Random Acts of Insightfulness #4 – Mark Lawrence, or The Writer of Thorns

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Though my posting has decreased significantly due to a variety of factors. I’ve kept thoughts of what NR is, was, and can be in the future constantly on my mind. Obviously, I would love to be able to produce comics, either as the ol’ NR proper, or something new. As I’m not capable of producing visual art anyone would want to look at, that won’t be happening anytime soon. Gilgrim and I are still in contact from time to time, but circumstances for both of us have conspired to make collaboration…what’s less than “not feasible”…where n = some value of feasible, let’s just say -n for now.

One component of NR that I wish I would have pursued with more vigor, though, is the quite sporadic interview series, Random Acts of Insightfulness. And then it occurred to me that there wasn’t anything very compelling (other than lack of time) that was keeping me from interviewing interesting and intelligent persons on a more regular basis.

So here we are, then, with the (quite overdue) fourth installment of RAOI. This being the first text based go round…an interview that was conducted over the course of several weeks and no doubt tested the certifiably saint like patience of the interviewee…it worked better than I could have hoped. Though I believe the success can be fully attributed to said interviewee.

So, without much further ado, I present to you Random Acts of Insightfulness #4 with Mark Lawrence, author of the “Thorns Trilogy” by night and (seriously) research scientist by day (no, seriously!). Topics for your consideration: writing as a mid-life endeavor, character considerations both within the fantasy genre and without, redemptive/non-redemptive ideology within fiction, writing processes, and some opportunities for charitable contributions,

Enjoy

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Why Do People Steal My Ideas Before I Have a Chance to Profit From Them, or HarperTeen Impulse and Some Wise Words from Cory Doctorow

On Sunday HarperTeen announced the launch of a digital imprint called HarperTeen Impulse. The title of the NY Times article says it all…HarperCollins Imprint Aims at Lucrative Young Adult Market. The imprint will release up to four new books each month (every first Tuesday) with prices ranging from $.99 to $2.99. The work will be in a variety of genres, but it does look like the works will all be novella length or shorter, hence the low price point.

Harper has a similar model with Avon Impulse which focuses on romance titles. The Romance world, of course, has a long history of churning out new, short, titles on a monthly basis…even back in the dark ages (read: print only days). The appetite for new content of the average Romance reader being akin to the gaping dark maw of a black hole, the Romance imprints learned long ago that they could produce a constant stream of work and still never quell that collective hunger.

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Random House and Penguin Might Merge or, Why I'm Writing a Topical Post

There was a time when 1 out of 2, or 2 out of 3 posts on this site were topical, news related, or relevant to a larger cross section of individuals than just myself. That hasn’t been the case for some time. As my post frequency has lessened, so too has the focus of this site become a consideration of writing…particularly my own, and my own process. Certainly, the less constant updates, and less generally interesting subject matter have accounted for the precipitous drop in site views, but I digress

Today, however, there is word that Random House and Penguin may just decide to merge.

This is important, not just to the wider book reading world (as I will go into in a moment) but also directly important to me, a freshly minted independently published author. What I’m saying is that, even though this post is topical in nature, it will devolve into a consideration of how it affects me (or persons like me) directly…see how I’m still completely self involved even when discussing the wider world of books.

But let’s start with the broader issues at play here…

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The Book I've Spent More Than a Decade Trying to Rip Off, or The Third Most Influential Book in My Life

So posts on the ol’ NR have slowed cheapest line viagra a bit as I’ve gotten back into the editing cycle.  For the curious, the next installment of Minding the Heavens will be titled:

Part II: Transfiguration (and I should have the cover image ready to go for perusal this weekend…maybe)

Nevertheless, I have this list looming in front of me that needs completion or I will feel I’ve failed you all. So let us, once again, recap where we been.

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Good Omens
  4. Life of Pi — a consideration of the coming movie adaptation
  5. Erasure — the writer whose ability i most covet
  6. The French Lieutenant’s Woman — a novel that speaks to my broken self
  7. Everything is Illuminated — why I simultaneously hate and envy Jonathan Safran Foer

Which brings us to the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett co-authored work Good Omens. I came to Good Omens by way of a friend when we were in high school. Chronologically speaking, I read it after both books 1 and 2, and while every book on this list was influential in informing me, both as a writer and person, these first three (or last three, bottom to top) were the most important, for very different reasons.

Astute readers of the ol’ NR will notice that Gaiman and Pratchett are the writers I mention the most. I’ve read more Pratchett words than any other author, and every one of Gaiman’s novels haunts my soul. So one might wonder why no other works from these two show up on this list.

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A Humble Plea for Reviews, More Places to Purchase Election, Part I of Minding the Heavens, and Ancillary Stuffs on the Way

As of this morning you can pick one of three sources for all your Minding the Heavens – Part I: Election needs, Smashwords, iBooks, and Amazon. If you have purchased/will purchase the book, I would greatly appreciate a few minutes of your time to offer a review of the book on your outlet of choice. As I work toward getting Part II ready, the most difficult part in this whole process is not the actual writing, or editing, but in building an audience. Books that are only available only in the digital space always sell more as they gain more reviews. It’s cyclical, really, as more sales then lead to more reviews, which lead to more sales, etc. So getting those first reviews and first sales are ultimately key in giving a digital book a life.

So for those who have purchased the book, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, online prescription viagra thank you. If you at all enjoyed it, the single most beneficial thing you can do for me personally, and the life of the series generally, is post a review, even a very short one, on any of the three places it’s currently available.

I’m willing to bribe people, by the way.

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The Writer I Most Aspire to Be Like, Though It Will Never Happen, or the 5th Most Influential Book in My Life, Erasure

So let’s recap “the list” and what pieces of it have been discussed thus far:

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Good Omens
  4. Life of Pi — a consideration of the coming movie adaptation
  5. Erasure
  6. The French Lieutenant’s Woman — a novel that speaks to my broken self
  7. Everything is Illuminated — why I simultaneously hate and envy Jonathan Safran Foer

Which brings us to Percival Everett’s Erasure. Were I a different writer, one that doesn’t truly believe that every story can be improved by the inclusion of at least one werewolf, this novel would be number one on this list.

Reading Erasure was not unlike walking into the Sistine Chapel. When you are finally able to take it all in, you are nearly knocked over by the sheer genius it must have taken to produce such a work of art.

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Minding the Heavens Part I: Election

So it’s a weird day for me in that I have finally released a little piece of my soul out into the world and I’m asking that people pay a negligible amount of money (2.99 if you want to get technical) in order to read said piece of soul.

If you’re reading this, you likely got here from either my twitter feed (@kilianheap) or from facebook, so you probably already know about the book being released today, but a short twitter post doesn’t really do justice to what I’m feeling at the moment…but more on that in a bit. I think it duly appropriate to put up here, above the fold, the quote from James P Blaylock that graces the (digital) cover of the work:

“… a literate, funny-but-serious, well-plotted novel that gets right down to business. I enjoyed it immensely.

—James P Blaylock”

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