Interview with fantasy author Gary Vanucci

In this latest interview we caught up with well-established fantasy author Gary Vanucci, a writer whose objective is to remove us from day-to-day life and spin head first into the epic worlds that he so skilfully creates…..

Gary, for those who have yet to get hold of a copy of your books, can you offer a description or taster of what readers can expect?

Sure thing! I have created what I hope is an engaging and detailed world wherein the main characters engage in their daily activities. There is definitely a lot to digest, but in a good way. I would have them expect to be completely entertained, to forget about the troubles in their own lives and live vicariously through the rich characters I’ve created.

How and when did you get started as a writer and what inspires you to write?

I started off and on around 1998-99. Started writing a sci-fi novel, but it did not complete as I lost interest in the genre. Fantasy however, I began to write in 2010 and have never looked back. I feel that I have many stories to tell and cannot wait to get them out there to the general public. I really feel that the stories are compelling and entertaining and if I can get some exposure, I can develop a reader base.

Have you always been a fan of the fantasy genre? What made you decide to write in this genre and which fantasy books do you enjoy reading yourself?

I LOVE fantasy. I cannot state that enough. Especially the Forgotten Realms. I‘ve read horror, comic books/superhero/graphic novels, Sci-Fi, murder/mysteries, but good fantasy is where I get lost. And that is what I want from a book, to escape reality for a few hours at a time.

“When a dangerous artifact goes missing from a temple, the elderly high priest in charge concludes that he needs help. He requests aid in the form of a one-time apprentice who is now an Inquisitor among the Order of the Faceless Knights. Garius Forge assembles an eclectic team among his potential candidates and then sets out on his quest. He is aided by the wise-cracking Rose, a rogue among rogues, by the stoic and battle-hungry Saeunn, and by a naive elf named Elec, who reluctantly agrees to accompany them at the behest of the persuasive Inquisitor. The fledgling heroes set out to recover the artifact before it falls into the hands of its former master, a malevolent entity capable of destroying Wothlondia and the  entire Realm of Ashenclaw!” 

One of your books on Amazon is a collaboration. What benefits can be had from collaborating on projects with other authors?

Well, I don’t quite have collaboration yet, but it will be released very shortly and I can let you know afterwards! I do belong to a writer’s circle and hope that the benefits of that would include cross-promotion and great support among other things.

What are you currently working on or what can we expect next?

Well, the anthology/collaboration will be out in the next week or so and my next full length novel will be released (hopefully before or around Christmas time). It is book 4 in the series, which will shift gears from Beginnings to something else, but is still a continuation. This one will follow Secrets of the Ebonite Mines and will tentatively be titled Dance of Deceit.

What are the major challenges that you have faced in your writing career?

I thought the writing would be the biggest challenge, but in all honesty, that had turned out to be the easy part. The hard part is trying to develop a fan-base and to find readers. There is so much out there that it is really difficult to get noticed, even if your work is good or better than average. None of it matters unless they can find you.

What do you advise new writers to do? Regarding best practice or writing tips.

Quit while you’re ahead :) Just kidding. Keep writing, research your craft, learn something with every mistake and grow a thick skin. It’s tough out there. I know from my own personal experience that my prose, writing style, POV shifts and general storytelling abilities have grown significantly over the last two years, so keep at it!

Getting a self-published book noticed and into the hands of readers can be tough. Could you offer our readers any tips/hints or advice on promotion or marketing?

Not really. Join all of the usual haunts, try to be engaging, try not to annoy people (very difficult when trying to sell something) and really try to help others. Can’t stress the ‘helping others’ thing enough.

What is your opinion on the power and potential of social media? Do you use the likes of Twitter, Facebook, etc to connect with fans and promote your work?

I use all of ‘em. But, I honestly do not know if it truly works or not. I mean, it has to a little bit, but I couldn’t tell you how to go about it. It’s different for everyone I would think.

Who did you get to do your cover design, eBook formatting/conversion to Kindle etc. and editing…was this all outsourced or did you do some yourself?

I format the book myself. My editor is Stephanie Dagg, a writer and editor from France and my artwork is done by fellow author and Skulldust Circle writer, William Kenney.

Where can readers pick up a copy of your book from and what formats are available?

Kindle and CreateSpace. Google me or stop by my Amazon page. I will be going elsewhere once my KDP Select is up on Amazon I think.

Many thanks for taking the time to speak to us today.

