location didn’t matter.  My home is Kitchener, Ontario and while the setting played through my mind as I wrote the story, location wasn’t important.  It could have been any city.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

In this story the setting didn’t matter.  In my other two novels setting was extremely important.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Josh is waiting for his girlfriend to come home and tell her about the amazing fedora and typewriter.

“The apartment was far from soundproof and Josh often listened to the neighbors having one of their infamous fights.  It was a reminder that any yelling between him and Kelsey didn’t go unnoticed.  When he heard the soft ‘bing’ of the elevator he looked at his wristwatch and couldn’t wait to tell Kelsey about his discovery about Remington and the hat.”

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

The following excerpt is from the story about a woman named Blaze.  The fedora whispers her story to Josh while he wears the fedora and types on Remington.

“Listen closely, child.”  His words were faint.  “Someone has to know the secrets of the stars.  Just like you needed to know the secret of fire.  Everyone thinks you have some kind of magic when it comes to fire.  They think the same of me and how I can look at the stars and say turn this way or that.  They expect me to point the way and tell them how long it will take us to get where we must go.”

Blaze knew what he meant and remained silent.

“I have decided, Fire Starter. I have decided to pass along the star secrets to you.  But, you have to promise me something.”

She nodded and whispered a quiet, “yes, I promise.  I know what you’re asking, without the telling.  I know how dangerous it is for both of us, sharing this knowledge.”

That began the strange relationship between the man who could map by the stars and the woman who could make fire for food and warmth.

Thank you so much for this interview, Chuck.  We wish you much success!

 

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Get to Know My Book: Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic by Richard Blunt – Part II

Today we are honored to be hosting Richard Blunt on his virtual book tour this month with the 2nd installment of his 3- day Get to Know My Book series of book excerpts. Get to Know My Book is an ongoing feature between blogs where we post excerpts of an author’s book so that you can get to know the book better, one blog at a time.

About Richard Blunt

Richard Blunt is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic. He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series. You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com.

Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.

About Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic

Lucas Trent“Guardian in Magic” is a fantasy novel located in a world very similar to the one we live in. It tells the story of 16 year old Lucas Trent, an IT student living in Luton, England. His fascination for the supernatural leads him to take a glimpse at the world from an angle only few others look at. An angle that teaches him the true meaning of friendship, loyalty and trust in ways he had never experienced before.

Journeying through a secret community that is hidden in plain sight, he suddenly finds himself forced into living two lives at once, keeping his true identity even from his close family. In a struggle to handle this situation, he gets pulled deeper and deeper into a swamp of conspiracies and coincidences surrounding a young girl and the very truth about magic in the real world…

Book Excerpt:

The entrance to the hallway opened just as they stepped up to it. Someone obviously had been waiting for them.

“No cameras, no cell phones. If you brought them, leave them in your car,” a young man, approximately 18 or 19 years old, commanded in a bored voice. He was quite tall and slim and looked a little bit like Darien on first impression. “And bring your robes.”

Lucas was very unhappy about this command. Not having his cell phone could prove to be a problem when it came to alerting the others. But there was no other option than to comply. So they tossed the phones into the glove compartment. Lucas tried to show it clearly long enough so that the others in the pub would see this as well. On the other hand Lucas was quite happy that he had never seen this guy before, so at least for now there was no danger of being recognized.

“Very well,” the boy said as they returned to the entrance. “Follow me.”

Then he led them down the stairs into the basement. The compartments to both sides of the corridor were divided by wooden dividers that looked a little bit like fences. The doors were also made out of wood, secured with padlocks. Like the rest of the building everything down here looked old and shabby.

“How far is it?” Lucas asked.

“Don’t talk, just walk,” the cold answer came.

As they approached the end of the corridor, Lucas could see a brick wall that was partially blocked by sheets of plywood. Their guide walked straight toward that wall and stopped right before it. Lucas looked around, but there was nothing but locked compartments here. Much to his surprise, the boy grabbed the plywood and pushed it aside, uncovering a whole in the wall. A dark shaft became visible. Lucas tried to make out something, but it was way too dark.

“Close up behind you,” the boy commanded. Then he pulled a flashlight from his pocket and went into the shaft.

Lucas looked ahead and could now see tubes running through this passageway. The walls were made only of dirt, with occasional wooden beams to support them. He indicated Jasmin to go ahead while he closed the plywood again.

The walk continued for a minute or two. It was clear now to Lucas that the shaft was connecting two of the apartment buildings, running water and electricity between them. On the far end, the tunnel entrance was also blocked with plywood, just like the other one. They stepped out of it, Lucas closing the entrance again while the other boy was stowing away his flashlight. Then he led them on through another basement corridor up to the ground floor again and much to their surprise, out of the building.

Lucas took a quick look around. They had obviously exited a building on the back side of the compound; the street name was different, but other than that everything looked quite similar.

