Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Meet The Author - A.R. Silverberry

One exciting part of being involved with a great author group like the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network is being able to get to know other authors in my genre. Today I have the privilege of interviewing one of those brilliant authors, one who happens to be an award winning writer. 
A.R. Silverberry talks about his lack of boy scouting ability, the need to create and of course, his exciting new adventure, The Stream
Your book The Stream sounds so intriguing and such an original concept, what inspired you to come up with it?

The idea came from a conversation I was having where I was using the metaphor of a stream. Afterward, I kept thinking about that metaphor. In a few hours, the character of a small boy, alone, defenseless, trying to understand the ways of the world, popped into my mind. I saw images of him confronting the challenges we all face in life: love, loss, pain, losing your way. The next morning, I put aside the novel I was working on (it wasn’t working anyway), and started writing. It pretty much tumbled out of me and didn’t let go until it was done.

If The Stream were to be made into a movie, would you want a cameo? Who would you play?

Fun question! If you look at Alfred Hitchcock movies, he always puts himself in as a bystander in a crowd, or some anonymous person walking by. That would be the place for me. No aspirations here to get into acting, though both of my parents did it professionally. I loved watching them in plays from the front row. My father played Harry Brock in Born Yesterday, my mom played Billie Dawn. The both were fabulous actors, especially my mom, who ran 100% on pure talent and instinct and left people speechless. I think my dad knew that it was a little disconcerting for my young mind to see his parents so transformed, my sharp-witted mom into a ditzy doll, and my father into a gangster boss. So what did he do? He stuck his tongue out at me during the dress rehearsal. I’ll always love him for that!

How long did it take to write The Stream once you had the idea mapped out in your head?

Looking back on it, it’s a miracle I wrote it so quickly. I was going through a rough year looking for a house to buy. The market where I was looking was crazy. There were bidding wars with twenty or more people bidding on the same house and tossing out tens of thousands of dollars over asking. Some how, during all that, I wrote The Stream. Start to finish, it was about sixteen months before it went to edit.

Tell us about some of the learning you had to go through in order to make The Stream seem real and believable?

I never attended Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. I never river rafted or took a wilderness course. That left me with a huge learning curve, understanding how my five-year-old hero, Wend, would survive in a primitive water world. What I did have was a sailing trip I took with a good friend and his dad during high school. Some of the imagery from that trip found it’s way into the story. He and I lost touch until a few years ago, but I reconnected with him at a reunion and gave him a call. He answered a lot of questions I had about boats, storms, and sailing.

Did you do any hands on research?

Henry James coined an interesting word: verisimilitude. It means the appearance of being true or real. That’s paramount in a novel. If something doesn’t have the ring of authenticity to it, readers are knocked out of the story, even if they aren’t aware of why. Since the setting, the stream, is a character in my story, I had to get it right. I visited two streams multiple times, sitting and absorbing with all my senses. I captured my impressions immediately in a notebook.

I actually wrote on how much research was involved in a post called The Secret Ingredient In Fantasy Novels.

What do you do for fun, when you are not writing award-winning novels?

Taking award-winning walks on the beach! Long before I started writing, I played piano. When I need serenity, that’s still the center I return to.

I hear you are a psychologist, working with children and teens, is there ever a time that your immense imagination comes in handy with those you are working with?

Psychotherapy is less about imagination and more about empathy; intuition; and sensitivity to process, listening with every part of yourself. Writers and psychologists do have this in common: the ability to step into someone elses shoes. For the author, that means not just the hero or heroine, but also the villain.

Ever had any interesting encounters with fans of your work?

After reading Wyndano’s Cloak, a number of girls wrote to me that I inspired them to write their own novels. Several parents told me their children came out of their shells and started showing their true colors after reading the book. Comments like that send me to the moon!

When did you know that you had to be a writer?

For me, it’s not that I have to be a writer per se, but that I have to create. Right now, writing just happens to be the best mode for me to express that side of myself.

What other authors to you look up to and feel inspired by?

Jane Austen, Dickens, Harper Lee, Tolkien, Hemmingway, Barbara Kingsolver, Dean Koontz, Stephen King.

What is the best part of writing?

Meeting readers at bookstores. Once, a girl of about nine was too shy to come up to my table, though her little brother did, and at last, he convinced her to stop by. We talked for a long time and I read her an excerpt. After paying for the book, she sat on the floor, carefully peeled off the stickers, and walked out of the store hugging the book to her. I’ll never forget her.


Synopsis of The Stream:

What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?

After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?

Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.

