Tuesday 19 June 2012

Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman: Welcome to the spotlight, Lindsay Anne!

Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman: Welcome to the spotlight, Lindsay Anne!: It is my honor and privilege to bring to my readers today the incredible author, Lindsay Anne Kendal. Lindsay holds a spot near and d...

Revelations and Hello's

Hey guys,

Firsly I'd just like to say a big HELLO to everyone who's just started to follow the blog. Secondly, I'd like to apologise for being absent lately. I've been hard at work on Revelations, Betrayal and a secret project I'm working on. I've also been working on my graphic art, reviewing and helping my sister with her beautiful daughter Faith. She is 1 yr old this coming Sunday and we are having a little party for her, so it's going to be a busy and rather expensive week.

Anyway, I'm off to write again. I hope everyone is well and has had a great weekend.

Hope to speak to you guys soon.


P.S Thank you for all the lovely comments on my photoshop work. I'll be adding more shortly so be sure to let me know what you think. :)

Sunday 3 June 2012

The Second Thought: Review - "Bloodlines" by Lindsay Anne Kendal

The Second Thought: Review - "Bloodlines" by Lindsay Anne Kendal: "Bloodlines" by Lindsay Anne Kendal is a YA, fiction/paranormal novel that is centered around the concepts of witchcraft and demons. It i...

Interview with Author Ben Hennessy

Please give a warm welcome to Ben Hennessy. He's come to visit us today to tell us a little about himself and his upcoming release Queen of The World. 


In the legends, the Four saved the world from war and poverty. These incredible men walked the lands, seeking an audience with the ruler of each nation. They demanded that humanity focus its efforts on education, trade and culture. No longer would the people face starvation and terror. This commandment was enforced with displays of miraculous power. After all, it is difficult to argue with the Gods. Once finished, the Four left with a promise: If ever your people fall back into darkness, then we shall return.

Now, over five centuries later, Sarene grows tired of her village life. Suffocated by the confines of her surroundings and the overbearing protection of her family, she yearns to have an adventure of her own.

But the world outside is not as tranquil as it seems.

And Sarene is already in danger.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: Well, my name’s Ben Hennessy, as is probably hinted at in the title of this post. I’m an author of fantasy fiction. My debut novel, Queen of the World, will be released by July 2012. I’m born and raised in Essex, England, and I’m rapidly approaching the end of my twenties. Writing, whether I’m doing it myself or reading the work of others, is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. The ability for anyone to take a standard archetype such as fantasy, horror or romance and add their own unique spin has always fascinated me. After several years of toying with the idea of writing my own novel, I finally knuckled down to it in 2010. Now, eighteen months later, here we are.

Q: Other than writing, what else are you passionate about?

A: Music and travelling. I wrote Queen of the World while indulging the latter; the first sentence of the manuscript was put to page in Hanoi, Vietnam. The words kept coming over the next several months, and the first draft was completed in Porsgrunn, Norway. So the novel’s already quite well travelled. -grins- I’ve been to four continents so far, and hopefully North America is next on my list.

As for music, I used to play in an angry metal band and I DJ occasionally for alternative venues. Anything heavy metal, rock ‘n’ roll or punk keeps me happy, with some other more eclectic tastes thrown in. Patrick Wolf, anyone?

Q: Why made you decide to become a writer?

A: Money. Clearly writers earn millions of pounds every time they write a book. Having films made of my work.  Or a AMC television series, something like that. (Some or all of this may be a lie.)

In reality though, I just like telling stories. It’s the same as why artists paint or photographers travel miles with a camera. The sense of fulfillment from describing a story and, hopefully, having others take pleasure from it is something you rarely find elsewhere. I’ve always enjoyed reading, which is a passion I shared with my Dad – he introduced me to a lot of my favourite authors, such as David Eddings, Stephen King and Terry Pratchett. Novels such as Legend and The Belgariad series inspired me to give it a try.

Q: What brought you to this genre?

A: It’s a tricky one. I wrote a blog post answering this – which can be found at http://hennessywrites.com/home/?p=56 – where I basically explain that I admire heroes. People who stand by a code of honour and face huge dangers with nothing more than a sword in hand and bucket loads of courage. Fantasy has always been the strongest genre for that kind of character, and it’s what always attracted me as a reader. Also, fantasy allows you free reign to create anything you like. There’s none of the enforced realism of a contemporary story, and while it’s probably best for an author to not go overboard with the dragons, elves and place-names such as Kinnjillianani’quaa, that potential to explore one’s imagination is bags of fun.

Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

A: I don’t really suffer from it, or at least I haven’t yet. I am a terrible procrastinator, though. There’s so much YouTube to watch or comics to read when I should be working. But as far as having ideas or scenes to play around with, I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with writing once I sit down to work.

Front Cover in the Making.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your book?

A: Would be happy to. Queen of the World is based in a world where the Four, men of incredible power, have enforced a commandment upon the rulers of each nation to eradicate war and poverty. They made sure these rulers complied by killing any who disobeyed. Once their vision of humanity had been maintained, the Four left mankind to govern itself – with the warning that should standards slip, then they would return.

