Twelve(ish) Days of Authors – Day 1: R.J. Hore

14 Dec

Hey Everybody – I know I’ve been quiet so I thought I’d kickstart blogging by doing a some author interviews over the winter holidays until the new year– though most of the authors that will be shown here belong to my publishing house, I’ve got a few others who aren’t with the Champagne Imprint. In the Spirit of 12 Days of Christmas, I’m going to showcase 12ish authors in the next few weeks by asking them silly questions and they’ll have a chance to let you know what it is they write. If you happen to be a writer and want in – message me; I got my dozen writers but I’m more then willing to carry on into the new year.
First off is R.J. Hore – and I picked him first because he’s my beta reader and I’m posting it now because the first Hobbit film comes out in about 40 minutes my time.
I joined the Writer’s Collective when I was an undergrad and needed all the help I could get learning the art of writing or something. They had a program where they paired writers of similar genre up. Basically we’ve been swapping work back and forth every month or so and having someone to swap work with semi-regularly is the ultimate accountability system – and his feedback is reflective when I do my homework at the last minute, which I’ll admit is more often then not.
Anyhow – R.J. Hore is from Winnipeg, MB., and has a far more impressive list of publishing credits then I do – he’s won contests, appeared in numerous anthologies, and his second novel is due out in April of 2013. His first novella in his Housetrap Chronicles was released earlier this month by Burst Books, an Imprint of the Champagne Books Publishing Group. You can check out our publisher’s webpage at http://www.champagnebooks.com

Available in Ebook

Let’s pretend I haven’t read The Housetrap novella or its sequels already. In a nutshell, tell me about Randolf C. Aloysius and his long-suffering assistant Bertha, and why I should check out this series.
Randolf C. Aloysius is a private eyeball in a universe just slightly one sideways step over the rainbow from ours, into a fantasy world where almost anything, or anyone, might happen. Bertha is Randy’s Secretary, Girl Friday, and Executive Assistant. If you don’t object to steam-powered taxis, or spaceships with floppy wings, or a world run by committees, usually of wizards, then this might be the place for you to drop in and visit. Randy’s adventures can take place anywhere, from the back streets of Central City to the terraformed swamps of Venus. Bertha’s duties include trying to keep him out of trouble, as well as running the office of the detective agency. Did I mention no one here is human, or rarely?

What’s the C. in Randy’s name stand for?
I don’t think anyone knows. I’m not sure Randy does. If I were guessing I would try Cluttered, or Curmudgeon, or possibly Cynic.

How would you describe your style in Housetrap as compared to say, The Dark Lady or The Queen’s Pawn?
Housetrap is a mad ramble to who knows where. I feel free to throw just about anything into the mix. The basic idea when this first popped into my head was to take the title of a famous detective or mystery thriller, mangle the title, then write a novella based around that simple plot idea. Basically, I have fun with the characters and the plot. When I did The Dark Lady, I took a more serious idea like: How do certain rulers, in this case a queen, get a bad reputation? I may have wandered a bit in the execution, but that was the starting point. It was a more serious effort than Housetrap. The Queen’s Pawn is probably somewhere in between the two. It is a semi-serious story, that gradually gets darker by the time it ends. If I rated them as to how “serious” a story they were, out of 10, I would give The Dark Lady a 9 or 10, Queen’s Pawn a 6 or 7, and Housetrap a 2 or 3. I guess the style reflects the seriousness of the subject matter and how I treat it.

BBDarkLady

How do you feel about writing the novella length as compared to other formats?
My preferred format is the novel. I have been told that some of my short story efforts read as though they should be a novel instead. I like being able to fill out more details in the novel about the setting and the characters as well as the plot. The Housetrap stories are all novellas. I think this is the ideal format for that type of tale. The reader might get a headache if it went on too long. Each story is a single case based around a main character. With a novel you can expand on the backstory and give the secondary characters more development. One type of short story I enjoy is the single page. You have to be very aware and concise. Works well, especially for a bad pun or two.

Will we ever get to see humans in Randolf’s world?
In Housetrap I think humans do appear as shadowy street people and are definitely used as models for the local equivalent of a decorative gargoyle, which is logical, since gargoyles probably prowl the streets in Randy’s world. I could envision humans only as something completely covered up (like a wizard?) or undead (like certain vampires?) A pity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Randy has 1/100 human blood in him somewhere, he is a mongrel after all.

Let’s pretend you land a movie or miniseries deal for Housetrap. Who would you like to direct it?
Toss up between Ridley Scott and Tim Burton! Joss Whedon might be a better choice than Scott.

Every author has the most loathsome part of the craft – what do you hate the most?
Marketing has to be number one, it interferes with my writing time! Editing come in second place as a necessary evil. The writing is the easiest part, I have stories and titles I will never get around to using.

