“You can not curse that which is mine,” a voice cried in Beyaga’s mind as the knight approached. A second, more desperate death cry failed, even as the knight now stood before her. Harrison, acting on instinct, raised the now shimmering blade high over his right shoulder, the hilt itself clearing his metal-shielded shoulder. The knight sliced the sword down and outward towards the aged banshee. Harrison’s sword met flesh and bone and passed through with little resistance, ending Beyaga’s existence. The now lifeless corpse fell into a heap before the captain, blood and entrails spilling out through one long gash that extended from the banshee’s upper chest to her lower torso. Beyaga’s body began pulsating violently, and after several seconds, the remains disintegrated into dust before the knight. The sword’s glow diminished to a pale white light as if contented.
Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
The characters, for the most part, emulate family and friends.
Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
To survive, Humanity must learn to forgive and accept.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Sir Harrison is my favorite as he lives life believing that every man, woman and child is worthy of respect, regardless of the individual’s background.
Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
Characters come first. You’re not ready to embark on an adventure until you have a solid support cast.
Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
My publisher is A-Argus; books are available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and Borders.com. My book is available in both paperback and e-book formats.
Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I went without an agent, because I was not about to make suggested changes. I would definitely work with my publisher in the future as the company has been receptive to my input and provided solid support throughout the entire process.
What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
My marketing has included some signings and readings, along with using Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to connect with readers. I’ve also done interviews for area newspapers.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I always start with paper and pen. For fiction, I also always have to make a map first.
What do you draw inspiration from?
My family and friends. My Celtic heritage is also a source of inspiration for my stories/characters.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I don’t usually set word count goals. Instead, I work to complete a given scene I thought about earlier in the day.
What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid; I’ve always been a writer.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am working on a sequel to PEOPLE OF THE SWORD. Chapters for the sequel, VLARA’S SONG’ will be posted on my blog as they are completed. The events in this next book occur 400 years after those in PEOPLE OF THE SWORD. I am also completing an anthology of related short stories, one of which (more of a novella) is an immediate sequel to my first novel.
What is your writing process like?
There is a lot of background that goes into my stories. I develop background stories for every character while I outline the major events (into, climax and conclusion) of the story. Then, through the writing, I adapt the story based on how I perceive the characters would realistically handle a given situation.
Do you belong to a critique group?
I belong to the “Critters’ writing group.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Have your written other books (give titles)? It depends on the subject. I started PEOPLE OF THE SWORD in 1984 when I was 13; it was published in 2009. However, since I was also working on the outline to an entire series, seven other related books are coming along a lot quicker. The first sequel, RISE OF THE CELTS, is on pace to be finished in the next six months. I have also written several non-fiction works, which are already in the hands of my publisher. Those books took a matter of weeks to write.
What mistakes do you see new writers make?
Writers need to handle criticism. Not everyone is going to like what we’ve written. I found it funny that even publishers and agents are quite varied in their likes/dislikes. One publisher would give positive feedback about a scene that a previous publisher was critical of. If someone doesn’t like your work, consider his/her comments critically (maybe they’ve pointed out something that needs adjustment) and move on.
As for feedback from publishers from agents and publishers, treat their feedback the same way. Many bestselling authors had work rejected by multiple publishers and agents before making finding a publisher. Everyone has different tastes, it’s as simple as that. PEOPLE OF THE SWORD was rejected by 13 publishers before I received offers from three different publishers in twenty-four hours (yep, that was a crazy day). Keep writing and submitting, and don’t let rejection get you down.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Keep writing and always carry a notepad and pencil with you.
What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more?
Facebook: Neil O’Donnell