Author Spotlight: Brenda W. Clough

  • a science-fiction and fantasy writer

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Brenda W. Clough!

Brenda W. Clough, the first Asian female SF writer, spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. She has lived in Laos, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Germany. She returned to Pittsburgh, PA to earn a degree in English/Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University in 1977.

Several years working as a meek mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newsletter enabled her to write a fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown. And she’s been publishing new stories ever since. Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer was set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest.

Now she’s now dipping into historical fiction with eleven volumes of Victorian thriller.

Brenda, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, 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?

It would be great fun to have an owl like Archimedes, Merlin’s pet owl in THE SWORD IN THE STONE. Archimedes was of course as intelligent as a person, and could talk. Also he did pest control!

Oooh! What a fun choice. Does that make Archimedes a pet… or a friend, though?

What do you write? And how did you get started?

You write what you read, you know. I’ve read fantasy and SF since as long as I can remember, so it came easily, to write it. Time travel novels got me into developing a convincing historical ‘voice’. I wrote a Hugo and Nebula-finalist novella, “May Be Some Time,” which was from the point of view of Titus Oates, an Edwardian explorer. From there it was easy to write the Edge to Center trilogy. Then I realized that no one had ever done a proper sequel to THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins. Since there ought to be more novels about Miss Marian Halcombe, I wrote them.

I find it fascinating to see how what you wrote before leads into your future works.

What do you like to read?

At this exact moment I am reading books about water sports — competitive swimming, water polo, and so on. Research for a novel!

What a fun genre of sports to read about! Research is never-ending.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.


I do no planning. I never outline, do worldbuilding, create battle plans or character lists, nothing. I am a pantser born, flying without strings or a net. When I write a book, I have no idea what will happen next. The characters know, and the Muse knows, and eventually the word gets around to me.

The very thought terrifies me, but amazes me when I see the results.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Fix it in the edits.

This is allied to being a pantser: the work is forged in the rewrite. The first draft is just that, a rough sketch of the work to come. Everything can be fixed in the rewrite. 

That seems to be a favorite piece of advice for many writers, but especially pantsers. I wonder why… *wink*

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Marian Halcombe

Marian Halcombe by Brenda W. Clough

The most dangerous woman in Europe meets the greatest danger of all: love.

Miss Marian Halcombe thrilled the world In Wilkie Collins’ Victorian best-seller THE WOMAN IN WHITE.

In this sensational sequel, Marian uses all the wits and wiles she learned then to save her husband Theo Camlet from charges of bigamy and then murder. Women are supposed to be rescued in her world, but Marian fights to rescue everything she loves: her husband and her happiness.

The River Twice

The River Twice by Brenda W. Clough

Calla Ang expects to be the next president of her Southeast Asian country, until a charming time traveler from Victorian England sweeps her into a dangerous tangle of overlapping realities.

Calla Ang has always known her own power. Her grandmother is the dictator of Jalanesia in Southeast Asia, and Calla’s future is to follow in her footsteps.

But after the Victorian time traveler Jack Wragsland invites her to 1867 to show Charles Darwin what a real scientific revolution looks like, Calla returns to the 21st century to discover Jalanesia is no longer the country she knew. As she and Jack thread their way deeper into an interlocking maze of alternate realities, there always seems to be a second chance…until suddenly there isn’t.

The only certainty Jack and Calla have as the universes change is each other. But if she can’t learn to handle power wisely, then even love will not be enough to save Calla, Jack, or her country.

The first volume in the EDGE TO CENTER time travel trilogy.

Revise the World

Revise the World by Brenda Clough

He said, “I am just going outside and may be some time.” He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.

On March 16, 1912, British polar explorer Titus Oates commits suicide by walking out of his tent into an Antarctic blizzard, to save Robert Falcon Scott and the other members of the English exploration team. His body is never found — because he was snatched away into the year 2045 by scientists experimenting with a new faster-than-light drive.

The first section of this novel appeared as a novella in Analog Science Fiction magazine (April 2001) under the title “May Be Some Time.” It was a finalist for both the Nebula and the Hugo awards.

How Like a God

How Like a God by Brenda W. Clough 133x200

What would it be like, to get absolute power?

Would you wear a cape and fight crime? Rule the planet? Or perhaps you would be like Rob Lewis, and watch your world collapse around you. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Rob is going to find out.

Check Brenda W. Clough out across the web!

Website | BVC Authors | Facebook

Author Spotlight: Deston J. Munden

  • a fantasy dork, awkward orc, and overall good sport

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Deston J. Munden!

