Interview With Author R.J. Truman

R. J. Truman is the brain-power behind fantasy series The White Light Chronicles. Focusing on Obsidian White, a seventeen year old girl who finds herself on a journey to find her estranged father, and save the world in the process. This unique coming -of-age fantasy story made it’s debut in 2013 with Obsidian White-Shades of Violet and has since grown into a six book long series with the 7th and final book currently in the works.

rj-truman-portrait-resize


First things first – did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Writing is always something I’ve loved doing, ever since I was younger. So yeah I guess in a way I have always wanted to be a writer.

Writing is a career that most find difficult to pursue and often find themselves deterred from – did you ever face adversity for wanting to become an author? And what did you do in the face of this?

Some people do find it hard to understand, as it’s difficult to make money from it. So I point out that it’s more like a hobby for me, and all hobbies cost money. But most people have been supportive or me, and I have another job that pays the bills.

Where did the idea for The White Light Chronicles come from, and what made you decide it had to be a series?

I got the idea for The WLC years ago after reading The Lord of the Rings, and being a tad obsessed with vampires. I got the crazy idea to find a way to combine elves and vampires into one story. Originally it was just going to be one book. But as time progressed I started to get ideas for other stories, and I decided to try and link all the stories together. I thought it would be fun to try and write a series.

wlc1-photo2

What are your own favourite books or series? And do you have a favourite author?

I wish I had more time to read, I do still love The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien), and I’m not ashamed to admit I liked reading Twilight (Stephanie Meyer). But as for an all-time favourite author, I don’t think I’ve read enough books to be able to say.

Who would you say are your biggest inspirations? Authors, other fictional characters, people in your life?

I get a lot of inspiration from the people around me. I try not to base my characters on actual people I know, but I often use their traits in my characters. I also watch a lot of T.V and that helps to get my imagination working. I try to read as much as I can, but I can’t always find time.

How long does it take you to write your books?

It varies from book to book. I managed to write the first three books very quickly, as I was on maternity leave. And they were the ideas that I originally had years ago, but never got round to writing up.

What is your work and home schedule like when you’re writing?

I don’t really have a schedule, I’m more of a write when I’m in the mood kind of person. So I can go from writing every night in a week, to only writing once a week. All depending on how creative I am feeling.

wlc1-photo3

What would you say is your biggest strength when it comes to writing your books?

Ooh that’s a difficult one, I’m not very good at picking out my strengths. I like writing dialogue, and think I’m quite good at that.

And your weakness? 

My biggest weakness is I’m lazy. I should spend more time on my books, but tend to get distracted a lot. Which isn’t always a good thing especially when it comes to editing them.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I am either spending time with my son, working, or building up my POP! Collection.

Have your family or friends read your books? Or are you fairly shy about showing your work to people you know?

I think most of my family members, friends, and even people I work with have read at least one of my books. To start with I was a bit shy about it. Now I want as many people as I know to read them. So I can get feedback on areas I need to work on and develop.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do hear quite a lot from my readers, as lots of them follow me on Facebook, and Twitter. Most of them are positive in what they say. And normally say how much they enjoy the books, and about how different they are from other things they have read. Which I like to take as a compliment.

Has anyone ever surprised you with feedback on your work?

My sister actually surprised me by saying she enjoyed the books. She doesn’t normally read fantasy stories, so I took that as a compliment that she liked mine.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Just how crazy I really am.

 wlc1-photo1

What do you think makes a good story?

Something that really gets people’s imaginations going. I like to feel as if I’m there in the story, as one of the characters.

Have you ever surprised yourself by where your story is going? For example, authors usually map out a story, then find halfway through their characters have done something entirely different!

This happened to me a few days ago, when I was working on the final book in the series. I had all these ideas I wanted to use, and when I started writing I ended up with something completely different. A whole new bunch of ideas just came to as I was writing. And I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

Once you’ve completed The White Light Chronicles, do you have another series or book ready to go? Or will you be taking a step back from writing for a little while?

Once I’ve finished this series, I’m going to work on putting together a collection of short stories that I have already written. And after that, I have lots of ideas for stories written down all over the place. I would like to expand on some of them, and who knows maybe start my next series of books.

Will you be staying along the same tracks of Fantasy stories? Or are you going to dip into new genres for your next books?  

