Monday, February 10, 2014

#AuthorInterview--> Promising Debut Author- S.A. Check

I am so excited to have with me today the very talented debut author, S.A. Check for virtual coffee. :)

S.A. Check is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author.  As a kid, he grew up on comic books, heroes and villains, conflict and cliffhangers.  He read which-way books, science fiction and fantasy series, and classic horror fiction.  While earning his degree in English / Writing from Penn State University, he was exposed to poetry and prose, Shakespeare and Albee, anthologies and world lit. 
Today he lives with his E.R. nurse wife and tween daughter in Southwestern Pennsylvania and enjoys all the small dramas that come down the path.  He’s active on several internet writing sites, an active member of Pennwriters author group, and contributed articles to local newspapers.  His short story, Tangled Lines, appeared in the charity anthology, Hazard Yet Forward, and he achieved his first published novel, Welcome to GreenGrass with Bedlam Press, an imprint for Necro Publications, the first of what he hopes are many tall tales of his to be told.

Welcome to Njkinny's World of Books, S.A.!
Lets start the interview. :)

Q1. Tell us something about yourself. 

I’m a pretty simple guy.  I had a great childhood, raised in a small coal mining “patch” town.  We explored in the woods and cut down trees, fished in mining ponds, climbed light towers, rode our bikes down ash dumps(the scars of which are still embedded in my forearm), had Christmas tree bonfires in abandoned coked ovens and generally goofed off.  Somewhere around the age 11, I discovered comic books.  My friend and I would go to local flea markets every Sunday and scour boxes, looking for treasures in the two for a quarter bins.  I moved on to science fiction and fantasy novels, worlds beyond our own, stand-alone books and series.  I created characters and storylines of my own and played out scenes while watching the world go by from the backseat of the family car.  College at Penn State University opened up new worlds of wonder, expanding my literary horizon and challenging me creatively to produce work outside my comfort zone.  Now, with my own family at my side, I create those same worlds that fascinated me as a kid but from a perspective of how they affected me back when I first read them, in hopes of bottling some of that same magic and capturing new readers the same way those tales did me.

Q2. In one sentence, what is your book Welcome to GreenGrass about?

It’s a story about family, and acceptance, and being grateful for what you have now before you blink and it’s all gone and staying true to yourself.

Q3. What inspired you to write this book?

There are so many literary influences that helped to shape Welcome to GreenGrass.  It really is a hodgepodge of sources that played into the shaping of this book.  A pinch of hero here, a bit of dialogue from there, a character trait that I’d seen played out twenty years ago, and drawing upon some of my own life experiences.  Basically, I tried to write a book that I’d want to sit down and read myself.  It doesn't take itself too serious but touches on a lot of issues that we face on a day to day basis.  When I was done, I felt I’d accomplished what I set out to do, produce a book that someone could lose themselves in for a few hours and hopefully turn the last page with a smile.

Q4. What has been the biggest surprise or learning experience you've seen through the process of seeing your book get published?

Nobody told me it would be this much work!  Really, if it’s not something that you truly enjoy doing and I mean from first idea to final edit, than it’s a tough road to travel.  And the work doesn't stop after the last period, it just morphs into marketing, and media platforms, and press releases on top of the writing, because isn't that why we started the process in the first place?  Every day I try to learn something new, whether it’s a baby step or a leap, knowing that I've moved forward that much more.

Q5. Tell me about a fun moment you've had while writing your book Welcome to GreenGrass.

The first time I pitched the book was at a writing conference and I had my ten minutes to shine in front of a publishing house representative.  I practiced and pruned and had it all down pat.  Sixty seconds into the meeting, it all came crashing down and I was completely thrown off script when the rep said they don’t publish my particular sub-genre and I winged the next five minutes, even trying to pitch another story.  They were extremely nice and turned me down but I learned two things, that publishing books is a business, coming with successes and failures, and that you have to have fun with it all and realize that everyone goes through the same processes.

Q6. Which character from your book Welcome to GreenGrass is your favorite and why?

That’s like picking a favorite kid because they each hold special places for me, the heroes AND the villains as long as they’re compelling and bring something special to the page.
John Traveller, my main character, brings so many of the traits from different influences I've experienced over the years to life.  He’s a good guy stuck in some extraordinary circumstances and forced to make some hard choices along the way.  He does the best he can and is a natural leader even though he doesn't go looking for it.  He also chooses to use the word “thundering” or a variation thereof instead of more common curse words and it’s just a lot of fun.  I won’t say it’s crept into my own vocabulary but I won’t say it thunderin’ hasn’t.  Try and work it into one of your conversations tomorrow, it’s addictive.

Q7. What is the one thing that you hope readers take away after reading your book?

I hope they turn the last page and realize we’re all in this together.  We all have preconceived notions regarding race, religion, and gender but there are universal truths out there that bring us together.  Whether its giant grasshoppers, enchanters, toad merchants, men made of rock, or ghosts little more than air, everyone matters and we’re driven by a core of principles that cross all boundaries.    
                          
Q8. What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you travel for conducting the research?

I read a lot, and I mean A LOT, of comic books.  And some other stuff too. Welcome to GreenGrass really is an amalgamation of so many of the literary influences that I've read over the years. 

Q9. What is the best thing you have done in your life?