The boy headed toward a small van parked a few meters away.

“Get in,” he commanded after opening the back door.

“Where are we going?” Lucas tried to sound calm, like the question came out of pure interest.

“Don’t talk, just walk,” the cold answer came again.

Lucas disliked this more with every step he took. They were already far away from their friends, with no way of contacting them or letting them know where they were going, and stepping into a car now would definitely only take them farther away. A look into Jasmin’s face showed him quite clearly that she had similar thoughts; she looked even more nervous than before.

“Hurry, we don’t have all day.” The boy was getting impatient.

Lucas took a breath and finally jumped into the car, closely followed by Jasmin.

It was a short drive, leading them to a suburb of Luton, where the scenery was shaped mostly by detached houses with small gardens surrounding them. They stopped just in front of an old house that looked deserted.

“We are here. Put on your robes,” the boy said while jumping out.

He seemed to have put his robe somewhere under the driver’s seat, as he was already in the process of slipping into it while Jasmin and Lucas where still making their way out of the car. They quickly followed his example and put on the black robes they had brought with them, pulling the hoods deep over their faces. Then they followed him toward the entrance.

The closer they came to the house, the more it became clear that no one had lived in there for a long time. The garden was overgrown with weeds, ivy was hanging from the wall, many windows were either shattered or barred and those that weren’t were so full of dirt that they were opaque by now. The canopy was missing tiles and even the two steps leading up to the main entrance were not intact anymore: The wooden plank that was supposed to be the second one was broken in half.

They approached the door and their guide took the door knocker.

Knock… Knock, knock… Knock, knock…Knock…Knock

Lucas watched him carefully. The door was as old as the house itself, but it seemed intact. The lock seemed to have been changed recently; it was a state of the art magnetic codec lock. The door knocker, on the other hand, still looked old, some kind of a lion that supposedly was shining gold a long time ago. Right now it was shimmering green.

The door swung open and someone in a black robe and a hood was standing before them.

“I bring the new ones,” the boy who brought them here said.

Lucas tried hard to identify the one that had opened the door for them, but he had the hood pulled that deeply over his face that it was impossible to even tell if it was a boy or girl.

The hooded person stepped aside to let them pass. Right after they had entered the room, Lucas heard the door close behind them. Then the two guys wandered off into the house, indicating that they should follow them.

Lucas took a quick look around. The room was nearly empty, no furniture except for a chair, and even that chair did not look promising. A staircase led to the first floor and three hallways without doors led left, right, and straight ahead. The room was only lit by the little light that was coming through the opaque windows, just enough to see the spider webs all around the room.

The two others had walked off to the corridor straight ahead. As Lucas and Jasmin followed them, a glimmer of light became visible from one of the back rooms. The door to that room was only slightly open, so they couldn’t see much of it so far, but it was kind of spooky. Lucas noticed that Jasmin was shivering a little, so he walked close to her and took her hand for a few seconds to reassure her.

As the door to the room swung open a strange picture emerged for the two. In the middle of the room was a table, topped with a piece of black cloth. From the looks of it, the table seemed to be just a cheap camping table, but the cloth was hanging down so long that one couldn’t tell for sure. On the table were some black candles set on silver chandeliers. Standing behind the table, they could see someone wearing a black robe with a dark red hood. Lucas was quite certain that this would be Wolfman. On the other side of the table, six other persons were standing, all with black robes and hoods. A pentagram was drawn on the floor with chalk, and wooden torches were placed all over the room.

The two guys walking in front of Lucas and Jasmin joined the others. Jasmin and Lucas entered the room as well, Jasmin closing the door behind her.

“Right on time,” the man behind the table said. It was clearly Wolfman who was talking. “This is your first time, so just take a place among the others and follow their lead.”

Lucas and Jasmin joined the crowd, staying close together at all times. It was right now that Lucas recognized the smell in the air: the same sweet smell that they had found in the clearing.

Tomorrow stop off at Beyond the Books with Get to Know My Book: Lucas Trent: Guardians in Magic by Richard Blunt – Part III!

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Interview with Richard Blunt: ‘I like to make the whole story 100% consistent’

Richard Blunt is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic. He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series. You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com. Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Rick. Can you tell us what your latest book, “Guardian in Magic”, is all about?

It is actually the first part of a series. It tells the story about a teenager that stumbles from a quite normal life into a wonderful world of mystery, conspiracy and magic, that had always been right before his eyes, hidden in plain sight. It tells a story about friendship and trust, and about the fact that things are not always as simple as they appear to be.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The story revolves around six teenagers who all share the interest in “esoterics”, amongst other things as they find out throughout the story. Lucas Trent, the title figure, is a 16 year old IT student, pretty much a loner, but with his heart in the right place. Darien is a year older, sort of the Wikipedia on legs of the group. Also an IT student and a real genius in theory. Marcus is the sporty guy, always a step ahead physically. The last boy, Cedric, is a little hard to grasp. He is the silent one. Always there when you need him most, but never really clear in what his intentions are. The two girls are the youngest and the oldest in the group. Stephanie is the youngster with her 15 years, a real beauty but a little shy. Jasmin is 20, like the good soul of the group. Not as good looking as Stephanie, but twice as charming with her words.

