Author Interview with Daniel Sayre!

After a (lengthy) period of blog silence, I’m delighted to host a special guest today: debut science fiction/superhero author Daniel Sayre! And you read that last name right–Daniel is none other than my baby brother ūüôā I’m intensely proud of him for publishing his first novel, Becoming Glitch, and y’all should go out and read it right now!

When you come back, here’s a peek into Daniel’s own set of superpowers.

Welcome, Daniel!

Hey sis, thanks so much for having me.

How did you first get started writing?

You know better than anyone what it was like growing up in our family. We read together, we had writing assignments, we were told the occasional tall tale to keep us sitting still at the dinner table as kids.

I think I had a very strong imagination from early on, but for a long time I lacked the patience to actually sit down and write out my musings for myself. It wasn’t until I started high school that I finally began to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to wheedle my way out of schoolwork and be a wildman that I decided I might as well have some fun with writing.

I had an economics textbook that struck me as being just a little bit too self-important (pompous even) in its explanations. My inner rebel apparently had a meeting with my inner writer, and I started to toy with my own authorial voice. Just for kicks, I began experimenting with sounding a little bit more ostentatious in my essay responses for that class. I had fun with it. I think that was an important step.

It took some time, but eventually I took the author voices that I had been playing with for school projects and started putting them into stories. And here we are!

What draws you to superhero stories?

Man, I could go on about this one for a while (and I even touch on it a little bit in the afterword of my book). At one level I think I’m a sucker for the raw creativity and action of a genre that’s all about messing with physics. It can be a lot of fun to imagine what would be possible if reality as we know it is only a starting place.

On another level, I think that these stories can end up teaching us a lot, both about who we are and who we can be, and they do it in a way that no other genre does quite the same. There is a relationship between who you are and what you can do that we see all the time in the real world (school cliques, for example). Superhero stories seem to be implicitly drawn to examine that relationship, and they can bring up some really interesting questions because of it.

What inspired this particular novel? 

There was a lot that went into this book and this is something that I also touch on in the afterword. On the action side of things, I wanted to write a story about entertaining characters with unique superpowers that were originally inspired by some sketches that I did at one point. In the bigger picture, I think this book became a place where I could investigate a lot of the themes that were on my mind as a twenty-something: themes like looking for meaning, wondering what makes a good leader, and understanding what it means to be a steward, to name a few.

Did the story take any unexpected twists while you were writing it? 

Wayyy back when I started writing the pieces of what eventually became this story, I didn’t have much of a plan. With that in mind, a lot of the first draft of the plot was an unexpected twist to me in one way or another. It was exciting, but also meant a TON of editing later on. If I had it to do over again, I might have put more effort into mapping out an outline earlier on in the process.

What gets you into creative mode?

I wish I knew this one better myself. Music tends to help me get started writing sometimes. I don’t know why, but especially when I’m making something (including but not limited to writing), I tend to find a song I like and listen to it on repeat, sometimes for hours on end. In earlier drafts of Becoming Glitch, I actually listed some of the music I was listening to when I wrote a certain scene. I was listening to the piano music of Ludovico Einaudi the first time I started writing Chapter 15, for example, but Avicii, The Verve, Mark Knopfler, the xx, Switchfoot, and the Rolling Stones were just a few of the many contributors who helped me focus.

The song I choose to listen to for a given section tends to come down to whatever strikes my fancy at the moment I actually start writing. There are other times, however, when I don’t have music on, especially when I have something very specific in mind that I want to focus on conveying.

What are three books you’d want with you on a desert island?

Oh geez, well, if there is a guidebook on how to survive on and escape from a desert island, I’d probably start there!

I’ve been inspired by a number of books by authors like Brandon Sanderson, Terry Pratchett, J.R.R. Tolken, Andy Weir, and, heck, even Lemony Snicket. But really though, I think this one changes quite a bit and depends a lot on my current frame of mind.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

There is still a part of me that wants to be a wildman and be outside all of the time. I love hiking, camping, exploring new places, checking out the views from mountaintops, etc. I sometimes do obstacle course races like Spartan and Tough Mudder, which have a way of breaking up the routine of working at a desk. I also like tinkering around on my 3D printers and eating large quantities of pizza.

