Thursday, March 22, 2012

Author Interview - Alan Nayes

In today's special Thursday Author Interview, Alan Nayes stops by to speak with us about Smilodon, his thriller about a primitive predator roaming loose in north-central Idaho.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: First, thanks for having me on your blog today, Kevin. Though I reside in southern California, there is still a lot of Texas remaining inside me. I was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. Talk about humidity…oh yeah.  Several decades ago I moved to the west coast, but love getting back to my home state as much as possible. I own some land north of Dallas and one day plan to live several months of the year on 80 acres of trees, pasture, a pond—oh, and  a bunch of wild hogs. Lol. I could see getting some serious writing done in the north Texas solitude. Well, maybe not serious…

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I started writing, creatively, while in college. But it was song lyrics. I’d taken up the guitar and found writing music fun. However, that ended when I actually tried to sing the songs I’d written. I found holding a pencil was much easier than holding a tune. I didn’t start writing stories until I moved to California several years later. Been writing ever since.

 Q: What is Smilodon about?

A: Smilodon is about a huge prehistoric cat that goes on the rampage in the wilderness of north central Idaho. It takes a tracker and a beautiful wildlife biologist to hunt the fearsome predator down.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

A: I’ve always enjoyed reading creature thrillers ever since I read Jaws. So I decided I would try to write one. Cats have always intrigued me, especially the big wild ones so I decided I would create a story with a giant feline carnivore—a terrestrial Jaws so to speak. I just had to figure out how to land a primitive predator in modern day Idaho. Reading about the massive meteor that supposedly exploded over northern Siberia in the early 1900s gave me the idea of how to pull it off. A mutation, of course!    

Q: Tell us about Jason Bristol.

A: Jason Bristol is a former prize fighter who has turned to alcohol as way of dealing with his son’s fatal mauling by a grizzly. His area of expertise is his uncanny ability to track down animals and he’s pulled into the story when his best friend is killed by the cat.    

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

A: That’s a tough one as I believe all good stories have common characteristics—interesting characters, entertaining plots, and good writing. I think Smilodon exhibits all three, but is it better than other similar themed stories out there—I’ll leave that for the readers to decide.    

Q: Did you have any specific goals when writing Smilodon? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

A: Kevin, my goal is always the same when I write a novel—to try to create the most entertaining story I can. One theme that I wanted to indirectly hit at in Smilodon is that when humans venture into the wild, man is not the host but the guest—the wild animals are the hosts. We need to behave as good guests or risk the consequences.    

Q: How long did it take you to write Smilodon? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

A: I wrote the initial draft in about six months. I did hire an editor and also hired a cover artist.
Q: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations? How do they support you?  

A: My family is always there for support and I also belong to a writers group of six writers called the Eclective. We are very supportive of each other. I also consider anyone who reads my books a great supporter—a big thank you to all my readers.    

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?
A: Would love to, Kevin. Thanks



Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: I’m happy with the changes—it opens the door for a greater variety of stories for readers to choose from. I think readers will be offered a greater chance to discover new authors in this new age of indie publishing.

 Q: Did you encounter any cases of writer's block while working on Smilodon?  How did you get through it?

A: Fortunately, no cases of writer’s block with Smilodon. The only bump came when I got to the ending. I thought I had the conclusion all figured out—but the ending changed on me. Actually, I’m glad it did because it is better I believe. 
Q: And just for fun, what was the name of your first pet?  What type of pet was it?  

A: My first pet that I raised on my own was an iguana. And yes, I even showed signs of creativity then by naming my pet lizard---Iggy. Oh yeah, now that’s original.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your book with us!  Hope to see you again soon!
Smilodon - Available at the following retailers | | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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