Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Blog Tour: The Warner Grimoire by Clay Held (Promo, Giveaway and Author Interview)

The Warner Grimoire 
(Book One:  Bad Apple)
Clay Held

Book Blurb:

Meet Simon Warner, a fourteen-year-old who drowned. Death was just the beginning. Dying awakens an angry and malevolent force inside Simon–magic, and before he can comprehend his mystical transformation his adopted father is kidnapped during a mysterious fire that destroys their home.

Within hours Simon is violently yanked into the supernatural world, where the real trouble starts: he is the descendent of an evil sorcerer, and the magical community isn't exactly welcoming of him. Making matters worse, Simon finds himself on a collision course with the forces of the deranged Silas Darrow, a charming yet xenophobic warlock who fears humanity will one day eradicate all magic. In order to protect "his" people, this false messiah intends to strike first.

Magic--it may have saved Simon's life, but it may have just doomed the world.

Book Synopsis

Does your heart go bump in the night?

14-year-old Simon Warner isn't having a very good October. To start with, he drowned, and then the real trouble started. Next thing he knows, he's back among the living, and face-to-face with a ghoulish-looking man who kidnaps his adopted father. Enter Nathan Tamerlane, a bonafide wizard, and soon Simon is deep in the hidden world of the supernatural, walking among the Freemancers: a secret society of wizards, and the stewards of all magic on Earth. Soon the truth is revealed: Simon's birth parents are wicked sorcerers who betrayed the Freemancers years ago before going into hiding. Making matters worse, a cruel and xenophobic warlock named Silas Darrow is gathering his followers (some would say worshipers) to lead an assault on the non-magical world. Now, if Simon ever wants to see his adopted father again, he's going to have to join Darrow's cult. Easier said than done. All it takes is one moment of weakness, and a powerful evil will infest Simon's soul forever.

About the author:

I'm Clay Held, a refugee from wild world of video game testing, currently a project manager passing my days in the wild (and very flat) plains of Central Illinois. Once upon a time I was the editor for Grassroots Literary Magazine at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where I earned my Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing. Today I help make sure software ships on time, and at night I'm busy making things up and writing them down.

In my spare time (what is that again?) I like to read and cook and play with my cats and maintain my blog at www.clayheld.com. When the weather is right, I go storm spotting. Illinois is good like that.

Author Links:

Clay Held answered many questions for me!  Please enjoy getting to know a little more about him!

1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
     a. I have a master design document/bible that I have spent a considerable amount of time developing. Even still, it is more of a guideline when I actually start writing. Some of my favorite parts of the series have come from going “off script.”

2. Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
     a. I write in my office, which I rearrange probably once a month. It’s kind of like a zen garden for me. I’ve definitely channeled a lot of creative energy into the space. As far as “must haves,” the closest things to that are quiet and time. Too much ritual can work against you as a writer, so I try to keep my routine as simple as possible. Close the door and pray for no distractions.

3. Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?
     a. I have total creative control. That being said, I have been blessed with an abundance of very creative, very intelligent people who are more than willing to generate ideas and who aren’t afraid to tell me when something isn’t quite right.

4. Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
     a. Growing up, I had this image of The Writer® in my head. You know, the tortured soul tireless perfectly his craft from atop a mountain of secluded celebrity. That image was one of the first misconceptions my college mentor beat out of me, and I’m glad he did. Writing is hard, and it is imageless. There’s no tweed jackets with elbow patches or lunches with contemporaries where you trade bon mots. I’m glad I shed that notion, because it helped me focus on the important part--writing.

5. Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
     a. I get asked a lot if I have any recommendations for books. With a library of over a few thousand books, I guess people think I’m an authority! It depends. If essays are your thing, I can’t recommend David Sedaris nearly enough. He’s a genuinely awesome dude. If fiction is your thing, I love to recommend Edgar Burroughs or Robert Howard.

6. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
     a. There was a short story competition in 3rd grade. I didn’t win, but I had so much fun writing that I didn’t care. There’s a lot of hilariously bad writing in boxes somewhere.

7. Do you have a job outside of being an author?
     a. Yep. I’m a project manager at a software company, and before that I was a video game tester. Both jobs, believe it or not, gave me a business-like perspective towards developing creative products. Before that I just kind of wandered with my writing. Now I live in a world of milestones, deadlines, and roadmaps. My writing has improved dramatically as a result.

8. What would you tell a beginning writer?
     a. You are every bit as much a writer as everyone who has come before you and dared to put story to paper. Cherish and nurture your voice, and never compare your inside to somebody else’s outside.

