Intro: What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythological being, what or who would you be?
Frank Fleming (and – very important — one ‘m’ in Fleming as people misspell it constantly – including my first column in a newspaper).
I write sci-fi and fantasy. I learned early on you’re supposed to say “SF” instead of sci-fi since sci-fi can be considered derogatory, but when I write SF, it’s sci-fi.
I’m on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/IMAO_ )where I’m very active and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/Frank-J-Fleming-162485170512788/ ) where I’m less active.
As for a mythological being, I think I’d be Thor. He has a big hammer and an ability to use it. That makes everything simple.
1. What got you interested in writing?
It’s never been so much that I like writing as much as I have lots of fun ideas I want to share and writing is the easiest means of doing so.
- When did you become SERIOUS about writing?
That is a tough question. I’ve done a lot of different writing. I blogged basically every weekday for a decade. I used to do regularly write political satire columns. But story writing is my oldest passion and goes back to my early teens in fits and starts. A number of years ago, I realized I was never was going to stop coming up with story ideas and the only way to get them out of my head so they’d stop bothering me was to write them down. Thus I started getting up a 5am every morning and writing before my day job. And I finally got my first novel out. But then I got a new job which used me up creatively so for about two years I put novel writing on hold. But I’ve finally decided writing stories is the writing I most want to do, so I’m back to it and determined to output multiple novels a year. So NOW I’m serious about writing.
Though I do have a screenplay project to finish before I’m all in on writing novels. But I guess that counts as writing too.
- What inspired your book?
There are so many things we see each day that just fade into the background because we’re so used to seeing them. Much of the book is about the adventures in places we just stopped paying attention to.
Another part of the book is how I think everyone has a few things they find in the world to be horrific that most people don’t give a second thought about. So the book is also inspired by the idea of confronting the evil most people want to ignore.
- What is the book about?
Terrence suspects his girlfriend might be evil.
It’s the little things — like how she wears demonic armor and serves some force called “The Darkness” — that give him pause.
Terrance has begun to notice other odd things. It all started when he was bequeathed a sword by faeries on his way to work (was that weird?). Now he can’t help but be bothered by perfectly normal things, such as a nearby sinister fortress on a volcano and a company meeting involving a human sacrifice — though no one else seems to share his concern.
That is until Terrance finds a group of regular people who want him to join in the fight against the evil they’re sure has imprisoned the world.
And he just knows that’s going to be a problem with his girlfriend.
- What are the characters like?
The protagonist, Terrance, is a sort of everyman, but maybe a bit geekier. He nominally wants to do the right thing, but when his world starts going crazy, his main motivation is to get things back to normal.
- Who should pick up your book and why?
If you like humor and a fun adventure story, that would be the best recommendation. Also if you like fantasy, as it plays with a lot of tropes from that. There’s also a little bit of video games mixed in.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
I always liked this line from when they’re on a flying ship with somehow nothing but sky below them and the protagonist is looking down at it, a bit worried.
“Scared of heights, champ? Technically, if we’re not over anything, you can’t measure height, so there’s nothing to be scared of. And that’s what you have: a lot of nothing below you. To be scared of.”
- Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?
I’ve been down the traditional route. I wrote some political satire with one of the big publishers and my novels are with a smaller publisher, Liberty Island. My big recommendation is don’t sit on your work for too long – which I’m afraid I’ve done in the past – and get it out there one way or another.
- If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Fantasy. I hate having to spend time doing research, and in fantasy you can just make everything up.
- Name one book that affected the way you write?
Would a comic book count? When I’m stuck, I always think of Axe Cop, a comic written by a five-year-old. A five-year-old never gets writers block; their imaginations are too expansive. So whenever I’m stuck, I like to remind myself it’s because of walls I put there that I can knock down at any time.
- Three authors you recommend and why?
I feel like I should be a hipster and come up with some names no one has heard of, but I’m going to go with:
Neil Gaiman: Very creative stories. I like the way he interviews grand mythos and basic character motivation.
Brandon Sanderson: His books are just fun, and well structured.
Jack Handy: Here’s my odd choice. Most people know him as the Deep Thoughts guy from Saturday Night Live. I love his concept of pure humor – humor that would work as well a hundred years ago as it does now. Not topical. Not referential. He wrote a whole novel in that style and I couldn’t tell you if the story took place in the 1920s are modern time. I feel my humor relies too much on references, so I want to be more like that.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I’d just like everybody to be a bit nicer. Seems like there’s so much anger lately – its why I’m basically done with politically commentary – when we’re supposed to be one big family and working together. I’d just like everyone to see the value in everyone else.
- What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
To entertain. And if my stories could uplift people a little bit, that would be great too.
- What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
Early on (I think I was early twenties), I had made an attempt at a novel and showed it to a writers group. They absolutely tore it apart. But they said they were very impressed at how good it was for my age. That’s what I needed to hear at the time.
I don’t think criticism ever stops stinging, but boy is it necessary.
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
In my first novel – Superego — I’ve accepted there are a number of flaws in it (which is why I’m determined to do better in the sequel!), but I cherish the reviews of some people it’s really connected with. You lay yourself bare when you write, and you hope with a few people it will be worth it.
- One fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I’ve beaten every major release of The Legend of Zelda series.
- One piece of advice you would give to new writers?
Write every single day. Even if it’s just a sentence on a novel you’re trying to complete. You do that, eventually it gets done.
Thank you Frank! If his books sound up your alley and you’re onboard with PG13 content like me, check them out and follow him on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/IMAO_ )and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/Frank-J-Fleming-162485170512788/ ). You can also sign up for his newsletter at frankjfleming.com
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!