Welcome to summertime, folks, and the latest edition of the Manifesto. Man oh man, how much do I love this time of year? Beaches, barbeques, buddies, and beers… pretty much my mantra for the next four months. Throw in the summer movie season, the summer concert series (Dropkick Murphys and John Mayer this year… BAM!), plus the start of NFL training camps in late-July, and it’s no wonder why guys love this time of year.
Suffice it to say, lots happening right now in the Malone house, not the least of which is official release of the Mako audiobook (now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes) and the ongoing development of Book 2 in the series: Red Sky Dawning. That means this month’s blog is of the shorter variety. That said, I did want to take a moment to answer a handful of questions I’ve received in recent weeks. So, here goes…
Question: What inspired you to use video gaming as a launching off point for Mako?
Answer: I grew up on films like “Tron” and “The Last Starfighter,” and while I always thought the whole “video game to reality” thing was a neat plot device, that really began to hit me as I got older and video gaming evolved from titles like “Contra” and “After Burner” into what it is now with “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft.” Add to that the fact that various branches of the military are actually using gaming as a training tool in present day, and it seemed like the time was right to tell a story like this one. Enter: Mako Assault.
Question: What character from Mako was the hardest to write?
Answer: That’s sort of a toss-up between Link and Masterson. On one hand, Link was a challenge because I wanted him to be crass, but not so much that he wasn’t likable in his own right. On the other hand, villains are a tough lot to crack. I really wanted the commandant to be ruthless, but with purpose and meaning — not just “okay Reader Smith; here’s my cookie-cutter bad guy! Go hate him now!” Hence, the epilogue.
Question: What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
Answer: Time, without a doubt. As much as I love writing fiction, I do have a day job and a family, both of which are major priorities in my life. Thus, finding an hour of uninterrupted writing time can occasionally be tough. But, you set a deadline, you carve out your schedule, and you stick to it… even if it means getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to write. Side Note: Coffee is your friend…
Question: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Answer: Two points:
· Manage your time: Set a writing schedule as best you can and stick to it, otherwise nothing ever gets done.
· Read as much as humanly possible: I minored in creative writing in college, and while I learned a lot, nothing teaches me how to be a writer like reading (fiction, non-fiction, and every genre in between for both), then practicing the craft myself.
Question: What books have most influenced your writing?
Answer: Hard to go wrong with Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” for SF, or Jonathan Maberry’s “Patient Zero” for pure, hard-charging action. When it comes to characters, though, nobody does it like Stephen King. His are so rich, and so textured, and you just can’t help but fall head-over-heels in love with them, or hate them with every fiber of your being depending on whichever the author wants you to feel.
I don’t care if you like horror or not, that guy’s a master.
Question: What have you read lately?
Answer: I’m reading Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series right now, but prior to that I picked up Lisa Gardner’s latest crime thriller, Touch and Go… probably the best book I’ve read so far this year, if you like that genre. Even if you don’t, I dare you to put it down after the opening chapter. Really, really well done.
Alright gang, that’s gonna do it for this time. Everyone take care, have a great Memorial Day weekend, and please take a moment to remember why we have this holiday — the brave men and women of the American Armed Forces who keep us safe so we can enjoy it!
Until next time…. RUAH!!!!