Nik Krasno, Galaxy of Authors

Nik Krasno, Galaxy of Authors

Nik Krasno

‘Time to fill the glasses (…and then empty them).’

Buy the books!

In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I think almost everyone wishes to write a book. Usually, it’s just a momentarily thought and they don’t follow through with it. Same thing with me. I thought I’d been witnessing incredible events unfolding in front of my eyes that deserved a story. I had an outline and a few scenes. I doubt I would’ve actually written an entire book were it not for my good friend and published non-fiction author, who took a look at what I had and got enthusiastic about the idea.. So we’ve done the first book together. After that I just contracted this writing disease -:)

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Not so much consciously, however to a certain degree, I guess Oligarch has similarities with The Godfather, but –  Russian style. Irvine Welsh inspired not to stay away from grit, filth and literary mischief (and I like mischief), while Tarantino and Guy Richie evoked the desire to compete in action and grotesque.

Tell me about your series.

Big money – big risks. In order to survive Michael needs to prevail. How? Magnates would rather you never read it….

Michael (Misha) is just a little boy, when his father is prosecuted and sent away to Siberia. From a luxurious living Misha’s reduced to survival and poverty, but he vows it’s not for long.

Mikhail climbs the ladder, caring less about the means, his eyes on the target – to become rich. Very rich. The richest. Achievable? Unlikely, allowing for the opposition he confronts when reaching each next level of affluence. But money already becomes his life…

Is the Big Bang of the USSR a hurdle? More an advantage for a shady businessman like him, who never follows the rules and who soon gets into the position to impose his own.

His wealth grows, but the higher he goes, the more resistance he encounters and the farther the extent his enemies are willing to go against him.
Blood? It comes pretty soon.

Corruption? Plenty. And lots of debauchery to overcome the stress of every day struggle. That’s his story: snappy, gritty, uncomfortable, compelling. Big money, big trouble, big balls.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Michael is a complex personage. On the one hand – a natural born swindler, a ruthless thug, a cunning businessman, cynical politician, living according to his own gangster-like code. On the other hand – a loving son and father, true friend, an idealist of a sort consumed by the constant internal struggle between greed and purpose. Long way, high toll – he becomes a billionaire. But was it really a worthy purpose?

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Me? I’m indie, but not by choice. Seeing little interest from agents and having a ready-made book crying to be released, we let it go. With the following I didn’t bother to pitch the agents. Of course, indie route offers fewer constraints from any side, but it equally demands a lot of investment in marketing to give your books some exposure and that’s something I neither know nor want to deal with. Thus, I’d rather outsource the ‘biz’ part, which trad publishers still know how to do.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst – you have to deal with rejection of your creation in the form of negative reviews or disinterest. That’s on emotional level. On practical, if you are an indie – marketing and stuff is really time-consuming and there is no promise that it’ll ever bear fruit. The best – ‘writing’ provides a plausibly-sounding excuse for skipping house chores-:)

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I usually have a general outline where I want the story to go, but I let the scenes flow.. Whatever works is fine, in my opinion.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Secrets – not so much, but ideas – sure. You don’t expect much from implanting them into fiction books, but I do hope some of them will trigger extra-curricular thinking effort -:)

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I hang out a lot at ‘Wealth, Writing, World’ group on Goodreads, which I’m honored to co-moderate, and that’s probably a fave pastime. It encompasses authors, readers, bloggers, but first of all – lots of cool people from various locations, with diverse background, from teenagers to 80+ years old. I enjoy and learn a lot, being its part. And there are always drinking companions online -:)

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

I depict our world, but with the purpose and hope to make it better!

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

‘Don’t do it, mate’, maybe? -:)

Nik, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Migration madness

Migration madness

Migration, eh?

Feel free to insert an image of geese creaking their way South – I know that’s what I think of when someone says ‘migration’ to me. Here and now, I’m talking website migration. You may have noticed both jcsteelauthor.com and byriteofword.com were down for a few days in May 2018.

