Hey there everyone.
Hope you all had fantastic Christmas celebrations and are looking forward to your New Year shenanigans! 🙂
I ate a lot of food (I’m very pleased to say) and have had a very relaxing time but there is no rest for the wicked, so let’s get another Author Interview party started!
The unique twist for this one is that I interviewed two authors at the same time, so for all of you who are interested in how collaboration novels are written, this will be right up your street.
Just a quick note/Public Service Announcement before we get under way properly. I link to a lot of other articles in my posts, so WordPress users please check your Spam folders in your Setting Menus and approve any links/pingbacks that you find from me to improve the visibility of your own blog posts, as well as mine, it’s a win win for us both 😉
Now without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you all authors Paul Barrett & Steve Murphy, as they tell us how they concocted their Co-Authored novel “Knight Errant”, along with sharing with us their writing experiences.
Thanks for reading and enjoy their witty banter folks 🙂
Hi there, a very warm welcome to Paul Barrett and Steve Murphy, as we discuss their collaborative Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel in more detail, along with getting to know them both a little better too.
Let’s start with the novel itself, which is called “Knight Errant”. Can you tell us more about the plot/themes of the book, along with what is at stake for the protagonists and what science fiction elements the story entails.
Well, at least you started with an easy question. The plot revolves around a starship crew that works for the government, but also moonlights as corporate mercenaries when their real job doesn’t need them. The themes revolve around betrayal, the price of friendship, and the need for loyalty even in the most extreme circumstances. And they face many of the stakes that heroes always face: the spectre of death, the possibility of enslavement by evil forces, and figuring out the best way to overcome their own flaws to do what needs to be done in the moment. There’s also the threat of betrayal as someone attempts to sever the very bonds that hold the group together. It really isn’t a hard sci-fi story, but more of a space opera, with elements of fantasy and magic mixed in. The concept of light speed isn’t a barrier to travel, and most planets are breathable by everybody. It’s not Isaac Asimov or Ben Bova. It’s more Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars.
Can you describe the collaborative process working with each other? Is this the first time both of you have collaborated together on an individual story?
This is almost a blog post in itself. In fact, we’ve written one which will be posted on the Fiery Seas website in January. But the highlights are: We’ll answer the easy part first, yes, this is our first collaboration, in the sense that it was the first story we started together, but we’ve been collaborating for years on screenplays and other stories. Knight Errant just happens to be the first to be published. As for how we work together, it’s very organic. We’ll discuss the plot and characters, what we hope to accomplish; how to best achieve the goal and then knock out an outline. Then one of us—usually Steve—will “tell” the story, putting out the rough framework and writing the most basic sketch of the plot. Then Paul will “show” the story, fleshing out details and putting meat on the bones, later Paul and Steve go over each chapter and smooth out the rough edges, tweak the dialogue, and make sure it all flows smoothly. Or as smoothly as we can make it. Eventually, things blend together to the point where we become unsure who wrote what. So when people ask, “Who wrote that part?”, most of the times we can honestly say “We don’t remember. But if you like that part, I wrote it.” (Note, Steve and Paul are saying this in unison)
How did you plan out the nature of working together on a collaborative novel? Did you start with individual characters/POV’s or did you both take turns in writing the story?
In the case of Knight Errant, it started with a character Steve came up with based on one of his Dungeons and Dragons characters, but with a spaceship instead of a dragon. We started discussing the possibility of writing a story around the character and over time it developed from there. As we discussed it, more characters came to mind and a plot slowly—and by slowly, we mean over several years—developed. Life, family and careers got in the way and the book got written in fits and starts as we came up with ideas of how to advance it. Knight was a very seat of the pants affair. We’ve fixed that in our writing process, and have plotted/outlined the second book and now plot all of our stories pretty tightly.
What would you choose as your own individual personal mascots or spirit animals, when it comes to your styles of writing?
This is Paul. My spirit animal is a cat, for several reasons. One, I absolutely adore cats. I have two, and would have six or seven if my better half wouldn’t kill me because of it. If I won the lottery, a big chunk of the money would go to opening and running a large cat sanctuary. But I’m also cat-like in that I’m inherently lazy and really have to force myself to write. Once I get going, I’m fine, but getting started is always a chore. That, and I like to sleep sixteen hours a day.
