Today’s Author Spotlight is: Doc Coleman
– A local steampunk writer, author of The Perils of Prague and The Shining Cog
Readers, let’s welcome to my blog Doc, the gentleman adventurer. He’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.
Doc, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
My cats may hate me for saying this, but I’d love to have a fire lizard, from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. Then again, they might get along with the cats. But it would be so cool to have a micro dragon who can fetch stuff and carry messages?
I have to admit to having wanted one when I was a teen, who didn’t?
What do you write and how did you get started?
I got started out of peer pressure. I knew Tee Morris back in his days at the renaissance festival. Every few years we’d run into each other and catch up. About ten years ago, I ran into him again and found out that he’d become an author and a podcaster. He introduced me to a bunch of podcast novelists online and in real life. When you hang out with podcast novelists the two most frequent questions you get asked are “What’s your podcast?” and “What are you writing?” I got tired of answering “nothing”, and I decided that you don’t get better at things you don’t do, so I started writing. I started off writing a tech blog, and after a few months, I started writing fiction for the Every Photo Tells… podcast. I was quite shocked when I submitted my first story and they accepted it. That same year, I did a guest spot on the Galley Table podcast and ended up becoming a regular member of the crew.
Being on Galley Table got me interested in doing NaNoWriMo, but for that, I needed a writing project. The Perils of Prague was a Steampunk adventure that evolved out of a Halloween costume, and it worked great for a first NaNo project. The words just flowed out of me. Since then I’ve tried writing YA and Science Fiction, but the Steampunk just comes so easily. I’ll get back to my YA trilogy and my Sci-Fi stories eventually, but for now, I’m having a lot of fun playing in my Steampunk world. I’ve got no problem being known as a Steampunk author, but I won’t stay that way forever.
I know these feelings. Being asked “what do you do” by creatives has a completely different vibe than from the rest of the world. NaNoWriMo was the trigger that got my first story out of me, and I usually use it these days to kickstart new novels — it’s great for getting through the initial slough.
What do you like to read?
The temptation is to say “everything”, but that’s not really true. I don’t really read modern romances. I find them too formulaic. But I like the old romances where it is less about boy meets girl and more about high ideals. I read tons of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and Steampunk, of course. I also enjoy Mysteries and old-fashioned Adventure stories. And a good comedy now and then certainly clears the palate. While I’m not really into Horror, I have read some stuff from that genre written by people I know. And I do find that some horrific elements will creep into my stories. The genre just never really excited me.
I can see how all of these genres contribute toward your writing style. Plus, a little extra…bombast.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Avoid adverbs. This is the most ridiculous piece of advice, but people keep spreading it. We only get eight parts of speech. I’m supposed to write with one of them tied behind my back? I don’t write to show off, I write to create interesting stories. When I do that, I’m going to fully use the tools at my disposal. Why would I eliminate an entire part of speech?
And the same goes for this whole thing about pretending that the verb “to be” doesn’t exist. Sometimes you need the passive voice. Or past participles.
So true. It seems that people take suggestions and try to globally apply them as if it were a formula that could guarantee quality.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
When in doubt, blow something up. We put our characters through hell. They live in chaos when almost nothing goes right. And when things actually start going well, they don’t know what to do next.
And bingo, writer’s block.
When you get stuck like that, you can try to wallow through with it and find something for your characters to do to get moving again, or you can blow something up. Something explodes, something crashes, someone walks in and tries to kill them. Now your characters know what to do. They don’t have time to think, they react. And they’re moving again. The story is moving again. Everything is fun again. And it makes for a great adventure.
I love adventure.
My own writing could use a little more ‘just do it’ and a little less ‘thinking time’. I’ll do my best to learn from your example.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
You can find all of my published works at my Amazon Author page. All of them are available for Kindle, but the only things currently in print are The Way of the Gun, A Bushido Western Anthology; The Perils of Prague, and The Shining Cog and Other Steampunk Tales.
The Perils of Prague is a rollicking Steampunk Comedy Adventure! Or is that a Comedy Steampunk Adventure? Or an Adventure Steampunk Comedy? Anyway, it is good, it is fun, and it is funny. Don’t take my word for it, read the reviews. Or better yet, read the sample on Amazon.
Or, if you just want to get a taste for my writing, Take a look at The Shining Cog and Other Steampunk Tales. Six stories in three different Steampunk worlds. I think you’ll love it. Enjoy the Adventure!