Tonight I have the distinct pleasure of introducing two talented authors in double interview. They write young adult and dark fantasy. I’d like to thank them very much for participating in the tour! And thank you all for reading! Enjoy the interview everyone!
Title: Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon (Book 2)
Genre: YA/MG Dark Fantasy, Adventure
Social Media connections:
http://www.facebook.com/DCMcGannon http://www.facebook.com/CMichaelMcGannon http://www.twitter.com/DCMcGannon http://www.twitter.com/MichaelMcGannon http://www.goodreads.com/DCMcGannon http://www.goodreads.com/cmichaelmcgannon
Release Date: April 9, 2013
“I enjoyed the story immensely, the characters were introduced smoothly and interacted well with each other. Especially gratified when a feeling about the sinisterish figure at “Hunter’s Key” turned out to be correct, and without giving any spoilers away, he fitted his role beautifully. Once the Charlie and friends crossed over the bridge to monster country, the other world was entirely believable: traditional mythological creatures together with some of the authors’ invention were realistic, and acted in character. The comical Dink & Fish add a splash of humour to the story, and I was particularly impressed by the originality of the magical artefacts introduced, and the manner in which they were utilised.
The formatting is without fault – I loved the little title motifs, a really nice touch. Overall, the structure of the story worked, and I had no trouble entering the world of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters, and I look forward to reading the next title “Witch Moon”, which I understand is due for release very soon. In my opinion, this series deserves to be a huge hit, and I would urge anyone reading this review to download a sample, I can guarantee you’ll be hooked!”
“D.C. and Michael pack a wealth of wonder and fantasy into this young adult adventure. Incoporating some of the most fascinating legends…I found myself being drawn to the depth of the characters and enjoyed watching their bonds grow as they explored the gifts hidden deep within them as well as the evil that hunts for them.
I recommend this story for anyone who loves folklore and monstrous fun! From vampires to dragons, from witches to eerie ferrymen, this tale has it all.”
“This is totally my kind of book. Creepy mansion and awesome magic? Check. Strange creatures? Yep. Interesting characters? Indubitably. This. Book. Is. Awesome. So jeez, why are you still reading this? Go read the book!!!”
Other Work: Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: The Varcolac’s Diary (Book 1)
Please provide a snippet from your most recently released book.
Across an ocean the portal village of Drakaraugh suffers under dark magic and vengeful gods. An ancient terror threatens our world once again. If the rising darkness has its way, the light of day will fail.
A plea has been sent to the Monster Hunters of Hunter’s Grove. Hope is dim.
These are dark times indeed. The light is fading.
The Witch Moon rises.
1 When did you first start writing?
DC: I started writing in the 4th grade. I wrote a story about Snoopy for a class project and it went on to win a school award and I just kept on. I’ve written poetry, short stories, and a few other pieces. For many years I wrote for business and leadership, and even Seminary. In 2005 I returned to writing fiction, and felt like I just came back home.
Michael: Similarly to my dad, I started writing at about that same time (4th grade), but it has been since I could pick up a crayon and draw that I’ve been thinking up characters and putting them through tragic, exciting stories. I think it was that 4th grade year that I realized writing might be a way for all of those characters (STILL running around in my head) to come out.
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Michael: I wanted to become Superman at first. For the longest time as a kid, I thought I would become a movie director and/or an actor. I knew that I wanted to make characters and stories for them. But I grew up kind of quiet and shy, so the idea of being in front of a camera, or even of shouting out directions from behind the camera, kind of scared me off. Then the whole writing things kicked in.
DC: I wouldn’t say necessarily a writer, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist in one way or another. I loved writing, but I also loved painting, music, theatre, dance. I’ve done them all for fun and professionally. I feel like I just keep evolving as an artist and I’m O.K. to just keep working at it. As a professional speaker and teacher for over 20 years, I felt that every time I stepped on stage I was creating art, and I engaged every audience to join me in the experience. My passion is really engaging people and situations creatively.
3 What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up?
DC: I really love middle grade and young adult fiction simply because it is so full of life and creativity. I am working on a couple of children’s books, as well as a few projects for adults in the thriller / horror genres. So, yeah, I like to mix it up. I think the adult titles will be ready much sooner than the children’s books, but I love working on all of them. I am also working on a 2013 release for a book on the issue of bullying. This issue really gets me moving, and I believe we can make a huge difference in this area. As a matter of fact, a lot of my speaking these days will focus on this issue as well as child literacy.
Michael: Young Adult, definitely. We can think outside the box in YA. Mild fantasy/scifi (not Lord of the Rings high fantasy, and not Star Wars space opera scifi, but somewhere in the middle), dark fantasy, and horror. There may be a couple of stories outside of those bounds I try my hand at in the future, but I’m not ready to tackle them yet.
4 Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from?