Purchase The Stream:



Purchase Wyndano’s Cloak:


Limited first edition Hardback:

Signed and unsigned copies available only from the author

Follow A. R. Silverberry:


About A. R. Silverberry:

A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Blog Tour - The Writing Process

Huge THANKS to British mate, Peter Facer for inviting me to join the blog tour about the writing process.
Peter is a retired police officer with broadcasting and writing experience spanning forty years. He is married with three grown-up children and three grand-children. Living close to the Essex/Suffolk border, he is able to enjoy country walks with the family dog, Gem.
Peter started writing late in life, but believes that this has enabled his experiences and knowledge of policing to bring a new and fresh angle to the usual UK police thriller novel. Unlike those traditional whodunits, Peter’s “Jake Sullivan” novels are fast-paced non-stop action thrillers with plenty of twists, turns and surprises.  You can check out his police thriller 'Legitimate Targets' or his answers to the same questions at http://peterfacer.wordpress.com/

So, here's the questions...

1. What are you working on right now? 
Right now I am editing the second book to the Titanian Chronicles trilogy, titled Ormnhi Moon (Ormnhi is said phonetically, the h is silent). Where book one, Journey of Destiny, opened us up to the world of Titania and sets our heroes out from the peaceful elvin kingdom to seek out their destinies in a land foreign to them and being infiltrated by the likes of the Darklord Moorlan, Ormnhi Moon sees our adventurers five years on. Where Wolflang, Afeclin and Lenna ended up in the first book, we see what has happened to them and where their alliances lie. Moorlan's infiltration into the Land of Marrapassa is heightened, we learn more about the various characters and their histories and the presence of the Ormnhi or 'chosen one'. Afeclin is tasked to find out what the Dark Mage and Warlord are up to, Wolflang finds himself rescuing old allies and Lenna protects her friend, Sarvina  (who is not all that she seems) with her life.
I enjoyed the write, now I enjoy the review and edit in preparation for turning it over to others to read and edit for me. The plan I am working on now is to have this book out by Christmas.

2. How does your writing differ from others if its genre?  
That is a hard question to answer, you always hope as an author to be original and I strive to come up with ideas that are different to those I have seen played out in other fantasy books but I understand fantasy adventure is not a new concept and has been done well by many others before me, for example Tolkien. As a writer, I look for different aspects to focus on, that I personally haven't come across. In Titanian Chronicles our hero is a human brought up in an all elvin kingdom by the very king himself. His understanding is elvin but is confusingly human.
I also built my world with many original animals and I have a few of my own races in the mix.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I  don't know that I write fantasy because I choose to or more because it chose me. I've had stories of all sorts in my head as long as I can remember. This story was one that stuck and I knew that I had to write out and see through. I am someone who loves fantasy myself but it is not necessarily my favourite genre. I would love to write some kind of crime mystery thriller, (hey I study criminology and criminal justice so I can't help but have stories with a criminological basis in my head). However for now it's Titania that I write about and I don't see myself moving away from that any time soon... even after the first trilogy is written. I'm enjoying it far too much.

4. How does your writing process work?
When  I first started seriously writing I would just sit down, write  and see where it went... I mean I had the main storyline in my head but on the road to getting there I would just fly by the seat of my pants... (I hear they would call me a pantser). It was a bit random and I never knew what was going to come next, which was always exciting. However in writing the second book, I refined my process a bit and began with a whole lot of plotting. I use the program Scrivener to write and organise my files and so when I sat down at the laptop with thoughts of where the storyline was going to go in the next installment, I set up a file for each chapter and scene and wrote a small synopsis for each. It actually made the flow of writing much more fluid. As I would come to the end of one chapter, I didn't have to give too much thought about moving on to the next. I would simply read my notes, have a brainstorm as to how the chapter would play out and move on to writing it in a very planned and orderly fashion. Of course things still changed along the way as ideas grew, developed and presented issues or questions that needed some resolution, which meant it was just as exciting, because even with such plans made, I was constantly surprised by where I found myself.
Now that I am editing, I go through chapter by chapter, re-reading and editing the text, making sure it sounds just right and is consistent with the rest of the book. I have a note book by my side and dedicate a page or so to each chapter, writing important notes that I may need to check up on later so that I don't end up changing aspects about my world, characters or what-have-you along the way. It has proven to be very useful and a quick reference when I need it. Before I move on, I read it out loud and make sure it has a good flow. Also reading it word for word out loud can help to pick up on pesky mistakes that our eyes sometimes miss when reading in our head. I also edit as I write... I can't help myself, after I have written a chapter I read it back and fix any problems, make any changes that I see fit at that time, knowing full well that I will be back to edit later so if I am unsure of something I often will put a question mark in the text to indicate I need to figure something out. However I tend to be a slow writer, in that, I don't just sit down and let my fingers go at the keyboard and worry about how smooth it sounds later. I spend time thinking about the best way to write each line so that I can get across the right message to my readers. Each chapter may take anything from a day to week to write (depending on time restraints) so that I can get it as close to where I want it that I can before moving on.

The End
Next Blog Stop is Dale Furse, writer of Science Fiction/Fantasy (heavy on the fantasy) novel, Curse Book 1 of Wexkia trilogy She has been writing novels, short stories, plays, songs and poems for over thirty years and still enjoys her journeys to unknown places meeting unheard-of peoples and beings. Dale answers the same questions on her blog http://dalefurse.wordpress.com/
Make sure you check her out!