Each week a different author will be asked to contribute a blog post including a little bit about themselves and what they write, a little advice to other authors based on personal experience and an author interview! We’ve had a little fun with this and like to encourage the authors to give us a little snippet inside their creative world by letting one of their characters run wild.
This week’s author is CJ Rutherford! Bookworm would like to send a huge thank you to CJ for dedicating the time to contribute our very first guest post!
Well, how should I start talking about me, when I hate talking about me? Maybe I’ll leave this up to everyone’s favourite dragon. You up for it, Claude?
Urgh…must I? I was just about to visit my mermaid friends of the coast of Western Australia. I just received a message about a particularly fine vat of Fireball whiskey they have brewed. Oh, very well then, if you insist.
Now, where should I begin? While living inside CJ Rutherford’s head, I am privy to his innermost thoughts, but there are some things the world does not need to know, so I’ll stick to the more relevant parts.
CJ grew up on a farm in very rural Donegal, Ireland. The nearest neighbor was over a mile away, and the closest town over ten miles down a rugged country trail. After a few years, his family moved to a large town, but CJ spent most summer holidays on the farm. He was never lonely though, as he shared his granddads love of books. When not working the farm, he read. He lived in different worlds, had adventures with imaginary beings, and wandered the fields. This is where he started story-telling, even if he only read the words in his own mind.
Skip a few decades…oh, sorry CJ, how rude of me to reveal how old you are…but when you are a centuries old dragon, a smattering of decades is nothing. Anyway, CJ grew up, physically at least, and had a family, two little girls called Jessica and Lucy. Each night at bedtime, he told them a story, a different one each night for years. Jessica grew up and decided she was getting too old for stories, but he still had Lucy. Unfortunately, you humans grow up so fast, so in another couple of years Lucy told him she was getting to old for stories as well.
Thing is, CJ had so much gibberish floating around his brain, so decided to start writing. Originally he intended to write a book for human children, based on the stories he’d told his own, but they began to turn darker with each page. Hence was born his Tales of the Neverwar.
Ok, Claude. I can take it from here, and thanks. I have a few more gray hairs thanks to your antics with the Australian Air Traffic Control. Yes, I know that it wasn’t your fault, but what are they to think when a dragon flies over Melbourne in summer, just before the biggest forest fire in local history?
But I suppose I should talk about my books.
Right, well my series is called the Tales of the Neverwar, and it spans a few genres. Unlike other books who might be say, fantasy, scifi, romance, or time-travel, Tales of the Neverwar combines all of these. It was incredibly fun to write, from the two main characters based on my daughter and her best friend, to the references to Friends. There are dragons in Souls of the Never, book one of the series, but they don’t know they are dragons until book two. In Worlds of the Never, the first dragon returns, and I introduce a new race – the reptilian Zhibalbans, a matriarchal society. Book three, War of the Never, has dragons battling spaceships, and drags magic screaming back into our reality.
I think it’s important to respect my fans, and while ebooks are important, some people love paperbacks or audiobooks, so all my books are available on audio. My narrator, Katie Welburn, makes my chest swell every time I hear what she does. She brings my characters to life in such a way that it feels like I’m listening to someone else’s book. Maybe she is…hmm, I’ll have to have a word.
Do NOT expect to write a book and become instantly rich. It’s a long hard slog, and you will have pitfalls. You will want to give up. You will read your words and wonder why anyone will want to read this crap. KEEP…WRITING! The best way not to succeed is not to try.
I love it when the characters do something totally unexpected. I’m a total pantser. In case you don’t know what that is, it means I have a completely rough idea of a story, but no real details. I sit down and let my characters do their thing. I had one of my main characters die on me in a book (not saying which one), and it took me totally by surprise. I cried the whole time while I wrote the scene. It’s also reduced most of the people who’ve read it to tears as well, so it’s either well done or complete crap. I’ll let you decide.
What is your least favourite part of the book publishing process?
Probably editing. Promo can be a chore as well, but at least you get a bit of excitement when you see a spike in sales.
What is your writing routine?
I have none. I work shifts and have two kids, a wife , and a crazy dog. Sometimes I get a minutes peace and write a few words. Sometimes I write late at night, when the kids and wife are in bed and the dog is curled up at my feet.
What have you got in the works?
I’m currently rewriting my short horror story, Treaters, turning it into a novella, or maybe a full length novel. I’ll see how it goes. I’m also 25k words into another series, this time pure high fantasy. This one is first person, told from the pov of a young faer girl, taken from her family to serve in the Eldar court. My daughter has read the start and has compared it to a loose retelling of Cinderella. I’m quite chuffed at that.
WIP Challenge: Give us 4 lines of your current WIP from the 5th chapter, starting at the 8th line.
The Dwelves worshipped Astalon the smith, whose constellation shared two stars with Gaelen the giver, the chief deity among my people. It had been a bone of contention for millennia, the main reason for the strife between our two peoples.
I wished we had had our respective leaders there when we realized the intertwining stars were the parts symbolizing their lips. Astalon and Gaelen kissed in the heavens.
If you could give your past self one piece of advice before you started your author journey, what would it be?
Do NOT release an unedited book that you’d written in three weeks on an android tablet, and expect it to be an instant best seller lol.
