It’s time for my latest Friday Guest so please welcome A. M. Burns, who has agreed to be interviewed here today.
First of all, would you like to introduce yourself to anyone lurking here?
Hi, I’m A.M. Burns. I write a lot of different things, most of what I do is urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The majority of my stories have gay protagonist, although I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a gay author. I want my work to appeal to the masses.
What made you decide to get into writing?
I’ve always enjoyed weaving stories. A few years ago, I made friends with a literary agent and although she’s no longer in business, she got me rolling. The bad job market has helped push me along and given me time to further explore my writing options. So far, the sky’s the limit.
Which do you find easier to write: series or standalone stories?
LOL. Most of my standalone stories become series. A good example is a comedy/scifi/horror book I’m working on right now, “Tales of the Scary Queen.” I thought it was going to be a novella or two, the novella wanted to do too much and grew too big, so now it’s looking like a novel, then last week while I was working on it, it suddenly became two novels. It’s an experimental piece for me, so my readers may not see it for a while.
What do you think makes for a good hero and/or heroine?
I like strong heroes and heroines. People who take charge, who aren’t afraid to take a stand, and people the readers can look up to and aspire to be. Even writing paranormal, readers can aspire to be like the characters. That’s important. I think in today’s world we need more strong role models and if folks can’t get them in the real world, they should be able to find them in literature.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love sharing my ideas with people. I hope it helps open their minds to new thoughts, places, and people. It’s so wonderful to me when reading how one of my stories has changed someone’s life even if it’s in a small way.
Where do your ideas come from?
I get a ton of my ideas from the people around me. The main plot for “Perfect Trouble” came from a pagan friend of mine telling me her son was trying to build a magical portal in his bedroom closet. I asked her if I could use it as a story idea, she said yes. The next book in the series, “Perfect Aim” comes from my part time job working in a perfume and incense booth at the renaissance fair and some of the things I’ve seen around there. My partner made a comment about something while we were driving home one day and “Tales of the Scary Queen” was born. It helps keeping interesting people around you.
What kind of research do you do?
It depends on what I’m writing. I’d say at this point, a good seventy five percent of my stories are from information in my head. When I hit something I don’t know about, I hit the internet first to dig up info, then I contact folks that are involved in whatever the questions are. You’d be amazed the little things that you learn, little details, from talking with people that go beyond what you’d find online or in books. Those little details can really make a story jump.
How do you keep disciplined in your writing?
I try to keep a schedule. I’m a night owl, so unless there’s something interesting going on, I don’t get up till mid morning. Late morning, after checking the news, blogs, FB, Twitter, I start writing, okay sometimes, that early afternoon. Get the writing done early then after dinner I work on editing and interviews. When my brain reaches the point of melting, it’s time for a bit of on line gaming or a movie. I’m a big pattern person, as long as I’m following my pattern, life is good.
What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about going down the self-publishing route?
Two big pieces of advice. Get an editor. If you can find someone you can do editorial swaps with, that’s great or maybe you can find one who will work on commission that you pay as you get sales. But find an editor, self editing is the hardest part of self publishing and you will always miss things. I couldn’t do this without an editor.
After that, don’t expect anyone to do anything for you. You have to be ready to get out there and market your backside off. You have to be sending tweets, facebook posts, making comments on other people’s blogs, doing your own blog, doing guest blogs and interviews. It’s a lot of work, but it is well worth it.
Who are your favourite authors when reading for inspiration?
I love stuff by Carrie Vaughn, Anne Rice, and other well-known, and not so well-know authors who write urban fantasy.
What do you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
I live in the mountains. I love to go hiking, it’s so relaxing. Most days I don’t have time to get out and go, but I take time to walk down the dirt road and just look up at Pike’s Peak. Totally awesome.
How did you get into falconry?
