Here's a new post for you all to read through of an upcoming author. The guy is super lovely, and extremely talented- if not just a little crazy- in a good way though ;0) I also asked him if he wanted to write me a short guest blog, alongside his interview, since he always has the most fascinating things to say, and well, you really should read it...
Name: D J Meyers
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Where did you grow up?
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first short story (published by my local school in a collection) when I was 11. I then spent years as a song writer, writing a musical and a play, before turning to long form prose about 9 years ago.
What made you start writing?
I started writing novels as a challenge, just to see if I had it in me, and while that remains to be seen, I have completed 17 novels (make that 18!)
Is it something that you have always wanted to do?
I have so many ideas running through my ancient gnarled stone face that I find it difficult to know sometimes. I have always been a writer, but I have always found different mediums to express myself. The novel has just allowed be to spread my wings a bit and fly off the belfry.
What is your favourite genre to read, and do you have any favourite books or authors you would like to recommend?
Oddly, I am not a big reader. I was once, and then I began to write, so now I don’t find the time, but when I do read I like to consume. I love the classics, big on Shakespeare, the Brontes, Dickens and Austen, but I also like more modern works. Harper Lee, J K Rowling, Douglas Adams, Stieg Larsson. I’m a mix of mystery and fantasy and adventure… and I love a good mind meld – nothing like a challenge.
What about to write?
I write like I think, with suspense and mystery, adventure and a bit of romance. I have no favourite setting, as historic, contemporary or futuristic all appear in my works… sometimes in the same novel! I travel a lot and I find stories everywhere I go. I like to create a plot with a challenge that I have to solve as I write. I enjoy nothing better than writing myself into a corner or going off on a tangent that I have to curl back into the main plot… as such I like to have multiple threads underpinning the main plot that can be as inconsequential as the reader would like them to be or as crucial – I give the reader a choice; follow the action or become really involved and follow the threads as well. I also like to pepper my plots with spicy bits of poetry and songs (some original and some classic)… something for the reader to delve into once they've finished, if they so desire... and desire is good! A good book should be deep enough on multiple levels for a second or third viewing.
Do you write full time? If not, what do you do?
I wish! I am an ex-English/History teacher who has spent years playing in bands by night and building computer networks by day. My actual title is a ruse, because there are so many facets to what I do, I defy description.
Do you ever base your characters on anyone that you know, or are they solely from your imagination?
Oh I like this question. I do both. I often start with a face, in a crowd or from popular culture. I then blend that with one or two more and create the character from there. I seem to need a face to relate to. Sometimes I will blend the characters of 2 or 3 people I know or have known to create a unique personality, but my current MC, a futuristic girl named Maia, is totally imagination. The weird thing is, I travelled interstate with work last week and I actually bumped into her in a hardware store. The young woman was so like my character it was scary, and she caught me staring at her… whoops! The odd thing was, like my character, she just stared back, totally unperturbed. There’s even a scene in The Maia Calendar that reflects such a moment, yet I wrote that scene a month ago!
About Your Book
Tell us about your latest book. The story/plot.
My latest book is called The Maia Calendar (just finished first draft of epilogue woo hoo!) It is a prequel/sequel (work that one out – imagine yourself in a Whovian-type existence) to a time-travel trilogy I completed last year.
What gave you the idea?
I think I got the idea because of the whole Mayan Calendar thing in December 2012. I think I tried to imagine what it would be like to be in control of a calendar over time, from the perspective of a perfect future world that had no knowledge of the struggles of our current imperfect world.
What genre is it?
Like all my books it is somewhat cross-genre… a mixture of dystopian, science fiction, with a young adult bent and plenty of mystery (and a touch of history.)
Who is your favourite character?
Definitely Maia, the MC. She is somewhat whimsical at first, because life is good and there are no obvious pressures in her existence. However, she grows dramatically as her calendar implodes around her. She has to make tough snap decisions which often create a bigger mess, yet she toughs it out and is willing to sacrifice herself for others, and their future, by the end.
Definitely her father; he is a bastard, from a family of bastards. He exists in a background theme where sometimes a family set of genes can just be bad, and power hungry.
What are your hopes for it?
I think that it is close to a published form and would work well as a lead off to my time travel trilogy.
What’s the next project that you’re working on?
My next project is called The Gargoyle Chronicles. It follows the life of a Gargoyle from creation (stone cutting in a masons workshop), to observing the world from the belfries of Notre Dame Cathedral, to becoming a war souvenir, to flight. It will be a set of short stories that run one into the next as the gargoyle observes the world over a millennium. It will be observational, but also fantasy, with a humorous tete e tete between two gargoyles as they watch the world go by!
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given in regards to your writing?
The best piece is probably not to trust the opinions of friends. They are generally too nice, the real world of publishing is far less forgiving.
Guest Post: Inspiration versus Perspiration?
The gargoyle's jaws lather salaciously as he ogles the world about him, drifting off to the north of England...
“There was a time I can still remember on a windswept moor. I don’t remember exactly where that was or quite when, but I remember the bite of the wind as it cut through the thin cotton shirt that I wore. I remember how the sun held its poise on horizon’s edge, with the promise of a sailor’s delight on the morrow behind a fearsome looking bank of clouds.”
