Sunday, August 24, 2014

An Interview with Author, Lawrence BoarerPitchford

Welcome, Lawrence. So could you please introduce yourself to our readers by telling them a little bit about yourself?
My name is huge – I mean really huge! So, I’ll not be cross with anyone who has trouble pronouncing my name, or even whose arm becomes too tired to write it all out. I’m Lawrence BoarerPitchford, a descendant form the town of Pitchford England near the border of Wales. I am the author of five novels, one of which is so cheeky that the Vatican warned that if anyone read it – they’d be not only excommunicated, but burned at the stake for heresy… oh, and having a good time… I am not just a single genre author, but I don’t write romance (though it might be a component of one of my books). I do write popular fiction. I’m driven to write whatever the muse commands me to write be it horror, high-fantasy, low-fantasy, historical fiction, or science fiction. I like to think of myself as eclectic, but those around me might argue with that. My novels are predominantly action adventure works that are male-centric. If one was to look into my history, they’d see quite a varied background; a underestimated underachiever; a late bloomer; a fool and his money; a lost cause; a hopeless romantic; an immature bastard; a fiend/rake/scoundrel; a dandy; and a delusional fop, could all be seen as a component of Lawrence BoarerPitchford. I’ve survived several events that rightfully should have served my death (maybe it did), but all these elements make up the author that you now see (or read) before you.

Why do you write?
Writing is my passion. Writing is the single thing in my life that fulfills me. For whatever reason I have stories to be told that form in my head, and if I don’t get them out, I feel terrible. Then, I get the stories onto paper and marvel at what creation can do. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Mozart. My rough drafts are rough! Yet, the story that comes out of me is fun. I will read it over and say, “damn, that is a fun read,” and that makes me feel good. That good feeling, and I’m sure the release of massive amounts of dopamine and serotonin into my brain, reinforce that sense that writing is an inseparable part of my identity – even if I only do it for my own enjoyment.    

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book I coauthored with my college roommate. He and I were, in those days, roguish, hard drinking, rakes who roamed about clubs, bars, and the Northern California Renaissance Faire (at Black Points Forest) with a giddy and almost childish lust for pleasure. We had another friend who’d join us (when he was able) and all three of us were like the Three Musketeers, although a bit darker in intent. One early Saturday morning, as me, my roommate, and our buddy were gathering our costume and wares for a trip to the Faire, my roommate came from his bedroom with a twenty page short story in his clutched fist. “Here it is!” he proclaimed. “Sit down you rotten bastards and be regaled!” He then proceeded to read to us a story titled “This is not a story about Mad Cows”, which he cheerfully titled because stories of mad cow disease was saturating all the media outlets. The story was about we three, as our Faire characters, traveling to the Queen Elizabeth I summer faire. The story was irreverent, brutal, and filled with battle, sex, and drinking the likes that any hero and rogue of antiquity would have blushed at. We cheered, and laughed, and admired this creative piece. The following weekend as we prepared for the faire again, I produced a ten page story, the same characters, and the same setting. My peers laughed their asses off. So it went for a few years, he’d write one, I’d write one, and before you could say Bob’s-yer-uncle, we had enough to compose into a novel of about one hundred thousand words. This event shined a light onto what I wanted to do with the rest of my live; write. Unfortunately, my course of study, and my subsequent career path were not in alignment, and so I’m a professional of a different discipline, but moonlighting as a novelist.         

What genre do you typically write?
I’m a fan of high-fantasy and low-fantasy fiction. I also am inspired by history. So, as far as published works, I’m a fantasy and historical fiction author, but I have short stories that consist of science fiction and horror.

Do you feel like you have a specific writing style?
People who read my works often say the same thing, and I’m paraphrasing, that they feel they’re actually living out the adventure; that they are actually there in the story. One might classify me as a “conversational writing style”, but I feel that my style is best described as “cinematic”. Often the body of my work is described by the reader as seeing the book play out like a movie in their head. I happen to like this because when I write it, it is playing out like a movie in my head.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
To write the rough draft could take me six months to a year. To edit the work may take several years. I find that when I put a project down and come back to it later (sometimes many months later) I find lots of fat to trim, corrections to make, deletions, additions… you get the idea. This is not in anyway like it is represented in the movies, where we the audience sees the on-screen author typing on his/her typewriter, or keyboard, and they take the document and put it in an envelope and send it off to their agent who then mills it into a book (somehow magically I guess), and the author is a millionaire heading off to tour Europe for a few months. I actually don’t know any authors that enjoy that process. There is no fast path, and I’m no genius (or genus for that matter) when it comes to sentence structure, spelling, continuity, plot, or what sells. 

