Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Author Interview: Ernie Laurence

Ernie Laurence





Interview


1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.

I am a consummate geek.  I grew up with Star Wars and transformers and reading Tolkien and Terry Brooks.  Once I settled on a degree in college I ended up graduating with a CIS degree with the goal of designing and eventually producing video games.  I worked for a few years as a designer then ended up marrying my wonderful wife, Heather.  We wanted kids so I switched to something more stable but equally geeky.  I teach Physics now.

I've been writing since the sixth grade.  The first novel was completed my senior year.  Since then, I have completed a number of series, which are described on my wiki.  None are published...yet.

2. What types of books do you write?

Science fiction and epic fantasy crossover.

3. Who's your main audience?

My target audience is young adult, but the books are written with a certain standard in mind.  There is no sex and no profanity.  Some violence does exist, but I don't consider that beyond the junior high/high school level of maturity.  These books are meant to be safe for 6th grade and up.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?

I am a world builder.  When I start a book, I have a world or an overall image in mind.  Then it's just a matter of sitting down and writing.  Up until I married Heather and she found out how many books I had written and pushed me to publish, writing was therapeutic for me.  Just sitting down to the keyboard and letting the story write itself allowed me to escape the way others do reading or watching a movie.  Most of my stories have at least two threads in them.  Keeping that global image cohesive and transferring it into the epic series is what I believe I'm strong in.

That also works against me to some degree though.  The world I imagine tends to be pretty rich with economics, politics, flora, fauna, etc.  I have a rough time remembering not to info dump on the reader and bog them down.  When I read through Sundered, I feel like its naked because I know the other 90% of Hemingway's iceberg and want the reader to know it as well.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?

What's that again?  I'm not familiar with the concept. *chuckle*

6. How many books have you written?

As a logical person I tend to write in a pattern:  prologue (hate 'em if you want to, but I love them), fifteen chapters, epilogue (see prologue).  Every book I've written is that way.  All nineteen of them.  The caveat to that is that each book in Word shows up to be around 350K words.  I went to an agent conference hosted by the Writer's League of Texas a couple of years ago and came away with one overwhelming fact, my books were bout three times as long as they should be.  So if we take each book and break it into thirds, toss in some major trimming, I've actually got about 45 novels written.

7. How many are published?

Sundered, which is a mild 107K words, is the first.  My goal is for Causality, the second in the series, to be out by the end of the summer and Rebellion to be out right before Christmas.  Prophecy, the last in the Islands of Loar series will be out next May.  If things bog down (as they might with twin toddlers) then I'll push Causality back to Christmas.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?

Most people would label me self-published.  However, I have actually begun the framework of a small press company called "Hero's Guild Publishing".  The plan is that after the Islands of Loar series is fully published and in stores (including hard copy and audio), then I will begin looking for other authors to publish.  The goal is to provide the same business model to them that I am using and only take about 2% of the revenue for HGP.  The idea is that those who are "I'm strictly an author type and can't bother with this marketing stuff" will have someone to help with the non-writing side like getting them up on Smashwords and Amazon, and moving into hard copy and audio if they want.  We will require the same level of quality and morality that my own novels adhere to in order for books to wear the Hero's Guild name.  That way parents and readers to whom it matters will know that when they pick up a HG book, its not going to contain certain things.

In ten years, my goal is to branch out into other media like video games, maybe music, and eventually movies.  All with the same level of quality and morality associated with them.

Until that time, though, I'll remain labeled "self-published".

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Heh, that's easy.  Time.  Marriage is great and I would not change it for anything, but one of the things I sacrificed was a geek-load of free time to write.  Now I have two-year-old twins, Kade and Gwynevere, and my free time is approaching absolute zero. *chuckle*  I have had to learn to write in spurts and stutters.

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?