They are now hosted on servers in Europe, and jcsteelauthor.com got a full update in the process. Hopefully it’s become more streamlined; I’m older, sadder, and much better-informed where it concerns the vagaries of WordPress now than I was more than two years ago when I put my first author site together.

I also had a common author problem to solve. I’m branching out into urban fantasy alongside my sci-fi series, and I didn’t want to maintain two completely separate sites. From that came a lot of frantic concept planning, and finally, the idea of a homepage that was simply books, each one linking to a page that introduces the world of that particular book. I’ve also caved and put in a standard nav bar. Enough of this trying to be original shit.

Among the purely author-based reasons for a migration and update came the practical ones. I had GoDaddy hosting that wasn’t precisely cheap, and not at all easy to access. Getting into my website tools took a login plus navigating through an arcane GoDaddy subsystem, and then email access took another portal, another login, and two more pages to even view. Not to mention Outlook 365 has no mass-download option, and costs an arm and a leg. I swore at it every time I used it, and because it was so hard to get to, peoples’ mail languished in limbo for several weeks at a time.

What’s new?

I’m now with a relatively new hosting organisation in the UK called Jollyleaf; my website tools are all in one place, and they include webmail – which conveniently feeds into my email host on my desktop. I’m saving myself a ton of cash annually, and I can see everything without needing multiple passwords. Hopefully this means that email will at least get seen in a timely fashion, even if natural disorganisation kicks in immediately thereafter.

I hope that you like the new layout of the J C Steel author site. Areas are still being added, and in some cases content needs re-uploading (you will notice that the blogs are missing a lot of the old content, which will be reintroduced once I get my database to talk to me). Among those to be added pieces, I’ve received a request for an ‘Upcoming’ area, which will look at what I’m currently working on and what the plans are. I’m also looking into a spot where people can access the bits and pieces I give away for free – there are so many plug-ins that do this that I’m currently having a ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ problem.

Neven Carr, Galaxy of Authors

Neven Carr, Galaxy of Authors

Neven Carr

‘All families have secrets. How far would yours go to protect it?’

Buy the books!

In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

It was an innate desire to write… and I soon found it to be an avenue to express my feelings particularly during difficult times: ie adolescence

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Far too many!But in my youth I have to say Stephen King was the one author that stays with me to this day. Not because of the horror. But because he just had this incredible ability to make his characters feel like real life people. I had decided if I ever wrote a book I wanted to emanate that.

Tell me about your book.

All families have secrets. How far would yours go to protect it?

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have four more to complete the series.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

What? Are you serious? Who would ban books? They have been our concreted version of history as well as the source of all our loved treasures like Jane Austen and Shakespeare and so many more.

Tell me about a principal character in your book. What makes them memorable?

She fights a twenty-year-old war, where she has been hidden from the truth of her early years, overly protected to ensure she does not remember. That is until someone close to her forgotten past is murdered. Claudia’s character grows from the helpless victim to someone who, not encouraged by her loving family, discovers she can take care of herself.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

So, so very true. Even since I have been writing, I find that when I read, it is with a different attitude. I read every word and I mean EVERY WORD. Doing so, has taught me so much.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

Best? I create!!!! Love it.

Worst?The editing. I hate it.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

All the time. I love intelligent people who just might pick up that one elusive clue

What are you writing at the moment?

The sequel to Forgotten… more like editing it.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I guess in some cases that it is true but I honestly feel that there are many authors out there that have written great books but just haven’t been recognised yet.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Mystery/thrillers {With a dash of romance}. I love puzzle solving. It drives my husband crazy when I have figured out ‘whodunnit’ well before the end of a movie. When I get to a fork in my book, I ask myself what would the average reader expect? And then I go the OPPOSITE way.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Nothing! I feel writing replicates where you are in your life. The emotions you espouse in your book mirrors you, whether it be poems, songs whatever. However, I do believe that many people need life experiences to espouse some views well.