What do you do to conquer writer’s block?
This is a ticklish question actually. Writers block comes in three distinct forms for me. One, from exhaustion; two, from terrible depression; and three, from over-exposure to one project. When it’s exhaustion, I find that if I don’t do any writing and focus on some other creative outlet, it will pass pretty quickly. If it is from depression, it takes lots of time to work through the depression (why am I depressed, what is triggering it, what should I do to get past it…). Lastly, if it’s related to over-exposure one project, I switch up my projects by dusting off something I’ve not worked on in a while and work on it. Unfortunately there is not fast and easy answer. 

What can you tell us about your favorite character from your book?
I love all the characters that I’ve created, so it is hard to pick just one. Having said that, my favorite really is the young deposed nobleman from the original Tales of Mad Cows and Brothels (for free in ebook format on my web The anti-hero Leofirc contains a rich set of empathetic qualities. He’s orphaned because his uncle murders his father to seize his ancestral lands. He is the victim of a conspiracy to murder him. Leofric falls into rogue’s company after being assaulted and betrayed by people he trusted. He loses his moral compass. Leofric is carried upon the tides of fate to his ultimate destination – redemption, albeit not a squishy, hold hands, kind of redemption.   

Who is your favorite author and what is it about them that inspires you?
There are many outstanding authors out there today. Some of those very talented people are Indi-authors like me, and others are traditionally published authors. Having said that, my very favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien. I am no Tolkien, nor do I particularly write in his style of high-fantasy, but his stories were creative catalysts for me as a youth. In the nineteen seventies I read The Hobbit. This book drove my imagination. Then I saw the animated rendition of the book, and further my imagination was given cause to stir. As a teen I read the Lord of the Rings series, which added more depth to the fantasy world of Middle Earth that was Tolkien’s genius. On the heels of my fantasy awakening with Tolkien’s works, I discovered the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game that added to the fuel that was my imagination. So, in short, the exposure to Tolkien’s works served to waken in me a sense of magic, goblins, epic war, and sword-and-sorcery, and all the elements therein.   

What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a work of fiction by Jeffery Johnston titled If Walls Could Talk. This is a departure from my usual fare of science fiction, fantasy, and historical works. This book is a compendium of short stories that are about the human condition, and inspiration. It is a very fine and interesting read that borders on the surreal of life.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently finishing the rough draft of one book and preparing for the edit of another. The first is book three of the In the World of Hyboria series of novellas. This work follows the adventures of Grimface the wizard and two Cimmerian barbarians, Benhargan and Bulvife, whom he employs to defeat lurking evil. This story is set in the world created by Robert E. Howard for his Conan stories. The work is low-fantasy and depicts the baser side of the human condition – prehistory. The second is a steampunk setting science fiction novella of some young adults who are plunged into the chaotic events of a war. The hero and heroine, and their friends are pursued across the continent of Augerland only to find refuge in a desert frontier town of Harrow’s Gate. Lucky for them, their technology of steam and fledgling electrical power pales in comparison to what relics were left by a mysterious peoples the locals call the desert ghosts.    

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I actually did. I was nearly finished when I decided the story was heading in a direction that I didn’t actually like, so I scraped five chapters and started anew. I think that most authors would say that there are things in their published works that they’d like to do over, or change, but I’m sure they know as I, it’s a fool’s errand to think of such things. Once it’s out there, best to let it lie and work on something else… unless it’s something egregious.