Thank you for joining us today! Connect with Daniel online:

Buy Becoming Glitch on Amazon (paperback and ebook available)

Daniel’s website

Becoming Glitch on Goodreads

The Illuminator’s Gift Audiobook Release!

¬†The Illuminator’s Gift¬†audiobook is online NOW!

 

Get it on Audible.com today! (It will also be available on Amazon and iTunes in a few days!)

The audiobook is officially listed at $19.95 (a pretty good deal for nearly 9 hours of addictive British narration). But here are 2 ways you might be able to get the audiobook for FREE! 

1) If you’re not already a member, you can¬†subscribe for a free 1-month trial of Audible.com. Just for trying it, you’ll get a credit you can use to download The Illuminator’s Gift audiobook for free! You won’t pay anything,¬†you can cancel your membership anytime, and you get to keep the audiobook regardless. It’s awesome! (And in case you’re concerned, I do still get paid through this option!)

2) Do you run a blog, book review site, or YouTube channel? If so, you might be eligible for a free review copy of The Illuminator’s Gift audiobook! To apply, send me an email with¬†a link to your site or channel and a quick description of why you think you’d make a good reviewer!

Even if neither of these options works for you, I hope you’ll still¬†give the book a sample listen¬†and consider downloading! It’s been a pleasure to create, and I hope that enjoyment will carry over to your family as you listen.

Now,¬†go forth and listen! Enjoy! Share with friends! And if you’d be so kind, please leave a quick review on Audible to let others know your thoughts!

Audiobook update!

The Illuminator’s Gift comes to¬†audiobook June 21st!!

I’m delighted to announce that recording for the audiobook of¬†The Illuminator’s Gift¬†is now¬†finished! I’ve listened through the whole book, and I know you’re going to love it!!

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I’m¬†excited about this new audiobook for three¬†big reasons!

First, the¬†narrator, Wendy Wolfson, is AWESOME! She has an amazing¬†British accent and brings lots of dramatic flair to the characters’ voices. She’ll be stopping by this blog¬†for an interview next week and sharing her story of becoming an audiobook narrator, so stay tuned!

Second, audiobooks are a great¬†family memory¬†for me, and I’m glad to get to share that experience with you! I remember long road trips, the back seat uncharacteristically quiet as my brother and I got sucked into the magical world of the¬†story we were listening to (on cassette tape, of course). I’m happy that¬†The Illuminator’s Gift¬†will now be roadtrip-ready for your family (and hopefully bring you some peace and quiet from the back seat)!

Third, this book has been a longtime dream of mine because Ellie, the heroine of¬†The Illuminator’s Gift, is dyslexic. She loves stories and learning, but feels like she’s not smart because she has difficulty reading. I’ve talked with so many students who have various print disabilities, including dyslexia and blindness, and I’m SO¬†thrilled that at last, there’s an alternative format of¬†The Illuminator’s Gift¬†available. I believe strongly that visual difficulties shouldn’t keep anyone from enjoying a good story. If that describes you or someone in your family, I am¬†hopeful that this audiobook is everything you’ve been waiting for!

So when can you get started listening?

Release day is¬†June 21st¬† (the first day of summer)!! So whatever you have planned, Ellie and her friends from the¬†Legend¬†can go with you! If you want to get notified as soon as it’s available, subscribe to my author e-mail newsletter!¬†(No spam, just occasional book release updates!)

While you wait…want to hear a teaser clip of the audiobook???

Stay tuned! Release day is almost here!!

Book 4 launch festivities!

Release day for The Illuminated Kingdom is just TWO DAYS away! To celebrate the launch of this final book of The Voyages of the Legend series, there will be a series of festive events, both in person and online. Here’s the list!

11/3: BOOK LAUNCH DAY!! Grab a copy and start reading!

11/4-11/17: Online book tour! Several awesome authors/creatives/book reviewers have graciously agreed to host book tour stops on their websites to celebrate the launch of The Illuminated Kingdom. Stop by!

