Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Guest Author Perrin Pring and "An Appointment at the Edge of Forever"!



Welcome Perrin and congratulations on An Appointment at the Edge of Forever!  I LOVE the cover, BTW.  But before we delve into the book, please tell us a little about yourself.


Hi. My name is Perrin Pring. I’ll give you some fun facts about me:

Since 2008 I've lived in Boston, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington state, Maui, Montana, and California.

I’I've held a variety of jobs and volunteer positions, some of which are: ski patroller, dish washer, whitewater kayak/canoe coach, wilderness therapy field instructor, raptor rehabilitation aide, river ranger, park ranger, promotional blog writer, substitute teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, butterfly garden attendant, and river guide.

I like animals, a lot.

I can bake.

I love cold weather, as in below zero temperatures.

Coffee is an imperative part of my morning, but it’s a fine balance. It turns out that too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.

What genres do you write?

I write science fiction and/or fantasy, depending on what definition you want to use. My most recent work, An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, Book One of the Ryo Myths, takes place in space, but has fantastical elements to it. I’m also working on a dystopian story.

Please tell us about your newest release and what inspired you to write it.

My newest book is An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, Book One of the Ryo Myths. It’s the first book of a trilogy, and it’s a combination of science fiction and fantasy. I had been reading fantasy and watching science fiction, and I wanted to combine the two genres. In my mind, fantasy works with magic, and science fiction works by logic (there are many definitions out there though). As I considered how both logic/science and magic could co-exist together, I came up with beginnings of the Ryo Myths trilogy. I created a universe where a normal person might believe in magic, but a person capable of magic simply had a total grasp of the rules of the universe (science) and could therefore do seemingly ‘magical’ things. This principle is the foundation of the Ryo Myths. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your main characters?

A lot of places. Sometimes it’s from books or shows I’m watching. When I wrote An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, I was reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and watching Firefly, Stargate and Farscape. I've always been interested in groups of characters who wouldn't normally work together, but are somehow forced to, i.e. because they are stuck together on a spaceship.

I also spend a lot of time outside, both working and traveling. This enables me to meet a lot of people, as well as see some pretty incredible things. I will often take bits of people’s personalities, as well as experiences I've had, or experiences others have told me about, and blend them to make a unique character. I incorporate places I've lived or traveled into my writing as well, even though I often write about other worlds.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Red. I’m sure there are many readers out there who will immediately recognize where I got my inspiration for Red, but Red is much more than a simple character. I've worked A LOT of jobs where I was one of, if not the only, female on the crew, and Red is the ultimate compilation of some of the more outstanding, ridiculous, well meaning, sexist, loyal and dangerous men I've ever met. Red’s the kind of person who would be entertaining to be at a dinner party with, unless you were the host or his date. He makes messes, starts fights, but in the end, is super loyal. Unfortunately, he doesn't always make the best decisions, which is why he’s the most fun to write. I can always count on Red to screw up a scene that’s just going a little too well or ruin a particularly touching moment.

Is there anything else you would like to share about the book?

I've had multiple people come up to me and tell me how sucked into my book they got. They often say that they aren't ‘into’ science fiction, but once they started the book, they just kept reading. This is a huge compliment, and I think it says something about what kind of read An Appointment at the Edge of Forever is. It isn't ‘gritty’ science fiction. You can enjoy it if you don’t understand how gravity works or how a black hole works. An Appointment at the Edge of Forever is about characters and possibilities. I explore the ‘what ifs?’ that make science fiction great, but I also delve into how people interact with each other. So, if you like science fiction, you’ll probably like An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, but if you have never thought of yourself as a science fiction reader, but you do like stories, you should give An Appointment at the Edge of Forever a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 
I know exactly what you mean!  That's just how I feel about The Kabrini Message.  That's why I'm sure our readers will thoroughly enjoy An Appointment at the Edge of Forever - I think the two books share a common fan base.

OK, next question:  What sort of writing routine/methods do you use?

