Please welcome author Craig Sanders! C.A.Sanders is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His short fiction has been published in many magazines–both electronic and print–over the past 10 years. His stories span genres from literary and humor to fantasy/sci and horror. His first novel,Song of Simon, is set for release on Sept. 1st, 2013. His serial, The Watchmage of Old New York, is currently available with FREE registration at jukepopserials.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
That’s a tough question, I know so much stuff about myself, but not necessarily stuff I want other people to know. I’m thirty-six, a former special ed teacher, now writing full time. While I did like working special ed, it’s a very stressful, physically demanding, and occasionally messy, job. I grew up in the Bronx and then Rockland County, NY, and non-New York accents hurt my ears.
This is not something that I usually confess, but I have Bi-polar Syndrome. I take my medicine and have it under control, but it’s such a large aspect of my life that I feel it is important to share. I think that being set apart from “normal” people by this disease helps me to write from a more objective perspective. It’s up to the reader to judge if this is a good thing.
What made you do decide to become an author?
I started reading before I could speak, and writing soon after. Granted, I couldn’t speak until I was almost three, but that’s an aside. Writing stories is something that always came naturally to me. I didn’t have many friends as a child (or as a teen). I was bullied mercilessly, a fat kid with glasses that cried when you teased him. I was never in “control” of my life, a prisoner of my mental illness. When I write, I can change all that. It’s empowering. It’s the only thing I actually can control.
Who are your favorite authors, and how have they influenced your writing?
The first writer that I really loved was John D. Fitzgerald and his The Great Brain series. I read those books over and over. After that I fell in love with mass market fantasy, especially TSR’s (Now Wizard of the Coast’s) Forgotten Realms books. R.A. Salvatore is still one of my favorite writers, and is very influential on me.
Then I discovered Neil Gaiman and Sandman. He is probably the biggest influence on my work. I’m in awe of him. I’m very excited about American Gods coming to HBO and have been in several heated discussions about who should play Shadow (hint: Jason Momoa)
Where can we find you online? (Please include any links you’d like to share)
My website is www.casanders.net, where you can find all of my links, plus a blog that I don’t update enough (but I’m working on it).
You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/casandersauthor . I update that more often, usually with shameless plugs. Expect this article to be plugged there several times.
My novel Song of Simon is available in kindle format at Amazon.com, in other ebook formats at www.damnationbooks.com, and in paperback at your local bookstore.
My webserial The Watchmage of Old New York is at www.jukepopserials.com and continues to be popular beyond my wildest expectations. Expect some Watchmage books in the future.
Tell us about your book:
Song of Simon is about Simon Kale, a Hudson Valley teenager, that is pulled into a foreign world where God has been imprisoned by the priesthood. He falls in with a renegade priestess who believes herself to be the Messiah, and follows her down a path of revenge and violence. It’s a battle for Simon’s soul as he must either rise above the barbaric violence and despair around him, or sink into its depths.
In many ways, Song of Simon is my attempt to give the finger to the Fantasy genre. I’m annoyed at the way authors write gory, over the top, fight scenes where the hero cuts off heads without batting an eye. Violence is traumatic. It changes you, and too few Fantasy novels explore that. Song of Simon does. It takes the classic tropes and twists them to show the damage that violence does to the mind and soul.
On the other hand, my webserial The Watchmage of Old New York is much more lighthearted than Song of Simon. Watchmage is my tribute to the city of my birth and it’s complex history, combined with elements of fantasy, mythology, and good ol’ fashioned gumshoe mystery. It is set in 1855, the peak of the Irish immigration to New York. The protagonist, Nathaniel Hood, is a crusty, acerbic wizard with a heart of gold and the heavy burden of caretaking the growing population of magical creatures. Story lines include a wizard-based kidnapping, goblin anarchists, and a serial killer targeting faeries. I spent extra care with the historical details, and there’s plenty there for history fans and fantasy fans.
Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, what’s yours?
I don’t even know where to start. I’m a weird dude.
I’m a thirty-six year old man that plays Dungeons & Dragons on a regular basis. I’ve been playing with the same core group for over fifteen years. I love gaming of all types: board, card, drinking, etc. “Cards Against Humanity” is a special favorite of mine.
I love pro wrestling. It’s not as silly as you think.
I always have an often wear a bandana. I carry a red bandana with me that has a special, melancholy meaning to me that I’d rather not go into here.
What’s your favorite book turned movie and why?
I have to say The Princess Bride. One of the greatest movies of all time. I know that your readers are already quoting it in their heads.
What’s your favorite genre to read?
Although I’ll read anything good, my favorite genre is fantasy. Historicals and science fiction come in a close second and third. This world bores and saddens me, I’d rather read about elsewhere.
Which do you do more, read or write, and why?
I write much more than I read. It used to be the other way around, but these days I’d rather give back than take in. I just don’t seem to have as much time to read as well. I’m down to about a book a month.
What is your writing process like, and what’s your favorite part of it?
Before I start a new project, I write an outline covering the major plot points: Ordinary World, Inciting Incident, Initial Tests, Midpoint, Crisis, Climax, and Denouement. From there, I break it up into smaller pieces and write what I want to happen at each point. For a novel, they break down into chapters. Once I have what I want to happen in each chapter, I get to writing. I find that this gives me enough structure to build, while giving me enough leeway to let my creativity flow.
It’s like building a house. First you build the walls and roof, then you add the furniture. Of course, there are times when you have to knock a wall down and renovate.
Song of Simon: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781629290430
Watchmage of Old New York: https://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/357