11/4: Fantasy author Angela Wallace: book launch announcement
11/5: Fantasy author Kasper Beaumont: interview
11/6: Anglophile and serenity author Pauline Wiles: interview
11/8: Children’s author Jenn Castro: book launch announcement
11/10: Writer and artist Caleb Fong: book launch announcement
11/11: Fantasy author Intisar Khanani: book launch announcement
11/12: Author and book reviewer Anela Deen: book launch announcement
11/17: Fantasy author A.R. Silverberry: book launch announcement and e-book giveaway

11/18: In-person launch party at Books Inc. Santa Clara! Drop in starting at 2 PM for snacks, activities, reading, Q&A, and book signing!

12/17: Book signing at Recycle Bookstore West!¬†9:30 AM-12:30 PM (during the Campbell farmers’ market)–one last chance to get Book 4 signed before Christmas!

Celebration time! I hope to see you at some point during the festivities!

Summer Inspiration: Bookstore Signings

In the crunch phase of writing and producing a book, I spend so much time sequestered away in my office that I can sometimes forget that other people exist. Let alone that some of them read what I write.

And while I write for many reasons, not least of which is just for the sheer fun¬†of it, one of my¬†most affirming motivations to get back to work is seeing young readers enjoy my books. And that’s just what happened at my two bookstore signings this summer .

The launch party for¬†The Illuminator Rising¬†was held at Village House of Books¬†on June 25th. The owners, Steve and Cheryl Hare, are incredibly welcoming and just some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. They even heralded the event with a window display of¬†The Voyages of the Legend–a total dream come true for me!

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I got to sit in the “queen chair” in the charming¬†children’s nook.

 

DSC00026It was totally fantastic to see the standing-room-only gathering of young readers! They were full of eager observations and great questions. Some of them are on track to be writers or illustrators themselves, so watch out world!
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The¬†second summer signing took place at Bookasaurus, the children’s division of Leigh’s Favorite Books. Though space in the store is tight, they sure make the most of it! Again, it was wonderful to have the signing so well attended by strangers, friends, and family. These are just a few of the people who sustain me on my journey.

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Some of the students who visited have been faithfully reading¬†The Voyages of the Legend¬†since the release of Book 1. I’m having the amazing privilege of watching them grow up–some, into very dedicated and articulate writers themselves!

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And one more perk of the day. See that shop doorway on the left of the photo? That’s an incredible gelateria called Bella Roma. Gelato may or may not have immediately followed this book signing. I can’t think of a better way to end a day full of books, bookworms, and fun.

The Illuminator Rising: Cover Reveal!!!

Book 3, The Illuminator Rising, releases online THIS Friday, June 10th!!!

To celebrate, I’m running a blog tour with the help of some amazing authors/creatives. There will be book reviews, interviews, and guest posts, and some even include giveaways of Book 3!

Here’s the full schedule of hosts and events:¬†

June 8: Release¬†announcement with children’s author Jenn Castro
June 9: Interview and giveaway with craft author Margaret Bloom
June 10: BOOK 3 RELEASE DAY! Party and giveaway right here on my website!
June 11: Guest post: “Traveling Writer” on the blog of fantasy author Angela Wallace
June 12: Guest post: “Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity” on the blog of fantasy author W.R. Gingell
June 13: Book review and release announcement on the blog of fantasy author Rabia Gale
June 14: Guest¬†post: “Writing to Music” on the blog of¬†fantasy author A.R. Silverberry
June 15: Guest¬†post: “Insanity-Free Revision” and giveaway on the blog of fantasy author D.M. Stoddard
June 16: Author-character interview on the blog of fantasy author Intisar Khanani 
June 18: Radio interview with artist and tech guru Caleb Fong 

Follow along to join the fun and (maybe) win a free book!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

…the cover reveal for The Illuminator Rising!!!

Book 3 ebook cover, Amazon, medium res

Another awesome work by Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio! Leave a comment to tell me what you think! The book releases on Amazon June 10th!!!

We Interrupt This Program To Announce…

I am not dead. That is today’s announcement.

Actually, today’s announcement is¬†(possibly) even better than that.

