Graeme will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author.
I’m anal, just ask my friends. I’m not obsessive about it so I regard it as a positive trait. It allows me to figure out every tiny detail about my fantasy worlds, even if many of those details never make it into the book. I commonly figure out all the political and economic factions, imports, exports, the timing of every moon and sun, major constellations and star names, languages, food, drink, clothing and how everything works in the world, be it magic, running water, boats, etc. World-building is one of the most important skills that a fantasy writer needs, so I regard my anal tendencies as a great asset. 🙂
That same attention to detail also allows me to carefully format my ebooks and paperbacks, and chart my marketing opportunities and book sales. I love writing, but it’s a business for me so tracking these things is important.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
Both, really. I grew up on fantasy and sci-fi so it was totally natural for me to write in those genres. I think carefully about genre and genre-mashups, and fully intend to write books in all branches of spec-fic such as cyberpunk, steampunk, biopunk, dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy. And Romance. That last one is scary! Most of my books will be written from the female perspective, and so I need to master the female POV on romance.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?
Definitely a plotter. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given my earlier answers. 🙂 I extend the same attention to detail to my characters and plots. Before I start writing I need to know their goals and motivations, and their relationships and feelings toward every other character. I grow my plots organically from those character traits, writing each scene on a post-it so that I can rearrange the story for maximum impact. Then I’ll transcibe it into a document, revise it some more, check for ascending tension and a sensible weaving of subplots. Finally, I have my outline to write against. Heh, I can sense all you muse-driven writers squirming at the very thought of my process. I’m a very structured writer. Probably because I’m an engineer by career. It’s ok, pantsers, breathe! Each to their own.
4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline?
That’s a great question. Not consciously. I try not to project myself into my books. A common theme in my writing is betrayal, but I’ve never been majorly betrayed in my own life, so maybe that is a subconscious fear of mine. Probably the closest I’ve come to utilizing one of my own fears is in Ocean of Dust where Lissa is suffocating and thrashing beneath the surface of the dust ocean. Drowning is indeed something that scares me.
5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you?
Panic, usually. Seriously, I learned a long time ago that you can only do so much. I may get irritated and frustrated that I can’t do it all, or I have to skip writing for a few days because life gets in the way, but I force myself to let it go. (Cue the Frozen soundtrack!) I don’t like writing to a deadline but like most people, I’ll do it if I must. Ironically, I can write better when time is short, probably because I don’t have time for my nagging self doubts. When I’m under pressure I find that getting all my chores done first helps me settle into my writing. That, and a nice glass of wine.
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention?
In Necromancer, my hero Maldren ventures into a spooky, abandoned tower known to be the home of a vicious wraith-necromancer. He plans to confront it and seek its help, even though he has seen this thing kill a dozen people in his nightmares.
Hell, no! I’m not going in there. I don’t watch horror movies because I can’t bare it when the teenagers split up and the girl goes alone into the basement. A creepy tower inhabited by a nasty ghost? No thanks. I’m sure I can find someone else to help me. Or I’ll do it myself. Walk the other way. Fast. The outcome of my cowardice? Everyone in the city is probably doomed to die now. Woops. Now I feel bad. But not bad enough to go in that tower!
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without.
I love my iMac with its huge monitor so I usually squirrel myself away in my office. My wife knows not to bother me and so I can write in total silence. Often, one of the cats sits on my desk, and I have to dissuade it from editing my work with wayward paws. It isn’t vital for me to bring comfort food, but a hunk of good cheese and a glass of wine works wonders.
8. Writing inspirations?
Everything. People watching. Plots to other books or movies that inspire me to think “but what if this happened instead?” Necromancer was inspired that way. Instead of evil sorcerers summoning the dead to help them take over the world, what if necromancers were the good guys, trying to protect people from the undead? Also, real world events or theories. For example, I’m soon going to be writing a time-travel thriller that involves dinosaurs, and my cool twist came out of a single line remark someone made on a TV show that had nothing to do with time-travel. At the end of the day, all books are about people and relationships so everything in the world is inspiration.
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
My all-time favourite author was Anne McCaffrey, but I had the good fortune to meet her many times and ask her all the good questions. So let me pick Elizabeth Moon, who’s Vatta’s War series I enjoyed so much. I would ask her: “Kylara Vatta is one of my favourite characters of all time. You must have based her upon someone you met in the military, so please tell?”
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t.
Alas, I can’t read a book or watch a movie now without objectively analyzing the plotline, the premise, the character motivations, tension arc and important reveals. I study story structure. I just can’t resist doing a critique afterward, whether I am talking about what the writer did badly or what they did superbly and what I have now learned. I’ve been told, “Can’t you just say it was cool or awful?”
Thanks for the great questions and for hosting me today. 🙂
by Graeme Ing
A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city’s leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.
Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.
His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.
Can only evil defeat evil?
She glanced at me then the ground below, but only clung tighter. A man appeared at the window, his teeth bared. Four scratches on his cheek oozed red. White drool speckled his trimmed beard. He clawed at her. She scrunched her eyes shut and wailed.
With a crack, the casement tore free, and she plummeted into my arms. We tumbled to the ground and the smoke surrounded us like a pack of wild animals.
I rolled to my feet, helped her up, and dragged her down the street, holding my breath as long as I could. She coughed and choked, resisting my pull. Murder flared in her eyes. I slapped her.
“Trust me. Hold your breath and stay with me.” I yanked her forward.
I shouldn’t have spoken. Smoke surged down my throat and I gagged.
Rage ignited inside me. I wanted to tear out her rabid eyes. My arm squeezed hers until she cried out, and I knew that I could break it with a twist, could snap her entire frail body. My gaze fixed on her pale, sweat-soaked throat. It invited me to choke the life from her, watch her struggle and finally go limp. My pulse quickened. Anger flooded my veins. Then my hands were around her throat, squeezing, crushing. She coughed and drooled thick, white saliva. Her blue eyes locked with mine but she put up no resistance. A smile twitched on her lips as my thumbs dug deeper. Ah, the sweet moment of superiority. How would it feel to kill? Delicious. It washed the tight pain from my head.
Something flickered deep within me. This was wrong.
Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.
Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GraemeIngAuthor
Twitter: @GraemeIng https://twitter.com/GraemeIng
Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/necromancer/id909909878