Deston “D.J.” Munden is a fantasy and science fiction author, living near the Outerbanks of North Carolina. Somewhere in the vague realm of his late twenties and early thirties, he lives with his brother in a small house in the woods where he taught himself how to imagine and write down worlds with orcs, swords, and magic (and sometimes mutants and spaceships). When he’s not writing, he’s playing video games with his best buds, rolling horribly on multisided dice, eating double his weight in food, trying out new recipes, collecting samurai memorabilia and watching as much anime and reading as much manga as humanly possible (sometimes doing more than one of these things at once).

His current work includes the Dargath Chronicles novels and Dusk Mountain Blues, his sci-fi web series. He’s a huge fan of the fantasy and science fiction genre, including both the modern and classic works. Nothing he loves more than finding new authors all over the genre and then recommending them to all of his friends (that are willing to listen at this point). This will be his official debut in the fantasy world he has grown up in (at least in his head) his entire life.

D.J., thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, 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?

For obtainable pets, probably a cat right now. I really loves cats (I love dogs too) so I would love to just have a little furry bean to sit in my lap or prowl around my quiet house.

As for not so obtainable pets, a white dragon wyrmling. I would love a small mini dragon that will grow up to rule the territory where I live. It’s a dungeons and dragons fantasy, don’t mind me.

Who doesn’t like a nice pet friend! But, there is a reason dragons are traditional fantasy pets! Just make sure you know who will rule and who will be kept.

What do you write? And how did you get started?

I write exclusively fantasy and science fiction for now. There’s something about these two genres that has truly inspired me to write. I’ve always been a writer. Ever since the fourth grade where I wrote my first fan fiction, I’ve been writing almost every day since, slowly improving my craft. It wasn’t until after college where I realized…wait…I could be getting paid for this. So, I started writing actual novels. I’ve had original works that I hadn’t finished, but I decided then that it was best to get some done. Several books in and I don’t regret it one bit. Basically, I decided one day to just get started and I did. Sometimes it’s just like that.

I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan myself. Your ‘coming-to-writing’ story sounds familiar to me, and probably many of my readers.

What do you like to read?

Again, fantasy and science fiction. Occasionally I like to venture into historical fiction (especially with samurais, vikings, or knights) and westerns but fantasy and science fiction takes majority of my time. I’m also a huge fan of comics, manga (Japanese comics), manhwas (Korean comics), and manhua (Chinese comics). They take a large majority of my time when I’m not reading or listening to a novel. I’m just an overall dorky fella that likes to read.

Glad to hear your book reading includes graphic tales and audio books. Those are often underrated.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Outline your book.

Hahahahaha. No. I can’t do it. I can have a general idea of how I want my book to go but I need to be sitting down and writing it to develop ideas. Outlining just doesn’t do anything for me. I end up going off the outline or changing stuff that I believe just doesn’t work while I’m writing the novel itself. I’m a panster in every sense of the word and I’m gonna stick to it.

Ha! Exactly what Christiane said last week. You could try my method! Write a high level outline and then ignore it unless I get stuck. Then again, my latest work-in-progress veered quickly off the outline and I’ve been flailing… I admire exploratory writers, but it’s not my sweet-spot.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Finish your first draft at all costs.

You can fix a first draft; you can’t fix a blank page. I think people get caught up so much on planning and getting that first draft just right that they forget that it’s not gonna stay like that anyway. You can fix things. You can move things around. The best thing you can do is write down your story to yourself. You gotta get those words down, fam. The page isn’t going to fill itself. Even if you go back and realize, wow, this was a terrible book… at least you learned how to finish something. Not a lot of people even finish the book they start. Don’t be another statistic.

Umm… I’m pretty sure you and Christiane aren’t the same person, but your writing preferences are a perfect match. But, I still agree! All too often, you hear wanna-be-authors who never made it past those first fifty-pages, too caught up on getting them perfect to finish the actual story.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Tavern (Dargath Chronicles: Book 1)

In the magical world of Dargath, the story follows Xel— an orc tavern owner, an information broker, a healer, and guildmaster of the Blackwind Company. Though a resident of the city of Lladad for only two years, Xel has found a place far better than the forest from which he came.

When a simple act of kindness reels him into unraveling a plot to destroy his new home, Xel is forced to do what needs to be done with the contacts that he has to protect it. Xel’s morality, his livelihood, and his ambition are pushed to their limits against a wizard powerful enough to rip the city apart.