This is an interesting question. I live in Montana, and when I tell people I’m a writer, 9 times out of 10, people say:

                “Oh that’s cool. So you just ski a lot then?”

I don’t think people who don’t write, and I mean, seriously write, get just how much work it takes to be a writer. For me, my alarm is set for 7:30 five days a week. I get up, eat, check my email, then go to a coffee shop where I spend the next three to five hours writing, editing or working on marketing, depending on the day. I often go home for lunch then maybe go to another coffee shop in the afternoon, or just work from home doing the same things I did in the morning. I’m usually done working on my stuff between 4 and 5. I’ll then read someone else’s work or workout. I read all sorts of genres - sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, non-fiction, basically anything. I’ll spend evenings with friends and family, and on slow nights, I’ll watch Netflix (because it is really nice to listen to other people talk after spending 8 hours writing my own thoughts).

                I've read and been told a lot of things about the ‘writing process’. What I've discovered works for me is contrary to some of the MUST DO advice from other writers. Some writers say that you MUST write first thing in the morning. Others say that you CANNOT have any distractions. (I will agree the Internet is terrible for productivity, but who would have thought there were so many cute cat videos?) What I've learned is that for me, I MUST have some sort of routine, and I would recommend that every writer have some kind of routine, even if it changes regularly. If you don’t have a schedule, you end up skiing all winter and as fun as that is, it doesn't often result in a finished manuscript. 

                Another thing I take really seriously is the editing process. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book called Timequake, and as discombobulated as it is, he makes the distinction between Swoopers and Bashers. Vonnegut writes, through his re-occurring character Kilgore Trout, that women writers tend to be Swoopers and men writers tend to be Bashers. A Swooper is a person who can write lots of pages in a day but needs to spend lots of time editing said pages. A Basher is someone who can spend 8 hours writing 4 sentences but, the world be damned, those sentences are as close to perfection as it’s going to get, so editing is a pretty easy process.

                As much as I hate to conform to gender norms, I am most certainly a Swooper. I can write ten pages in 8 hours, but it’ll take me 8 hours to edit three. I also listen to my work out loud, both by having the computer read it back to me and by my own voice. This is imperative to my process. If you want to figure out if your writing is good, enable the Speech tool on Microsoft Word (it comes with the standard word application). While the computer will sound like a robot, you’ll learn very quickly if you’re writing is fit for sharing. The computer will clue you into words you forgot to type, words you overused (Did I really use the word brick five times in two sentences?) and give you a feeling for the overall structure of your prose. I started by reading my stuff back to myself, but I found myself just saying what I thought I had written. I couldn't catch typos, and I couldn't hear my writing get bad. With the Speech tool, I can fix all that.

As I said though, I also read my stuff out loud because it can be hard, particularly with dialogue, for the speech tool to get the cadence right. If I were to give one other piece of advice, it would be to use the speech tool and listen to your ENTIRE novel. This takes a long time, I know, but it’s worth it. I’ll give you a way to test my theory. Go to your library, rent an audio copy of the Da Vinci Code and the print copy. Listen to the first half of the Da Vinci Code and then read the second half. I promise, you’ll want to throw the Da Vinci code CD’s out the window before you get halfway through the book. Brown repeats himself, he uses ridiculous metaphors; it’s awful. When you read the last half though, you’ll realize how easy it is to skim over that stuff and get on with the plot. If Brown had had a good editor (or had known how to edit), that book would have been ten times shorter and way easier to read. Then again, Brown sold like a bajillion copies of The Da Vinci Code, so maybe good writing isn't the key to selling a book, but I fear, for most of us, it is.

 I have NEVER before heard that tip about the Speech tool in Microsoft Word - excellent advice, thanks so much. 

In closing, thank you, too for joining us today - please come back again soon!  In the meantime, we definitely want to follow you - what's the best way to stay in touch?


My website is www.perrinpring.com

People can also find me on: 
@Perrinpring on Twitter
On Instagram at Perrin Pring
and on Goodreads



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