AUTHOR: Declann Finn
TITLE: It Was Only on Stun!AUTHOR BIO: Declan Finn lives in a part of New York City unreachable by bus or subway. Who's Who has no record of him, his family, or his education. He has been trained in hand to hand combat and weapons at the most elite schools in Long Island, and figured out nine ways to kill with a pen when he was only fifteen. He escaped a free man from Fordham University's PhD program, and has been on the run ever since. There was a brief incident where he was branded a terrorist, but only a court order can unseal those records, and realloy, why would you want to know?
It Was Only On Stun! is his first novel
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AUTHOR WEBSITE HERE: declanfinn.webs.com
DF: Well, it was a few things. I'm a science fiction fan, plain and simple. I've been to conventions in New York, with the old Creation, and Atlanta's Dragoncon, and New York Comic con .... I've been to a few. And, like any good writer, I've trained myself to walk into any location or event, and ask, "If I were going to blow this place up in a book, how would I do it?"
Q: Haven't their been other books with a similar premise?
DF: Sort of. Sharyn McCrumb wrote two books around a murder at a con. Bimbos of the Death Sun, and Zombies of the Gene pool. But, these books are about thirty years old, set back in the days when conventions were not professionally run, and put together by fans, not professional convention planners. Let's put it this way. My father went to conventions around the same time period. He walked into an elevator, and was joined by George Takai and Walter Koenig from Star Trek. Today, if you ran into a major media guest in an elevator, I'd be surprised. Also, McCrumb was more comedy than mystery. It was only on Stun is more thriller comedy than anything else.
Q: Tell us a bit out the plot.
DF: Short version. Once upon a time, an actress was run out of Kosovo because she was a public pacifist during the 90s. And happy are the peacemakers, for they will be shot at by both sides. Fast forward a few years, and she's a popular American actress, she's about to start a new tv show, and there are some guys from the old country who want to kill her as a start to a reunion tour with bombs. They want it big and public, a grand spectacle. A security specialist is brought in, Sean Ryan. Hilarity ensues.
Q: You're self publishing this book through Createspace, an Amazon affiliate. Couldn't you get this book through other avenues?
DF: To be honest, I didn't try. I put my eggs into one basket, and one book, for a while. Years, actually. Patience is a virtue. Prudence is also a virtue, and it told me that patience was going to do me in. Is this the quick way? Sure. But you can't say that it's the easy way.
Q: Why not a small press? Other authors interviewed here have gone through other presses, like Muse It Up or Damnation.
DF: [Laugh]. We're back to the previous discussion of patience versus prudence. I could wait weeks or months to hear back from people, or I could get the book published now. I actually have a book I'll be submitting to a few presses, like Baen or MuseItUp, but I was just through waiting.
Ever since the last election, you hear about the end of publishing, the death of the publishing industry, the rise of the e-book, etc, etc.
Q: What other do you have in the works?
DF: Oh Lord. Where do I start? Well, there's another Sean Ryan book that takes place at the Vatican. I have a hostage novel in a bookstore, I've got several science-fiction novels, set in two different universes. I'm going to shoot for both science-fiction books, but unless I get to hear back from someone on that, I'll be going for the next Sean Ryan, which is a little more serious than this one.
Q: What is on your reading list? Do you think it affects your writing in any way?
DF: Well, I'm currently reading Jeff Abbott's The Last Minute, and so far, it looks as good as his previous book, Adrenaline. I've recently gotten into Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit, which is very British, and very peculiar. I hope to start Terry Goodkind's last book before getting my hands on his latest. And, do they influence me? Sometimes there's seepage. I read David Weber and John Ringo a lot before my last rewrite on my science-fiction epic, so there was suddenly more of an emphasis on infantry technology and naval combat in space.
Q:. Some writers outline. Some writers make stories up as they go along. Some even get bored when they figure out who the killer is. How does your writing process ?
DF: I rarely outline, though it's becoming more common for me to at least sketch a plot first before doing anything. But most of it is just broad strokes. Usually I just sit down and start writing, and wait for my characters to do most of the work for me. At the end of the day, I'm just making it up as I go.
Q: What, if anything, surprised you while working on It Was Only On Stun?
DF: How many of the characters talked back to me. And that there's at least one character who surprised me by staying alive.
Q: Do you have any advice to readers who are thinking about writing their own novels?
DF: Step one: FINISH THE BLOODY BOOK. I can't stress this enough. I can't scream at people enough. Every time someone whines that “I have a book in me, I just can't get it published.” My first thought is, “If there's a book in there, get it surgically removed.” The first thing I say is, “How much of it have you gotten written?” Their answer, more often than not, is that they haven't even put pen to paper, or even warmed up the computer. They can write dozens of tweets a day, but actually writing this book they supposedly really, really want published? Apparently not .
Q: Last chance: What do you think is the one thing we should remember about It Was Only On Stun?
It is a fun, fun read. And I have not yet begun to flood the market. Muahahaha.
