Larry Constantine

Larry Constantine is  a professional member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the author of a number of science fiction short stories. He writes thrillers under the pen name, Lior Samson.

Please tell everyone a bit about yourself.

Larry ConstantineLarry: The older you get, the harder it is to be brief, to condense the lifetime journey into a paragraph or two in a biographical sketch. In your twenties, you pad the resume; by your forties, the thing stands on its own; by the time you are looking back at your sixties, radical compression and redaction are in order. What’s important, what irrelevant? What’s of interest? What is a boring distraction? I tell my students at the university where I teach that I am not a real professor but that I am a real industrial designer. Both parts are true — in part. What they reveal is a complexity hidden behind brevity. I have been a pioneer in software engineering, in family therapy, and in interaction design. I divide my time between Europe and the US. I am deeply entrenched in academia and in industry and fully belong in neither. I am a novelist. I write under a pen name, but my official identity is no secret. I do most of my writing evenings and weekends in my apartment near the University of Madeira. My loving wife and kids put up with my long absences. I love to cook. I am a composer and would write more music if I were not so busy writing novels.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Larry: I have been writing professionally all my adult life, but nearly all of that was technical non-fiction. I was good at it — even won awards — but I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. I really started writing with passion and pleasure when I began work on my first novel, Bashert. I have never been one to color within the lines, so, although my novels are nominally in the thriller genre, they frequently break out of the boundaries of genre conventions. My forays into fiction actually began decades earlier with science fiction short stories and a couple of novellas. Those earlier works have been republished in Requisite Variety, which takes its title from my last published SF short. My recent novel, The Rosen Singularity, might nominally be called near-future science fiction, but it violates the terms of engagement that SF readers expect and is probably more literary thriller than SF.

Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Larry: If I had wanted to be a preacher or rabbi, a long-form journalist or a self-help guru with a message, I would have taken a different path. So, no, I don’t have a message for readers. But I do have a mission. I want to challenge my readers, to get them thinking, to leave behind semantic seeds that grow into fresh inspiration and insight. Thoughtful thrillers, provocative page-turners, intelligent intrigue—these are among the phrases that have been used to describe my novels. I want to raise questions more than offer answers. What is the nature of extremism and its connection with terrorism? Who are the good guys and who the bad in a world of shadow and deception? What are the unintended consequences of medical advances? And I want readers to have a great time and a grand ride on the road to the last page.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

ChipsetLarry: My most recent novel is Chipset, which is both part of The Homeland Connection series and can be read on its own. Readers who missed the first three novels — Bashert, The Dome, and Web Game — will not be lost, but those who go back and catch up will be doubly rewarded.

Like its predecessors, the story turns on a real threat, in this case malicious computer code actually embedded in the very hardware on which the entire world now depends. Like the other novels, it centers on ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, not superheroes or larger-than-life figures, but people you could know dealing with outsized challenges. Let’s just say that Karl Lustig, an American technology journalist, and his British-Israeli wife, Shira Markham, a jewelry designer and all around smart lady, are in for an adventurous holiday when Karl uncovers a secret within the computer chipsets he is delivering to colleagues at the University of Madeira.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Larry: I really like all my characters, even the bad guys and walk-on players are lovingly crafted. In Chipset, I have to admit to having developed a special affection for Karl’s mother, whose story-within-a-story in a packet of letters takes Karl back to World War II Poland, Germany, Portugal, and England. She was an amazingly resourceful lady, as Karl finds out.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Larry: Perhaps it is the influence of my career as a designer, but I write much as a portrait artist paints, moving from one place in the canvas to another, filling in details here, sketching broadly there, painting over something that doesn’t look right one place, adding an element for balance someplace else. I make lots of notes but do not work from a strict outline. Instead, just as the painter steps back from the canvas, I keep going back and approaching the work as a whole, as a reader, taking on the perspective of the reader’s experience. Does it hang together? Is the pace and rhythm satisfying and engaging? Are there holes or is too much given away or at the wrong time? Then I go back and rewrite. And revise. And rewrite.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Larry: Every writer, even those who mimic others, has a writing style. In my case, I confess to writing in a fashion that echoes not some particular writer or writers but broadly fits the sort of writing I like to read. I enjoy reading rich description, insightful exposition, and colorful, clever narrative. I like hearing the voice of the writer as well as of the characters. I enjoy the poetry of language, the music of well-crafted sentences, and the rhythm of flowing paragraphs. These are the things I aspire to. Others will judge how well I reach those aspirations. In any case, I strive for something more classical than contemporary, despite the thematic currency of my thrillers.