Thanks for having me on and let me know if anyone has any questions that I might be able to help out with


Author Interview: Come Fly With Rebecca McLendon

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1. Why flying? What attraction does flying hold for you?
As a small child, I was terrified of flying in anything, much less small airplanes. I grew up during the transition to the jet age, and the loudness frightened me. I preferred the steady humming of huge formations of B-36s flying overhead at night. When my husband and I got an airplane, he said that he needed me to learn how to fly so I could put the plane on the ground if something happened to him while flying. So I began lessons under the tutelage of a dear friend and neighbor who happened to be a flight instructor. I believe this quote best describes the attraction I developed after those first few lessons:

“Even before we had reached 300 feet, I recognized that the sky would be my home. I tumbled out of the airplane with stars in my eyes.” Geraldyn Cobb

And Leonardo da Vinci also has an appropriate description of flight:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

2. How did you get started in aviation?

My husband told me I need to learn how to fly and land our airplane if we were going to travel together.

3. Who have been your role models, or who has had the most influence on you?

My husband, my instructors John Hammons and Mitchell Inman, various local pilots who have become like brothers and sisters to me, and a long-time family friend now deceased, Dick Tucker.

4. What are your main goals as a pilot?

I want to fly for the love of it, encourage others to fly, serve as an advocate for General Aviation and for Women in Aviation in various ways. I am even exploring the idea of becoming a certified ground school instructor.

5. What are some goals that you had that were never achieved, and how did you deal with it?

I really cannot think of any that I never achieved! I’ve done what I set out and trained to do. I’ve written a book, flown a plane and written music. I have gone to Australia and Europe. I married a wonderful man, raised three beautiful children, held and spoiled four grandchildren, and fallen in love with my Saviour and have committed to sharing that love with others so they too can experience Him. There have been disappointments along the way, but so far I’ve been given the grace to stand back up, brush off the dust and go on. What lies out there that I still want to achieve? Fly the Grand Canyon while filming it. Fly to Montana and the Pacific Northwest? Can I achieve that? Maybe. If not I can write a novel, and my character “Zoe” can do it.

6. What is your greatest accomplishment as a pilot?

My whole first book is about that “Day I Grew Wings.” And just recently I GOT my wings, literally pinned to my shirt pocket!

Practical Flying Advice

1. You find your co-pilot drinking before a flight, how will you handle this?

I would excuse him from duties. He knows the 8-hour rule, and it applies to him too. He is not fit to fly an airplane. One drink on the ground acts like two in the air. It locks onto your red blood cells and floods your entire body with impaired faculties and judgment.

2. You smell smoke in the cockpit, what initial action should you take?

Immediately stop all other pre-flight procedures and look for the cause.

3. Your co-pilot tells you the smoke is normal and it will clear itself, but 15 minutes later, the condition is growing worse. Your co-pilot gives you the same response. Now, what would you do?

If you cannot find the cause readily, declare the emergency, shut down all systems, and have the passengers deplane immediately.

Remind the co-pilot you are in command, and tell him to comply with that or excuse himself from duty.

4. The aircraft is loaded way beyond gross weight. Your co-pilot tells you that he does this all the time, and the aircraft will fly. What do you do?

I won’t be explaining anything to him, except showing him the exit door.

5. You have been cleared for take-off. Upon getting airborne with the gear in the wells, what kind of conversation are you going to have with your co-pilot?

What co-pilot? I ordered him off the plane! If I did have a co-pilot, in my small aircraft I would have established that I was the Pilot in Command and I handle all operations on this aircraft. I may ask him to assist me on things but he/she is not to attempt taking control of operations without prior instructions to do so.

Pilot Personality Questions

1. What makes a great pilot?

A great pilot knows every time he/she starts the engine of the airplane it is a whole new flight. Things can happen quickly, and various piloting skills will be tested each time. Like Otto Linienthal said: “To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.” We take our “everything” to each flight, no matter how simple the flight will be or how complex.

2. What makes a bad pilot?

A bad pilot finds the minute details of pre-flight inspections, fuel testing, checking oil and making sure the controls are in good working order all tedium. He thinks he is too good to have to do that every time. That mind-set becomes one of sad neglect of the airplane. And when this pilot flies, he shocks his airplane out of its weakened, sickened state and forces it to perform, pushing the envelope. He overloads, he under prepares, he laughs off procedure, over banks, enters weather beyond his limitations, and immediately begins committing “pilot error” which is the cause of 70 to 80% of all fatal accidents.