This is Steve. It’s a toss-up between a wolf and a squirrel. I tend to jump from idea to idea, like a squirrel gathering nuts. One of my expressions when we are discussing an idea is to tell Paul to “follow the rabbit” as I ramble through my thoughts to make my point. But like a wolf, once I settle on an idea, I’ll pursue it doggedly and chase it down until I’ve trapped it and wrangled it into submission.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing styles? Do either of you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
Well, according to our editor, one of our favorite words is “but”. We’ve taken to hunting them down and replacing many of them with semi-colons, which gets the same point across. One of our themes that we share is a group dynamic where a bunch of misfits or marginalized people band together to work on a common goal. A theme that shows up often in Paul’s writing—and has made it into all three of his books—is family abandonment, either by the father or both parents. Which is odd, because for the most part, he had a fine family life.
Steve has also been called the king of the run-on sentence, he tends to write like most people talk. This is likely why writing narrative is easier for him. Our editor spends a good deal of time telling us to “break that sentence up”, but we tend not to do that because we like to write sentences that put out a lot of information in large chunks as we spin our tales of intrigue. See what we did there? 😉
If this novel was to be made into a film (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles? (I would be interested to hear if you both have similar or different opinions as to who would play the lead roles 😊)
Well, after watching Atomic Blonde, Steve and I both agree Charlize Theron would make a great Laura, the assassin/doctor of the group. Another possibility we would love is Zoe Saldana. This is an interesting question that we’ve never really thought about. Ashron and Wolf would both have to be CGI, but as far as the voice acting, Johnny Depp or Bradley Cooper for Ashron, because they can bring the manic, laconic personality that is Ashron. Wolf would be voiced by Liam Neeson or Idris Elba, because they both have the gravitas and vocal inflections that would make Wolf the imposing person he is. Brent Spiner would make a great Gerard, because he’s familiar with being pale and he also has the sci-fi background to make it work. Plus, he’s a really nice guy. Any child actor with chops could be Trey, but we think Gabriel Bateman from “Outcast” or almost any of the kids from Stranger Things (although they are approaching being too old now). As for Hawk, the main character, our first choice would be Jeremy Renner, followed by Johnnie Lee Miller from “Elementary,” or Tom Hiddleston for a different take. Tasha, another government agent, is not really a main character, but we could easily see Lucy Liu in her role. Sorry we didn’t fight about this, but we discussed and came to a common consensus. That’s how collaboration works 😉
What do you both find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you both find the easiest?
The most difficult thing about writing is writing. We mean, actually sitting down in the chair and putting words on the screen. For Steve, the easiest thing is the story ideas and writing dialogue. The give and take of people going back and forth plays well to Steve’s penchant for people watching and listening. For Paul, it’s writing description, coming up with things that don’t exist and making them fun and exciting to read about.
Who are some of the authors, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you individually?
For Paul, it’s J.R.R Tolkien, for obvious fantasy reasons, but also Pat Conroy, who can write a descriptive passage that sings off the page. Also, Robin Hobb, who can put characters through hell and make you care for them the whole way. For Steve, his early influences were Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, and David Eddings. Both Steve and Paul are fans of Edgar Allen Poe. Lately, Steve has been reading things like The Federalist Papers, which he finds fascinating for the way of seeing how people wrote in the day. Paul has lately taken inspiration from Chuck Wendig, a writer who has recently become big on the scene. The funny thing is, our writing doesn’t really reflect any of these influences—at least not that we can tell—And much as Paul would like to be able to write like Conroy, he’s not there yet.
What sort of research do you both do to write your books?
Research? What’s that? Seriously, we don’t do a whole lot, which may be to our detriment. A lot of our writing relies heavily on what we’ve read, personal experience, and really what we’ve learned as a by-product of role playing games. We are working on a supernatural Western, and have found ourselves looking up historical events to make sure we do things right and use the right weaponry for the time period. Our research style boils down to, if we have a question about something, we look up just enough to make sure we don’t sound stupid. Otherwise, we don’t go too in-depth. It falls back to the spirit animal question, where Paul is cat lazy and Steve has a squirrel’s attention span.
Why do you write? What inspired you both to become writers?
We write because we both like to tell stories. Paul started as an actor, and writing because a natural extension of storytelling. Steve just enjoys making things up and putting them down on paper. It really is that simple.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you both deal with Writer’s Block?
