Today, I am again pleased to welcome Matt Xell, author of Tower of Parlen Min. He has graciously taken time out of his busy blog tour to answer some questions. He is offering 5 eBook copies of Tower of Parlen Min to 5 lucky commenters. Please fill out the rafflecopter form or leave a comment with your email address so I can throw you in the drawing for the books.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I'd say I've always been something of a storyteller or an avid dreamer. I fell in love in fantasy literature and the visual arts at a very young age; in particular YA novels, Japanese comics, action movies and video games. And I'd like to think that I've always been equal parts a consumer and producer of the kind of entertainment I love. But it wasn't until the 9th grade that writing became my primary form of storytelling.
What character(s) of your book(s) do you most relate to?
Ves in Tower of Parlen Min, but mostly Ryan from The Silver Sun Chronicles which is one of my earlier and unpublished works. Though my characters do have some elements of me in them, I don't like to write about characters that are too similar to real-life people, events or themes. And yeah, I have been criticized a lot and am guilty of writing characters a lot of people can't relate too. I really like unique and eccentric characters and I really abhor stereotyped and mediocre characters.
How do you visualize your stories? Dreams? Inner monologue with your characters,etc.?
Wow, mm ... no one has asked that before, lol. But,uh, I really let my imagination wander in the creation process. So like with Ves, sometimes it played out like a movie, sometimes like an animated series, sometimes like short comic strips, sometimes like a music videos, sometimes like a video games ... and so it's all very abstract and mostly incoherent when it's in the mind, and it's not chronological which is worse. So I had to write the ideas down on paper or tell them to my brother or friends to make sense of them.
What is your writing ritual? Music? Silence? Meditation?
Hmm, I don't think I do have a writing ritual, at least not one I'm consciously aware of. And I'm not strict on writing environment either. I can write anyway so long as I have all the research and material I need to complete the story. Reasonable peace and quietness are only a prerequisite when writing complex mystery and suspense scenes. On the contrary, writing the action scenes are actually very loud, with my brother and I storyboarding and choreographing everything like a movie with vivid and sometimes violent hand gestures, punches and kicks :)
As for the music, I'd say that depends on the scene I'm writing or the overall theme of the story. With Ves it's usually alternative rock like Placebo, Billy Talent, AFI and Asian Kung-fu Generation with the occasional Phillip Glass, Kow Otani, Joe Hisaishi instrumentals and scores for the mellow, emotional and dramatic scenes.
What inspired you to write the The Tower of Parlen Min?
Tower of Parlen Min was inspired by a nightmare I had back in September 2006, which was a bizarre mash-up of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and House on Haunted Hill movies and was originally meant to be series of mystery/suspense graphic novels. I later merged the plot with another story I was working on at the time, with Ves and his Dark Teenage Girl showing up in early 2007 and overhauling the project which turned out to be a series of speculative fantasy adventure novels instead.
If you could be a book genre, what would you choose and why?
I'd be a mystery novel, because I like being unpredictable and I like to keep people guessing.
What knowledge do you want to share with aspiring authors like myself?
Lol, um, I don't like giving advice, because I don't follow a lot of it myself and I'm usually wrong about a lot of things. But if I had to give some advice if any, I'd say don't self-publish unless you absolutely have to, because it's a lot more simple and straight forward (but not easy) to do it traditionally. The paradox to this statement is that with the advent of the Internet this may not be true in the next few years. There have been stories lately of self-publishing authors making millions more than they would have made doing it traditionally. Yes, everything has pros and cons, compromises and sacrifices have to be made, and at the end of it all it's all about how passionate and committed you are to your work and which system of doing things appeals or works for you (Matt is too wordy, he's been told, Lol).
I chose to self-publish out of necessity. I knew that Tower of Parlen Min was a book a lot of people would have a hard time getting their heads around and that it wasn't a book major publishers were looking for, at least not yet (dystopian and paranormal-romance YA novels are the rule of the day people) but I still wanted to have it out there. And though I might publish with a major publishing house one day should the opportunity arise, it will be a joint-venture agreement of some sort. Having read about some of the traditional publishing deals gone bad, I'm not particularly comfortable with selling my rights if it's not in my best interest.
if you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you bring and why?
1. A bucket of chocolate and vanilla Ice cream.
2. A drum of rum (like any pirate in his right mind, if they ever are)
3. A Nintendo DS with all the Professor Layton games
4. Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy novels because I'm dying to read those books.
5. A satellite phone to call for help when I complete the Millennium Trilogy, the ice cream melts, the rum runs out and the DS's battery goes flat :)
What other books do you have to write or be written in the horizon?
I'm working on the plot for the second Ves Asirin book which is titled Eclipse Over Atuwis Wood. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it because I'm still marketing Tower of Parlen Min. I think I'll start writing it in April 2012 and it could take me as long as 1 year to complete it. And I'll be releasing several light novels or novellas in the months between that'll also be set in the world of Everlon. These include Eslo's Story, The Hunt For Majis and The Brothers Macullen.
If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, with whom would it be and why?
Christopher Nolan. I'd like to pick his brain about the making and most importantly the amazing editing of all his movies, especially Inception.
If you could time travel, what time period would you go to and why?
Italy during the renaissance era, I think anyone who considers themselves an artist would love to.
How do you write your books? By the seat of your pants? Or is it plotted out in advance?
I always plot my stories with the end first, that way I'm never disappointed with the climax or conclusion. Yes everything, except some character interactions and reactions, is plotted out in advance. Although I do create a sort of timeline or template for the events in a book, I don't write all the chapters in chronological order, this, for me, eliminates any writer's block.
Here is a twist...10 words or less, what comes to your mind first?
Chaos - My life in 2008
Moon - The one in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Fantasy - Surprisingly there isn't a lot of 'magic' in those books is there ... maybe it's just me
Dragon - The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Book - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Bird – Falcon
Light - That one topic in physics I can never fathom ...
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