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Interview With Author John Lance of Yard Dog Press

Yard Dog Press author John LanceTell us about what you have written.

I’ve written children’s fiction and as well as short stories for adults, which are typically off beat and humorous. My books include a picture book, Priscilla Holmes: Ace Detective from 4RV Publishing, my middle reader book Charlotte Cauldron and the Prince of Nevermore from Sams Dot publishing, and my Front cover of Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective by John Lancecollection of short stories Bobby’s Troll and Other Stories from Yard Dog Press. Last year I appeared in two anthologies for Wolfsinger Press, Wolfsongs and All About Eve. I’ve also appeared in some Yard Dog Press anthologies and various magazines.

What inspired you to write those things?

In the case of Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective and Charlotte Cauldron and the Prince of Nevermore I really was inspired by my daughters. In fact, the illustration of Priscilla Holmes looks like a composite of both of my daughters, complete with red hair, despite the fact the illustrator never met them. We all get quite a kick out of that. As for the anthologies, I have always found those fun to write for because the publisher typically picks a theme, and then I just try to sit back and try to find a humorous, cock-eyed approach to the topic. The best anthologies are the ones that really try to be unique; the Bubba anthologies from Yard Dog Press and the All About Eve come to mind.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?
I love them all equally 😉  Actually, that’s not too far from the truth. Even the stories that don’t get published have something in them that I really like. I think Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective is one of my favorites. Priscilla is so smart and determined, she reminds me of my girls. Charlotte Cauldron, and the Prince of Nevermore has a nice cast. In addition to Charlotte there is the Prince and a crazy will-o-wisp and they encounter all sorts of interesting secondary characters in their adventure. And Bobby’s Troll and Other Stories collects the short stories that really got me started. From the anthologies, I have to admit to being partial to Adam, Eve, and Me which appeared in All About Eve and which is about Adam and Eve written from the serpent’s point of view. She’s got a bit of ’tude that I find amusing.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

Priscilla Holmes is actually getting two sequels (so far). Not only do I like her as a character, I like the world in which she lives, which is populated with characters from all different fairy tales. Priscilla Holmes and the Glass Slipper is slotted for release later this year.

How long have you been writing?

I distinctly remember getting a thrill out of writing stories in 3rd and 4th grade, so in the respect, a looooong time. I didn’t get a story accepted for publication until 2000, however.

When did you start writing?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or 3rd grade. Take your pick.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

Whenever I try to write something romantic things invariably go off track, whether it’s the zombie Juliet eating Romeo in a bit of flash fiction I wrote for an anthology called Small Bites or the longer “girl raised by wolves falls in love with an undercover park ranger” story that appeared in Wolfsongs. Incidentally, that fact that romance is difficult for me does not come as any surprise to my long suffering wife, Deb.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I am one of those authors who swear that the characters do take over the story and wind up doing and saying things I never intended. It makes writing much more of an adventure.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

My aforementioned, long suffering wife, Deb.

Where do you get your ideas?

I tend to get them when I’m driving or showering. This pushes me to take long trips down winding, dusty roads, that require an hour long shower to clean off the grime.

Where do you write?

I don’t really have a set place. Sometimes it’s a gym when the girls are at basketball practice, or a ballet class waiting room, or the couch, or wherever.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

I would like to be able to write at set times, but real life seems to intrude far too frequently. So its more catch as catch can.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

I love Wikipedia for this. I’d never rely on it as a sole source, particularly if I was writing historical fiction where accuracy was at a premium, but for general “what were the roaring 20’s like” type information nothing beats it.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

Sometimes. The form I been encountering most recently is “the story that just won’t work.” It’s a case where I’m on my 8th or 9th draft of a story and it’s just not gelling. There’s something wrong, and, even worse, I can’t put my finger on what the problem is. Usually what I do is shelve the story. In some cases what happens is it gets resurrected a year or more later with a completely new take that then makes it work. Or it remains shelved.

Sometimes, however, it’s a true block. In which case you just got to ride it out and know that, at some point, the stories will come.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

I love that you qualified this question. The author I always choose is J. R. R. Tolkien. I realize that he’s probably a cliché at this point, but he’s that author that made me want to write, so there it is. The other name I would throw into the mix is Terry Pratchett, whose books invariably leave me laughing.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

I guess The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are ones I find myself going back to reread semi-regularly. I love the dragon, Smaug, from The Hobbit and the scene in the Mines of Moria from The Lord of the Rings are some of the most intense moments in any book.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

The books I’ve read most recently that have really stuck with me are World War Z and The Time Traveler’s Wife. World War Z, aside from being about a zombie apocalypse, which is just fun unto itself, is also written in a wonderful fashion. It’s modeled on the history books that are collections of survivor stories, like World War 2. So you get little vignettes about “the home front” and what it was like in different countries at different points. It was one of those books that when I finished it I thought, “Drat, I wish I had written that.” The Time Traveler’s Wife also falls into the “Drat, I wish I had written that” category. Not only because it is very emotional but also because it really has some of the best handling of time travel I’ve ever read.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

Nope, but I would like to get to that point. It’s kind of like trying to have a set time to write. It’s a good idea on paper, just hard to actually execute on.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

Superman. The dude can fly, has super strength, and is indestructible. Yes, I know some will think it a juvenile choice, but are you really going to tell me you wouldn’t want to fly?

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Posted by on Feb 14 2011. Filed under Authors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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