And while we are on the subject of style, if I read one more self-appointed expert blogger cajoling modern writers to “show not tell,” I am likely to reach violently through the screen with malicious intent. It’s called storytelling for a reason. The language has adjectives and adverbs for good reason. The passive voice is useful. I see it as the writer’s job to master and use it all.

I have always favored third-person POV because of its flexibility, but I have no religious orthodoxy about acceptable incursions into the inner thoughts of characters. I am more interested in spinning a good story than purity of viewpoint. I try not to throw readers for a loop as I take them around curves and through twists, but I am not writing to please some professor of creative writing. I am telling stories.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Larry: My environment and upbringing are as different as land and sea, but I suppose both have colored my writing. From my growing up, I would have to credit my mother, a newspaper columnist and editor, for instilling in me a love of words and a healthy respect for the craft of writing, in which it has taken me a lifetime to develop some craftsmanship. But my environment, which spans the globe and washes me with life’s complexities, is far the more direct influence. I often use familiar places to anchor my fiction. The Rosen Singularity is centered in the North Shore communities of Massachusetts near my home, but also in London and outside Moscow, where I have worked and visited numerous times. Chipset is largely set in Madeira, my second home. But I also go far afield, as far as the wholly invented African country of Busanyu, where the long lived dictator Edgar Jabari Mbutsu rules with brutal efficiency and plays a pivotal role in The Rosen Singularity.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Larry: 

“Few thriller writers can match Samson’s ability to deliver a gripping story. In previous reviews, I have compared him to John le Carré and Tom Clancy. As an Indie writer, he probably doesn’t have the same name recognition or sales, but he is equal to or better than both those authors. His work deserves to be on the New York Times Seller list.” That from mystery writer James A. Anderson.  More than I deserve, I am sure, but to soar in such celebrated company, even for a paragraph, is delicious.

What are your current projects?

Larry: I like that you end this question with a plural, because I have two novels in progress. I imagine that writers are not supposed to do that, but there it is, the confessed truth. I am just not ready to commit fully to one or the other. Both are quite daring, in a sense, and each represents an entirely new literary direction for me. The one that has the tightest grip on me at the moment is my first murder mystery, although, as with my other works, it jumps the genre gaps and might be thought of as a love story except … Well, it’s still in progress, so exactly what it is remains an open question. Literary fiction? The other novel, which is also well under way but temporarily simmering on a back burner, is a work of quiet terror. So maybe it’s horror, except… These novels are quite experimental, stories that defy expectations and take the reader in new directions. I am excited. And scared.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Larry: My author page at Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk is the best jumping off point. And it makes it easy to purchase the books with One-Click!

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Kel Fulgham

Kel Fulgham found his love for writing at a very young age, and has been writing poetry and short stories for several years. He has developed a special affinity for horror and science fiction stories, and loves to mix the two whenever possible. He admits that his darkest dreams provide his inspiration, but he hopes his readers enjoy his books and not experience his nightmares.

Hi Kel, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Kel: I was born in New York and lived on Long Island and in the Bronx as a child. Growing up in New York is a very unique experience in and of itself, and just being there can spark your creativity and set your imagination free. I moved to Maine at the same time NYC was attacked (I was still in NY at the time) and have been here ever since. I love to write and work in the technology field.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Kel: Hmm. The writing bug must have gotten to me pretty young because I have always loved putting pen to paper. These days it’s more putting fingertips to keys but the passion is the same. I like to write fiction, and I usually stay in the paranormal realm. I write a lot of horror, sci-fi, and a little romance (although you can tell from my writing I do like a good love story). I try to focus on the human experience when met with something that falls outside of the explainable.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?