Looking at the sidelines the characters get mysterious. There for one is “Angel”, the mentor of the group. She seems always to be ahead of the game at least one step, but without ever showing her cards. And then there is the mysterious man in grey… Well, no one can tell what he’s all about. (Yet.)

Oh and of course there is the villain. “Wolfman” is the name. He could be the devils minion from his looks. He is  satanic priest who causes the heroes more than one headache throughout the story.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

They all have parts of real people, but most of them have many parts of many different people. I like to form them a little in like archetypes, so they do not primarily resemble someone, but resemble an idea.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I like to make the whole story 100% consistent. So the big picture is completely drawn before I write the first word of the text. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that perfect in the end.

Q: Your book is set in Luton, England.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Honestly? I chose England because I wanted an English speaking country as the base and tried not to take the obvious route and choose the US. Luton came up simple: Took a map of England and blindly painted a dot somewhere… Voila… Luton… I have never been there by the way, so chances are high that my description doesn’t resemble the reality even a bit… I hope they will forgive me.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Some parts of it do, but mostly the setting gets created for the story, not the other way round.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

The heroes are just learning the first vital lesson of their journey. Angel is about to explain them some things. (Without explaining them at all of course, but that’s a bit complicated.)

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

That’s a hard one, as taking out one scene will not make sense without knowing the surrounding. I will give you a quote instead:

“Be Yourself. You can only achieve something if you are truly behind it, and you can’t be while wearing a mask.” Angel says this to the heroes not very far into the book. Why do I think it’s worth mentioning? Because it is true in reality as much as it is in the book. And although this is a fantasy story there still are many things in there that are quite true in reality as well.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Rick.  We wish you much success!

Thanks for the invitation. It was a pleasure being here.

 Watch the trailer for Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic

 

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Let’s Play Book Trivia with Suspense Fantasy Author Bruce Skye!

It’s time to play Book Trivia! Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us. By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows! So, let’s get ready…let’s play…

Today our guest author is Bruce Skye, author of the suspense fantasy novel Grayrider.

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fgrayriderortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. “If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that’s what I strive for Grayrider’s world to be. I’ve built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.

“When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself.”

You can visit his website at www.bruceskye.com.

Thank you for playing Book Trivia with us, Bruce! Here are your questions:

book710If Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of Grayrider, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

The Celtic magic described in the novel would help him send himself back to civilization.

book711Everyone knows rock star idol Brittany Spears is always in trouble with everything you can think of. In what way could your book help her and set her life back on track?

Grayrider would show her doing the right things, regardless of the odds against you, can lead to better times.

book712You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi determining whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

I think an excerpt would be best. The reason I say that is, as one reviewer put it “Skye has a talent for vivid descriptions that will make you feel like you are in the middle of the story.”

book713Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler and star of his own reality show, has invited you and your book to appear on his show. One catch. You have to read a passage out of it to convince him you are star material. What part would you read?

The opening section of the first chapter as given below:
A sentry on the north wall was the first to see him: a figure in a silver gray cloak mounted on an immense black warhorse. The cloak billowed in the blustering wind, revealing the stranger’s green tunic. He wore a sword belt with a sheathed long sword at his waist. Yet the hood of the cloak never moved, leaving the rider’s face in constant shadow. He was on the hill just north of the castle. Somehow, knowing he’d been seen, the horseman turned his mount and galloped down towards the keep.

“The Gray Rider,” the soldier muttered. He stood transfixed for a moment as he watched the horseman draw swiftly towards the fortress.

“Open the gates!” he yelled. “Tell the king the Gray Rider approaches!”

book714They’ve invented a board game using the theme of your book. What would the title of it be that would be different from your book and which retail store would they place it to make the most sales?

They would call it “Against All Odds.” They would place the game in The Sharper Image.

book715The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance. What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that tree in relation to your book?

They would choose a redwood tree because it is a strong classic, much as my novel is.

book716President Barack Obama has become the author of several books and he has requested your presence at a special hush hush meeting to discuss ways to promote it. Through luck of the draw, you were chosen. What would be the first thing you would tell Barack?

Get people skilled in book promotion to help him sell his works.

book717Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2009 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. On stage, you must give an acceptance speech. What would you say and who would you thank?

I would thank those who had chosen my novel, first of all. Secondly, I would thank those who were members of my review committee who go over everything I write before I give it to my agent. It was their encouragement which motivated me to publish Grayrider.

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