Honestly, we have so many projects that creative slump and writer’s block aren’t too much of an issue, thankfully. If something isn’t working one day, we’ll move on to something else and work on that. Also, creative slumps can be pushed through and writer’s block can also be passed. As long as you are putting words on paper, you are accomplishing something. And if one part of a book isn’t working, you can move on to another part and let your partner come in and tackle the tough part, which may work fine for them. Another advantage of collaboration.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger selves?
Find a different profession. Seriously, it would be, start writing early and don’t stop. Submit and keep submitting. Always find an opportunity to learn something new about your craft. Take classes, become the expert and seek out others who are. You are not all of that and a box of chocolates. Persevere and know that it will all work out.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Free time? What’s that? Oh wait, we’ve done that joke already. Paul’s day job is working as a script supervisor or props person for film and television. He’s freelance, so can somewhat dictate his schedule. He also reads, plays video games, is an avid board gamer, and watches a lot of movies and TV. Netflix is a godsend. Steve and his wife own their own business, which takes up a lot of his time, but he is also an outdoorsman and enjoys backpacking and hiking. He just got back from a month-long camping trip heading northwest in his truck and stopping where the mood took him. He also reads and plays video games, but doesn’t watch nearly as much TV. Steve likes sitting back with a good bourbon and cigar, whereas Paul is more of a vodka guy and, if he smoked, would smoke a pipe with cherry tobacco. Neither of them wear suede coats with patches on the elbows.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you both working on anything specific/individually or do you have plans in the pipeline?
Together, we are working on the second book in the Knights series, and also the aforementioned supernatural Western, several script ideas, a short film, and a fantasy novel. Paul is working the second draft of his Necromancer series and doing world building for his Spade Case Files series. The first book—The Malaise Falchion—is out, and he decided it was time to codify the world for consistency purposes. Steve is working on a personal project of digitizing over 600 tapes of big band, jazz, and swing cassette tapes collected by his father over 60 years, which he will someday podcast as an ongoing radio station.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that either of you can impart to other aspiring writers?
There are so many better articles about this, but they all boil down to the same thing: write. Put your butt in the seat and type, write, or dictate your words. Get it down. Any number of people have said to us, “We’d love to write,” to which we say, do it. Writing really is a muscle, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes to continue doing it. Set aside a number of hours or number of words and commit to making it happen. Set a schedule and stick to it as best as humanly possible. And read. Know what other people are writing, so you can learn from what has come before.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for your time Paul & Steve, we can’t wait to get stuck right into your Knight Errant world before the night is out 🙂
Bio:- (Paul Barrett)
Paul has lived a varied life full of excitement and adventure. Not really, but it sounds good as an opening line.
Paul’s multiple careers have included: rock and roll roadie, children’s theater stage manager, television camera operator, mortgage banker, and support specialist for Microsoft Excel.
This eclectic mix prepared him to go into his true love: motion picture production. He has produced two motion pictures and two documentaries: His film Night Feeders released on DVD in 2007, and Cold Storage was released by Lionsgate in 2010
Amidst all this, Paul has worked on his writing, starting with his first short story, about Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, at age 8. Paul has written and produced numerous commercial and industrial video scripts in his tenure with his forcreative agency, Indievision. He has two published short stories (As You Sow and Double Cross) and one self-published novel (Godchild). He lives with his filmmaker/graphic artist partner and their three cats.
You can connect with Paul via the following Social Media channels:-
Instagram:- @producerpaul1965 (Instagram)
Goodreads:- Paul Barrett (Goodreads Author)
Twitter:- @producerpaul (Twitter)
Website:- Paul Barrett Online – The Website of Author Paul Barrett
You can buy Knight Errant here:-
You can buy Paul’s other books here:-
Bio:- (Steve Murphy)
Steve Murphy has spent much of his life as a military man, starting with four years in the Navy and a stint in the Army National Guard. Not through with serving his fellow man, Steve then became a police officer and spent 23 years doing that. Fourteen of those years he was on the SWAT team and 9 of that he worked as a sniper.
Steve currently lives on a 14-acre farm somewhere in North Carolina with his wife, three dogs and a cat.