Kel: I want most of all to invoke emotion. When someone picks up a book to read, they are looking for an escape. Ok, when I read a book, I know it’s good when I can put it down and think about it – when I find myself asking questions about it. When I get mad or sad reading about one of the characters getting hurt. I love when people come back to me and tell me “How could you kill her?” or “Don’t you dare kill his character off!” It means they’re invested, and that’s what all authors really want.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Kel: Sadist II: The Duppy King is the continuation of the Sadist series. Sadist: The Rise introduced us to Cal Johnson, a pretty normal introverted kid growing up in the Bronx in the early 1970’s. He grew up in the projects and went to school like so many other kids. As he was getting ready to turn ten years old, he was mugged by a bunch of boys that went to his school, and spent six years in a coma. When he finally came out of it, he was a teenager but still had the mentality of a nine-year-old. On top of that, he finds out that when he falls asleep, people die. He falls in love with a neighbor girl, and when she is hurt, he lets his inner demon out. The Duppy King explains more about the entity within and resolves the storyline.

What’s the hook for the book?

Kel: Well I don’t know if there is a hook, per se. The mind is still for the most part “The undiscovered country” and scientists are just cracking the surface of what controls what in the brain. In theory, our real potential lies within the still unexplored portions of the brain. Science is moving toward unlocking those regions and possibly the very key to our existence.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Kel: Well, from experience. No, I don’t have an inner demon killing people. But I grew up in NY in those projects. I saw a lot of violence as a kid.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Kel: I think the Sadist is by far the most unusual character. I do like Cal and Maria.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Kel: Well I get on my treadmill and while I am running sometimes things come to me. Usually if I’m stuck on something, if I think it through within the first five minutes on the treadmill I can break through it. It’s really quite bizarre. I do write outlines too but the book takes on a life of its own and sometimes I find myself rewriting an outline three or four times. Sometimes I don’t even know how things will go until the words are there.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Kel: I guess I usually write either first or third person. I don’t have a specific writing style other than my own. I try not to get overly wordy, because every word should bring the reader deeper into the story and not just meet a quota.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Kel: There was one gentleman who read Sadist: The Rise and said to me on Facebook that my presentation of the Bronx made him feel like he was there. Another person told me that Sadist II: The Duppy King invoked strong emotion from her. To be honest, I love all my reviews. Keep them coming!

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Kel: My Facebook pages:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadist-The-Rise/121505234574103

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadist-II-The-Duppy-King/247715771929006

And of course my Twitter Page @KelFulgham.

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Ian Kidd

Ian Kidd is a freelance writer, published author and qualified editor and proofreader. He has also ghostwritten fiction and non-fiction e-books, served as script/dialogue editor on two proposed horror feature film scripts for director Aleksandr Sokolyn, and had a short comic skit shortlisted for inclusion in the 2012 Sydney Fringe Festival.

Please tell us  little about yourself, Ian.

I grew up in South Yorkshire, England, before emigrating to South Australia at the age of sixteen. I have written everything from non-fiction ebooks to published short fiction, and served as script editor on two proposed horror feature film scripts for an LA based director. In terms of fiction I have written more than a hundred e-books, most of which will become available to purchase via Amazon over the coming weeks and months. The “Ian’s Gang” series will be available in ongoing separate installments and then anthology versions that collect together the most recent releases (normally around six).

I still live in South Australia, where I work as a freelance writer.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre?

Ian: The writing bug bit when I was just a child, and it was in the science fiction/horror genre even back then. I became quite notorious for writing these little horror stories which the teachers would get me to read out to class in junior school. I can’t help but think that nowadays they’d be more likely to be calling in the child psychologists than doing that!

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?

Ian: I think my goals when I started writing were pretty much the same as they are now – which is just to write the kind of stories that I would enjoy reading, and hopefully therefore other people would too.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.


Ian: 
My latest book is Bloodlust, which was published in mid July 2012 by Andrews UK Ltd’s House of Erotica Books division. It’s something of a departure for me being an erotic horror, which is not a genre I’ve written before, but I enjoyed it so much, and it turned out so well, that I’m already going back to it again.

What’s the hook for the book?

Ian: It’s a pretty saucy piece about a lesbian vampire who enjoys seducing and murdering young women. I think if I read a description for a book like that, I’d be hooked right off lol!

Who’s the most likeable character?

Ian: Well, it’s funny, but I think the most likeable character is one who I originally didn’t give much thought to when planning the piece – Evan, who is the best friend of Lucy, the girl who’s targeted by the lesbian bloodsucker. Evan turned out to be so much fun, and so unwavering in her devotion to Lucy, that she became a much bigger part of the story,and I really started to like her and root for her.