He must scheme with vipers, mingle with royalty, blackmail in the slums, and fight assassins and mercenaries. Most importantly, he needs to lean on the support of his friends to keep him steady and safe from his own inner demons tempting him with tales of failure.

Dusk Mountain Blues (Dusk Orbit Blues: Book 1)

The Caldwells have one goal in life: to be left alone. They’ve been living on the backwater planet of C’dar for years, smuggling and scavenging their way to a comfortable life on their Homestead. But you know the saying about all good things – they come to an end. The Civilization wasn’t content with falling apart the first time and has finally caught wind of the ol’ boys and girls on their little rock in the middle of nowhere. Ain’t nothing much they can do about that, though…except fight ’em.

It all comes down to three generations of Caldwells— Luke “Drifter” Caldwell, Woodrow “Appetite” Caldwell, and Cassie “Kindle” Caldwell—as they fend for everything they call home.

What is isolation worth?          

A space opera compared to X-Men meets Red Dead Redemption! Now available on audible!

Check D.J. Munden out across the web!

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Instagram | Twitter

Author Spotlight: Christiane Joy Allison

  • a multi-award-winning author, activist, and public speaker from the great state of Alaska.

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Christiane Joy Allison!

Christiane Joy Allison is a multi-award-winning author, activist and public speaker who now serves as President of the Alaska Writers Guild. Her disability and life-long battle with chronic illness, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), inspires the characters in her cyberpunk series, The Infinitus Saga. Sometimes she walks with a cane, sometimes she rides in a wheelchair, and sometimes she goes without. Her disability is as unpredictable as her life. In activism, she fights for criminal justice and prison reform and aspires to give prisoner families a voice.

Christiane, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, 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?

If I could have any pet in the world, I would probably have a bat. I’d love a large fruit bat like a flying fox. Of course, bats make terrible pets in real life as they are very social creatures, but with no limitations that would be my honest first choice. That is probably why my main character has a pet bat in my cyberpunk novel series.

And what’s not to love about bats? They’re incredibly soft with adorable faces. They fly and feed themselves (usually fruit or pesky insects). Bats are also important pollinators, and they’re facing a threat that’s making them disappear, just like the bees! You can support bats in your local ecosystem by putting up bat houses. Just search for “build a bat house” on the internet and you’ll find all kinds of resources, including bat houses you can buy.

Bats are pretty awesome. I love taking evening walks and watching them swoop by my street lamps — I mean, the local buffet.

What do you write? And how did you get started?

I’ve written science fiction, children’s picture books, essays, poetry, romance, spiritual works, and I’m working on a memoir. I grew up in a home of storytellers. I believe I started writing my first book in the seventh grade, and participated in writing classes and clubs in middle school, high school and college. After entering the workforce, I took a break from writing for a few years before I realized I could no longer live without it.

My current novel series, The Infinitus Saga, is dystopian science fiction, specifically cyberpunk. Cyberpunk worlds tend to be dystopian and futuristic by nature, and they include a global or regional computer system that manages or controls aspects of day to day life. One of the things I love the most about it is that a couple of main characters have the same chronic illness I do, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). The stories are written in first person, present tense so the reader can experience facing the challenges of the
adventure from within a body that’s working against you. I also love my colorful cast of chimera characters, born as animal-human hybrids because of genes that are reemerging from earlier generations of genetic experimentation.

I also have an award-winning series of children’s picture books dedicated to children who are facing the adverse childhood experience (ACE) of the incarceration of a loved one. Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? is the first children’s picture book to address the subject of wrongful conviction for very young children. And then in Timmy and Kate Go To Visit, we go with a couple of young children to visit their uncle in prison for the first time. My family was impacted by a wrongful conviction and I watched the effect it had on all the children. The books in this series draw directly from those experiences.

I love cyberpunk stories. We need more stories with characters whose bodies aren’t in default working condition. I know from loved ones that Ehlers-Danlos and other chronic illnesses can have such an impact on one’s life. Like most chronic conditions, for now, the only treatment is for the symptoms, not the disease.

Thank you for writing stories for young children dealing with incarceration.

What do you like to read?

I love to read romance, but the stories never follow the characters far enough through life for me. That’s why the romance that you’ll find in The Infinitus Saga will span across the entire series. I also love thrillers and suspense which I write heavily into my stories. If these elements are included, I’ll read anything in science fiction, dystopian, and fantasy. The Infinitus Saga is a cyberpunk story.