What is your current playlist for your WIP?
I love listening to ambient music while writing. This isn’t a playlist as such, but I find it inspires me at times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6Yl5UtdDuo
Where do you find your inspiration for story ideas? Characters? Settings? Does it hit you all at once or in small parts?
I have a beginning, and normally an ending. Most of the rest just comes in random flashes of madness lol.
Do you always write in the same place, or do your stories take you writing in different places? (Like do you usually write in your office, but some stories/characters inspire you to write outside or at the park?)
Normally sat at my laptop on my armchair.
What kind of research do you do for your books, ie… places, background for characters, different positions or situations?
Nah…research? I write fantasy, with some scifi thrown in. If someone asks ‘How is that even possible?’ I just say, ‘Because…magic!’ No seriously though. I did a little research for the science in Tales of the Neverwar. It has some particle physics, so I had to make sure I wasn’t spouting complete rubbish.
If you had to publish a book outside of your genre, what would you be interested in writing?
Probably a techno-thriller, something like Tom Clancy. I love his books.
Are any of your characters based off anyone in real life?
Oh yeah. Katheryne and Perri are based on my daughter, Jessica, and her best friend, Faith. Some of my reviews have stated how realistic the interactions between them are. That’s because some of the conversations are real.
If you had to describe your book in one sentence to a new reader what would it be?
A Multi-dimensional, Apocalyptic, Fantasy Romance.
Which character was your favourite to create?
I love Perri. She so sassy and takes no shit.
What advice can you give someone who is new to writing?
Build a network of friends who will support you first. There are so many groups out there that support new authors. The WORST thing you can do is throw a book up on Amazon and start spamming social media with ‘BUY MY BOOK!’ links. It’s much better if you get others to post links to your books.
Out of all of your books, which one is your favourite? Why?
Probably the last in my Neverwar series, War of the Never. I literally cried at the end, and have just had a review where the reader was reduced to tears as well. Damn…I’m welling up here even thinking about it.
What are your top 5 favourite books?
My favourite book I read last year was Iron Mike by Patricia Rose. It’s awesome. I read a book called Bitter Bonds, by Heather Osborn last week and really loved it. Even more so as it was so far away from the genre I normally read. I can say that my guilty pleasure is anything by Sarah J. Maas. My daughter got me into her Throne of Glass series and I am totally hooked. I’ve devoured everything she’s written. I even look up the blogs on Tumblr. I’m a total fanboi.
What is your favourite music?
Everything from heavy rock to classical, depending on my mood.
Coffee or tea?
What is this tea stuff you talk of?
What are your go-to rereads?
Lord of the Rings, The Narnia series, and Tom Clancy. I think I’ve read Red Storm Rising five times.
Do you still get excited over other authors? If so, which authors make you the most excited?
I sooo can’t wait for Patricia Rose to finish the next Iron Mike book. I’ve read some of it and it is amazing.
What book made you fall in love with books for the first time?
Definitely no contest here. I still remember the first time I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I used to spend my summers on my grandad’s farm in Donegal. I took books with me to pass the time. I think I read it three times over one summer.
Which character do you relate to the most? Why?
I think I’m a little like Derren in my Neverwar series. I’m a total romantic, and the love story in my books really tugged my heart strings.
This one is important… Which Disney movie is your favourite?
Frozen, all the way!
What is cereal? Mmm, I smell bacon.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I grew up training sheepdogs on the farm, but now we make Mazie, our third daughter.
Beverage of choice?
Wine. I make my own homebrew.
If you could recommend 5 books to people, which books would you recommend and why?
Iron Mike…have I mentioned this one before lol? It has a character called Hershey. Hershey is a dog, and parts of the book are told from his pov. It’s awesome. Anything by Sarah J. Maas, again lol. Mark Tilbury writes a great series called The Ben Whittle Investigations. Doug Dandridge is a great author who writes awesome space opera. Any of his are great, as are similar authors, Mark Cooper and David Weber.
Do you have any bad habits? Which one is the worst?
Not writing when I should be lol.
Give us 10 random, quirky facts about yourself.
- I have an imaginary dragon called Claude who lives in my head.
- I once fell over drunk on live TV. On the News at Ten to be precise.
- Sean Connery once told me to F@#k off when I asked him for an autograph.
- I sat next to this guy when on holidays with my parents. My mum asked him what he did and he replied that he wrote music. She asked him if he’d written anything she might know, and he asked her if she’d ever heard of a movie called Star Wars. It was only John Williams. My mum actually said she had never heard of it. I think I kicked her under the table. I was nine years old at the time.
- I used to be in the Air Force, and sailed more than my brother who was in the Navy.
- While in the Air Force, a group of us regularly went out in fancy dress. One night while dressed as a woman, I was chatted up by a guy. He bought me a drink and everything. Imagine his face when I followed him into the gents and hitched my skirt up to pee. You’ve never seen a guy run as fast in your life.
- I’ve met Jimmy Saville and lived to tell the tale.
- I’ve seen Oliver Reed crash his Jaguar into a pillar, throw up out of the window, then drive off.
Link to my author page on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WONCll
Link to my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/talesoftheneverwar
Profile page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009647593558