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

How easy creating was… How difficult editing was.

Neven, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Mathew McCall, Galaxy of Authors

Mathew McCall, Galaxy of Authors

Mathew McCall

‘Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.’

Buy the books!

In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

From an early age my mother read to me at night, all the old children’s classics and so I had a love of the narrative and storytelling before I could ever put a pen to paper. As soon as I could read and write I started writing stories, especially ghost stories. I just love storytelling, I have even done improvised performance tales. I have also written poetry and performed my own work at St David’s Cathedral.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Bradbury, Dick, Wells, King, Aspin. The list goes on…. The biggest influence on my current book series is P.K.Dick and Ray Bradbury (especially the Martian Chronicles), though my story is within the Steampunk genre, that’s only the setting. The style is taken from the Victorian/Edwardian tradition of presenting the narrative in the form of epistles; letter, journal and diary entries.

Tell me about your book.

Sometimes, one man’s courage can change the course of history.

Scratching a living out of the red earth of the newly independent Martian Colonies, an idealistic young Dandelion Farmer, Edwin Ransom, takes a stand against the powerful and evil industrialist, Eleuthère Du Maurier, who is trying to drive him off his land.

As events spiral out of Edwin’s control he encounters Adam Franklin, a man suffering long-term memory loss and haunted by nightmares of his own death.

Edwin and Adam are drawn further into violent conflict with Du Maurier’s henchmen and are forced to flee to the safety of Edwin’s father-in-law’s protection.

Professor Flammarion, Edwin’s father-in-law, is a man with a vision. Believing that mankind on Mars is on the brink of self-extinction he has brought an airship and is preparing to set off in search of what he believes to be the only hope of saving the humans on Mars; the last of the First Martians. The Professor enlists Edwin and Adam to join his eclectic group of scientists and adventurers in his perilous quest.

Set against a background of the looming threat of war between the colonies and pursued by the dark forces unleashed by the evil Du Maurier, Edwin finds himself catapulted into a nightmare adventure on the frontiers of human civilisation and beyond.

The story has an ensemble cast and unfolds through the letters, diary and journal entries of the main characters, exploring their individual personalities, experiences and points of view.

The Dandelion Farmer is complete at 135,000 words and is the first part in what is intended as a three-part series. Of course, it has all the expected Steampunk ingredients; airships, robots, mad professors, corsets, top hats, magnificent moustaches, Martians, monsters and Machiavellian evil industrialists, but it pushes the boundaries of Steampunk into mainstream Science Fiction.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have one and a half novels in an epic dark fantasy series that I have been writing for a very long time.

I am a third of the way through the second book of the Dandelion Farmer.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

Depends on the book and the subject material. If it’s deliberately offensive, purposefully racist, sexist, proliferating an intentional lie or aimed at rabble-rousing, then there may be a good reason to ban a new work from general access in schools etc. Though, on the whole I am opposed to the idea of censorship.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

The principal character is Edwin Ransom, the eponymous Dandelion Farmer. He is a biofuel grower in a late 19th century post-Imperial colony on Mars. He is a quiet, scholarly man thrust into a violent struggle against powers beyond his control. The thing that makes him memorable is the reality of his humanity and his frailty. He is an average person thrust into the headlights of an onrushing juggernaut but unlike most “protagonists” in such stories he does not suddenly become an “action hero.” That role falls to the secondary protagonist, Adam Franklin.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Self-published, because I tried the traditional process and got ignored. Steampunk is not a genre that most agents understand let alone publishing houses and mine is not the usual Steampunk, being more Steampunked Science Fiction. I gave it seven months of what I knew would be hitting my head against a brick wall, then I self-published.  I preferred the freedom of producing your own work without the input of an editor who may have no idea or interest in what I’m writing. I don’t really want someone coming to my work telling me how this or that should be without understanding my thought process or aims. Or worse, that I should be forced to explain my work to someone else.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

