Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kate Lynd, Gladiator, The Gladiator Chronicles

AUTHOR: Kate Lynd

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? 

I was born a poor white chile’. LOL. No, I was, however born and raised in Kentucky and things were tough. I just didn’t come anywhere close to starving. 

What genre do you write in? 

Sci fi/f/f erotic romance and dark romantic suspense as Amy McCorkle.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting. 

Gladiator is set in a post apocalyptic world ala Mad Max, but features the blood and sand of a gladiator epic. Our hero, Tristan Shane is an enslaved gladiator, favored by the Queen. He hates her for what she took from him, he hates himself more for succumbing to her sexual favors. Jaded and disillusioned he asked to murder her half-sister who is rumored to be the long whispered about Healer. He must decide, defy the queen, or protect the Healer and save the world.

How long have you been writing? 

My dad was always a big reader and told me and my sister Brandy bedtime stories since he started dating our mother. So I was really into reading, television, and the movies, storytelling of all kinds. And when I was five I was introduced to the Young Authors program. So I guess I’ve been writing for thirty-two years.

What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book? 

I just always had stories to tell. But the first real validation of my writing came when I won Young Authors at 13 with a WW2 romance about the Jewish Underground living in the forest to survive. I had never heard of the Bielski brothers, Defiance the film wasn’t even a dream yet, and Daniel Craig wasn’t even on my radar LOL. Who knows maybe God was sprinkling me with Daniel’s fairy dust even at that age.

Do you outline before you write? 

No, I’m a total pantster. 

If not, what’s your initial process? 

It’s a lot of starting and stopping. I must have 40-100 stories that have 30 or so pages on them that just set dead on my computer. But I’ll do everything from look at book covers, to go to movies, to read. For GLADIATOR it started with the cover of a Harlequin Love Inspired Historical. It had a gladiator on the cover. I read the back blurb and realized there wasn’t any sex. I wasn’t interested in a sweet romance. Granted, I wasn’t interested writing the next 50 Shades either. Not that there’s anything wrong with those styles they’re just not mine. I watched Russell Crowe’s Gladiator and the music stayed with me. Then I sat down with my Writer’s Digest and was determined to find something to stir the ingredients into high gear. I read the first time published authors section and there was a futuristic YA story about prodigy detective and charismatic genius criminal. Well I don’t write YA fiction it’s great, but I write for grown-ups who want to read about grown-ups doing and saying grown-up things. Things that just wouldn’t be appropriate for the younger set. So as I read on, this gladiator started talking to me. He was jaded and self-loathing and full hatred for the queen and didn’t care if he lived or died. Then the Healer started talking. And before I finished the interview, I had to get off my butt and go start writing.

What comes first: the plot or the characters? 

The characters, always the characters. If you haven’t got anyone to root for or care about who cares what happens?

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why? 

I love all of my characters even the bad ones. But right now I have to admit I’m still in love with Tristan Shane of GLADIATOR even though I’ve written two other books since. I think I pity the queen of GLADIATOR the most though, because even though she’s done all these heinous things I got the sense she’d been robbed of healthy parental love. So she tries to force it on the one man who wants nothing to do with her, Tristan.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Getting started.

 Did your book require a lot of research? 

I Google whatever I need, but I just tend to make stuff up. But that’s really a bit of an oversimplification. There’s what I’ve learned in my lifetime, my exposure to film, television, and books, and my life experiences as a whole inform everything I write. How long does it take to write a book for you? It varies from project to project. Anywhere from a few days to a month. From February of 2011 until the end of June 2012 I wrote 5 books, 4 of which have either been contracted for publication or have been published.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process? 

Anxiety. It’s the only real challenge worth mentioning because it’s from it where all the challenges come from. I have discipline and I work hard. I’ve always believed in the axiom write the story and if it stands on its merits it will find a home. It just took me thirty years from the day I first started scribbling stories for that to happen.

Describe your writing space. 

In my room I have a desk, on it is a glass globe with pens and catch alls, and it’s decorated with pictures of an actor I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with. He also has bipolar disorder and him sharing his story allowed me to seek help and put me on my professional path. His name is Maurice Benard. I have some awards hanging up, my screenwriting and film school diplomas. An autographed photo of Maurice with him calling me his hero. And a poster of my first contracted book Another Way to Die. But usually I’m on my living room couch with the tv off and listening to Pandora radio. But I will confess to watching the Olympics obsessively and rejoicing the USA domination in women’s gymnastics and the USA men’s swimming making the French eat their words.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, watch movies, go to the bookstore, and really I’m ALWAYS writing. I hate not writing

What books or authors have influenced your writing? 

