Today on the blog we have author Sidney Stone, author of Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War today’s book blast. We would like to thank Sidney for stopping by today and sharing with us.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I have always loved to write. As a child I was on the school newspaper and even had my own column in 7th grade (which ended when I included the quote “Love does not make the world go around, it makes it go up and down. I guess the school administrators did not share my sense of humor). In my 20’s I wrote 4 screenplays since in S. California they issue Final Draft software to any writer at birth. I pursued actual money making endeavors though and got away from writing although I still wrote down story ideas. In 2012 one of those story ideas just wouldn’t go away and given that quitting your job suddenly adds more time to your life, I pursued that idea and fleshed it out to a novel.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
When Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War arrived as a published book. Oh, and when I received my first royalty deposit J
How long did it take to get your first book published?
The first draft of Jennifer Ainsley took me 8 months to write. It was absolutely terrible and no one will ever read that. The second draft took another two months and with that version I had graduated to merely sucky. Draft #2 I allowed three friends, who I call my Gorgeous and Intelligent Readers, to review and give me honest critical feedback. Another draft later, I gave it to a friend who is a professional writing for editing. Once the manuscript had reached the level of mediocre, I used the professional editing services of Createspace Publishing who gave me wonderful feedback and two more drafts later, I actually had a professionally edited book that I think, and initial reviews reflect, an outstanding and entertaining tale.
So from beginning to end, 22 months. This is not a book that took 30 days to write and it was been edited and vetted by numerous people before I decided to share it with the world (Or at least the few hundred people who have bought it so far).
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I am the Housing Manager for the town of Morgan Hill in California. This is a small but growing City in the southern part of Silicon Valley and I help create and manage our affordable housing programs. Much needed in one of the most expensive places in the country (as an aside, to buy a moderate income restricted house in our city you can make as much as $126,000 for a family of four).
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is my first book. The sequel will be titled: Jennifer Ainsley: The End and the Beginning. In 20 words or less the book can be described as follows:
Cool heroine. Complicated story. Romance, suspense, earned emotion, a great sex scene with thrilling action make this a winner.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I self published through Amazon’s Createspace Publishing but added additional services such as formatting and editing. I also hired an Orange County based firm Pencilbox Studios to design my striking cover.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The first book took me almost two years while the follow up book needs to take just one year to hit my self0imposed deadlines.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I will be completing Jennifer Ainsley’s story through at least 2-3 books, then will mine the stories I have kept to myself all these years. I will not be stopping writing again anytime soon J
What genre would you place your books into?
Urban fantasy, paranormal, horror-suspense, New Adult since my heroine is in her early 20’s
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
My favorite authors growing up were Stephen King and Dean Koontz so my first novel was heavily influenced by those two along with Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game. Jennifer’s story just grabbed me and now it has a hold on me and I must see it through to the end.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Jonathon Tait, the 170 year old Billionaire who adopted Jennifer is the tragic character who is the true protagonist of this first book. He has loved deeply and hurt by rejection, decided to work with the demons to insure our destruction. But the love of his newborn twins has brought Jonathon’s humanity back and he helps guide Jennifer to her destiny. It reminds me of when my son was born and I became a far greater person than I was before.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I love to write in the night with music in the background. I tend to get up a lot too and choreograph the action scenes so that what I write is believable. As much as a story about a young woman wielding the Sword of Jesus against demons planning our destruction can be believable ;)
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, both good and bad. My Kirkus review was a disappointment because it was clear that based on the criticism that the reviewer did not read the book completely. This is a common complaint of indie writers and why now I do not recommend paying for a Kirkus review to other writers.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I outline all my stories in advance, did this when writing screenplays too, so I know the title when I start writing.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Again, I outline my book from beginning to end so these character and place names are usually set early. I think of their character traits and try and come up with names that fit them. My current book takes place in “real” locations so very little needs to be created in that sense.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The character is usually created first and then the name. For instance, Jennifer Ainsley’s name came first as an homage to a character inspiration – Jennifer Garner’s Alias character Sidney Bristow; while her last name came from a cool acquaintance whose first name is Ainsley. The name just fit.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Although I outline the story ahead of time, I let the story develop organically from there and the characters develop over time. Jonathon Tait, Jennifer’s lover Andrew, government operative Mike Davis all became deeper and richer characters during the writing process.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
The theme of my book is love and loss and the redemptive power of love. I really did try and make it as emotionally compelling as the Stephen King & Dean Koontz books I grew up on.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I like the tangible aspect of a decent sized trade paperback. I have not warmed to ebooks although I have many friends who love them.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I love the Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy and visit is again on an occasional basis.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
The slighter the story, the better the book adaptation. The Godfather & Silence of the Lambs are my two favorites for books to movies. As a huge Tolkien fan, I have mixed feelings about Peter Jackson’s trilogy. So ambitious, and so epic in scale; yet I think so much was missed from what made the Tolkien books great.
Your favorite food is?
Actually, I love food so no one favorite. I Yelp my restaurant reviews and the foods I eat are all over the map. My death row meal though would probably be BBQ: Santa Maria Tri-tip and Memphis ribs. With a zinfandel blend from Ridge Vineyards.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Prince and The Replacements Also big on alternative singer – songwriter types like Josh Ritter, Aimee Mann, Old 97’s, Lenka, Brandi Carlisle, Okkervil River and old school soul like Al Green, Otis Redding, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Smoky Robinson
Your favorite color is?
Purple…I love purple!
Your favorite Author is?
Tolkien, Stephen King and early Dean Koontz. I have tried in my first book to have that perfect blend of suspense, humor and emotion that Koontz perfected so well in books like Watchers, Strangers and Lightening.
In non-fiction, I love the Taylor Branch series on the history of the Civil Rights movement and Laura Hildenbrand’s epic tales.
Remember to check out today’s book blast for The Last Demon war to find out more about Sidney and his world.