Do you have any specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Ian: Honestly, no! With only a few exceptions (namely a couple of novel-length Ian’s Gang stories which were so complex and involved I had to have a game plan or I would have got lost) I don’t generally like to plan too much. I like to have a general idea of where a story is headed, but if you over-plan I think it limits the possibilities that you can uncover with plot and characters while actually writing it.

Share the best review you’ve ever had?

Ian: Getting any reviews has been a struggle, as it is for many authors when they’re starting out, but I literally just got my first review this morning for The Bad Ian, the first in my “Ian’s Gang” series:

Really fun, self-aware short with an abundance of witty dialogue and creative storytelling, and style akin to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It should definitely please sci-fi enthusiasts.

Needless to say, I was pretty chuffed with that!

What are your current projects?

Ian: Well, the “Ian’s Gang” series continues apace, with around two new e-books being published per week, largely because it is going to take quite a while to catch up (in terms of publication) with what’s already been written. I have also just had another erotic horror novella called Whisper In Your Ear accepted, again by Andrews UK Ltd’s House of Erotica Books division, so that should hopefully show up in the next month or so as well.

Where can folks learn more about your books?

Ian: People can keep up with my latest books by visiting my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/codyw1or my blog at http://ianrobertkidd.wordpress.com

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Gunnar C. Garisson

Gunnar C. Garisson is an old soul, warrior poet living well out of his time. He spends his days fiercely defending his family from all manner of threats and demons that probably do not even exist, while expanding his practice of writing fiction, music, and the fine art of mead making.

Hi Gunnar, please tell everyone a bit about yourself. 

Gunnar:  First and foremost, I am a husband and a father of two wonderful children. I am an Engineer and General Contractor by trade who has recently shifted careers from running my own remodeling company and working with various Engineering and Surveying firms as a consultant, to freelance writing online and writing Science Fiction/ Fantasy novels. I suffered a bad accident on a rooftop that rendered me unable to continue in my previous line of work, but gave me all the excuse I needed to start writing full time. Using a wealth of life experience and related knowledge, I’ve been fortunate to have an arsenal of fuel for the creative fire at my disposal. It’s as they say, when God closes a door, he often enough opens a window, and what a glorious window indeed!

I have always felt the compelling need to vent my creativity publicly, and did so mostly through my crafts, such as music, custom woodworking, martial arts and sword making, as well as the brewing of fine mead through the refinement of an Old Norse recipe that has been handed down for generations. Though I am truly a starving artist in a very literal sense, I am finally able to dedicate the time I never had to pouring the vast reservoir of creative energy inside me into a new vessel: my new Science Fiction/ Fantasy trilogy.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Gunnar: For me, it’s always been about Sci/Fi and Fantasy writing. I grew up obsessed with life outside of this plane of existence, and looked for any and all means of egress one could drum up at an early age, never really feeling like I truly belonged here. Playing many different RPG’s at a young age led to the writing of content and scripts for gaming, then was followed immediately by the outright designing of whole worlds and characters, many of which are still alive and well, living within my stories….

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Gunnar:  I am currently starting work on Book III of an epic Sci/Fi Fantasy Trilogy that stemmed from my debut novel, Critical Mass. The sequel, Planeshifters, was just released as an eBook and both are being typeset for print as we speak.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Gunnar: As an Engineer, my mind is always on the lookout for problems and their potential solutions. That being said, it didn’t take me long, living deep in the concrete jungle of the Greater Seattle area, to foresee an overpopulated world where the quality of life for our grandchildren suffers for the lack of planning in our and our parents’ time. Living on the cusp of homelessness since my accident has also given me an intimate perspective as to the ostracizing of the poor by the rich, and where the future of that phenomenon lies as the middle class is slowly eradicated and the sociological plot thickens. This very possible reality is the setting for the beginning half of the first book, however, where it goes from there is the product of several recurring dreams from my youth, as well as the influx of my overactive imagination and quite a bit of self indulgent, dark humor.  