Oh so many. From childhood, King of the Wind, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Freckle Juice, Encyclopedia Brown, C.S. Lewis, Madeline Le Engle, Scott O’Dell, Nancy Drew, Katherine Patterson (I think Bridge to Terribithia is my favorite all time children’s book). High school it was all about Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut with the occasional Mary Higgins Clark or Sue Grafton thrown in for good measure. Lawrence Block’s How to Write a Novel, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird and Vicki King Writing a Screenplay of the Heart were inspirational writing guides. But of all of those Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five was just a revelation to me and having been through what I have I felt like someone knew my pain. He was so darkly funny and brilliant, I wish I could have met him.

What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books? 

I think if the Big Six would stop worrying about Amazon and price their ebooks more competitively they would be in much better shape. Like midlisters being sold as ebooks that sounds like a winner. Other than that I would say right now is the best time to be an author. You have so many choices. You can self publish with ebooks, you can choose to go to an independent epub which is what I view MuseItUp Publishing as being. Lea Schizas is a terrific publisher. My other pub is a small press Hydra Publications and is growing fast. I love the fact since it’s a small house I have easy access to my marketing director, and we are working closely together for the launch of my print book Bounty Hunter. I think every writer dreams of New York, but I must admit I like the fast turn around of the epub and small press world.

What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for

Books out right now are No Ordinary Love and Another Way to Die. GLADIATOR drops August 31st. Set Fire to the Rain is coming soon, and Bounty Hunter drops in October. Gunpowder and Lead series I’m co-authoring with Melissa Goodman, it’s first installment comes out some time next year.

What is your marketing plan? 

A little bit of everything. I have several FB pages and over 1700 friends on my personal profile. I also belong to several yahoo groups and FB writers groups. I have an official series website for the Gladiator, an official author site, a twitter handle, and a blog. I’ve set up a mini blog tour. And I’ll be on Barbara’s Blogtalk show.  I’ll also be attending UtopiaCon in October, and I have created a ‘street team’ to get reviews and help promote me online. And I will send them swag that they will hand out in their neighborhoods.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? 

Write your brains out. And none of that I don’t have the time crap. You’ll never have the time if you don’t just make the time. But I have kids. But no one understands me. Get over that and just write.  Start building your platform now. To do that at the very least you need a FB page, a Twitter account, an official author’s site, and a blog. It’s very much trial by fire, and I’ve made countless connections over the years as a runner and an independent filmmaker online. So I’d say I’d been working my contacts over the years.

Where can people learn more about you and your work? 


“What is it you really want, Veronica?”

She came up behind him and seductively began to ease off his armor. He was covered in sweat and blood and he felt her shiver against his body. And as always there was a twinge of nausea that would precede the raw animal aggression.

She turned him around. He looked at her. There was no doubt about it; she was beautiful. But she was poisonous—a rattlesnake with crystal green eyes and flaming red hair. Her father had promised peace and a return to normalcy and democracy in the wake of economic and nuclear disaster, and instead this was what had become of the world. And she was no doubt always enjoining her father to maintain her life in this fashion. He loathed her. He detested her. And every time he had sex with her his intense hatred for himself deepened a little bit more.

“My dear, sweet Gladiator, as much as I’d like to celebrate your victory with you tonight, my husband wishes me to share his bed. But fear not—I do have a consolation prize for you.”

His skin began to crawl. Veronica had a twisted way of looking at what constituted a consolation prize; it was usually just a groupie who wanted to watch what the queen did with the equivalent of rock stars of the former United States of America. And he usually did the dog and pony show. But sometimes Veronica required something to prove his loyalty to her. That would be more complicated.

“What is it this time?”

She smiled. His response had given her the mistaken impression that he cared.

“The rebels have been restless. And it seems there is a young woman we have in our prison whom they want terribly. Well, frankly, they are in two minds as to what to believe. It is rumored she is the mythical Healer. The one meant to find her soul mate, so together they will lead our Nation out of the so-called darkness into which it has plunged itself.”

“And what do you want me to do?”

“Oh Tristan, why are you being so defensive? I just want you to find out whether she really is the Healer, and report to me if she is.”

“And then, what?”

“And then you let me handle it,” Veronica said, sliding back into the evil skin that was her natural state. “The rebels have no idea what it takes to run a country.”

The image of his wife being raped and murdered flooded him and it was all he could do not to throttle the queen right then and there.

“So can I count on you to do this for me or do I need to find someone else who can?”

He was no one’s hero. But she had said young woman. And he couldn’t just allow his wife’s fate to be visited upon some other unsuspecting girl. “I’ll do what I can.”

Veronica ran her index finger down his cheek and whispered, “Good boy, Tristan,” she purred. “Guard! She’ll be delivered before the night is over. I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to you, but I expect that you’ll have had enough time to gain her trust by then.”

Tristan’s stomach churned. The Healer? In the beginning there had been whispers of it. But he had never believed in such a thing. It had been years since the crown had feared anything. And now this. He said nothing as the queen was escorted away. He was left to think about the young woman he might be forced to turn over in the end.

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