True. I think you have to have a grasp of narrative storytelling that comes from reading. I believe we all should read more. The only problem is with those writers who read to copy a style or read simply to “research” a genre. I have seen a number of posts on FB pages by would-be Steampunk authors asking which Steampunk books they should read to give them access into the genre… my answer is; don’t, because you will end up copying someone else’s work, badly.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

For me? I haven’t done the glad-handing or sitting at a table trying to sell a book or two at a convention or convivial, so I have mainly focused on the social media. The worst part is not meeting my readers, although I openly encourage communication.

The best part is that a story I have written is out there, people I have never met, some in other counties, are reading my story. My characters are out there, alive in other people’s imaginations.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I guess I am a plotter, as I do have a good idea of where my narrative is going, but I write on the wing. I find this allows the characters to grow and for the unexpected to occur. So really I am both.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes. Names, allusions to places, other books, real people. It’s all there if you know your Sci-Fi, just look carefully. For instance, pay close attention to the crew names of the airship Seren Bore.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I am heavily involved in the British Steampunk community. I build Steampunk contraptions which I have won awards for and have several exhibits in the Bristol Steampunk Museum. I love making things.

What are you writing at the moment?

Book two of The Dandelion Farmer.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I don’t think “traditional” publishing is a guarantee of the quality of the story within, I have come across some truly godawful traditionally published books. I would rather read a good story with the odd spelling mistake than a hackneyed load of polished codswallop.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Fantasy and Steampunked Science Fiction. I love both as they provide great scope for imagination, I think Sci-Fi has the power to challenge every cultural preconception of our society. I love its fundamental subversiveness.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

No way. The Mars of Edwin Ransom is a terrible place, constantly wracked by warfare, a dying planet. I’d not survive for a week.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

If the words aren’t coming then write something else. Don’t use writer’s block as an excuse for not writing. Write every day if you can.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I prefer to write in silence if I can. I’m too easily distracted otherwise.

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

How the characters and the story grow beyond your original ideas. How characters you may have conceived of as incidental force their way onto centre stage. Sometimes it makes me feel more like an archaeologist excavating the tale layer by layer than someone simply creating it. Especially writing it in the form of letters and diary entries as the characters own concerns and interests can take you off into a totally uncharted territory.

Tell me three unique things about you.

Hmm…

1) I am a fully qualified grave robber (work that one out).

2) I have a passionate love for literature but could not read or write until I was 11.

3) A major regional British TV channel once had to publically apologise for my behaviour on live TV (I was only 18 after all).

Mat, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Greg Krojac, Galaxy of Authors

Greg Krojac, Galaxy of Authors

Greg Krojac

‘Science fiction is no more written for scientists, than ghost stories are written for ghosts’ ~Brian Aldiss

Buy the books!

In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I’ve lived in Brazil for ten years and had been going through a particularly bad time. What happened to me actually sounded like something that might happen in a book, so I started to write the book (as a form of self-therapy, I suppose). It didn’t help, so I abandoned it, but I did discover that I enjoyed writing. I started writing my first book Virtual Messiah (a contemporary thriller) which I wrote under my real name, mainly to see if I could actually write a book. (I’m about to re-edit it and publish it under my pen name Greg Krojac). Once satisfied that I did have the stamina to write a novel, I settled on concentrating on my favourite genre – science fiction

Tell me about your book.

Reality Sandwich, a post-apocalyptic romance, has been described as being ‘juicy, crispy, and sinfully good.