Mostly the same that I write, fantasy and science fiction.  Tolkien, Brooks, Jordan, Sanderson, Goodkind, Weeks, Card, Paolini, Asimov, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, and on and on.  Of course I own and have read every Star Wars book written.  Loved the Bolo series (a series about intelligent tanks that protect humanity).  I also enjoy a healthy dose of political stuff like Atlas Shrugged, the Federalist Papers, and other conservative oriented material.  I also read a healthy smattering of religious (Christian) fiction and commentary, but they are always concerning topics or beliefs I do not share.  For instance I've read the Left Behind series, the Frank Peretti books, and a host of things on Nephilim, but I am a preterist and don't believe angels did, do, or can breed with humans.

11. Who's your favorite Author?

That question is not possible for me to answer with one name.  If you made me pick right now, I'd say Brent Weeks for his Night Angel series, but that changes over time and always has.

12. What's your all time favorite book?

The Bible, of course.  But speaking sci-fi/fantasy, again that's impossible to answer as I have read so many and loved so many.

13. How long does it take you to write a book?

My first book took me seven years (from 6th to 12th grade).  Since I graduated until I got married I could crank out a 350K book about once a year.  I have not actually written a novel since I had kids and have no idea how long that would take.  I have three unwritten but planned trilogies I may get to one day.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?

Kade Rystalmane/Shadowstone.  I named my son after him.  Kade is a reflection of the darkest part of me.  When writing him, I am able to release that darkness into the world through a safe medium.  This is not the place to speak further on that.

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?

That people actually enjoy reading what I write.  It was therapy for me and I never had any real goal to publish until my wife began encouraging me to.  To see people come back and say they enjoyed the story, that it was good, is kind of surreal for me.  I'm talking about people who have no ulterior motivation like being related and whatnot.

16. What does your family think of your writing?

My wife liked it enough to push me into publishing.  My sister-in-law is reading it now, but is (very) pregnant and I'm not expecting feed back from her for a while.  She reads a lot of similar stuff and she'll be (brutally) honest so I'm looking forward to what she has to say.

17. What does your writing schedule look like? 

Schedule?  Did I mention I have two-year-old twins?

18. Do you manage to write every day?

No.  I edit every day and help out other authors like on Critique Circle and Facebook.  I'm in edit/marketing mode right now and probably will be for a couple of years.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?

Other than the release of Islands of Loar: Sundered?  I suppose it would be that Smashwords accepted my submission for their Premium status.  I'm also in negotiations with an international distributor that works with all the major book retailers and uses a Print On Demand model for distribution.  If that relationship develops favorably I'll have the framework in place to start publishing other authors under the Hero's Guild name in hard copy.

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?

Finish the book.  Don't edit.  Don't get other people's advice.  Don't do anything but write until that first book is complete.  Once you have done it and your heart catches up with your brain and you realize you can write a full length novel, or whatever it is that you write, then writing other full length novels is not this towering mountain range you feel you could never cross.  Editing and feedback come later.

Also, never respond negatively (or better yet, at all) to negative criticism.  Ever.

21.  Why a wiki web page?

When I write, one of the things I use to keep track of the details (since I'm a global writer) is an appendix and a ream of Excel spreadsheets for character lists, places, flora, fauna, etc.  Some authors include these in the back of the book, but mine is so big, I decided that I could provide a more interactive version in wiki form, and cut some printing costs at the same time.  At the moment there are over 200 entries and I'm not even close to done with transferring my personal appendix over to the wiki.  That's just for Sundered.  You can also find a list of all "19" novels there as well as a description of any planned novels.

Website:  herosguild.wikia.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/herosguild
Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767415.Ernie_Laurence_Jr_/blog
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/139361
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Islands-of-Loar-Sundered-ebook/dp/B007HO1SSA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332699686&sr=8-1

3 comments:

Fitra2009 said...

You has a great blog. I'm very interesting to stopping here and leaves you a comment. Good work.

Lets keep writing and share your information to us.

Nb: Dont forget to leave your comment back for us.

Ernie Laurence, Jr. said...

Thanks Raebeth.

Ernie Laurence, Jr. said...

Thanks, Raebeth.

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