It sounds like your series is right up my alley!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.


I am a “pantser” versus a “plotter” if using National Novel Writing Month terms. This means that I do not write by planning out story elements in advance. I learn and discover the story as I write it, and my characters often surprise me. The challenge in this is I often do not know an element of the story until after I’ve written it. Sometimes, I have to write additional scenes that will never be published simply because I need to know what other characters are doing behind the scenes, and I have to rewrite what I’ve already written because I discover an element while writing that changes something fundamental to the story. I often still attempt outlines in the beginning, but by the end the story looks nothing like it did during that attempt.

People who are full pantsers are like magic to me. I recently tried my first exploratory novel writing experience, and realized it’s not for me. I usually ignore my outlines, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in the back of my head.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

First drafts don’t have to be perfect.

First drafts are crap and that’s okay! Silence your inner editor and power out that first draft in all its ugly glory, staying as true to its heart as you can. Then you can go back, reorder, revise, and refine to your (or your editor’s) heart’s content. Think of the first draft of your story as the bones, not the full body. Layering on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin takes time and effort that doesn’t belong in that first skeletal draft.

So true! I know many people who really like their first drafts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can make better. We have high standards for ourselves, and what comes out in that rough draft doesn’t look like we intended in our heads.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

In the cyberpunk series, The Infinitus Saga, Earth was once in chaos, divided between hundreds of warring nations. Now, united in peace and maintained through a worldwide computer system known as the GRID, the Global Fellowship provides all citizens free access to food, housing, education, and medical care. In return, citizens allow the GRID to use their brains as temporary servers. Those who don’t contribute are the disconnected, shirkers who live destitute and on the edge of starvation in a world where GRIDcoin is beyond their reach.

Among them are the Mallorey’s who are forced to live outside the GRID to hide their genetic disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or risk being never seen or heard of again.


After his parents’ sudden death, Arthur Mallorey, a severely disabled teenager living in the largest shirker camp in Central Continent, knows he has to find a way for him and his sister to survive. Battling pain and exhaustion, he looks for salvation in the very heart of the Community he was raised to fear. The Global Fellowship is the prelude novelette to The Infinitus Saga.


Gina Mallorey is a young freedom-loving tech dealer living in the Dregs on her own terms, hiding her disability from the Community. When an explosion forces her into the GRID, powerful forces make her a target. The Community operative sent after her hides a genetic secret of his own, but only time will tell if he’ll choose to be friend or foe.

Timmy, and his little sister Kate, struggle to understand why Uncle can’t come home despite all the hard things that are happening. Momma helps explain that it’s not Uncle’s choice to stay away. Uncle was wrongfully convicted, and sometimes people are punished for things they didn’t really do. This story is designed to help address the hard questions of children who are struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one.

Kate, and her big brother Timmy, have not been able to see their uncle in a long time, and are excited to visit him at the jail. Auntie and Momma help them face fears like: whether there are monsters at the jail, walking through the metal detector, and whether the guards are the bad guys. This story is designed to help address the fears and questions of children visiting a loved one in prison.

Check Christiane Joy Allison out across the web!

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Instagram | Twitter | Alaska Writer’s Guild

Author Spotlight: William David Ellis

  • a cozy fantasy/sci fi writer, who also writes Sherlock Holmes mysteries

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to William David Ellis!

William David Ellis is a storyteller. Whether it’s weaving an old narrative into an entertaining and illuminating yarn or fashioning something brand new from wisps of legend, he can tell a story.

He is the son of an English teacher, the husband of an English teacher, and the father of an English teacher, in spite of them, he occasionally punctuates. He lives in East Texas and has breakfast with some of the people who inspired his books twice a week.

He writes columns in papers across Texas, short stories, and novels. Three of which are published and the rest of which are either shipwrecked on the shores of imagination or in the oven as we speak.

William David Ellis, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, 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?

Any pet? I would resurrect my friend and constant companion a hundred and fifteen pound German Shepherd Raleigh. You can read his story here.

Awww. I’m so sorry for your lost friend. I’m sure that’s a choice many of us would make — to have a beloved pet back with us.

What do you write? And how did you get started?

I didn’t start out to write for a particular genre, I started writing to tell a story then looked to see what genre it fit. My style would be wrapped around my voice. By that, I mean, I write how I and the people I cherish talk. East Texan. I write because I love words and I love stories. When I discovered people love my story telling, I took the risk and started writing to publish 

I think that’s how most of us roll. We follow the story more than a genre and voice is strong with the best writers — and the rest of us!