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Gunnar: I would say Kaitlyn or Sky, as she’s called later; a very strong, yet unmistakably honest and sensitive warrior who is caught between worlds trying to find her true place alongside her soul-mate, Thorsson Krey, who has known her in two separate lives, witnessed her losing her parents in both, and also strives to redeem himself from the dark past he emerged from to be worthy of such a woman. She is wise beyond her years, empathic, a leader, and nearly unstoppable in a fight (yet unseen by everyone else, she is very frail at the core and needs him more than she will admit).

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Gunnar: This being a very complex, multi-faceted and nonlinear timeline type of story, that is a very tough question. I’m glad you asked it. Ritalin! Wait, that’s not really a technique& Well, for a start, I only write in the wee hours of the morning. About 3 am every day is my starting point, mainly because I have no office, and that is the ONLY time that it’s even remotely quiet around my place! I used to keep tons of outlines, but in the end I just found myself pouring over them repeatedly without any obvious benefit over merely setting myself up with a “zero distraction” atmosphere from which to collect my thoughts. Most of my stories have already written themselves within my mind, been daydreamed about repeatedly, and are simply inside my head waiting for me to yell, “Single file!” The rest of the details come out as I go, which is what makes writing so exciting for me!

 Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Gunnar: I am definitely a child of the cinema, so for me, a book needs to flow like a movie. If a movie stalls and loses my interest because of a ridiculously long part that has no driving effect on the story as a whole, then I get out of my seat, go get popcorn, get distracted by shiny objects, start a conversation with the ushers, then eventually forget what theatre number my movie was in, and leave unfulfilled. Many books are set on the coffee table and never picked up for this very same reason. I look at all of my sections in a story as if they were scenes in a movie& I actually visualize part after part, building the entire novel up in my mind as if it was a movie prior to writing down anything. This has led to many on the job injuries, many bumps and bruises, lost objects, and two completed novels!

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Gunnar: My environment colors my work right into the Rated R section, posthaste. While I wouldn’t dream of being pretentious enough to use profanity merely for shock value or vulgarity merely for the sake of being vulgar, I am a staunch advocate of non-censorship and honesty on every level, especially art! I would no more censor my art as censor my own thoughts, as to do so is to live some kind of a dishonest existence, or “half-life.” The world I live in is hard, and so are many of its inhabitants. The colorful depiction of this same place, nearly fifty years from now, is even harder.

Harsh language is rampant in our urban dialect even now, but after rampant overpopulation bringing on a swift decay in the sociological condition on Earth, mainly in the big cities where people are already pretty intolerant, this is likely to get nothing but worse. That being said, I consider the profanity that arises in much of the early dialogue in Book I of my series to be nothing but brutal honesty. My intimacy with this environment only serves to make it more genuine. This is the world I have lived in and continue to endeavor to break free from; it is not contrived or manufactured in the least.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Gunnar: The books are very new, so there really haven’t been many reviews yet, but a purchaser on Smashwords named “carolina63” wrote the following about Critical Mass and gave it a five out of five star rating!

Garisson has made a Sci-fi book seem a reality. This book makes you visualize what you are reading as if watching a movie. The language is a bit ‘iffy’ for those of us not accustomed to it. The read was worth it! The bonds between friends comes together with an interesting love story. I do hope there will be several sequels. Garisson is a top notch writer!

What are your current projects?

Gunnar: I am currently working around the clock to prepare both books for printing for inclusion at Comic Con Dubai in April, where my extremely talented cover artist, Remy Francis from www.rembrandz.com will be showcasing both of our works to tens of thousands of Middle-Easterners. I’m very excited! It is a rare opportunity that I am honored and privileged to be a part of!

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Gunnar: My author site, www.gunnar-garisson.com is under construction but will be back up within a few days to a week. I always pre-release previews of my novels on HubPages at: http://shape-shifter.hubpages.com/ chapter by chapter, with a clickable, user friendly Table of Contents from which to browse. The first two books in the Trilogy, Critical Mass and Planeshifters, are published as eBooks at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/49222 and https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/136124 respectively, and are downloadable in any eReader or on screen format available. Critical Mass is already available at Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple’s iBook store, and many, many other retail outlets, very soon to be followed by Planeshifters. Both titles are being typeset for print and will very soon be available on Amazon.com and many other retailers worldwide.

Thank you for joining us today, Gunnar.

Gunnar: Thank you, Shelagh, for this great opportunity to be noticed!

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