You can connect with Steve via the following Social Media channels:-
Goodreads:- Steve Murphy (Goodreads Author)
You can buy Knight Errant here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, since this is a “confessional” of sorts for Paul and Steve regarding their literary endeavours then how about some more articles on the theme of ‘Confess’, which can be found in the links provided by my fellow blogging colleagues below:-
1. Ouch!! My back hurts!! – The Year That Was – April to June
2. Life On The Skinny Branches – To the Grave
3. Cage Dunn: Writer, Author, Teller-of-tall-tales – There are Good Guys Out There
4. 55. Blog – Wind Kisses
5. No Way to Repay – Running vs Me
6. My Anxiety Matters – 5 Confessions before 2017 is out…
7. Na’ama Yehuda – Spill The Beans
8. Giggles & Tales – The Daily Prompt – Confess!
9. MY ENDURING BONES – It’s All Fun and Games Until Reality Sets In
10. Laidig’s Broadway – Final Feat: Rejection(s)
11. Musings of a Random Mind – Losing My Religion
12. Powered by Robots – You’re Too Early
13. Success Inspirers World – Confession to confess
14. The Home Of DJ Sung Mo Koo – On The 13th Day Of Christmas, My True Love Gave To Me…
15. Your Move – Debbie Gravett
16. True Confession… – Success Strategies
17. unholy – the blithe seaside
18. Confess Now – aroused
19. Jurassic Soul, Millenial Touch – I Confess To Who You Were To Me
20. He said “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” – THE BEAUTY OF EVERYTHING
21. Confess – Run and Travel
22. Confess – DD’s World
23. juantetcts – Daily Post/Confess
24. thelonerose – I confess…I listened to my parents
25. My Mom…My Journey – Success Strategies
26. What’s the Word I’m Looking For? – A lot from Lydia
27. Confess – Win McGrath
28. Frank Prem – A Full Confession
29. Frank Prem – shook up: looking better
30. Frank Prem – after his ‘women’
31. tell the truth – Seventeen Syllable Poetry
32. Confess. – Grace’s Life Chronicles
33. Confessed Sins – Off My Rocker
34. Confess and Repent – What if We all Cared?
35. Extreme Cold Weather and Your Pet – stbarbebaker
36. Confess – Bedoor Bluemoon
37. Confess – constant VARIABLE
38. Tiny Confessions – Earthly Brain
39. Fat – That Dirty Word. – vertsintroext
40. Confessions – stoneronarollercoaster
41. Depression Unmasked – Wandering Worlds
42. Confess Your Heresy – A Unique Title For Me
43. Can Altering a Blogging Schedule Effect Readership? – The Long and Short Stories of Life
44. Word Cloud – Confess – Colleen Hoover
45. Nan’s Farm-Inside Out – Is it all over for fifty shades of grey?
46. You have to forgive me…… || I confess – EXPRESSIONS
47. Real – This Girl’s Got Curves
48. As I See It – Details
49. This life is a blessing…/Suzhalgal
50. Eating Fireflies – Book Review – Curious Cat
51. (un)known answers for (un)known questions – A Ray of Sunshine
52. Stopdraggingthepanda – Confess (once a week)
53. Before and After – KerDoodle Village
54. A crisis in boredom – Wells Baum
55. Confess – thecuriouscityproject
56. Attachment – Whatevers
57. WITHOUT HIM – lovenlosses
58. Peculiar names: The naming of cats – Word Play … Work in Progress.
59. Confess – Image & Word
60. Live life; make meaning. – Leaving
61. mylocalweb – WordPress confession
62. Confess and cherish – In my world
63. From Hawaii to Nebraska: Adjusting to the Cold Weather – Adventures of a Busy Mom
64. Confessions. – Unconventional Prompts
65. Relax – Ex indumentis
66. Blessings – AHAmoments
67. If plastic cups could clink: ‘Here’s to the church’ – Church Sweet Home
68. Confess – Emily Havis
69. The Consulting Writer – Break The New Year’s Resolution Before Starting
70. Crossing Colorado – Gearing Up for 2018: Setting the Tempo to Meet Your Goals
71. I Confess! – damswriter
72. SERENDIPITY – CONFESS LEST THE DEVIL TAKE YOUR SOUL?
73. Confession… – Cyranny’s cove
74. Confession – A Novice blogger
75. From Where I Left Behind! – My Life.. My Thoughts..!
76. Strange Wednesdays: Unsolicited Advice (For Being a Better Person) – Everyday Strange
