Monday, 31 August 2015

Promo Post - Brain to Books Blog Tour - Alan Black

Fast Facts

Author: Alan Black
Genre: A little bit of everything
Books:
Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside 3Chasing Harpo (action/humor)
Metal Boxes (science fiction - military, space opera)
The Friendship Stones (Christian, historical, young adult - book one in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
Steel Walls and Dirt Drops - (science fiction - military)
The Granite Heart (Christian, historical, young adult - book two in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
Chewing Rocks (science fiction - space opera)
The Heaviest Rock (Christian, historical, young adult - book three in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
A Cold Winter (western novelette)
Titanium Texicans (science fiction - young adult space opera)
Empty Space (science fiction - military)
How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel (non-fiction)
The Inconvenient Pebble (Christian, historical, young adult - book four in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1925)
Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside (science fiction - military, space opera)

Bio

Bio PhotoI started writing sometime in the second grade, well over fifty years ago….I think. Gaak! Who remembers that far back? I started my first novel in 1996. His writing tastes are as eclectic as his reading preferences.

I was born in central Kansas, grew up in Gladstone, Missouri and graduated from Oak Park Senior High School, eventually earning a liberal arts degree from Longview Community college. I did spent most of my adult life in the Kansas City area. The U.S. Air Force stationed me Texas, California, Maryland, and Japan. I got married in the late 70s and I’m still married to the same woman. We now live in sunny Arizona.

I am an indie multi-genre writer who has never met a good story he didn't want to tell. My vision statement: "I want my readers amazed they missed sleep because they could not put down one of my books. I want my readers amazed I made them laugh on one page and cry on the next. I want to give my readers a pleasurable respite from the cares of the world for a few hours. I want to offer stories I would want to read."

Accomplishments

Black's scifi book Metal Boxes hit #1 on Amazon.

Blurb

METAL BOXES - TRAPPED OUTSIDE COMPLETEWithout warning, Stone found himself flying across the room, smacking face first into the opposite wall. The top side of the heavy conference table slammed into his back, sandwiching him so hard he imagined he looked like mayonnaise oozing out between two pieces of bread, but it didn’t hurt. There was no noise or bright flash of an explosion. He didn’t even hear the table as gravity dragged it back to the floor, nor did he feel the slightest pain as the sandwich fell apart and he crashed down beside the table.

Stone rolled to his hands and knees. Rough hands grabbed him. Someone grabbed a fistful of hair and yanked his face upward. Numos pulled, brutally twisting his arms and legs. Stone wanted to object. He didn’t feel a thing and, although he could see Numos screaming at him, he couldn’t hear a thing.




Interview with Alan Black

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing? What is one thing that would surprise us?) I started writing early, but I didn’t finish my first full length novel (100,000 words) until the late 1990s. Generally, when I’m not writing, I’m editing, publishing and marketing my books. This is my full time job and I put in about 60 to 80 hours a week at it.
Is this your first book? Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside is not my first book published. I’m writing my twentieth book, but I’ve only published thirteen of them so far. How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.
Chasing Harpo (action/humor)
Metal Boxes (science fiction - military, space opera)
The Friendship Stones (Christian, historical, young adult - book one in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
Steel Walls and Dirt Drops - (science fiction - military)
The Granite Heart (Christian, historical, young adult - book two in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
Chewing Rocks (science fiction - space opera)
The Heaviest Rock (Christian, historical, young adult - book three in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
A Cold Winter (western novelette)
Titanium Texicans (science fiction - young adult space opera)
Empty Space (science fiction - military)
How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel (non-fiction)
The Inconvenient Pebble (Christian, historical, young adult - book four in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1925)
Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside (science fiction - military, space opera)
What genre is it and what is it about? Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside is a military/space opera science fiction novel. It’s the sequel to Metal Boxes and is about the continuing adventures of Blackmon Perry Stone, a young man in service to the empire. Against his personal preferences (he is agoraphobic - that means he is afraid of being outside, not being afraid of sweaters made from goat hair), his new assignment is to lead a team doing planet pacification of a newly discovered world. Not only is it all outside, but they find a warring alien race.