For now at least it looks like I’ll be staying in the fantasy genre. I’ve just got some ideas for a new series of books, so it will be interesting to see where that takes me.


wlccollection

R. J. Truman’s The White Light Chronicles series is available to purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. You can follow her on her Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates, including ones on her new series!

 

Interview with ComixTribe Co-Creator Tyler James

rsz_ct_logo_square_400x400

Here at Skatronixxx.com we are passionate about independent/creator-owned comic books as well as their creators and publishers. When we get the opportunity, we love to shine the spotlight on them.

rsz_tylerphoto

Tyler James is a comic writer, publisher, game designer/producer and teacher from Newburyport,  Massachusetts U.S.A.

What inspired you to create comic books

Matt, my mother, will tell you that her biggest fear when I was a kid was how heartbroken I’d be when I learned I couldn’t actually be a superhero when I grew up.

I’d come home from pre-school every day with a brand new Batman utility belt made with scissors, glue, tape, and construction paper.

So, superhero comics definitely pulled me into the medium, and it wasn’t long before I wasn’t only reading the books, but throwing tracing paper over Spider-man and “drawing” him myself.

I credit the Image explosion of the early 90’s with triggering the “aha moment” realisation that these characters weren’t something that “always existed” but rather were created by actual human beings. Being there from the very beginning of the Image universe definitely had a major impact on me.

It wasn’t long after that that I decided I didn’t want to draw Spider-man as much as I wanted to create my own characters and tell my own stories.

When you decided that wanted to create your own stories what was your biggest challenge or obstacle?

When first starting out, and this was early 90’s so virtually a lifetime ago… I really didn’t have any challenges or obstacles.

I had paper and pencils and a copy of How to Make Comics the Marvel Way by Stan and John, and I was off to the races.

In that regard, I was lucky… when you’re a kid, you don’t really care that there’s so much you don’t know that you don’t know… you just go.

Of course, there were no internet resources, comic cons weren’t a thing I knew about, and my local comic shops were more places of commerce than true communities… so I did things wrong and would later have to unlearn a lot of bad habits.

What do you mean comics aren’t drawn on plain printer paper?

Why would I script out pages in advance rather than draw them one page at a time?

How else would I letter my pages but to draw in the word balloons and letter by hand?

That said, I’m incredibly grateful that I started logging my 10,000 hours at a very young age.

What is the origin story of comix tribe?

Flash forward twenty years or so, and I started working on more and more collaborative projects. After about a dozen years of working on comics entirely as a solo act, I realised that I’d never be able to create all the comics I’d wanted to bring into the world alone.

At that time, I started becoming increasingly obsessed with the craft of making comics and started writing some articles on craft and creating over at ComicRelated and on my own blog.

Eventually, I started working with editor Steven Forbes, who was also writing great how-to content. I hired him to edit a book I was working on… he tore it to shreds. We’ve been friends ever since.

Because I was working on books with other creators, publishing under “Tyler James Comics” didn’t seem like a very compelling option.

So, Steve and I conceived of a site called ComixTribe, which could act as both a resource of articles for comic creators and a publishing imprint for our future books.

ComixTribe.com opened its doors on 1-1-2011.

Having had quite a few successful Kickstarter campaigns, how has Kickstarter changed Comix Tribe?

ComixTribe has been bootstrapped from the ground up. Steven and I were big on ideas and short on cash to invest into ComixTribe.

Cash is oxygen to a business… without it, a business suffocates.

With it… well, you have options.

In 2012, we launched our first successful Kickstarter and in one month raised $26,000 on Kickstarter.

After Kickstarter took its fees, that still meant that more than $23,000 hit the ComixTribe business bank account.

To put that in perspective, that was more funding in one month than I had made in the previous 12 years creating comics, selling them at shows and online, etc. combined!

That infusion of cash helped us not only fund the production of a hardcover graphic novel that the direct market alone could not have supported, but it helped finance print runs for other series, marketing, and other publishing investments.

You can draw a straight line from that first Kickstarter to where we are today… it’s not wrong to say Kickstarter was a game changer for us.

It also continues to be a major part of our overall publishing strategy.

The reality is this… there is no path to victory for a small, bootstrapped, independent publisher selling only $3 comic books through the direct market. None. The numbers don’t work.

But when you’re able to put a system in place that combines Kickstarter, the direct market, conventions, Amazon, and digital sales… those numbers become a little easier to make work…

And then once you start piling upon additional revenue sources such as foreign licensing and media options… they start to get rosier.