77. Confessions From the Sickbed – One Woman’s Quest II
78. Confession – Coloring Outside the Lines
79. Full Confession – The Page Turns
80. Confessions of the Restless – The Fuzz
81. Sweet Memories – Kurilane
82. Bottled up with hesitance – Blase’
83. The surgeon – Just a Written Thought
84. Perfect Gift Idea to Start the New Year – This and That 404
85. A Night On Broadway – Think Outside The Toaster
86. Confess Of The Stars – Pitch Black Poesy
87. Confess – Revolving Around Life
88. Confessions of a drunk poet – Rantings of a nihilist fool
89. Light of Heart.. White Charcoal Drawing
90. Confess – Covert Novelist
91. MC’s Whispers – The showdancer’s new dress
92. Kimberlee K. – How I Ran 1000 Miles in One Year (List-cember #8)
93. Breathless Confession – Scribbled to Paper
94. Masquerade – Just me musing
95. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Feline Confessions
96. A Begging Sinner – Poetry By Jeremy
97. ~361 Of 365~ – ……….365 Days………..
98. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society – Extreme Cold Dos and Don’ts
99. True Confession – Curious Steph
100. Grandparents & Parents Revelations: A love story – Expedition Overlanding Nomadic Adventures
101. My Confession (Confess) – The Secret Letters to Timbo
102. Anchor – The Introspection Connection
103. Let’s Pretend – THEGIRLVERSUSWORLD
104. Sweet nothings – Megha’s World
105. Unanswered – I seek the peace that evades me
106. A Full Confession – This, That, and The Other
107. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Have nothing worth confessing
108. I Suffer From SMEFE – Sketches By Nitesh
109. I Confess – Sgeoil
110. Confession as Literature – binneyblog
111. A Letter from Traveling Bad Ass Grandma – Author Flawed to Perfection
112. Talking Dogs – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
113. I Have a Confession, I Sin Daily – Paul Cox Writer
114. Thankfulness and Faith – The Sheepwrecked
115. Writer’s block – Ambrose XIII
116. sonja benskin mesher – . measured tones.
117. Gloss – Journey
118. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – The Confessions of Catwoman
119. Power – This Girl’s Got Curves
120. Confess – A Sawyer’s Daughter
121. confession #poetry – Short Prose
122. Dronstad – Nick the Red (2)
123. suziland too or obsolete childhood – It’s my fault………..
124. I’m Like Them – Live Like It Matters
125. I Love Confessionals – Armed With A Keyboard
126. Don’t Need To Confess – emotionsoflife2016
127. One Rule – Matt Seeley Poetry
128. CONNECTED – Confess
129. sarishboo – 10 Confessions of a Pakistani Muslim American Rebel
130. The Romantic Quill – WEDNESDAY REFLECTION #33: The Shop Around the Corner VS. You’ve Got Mail
131. The war of the family – Sarahs Crazy Mind
132. Their Confession – The Journey
133. Speak out, Confess – Around the World
134. I Admit It! – Just Writing!
135. Doing the NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing) |
136. The World Outside the Window – Sir Oswald
137. Success Inspirers World – Angel in the Sky..
138. AHHHHHH! – cocoa2
139. Hot White Snow – The Illusion of Control
140. The Pradita Chronicles – O Bard, Where Art Thou?
141. Science Traveler – The Year in a Writer’s Life – 2017
142. Only You – December Rose
143. Before it’s too late. – 7 start
144. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – power
145. the15thday – bad male form
146. Arabica beans and eye contact (#wordprompt) – IdeasBecomeWords
147. Confess… I’m not perfect – Teacher Turned Mommy
148. Christmas Challenge 2017: Final Round Up – mindescapes.net
149. A Three Line Short Horror Story- Chapter 8 (The Black Cat) – Jajabor, The Nomad
150. Designer Sophisticate – “Bless me Father, for I have sinned…”
151. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: confess
152. MSKCAFE – My Frame
153. You & Me – Temporaries
154. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – abstract
155. A Swedish wetland in Iowa!? – 99Wetlands
156. Cimmerian Sentiment – A Halo And All (Part – 9) Snow Angel