What inspired you to write this book?
The feedback from the first book drove me to write the sequel.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The original book Metal Boxes was titled that because the protagonist grew up in Metal Boxes (space stations and spaceships). He never ventured outside under open skies until he was in his teens. Hence, he is agoraphobic. The second title plays against the first. He is still agoraphobic, but now he is trapped outside.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The artwork for this new book was done by Bill Wright. You can see his artwork at https://www.flickr.com/photos/billwrigt1/
The cover layout was done by the excellent people at The Cover Collection athttp://www.thecovercollection.com/

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
I haven’t actually cast the actors in this book. Some I have, but in this story, I prefer the reader build their own mental image.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Robert Heinlein and Louis L’Amour were my two favorite authors growing up. Some people are surprised that they wrote in such disparate genres. I disagree. The only difference between scifi and westerns is location. They are still morality stories with good vs evil.

What does your writing process look like?
I actually go into my process in depth in my book How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel. I pick a character that I like and throw all the nasty crap at them I can think of. By the time they get all of their problems resolved, the book is done. I don’t edit, I don’t proofread, check spelling, format or even worry about the color of the hero’s girlfriend’s hair. My rough draft is all about story and action. Then I go back and rewrite all the other stuff and start fixing my mistakes. Rule #2 in writing is that you can’t fix what ain’t been writ.

Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)?
I am a pantser. I have a rough idea where the story might end up, but when I am in the middle of writing, I couldn’t tell you what is going to happen in the next paragraph until I’ve written it.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why? How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
My favorite character to write is Harpo Marks from Chasing Harpo. He is an orangutan. Part of the book is written from his point of view. I had a lot of fun with it because I struggled not to anthropomorphize him into a semi-human. He has a sense of realism to his ape-ness, but he has grown used to humans and adopted some small characteristics. My least favorite characters are easy to spot because I kill them off. Not everyone who dies in my books is someone real, but some are. Not everyone who dies in my books is someone who I don’t like, but some are. For example I kill off a character in Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside who was modeled after a good friend of mine. She complained, but that is the way the story goes.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I will still be writing and publishing. I don’t know where the publishing business will be, but I will be here. My list of published books will be longer as I have a goal to write four books a year.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews, but I never ever ever respond to them. I will answer direct questions on my website or Amazon Author Page, or Goodreads, or Facebook, or Twitter, but not a review. My best advice to bad reviews is to read them carefully. Search them diligently for clues to improve your writing. Develop a thick skin and learn that reproof will only make you better. If there isn’t anything to learn from a review, good or bad, then give a little shrug, have another glass of wine, and mentally put it aside.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
The best marketing is word of mouth. Tell someone about the book. Oh, don’t lend them the book, but write a review, tell a friend, mention it to a co-worker at lunch.

What is your best marketing tip?
I put marketing tips on my website. So far I have collected 49 different things for author to try. There is a tab for Marketing Tips on the home page.

What are you working on now?
Strangely, I am not writing scifi. I alternate scifi with something else. I am writing a Christmas Romance novel.

What do you wear while writing?
I write in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Not that I go to the gym, their just comfy.

What literary character is most like you?
There aren’t any literary characters like me. Oh, you read about guys like me in books, but we don’t get names. We’re just the tertiary character whose body is found in a dumpster by the protagonist or the guy who’s too fat to run away from the Zombies and dies in chapter two.

If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
The ability to convince people I’m right…whether I am or not.

What is your favorite movie?
I like the movie “Silverado”. It is a fast paced western with a superb cast. It is fun without taking itself too seriously.

What makes you cry?
One of the rules of writing these days is that you can’t kill a dog or a horse. It is deadly to readers. That always makes me cry. I’ve done it, but I hated it much worse than killing people.

Connect with Alan Black


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