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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome Author S.Evan Townsend

          Where do you hail from and what do you love most         about your hometown?

I grew up in Southeast Idaho, the Blackfoot and Idaho Falls area.  It was hot in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter.  If you eat Idaho Potatoes, they came from that area.  But what I liked most was the innocence.  Talking to my parents as an adult it was mostly hypocritical innocence because a lot was going on behind the scenes.  But you could grow up there as a child without being shoved into adulthood too fast.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
I wanted to be a writer, actor, or astronaut.  Being a writer was easy, I taught myself to type and started writing.  What I wrote at the time (being 12 years old) was probably rather jejune but I believe the more you write, the better you write and I wrote a lot.  You could say I'm a self-made writer (although I have had some help along the way).  But I wouldn't be the writer I am today if it weren't for my early desire to write.  As for acting and being an astronaut, I went other directions in my life and yes, I do sort of regret not acting on those desires.

Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?

My latest book is Agent of Artifice.  It is an urban fantasy set during the late 1950s and early 1960s involving the Cuban Revolution and the Kennedy Administration.  Michael Vaughan is a man with special powers who, due to a misunderstanding, is banished from his guild.  He survives by selling his services to the CIA but that gets him involved with the efforts to overthrow the Castro regime, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Along the way he learns that there are things in life worth fighting for other than your own survival. 

I also have a science fiction novel coming out early in 2012 called Rock Killer.  It deals with mining asteroids in order to supply a crowded planet the raw materials it needs.  But there are those who are opposed to even that and aim to stop it.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

Both my recent books, Hammer of Thor and Agent of Artifice are based on actual events.  This is more "ripped from the history books" than ripped from the headlines. 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Coming up with fresh, original ideas to write about.  Once I have an idea, the writing just flows.  But it's the idea that is the stickler.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write a lot, even if it's not on a book or story, but just write.  Maintain a blog, for instance, and force yourself to contribute to it daily.  Or keep a journal and do the same.  And read as much as you can and read the genre you want to write.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Of course.  I find the best thing to do about writers block is to sit down and write.  Doesn't matter what you write, just force yourself to write.  Eventually you'll break through the logjam and the story will start flowing again.  I was having writer's block on the ending of Hammer of Thor so I decided every day I would email a friend what I'd written.   This forced me to write because I had a commitment (meanwhile, she kept emailing me back, "Why are you sending me this?").  And even though I forced myself to do it, the climax still came out as a good, exciting ending. 

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

My favorite writer is Robert Heinlein.  Not only could he tell a great story, but he almost always taught you something along the way.  And I probably stole at least some of my writing style from him.  The books that have most influenced my life are any book that is well-written and has a good message.  The books I find myself reading again and again (despite the desire to read as many books as possible during my short duration on this planet) are the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

How did you deal with rejection letters?

I celebrate rejection letters.  Now I can move on to the next agent/publisher on my list!

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Strunk and White's Elements of Style, Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (try to get an older edition before they modernized it), a good thesaurus, a good dictionary, a reliable computer, and Word.   Also a good vocabulary, an ability to write a coherent sentence, a good knowledge of grammar, and the ability to sit at stare at a blinking cursor without cursing.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

I don't do very graphic violence.  The most I'll talk about is blood splattering or pudding.  Not into viscera at all and descriptions of grotesque violence.  On sex, it is usually implied, not seen at all.  I have this strange standard: my kids may read this book someday.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?

Walked up to a cop in a Starbucks and asked him what he'd do in a certain situation involving a gun.  He refused to answer.

Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.

www.sevantownsend.com  Twitter: @SEvanTownsend  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Agent-of-Artifice/226539177397391

Agent of Artifice
S. Evan Townsend

They live among us.  We know they are there.  No government can control them; no authority can stop them.  Some are evil.  Some are good.  All are powerful.  They inhabit our myths and fairy tales.  But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers?  What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit?  And what if they started mucking around with the affairs of "lessers" (that is, those humans not able to match their powers)? 

During the height of the Cold War, Michael Vaughan is a rogue without a guild.  He survives by working for the CIA as NOC (Non-Official Cover).  Shortly after the funeral of President Joe Kennedy, Jr., he is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro.  There he finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with adepts working for Fidel.  

S. Evan Townsend is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and two sons, aged 17 and 20, and has a 22-year old son attending the University of Washington in biology. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.

1 comment:

MDOBSON said...

Thank you for hosing S. Evan Townsend