Today I am doing something extra special! I’ve been chatting with this very cool author who is just fantastic, and we decided that we would give you a special interview with some SERIOUSLY COOL GIFTS!!! So, I would like to introduce Mr. John Hundley author of Draculata Nest….
Mr review for this book is found here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/274759701
Me: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
John: When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, my Mom read some books to my little brother and me. How or why she started, I don’t know, but for a period of time there she would read a couple of chapters a day. They were the first non-picture books I was exposed to. I remember The Wizard of Oz (followed by a number of the sequels) and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. I remember listening and forming pictures in my mind that were far better than any illustrated page. After she read them to us, I would take them and read them myself, reveling in the worlds the authors could create with just their words. I always thought it would be wonderful to be able to write words that others could use to form into pictures in their minds.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
The Draculata Nest was the first novel I ever completed. I’d gone back to school to pursue a career change and found that I was enjoying my writing assignments way more than anyone should. I was keeping a daily journal as part of an assignment in an Interpersonal Relations class when I decided to practice my typing skills (I was taking a keyboarding class also) on my newly purchased laptop. I’d overheard two young coeds talking about some vampire TV show they were watching (Vampire Diaries, maybe?) and the hunky guy playing the vampire on the show. I started typing out a journal entry from the point of view of a werewolf who resented the growing popularity of vampires. I took the two coeds, put them in the same room with the werewolf, and started a dialog. It was fun, and before I knew it, I had a plot line and the characters had taken on a life of their own. I surprised myself, because as many times as I’d started a novel in my lifetime, I knew I was going to finish this one.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yeah, as much as I try to deny it, Clifford Crane is me. Come to think of it, so is Nicole… and Heather and Kendall and… Nearly every character in DN is based on someone I know, or think I know, or wish I knew, or a composite of people I’ve known over the years, with the exception of Roland, the vampire villain. One of the advantages of being as old as I am is I’ve been blessed with a rich and diverse stream of real-life characters that have traipsed through my proverbial kitchen – there’s always someone I can throw in the stew.
How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
That has been hard. There are a few battles in DN, and a few more in the sequel. After all, the backdrop of the Red Wolf Novels is a war between wolves and vampires. So someone has to die, and unfortunately it often has to be someone the reader (and writer) has grown fond of or there is no emotive potential. So far, I have used a variety of methods to determine who has to go. At one point, I actually did eeny-meany-miny-moe. Another time, a death caught me by complete surprise, and I was tempted to go back and re-write the scene to undo it, but in the end decided the story was better because of it. Sad, too, because I’ve wished that character was available several times while writing the sequel.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Uh huh! I self published DN, and after reading several books on marketing self-published works, I got on Facebook and joined some author/reader groups. (That’s how I met you, Maghon!) I’ve gotten exposed to so many authors, it’s almost overwhelming. One of the first suggestions I got was Samantha Young, a young British paranormal author. I’ve read three of hers in the last four months. I’ve also “met” a few author “friends” on FB. I just read The Hunted, by Kristy Berridge, and I’m reading Karen Dales’ Angel of Death right now, which I’m enjoying.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Yeah, I’d probably change the title. My know-it-all friend, David, who helped me immensely during the writing of the first draft with his brutal criticism and tough love, tried to tell me ‘Draculata’ was lame. I had good reasons for sticking with the original title, but I keep getting feedback from people who liked the book after they were ‘reluctant to read it’, and I think the lameness of the title might have something to do with their reluctance.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. You can probably tell from this interview I can be a bit verbose. It is a challenge to back off some of the descriptive passages and stick to the action. I’m trying to keep my writing simple, but it’s hard not to want to experiment. One of the things I’ve done in the sequel is write some group scenes where some folks are conversing verbally and telepathically and thinking to themselves at the same time. I’m waiting with bated breath to see if readers find it as entertaining as I do, or if it’s just too confusing to follow.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I’m reading Karen Dales’ Angel of Death right now. I have an embarrassingly long list of paranormal titles on my kindle in a collection I’ve frustratingly named Crap to Read Later. I love that genre, but I think I’ll take a break when I finish Karen’s book. I found an interesting sci fi title while browsing our local indie book store and one of the clerks convinced me it was great: Towing Jehovah, by James Morrow.