And the truth is, success in one area often leads to increased success in other areas…

But you need to get the snowball rolling somehow, and in 2016, I have no doubt that the best platform to get that snowball rolling is Kickstarter.

rsz_chum1

rsz_theredten_1_cover

Many readers are frustrated with the way Marvel and DC have handled their respective universes. Do you see independent/creator-owned comics popularity and sales coming close or equal to Marvel and DC’s in the next five year’s or so?

In the direct market (i.e., Comic Book Shops), no. No chance of that happening. But that’s a pretty narrow view of the comic book industry, isn’t it? I mean, Raina Telgemeier latest graphic novel Ghosts is getting a 500,000 first print run that is more than 700 times what DC’s top selling graphic novel sold last month.

There are webcomics that are read by far more people than any direct market series.

In the direct market, though, you have a Diamond providing 95-99% of the comic product to shops, and Marvel and DC taking up 70-80% of their comic product offerings… that’s not going to change anytime soon.

The good news is that independent creators and publishers don’t need to compete with Marvel and DC to win.

Erica Moen isn’t competing with Marvel and DC. She’s winning.

Jason Brubaker isn’t competing with Marvel and DC. He’s winning.

Greg Pak is working for Marvel and DC… but also doing his own thing outside of the Big Two. He’s definitely winning.

rsz_oxy_2

rsz_trt_2_covers

Are there any books or Kickstarter campaigns in the works you can talk about for 2016 or possibly 2017?

Can, I talk about Kickstarter campaigns… oh, man, that’s a loaded question, Matt!

Well, first I’ve got to give a shoutout to two creators who took part in The ComixLaunch Course I taught earlier this year who just wrapped up successful Kickstarter campaigns. Michelle Palmer’s Meraki and Jim Whiting’s Margo: Intergalactic Trash Collector.

The great thing about teaching The ComixLaunch Course and hosting the ComixLaunch.com podcast is that even when I don’t have a project going… I feel like I’ve got an investment in the Kickstarter platform.

Some projects we have in the queue are hardcovers for CHUM and AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE, the next OXYMORON: Killing Time anthology, and THE RED TEN OMNIBUS.

And those are just the projects that we’re talking about publicly.

We are very wary of asking too much of our fan base, and we do try to space out our Kickstarter’s so they can get primary focus when it’s the book’s time to shine.

But you can be we’ll be on the platform again soon.

However, the absolute coolest thing going on right now is what’s happening with SINK, the new John Lees Alex Cormack series. Nearly 500 readers have “got in the van” already, and the early reaction has been phenomenal.

rsz_comixl

Thanks to Tyler for taking the time to talk with us! Follow him on Twitter @TylerJamesComic also follow @ComixTribe. Subscribe to Comixtribe’s email list http://www.comixtribe.com/subscribe and get five free digital comics!

Check out Tyler’s podcast on 50 creators sharing the #1 Kickstarter Tip  www.comixlaunch.com/50tips

rsz_mummy.jpg

An Interview With The Voice Of Gorilla Grodd, David Sobolov

ds.png

 David and his alter ego Grodd

Wow two days, two intervies, what are the odds? Someone who I really to interview was one of my verified followers the voice over legend that is David Sobolov. His resume reads like a who’s who of the cartoon world, Shockwave, Robocop, Drax, Gorilla Grodd.

Not only do I regularly watch most of these shows, the characters that David voices are my fave too, so when the oppertunity came for an interview with David, I could not pass up the chance.

As you know I get chatting to the people I do interviews with before I do them, and David is a down to earth guy who actually looks at this site  (and has given me feedback on it!) woop woop.

Let’s find out more about another awesomely talented member of the #SkatFamily David.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

1) How did you get into voiceover acting?

Around 1993 I was working doing stage shows and singing in Vancouver and an agent heard my voice and thought I’d be good for villains in cartoons.  I started going out for auditions and booking a few jobs and I was on my way.

2) You were in The Flash as Gorilla Grodd, how did you find this experience and have we seen the last of Grodd?

I really enjoy being the voice of Grodd.  The producers of The Flash really want the show to be great and we spend a lot of time trying out different ways for Grodd to express himself.  The creative team decides which take to use for each line, then we meet again to go over the choices and to try to make it even better.  I hope we haven’t seen the last of Grodd, but I can’t say for sure!

 David you’re looking rather hairy here!