You got a bunch of other projects coming up – another novella due out in March and then another medieval fantasy novel in April. Mind giving us an idea what they’re about?
Knight’s Bridge comes out in March 2013. Probably one of my darker fantasy tales. It started out as a short story about a disillusioned medieval knight fleeing a lost battle. But then I began to wonder what happened next, and what happened to the people (especially the woman!) he met along his way. It became a novella about the knight, a barbarian warlord, a squire, and the widowed woman.
The Queen’s Pawn comes out in April 2013. This is a medieval-style fantasy, a sort-of-a quest novel, where a farm boy is mistaken for a duke and ends up trying to lead a queen, her daughter, and their attendants to safety. Of course few people, except for the farm boy, are as they seem. He just wants to go home, but just keeps getting dragged in deeper. Tried to keep it light but it gets a bit darker toward the end.

 

knights bridge ecover

You’re just putting the finishing touches on final book in The Dark Lady Trilogy – any idea as to what is next? Or, anything you’d like to take a break from?
Once I get The Dark Lady project out of the way I have a couple of areas to work on. I would like to take a bit of a medieval break and relax with another novella or two in the Housetrap universe. There are already three more in this series coming out in 2013. One consideration is to eventually bundle two or three stories together in a print volume or two under The Housetrap Chronicles. I also have at least three full length novels that i should get back to, look over, and send out. There is a what-if tale, a contemporary couple gets stuck in the wrong universe tale, and slightly futuristic mother and daughter adventure. Should do something with these. (And that is just before I go and look to see what else is hiding in my closet).

You are suddenly faced with a zombie apocalypse. You have three weapons and a strategy. Go!
Could I simply leave town? How about a nice comfortable space ship full of friends? We could just zap the planet and start over but that would probably be cheating.
How about a suit that nothing could get at me through and a gun that turned zombies into…?? (He leaves it here, I’ll say FRIED CHICKEN. Why? Because then it suddenly becomes an old school game of Quake…)
Does a battleship count as a single weapon? We could head to a remote island, or maybe just take over Hawaii. If that was already taken I suppose there is always PEI or Newfoundland?

Who is your favorite fictional villain of all time?

Tough one. I have too many. Do monsters count? Dracula, the Alien in Alien, Not too fond of (love to hate) either Queen Cersei or her son Joffrey Baratheon of Game of Thrones.

Is there anything you know now as a published author you wish you could go back and tell yourself a year ago?
Stop writing once in a while and send stuff out to more publishers more often. Pay more attention in computer and social media classes?

In the spirit of sharing, can you recommend a book that isn’t by you? What is it, and who would like it?
A recent book I enjoyed was Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. A tale set in a fantasy version of ancient China. Would appeal to someone who likes long, complicated stories. A series I have enjoyed (only read the 2nd and 3rd in the series,) and a bit more juvenile is the Goliath, Behemoth series by Westerfeld. A steampunk in WW1 type of tale.

Excerpt from Housetrap:

I don’t like Elves, never have. I sat tilting back in my chair counting the stains on the ceiling when she walked through the open door of my inner office unannounced—unannounced, because I’d just given Bertha the afternoon off to visit her sick brother. Bertha’s half Banshee, thin as a lamppost with long straight dark hair and big brown eyes. She’s always got a relative down with the Black Death or some obscure curse; I think she has twelve brothers, but I digress.

The Elf arrived in my office wrapped in a full-length gold lamé coat with a large hood covering her head and hiding most of her features, but I could tell she was pure Elf. Those yellow eyes are a dead giveaway even if you can’t spot the pointed ears. I’m a student of nature, have to be; the breed often determines character, or motive, or veracity. In my business you have to stay two jumps ahead or you’re squashed like a scarab. I’m a Mongrel myself. You can never tell about Mongrels, and there are more of us around now ever since the Goldilocks affair. Now there was a real witch, not the kind with just a warty nose, but she married that Wolf back in the days before they gave femmes the vote. Then they went overboard and made it all legal in the Intermarriage Act of 1812, and everything has tumbled Jack over Jill downhill ever since.

The Elf glanced about the room nervously, then in a single fluid motion crossed her long legs and slid into the battered chair opposite me like maple syrup poured from a mason jar. I sighed deep inside, rocked forward to rest my elbows on the scratched oak desk, painted a smile across my ugly mug and waited. I had all day; it had been two weeks since my last case. She fidgeted for a minute and I matched her, stare for stare, until my eyeballs screamed for mercy. The Elf had the kind of face you see perched high on a mantelpiece, thin bone china, pale, delicate, and carved by a master.

She broke first. “I need your help, Mr. Aloysius.” Her words vibrated in the air.

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