Who designed the covers? And do you help with them?
I did the cover for The Draculata Nest, but cover design is definitely not my forte. I’m talking to someone now who I might collaborate with to redesign the cover along with the design of the cover for the sequel, releasing the sequel and the redesigned first book at the same time.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
I learned a lot about pacing and dialog and that writers aren’t just bullshitting when they talk about their characters taking on a life of their own.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Sorry, I’ve got enough problems of my own. I don’t want to have to worry about where my clothes are after changing into a werewolf and I love the sun too much to embrace being a vampire, even if it meant immortality. Well, it might be cool to be The Dragon, who we get to meet in the sequel. It’s dodging the question, but my favorite character is Nicole.
Why did you choose Clifford to be “older”, or less young? LOL
Oh, wow. That is a great question. There are so many reasons, but I’ll mention only a few. For one thing, I wanted something different, something that hadn’t been done over and over. Also, I can identify with being an older person going back to school to pursue a new career later in life, and that made it easier to write from that perspective. I am intrigued with characters who have responsibility or the burden of potential thrust upon them unwanted. So, what would happen if someone who had already gone through the identity crisis of youth and the struggles of middle life, who had become comfortable in their own skin and maybe even at peace with the decline of old age, suddenly had to go through it all again?
How did you design the character of Danielle?
Danielle is an enigma to me. She kind of designed herself as she was written, and it wasn’t until I started writing the sequel that I recognized who she was. She is a composite of a number of women I have known over the years. She is attractive, irresistibly charming, and purposely shallow. She will never let you see the real her, because either she doesn’t want you to know or is afraid to look herself or, who knows? Ironically, she is attracted to both Clifford and Nicole because of their genuineness, but she doesn’t really know how to deal with it. There is a brief bit of self-disclosure when Clifford chastises her for flirting with Kendall, but I’m not convinced she was telling the truth even then.
Do you know how many books you want to include in your series and how it will all end? (don’t tell us the ending LOL just if you know it already)
Yes. I know how it will end, and right now it is intended to be a trilogy. That might change if I decide to include the back story of Clifford and Claire, which some readers have requested. If I decide to write that, I might weave it in as flashbacks over the course of a third and forth book, or as a prequel book on its own.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I really appreciate y’all. I’d probably write anyway if nobody read anything I wrote, but it would be like a painting nobody saw or a song nobody heard – it wouldn’t be complete. So, (should I say it?) you complete me. (No, probably shouldn’t have said it.) Seriously, it’s obscene how good it makes me feel when someone goes to the trouble of reading all 300-plus pages and tells me they enjoyed it. Thanks.
I love love his answers! They show a piece of who he is, not just as a writer, but as a person 🙂 Those make me happy… but now I know you are just jumping your seat to know what we are giving away! So here’s how were are going to do this…
APRIL 11, 12, & 13 DRACULATA NEST WILL BE FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE!!!
& I WILL PULL A WINNER FOR A SIGNED PRINT COPY TOO!!!
HEHEHEHE! Are you all excited yet! I really am, and I’m just posting links & e-mailing winners hahahaha So here’s how it works… first, for an e-book copy for FREE go here–> http://www.amazon.com/Draculata-Nest-Wolf-Novel-ebook/dp/B006DOTBCU/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
Anyone can download it, as you do NOT have to have a kindle… you can download the FREE app on your smart phone, iphone or android, your computer, your tablet, whatever. It’s pretty awesome… Now, for the BIG WINNER… fill out this form (sorry it’s for US only, as Mr. Hundley is shipping this one & I can’t have him sending it expensively)…
I will announce the winner on MONDAY APRIL 16, 2012 and then once I confirm your info, I will supply Mr. Hundley with that, and he’ll ship your winning book to you 🙂 I wish everyone good luck, and make sure you get your free copy of the e-book while it’s available 🙂 and thanks so much for sharing this adventure with us! & again, Thanks Mr. John!! We will do this again soon for the sequel I hope!! 🙂 Happy Reading, thanks for stopping by, and later my reading gators!!