Interview Q&A

Every so often, an interesting post comes my way and this one is from my writer pal, Theresa Snyder, at http://theresasnyderafterthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/11/lexi-miles-tagged-me-grins.html

For some ungodly reason, she felt that my responses to these interview questions would make for some interesting reading. Far be it for me to argue with her so here we go. Enjoy.

1) When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

Writing and Storytelling was something I’ve done since the Age of 10. I didn’t have any initial aspirations to be a writer. Being a “writer” came about while I was a teenage musician and eventually I drifted away from a potential music career to one where I sit by myself at a keyboard, smoke too many cigarettes, keep The Coffee Industry well-heeled, and generally spin tales of fantastic worlds with equally exceptional people populating them.

2) What genre do you write?

I can write in any genre. I’m not bragging here because I’ve taken the time over the years to study a wide range of literature and honestly believe that I could do them all, if I’m in the right mood…hehe.

Seriously though, my genre of choice is Science Fiction and Adventure. I like the combination because it allows me to integrate the best of both into something unique and special.

3) What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

I’ve written many fictional things over the years, but the one that truly qualifies as a “first piece” would be a novella of sorts called “Paradox”, which was about an international counter-terrorism organization fighting terrorists in 2015. It was started in 1984, finished in 1985, and eventually polished and copyrighted in 1990. A copy of the manuscript sits in a file drawer at the Library of Congress. I’ve made plans to purchase (ugh, everyone else is making money off this thing but me) a file copy so I can have it back in my files.

4) What’s the worst part about writing?

Getting Started. I know that sounds lame, but believe it or not, there are times when I simply don’t want to write and would rather goof off. But after a suitable period of fidgeting, I shrug and get to work. After all, the stories don’t write themselves and I would never forgive myself if I didn’t get them out there.

5) What’s the name of your favorite character and why?

I’ve created many memorable characters (at least to me) over the years, but the current crop have really become my favorites. Jack Pratt from Parallax is a character I really enjoy working with and Zack Moreau from Lights and Shadows is fast becoming a personal favorite.

In the end though, all my characters are such a diverse and entertaining bunch that it’s hard to nail down a specific favorite.

6) How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of Writing Time and I try to make the most of it. I work a day job on the weekends but even there they allow me some latitude to work on my fiction.

I don’t think I have a “best” time of write. Some times, I do great work in the early mornings, some times late at night. As long as the stories get done, what the clock says doesn’t matter much.

7) Did you go to college for writing?

Not specifically. I learned the basics in elementary and high school and then built on them later. I didn’t take my writing very seriously for a long time, but when I attended college, I took classes in fiction writing and that went a long way to cementing my commitment to pursuing a writing career once and for all.

8) What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?

All of those bother me in general, but what really torques me up are those who try to write who haven’t the foggiest idea of how to put a sentence together. I know, I know, we’re supposed to be supportive of those who may not be at our skill level or experience, but it drives me nuts when the tense is wrong or the characters are saying and doing things that don’t fit the action. The ones that show a glimmer of redemption are those who respond to constructive criticism and appear to give a shit about their craft. Those guys I will go to bat for.

9) What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

The best writing advice anyone ever gave me was “Park your ass in the chair and Write. Forget about Writing Conferences or Groups. Anything that takes you away from your story is working against your improvement as a Writer.” Sounds harsh, right? Well, it was damned effective.

10) What advice would you give to another writer?

Learn and respect The Craft. Always strive to put your best effort out there and forget about Fame and Fortune.

11) What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips, or encouragement?

I’ll have to get back with you on this one because I’m trying to keep this article to a minimum. I don’t use a lot of “writing” sites per se, though my writing buddies James Kafka (http://pellmellx10.blogspot.com/) and Theresa Snyder (https://twitter.com/TheresaSnyder19) do inspire me in ways that they probably don’t realize. Writers Digest (http://www.writersdigest.com/) is one site that I tend to turn to most often.

12) Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

I have two great passions in my life: Creative Writing and Music. I have other hobbies like playing video games now and then, but Writing and Music are the biggies. I also enjoy long walks on the beach, people with proper table manners, and anything to do with Space (Fiction or Real).

13) What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’m about to break a cardinal rule here, but other than my own books or research materials, I haven’t read any fiction that’s stood out to me this year. I’ve put out 4 books this year and between that and my day job, there isn’t much time for anything else. I promise to work on it.

14) What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Sadly, movies have fallen by the wayside for the same reasons as #13 above. Yes, yes, I’ll work on that too.

15) What is your favorite book or series of all time?

My favorite book series of all time is an old trilogy written by Joe Clifford Faust that I have read over and over since the 90s called The Angel’s Luck Series.