3) You also voiced Drax in the cartoon version of ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ and Stone in Netlfix’sDaredevil’, do you have any interesting stories to share with us from your time on these shows?

When I worked on Daredevil, the character was so secret that they wouldn’t even tell me the name of it while we were working!  And on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, we’re really having a fun time recording all the episodes.  We’ve recorded 30 of them so far!

 Skatronixxx Jr loves this show 🙂

4) You’ve been in DC and Marvel shows, I have to ask are you Team Marvel or Team DC, or both?

How could I not be on both teams?  I have current shows running for both Marvel and DC.

5) If you could be in one existing film, what film and character would you choose and why?

Batman… If Kevin Conroy ever retires.

6) I read online that you are a French horn player, and toured in an acapella group, what was that like and do you still play/sing today?

That was a long time ago… I still sing on occasion.  My first animated series, Vor-Tech in 1995 let me know I was cast during a tour of our a cappella group in a remote area in Northern British Columbia, Canada.  I had to pay out the salaries of all the singers for the week and hire a private plane to pick me up in a little airstrip in the forest.  It was worth it.  I’d like to do more singing.  The last time I played my horn was in the pit orchestra for a production West Side Story in 1995.  I finished the last show and never played again.

7) Some experienced gamers will know your name from such popular games as Halo, Mass Effect and Unchartered, how different is it providing voices to games rather than shows?

You continue to hear my voice on episodes of The Flash as Grodd, and in the first season of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy animated series as Drax.  I have been working on several video game project and a whole new animated series, but I’m not at liberty to discuss those yet.

SMXLL

 The many characters of David, how many can you spot?

8) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?

I collect antique product packaging from the 1880s through 1960s… you’ll find unusual items like a 1943 box of Ritz Crackers and a 1952 box of Tide Detergent.  I started when I was 10 years old and never became bored with it.

9) Finally what advice would you have for an upcoming voiceover actress or actor?

My advice for anyone starting out is to make sure you have a way to make a living that has nothing to do with acting while you’re pursuing your dream.  Don’t let anyone squish your dreams, but also don’t end up not eating because of them.  Also… learn about ACTING, not just doing funny voices.  We have to both believe you and understand the story you’re trying to tell.  To me, a character voice that doesn’t entirely come out of the emotions in the part is nice and often essential, but it’s just icing on the cake.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

There you go readers David Sobolov! Be sure to follow David on twitter he’s https://twitter.com/volobos don’t be shy go say hi and tell him ‘Skatronixxx Sent Me!’

 

An Interview With Top Fantasy Author James Brogden

Another one of the people I wanted to interview for skatronixxx.com was another one of my good friends and top fantasy author James Brogden. We first met at London Film and Comic Con, when myself and my author client RJ Truman were at a trade stand and got chatting to an author who was friendly. This turned out to be James! The next year both James and RJ Truman were lucky to enough to be guests together and we all had a great time. James has agreed to do an interview for skatronixxx.com
——————————————————
1) How did you get into writing?
Someone accidentally left the door open and I sneaked in when they weren’t looking. If you mean how did I get published, the answer is sheer bloody-minded stubbornness and the conscious decision to adopt a professional mindset about it. Basically this meant a) listening to people when they told me what sucked and doing something about it, b) deciding that it was also okay NOT to listen to them, and c) not taking any of it personally. Also having a Plan: building up a CV of short work so that the longer work gets taken seriously. Not that it’s actually happened that way, mind you, but I still think a Plan is a good idea, regardless of whatever kind of profession you choose to enter.
2) How would you describe your writing style to the casual reader?
Unable to take itself seriously, despite my best intentions. I’m an Australian; irreverence is part of the cultural DNA, especially towards oneself.
3) If I remember right you’re also an English teacher, how do you find that compares to being an author? Do you find that the children you teach are less or more passionate about reading, compared to previous generations given all the other options available e.g. social networking/online gaming?
Well it certainly pays better, but the hours are crap. The biggest thing I found when I actually started to think about how I was writing, was that I stopped telling the kids that they had to plan their creative work, because I certainly don’t. I’ve tried, and I can’t. I’ll plot a novel and set myself a schedule to write a certain scene at a certain time and that goes right out the window as soon as I start because I’ll immediately think of something really cool that I hadn’t planned but which just demands to be written. So I tell my students: write the coolest moment you can imagine, and then work backwards, forwards and sideways from that until you have a story. Some of them think it’s very impressive that their teacher is a writer; some of them frankly couldn’t care less if I turned up to school riding a flaming unicorn. The thing with kids being passionate about reading is that up until about the age of fourteen they seem quite able to balance a digital existence and be rabid bookworms at the same time – just look at the huge success of some YA authors out there. Then for a few years they go into their adolescent cocoons and it’s not considered cool to be a reader, and when they come out again in the Sixth Form maybe a tiny percentage have grown that passion into a desire to study Literature. I know a lot of students who drop English in favour of all Maths  & Sciences at A-level still love their SF and Fantasy, which is nice. It gives me hope that I haven’t killed it completely for them with the GCSE. I know from my own daughters’ experiences that social networks are allowing them greater opportunities to connect with their fandom tribes and explore links and connections to other genres and writers. They’re much more widely read than I was at their age, but then their Dad’s a teacher, poor little sods, so maybe that’s not such a surprise.
4) Perhaps your most well-known books to date are ‘Tourmaline’ and ‘The Narrows’, how you would describe these book to someone who has not read them yet?
I love ‘most well known’. A more accurate word might be ‘only’, since you’ve just described my entire literary output to date. The Narrows is urban fantasy, about ley lines, arcane acupuncture, and monsters in the back alleys of Birmingham. Tourmaline is, again, urban-based fantasy, with stronger horror elements, a parallel-steampunk-world, tentacled beasties, dreams intruding on reality, and the crucial importance of extra-strong mints when dealing with demon-possessed children. I refer you back to my answer to Question 2.