What do you like to read?

I read a wide variety of genres, depending on my mood, I have been known to have a pile of twenty one books lying at my bedside end table. A practice that greatly distresses my dear wife. The spectrum includes everything from the New Testament, to battlefield surgery, to Jim Butcher’s The Dresden files. I also read about gardening, and, oh yes, how to write and market and that sort of thing.

Ha! Sounds very similar to my to-read pile… except mine has graduated to a bookcase. In my case though, it runs in the family, my mother’s to-read pile is larger than mine!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

How to market using Amazon Ads

I bought to expertly written books on the subject only to discover they are polar opposites and even criticize  each other’s works!

If someone actually had the formula of selling stuff down, then they could make a killing. For now? People only know what worked and what helped. Timing and luck have just as much impact as all the skilled marketing in the world — so far as I know.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Stop polishing and publish!

Most writers are such egotists they are afraid to risk bad reviews and so are always polishing works they never publish or submit to a publisher. As Jim Butcher says, 90% of authors self-terminate.

I think I’d call it us more ‘perfectionists’ because we always think there’s something we can fix. But I do get the occasional query or short story submission out there, I promise!

What do you consider the most important thing for an aspiring author to keep in mind as they begin their writing journey?

I’ve got several things to say!

Learn the craft. Read books about writing. 

Write, write write!  Writer’s block is in your head, not in your fingers, type when you do not feel like, even if you have nothing to say. You have to jump start some manuscripts some mornings,  but if you start writing, even if it is not very good, you will slip into the flow. Then you can come back and delete the first few sentences, but if you do not absolutely force yourself to put something on the screen you will wait for a flow that never comes. You have to drill a hole before you hit water.

Don’t worry about being a planner of a pantser, most writers are a bit of both.

And this final piece of advice… Other than stomping your foot and having a hissy fit, what do you do when you get a review that isn’t good?

I tell her to go to bed and stop being cranky, she is tired and I didn’t ask for her to critique my writing, it is not her book. I proceed down a dark path into psychotic scenarios… then repent and reread the review and see if there is any truth in it.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

The Princess Who Forgot She Was Beautiful

Harry Ferguson has a problem. Dragons have come to his sleepy East Texas town.  

And it’s all his fault!

Torn, burnt, and bloody from a battle with a malignant old serpent, Harry and his dragon-shifter, lady love, Sarah Linscomb, were caught in a time stream and spit out a thousand years into the future. Harry landed and has grown old in a little bitty town in countrified East Texas. But that’s just the beginning of his troubles.

Time twisted on itself and transformed Sarah into a precocious, snaggled-tooth six-year-old with no memory of her past.

To make matters worse, their ancient nemesis, a dragon spawned from Satan’s own loins, has also ridden down the time stream to finish what he began:  kill Harry and take Sarah as his own.

One thing is for certain.  Moab, Texas will never be the same again.

Angels, Saints and Sinners: The Conversion of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes: Angels Saints and Sinners Book 1) by [William David Ellis]

Angels, Saints and sinners, the Conversion of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes scoffed at the notion of the supernatural. Till a demon stole Watson’s soul.

Forced by his own inescapable logic:  Eliminate the impossible and whatever remains however improbable is true, and the horrible scourge of a dark ripper haunting the hovels of London, Holmes faces the most disturbing and mind-altering adventures of his life.

Once that door opens, and he begins to see, all types of creatures, living… dead… and parts, make their way to 221B Baker Street.

 You’ll love this journey of the world’s greatest consulting detective from agnostic to practitioner,

Because if Holmes does not find a way, Watson is damned.

Check William David Ellis out across the web!

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

Author Spotlight: Jacob E. Hess

  • a minister of music with a love for writing fantasy

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Jacob Hess!

Jacob was born in Burbank, California but was raised in the small town of Lebanon, Oregon. He always had a love for storytelling, but it was not until later in life that this love developed into a love of telling stories through the written word. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Ministry at Warner Pacific University and a Master of Divinity at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and has since been working as a minister of music in the local church.

He seeks to express his deep faith through stories built on the tried-and-true pillars of tales centuries old, stories that connect to our deepest longings and speak to our greatest fears. But most of all he seeks to echo the greatest story ever told, the One True Story to which all other stories point: the gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife of only a few months and plans to add two more books to his new science fiction adventure series, The Bright Abyss.

Jacob, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, 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?