That’s the easiest question of the day.  My daughter is and will always be the greatest accomplishment of this letter peddler.  My family is my core and when my daughter, who’s ten, looks at me and says, “Dad, you wrote a book.  You’re kinda famous.”  Well, then that’s just all kinds of cool and I know I have the only fan I’ll ever need.

Q10. What are your favorite hobbies?

I dabble with art, though most of it now consists of sketches of manga eyed dolls for my daughter or animated square sponges.  I think my love of comics lends heavily into my desire to create characters in both words and visually and is probably the reason so many of my doll sketches, much to my daughter’s chagrin, come out looking like they’re on steroids.  Sketching and doodling are just another extension of the creative process and I've made designs for most of the characters in GreenGrass.  For me, it helps to round out the creative process.

Q11.  If you had to describe yourself using three words, it would be…
Read, write, repeat

Q12. What's the one thing, you can't live without?

I love technology.  I’m a geek, okay, there I said it.  I love gadgets and gizmos and things that go beep in the night.  I wrote a whole chapter for one of my books on me cell phone and have played around with voice to text technology.  I’m old enough that I can remember still pounding out work on an electronic typewriter and I’m fascinated by the advances we've made and I’m excited where we’re going.  Ebooks are a wondrous thing and being able to download books to my devices whenever and wherever I want really has changed the face of modern publishing.

Q13. What steps did you take to get your work published?

I made my rounds and have my own collection of rejections but you just have to keep trying.  Produce something that you’re proud of and refine and polish it.  Edit a few dozen times and don’t rush the process.  You also have to know when to let go of a project and find that balance.  Find people that you’d want to work with and that you feel will represent you and your work.  When Bedlam Press / Necro Publications agreed to publish Welcome to GreenGrass, there’s a sense of accomplishment and relief that someone out there believes in your work.  My favorite saying all throughout the writing / publishing / marketing process is simply that you can never fail if you never quit and it’s done well for me so far.

Q14. Where can people find you on the Internet?


Q15. What’s next up for you, writing-wise?

I’m hoping to have another novel out this summer.  It deals with a lot of the same issues that fans of Welcome to GreenGrass enjoyed and another trip through a fantastical world but this time on the cyber/techno side.  The book is all wrapped up and I’m just waiting for a hopeful green light on the project.  I’d love to put out a sequel to GreenGrass and I have story lines for the next two already mapped out and finally I’m working on my first middle grade novel that should see completion in the next few months. 

Q16. How about an excerpt from your book to intrigue and tantalize us?

The quick set up here is that Traveller and his friends have been called to the castle of GreenGrass’ premier enchanter to look into a high profile murder and the group is leaving after striking a deal with the mage.
Something smashed into Traveller’s legs, snapping him back to reality. He was standing in the middle of the factory. A young boy was sprawled on the ground at his feet. About ten years old and a mess of brown hair were all Traveller could make out of the boy’s face.
One of the creatures manning the pronged spears marched toward them. A shirtless potbelly hung over a pair of rough-cut trousers.
“You don’t fall down on job. Fodder teach you better than that. Fodder give you another lesson.” Blue sparks shot from both points of the spear as the he approached. “Fodder the boss. Fodder tell you when you can fall down. Get up, worm. Go back to the line.”
The boy shivered at the mass lumbering toward him and grabbed one of Traveller’s legs. Peeking up at him, the boy’s face was a mix of fear and exhaustion. Traveller met the washed blue eyes staring at him, dressed in a dirty potato sack. He pointed his shotgun at the advancing brute.
“Load. Stun. Back off the boy, ugly. I think he needs some medical attention.”
“Fodder give the whelp attention. Plenty of attention.None of your business, human. Leave the boy to Fodder. Fodder fix him good.”
A red flash of energy flared from Traveller’s shotgun, hitting Fodder square in the chest and sending him reeling back to the factory floor.
“Not while I’m standing here.” Traveller reached down for the boy, whose attention remained on his glowing line boss. “It’s okay, kid. Take my hand.”
Traveller pulled him to his feet. “You all right?”
The boy nodded.
Fodder scrambled up from the floor, rubbing his sizzling chest hair.
“Human, you have no right. Boy is Fodder’s property. Not your business. Leave now.”
Sil touched Traveller’s shoulder. “John?”

“Yeah, I know. We’re leaving all right, but the boy is coming with us. Tell your boss, Diandelia, that he just became part of the deal. You feel the need to say anything else and the next shot you won’t get up from.”

Traveller kept the gun trained on the brute.

“But you can’t. Fodder get in trouble.”

“Aw, too thunderin’ bad for you. Maybe someone will use one of those electro-prods on your fat butt. Get out of my way.” Traveller pulled the boy along behind him.

Bonz took a defensive stance with his staff. Sil followed in behind them, scanning the factory.

Talyn bared his fangs and snarled at the smoking green guard. “I would do what the man says, friend, he does not like to repeat himself.”

Fodder looked around. All eyes were focused on him, the other line bosses and workers alike. He spoke loud enough for the whole factory to hear.

“All right, all right. Get back to work. Fodder don’t have time for games. Fodder want to see red bottles moving or Fodder teach you all lesson.”

Thanks for talking to Njkinny's World of Books, S.A! :)
I wish to read more from you in the future and wish you all the very best.. :)

Checkout his works by following the below links and don't forget to show him your love and support by visiting his many internet hangouts. :)

Buy S.A. Checks Books:

Welcome To GreenGrass
Amazon: Kindle Edition









Hazard Yet Forward
Amazon: Kindle Edition










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