Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Books; Marie Harbon Interview

I love finding new authors and new genres but the expense of buying a book that I find isn't my cup of tea is sometimes enough to stop the exploring. For the longest time I wouldn't buy anything on Amazon because I couldn't pick up the book and thumb through it. That all changed when Amazon created the 'Look Inside' feature. Google has a large portion of the book online, so a reader can really get a good taste of the book. Many of the other booksellers have devised similar tactics.

Libraries are always a good source of books to read for free but the libraries tend to carry 'popular' books, meaning it isn't the best place to find new authors, though you might find someone you personally had not read.

Now many authors have their own websites, but can you get an understanding of what they may write from a website? Some authors I know don't even maintain their own website so it is probably not the best way to judge an author's work, although, in fairness, many authors have briefs from their books.

The Kindle or other ereaders now offer a low cost way to explore the world of new and different authors. Many authors see the advantage to giving away samples, short stories, and even first books in a series for little or no cost.  I have found some great writers this way. I just read something by Benjamin X. Wretlind and while it wasn't something I would normally read, I was extremely glad I did.

That brings me to our interview for  this week. Marie Harbon has written 'Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle' which is now free in the Kindle format until April 19th. You might want to stop and pick up a version just to test the waters on this author.

Thank you for stopping by our blog today, Marie.
You're welcome.

What can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a UK based author and screenwriter who writes mainly in the science fiction and paranormal genres, although I may break that rule from time to time. Apart from writing, my greatest passions also include fabric and stitching; I create bags, corsets and clothing in the vintage, retro and alternative style.

When did you know you were set on the path of being a writer?
Quite early. I wrote stories from a young age, and created novel length books from the age of 12. Sometimes, you just have a calling.
That’s quite impressive! I’ve written things but never finished anything but a short story. I’m one of those writers who starts with a scene and the story unfolds for me. Unfortunately, when I know how it ends, I quit writing. For me the great thing is finding out what happens.

So how did you know you wanted to be a writer with a capital W? And why science fiction?
It really is a calling, where your head fills with stories and scenes and you just have to write them down. Storytelling is such an ancient skill and was originally the only means of recording history. I think it’s something that remains inherent in many humans.
As to science fiction, I like geeky science but I also love the grand and epic scope that sci-fi offers. There are many great sci-fi movies and TV series that remain favorites, such as Star Wars, Contact, Star Trek, Star Gate and Fringe. In the book world, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov have set the precedents, but more recently, the writers Stephen Baxter and David Zindell are breaking new ground.
I’ve heard writers say the stuff just pours out and it can’t be stopped.

What is the thing you like best about writing in general?
Always the creative process, building events and scenes from scratch and seeing everything play out in a mind movie. Re-drafting has its merits too, for an author can really see the story come together and flesh out. Very often, a first draft can be skeletal, so subsequent revisions can really put the flesh and skin on a story.
I know I could use a little of that creative prosess.

Can you tell us about your book?
The whole series is a journey, an expedition that draws together fringe science, psychic powers, alternate dimensions, time travel, past lives, miracles, folklore, consciousness, conspiracy and nostalgia, in a soap opera for the soul.  Welcome to the new paranormal/science fiction series entitled ‘Seven Point Eight’.
In the first book of the series, a physicist begins a quest to measure the soul but soon finds himself swept into the world of Max Richardson, where research is sold to the military at the highest bid.  When the talented psychic, Tahra, walks into his life, they soon embark on a ground-breaking project designed to stretch the frontiers of exploration, only to make a reality shattering discovery.

 What was your inspiration and what triggered the writing of ‘Seven Point Eight’?
It amalgamates all the things that interest me and that I’ve read about, including quantum physics, mysticism, psychic powers and the universe. I wanted to create a highly ambitious series that encompasses life, the universe and everything, in an epic story revolving around five principal characters.
‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ lays the groundwork, and sweeps through the 40s, 50s and 60s to modern day in a wild nostalgic, scientific, paranormal ride. The original concept revolved around a group of extraordinary people, although the over-arcing story came together over the period of a few years. I wrote a short story in the 90s featuring the machine and consciousness travel, and I liked the idea so much that I developed it further.

 This sounds like it must have take some real research! That’s a lot of time to cover.
Yes, pretty substantial. I approached it in layers, so that I laid down the scientific geeky elements first, as they were essential to the story and dialogue. I layered the historical backdrop in on the next draft, to establish the cultural context and backdrop. There won’t be as much research historically for the next book, as I’ve got to keep everything tight; there’s a huge amount of plot to pack in.
I tend to take notes from the books I’ve read, indicating how it fits in with my story. The details are often researched as I progress through a book, reflecting where I need more detail. It’s also down to the draft stage it’s at; the technical research was the first layer, while the next draft focused on the historical context.

How many Chronicles will there be and what is your next release? What do you have on tap now?
There are five in all, and The Second Chronicle is due for release around August. Each book will feature a main character on the cover, with the story involving them in a significant way.
The Second Chronicle’s cover will depict Max, and in the book, we see his demons run amok, while we get to deal with the legacy of the machine.
The Third Chronicle will feature Ava and in this book, her purpose and secrets will be revealed.
The Fourth Chronicle focuses on Paul to a large degree, the portion of his life after the machine and his new project.
The Fifth Chronicle concludes with the focus on Sam, his demons and dilemmas, plus, it wraps up all the story threads and mysteries.
Seven Point Eight: The Second Chronicle is due for full release in August this year, with the ARC available in July. I’m also planning a stand alone for release just before Christmas, which will either be a suspense novella or a dystopian YA book. The TV pilot screenplay also requires a second draft, so I can start pitching it.

 Any advice you can give to our readers who want to be writers?
Study both the craft of writing and the world of publishing, whether that be traditional or indie. Understand the market and what makes readers tick. Observe people and relationships. Join writing groups and find yourself a critique partner. Organize a good editor. Build a social networking platform – blog, Facebook, Twitter etc… And finally, persevere.

Thank you for your time today!

My pleasure!

Readers, don't forget to check out Marie Harbon's book, 'Seven Point Eight: Chronicle One'.

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