Hmmm….. this may be a weird response, but I would have to say Perry the Platypus, for two reasons. One, he’s a platypus and I just find mammals that lay eggs interesting. Two, I feel like it would be a lot of fun to go on secret missions together.

Sounds very, very cute, although I am unfamiliar with Perry the Platypus personally. Can I join this secret mission? Oh. Wait. That would probably defeat the secret part of the mission.

What do you write? And how did you get started?

So far, I’ve only written one science fiction book entitled The Bright Abyss, but I plan on adding two more books to the Bright Abyss series as well as writing a whole more slew of semi science fiction/adventure/fantasy stories in the years to come. 

I’ve always loved good stories, but I was more of a movie buff growing up. I didn’t start writing seriously until my enjoyment for reading and writing developed through my college years. One snowy day after college I decided to give writing fiction a shot and I’ve never looked back. It took me quite a while to get my first book published because I had a lot to learn about the art of writing fiction, but I’m excited to continue and can’t wait to get the next book done!

Once the bug hits you… it’s hard to stop! Then again, with the drafting and rejection and facing your own standards, it can be even harder to put your work out there! Congrats and I’m sure people are looking forward to more from you.

What do you like to read?

I like to read a whole assortment of things. Oddly enough my love of the science fiction genre comes mainly from TV and movies, but when it comes to reading, I enjoy some of the classics like John Steinbeck or Charles Dickens. I also enjoy reading theology/philosophy books and books on spiritual formation. Timothy Keller, Henri Nouwen, and James A.K. Smith are some of my favorite authors when it comes to these types of books.

What a great array of genres. They say being widely read is great for a writer and I’ve yet to meet an author who disagreed — at least not out loud.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

“Write what you know.”

Typically, I don’t agree with this statement if it’s taken too literally. It’s not that I don’t think it’s good advice. Of course, it’s good to write what you know, but for me this can feel a bit constricting at times. Part of the excitement of stepping into a new and strange world through story is encountering things we don’t know and stretching our imaginations as we bring to bear this strange world with the world we know around us.

If I come across something that my characters need to know in my story that I don’t personally know I’m not going to allow my lack of knowledge to hamper the story telling. It’s in moments like these where research can come in handy! That being said, I do think there is one important cavate to this statement, which simply put is that you should always write what is true.

Indeed! Those who take this advise very literally end up with slice-of-life stories that can be pleasant, but it’s hard to write fantasy or science-fiction if you keep strictly to this mandate.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Write the truth.

While I may not always follow the previous advice, “Write what you know,” I always seek to write the truth. By this I mean that in my stories I seek to portray the characters, the settings, and the story elements in a way that is entirely coherent to the fantasy world of my own making. I know that if I want my readers to enter into the world I have created, this world will need to make sense according to the given rules of that world. Contradictions, loopholes in the story telling, and character decisions that don’t seem to ring true tend to really frustrate me in books and media so I seek to portray a world and its characters in a way that is entirely coherent. 

But there’s a deeper meaning to this advice as well. I not only seek to make my stories true to themselves, I also try to create opportunities for my stories to connect to the deeper truths of our own lives. In my opinion these are the best sorts of stories, ones that are not only fun and exciting, but take us on a journey that brings us back to the real world with a deeper understanding of the world around us and our place in it.

I completely agree. Without being rooted in a deep understanding of how humanity works, it’s hard for a story to find a deep place in one’s heart.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

My first fiction book is The Bright Abyss, a science fiction adventure story that brings the world building of Star Wars and LOTR together!

The Bright Abyss by [Jacob E.  Hess]

A war raging between a primordial evil and the light that created all that exists.

The journey of a boy wrapped up in the center of the struggle, both seen and unseen.

Step into a world unlike your own, yet the same in so many ways…

Jeremiah Bradford was just a mechanic’s son living on Movaria, in bustling Canvar City, when his father passed away, leaving him a family heirloom wrapped in mystery. Little did he know that what his father left behind would start him on a journey to unravel the truths of the stories he grew up with; stories of a good creator and a primordial evil bent on dragging the world into his darkness. 

Follow Jeremiah and his companions as they face the violence of a universe divided and come to grips with the darkness within and without. Through tragic losses, space battles, and the secrets of the past, Jeremiah wrestles with his own calling and the fear that keeps him from becoming the hero his father always believed he could be.

I’ve also written a short eBook on the philosophy of beauty where I wrestle with questions like: What is art? It’s called Echoes of Beauty and anyone can get a free copy by signing up for my email list.

Check Jacob E. Hess out across the web!

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