Raymond, welcome to Eden’s Exchange, so thrilled to reconnect after writing with you as part of the collective Black Ink, White Paper. Recently, I had the pleasure of picking up your book, Awakening, The Ydron Saga.
Now we get to learn more about you and your writing.
Readers, please sit back and enjoy!
* * * *
Ray, are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?
Hopefully one day my writing will support me, but by day I’m a hairstylist.
Yes, I knew that about you. How do you divide your time?
These days, it seems my time divides me. I have clients both in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon and I’m on a plane every Wednesday. What with maintaining these two businesses and trying to keep my marriage vital, I write whenever I can make time: hopefully mornings, sometimes when a client cancels her appointment, almost always while I’m in the air.
Wow, a traveling stylist! Do you have another profession you would you like to try?
Other than writing or hairdressing, I can’t think of another. I’ve spent 38 years making people feel good about themselves and I’m hoping to spend the next 38 providing people pleasure with my writing.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Over the years, I’ve worked hard to change everything about myself that needed changing. Seriously. This is not just vanity speaking. Now, as I move past middle age, I like whom I see when I look into the mirror.
Act as if you cannot fail. (Ashanti proverb)
I like that. How about what makes you laugh, and I mean, REALLY laugh?
When I’m at home, my wife and I get really goofy together. We spend a lot of time simply howling. I think it comes from the pure joy of being able to be our uninhibited selves and loving each other unconditionally.
What a lovely response. Let’s learn a bit more about your writing. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love people. I study them. My work puts me with hundreds every year and they tell me their stories.
What motivates you to write?
I need to write. I think I would die if I didn’t.
It’s a passion for you, that I know. What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
Be honest. Write from the heart.
Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.
John Steinbeck’s East of Eden tops the list. Ever since I read it, the people he created inhabit me. Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith: his facility with language drops the reader into the rich world he creates. The Magus by John Fowles: he taught me to question the “reality” I perceive. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings for reasons too obvious to mention.
A great list, and you know I’m a fan of John Fowles too. How do you market yourself?
Although I am primarily relying on Twitter and KDP Select for the moment, I’m very fortunate that a number of writers who have read my writing, such as yourself, are choosing to feature me in their blogs.
How would you define your style of writing?
Literary. I love the English language, its richness, its subtle nuances and complexity.
I love the language too. No wonder we get along! What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
Getting a story down on paper is the hardest part. To paraphrase Hemingway, it’s like bleeding onto the page. Interestingly, while most writers say they detest revisions, I love them because I finally arrive at what I wanted to say in the first place.
Tell us the genre of your book.
I’ve classed Awakening as an epic fantasy, but it’s really a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid with steam punk overtones. Hah! Is that enough of a genre bender for you?
Ha! It is a mouthful, yes. Why should people read your book?
In my opinion, there is an over-abundance of sci-fi/fantasy books laden with action but thin on the human element. Readers want to climb inside characters’ heads. Even when the story is set in an unearthly world, they need to be plunged into situations they can relate to on a gut level.
How long did it take for you to write it?
I began writing Awakening in the early 90s. It was my first book, and was severely flawed when I finished it. Nonetheless, I always had faith in its underlying story and returned to it repeatedly while I developed my craft producing other novels, to polish it into the book it has become.
What has the reception been to Awakening?
Beyond anything I ever expected. Awakening has been out just over one month, and it has drawn almost all five star reviews. One reviewer has compared it to A Game of Thrones. StoryStork.com, the “Newsletter that delivers great books,” calls Awakening “awesome,” is featuring it in its February 9 newsletter and is sending information about it to 100 bloggers. I’m an unknown, self-published author, but I’ve already been invited to Seattle, Washington to do a book signing on February 22. See my website for details.
Fantastic news, Raymond! I know the event has already passed, but I hope it was a great success for you. This is a good time to give readers a taste of the book and where they can pick it up.
How does a world armed with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power has only begun to replace horses and sailing ships, avert conquest from beyond the stars?
Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.
What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?
The best way for anyone to support Awakening, or any other book they enjoy, is to tell others about it and review it. If reading it has given you pleasure, the best way to thank an author for the months or years spent creating that experience is to take a few minutes to write and post an honest review.
Fun lightning round coming up!
Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It holds my entire life.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? There are two places, actually: Spetsis, Greece—the island upon which John Fowles set his novel, The Magus—and Hanalei, Kau‘ai.
Name a food you can eat everyday. Coffee. It’s what words are made of.
Salty or sweet? Both. Earlier in the day, salty. Later in the day, sweet.
Favorite style of music? Rock.
Your most guilty pleasure. Haagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond.
Favorite season. Autumn.
Any final words, Ray?
I think the reason I’ve gotten to really like you over the years and am grateful for your friendship, Eden, is your honesty and lack of pretense. Ya gets whatcha sees, Hon.
Thank you, and big hugs, Ray. I wish you continued success with Awakening and your future books. Readers, I also know Ray is doing a Goodreads Book Giveaway for his book. Enter by hitting the logo, and good luck to all!
* * *
Connect To Raymond
Raymond Bolton divides his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon, between he works as a high-end hairstylist in both cities, and his family, which consists of his wife and editor, Toni, and their two cats, Sophia & Georgie.
He began writing in the early ’90s, and over the course of the years, began entering writing competitions. In 2010, having written only nineteen poems ever, he garnered third place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition among over 1,200 entries. More recently, his novels have begun winning significant recognition. In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists from among 950 entries from the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and Australia in that same competition. It also won writerstype.com’s June 2013 first chapter competition.
* * * *