16) Who is your favorite author?

My favorite author is Ernest Hemingway, not just because he was a great writer, but that he epitomizes what an Adventure Writer should be, minus some of the misadventures he went through and that rather messy end to his life. Second favorite is Clive Cussler, who can spin a yarn like nobody’s business.

17) What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

I’m currently working on squeezing a fifth book, Lights and Shadows, out before the end of 2015 and hopefully give myself some time off before I work on Parallax’s Sequel, Parallax: Genesis, in January 2016.

18) Where else can we find you online?

Hell, I’m all over the place, but I can be found at:

Official Website: http://www.wwcassjr.com

WordPress: https://wwcassjrblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WallaceCass

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WwCassJrAuthor

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116428164774862303727

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/wallacecass

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/wwcassjr

I think that’s all of them so hopefully, I haven’t left anything out. This has been fun.

Lights and Shadows: Update #5

It’s Update Time again and this one starts off Chapter 10, which promises to be a real humdinger. Enjoy.

Two things bothered Moreau as he followed Finch off the elevator into the Outpost Research Laboratory. The first was the generally pristine look of the space, totally unlike the devastation that had been wrought upon the upper levels. The second was the tremor that shook the floor under them. Planet Tarson was well-known for Sandstorm Season, but nowhere in recent history was there any record of tectonic stability. The planet simply wasn’t known for quakes. Thankfully, the tremor lasted but a few seconds and did little more than shake the equipment dollies.

“I don’t like this.” He remarked as he made a sweep of the lab, double-checking to make sure the ever-present holographic projectors were off and nothing was lurking around the compartment’s many corners. “The rest of the outpost is ripped to shreds and this place looks like the staff simply went to Lunch and never came back.”

Finch nodded as she used her tablet scanner to inspect the room. “I agree. The room is heavily shielded from EM signals and appears to have been recently fitted with extra security precautions designed to isolate it from the rest of the outpost. Whatever they were doing down here, they seemed to be afraid of it getting beyond here.”

Moreau walked over and studied a large examination table in the room’s center. Upon a closer inspection, he noticed miniature devices fitted to the table top in a human body pattern. “Fat lot of good it did them.” He scratched the stubble on his chin before reaching over to a workbench to retrieve a small magnifying glass that seemed out of place among the high-tech equipment. He held the glass over the table’s projectors. “These look like smaller versions of the projectors we’ve seen topside.” He gestured her over. “What do you make of this?”

She took the magnifying glass from him and bent over the table. She muttered to herself for several seconds before looking back at him. “They certainly resemble the ones above, but these are much more sophisticated and appear to be more specialized.” She slipped on a pair of insulated gloves and used the glass’s metal handle to pry one of the devices from the examining table. “Only one way to find out.”

“Get on that while I’ll check the rest of this place out.” He pulled out the Colt and popped the cylinder. His supply of smart bullets were seriously depleted after the last run in with that hologram and he dreaded the prospect of using his backup laser. I knew I should have packed more speed loaders, he thought as he snapped the cylinder back into position. Damn you and your ‘promotions’, Arnax. He held his pistol at his side and continued on.

The room curved and passed through several airlock-type doors before it opened up into a central location. The overhead lighting flickered as Moreau walked down rows of tall capsule shaped containers, their viewing windows fogged by condensation. The containers were large enough to hold a person, but closer examination revealed many of them fitted with internal shelves filled with small specimen boxes. The boxes themselves were locked and though his curiosity was piqued, the biohazard symbols were enough to discourage him from further inquiry. He explored further, the soles of his shoes making a light clicking sound on the tiled floor. He stopped at an airlock door fitted to the outer bulkhead away from the regular traffic flow.

“Now, what do we have here?” He muttered, reaching for the door controls. Before he made contact, he heard Finch’s voice in his earpiece. “Go ahead.”

“I’ve found something. Get back here.”

Lights and Shadows: Behind the Writing

Many of the things I’m about to touch on today I’ve talked about in the past so consider this article something of a review.

For all intents and purposes, Lights and Shadows is a pilot episode intended to introduce a prospective series that would follow the adventures of Zack Moreau and Marla Finch as they travel throughout the Galaxy dispensing Justice and getting into situations both humorous and not so much.

I’ve read (and been told) that writing a series demonstrates an author’s ability to sustain a storyline and longevity. I don’t know if that’s true or not; I simply write the stories that come to me and when they end, they end.

I also use each story that I write to experiment with new concepts and see how they play out in an ongoing effort to improve not only what I write but how I write it. Writing a good story means a lot more to me than good reviews or even whatever compensation I may receive from them so the better I get, the more satisfied I become.