DC: Relationships. Michael and I first began talking about writing a series together as father and son. We thought that would be one of the greatest achievements for us together. I mean, how many father/son teams do you see out there writing together? It’s just one of our greatest joys. But, the whole idea came from the relationships between a group of unlikely friends and what it would be for them to overcome great adversity and triumph against all the odds – even in the face of great loss. Michael and I both have a wonderful love for folklore and legendary monsters from all over the world. Put those two influences together and you have a recipe for a fun, engaging adventure.
Michael: I would have to agree. We always wanted to do something about monsters from all over the world and the people who fought/hunted them. The story went through a lot before we started even writing a word. One day, DC asked if they were kids in a city. Did a vampire live next door? Did they fight all monsters or just some? From there, the story started falling into place.
5 What has your publishing experience been like?
DC: We started out going the traditional route, and felt like we were actually gaining some traction with that. There were a few things that came our way that were interesting, but overall we just weren’t feeling it. We began exploring the self-publishing route back in 2005 and just fell in love with that culture and the process altogether. It has been a sharp learning curve every year since. We have nothing but the highest level of respect for the traditional route and still wouldn’t mind working with someone in the future, maybe. For now, though, we are having a blast as independent authors and learning all we can. Along the way, we are meeting some of the best people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The experience hasn’t been easy, or cheap, but fun!
Michael: It has definitely been a learning experience. Every step of the way is something new and different. We’ve enjoyed learning each new skill and meeting each new person in the process.
6 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Michael: I do. It depends on the hour of the day of the week of the month of the year of…well, you get the picture. I do have routines that I try to follow, mostly governed by music and chocolate, but it depends on the mood of the story and then how I am feeling that day. If it’s an action scene and I’m feeling great, I might put on some Led Zeppelin and rock out while I write. (Yes, I do rock out.) If it’s an action scene and I’m feeling tired or really struggling to get that word count out, I’ll probably use something more ambient. Like the soundtrack to the Last Samurai. If I’m writing a horror story, something off the wall like Tom Waits. And no matter what I’m writing, I always like to at least sit near a bar of chocolate. In case of emergency.
DC: Writing as a team is as much fun as it is challenging. We both go at it differently. Michael is a bit more structured than I am. I get this idea and just blow out of the starting gate like a mouse out of cheese, then I have to go back and fix everything I blew up getting out of the gate. I like writing at night, with music, and zero distractions! When we are writing together we bounce back and forth. I might write a scene or chapter and then Michael will come in and work his angle, and vice versa. Sometimes we sit down with our computers and just talk through every part of the scene and take turns typing it out as we go. Other times we literally go out somewhere and act out what we want to see happen and really “feel” what we need to write then go back and write it out. I’m not sure if it’s the right way or not, but it works for us. I think the key is we don’t try and limit ourselves. We are totally open to new ways of doing things and are exploring all the time.
7 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
DC: Some of the places are actual places we’ve lived or visited. Other places are places we do a lot of research on. A lot of it is based on imagery. We want people to be able to visualize where we are talking about and feel as though they would recognize it if they were there. As far as character names, some of them are mixtures of people whose personalities we feel fit the character. Someone who has inspired us. Other times, it’s based on the character and we research names that would fit that person. A lot of our writing comes straight from legend and lore, so we have a lot of historical names to work with as well.
Michael: Agreed. If it’s a character that I’m building from scratch, I know I always start with the concept of him or her, and build them up a little, and then I go through treasure troves of names and pick the full name based on that. The meaning of each name is quite important to me, personally.
8 In your most recent work, who is your favorite character and why?
Michael: I would have to say the twins Lisa and—in Book 1: The Varcolac’s Diary—Liev. They’re the brainy members of the group, knowledgeable about what the Monster Hunters are going up against next. Aside from that, they’re the snappy ones in the group. Lisa is moody and feisty, while Liev is sarcastic and not afraid of being totally honest.
DC: I think Charlie is for me (D.C.). He’s the unassuming leader. Quiet but very influential, even if he doesn’t recognize it. He’s not arrogant or proud, and really struggles with the day-to-day stuff, like all of us. Charlie is real, and he has real gifts and talents that are life-changing, both for himself and people around him. I also like Fish and Dink, because they are just hilarious. They have fun just being who they are, and I think all of us would be a little better off having a little more fun just being who we are. The Gargoyles are fun for me too. Mysterious, powerful, and just enough of them to make me want more of them.
9 Did you learn anything from writing your book?
DC: What was it? Oh yeah! Enjoy the process. I want to be uber-successful as an author. Who doesn’t?! But I really want to enjoy this and have fun doing it. I’m writing with my son, and as a dad it’s just awesome to have that opportunity! I’m also learning a lot about myself and what I need to get better at at this point in my life, and what I can just let go because it doesn’t really matter anymore. I think I’m also learning to deal with a different type of criticism. As a business and spiritual leader throughout my life, I have really faced some tough criticism and just kept on walking. This is a different beast though, and it really is a process of becoming sharper as a human being, and being more compassionate and full of grace to the world around you. That may sound like a stretch…learning all that just from writing, but it really is moving me along that path and I’m grateful for it.
