Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And now for the role reversal!!

Say hello to Jackie Gamber as she takes on interview questions from H. David Blalock!



HDB: You aren't only a writer. You also work in other media. Tell me a little about that.
JG: Since I'm an avid storyteller, I also have an abiding interest in filmmaking, and the visual aspect of those stories. I've written a number of feature-length screenplays, as well written and directed short films.

HDB:  You and your husband Dan once ran a publishing house called Meadowhawk Press. How was it, being on both sides of the publishing business at once?
JG: Being an editor and publisher really gave me a perspective into the industry I don't think I could have gotten any other way. As a money-making venture, publishing is completely subjective, and I understand how publishers can be constantly on the edge of guessing which books will be the "big one", and being repeatedly baffled by readers. As an editor, I had to decline works that weren't right for the press, often my friends, even, and to wade those treacherous waters. I discovered I have a knack for recognizing good stories and storytelling, but in the end, my own writing time suffered, and I had to reevaluate my personal and professional goals.

HDB: You also started a writers' group in Memphis. How do you think writers' groups help? How do they inhibit?
JG: A good writers' group can make all the difference. Writers spend so much time in their own heads; crafting, dreaming, creating. It can be an isolating experience. Sharing time with other people who want the same things, have the same perspective and understanding, can be a terrific support system. On the other hand, the general writing skill of the group as a whole is crucial to a writer's growth. Improvement takes practice, and if the group is the kind to talk about writing, rather than actual writing, or to feel threatened by individual successes, then it's no better than a middle school gossip group.

HDB:  Tell us about your fight for dragon's rights.

JG: Dragons are people too! I've been a founder of the group HADS (Humans Against Dragon Stereotypes), working to spread awareness and to encourage healthy communication between humans and dragons. Some of my articles have included dragon history, dragon safety (such as what to do if you come across one in the wild), and dragon appreciation as a species.


HDB: Conventions are a big part of promotion for writers. You have been instrumental in convention planning. What should writers know about that?
JG: Conventions can be a great way to network; with other writers, with potential agents or publishers (depending on the focus). I've learned to navigate conventions by understanding my limits. I can't be everywhere at the same time, and no matter how hard I try, I can't meet everyone and make everything an opportunity. Decide what you want out of a convention, and call it a success with reachable goals.

HDB:  Awards and recognition by readers and peers is gratifying. Tell us about yours and how they came about.
JG: My most gratifying award was winning the "Mary Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction". I'm such a Mary Shelley fan, which is what led me to send my work to the contest, to begin with. I was given the news that I'd won right about the week of Christmas, and couldn't think of a better gift.


HDB: Some years ago you edited an anthology called “Touched by Wonder”. Tell us about it and what you wanted to do with it.
JG: "Touched by Wonder" was an early project with Meadowhawk Press. It was an exercise in seeing how far we could reach for talented writers, among other things. It worked well; we discovered authors we went on to make book deals with (including the author of the book which won the Philip K. Dick award).

HDB:  Finally, fill us in on the Redheart series. What, who, where, and how.
JG: "Redheart", "Sela", and "Reclamation" are the books of my Leland Dragon series; a story of a dying land, and a population. Dragons and humans once worked together as allies, but have since become competitors for resources--and enemies. To be saved, Leland must be bathed with magic, and forgiveness.


Author Links
Twitter: @jackiegamber

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Alright Emerald Seer Fans, you are in for a treat....

Today and tomorrow I am fortunate enough to feature H. David Blalock and Jackie Gamber who have taken the time to interview each other for my blog! This should prove to be a wonderful treat for everyone as it is the first time I am able to host two phenomenal authors trading off interviews! Today we will start with Jackie interviewing Mr. Blalock.



JG: What was your first publication to make it in front of readers, and what impact did it have on you to know others could/would actually read it?
HDB: My first publication was an unpaid piece, a poem in the Isthmian Inklings magazine of the Panama Canal Zone in 1971. I was delighted to have the poem published and didn't really think too much of its impact on myself or others until years later when I realized how uncommon it was to be published at all. I always wanted to be a writer and it seemed only right that I should publish what I wrote. Young as I was, I didn't appreciate the privilege I had been awarded until long afterward.

JG: Do you feel the publishing industry of today is a different world than it was some years ago?
HDB: The publishing industry itself is the same. Writers write, editors edit, publishers publish. Only the media have changed, making it easier for writers to be published. Unfortunately, this means that the process of editing has suffered significantly because many writers are either unfamiliar or uncaring about their presentation. Punctuation, grammar, and syntax are important. As writers, words are the tools of our trade. Cutting corners in writing is just as bad as cutting corners in any other art form or work. It shows a lack of professionalism and disregard for the customer, who in our case is the reader. In my work I try to never take the reader for granted and definitely never insult them with anything but my best.

JG: In that vein, what were your early goals as a writer, and have they changed or evolved into different goals today?
HDB: Early on I just wanted to share stories. I guess every writer wants to do that. As I went along, though, I wanted to do more than just share the words. I wanted to share the emotions, evoke a reaction, good or bad, from the reader. This has led to some very interesting feedback on my work. I look forward to and welcome any and all reviews, even the bad ones. It tells me whether I have succeeded in my effort.



JG:  You're not the only writer in your family. What's your approach to mentoring your daughter's writing?

HDB: Herika R. Raymer is my daughter. She has a great talent of her own which I try not to suppress in any way. She will sometimes ask me for my opinion on a piece and I do my best to give her an honest answer because I know the only way to improve as a writer is to learn how to handle critique. When I read her work, I'm not her father. I'm a reviewer. It's hard sometimes to do but I hope it helps her.

JG:  Do you think writers ever "arrive"?
HDB: No. If a writer ever thought they had “arrived”, they would stop trying to improve. I don't think any writer ever really “arrives”. They may think they have, and their work reflects that. I can think of several well-known names who qualify for that. I would encourage any writer never to consider themselves “arrived” but always traveling towards the goal of perfection.

JG:  Social media has really become a force in helping writers connect with readers, but it has also changed the relationships between writers and readers, as well. What do you see as the best, or most challenging, part of this?
HDB: At my age it's difficult to understand social media. That anyone would want to expose their personal lives to the public in general mystifies me. As a writer, I like connecting with the readers because they can give me the best feedback. Their input helps me become a better writer so I can provide better stories for their entertainment. In spite of that, I keep my personal and professional life separate.

JG:  You had a short film made based on your novel "Ascendant". What was it like to see your characters represented by flesh-and-bone actors?
HDB: It was amazing. The casting for the main protagonists couldn't have been better done. To see the characters and events come to life left me speechless. I was very pleased that it went so well and that so many people rose to the challenge of bringing “Swordbearer” to the screen. The best part about it was that seeing the characters interact in real life was no different than how I saw them in my mind's eye when writing “Ascendant”. It was a vindication of my work for me.

JG: Do you have plans to adapt any more of your work into screenplays? What other projects do you having coming next?

HDB: I am toying with the idea of working out a full-length screenplay for “Angelkiller”, the first book in my urban fantasy series published my Seventh Star Press. I think it would be more easily produced than “Swordbearer” and be more timely in light of current events. In my writing projects, I have a pulp series starting soon called “The Velvet Wasp Cases” from Pro Se Press and several short stories with other publishers in several magazines and anthologies. I like to write in various genres, keep my hand in as it were. My goal, as I have often stated, is to produce two novels and 12 stories a year until I die then one novel a year thereafter. I figure the short stories wouldn't make it through the mediums correctly.

Author Links
Website:  http://thrankeep.com
Twitter:  @Hdavidblalock