Reality Sandwich is set in the 23rd century, after an apocalyptic event that all but destroyed humanity, and tells the story of a survivor who has never seen another human being in real life, until one day he finds an intruder in his apartment. I think it wouldn’t be out of place as an episode of the TV series ‘Black Mirror’.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

The Schrödinger Enigma released on 1st January 2018, and the next book is still inside my head. I can’t tell you much about it, but it may develop into a series or perhaps a collection of stories under one umbrella. I don’t know yet. However, I can promise it’ll be completely different from my other stories – although, to be honest, they are all very different from each other. I have another story with six chapters written that starts off with a delivery drone being attacked by a gang of thieves. It’s on the back burner at the moment; I may go back to it after my next project is finished.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

That’s a tough question. I suppose one of the most memorable is the main antagonist of The Recarn Chronicles. He reincarnates into another body after each death so he is four different people at different times, and he develops from being a cruel vengeful creature to a ruthless narcissistic Machiavellian character. He goes from a ten-year old boy who remembers his past-lives and settles a grudge from a former life, to becoming the all-powerful leader of the Illuminati. He really is a nasty piece of work.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I admire those who plan everything out ahead (I’m sure it can make life easier) but there’s no way that I could do that. I’m solidly in the ‘pantser’ camp or, to put it another way, I write organically. Of course I don’t go into a book completely blind – I have a concept and a general direction that I want the book to go in – but I don’t plot everything out beforehand. Part of the reason that I enjoy writing my books is because, like the reader, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. The advantage of this is that characters can take you off in a completely different direction, leading you into interesting subplots and sometimes solving a plot problem for you. For example, in Revelation (the first book in the Recarn Chronicles series), I was at a loss as to why the antagonist was in such a hurry to perfect human cloning until he revealed that he was suffering from a muscle wasting disease. But, of course, there comes a point (usually around the final third of the book) when I have to take the reins again, and tie everything together.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Anyone who is a supporter of the Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur may find a few Easter Eggs. One of the main characters of the Recarn Chronicles trilogy is a Spurs fan, but there are a few hidden references too.

What are you writing at the moment?

I’m coming to the end of writing the first draft of The Schrödinger Enigma, a story that delves into the realms of Quantum Mechanics, something I didn’t really know anything about before I started researching the book. Now I have a basic understanding of ‘superposition’ and ‘entanglement’, and can explain the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment with the best of them. All are integral elements of the story, though I must add that you don’t have to be a Quantum physicist to understand and enjoy the story; if you did, then there’s no way that I could have written it. And there’s a lot more to the story than just the mystery of how the Voyager 1 space probe can be in two places at the same time – the ‘why’ involves biological warfare and extra-terrestrials.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I’ve always been a sucker for science fiction. Ever since the mid-sixties, when I used to go to my friend’s house to watch Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, et al. in Star Trek (his mum had a colour TV and we only had a black and white set) or watch William Hartnell as Doctor Who fighting aliens – especially the Daleks – I have loved the genre.

​I not only love watching science fiction (my favourite sci-fi film is Bladerunner) but I love reading it too, whether it be classics such as George Orwell’s ‘1984’, or Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ or something more bizarre such as Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’.

​​Of course it was only natural that I should decide to write science fiction novels. There is so much scope for inventiveness and if your character has a problem to solve, well, as astronaut Mark Watney says in the movie of Andy Weir’s novel THE MARTIAN, you have to ‘science the shit out of it’. Magic is not an option.. That really appeals to me.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Unfortunately my writing environment is far from perfect. Brazilian neighbourhoods can be very noisy places – music, shouting, and fireworks when the local football team scores. But I’m kind of immune to it now and don’t let it bother me. I do listen to music sometimes when I write and, when I do, it’s usually the music of my adolescence. I grew up in what I consider to be the golden age of ‘modern’ music so my mood music usually consists of prog rock – Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Camel, and the like.

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

One of the most surprising things is how much fun the research stage can be. I‘ve really enjoyed learning about Quantum Mechanics – which is surprising because I was terrible at Physics at school. I’ve learned about pandemics and quarantine/isolation procedures and the Voyager 1 mission. I’ve learned about what it’s like to have a heart attack (courtesy of an article by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo). I’ve learned about cloning. The list could go on and on.

Greg, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest