Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Paranormal and Such – as perceived by Matt Carter, author of ‘Splinters’

Have you ever wondered if any aspect of the paranormal, as portrayed in books, is real? Matt Carter, co-author of Splinters gives his take on the subject. And, by the way, he and F.J.R. Titchenell, his co-author in crime, are giving away 3 ARCs of their book to 3 lucky winners, so see below for details. 

Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he's an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she's a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. Inorder to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other.

AMM: Welcome, Matt. Thanks for dropping in.  I have to ask What got you interested in the paranormal? Do you believe that shapeshifters and other paranormal ‘creatures’ actually exist?

MC: Ooh, this question's always been a favorite of mine. What got me interested? A morbid mix of fear and fascination. Fear because I grew up one of those kids who was scared of pretty much everything. The world was full of unseen dangers and monsters and I didn't want any of them near me. A couple bad experiences seeing glimpses of scary movies combined with my dad's general disdain for the modern horror genre kept it a kind of taboo subject that even further scared the hell out of me. And yet, despite all that, he kept me interested by feeding me a fairly constant line of old horror classics, mostly of the Universal monster and 50's B-movie variety, that never kept the subject far away. I ate up every book I could find on monsters in film, myth and legend and watched every TV show and documentary on the subject that I could.

Fast forward to my teenage and adult years when I finally had the time (and money) to get into the subject on my own, and I was hooked on all things horror, spooky and bump-in-the-night.

Now, do I believe in shapeshifters and other paranormal creatures? I leave open the possibility that ghosts might exist in one form or another, and I definitively believe in life on planets other than our own, though I think the odds that they have both visited us and picked up a bunch of people for their high school science experiments pretty slim. We live in a big universe and it seems unlikely at best that they would have found our tiny little speck in it.

As for shapeshifters, I'll give a definitive no. While vampires and werewolves and their ilk make for great fiction, their historical reality tend to come more from a variety of prejudices and superstitions based around persecuted minorities and real medical conditions that I can't really support. As for believing in other paranormal creatures... ouch. This is the part that's really heartbreaking to get into.

The long and the short of it is, I'd love to believe that creatures like these could exist. I really would. I just love the idea of living in a world where cryptids like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster live just out of our sight, hiding to one day be discovered, or perhaps befriended by a young boy with a troubled family life and/or disability it will help him overcome like in every third 80's movie. I'd love to think there's still some romantic unknown in the world, and that we haven't pillaged this fine planet of all its mystery and wonder.

While I'd love to believe this is possible, I can't, mostly because of that buzzkill I love ever-so-much: science. We've spent countless years filling in all the holes on the map and have scanning technology and satellites up the wazoo enough that it seems pretty unlikely that we wouldn't have seen them by now.

Which is a pity, really, because if Harry and the Hendersons ever taught me anything, it's that Bigfoot is really nice once you get to know them.

     F.J.R TITCHENELL and MATT CARTER met and fell in love in a
                   musical theatre class at Pasadena City College and have been
inseparable ever since. Though they have both dreamed of being
writers from a very young age, they both truly hit their stride after they
met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing each other to strive to be
better writers, and mingling Matt's lifelong love of monsters with Fiona's
equally disturbing inability to let go of high school. They were married in
2011 in a ceremony that involved kilts, Star Wars music, and a cake
topped by figurines of them fighting a zombified wedding party.
Titchenell and Carter live in San Gabriel, California.

Links for   F.J.R. Titchenell:

Links for Matt Carter:

Other Links:

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Challenges and Joys of Co-Authoring – by Berk and Andy Washburn, co-authors of ‘Mojave Green’

            Have you ever wondered what it would be like to write a book with someone else? I imagine it would be great to brainstorm as needed. I wouldn't be 'alone'. I'd be able to consult with the person who would best understand where I'm coming from. Well, to test my theory, I figured I’d go to the source and ask some experts on the subject.

             The Washburn brothers, Berk and Andy, have written two books together thus far, Pitch Green and the sequel, Mojave Green, to be released October 7, 2014.

The call from her best friend, Cal, brings news Camm had hoped never to hear. Children are again disappearing from Trona. Has the unnatural creature they killed last year returned to life or has the ancient Searles Mansion spawned a new menace? Ignoring dire warnings from federal agents, the pair take a road trip home with unsuspecting school friends in tow and discover the situation has gotten worse. With monstrous predators seemingly coming out of nowhere, enigmatic forces tear the friends apart, pulling Cal into another world, where his chances of survival are slim. Finally coming to terms with her feelings for Cal, Camm desperately seeks help where she can, even from the dead, but can a rogue agent and other wary misfits help her uncover the long-lost secrets that she needs to rescue Cal and stop the inter-dimensional attacks? The destiny of her own world now lies in Camm’s young hands.

            Here are their thoughts on co-authoring? [Oh, and they’re giving away ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of Mojave Green to three lucky winners. See below for details.]

         Pitch Green and Mojave Green are the first two books in The Dimensions in Death young adult horror series. Based on a scary story we used to tell as kids to our siblings and friends, these books combine horror, suspense and mystery at a breathtaking pace, as our protagonists battle to stay alive against an evil presence hiding in and around an old, deserted mansion in a small mining town in the Mojave Desert. (See a summary of the second book, Mojave Green, and a picture of the authors attached.)
        So far, we have enjoyed working together as co-authors. As brothers, we get along well, and have a healthy level of mutual self-respect, so we can freely share ideas and challenge each other without worrying about egos. We are more creative when we are bouncing ideas off each other and discussing a broad storyline, but we brainstorm only in a very general way. We actually write separately, and then confer later on what we have been doing, including any plot shifts. Though we sometimes disagree on specific wording, there is usually some friendly give and take as we consider alternatives, then we quickly agree on the final wording. We both appreciate the different perspective and skills that the other brings to the joint writing process.
We are different in how we approach a story. Andy used to be a planner (a habit that came from writing as a lawyer), but in fiction writing, he no longer likes to plan ahead. He likes to develop his characters, and then let them take the story wherever it is going to go. On the other hand, Berk is definitely still a planner. He is always making lists and outlines, not only for the current story, but for future stories as well. In addition to our young adult horror series, we also have written the first two books in a young adult science-fiction series.
Andy doesn’t like having other people around him when he is writing, especially when he is creating new material. There is no real reason for this, just sometimes people bug him. Berk has to organize his surrounding work environment. Once everything around him is in order, then he can detach from the real world and write.
If Andy hits a tough spot in the story development, it is almost always because of outside distractions. If he can get rid of the distractions around him, he can keep writing. If Berk hits a tough spot, he doesn’t try to force it. He stops, leaves the house, picks up some fast food, and then he can come back refreshed and ready to move the story forward. He finds that fresh ideas come naturally when he is eating.
We both find that once we start telling a horror or sci-fi story, the bounds of the story are limited only by our combined creativity and imagination, and that no matter how mature we get in the real world, we are both still just kids in our worlds of horror and fantasy.

BERK AND ANDY WASHBURN, aka “The Brothers Washburn,” are
both lawyers by profession and writers at heart. They grew up together
roaming the wastelands of the Mojave Desert, where most of the series
is set. Both brothers returned from lengthy and successful careers in the
wastelands of the law to write YA horror stories based on the
wastelands of their youth. Berk lives in St. George, Utah, and Andy lives
in Henderson, Colorado.

Find the Brothers Washburn on:

Mojave Green can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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