Within this world, in the kingdom of Tamir, lives a young girl named Sarene. She’s tired of her rural home life and wants to see more of the world. Her eldest brother, Jared, has become a scout for the national guard and she’s jealous of his opportunities for travel and adventure. As she’s contemplating running away from home in search of him, an unexpected chain of events prematurely force Sarene out into a world which isn’t quite as idyllic as she has been led to believe.

Q: Describe your novel in five words.

A: Difficult to describe so briefly.

Q: Who is your favourite character and why?

A: I think Kanderil, a huge woodsman who Sarene meets early in the story. He’s an old-school fantasy character, with a deep sense of honour and a very disciplined view of the world. I like that he has become so self-sufficient and capable as a hunter, but has forgotten how to be social or empathic towards others and quite often does or says things which can be seen as heartless. He became a hermit several years before the story starts and is happy to spend his life alone, but he finds himself caught up in Sarene’s story against his wishes.

Q: What three things do you have to have around you in order to write?

A: Coffee, cigarettes and music. Usually in that order. I’m trying to replace cigarettes with fruit, but it’s not really working for me so far.

Q: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

A: I leaned that I knew almost nothing about the publishing process, haha. I thought that, once I’d had my submission accepted by Inspired Quill, I would do a bit of editing and leave the rest of the work to people who knew better. But as it turns out I’ve worked on the manuscript just as much since the contract was signed than before submitting. Further full edits, a redraft, cover art ideas, social media interactions, promotion, blog updates... It’s been amazing fun, but I now have a much greater appreciation for any author who’s had their writing published. The amount of extra time and effort it takes to get to the finished product was a revelation

Q: What do you think readers will find most notable about this book?

A: I think that, often in fantasy, the main character is either destined to wield a great ability or already possesses said abilities. At the least, they may acquire a magical doohickey or weapon to assist them. With Queen of the World, the main character is a sweet young farmers daughter with no real knowledge of the world outside her valley home, and certainly isn’t martially proficient or supernaturally gifted. It’s her need to adapt and progress naturally to the various scenarios she faces which make her interesting, and I hope that readers will find that refreshing.

Q: What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

A: If I was feeling ambitious, I might hope that readers would say that they enjoyed it. If people commented that it had an interesting spin on traditional heroic fantasy novels, then I’d certainly welcome that. On the base of it, though, I just hope people don’t think it sucks.

Q: How did you decide on your books Title?

A: This may come as a surprise, but Queen of the World isn’t a literal phrase. It comes from that sense within childhood that, when growing up, you’re the centre of the universe. Everything exists solely for you to experience it, and how long you retain that idea depends on your maturity. I think the title’s meaning will become clearer during the course of the story, though.

Q: How do you react to a negative review of your book?

A: Since we’re pre-release, I haven’t had one yet. But I’m actually quite looking forward to it. That might sounds a bit weird, but it’s true. Not every single person who ever reads Queen of the World is going to enjoy it, and that’s fine. I can deal with it. It’ll be interesting to see why somebody may not like the book, though. Maybe it’ll even help me with future works.

Q: You are leading 100 people in a survivalist situation, when suddenly your lives are in danger and you must choose between two courses of action. One would cause 10 of the people to die and everyone else would live, the other would have a 70% chance of saving everyone but were it to fail then everyone would die. Which would you choose and why?

A: Second option. I’m a Musketeer at heart. All for one and one for all, etc.

Q: If I asked you to include the phrase ‘A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.’ Somewhere in your next book, would you?

A: Haha. There’s one character in my book that I’ve yet to name who would be perfect for this line. If you read the novel, you’ll know who it is. I’ll keep this one in mind.

Q: What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?

A: It would probably be writing the most embarrassing moment of my life down in an interview for the Internet to see, so if I don’t answer it then I’ve saved myself. Which is like Back to the Future, but with less DeLoreans.

Q: Would you consider yourself adventurous?

A: Yeah. I like travelling to new places, and I’ve gotten up to enough random stuff in my life to be able to tell a few stories. I’m certainly not someone who enjoys spending a weekend indoors watching TV. I much prefer being out with people and doing things I haven’t done before.

Q: Chocolate or ice cream?

A: Ice cream. There’s only really three types of chocolate, but there’s loads of different ice creams.

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Just write. Whatever the situation, however much else you have going on in your life, just keep putting words down. Even if it’s only a couple of sentences a night. The more you do, the better you’ll get and that manuscript will eventually reach the finishing line. There’s always a second draft if you’re unhappy with it, and even if a piece is terrible there’s usually one or two lines or phrases which can be recycled into other works. It’s all about perseverance.

Q: Where can readers find you and more about your book(s)? Where can they purchase your book(s)?

A: Currently Queen of the World isn’t available, but will be released in paperback and in various online formats by the end of July. If you’re interested then full updates will be available on my website,
http://www.hennessywrites.com, along with the book’s prologue, my personal writer’s blog and various other nuggets of information. You can catch me on Twitter as well, @HennessyWrites.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: Bryan Adams. Man, that guy can sing a rock song.

Q: Who is you’re favourite fantasy character, either from a book or a movie and why?

A: Druss, from the Drenai series by David Gemmell. He was all action, fearsome in battle and hugely anti-social. But beneath it all he was deeply loyal, faithful to his wife and inspired heroism in others despite his flaws.