My stories are character-driven and focus on people, not plot. They tend toward the epic and the coming-of-age, with characters discovering talents they never knew they had and worlds they never knew existed.
I've lived in New York City, Spain and Colombia. I studied English and Philosophy at Colbate U iversity and received an MFA in fiction from The New School, where I was told never to self-publish. But you know what they say: rules are meant to be broken.
Richard Denoncourt was nice enough to stop by and answer a few questions for me today. He is the author of the YA fantasy novel Milo Banks and the Tower of Light (as well as Trainland, a dark, supernatural thriller about a father who goes to Hell to save his family, and the short story collection Peltham Park.) So please get to know Rich and sign up to win a copy of Milo Banks and the Tower of Light.
1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
a. I typically write in the mornings before work, and I never plot it out beforehand, except for when I’m driving and listening to music. Then I have a tendency to imagine what should happen next in the story. Even then I never know for sure until I’m actually putting the words onto the page. Everything could change in that moment.
2. Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
a. I love to have my dogs bothering the heck out of me while I write. Mostly they just lay there. Who knows what they’re thinking. If only I could get into their heads at that moment, I’m sure there’s a story in those little skulls.
3. Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
a. There’s something about The Forever War by Joe Haldeman that is so sad and haunting. It’s this story about soldiers battling an enemy they’ve never met across the universe, and they struggle to maintain their composure even as their ship jumps constantly, making them live while everyone back home grows old and dies. And this war just never ends. There’s a sense of hopelessness about it that makes you want to cry for humanity. I’m not surprised the author had Vietnam in mind when he wrote it.
4. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
a. I’ll admit it: reading Atlas Shrugged at 18 made me sure that I wanted to be a writer. Her vision of man as this heroic creature, and the value she places on the human mind, struck me as being utterly right and accurate. I’m hopelessly optimistic about the course of mankind.
5. Do you have a job outside of being an author?
a. I’m working temp office jobs right now. It’s not pretty. I also wait tables on the weekends for extra cash so I can keep supporting this self-publishing business.
6. What would you tell a beginning writer?
a. Don’t bother trying to look for an agent. Self-publish. See what kind of response you can get while keeping the rights to your work, then consider going with a publishing company (consider it; don’t necessarily do it).
7. What were your favorite books growing up?
a. I used to read anything with R.L. Stine’s name on it. When I was eight years old, Goosebumps was where it was at. I used to stay up all night reading those books.
8. Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
a. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. She’s one of the great writers alive and working today. Truly one of the greatest.
9. In one sentence, why should we read your book?
a. It contains an ensemble cast of young teens who find out they’re descended from gods and have these superpowers that make them get along with each other in strange ways as they try and become the heroes they were destined to be.
10. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
a. I fantasize constantly about having a modest house, a loving wife, a couple kids and a dog, and basically just living a quiet, peaceful life.
11. What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
a. The characters always come first. They’re the meat in the meat and potato stew. The story and plot are the potatoes, but the characters – they’re pure protein.
12. What do you do in your spare time?
a. Spare time? What’s that?
13. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
a. If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to download knowledge, talents and skills from another person’s mind just by shaking their hand.
14. Do you have any hidden talents?
a. I’m a very good public speaker, even though I’m reserved around people face-to-face.
15. Night owl or early bird?
a. Early bird, definitely.
16. Favorite season?
a. Autumn. It’s just so moody.
17. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
a. Late Bloomer.
18. Favorite sport?
19. Favorite music?
a. Cinematic soundtrack music.
20. Talk or text?
21. Cat or dog?
a. Dogs, definitely. I used to be one, in another life.
22. Favorite tv show?
a. The Wire is one of the most fascinating and outstanding examples of storytelling I’ve ever encountered. I love every minute of all five seasons.
23. If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
a. Weird as it sounds, I’d go back 10,000 years and observe early humans. Just to see how similar we are.
Milo Banks and the Tower of Light (Book 1 - Realm of Astros Series)
Sporting an ensemble cast of young teens who discover they are descended from ancient gods, Milo Banks and the Tower of Light is the first in a brand-new series of fantasy novels inspired by Greek mythology, from author Richard Denoncourt.
Meet Milo and Emma Banks...
In our world, a young boy and his twin sister must learn to use superpowers inherited from their demigod parents, one of whom dies to save them. The other is kidnapped by a powerful Necromancer who needs the twins' lifestreams to raise an army of undead.
In Astros, a parallel realm created by ancient gods...
Humanity has been recreated in the image of gods that mysteriously disappeared thousands of years earlier. Five races exist on Astros, shaped from the clay of Man by these mythical beings:
- SARGONAUTS are super strong, bulletproof, able to lift a school bus with their bare hands.
- ACOLYTES have wings and can fly and heal any living thing.
- SAVANTS are masters of elemental forces, what some might call magicians.
- FERALS can transform into any warm-blooded animal after drinking that animal's blood.
Evil has a new name...
Kovax Leonaryx and his cousin Corgos, ruler of two of the largest nations on Astros, have enslaved an entire race.
Using magical towers that drain Feral men, women, and children of their lifestreams, these two men will someday have the power of gods. Their evil will extend into our world...
Unless Milo, Emma, and their friends can stop them before it's too late.
Milo Banks and the Tower of Light
Publisher/Publication Date: CreateSpace, May 2012