Michael: A lot. First and foremost, that we could do it. You never know until you try. Second, that it’s okay to get help from others. The writing community is a vast one. The author friends that we have made have been helpful and wonderful people. Top notch people. It is hard to let other people read and work on/around your book—that’s your flesh and blood!—but I think we’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to be around other authors and writers.
10 How did you/do you market your work?
Michael: Push, push, push. Not just push your book out there, but push yourself to interact with others and be consistent in doing so. Which can be hard to keep up, but very worth it.
DC: Cry. Pray. Cry some more. Ask anybody and everybody how to do it. No really, this is one of the most important areas we can learn about as authors. We have used social media like it was our best friend. Word of mouth, and building through local markets. What we’ve tried to do is really build in our local city, and then begin branching out to wider areas and audiences as we feel we can sustain it. We’ve worked with experts and coaches and just try to implement what they teach us one item at a time. I think for us being patient and doing small things well, then building on those small things, is a key to success. We are martial artists. Black belts. There is a saying in the dojo when you are training and finally earn your black belt. “Now that you’ve earned you’re black belt, you may begin your training.” It’s like writing the book is getting your black belt, then the real work begins! I think the other part of it, and probably the most important part, is building relationships. I’m not focusing on sales, though that is important. I’m focusing on you and me in this conversation. Over time the sales come in. But there is no limit you can place on the value of the relationships we are building in this process.
11 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
DC: I was just a beam of light! Not just because I saw that book and held it in my hand. I was actually holding the camera when the first box arrived. I was taking pictures while Michael was opening it. I went into “Dad” mode at that moment and was just so proud of our accomplishment together and revelled in watching him beam with pride and joy at this piece of our hearts and minds finally being here. When I saw it online, I was calling everyone! I was like, “go to this website, you can see it there now!” I stayed on the phone with people to hear their responses. I was totally filled with excitement. If you’re not excited about something like that, you need to find something else to do. Simple as that!
Michael: I didn’t know what to think. Excited, obviously, but in a shocked way. “We made this? Hey, look, we made a book!”
12 Favorite authors?
DC: Charles Schultz. C.S. Lewis. Poe. Dr. Suess. Shel Silverstein. Joseph Delaney. John Flanagan. Chris Mould. Just to name a few.
Michael: I like this question! J First off, I have to say every author DC has mentioned above. Also, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordian, JK Rowling, Alan Moore, Scott Westerfeld.
13 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?
D.C.: I guess that’s what you call it. Really I just get fatigued sometimes and have to back off for a while. With all the online stuff, marketing, appearances, and just life going on, I really have to disconnect regularly. I love walking trails. Playing with my boys is huge for me. Sometimes I just like sitting out and gazing at the moon for a while. Movies too. I’m a movie fan. I just need to disconnect and re-engage when I feel charged. When I’m “full” again, I get at it.
Michael: Even as a person whose job revolves around words…I don’t think I can adequately put words together to answer that question. In short, yes. It can be extremely frustrating when you want to finish your work. I think though that writer’s block can be a helpful reminder to just take a break. Go watch a movie. Go read a book. Go fishing! Then come back and ease back into the rhythm.
14 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
DC: Read. Do yourself and your readers a favor and read as much as you can. Disconnect regularly. Surround yourself with a team of people that are much better than you at things and lean on people who can coach you through the process. Find the joy in doing this. It is a privilege, treat it as such. Always be grateful for and thankful to those who help you along the way. Don’t be afraid of coloring outside the lines. Do what you love and love what you do!
Michael: Keep going. Writing is hard. It looks easy to sit at a desk all day and make up sentences. It isn’t easy though. It’s fun, it’s draining, it’s often maddening, and when it counts it is one of the most fulfilling experiences to finish all the way through. SO….keep going. Take breaks, but if you love it don’t give up on yourself. Every story, when given the proper love and care, is a wonderful addition to our world. Don’t be afraid to tell it to us.
15 Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it?
DC: Sure. Books 2 and 3 of this series are on their way. Book 2 in April and Book 3 will be just a few months away. I’m working on a book tackling the issue of bullying and also working on three short stories that range from horror to a mysterious “Carnival-esque” thriller.
Michael: A few things *he said, rubbing his hands together and chuckling maniacally.* I think DC and I both are putting some shorter horror-themed projects together in a compilation. Writing horror short stories is actually one of my favourite things to do as an author—they’re just fun to write, and they actually help me break outside of the normal structure of a novel or full length story. Beyond that, I’m working on an older YA series, which will be a dark steampunk adventure. I’m very excited to be working on it and can’t wait to let the cat out of the bag.