In addition to writing, I am also an avid photographer. Years ago, I crossed paths with a wild bird rehabilitation group while I was living in Dallas, Texas. I did a lot of work with them, even eventually becoming one of their volunteers. I got hooked. Raptors are totally awesome. The first falconer I ever went hunting with is actually the gal who’s my editor now. She has one of the top hunting red-tailed hawks in the country. The bond between the two of them is incredible, and watching them, I knew I had to become a falconer. I’m now a master class falconer and have flow three red-tailed hawks and one ferruginous hawk. The way the birds work with us while out in the field is something that just can’t be described. People who are against falconry call it slavery. They don’t stop to realize that it’s a partnership. When I fly my birds I never know if one’s going to come back or not. They’re free when we hunt. They can fly, I can’t. They choose to come back to me. It’s rare to find an author without words, but that feeling when my birds come back is something I’ve never truly been able to describe. It’s just…wow.
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
I’m working on the final edits of “Dr. Gnome” a high fantasy/action/parody/steampunk. I’m in the first round of edits with the sequel to “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky” which is yet officially untitled, I can’t settle on one I like. I already have the third E.S. Peters Investigation book “Perfect Aim” in the writing stages, it should be out this summer.
Please tell us about your latest book.
“Perfect Trouble” book 2 of the E.S. Peters Investigations series.
When Connor Wildman opens a portal to another world in his closet, Ethan Samuel Peters is called in to find the young man. With his trusty werewolf partner, Dusty, at his side, Ethan enters the portal and finds himself in the realm of Fairie. The realm beyond the portal is in chaos due to Connor’s unauthorized visit. Ethan must fight his way through angry elves and emboldened trolls to reunite Connor with his family, while trying to stop the Fairie Queen from declaring war on Earth. Meanwhile, can Ethan’s assistant Tiffany find the person responsible for the theft of sacred objects all over Dallas? The second book in the E.S. Peters investigations series brings even more action than the first and delves deeper into an elegant cast of characters.
I went back to the circle in the sand. The outer symbols were drawn out as Dusty and three wereotters hoisted the kraken up out of the river and carried him toward me.
Now to say that a kraken is ugly is like saying that Hugh Jackman is attractive. It’s a gross understatement. The creature was foul. At first it smelled like a river full of rotten fish. Then I realized that the odor was just the river water running off its scaly hide. Odd protuberances, almost like small tentacles, coved its body. It’s long tail drug the ground, even though Dusty and the otters had it hoisted on their massive shoulders. A rusty chain that one of them had found and used to bind the OD also drug along behind them.
I stepped aside as they carried the kraken into the circle. I quickly redrew the line that the tail and chain smudged. Then I finished the inner circle that would bind the kraken until I finished the banishing spell to send it back to the watery dimension that spawned it.
Dusty gave the OD a hard fist to the head and it slumped to the ground inside the inner circle. He made sure that neither the rusty chain nor any of the kraken’s appendages crossed the lines of the circle.
Once I was sure that the inner circle was complete and should hold the kraken, I turned back to Dusty and wereotters, who had all returned to their human forms. I could only assume that the otters were brothers. I’d go so far as to say that they were probably triplets. They were tall and lean, standing at least six foot four with shoulder-length golden blond hair and strange blue eyes. Unlike Dusty who’d returned to his human form fully clothed, the otters stood there on the sand in their full Nordic glory. Their broad chests and washboard abs were lightly dusted with short blond hairs, leading down to impressive packages. I must say, back a couple of years ago before I met Dusty, I would’ve been tempted to take on the three of them if they were interested.
Dusty was explaining to them that if they stayed in the circle, they’d need to be quiet and make sure not to break it. Two identical heads shook and two of the young men shifted back to their otter forms and raced back toward the river.
“Magic just doesn’t catch a wave with them,” the remaining blond explained as he extended a large stubby hand to me. “Oliver Bjorn, Oli, to me mates.”
I returned his somewhat damp grasp. “Ethan Peters.”
His deep blue eyes grew large. “E.S. Peters. Dude, it’s such an honor that our currents have crossed.”
Where can we find you and your books on the web?
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5134598.A_M_Burns
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0054EVI6W
Mystichawker Press Author Page: http://www.mystichawker.com/amburns.html
Thank you for being here today and talking about your upcoming book. Wishing you lots of success and many sales.