3. Most people have a person in their lives who influenced their career. Who was your mentor?

My husband, who is also a pilot, suggested I learn to fly in case we were up there and something happened to him to incapacitate him in the air. My closest mentor has been John Hammons who was also brave enough to teach me over a two year period along with several other instructors.

4. What event in your life caused you to feel the way you do about aviation and flying?

One day John took me up in the towering clouds and had me fly around and among them. I truly had “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and had “reached out and touched the face of God.” From then on, I was completely hooked.

5. What are some of the limitations of your aircraft and yourself?

My aircraft is structurally limited to headwinds, cross winds and angle of bank in a turn. One must not EXCEED limitations, lest the aircraft become damaged and unflyable. Personal limitations are a bit less than the “never exceed” limitations of my aircraft. I prefer a crosswind of less than 10 knots directly across, even though my aircraft can tolerate 15 knots. I prefer an angle of bank under 40 degrees. I know my skill level. Perhaps with practice I can do more…in fact, I did more wind velocity and angle of bank on my check ride than I normally like to do! And I made it!

Come fly with Rebecca McLendon in her new book “The Day I Grew Wings”

Available Now on



“The Summoner” with Fantasy Author Randy Massey

Welcome, Randy Massey!

This interview is rather interesting. Randy Massey is an author with a style of writing that really encapsulates what it means to write fantasy. His new book is the first part of a series. It’s called “The Summoner.” Read this interview and then go over and check out the new book. I think you will find yourself pre-ordering a copy. You can’t help but love the honest answers Randy gives.

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Q) Thank you for taking part in this interview, Randy. Can I start by asking what inspires you?
I would have to say God, family, life.
Q) How do you find “inspiration” and where does it live?
Inspiration is all around us. Whether in high joy or deep sorrow it is there for those who have eyes to see!
Q) When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
It started soon after I read The Hobbit at age 10.
Q) How does a cover present itself? Where do those ideas come from?
Since most judge a book by its cover it needs to be functional in capturing the eyes of the beholders. As for the ideas for this kind of cover they should grow out of the imagination of the author and his/her story.
Q) What is the greatest writing aide a writer can have?
Deep commitment and determination, a never give up attitude.
Q) How did you find your writing style?
That developed over time as I read a wide variety of books. I always found myself drawn back to the world of fantasy. As to “style” I consider myself a planner more than a pantser.

“Inspiration is all around us. Whether in high joy or deep sorrow it is there for those who have eyes to see!”

Q) Can you define success, Randy? How do you feel about success?
Success is really a state of mind, being willing to accept whatever life gives you. Don’t’ like what you do or where you are? Then you are responsible to make changes!
Q) Many writers refer to a “writers heaven.” Let me ask you this, Randy. What is a “writers” heaven?
For me it would be a career as an author without having to work a “regular” job! After that, a movie or two from my writings would be on top of the list!

“Commitment and determination, a never give up attitude.”

Q) How often have you read another writers book and said “I can do better than that” to yourself?
(Laughs) Probably more often than I would admit!
Q) Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Stick to it, because the going will get tough!
Q) What is your writing routine? How do you discipline yourself to keep at it?
Most of my writing comes in spurts. Sometimes it’s a daily thing, other times a week or more will go by before I pound the keys again!
Q) How do you, personally, begin a novel?
Formulate a plan, conceptualize the story, develop main and minor characters, put a schematic on paper, draw a map (if needed), lay out chapter thoughts and outlines, then begin writing.
Q) Why is it a crime to use a cliché in a novel? We all use clichés in talking with people, so why the big no-no when writing?
Readers see them all the time. They need something new, refreshing. Often they just get old and stale “cliché’s”.
Q) How do you know when a chapter is “just” right?
For me, it should end in such a way that the reader is mad at you cause he/she can’t just stop there! They have to read into the next chapter to find out what happens next!
Q) Do you feel supported as a writer?
I personally have found that most authors are selfish and self-serving (me included). So, no, not a whole lot of true support given, at least not from very many of the authors I have met online.
Q) Do you think it’s important to be expressive when writing dialogue?
Yes. I try to write in such a way that the words draw the reader in to the conversation !
Q) How do you think your new book will be received by readers?
As every writer does: well-loved and looking for more from the author!

You can pre-order your copy of the first part of “The Legends of Arth” today. If you love Lord of the Rings you will love…

The Summoner

the summoner new cover