The reason for the last few months of blog¬†silence is…(drumroll, please)…

Book 3 is almost done!!!

In fact, this announcement is being made in a quick escape from the writing cave. Then I’m¬†back to moving paragraphs, analyzing character motivations, and wondering how on earth I got so many prepositional phrases into that one random sentence. And how on earth to get them out again.

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Yes, those are peanut butter cups in the corner.

But all YOU need to do is get excited for Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend, coming early summer 2016!!! 

This will be second-to-last volume¬†in a projected series of 4 books. Writing it has been a journey, but I hope¬†you’re really going to love this new story.

To celebrate the release of this book, I’m also excited to announce that Books 1 and 2 are getting a new look!¬†These second editions¬†will feature exciting¬†new covers, an awesome¬†new map, and even some bonus features, like discussion guides¬†for easy use in¬†classrooms or book clubs. The first editions will be retired when the second editions go live (hopefully near the end of this month), so if you want¬†a first-edition copy, don’t wait! You can find one in select¬†Bay Area bookstores¬†or on Amazon.com.

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Wondering where to¬†get your¬†books signed this spring? You’ll find me at the¬†Bay Area Kids‚Äô Book Fair¬†(Silicon Valley edition)¬†on April 16 and the Bay Area Book Festival¬†on June 4-5: both of which are amazing events and free to the public. Keep an eye on my¬†News and Events page for even more upcoming fun. There are also still a few more months left in the school year, so if you‚Äôre a public, private, or homeschool co-op teacher interested in an author visit, send me an email!

And now…back to the writing cave.

Get ready! Get set!

Today is Friday, November 21, 2014.

That means there are just 9 DAYS ‚Äėtil the release of Book 2, The Illuminator‚Äôs Test,¬†on 12/1/2014!

And I have something special to show you…

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The book cover!!! It‚Äôs here, thanks to my talented illustrator Amalia Hillmann, who also did the amazing interior illustrations for this book. Here‚Äôs a teaser of the inside…!!

Interior teaser 1

Haven‚Äôt read Book 1 yet? You‚Äôre just in time! The e-book version of the award-winning first novel¬†The Illuminator‚Äôs Gift will be on sale on Amazon.com over Thanksgiving weekend!¬†It’ll be 99 cents on Black Friday, $1.99 on Small Business Saturday, and $2.99 on‚Ķwhatever that Sunday is called. Then Book 2, The Illuminator‚Äôs Test, releases on Cyber Monday, 12/1!

To celebrate the book release, here are some fun events coming up! Watch for more news here, on my Facebook page, and on Twitter. Or sign up to get updates ahead of time by subscribing to my e-mail newsletter!

11/24-12/12: The Illuminator’s Test tours the Internet! Watch for advance reader reviews, go behind the scenes of the writing process, and even listen to a radio interview! First stop will be an advance review on The Book Sage book review blog on Monday, 11/24. The rest of the stops are posted on my News & Events page and on my social media pages.

12/7: Sidewalk chat at Recycle Books, Campbell! I’ll be hanging out at the sidewalk table outside of Recycle Books with book reviewer Lloyd Russell between 10:15 and 12:15. Stop by and pick up a copy of The Illuminator’s Test or just chat about books (which is my favorite thing ever).

12/13: Book launch party at Village House of Books! Want to get your paperback copy of The Illuminator’s Test in time for Christmas, have it signed, and hang out with illustrator Amalia Hillmann and me, all at the same time? Then come to the book launch party being held at Village House of Books in Los Gatos! On Saturday, December 13, the new store on 21 W Main Street will stay open for us after hours and we can party! Treats, face painting, and art activities from 6:30-7:30, then a read-along, Q&A session, and book signing from 7:30-8. Stop by for a few minutes or stay all evening! Hope you can make it!

Even more fun events are spinning together for 2015! I’m already making plans to speak for some fantastic schools, homeschool groups, and book clubs to help kids and teens get excited about reading and writing. I’d love to come visit your organization too! To book me as a speaker for 2015, send me an e-mail! 

So very many exciting things happening! Buckle your seatbelts; here we go!