5) If a film was made of either ‘Tourmaline’ or ‘The Narrows’ who would you like to play the main character and why?

I’m afraid I honestly have no idea. I watch so little actual TV and go to the cinema so rarely that I don’t know the names of anybody currently in the public eye who might suit, and I don’t want to embarrass myself by name-checking somebody decades out of date. I come from a background of hardcore role-playing gamers, so I tend to imagine my characters as played by my mates – apart from anything else it helps me keep their reactions a bit more grounded.

The front cover to James’s book ‘Tourmaline’

The front cover to James’s book ‘The Narrows’

6) We first met at London Film and Comic Con back in 2013, do you do lots of conventions and can we hope to see you at LFCC again this year?

I will definitely be at LFCC this year, pimping my new book – the sequel to Tourmaline, called ‘The Realt’. That’s the only convention I go to where I’m actually selling stuff, though. I’m trying try to get to more of the various genre cons like Fantasycon, and such like, to meet up with fellow writers and pick up advice from the panels. I’ll also be at Edge Lit 4 in Derby this year, hopefully launching my first collection of short stories courtesy of the Alchemy Press.
7) I read online that you say that HP Lovecraft was one of your early inspirations, he’s an author that today’s generation may not necessarily know much about, what book would you recommend to read by him and why?
I’d actually suggest that if someone wanted to get a handle on Lovecraft, they go out and read the Laundry Files series of books by Charles Stross, which have a  modern and much more approachable take on the same mythos coupled with a dark and uniquely British sense of humour. They follow the career of a computational demonologist called Bob Howard who works for a government agency called the Laundry which deals with occult threats. It’s a bit like the X-files but with added bureaucracy, and no David Duchovny, which is also good. Get addicted to that as an entry-level drug and progress to the hard stuff.
8) What can we expect to see from you in 2015?
Sorry, I’ve already spoilered that: Tourmaline Book 2: the Realt, and a short story collection (I’m still hovering indecisively about a title). My current work-in-progress is a novel about a bog-mummy found in Birmingham’s Sutton Park, and the supernatural wackiness which ensues.
9) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?
I have more Lego than is reasonable for any grown man, and every Christmas I build a winter village on my desk.
Everything is awesome when you like Lego like James
10) Finally what advice would you have any advice for an upcoming writers?
Write the things you like to read; there’s a pretty good chance that there’s an editor out there who likes it too. Do your research; find out who those editors are. Finish things; even if you think they’re rubbish. Do not take rejection and criticism personally; if you want to identify that closely with your own work, become a starving poet. And when you finally get published, send a thankyou card to your English teacher.
——————————————————
There you go readers, James Brogden! A fantasy author, teacher and lego-phille. Be sure to check out James’s books ‘Tourmaline’ and ‘The Narrows’ they are available on Amazon now.
Follow him on Twitter he’s https://twitter.com/skippybe

 

Categories