9. What were your favorite books growing up?
     a. The Monster at the End of this Book, Twilight Eyes, Kidnapped, Doctor De Soto, Interview with the Vampire, Thinner, I Vampire, Star Trek novels, The Hitchhiker’s Guide series, and every comic book I could get my grubby little hands on.

I loved reading The Monster at the End of this Book with my son and I list Anne Rice and Stephen King as two of my favorite authors as well!
10. Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
     a. Yep. I’m currently reading Sandman Slim, Proven Guilty (Dresden Files #8), John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, and about a dozen books on project management and marketing.

11. If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
     a. Carl Sagan. His Cosmos series is inspiring, and he seems like a genuinely interesting person.

12. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?
     a. I would love to work on something with Neil Gaiman.

13. Do you have a favorite quote?
     a. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson. I have a plaque of this on my wall.

14. In one sentence, why should we read your book?
     a. Because you’ll learn something about yourself while having a fun time.

15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
     a. I’m from the South, albeit the northern-most part (Southern Illinois). I don’t have the same Southern twang I had growing up, but whenever I’m back down that way for a few days I turn back into Colonel Sanders.

16. What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
     a. Their innermost desire, and their innermost secret. Then I put those two things in direct conflict, and work my way out.

17. What do you do in your spare time?
     a. Too much. I run a website. I occasionally podcast with some friends. I design silly things for silly reasons, or I write other stories. I build pillow forts and play hide-and-seek with my cats. I cook. I exercise. When I’m feeling really burned out, I play video games with my old friends from testing job.

18. What does a day in your life look like?
     a. Up at 5:30, write for two hours. Drive to work. Give work my all until 5pm, drive home. 6-7:30, exercise or write (alternating days). 7:30-10:30, discretionary time. Asleep by 11.

19. What does a day look like in the life of your main character?
     a. Well, in Bad Apple, Simon’s days are pretty hectic. Run run run, I would say.

20. How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
     a. My wife is just glad I’ve finally shut up about Bad Apple! My family is ambivalent. At most they think it’s just a curiosity, something useless I do to fill the empty hours that should be filled with children or analogues to decisions they made in their own lives. My siblings don’t care, and my parents are just like, “That’s nice.”

21. Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know?
     a. Bad Apple is my first full length novel, but I also have a collection of short stories available, and a free book of kid’s poems available on my website for free. I’m also experimenting with serializing a few stories on my site, and I will have several more books coming out in the future.

22. What time of day do you like to write?
     a. Morning. Before the sun is even up.

23. Where/when do you brainstorm best?
     a. I never stop brainstorming. My most intense brainstorming seems to come while commuting to/from the day job.

24. How long do you think about a story before starting to write the book?
     a. There’s no standard answer here. Maybe a day, maybe a month. It all depends on my bandwidth at that moment. Taking notes and writing down ideas is pretty trivial in terms of time needed, but I have to schedule my book-starting times pretty ruthlessly.

25. What is the most you have written in one day?
     a. In recent memory, about 8,000 words in a single day.

26. What themes do you love to read or write about?
     a. Family. Identity. Choices. The intersection of what others want for you versus what you want for you.

27. What book would you like to read again?
     a. I keep meaning to re-read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Silly questions –
1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
     a. Teleportation. Goodbye commute!

2. Do you have any hidden talents?
     a. Yes.

(Note to self- remember to add 'and what are they' to this question! - lol)

3. Night owl or early bird?
     a. Night owl on the weekends.

4. Favorite season?
     a. Autumn

5. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
     a. A Quiet Kid

6. Favorite sport?
     a. Baseball. GO CARDS!

7. Favorite music?
     a. Currently, film scores

8. Talk or text?
     a. Text.

9. Cat or dog?
     a. Four cats. We’re crazy.

10. Guilty pleasure tv show?
     a. Gilmore Girls

I love Gilmore Girls!!
11. Sweet or salty snacks?
     a. Sweet.

12. Coffee or tea?
     a. Coffee

13. Favorite holiday destination?
     a. Walt Disney World

14. Do you have a literary crush?
     a. Neil Gaiman

15. If you could live in a literary world - what world would that be and why?
     a. The world of Altered Carbon. All the time in the world if you play your cards right. Centuries to work.

16. Most embarrassing moment?
     a. Too many to pick from.

17. Favorite gadget?
     a. My iPhone. Note taking, scheduling, emailing, music, it does everything. I would be lost without it.

18. If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
     a. Forward. Hope lives in the future. It cannot be inserted into the past.

19. Most __________ in High School?
     a. “Most Poetic”, class of 2001.

21. Ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
     a. Yes.

Mr. Held not only answered a ton of questions (thank you so much!) but has also agreed to give one of my readers a digital copy of The Warner Grimoire!  You can enter through the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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