Can you share a little of your work with us?
 He could almost hear the words of Pil’tuk the goblin glass maker, “The lens will not scratch, and can take the impact of a god’s battle hammer!”
      “But, do you think the lantern will work?” he had said to Pil’tuk.
      “If the mad magician Valen of Del can produce us a Dark Star gem. But, only chaos magic is strong enough to do the trick, and we both know what that means; if he fails to condense the energy just right, we might all be blasted into ash.”
      Looking over his shoulder to the corner of the forge-room Dern could see the large black gem locked between wooden pincers. A shiver ran up his spine; the unnatural gem was the final touch, the power, the light, the quantillian dark gem with the power of a star. The magician had done his job all right, making something terrifying that did not belong on this world or any other, and for his trouble he was torn into atoms by the power of chaos. Poor bastard, Dern thought.
      He approached the gem. From the black surface the reflection of his own eye looked back at him. For a moment the blackness was all consuming, as if it was absorbing not only the light, but his thoughts as well. The eye in the reflection blinked, and he shook his head in surprise. Did he blink? He didn’t know. Looking at the surface again he seemed to be looking back at himself, looking into the gem, looking back at himself…his skin crawled and his hair stood on end. He looked away concentrating on the lantern to clear his mind, then he looked back at the wooden clamps.
      Carefully taking the gem, he carried it over to the lantern, opened the small door in the side and placed it within the rectangular chamber, angling the gem so the flat surface faced the lens. Closing the door he locked it tight. “Now to ignite the flame!” said Dern, a slight headache forming in his skull.
      He closed his eyes and envisioned the complex relationship between the geometry and the elements within, linking fields of force with the matter’s energy channels. As he opened his eyes a near blinding light dazzled him as a beam shot from the lantern onto the wall. The atoms of the wall vanished and a hole of pure blackness appeared. He secured the lens cap, careful not to expose himself to the light. Looking at the contraption he was startled by a sudden knock at the door.
      “Blackhammer, is it finished?” said a soft feminine voice.
      “Are you trying to cause my death!” he said. “I am as finished as this lantern. Let’s hope it works.”
      She opened the door and came into the room, the light of pure energy taking shape into womanly form. “The war is nearly won, and for all your sacrifices, you will be given rest and worship in the Netherworld,” she said.
      “You spiritual beings are all alike, bend us mortals to your will then we are forgotten.”
      “Not so,” she said. “We prize you mortals for the role you play in this universe. Besides, do you want to exist forever in this form?” She laughed and her laughter lifted his spirit with joy. Bending down she put her hands on either side of his coarsely bearded face making his skin crackle with static as she kissed him on the lips.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Research is a challenge. As I worked on a H.P. Lovecraft fan fiction tale of horror I realized that my main character, a nineteen twenties FBI agent, needed to live somewhere. I looked for an old map of Washington D.C. and found one after an exhausting search. When I was writing Thadius, a story that takes place during the late Roman Republic, I had to do extensive research so the locations, and items that I describe and use would seem appropriate and real to my reader. Research takes time, and while researching, the creative urge is building to the point of painful anticipation. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do your homework. Write what you’re passionate about; the reader can tell. Use a professional editor if you don’t have the luxury of having a publisher who provides one. Be kind to your fellow authors and build a network. When asked to help, help! When done with your project, set it aside for a few months, then return to it and cut out the crap that you find. Take breaks – you don’t have to “on” all the time. Love someone, or something. Eat well, drink well, and seek the company of friends and colleagues. Ask for honest critique, and take that critiques seriously  - lend it weight – ask if the critique has merit – and if it does, change your work. Get beta readers, and be a beta reader. And, before you go to sleep at night say, “I hope that BoarerPitchford is not hiding under my bed!” 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely an Indie-author, aspiring writer, avid reader, or deranged lunatic… well, I guess we authors are deranged lunatics anyway so that is redundant. Remember that we live in a small community. It is important that we of the Indie-world help each other out as much as possible. If you’d be so kind as to take my web site, the Amazon web address, Smashwords web address, and the Barnes and Nobel web address that point to my works and tweet, post, and email it out to your followers, it would help me out a great deal. Remember that we Indie-authors are on tight budgets, and the only way we can hope to compete with small press and large publishing houses is to act as a united group. Go to my web site and send me an email letting me know that you helped me out; I’ll be open to helping you out too. Like you, I have fantasies of leaving the day job and dedicating my full time attention to writing quality books. Perhaps together we can really make a dent in the industry. Thanks for taking the time to read my huge name and taking the time to visit with me today. 

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