Beverley Barton

Category: Author Post

This sixth-generation Alabamian from the U.S. is a wife, mother, and grandmother.
An avid reader since childhood, Beverly wrote her first book at the age of nine. Since then, she has gone on to write well over sixty novels and is a New York Times bestselling author.

Official Site

http://www.beverlybarton.com/

Beverly Barton on Book Army

Beverly Barton Q&A

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first book when I was nine.  After marriage & motherhood, I put my writing on hold for many years.  I began writing again as a hobby, but soon realized that I wanted to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

Where do you write?

I have a lovely home office that I personally decorated.  It’s functional and feminine.  (To see photos of my office, go to www.beverlybarton.com and click on All about Beverly.)

What are the pros and cons of being a writer?

Earning a living doing something I love has to be one of the major pros of being a writer.  Having my books published around the world and knowing that I’m sharing my stories with so many people is a definite pro.  The absolute joy of planning and producing a new book is a pro, each step in the process both fulfilling and difficult.  For me, the major con is knowing that even if I live to be a hundred, I won’t be able to write all the stories inside my head.

Which writers have inspired you?

When I was much younger, I loved Ellery Queen, Frank Yerby, Daphne DuMaurier and Edna Ferber, to name a few.  When I began reading romance in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, I fell in love with books by Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Diana Palmer, Iris Johansen and Elizabeth Lowell.  A couple of my all-time favourite writers are James Patterson and Dick Francis.

How important is a sense of place in your writing?

Extremely important.  I was born and grew up in the South and am a sixth generation Alabamian.  I know the South as only a “born & bred” Southerner can know it.  Whether I set my books in large Southern cities or small Southern towns, I bring a lifetime of knowledge and experience with me to create an authentic backdrop for my novels.

Do you spend a lot of time researching your novels?

Definitely yes!  I’d like to say that I know everything about everything, but unfortunately, I do not.  I do pre-writing research while I’m plotting and then I continue doing research throughout the writing process.  I have accumulated a small private library of research materials – books, magazines, newspapers, etc. – and continue to add to this collection.  I also use the Internet to do research, but never rely on only one source.  In addition, I have interviewed, either over the telephone, in person or via e-mail, various professionals, everyone from doctors, veterinarians and nurses to policemen, FBI agents, district attorneys and lawyers.

Do your characters ever surprise you?

Always and in every book.  I enjoy the process of getting to know my characters while I’m writing the book.  They become very real to me and I always hate saying goodbye at the end.  I believe this is one reason I love to write books with continuing characters.

How much of your life and the people around you do you put into your books?

Probably a great deal, although I’m usually not consciously aware that I’m doing this when I’m writing.  I think every writer does this to some degree whether she realizes it or not.  It’s inevitable that any creative person will draw upon her surroundings, including the people she knows, as inspiration. The person we become and the work we produce are affected by everything and everyone we encounter from the day we’re born.

How did it feel when you saw your book in print for the first time?

Amazing!  It was almost as wondrous as the moment I held my first child in my arms.  Seeing my first book in print was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing now?

There is nothing that I’d rather be doing.  I think I’m one of those people who was born to be a writer.  But I do have other interests.  If I had to choose another profession, I could narrow down my choices to:  interior designer, caterer, teacher, or psychologist.

Steven Dunne

Category: Author Post

Steven Dunne has written for fun since attending Kent University when he first became interested in writing and performing. His primary focus was comedy. He wrote and performed sketches as well as dipping his toe into the terrifying world of stand up comedy. He is now a full time English teacher in Derby.

Official Site

Steven Dunne on Book Army

Warren Fahy

Category: Author Post

Warren Fahy was born in Hollywood, California. He wrote a now infamous article, ‘Ancient History of the Mullet’, for the Beastie Boys magazine, Grand Royal, credited in the OED as the source of the word’s new definition as a hairstyle. He is currently lead writer for Wowwee, generating creative content for their line of advanced robotic toys and lives in San Diego.

Official Site

Warren Fahy on Book Army

Warren recently appeared on local TV in his hometown of San Diego chatting about Fragment. See the video here.

Q&A with Warren

Killer Reads: What inspired you to start writing FRAGMENT?

Warren Fahy: Having been fascinated with biology since I was a child – at the age of 9 I used to dig for fossils in the Hollywood Hills after school, and I attended a neurobiology course at Caltech when I was 11 years old – I have been a life-long student of naturalism, weaned by far-off heroes like David Attenborough, Louis Leakey, and Charles Darwin. That was my general inspiration in all things evolutionary.

