A Lover of Books

Archive for the day “June 4, 2015”

Interview with Ben Seims

Ben Seims

Ben Seims lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and their three teenaged boys. He works full time as a cardiac nurse and is currently an officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is his first full length novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Ben very kindly answered some questions for me.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘After Day One’ please?

I wanted to write a series of books that take place in a broken America around 2096. Areas all over the world are the middle of a rebuilding stage, and in places like the Free (formerly the Pacific Northwest) things seem pretty bleak. It is a story about a lost, rough and tumble man who ends up having to save a twin boy and girl, and then try to get them someplace where they’re safe. All the while they are being hunted by groups of unknown entities that for some reason believe the twins have incredible powers. The more he tries to get rid of them the farther down the rabbit hole he ends up going with them. I love underdog stories. I love it when all the odds are stacked against the heroes. I love it when they never get a break, but somehow they pull off the impossible. That is really the underlying plot of the story. It isn’t a highly complicated trilogy; just a feel good read that I hope keeps everyone turning the page.

 

What made you decide to write this book?

It’s a story I’ve been kicking around for about six years. My brother died in 2011, and we had been working on ideas together. My life kind of fell apart for while and I started writing again. I guess that’s when I really put together the first outline. I kept writing and pretty soon I had a first draft and was sending it to booktrope.

 

When can we expect the second book in the trilogy?

Most likely this time next year. I’ve learned that the timeline for this kind of stuff is pretty flexible, and the whole thing takes about a year. I’ve submitted it to my editor at booktrope, Cindy Wyckoff (who I love) so the process is started, and that is always exciting.

 

Did you have to do any research for your novel?

I research science and technology constantly. I read about twenty articles each day. I take that information and use my imagination to try and figure out where that science and tech might go and then expand on it in my writing. I have a pretty extensive military background and have had the opportunity to have worked with some pretty high-speed operators, so a lot of the tactics and military tech is run through them. I had to do a ton of research on military aircraft and ships (mostly for the second book) to make sure that the descriptions and functionalities were up to snuff. I love Greek and Roman history, so much of my back story for the fall of the major world powers, and then the rebuilding that takes place is based on post Roman society.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I have so many ideas. I’ve been writing shorts and posting them on my website. It’s an urban fantasy novella series I’m working on about a guy who hunts down eaters; cannibalistic souls that inhabit human bodies and prey on humans to eat. His handler is an Auror named Bam who is trapped inside a five-pound yorkie.

 

Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at the dining room table around five in the morning when everyone is asleep. I am working on a better place and time, but it works for now.

 

Describe a day in your life.

That’s pretty long. I usually wake up around 0430, make my coffee and a shake, down some water, take my vitamins and then get started writing. I triage write; first I work on proof revisions for ADO, then I work on revisions for Fractured Days (book two), then I work on extra’s like the story above, blog posts, or my monthly newsletter. The boys are usually awake by six thirty; we have breakfast, I finish writing, and we are usually out of the house by seven thirty, heading to school and work. I work from eight to four thirty. During that time I use my breaks to do any last many editing, tweet, update my flipboard, and catch up on emails. I work out at my local crossfit box from five to six, and then head home for dinner and catching up with the family. I write about an hour in the evening before calling it a night around ten or eleven.

 

Can you tell me what it’s like working as a cardiac nurse please?

It’s pretty awesome. I work in a mixed radiology lab. We do heart catheterizations, interventional cardiology (placing stents and ballooning open blocked coronary arteries) pace makers, internal defibrillators, and then lots of peripheral vascular and arterial repair. It can be pretty high paced sometimes. When someone is having a heart attack and actively trying to die, we go in and try to open up the clog arteries in their heart with balloons and stents to save them. It can get pretty hairy, especially when we’re doing CPR off and on the whole time.

 

Links

Website – http://blseims.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ben_seims

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/110552439600742306602/posts

 

Guest Post by Deirdre Quiery

Author Pic

Deirdre Quiery is back on my blog with another guest post.

 

The Writer and the Artist – Not One, Not Two? – Deirdre Quiery

Even though I write, I don’t think of myself as a “Writer” and even though I paint, I don’t think of myself as an “Artist”. Maybe that goes back to a dislike of labels and breaking things down into discrete parts to understand them!

I like it better when everything is messy and confusing – when the writer isn’t really a writer and the artist isn’t really an artist – but something is created and we look back to investigate who is the guilty party and there is a whiff of Deirdre over there typing away on her laptop or splashing paint on the floor.

What I love about both writing and painting is that something is created from somewhere mysterious rather than someone mysterious. When I am writing or painting, I feel myself sinking into somewhere – a falling into a place beyond the easily recognisable surface of reality. It’s a letting go of what I know to allow something completely new to emerge. I think that’s why it is right to consider writing or painting courageous because the writer and the artist have to be prepared to be ripped apart in the act of creation. They do that by sitting or standing still – not moving – waiting for a stirring to happen and then surfing it with the tapping of the keyboard or swirling colour onto a palette.

So this falling into emptiness for me is what writing and painting have in common but I also see their differences. For me my love of writing started with a passion for reading. I remember receiving my first three library tickets at the age of seven accompanied by the thrill of reading late into the night, tucked into bed with a torch under the sheets.

By the time I was twelve, I not only loved the characters in the books I read, but I now also loved the writers. I was grateful to them for opening up these vast new worlds for me. I remember the intense sadness I experienced when I finished the last available book by a treasured writer. It was then I learnt what it means to mourn.

My experience of falling in love with painting was different. It didn’t start by being inspired by the painting of others. Only recently I ran from the Louvre after spending only thirty minutes inspecting masterpieces depicting naked bodies with their delicate parts covered in fig leaves, plunging knives into one another. I did not find the act of looking at art at all interesting. If given the choice, it might appeal to me to observe buttered Tibetan sculptures melt in the heat of the mid-day sun, but only because the art itself was disappearing without regret.

I went to my first art class in Palma with Argentinian artist Carlos Gonzalez with the intention of exploring how painting could help me write better. I was lucky with Carlos. He was a marvellously talented painter who could paint like a Michaelangelo, a Picasso or a Goya. He knew how to encourage the faint hearted students in his class saying, “Don’t paint what you see.” He would then ask questions like “What colour do you want to paint that olive tree? Please don`t say brown and green.”

I had “proper painters” on either side of me producing, shaping, and polishing their skills while I spent those Saturday mornings laughing at what appeared on my canvas. Then the day arrived, after mastering watercolours, acrylics and tempera – that Carlos thought we were ready for oils. It happened. As I mixed Prussian Blue, a Zinc White and a Cadmium Yellow, I started to sink. I fell into that magic place where art and writing are one and where I could disappear without a trace.

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I really hope you enjoyed this guest post.  Look out for a special competition coming soon.

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