Andrew Demcak on Writing, Influences, and his new release ‘Alpha Wave (The Elusive Spark #2)’ by Andrew Demcak

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Alpha Wave (The Elusive Spark #2) by Andrew Demcak
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Release Date: May 15, 2018

Sales Link:  Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Demcak here today. Welcome, Andrew, and thank you for answering our author questions!

 

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Andrew Demcak

How much of yourself goes into a character?  65% me, plus 35% filler (sawdust and peanut butter).

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character? All the characters I write are me, which is weird because I write about talking rats, aliens, demons, ghosts, bisexual teenage girls – all of which are not the 49-year-old QWM me.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Not really in terms of the genre, but I always do some research with everything I write.

Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures? I like doing both. I have a very active imagination, I keep thinking I’ll be attacked by mountain lions on my morning runs, but I love to ground a tale in reality,  and reality needs facts and vocabularies.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why? I love HEA because it doesn’t exist. Every literary HEA is a HFN because the story does end – it must.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up? I love Anne Sexton, William S. Burroughs, and William H. Gass. I also adore Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor. When I was younger it was all about Gertrude Stein’s novels.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going? I love eBooks! They exemplify economy of time and money (for the reader.)

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part) I’m lucky because Harmony Ink Press (my publisher) has a great art department. I’ve been working with AngstyG for the last couple covers. I always imagine how my covers will look and tell the graphic designers what I want. When I get the first few mock-ups, I start seeing them come to life. For instance, the next novel in my Elusive Spark series, Book 3, Darkfeather, is in the editing phase right now at the publisher. The cover I want would feature the “keyhole” branding of the first two novels, an image of James (the lead character) and the image of a sasquatch walking away, seen over his left shoulder. But who knows what it will really look like. But that’s what I want.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why? My first true YA/Teen novel, Ghost Songs (Harmony Ink Press.) It’s my thinly veiled 8th grade year, poltergeist and all. I cry every time I read it. It was very tough growing up queer in the 1980s. Very tough.

What’s next for you as an author? I’ve been busy getting my out-of-print books back into print through my own imprint, Big 23 Press, and KDP publishing. I have a New Adult novel out right now, How Do You Deal with a Dead Girl?, which is getting great reviews already. I have a TV pilot I’m writing, and I have a new LGBTQ YA book I’m working on that I’m excited about called Glitter Bear. It’s a romance without any supernatural elements – Erg! Out of my comfort zone!

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened? This sort of happened with a long first chapter I wrote back when I was 19 in the 1980’s. It was for a novel I wanted to write about the Goth music scene in Los Angeles. I had so many friends in bands, The Superheroines, Christian Death, Psi-Com, and I wanted to document that moment in time. I guess I forgot I had started it. Flash forward to 2008. I find this long chapter in a drawer of other writing I’d done. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. I suddenly knew I had to write this novel. And so I did. It’s called, If There’s a Heaven Above. It went on to be nominated by The American Library Association as an “outstanding” novel for older teens (17+) for its Rainbow Books list. It’s now back in print and available in a 10th anniversary edition.

Blurb

Alpha Wave, The Elusive Spark: Book Two
Keira Fairchild is running for her life, and she won’t make it far without someone watching her back. Her powers helped her elude a slave trader, Holcomb, who planned to sell her to the highest bidder, and the deadly Paragon Academy. But now Keira needs some allies and some answers. Who is the imprisoned alien being who keeps contacting her in her dreams? Keira is aided by a group of teens–James, Lumen, and Paul–with powers like her own, and all of them are ready for a fight. The small group must rescue the captive alien and escape Dr. Albion, who seeks to steal their abilities and eliminate them. Survival will mean a desperate struggle, and none of them can succeed on their own.

About the Author

Andrew Demcak* is an American poet and novelist, the author of four poetry collections and five Young Adult novels. His books have been featured by The American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, The Best American Poetry, and Poets and Writers. He was a *FINALIST* for the prestigious Dorset Poetry Prizethe Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence in Poetry

He recently released two new YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novels, How Do You Deal with a Dead Girl? (Big 23 Press, 2018), and Alpha Wave, The Elusive Spark series, Book 2, (Harmony Ink Press, 2018) to brisk sales. His newest YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novel, Darkfeather, The Elusive Spark series, Book 3, (Harmony Ink Press, 2019) will be published next year.  About his Teen GLBTQ Sci-Fi Coming-Out novel, A Little Bit LangstonThe Elusive Spark series, Book 1,  Kirkus Reviews raved “This book really … takes its place in the marginalized-will-lead-us genre, as popularized by The Matrix and the X-Men franchises.” His first Young Adult (YA) novel, Ghost Songs, was published March 13, 2014. His first literary novel, If There’s A Heaven Above, was published January 5, 2013 by JMS Books, and was nominated by The American Library Association as an “Outstanding” novel for older Teens (17+). 

Links:
Twitter @andrewdemcak

 

 

 

An Author’s Interview with Gene Gant of In Time I Dream About You (author guest interview/new book release)

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In Time I Dream About You by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Gene Gant here today talking about writing, books and In Time I Dream About You, the author’s latest release from Harmony Ink Press!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Very little, if anything at all. I strive to make every character as distinct a person as possible. In the process of writing, each character becomes a separate individual to me, with his or her own personality, history, political views and opinions. As such, they often take off in directions that surprise me, pulling the story in an entirely unexpected direction. I always work from an outline of the plot, but I’m forced to be flexible with it when a character takes control of things. There really isn’t much opportunity for me to insert any of my experiences or personal views under such circumstances. (Although a character occasionally likes my favorite food, reads one of my favorite books, or dresses in a style I personally favor.) Besides, I’m not all that interesting. Readers want compelling characters. Unlike Gavin Goode, for example, I’ve so far lived a fairly uneventful life. Or, as Donald Trump might tweet: BORING.

How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)

My publisher has a team of artists who work with authors to create covers. They begin with a series of questions to get an understanding of the plot, setting and characters along with the writer’s preferences. Using that information, they prepare two or more drafts of what will eventually become the cover. A great cover has to be eye-catching, convey a general sense of the story’s mood and pull the reader in. I usually go for the one that invokes the biggest emotional response in me, the one that makes me want to jump in and inhabit the world it depicts.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed fiction across a variety of genres, some of my favorites being contemporary, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror. The stories I write fall mostly in the genres I love to read. I sometimes combine genres, as in the case of In Time I Dream About You, which is a blend of romance and science fiction/urban fantasy. Ironically, as a teenager, I read mostly adult novels by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, James Patterson, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sue Grafton. Now, as an adult, I find myself reading an awful lot of—some would say far too much—young adult fiction.   

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I’ve had to put stories aside for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I lose interest in the main character, which is never a good sign. Occasionally, I discover that an idea just doesn’t come together in the writing and needs to be revamped

In Time I Dream About You actually began as a tale more heavily tilted toward romance than science fiction, with Cato as the main character who falls in love with Gavin while observing him from the future. He knows Gavin dies in a tragic event and is torn between letting history take its course or violating the law against changing the past and saving Gavin. Perhaps a third of the way into the story, I found myself getting stuck. I’d fire up my computer and sit there staring at the screen, unable to write a word. I moved on to another project, unsure whether the story would ever get finished. After a few months, I read through what I’d written so far and realized I was focusing more on Gavin than Cato, because Gavin’s life was resonating more emotionally with me than Cato’s. Once I shifted the point of view to Gavin, I finished the story rather quickly. Gavin’s tale was less romantic than Cato’s would have been, but for me, the heart of the story was with him.

What’s next for you as an author?

At the moment, I’m working on a young adult novel about a lonely fifteen-year-old boy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and is surprised to find himself falling for one of his male teachers.  It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance, with the kid having to face certain truths about himself and the people in his life. I also have this idea percolating in my head about a boy who discovers he is adopted when his birth parents surface unexpectedly in his life, just as he is settling into a relationship with his new boyfriend. Beyond that, I have no other stories planned…yet, I should add. Ideas for stories tend to pop out of the blue on me, and I’m sure it won’t be long before my mind is conjuring up new characters and situations.

Blurb

Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.

But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.

About the Author

‘m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.

Website