What specifically inspired the premise of FRAGMENT were some of the writings of Stephen Jay Gould and the discovery of the Movile Cave in Romania, where 33 previously unknown species had evolved in total darkness after being sealed off for five million years. After tinkering with ideas based on these and other fascinating facts, the whole story suddenly fell into place in a flash of inspiration – and I dropped everything else I was working on and never looked back until it was done. 

KR: The scientific detail is very impressive, how long did it take you to research the background to the novel?

WF: In a sense, all of my life. I have always pondered what forces brought about the emergence of our planet’s incredibly diverse life forms. It’s a constant audio track in my head. Once I began work on the novel proper, however, it took about three years of intense research to flesh out the ecosystem of Henders Island.

KR: The ecological landscape of Hender’s Island is so different from our world.  Could evolution really splinter so radically?

WF: Stephen Jay Gould famously speculated that very small events in the history of life on Earth could have led evolution into entirely different directions. To quote from his book Wonderful Life: “Alter any event, ever so slightly and without apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into a radically different channel.”

Recently, with the discovery of isolated cave systems and deep ocean hydrothermal vent ecosystems, our previous horizons have been broadened considerably when speculating about the divergence of terrestrial life forms. Isolation events are the key to potentially wild biological divergence. Islands such as the Seychelles or Socostra host divergent ecosystems that boggle the mind and appear to be from alien worlds in many respects. Australia’s isolation led to a world of hopping marsupials that shocked western explorers – and Australia was isolated only about 50 million years ago, while Henders Island was isolated about 600 million years ago during the so-called “Cambrian explosion.” While examining the fossils of the creatures that lived during that initial expansion of life on Earth, people would hardly guess  they were looking at animals from the planet we inhabit today.

 KR: The creatures from the island are included in sketch form in the book. Did you always know how you wanted them to look?

WF: Yes, I knew precisely how I wanted them to look, what kind of locomotion I wanted them to have, etc., then worked with scientists and artists to bring that to life, and during that process they evolved as necessary adaptations emerged. It was a very Darwinian process! What surprised me most was that no matter how outlandish and alien the species I thought I was creating, I nearly always found that nature had beaten me to it and that there was some living allegory that used precisely the same process or mechanism – sometimes in an even more outlandish form! Ironically, trying to outdo nature with all the freedom of my imagination gave me a renewed respect for nature’s staggeringly boundless invention.

 KR: One of my favorite touches in FRAGMENT is the creature whose fur can change colour.  Could that really happen?

Chromatophors, or cells that produce pigment, are used by animals such as fish, cuttlefish and octopus, and reptiles to camouflage themselves or communicate with others of their species. Cuttlefish have even been known to mimic the checkers on a chessboard placed behind them! Chromatophors, like all skin cells, have evolved into many forms, from fish scales to lizard scales, such as those of a chameleon. Reptile scales evolved into feathers in dinosaurs and even fur in early mammal-like reptiles. So who knows? I would not be surprised if we discovered an animal on Earth that used a fiber-optic-like fur to camouflage itself. No, after all the things I’ve been pre-empted by after trying to come up with the most way-out but still practical biological innovations I could imagine, I have a very healthy respect for the engine of natural selection!

 

KR: Do you have any one scene in FRAGMENT that you most enjoyed writing?

WF: Without giving too much away, I had a blast writing the rover scene. One of the things I love to do is put characters into the most terrifying position I can imagine, with no clue how to get them out of it, strand them there, and sit back to watch what happens.

 KR: Did you find that the characters behaved as you had planned, or did they ever surprise you?

WF: They surprised me, often, and certainly did what they wanted to in most respects. Sounds odd perhaps, but I don’t create characters so much as identify them, put them in the situation, and then report on what they do. I know what kind of characters, in terms of skills and personality, I will need to have present to accomplish certain things, and outside of that, I let them go. Curiously, they won’t let themselves die sometimes, even if that’s what I had planned, and if and when they do die, it’s very hard for me to report the news of their deaths.

 KR: In addition to the science, there is a very human side to the novel.  Is “humanity” something that would exist no matter how life on our planet had evolved?

WF: Humanity may be in the eye of the beholder – is it limited to our particular form? I don’t think so. I think that the free agency attained by humans distinguishes us more than any of our physical attributes, and is therefore our defining characteristic. Such an intellect unbounded by predetermined instinct and relying on creative, rational thought may well have evolved from some other biological origin if the massive Siberian eruptions that nearly wiped out the human race had succeeded some 70,000 years ago. Humanity, it could be said, is a state of mind…