Whitby, in the north of England, April 2008. Doctor Who was battling a giant wasp-man, David Tennant style, and the concrete floor of the dining room, in the basement of the B&B, was deserting those who had not worn shoes. I came here because of Frank Sutcliffe. I had a number of his photos hanging on my hall wall, but as Edison said… genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. I was about to find out why.
The streets of Whitby are nothing if not steep and cobbled; just as difficult to stumble down as to scale. Sutcliffe’s Gallery beckoned, another picture for the hall wall, but it was closed for the weekend, and that was all I had. Inspiration had to be discovered elsewhere in this quaint seaside village, so I delved into the nuances of time, imagining sepia landscapes, and soon found myself by the River Esk.
The wharf area was always peaceful at this time of night and it was especially luminous tonight due to a favourable full moon and the absence of the clouds that had dogged the sun earlier in the day. Only a solitary cloud, narrow and long with the wind, faded across the moon now, its edges illuminated fancifully as if it was lit from within.
I wandered along the banks of the Esk between the wicker crayfish baskets and the ancient bollards. The archaic setting put a smile on my face. The Esk was as calm and misty as a mirror after a morning shower while I made my way slowly across the swing bridge to the opposite shore. The narrow alleys, that wound their cobbled way down the cliffs rising up above the town on this side of the Esk, now greeted me from the shadows.
I poked my head into the shop windows and marvelled at their clutter of kitsch tourist goods and variety of sweets. A drool formed unwittingly as I ogled the Whitby Rock and its many varieties, but the other stone more prevalent here, the renowned Whitby Jet, was like black pools of mystery drawing me ever closer without falling in.
Beyond the jet, the road here swung up sharply to the right and onto the 199 stairs that led up to the parish church and the ruined abbey. To my left was one of Whitby’s narrow sandy beaches, but I knew my destination… the ruins of Whitby Abbey. The climb up the stairs here was steep and exhausting… Edison was right; plenty of perspiration, yet inspiration eluded me. The Abbey was closed for the night, but on returning in the morning, I discovered my fabled Sutcliffe and captured the Abbey in all its eeriness… that was 597 steps, only 99 more to get back down!
The wharves across the Esk were a pathetic excuse for a fun pier Brighton-style. I imagined peeking through the strands of my windswept hair to find that the bollard below the lighthouse, near the end of the old seawall, was draped with a mermaid; one whose tail formed a perfect aerial en pointe in fishnets. However, it was night in my imagination and the full moon shone quite brilliantly on her pale shoulders and arms, features of flesh that were quite distinct from her black dress and her long black hair. Her eyes reflected the dark depths of a midnight sea, the glint of the full moon like the splash of a cresting wave ebbing as she tossed her hair in the sea breeze. If only it was night… perhaps I could create that mood; embellish the whiff of fairy floss and the turn of the clown’s faces as they sucked the pennies from unsuspecting passers-by. I allowed myself the indulgence and emptied my pockets at the top of the queue… bound for the inner labyrinth of the Dracula Experience! Shouldering arms, there were six of us, darkness ahead…
There was a scream in the distance, from somewhere we had yet to experience. I yearned to be there, because it was probably there... inspiration! I kept up with the others as they began to run. We bolted through webs we could not recall later, past scenes Winona would have been proud of, through doors and along a revolving tunnel that would have stirred our stomachs had we walked through it more warily. Finally, we burst through another door all slimy as if covered in blood reaching for a scream beyond it and bounded out into a narrow passageway to join the screams of hilarity and recognition of my five companions.
Then we all heard it… him… that low terrifying rumble of a laugh… one of the girls screamed (as they do in these places) as a monstrous bat came swooping in from our right flank, but this bat had eyes that were all black with an intensity that drew the blood from our faces, and fangs that glowed white in the darkness. It swooped down and picked off the girl in front. The girl screamed and passed out as it sank its teeth into her neck. The rest of us ran across the bridge which almost threw us off sideways as it swayed (I contributed gladly to this, jumping maniacally for greater effect!) The apparition disappeared and Madame Guillotine appeared to our left, holding up the severed head of that beautiful redheaded girl… the girl we had just forsaken! We screamed again and ran on (waving our hands in the air somewhat limply), but we were now three… what happened to… more screams… and I found myself running with only one other. She held onto my hand gratefully, but she was cold – fear racked my body and sucked the life out of it as it had hers…
“Quickly, in here…”
She opened a door which seemed to be slimy, was that blood? Oh God, then I turned; her eyes were all black and her white teeth, glowing in the dark, dripped with blood…
“Well now, Gargoyle… were you not warned about this place and those who did not return if they ventured out on their own?”
WTF… I was out of there, screaming like a girl at a Bieber concert, running up the hill, beyond the Captain Cook monument, to the great circuit of Victorian buildings that over looked the North Sea.
That’s where I saw it, the gold-rimmed plaque all royal blue, which read…
Bram Stoker (1847-1912) Author of Dracula stayed here 1890-1896
On the flight home to Australia I sketched out my newest novel, born of one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration… To See the Sun became my first foray into the literary world of Gothic horror… having tasted just a little of my own by the Whitby wharf.
D J Meyers
PS dearest Claire asked for something bloggish and short, but she should know better. When it comes to me, words are always gushing out like water through a gargoyles mouth in a thunderstorm!
PPS all sections in italic are direct quotes from the novel To See the Sun (a tale of an Amnesiac Vampire)
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