Johnny: I understand J.L. is pseudonym. May I call you Trevor?
J: Why not.
H: That’s not my real name.
J: What is it?
H: Tricky question. I write under J.L. because my real name is Johanna Lynn. But I go by Hanna because that is my personal name…or at least the name I call myself in my head.
J: Pishaw…. What’s in a name? I mean a name is just a label, a place to pigeonhole someone.
H: You’re going somewhere with this, aren’t you?
H: I will allow it. Proceed.
J: A name is a personal genre—you more than anyone should understand the limitations of being so limited.
H. Ah…but if names exist only in our minds, do not the limitations, as well?
J: Yes, Susan, you begin to see now.
H: Susan, now?
J: Consider your genre-crossing new book, Raoul, Steel Victory. On first blush, I’d have to say it’s an alternate history, urban fantasy, horror. What’d I miss?
J: What’s it about exactly, Bill? Tell us about it. Long pitch.
H: In Steel Victory, the independent city-state of Limani is beset from within by human separatists and from without by the territory-hungry Roman Empire. The city’s lone vampire and her adopted warrior-mage daughter must join forces with the other supernatural creatures of Limani to defend their city, their culture, and their very lives.
J: So sequels possible?
H: Absolutely! The first sequel, Steel Magic, is slated for release later in 2016, and I’m just shy of finishing up book 3, Steel Blood. Overall, I’m planning a 7-book arc, with ideas for shorter stories that happen as prequels and in between the novels.
J: What age group, Lana, would you say it’s aimed at?
H: The target age group is adults, but the young adult and new adult markets will find my work easily accessible as well.
Steel Victory, Maria?
H: Primarily, an urban fantasy world that didn’t look like our own. An urban fantasy world where supernatural creatures have always existed in the open, and how that might affect the course of human history. More specifically, an urban fantasy novel where the vampires have mature, adult relationships and where magic follows logical rules.
J: How long did it take you to write, Chrissy?
H: Two years, over the course of the Seton Hill University (SHU) Writing Popular Fiction graduate program. I spent three semesters cranking out the first draft, and the final semester editing and polishing. I’m getting faster, though! The sequel took about a year, and book 3 is shaping up to be about nine months. I’ve had a full-time job through this entire adventure, as well.
H: After I graduated SHU in 2007, I did all the right things. Submitted to agents, mingled at conventions, started a social media presence. Unfortunately, this little thing known as Twilight was happening at the same time, and mostly people were confused about why someone would write a vampire book without vampire sex in it. (Spoiler alert: There’s no vampire sex in this one.) So I spent a few years focusing on my day job career and playing a lot of video games. Finally, the world was once again ready for urban fantasy that didn’t also double as paranormal romance. There have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry in the past few years, but I’m excited to be getting my start now.
J: Really, why the pseudonym, Horatio? Why not use your real name? Whose idea was that?
J: Okay. Oh, I do love your cover of Steel Victory, Xavier. Did you get much of a say in its design?
H: I gave the amazing artist, Brad Sharp, a bunch of information about how I viewed the characters, what types of clothing they wore and weapons they carried, and general setting descriptions. What he submitted in return absolutely blew me away. I was able to make a few minor suggestions after the first draft stage, and I don’t think the cover could be more perfect. I am 100 percent okay with people judging a book by its cover in this case—I can’t tell you how many people have picked up a copy just to admire it. I’m thrilled to see what Sharp will come up with for Steel Magic. To see more of his artwork, visit him online at http://www.bradsharp.co.uk or on Instagram @bradsharp_art!
H: Dog Star Books, and parent company Raw Dog Screaming Press, are a great crew to work with. They are focused on both publishing quality writing but also working with excellent people. DogCon, their annual roaming convention, ends up being more like a family reunion for both the writers and fans.
J: Can you put in a good word for me? I’d be perfect. I write cross genre too - literary horror, magical realistic coming of age, comedy, satire detective stuff.
H: Under what name?
J: Just mine, Gregoius IV, I’m too lazy to do all the cross platforming. Where on the interwebs can people find you under your many identities?
H: Here and there! Please feel free to follow me on social media for conversations about writing and editing, the adventures of my Friday-night RPG group, and way too many pictures of my ridiculous Siamese cats.
J: Excellent, Hanna.
H: Ha! That was my real name.
J: Oops. Uhm… where’s my baby name book? Yes, that was just a random answer, Greg. Even a blind clock comes home when there’s shadow.
H: That made no sense.
J: Welcome to the Blog Mansion.