Sean Ryan was awakened by lashing sounds outside his window. With little effort, he disentangled himself from the bedsheets, slipping the large, twenty-shot, semi-automatic Stechkin from under his pillow on his way to the window. He blinked, noting the two odd lines of black.
Sean leapt back. With murder on his mind, he absentmindedly turned and fired before another cable slid into his line of sight; that bullet, oddly enough, had sliced through one of the cables. He smiled curiously, placed the gun on the night table, and stepped calmly toward the window’s ledge, listening for the familiar sound of someone sliding down the rope.
One of the two attackers slid down on Sean’s right, and he continued to descend, sliding off the severed cable and falling into empty space. Sean leapt atop of the other one, grabbing the descender to accelerate the fall; the climber was too shocked to fight back, Sean slammed his own forehead into the visitor’s nose. Looking down to see that there was little rope left, he slowly let the descender go so the rope wouldn’t flay his hands when he grabbed it. He grabbed the last foot of the rope when it was just over his head, and the tip was at eye level.
The descender, still attached to the climber’s belt, was a foot off the rope, and the climber was only held up by Sean, holding him at arm’s length out to the side.
Sean grinned. “Hi there, how’s it hanging?” He noted the drop to the ground below and said, “Pretty high, it seems. Now, I’m betting that you’re not exactly a Serbian terrorist, am I correct in this assumption?”
The Hispanic male Sean held sneered at him.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Now, if you’d like to come along quietly, I’ll turn you in to the authorities. If not, I’ll merely drop you here and you can join your friend on the street. The cops can carry you both away in matching soup containers.”
Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin opened his eyes, rolled out of his bed, onto one knee, and slid his weapons into place when the first bullet sounded outside his window. He pushed off one foot, causing him to fly to the balcony door, and he slid it open before his other foot landed. He wheeled about, seeing four rappelling cables hanging from the roof.
Without thinking, on pure reflex alone, he loaded his bow and fired, the arrow cutting through all four cables. He fired and forgot, turning his attention to the window directly above him. He bounced off the balcony rail, grabbed onto the balcony above, flipped himself onto it, then leapt for the edge of the roof. He swung his leg over the side, then rolled to his feet.
There were two men climbing up from the cables. The assassin sighed. I should have aimed higher, that way I would have killed them too. They must not have climbed down yet.
He reached for another arrow.
The other two men drew their submachine guns.
The climber stared at Sean Ryan for a moment, his hands dangling out of sight—an immediate warning sign for Ryan, who let go as soon as the adversary brought up a serrated combat knife, specifically meant to kill.
Before impact occurred, Ryan had already begun his climb to his hotel room window.
Goran, now very much awake, helped him inside the room. “Quit hanging around.”
“Done,” he replied. “I don’t like being a Christmas ornament.” Ryan blinked. “There may be more of them.” Ryan grabbed the Stechkin off the night table and flew to the door in his underwear.
Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin didn’t wait, blink, or flinch at the guns pointed at him. He tossed himself to his left as he fired an arrow into one of the weapons, sending it over the roof. He rolled to his feet, another arrow aimed at the armed one’s chest before the assailant could blink.
“I do not wish to hurt you. I have no cause, and I do not know yours. Who are you trying to kill?”
The arrow flew before he thought of releasing the string.
While no one could outrun an arrow, anyone could outrun a man pulling a trigger—if you can be faster than the intent. While the gunman had no advanced warning about the elf’s intent, his own intent was to act as a distraction, and leap to one side, drawing his gun. He managed to leap, but the elf had adjusted his aim subconsciously, out of reflex. Like Wyatt Earp in the Old West, that reflex took out the new submachine gun, kicking it over the side of the roof.
Both gunmen decided one thing was easier than death—jumping.
They leapt off the roof as one, an Elven arrow following them down.
“Who the hell are you?”
The elf turned out of reflex, spinning to a crouch and firing at the same time. However, the other was already in motion, leaping behind the fire door he had just opened, holding it open by the handle.
“Do we know each other, or do you just hate me to save time?”
The assassin blinked. He knew that voice. “Nikolic’s Ranger?”
Ryan raised a brow, gripping the Stechkin loosely. Ranger? Which one? G5? Lord of the Rings? Texas? Neverwinter Nights? He sounds like…could that be the elf-guy from the riot this evening? He sounds so familiar. “I’m protecting her. How about you?”
“I am Galadren, better known as Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin.”
He rolled his eyes. Why do they always find me? LA, New York, the wackos always find me. “You at the convention for business or pleasure?”
“I am here to make Mira Nikolic remember who she is as an elf princess.”
Sean blinked. “Uh huh. And you’re going to do this how?”
“Once she sees that a wound mortal to most men would not harm her, she would surely see what she is.”
“So to prove to her she’s an elf, you’re going to try to kill her…almost kill her.”
He laughed. “You understand.”
I understand you’re a fruit loop with nuts and way too much white powder sprinkled on top…and maybe the wrong kind of white powder.