At the end of August 2011, I was interviewed
by book reviewer and radio talk show host Fran Lewis. It was a fairly extensive
discussion of the plot and characters of the Arkana series and if youíd like to
read the interview in its entirety
Below Iíve included the portion of the interview that discusses my writing process under the assumption that most readers are fairly curious about what goes into creating a book.
1. What made you decide to write The Granite Key and this series?
I was always puzzled about why societies overvalue men and undervalue women. I couldnít figure out how humans got so out of balance. In my personal quest for answers I stumbled across data that shows we once behaved much differently than we do now. At this point in our cultural history, I think we need to find a better, less exploitative, model for our behavior. The distant past shows us that model. My series is a fictional means to introduce those concepts to a mainstream audience. It attempts to answer the question of how we got to be this way and why.
2. How long before you completed it? What resources did you use and did anyone help you with the research?
It took about a year of scribbling in a notebook until I got the plot and the characters sorted out for the entire series which will consist of seven books. During that time I was also reading everything I could find about matristic societies of the ancient world. The writing process for each book only takes about six months. The research takes longer since I do it all myself. I use both reference books and the internet for source materials.
3. Which parts are fiction and which are not?
The characters, the Arkana, and the Nephilim are all fictional. The archaeological sites, cultures they explore, and the concepts they discuss are all real.
4. What parts, if any, of your novel created roadblocks?
It varies from book to book. I do remember having a problem with the final paragraph of the second book. I just didnít know how to wrap it up. Fortunately, that problem eventually resolved itself. I donít have any major roadblocks because Iíve already outlined the entire series so I know where Iíll end up. Tiny detours, however, do occur over little snippets of research that I canít find at the moment when theyíre needed.
5. How did you overcome them?
I take long walks. Usually the best way to get over a roadblock is to walk away from it. By the time I return, my perspective has shifted and I get a new idea of how to solve the problem.
6. What is your writing process?
I definitely donít free-associate when I write. Iím an outliner and a planner. I have a high level outline of the entire series. Then a more specific outline for each book. When Iím ready to tackle a new book, I break down the plot points into chapters. After that I may sketch out bits of dialogue or other business that I want to cover in a specific chapter. Only then do I start to write.
7. When did you decide to become an author?
I suppose Iíve always been adept at using language. A writing career has been in the back of my mind at least since high school though I didnít tackle writing a novel until I hit 40.
8. Why this subject and how do you decide what you write about?
Because this subject of gender inequality has always bothered me. Itís time ďhistoryĒ also included some ďherstory.Ē I expect this current series is going to keep me busy for at least a decade. After that, I donít know what Iíll want to explore next.
9. What advice would you give new authors?
Do a thorough reality check to make sure youíve written absolutely the best book you can. Then, ignore everybody elseís opinion of your work. Youíll succeed only if, and only when, YOU decide youíre good enough.
10. How did you get your book published and how do you market it?
The current series is an indie venture. I really like the amount of creative control I have over the finished product. For ebooks, I think Kindle Nation is a great place to get the word out (assuming youíve written a quality book to begin with). Iím also experimenting on a small scale with Facebook ads which have worked really well for me. Much to my surprise, Iím developing a following in the UK because of them.
11.What is the one question you never get asked and would like to get asked in an interview? Please ask and answer it.
Hmmm, thatís a tough one. I guess the question would be, ďDo you enjoy writing?Ē Shockingly enough, my answer would be ďNo.Ē I think there are writers who are in love with the process of writing itself. They keep journals, maintain blogs, write poetry. I donít like doing any of those things. I take a much more utilitarian approach. For me, writing is a means to an end. Iím in love with the idea, the concept, that I want to communicate to an audience. Writing is just the vehicle that gets me there.
12. What are your websites and where can we get your books?
My website address is: http://www.mythofhistory.com
I also have an author page on Facebook under N. S. Wikarski
My books are available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, and XinXii (in Europe).
13. What other books have you written and what is the title of the sequel for this series?
Iíve also written the Evangeline LeClair historical mysteries which are set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include "The Fall Of White City" and "Shrouded In Thought." Those books are available in trade paperback as well as ebook format. The sequel to "The Granite Key" is called "The Mountain Mother Cipher." I plan to release it in December of 2011.
14. What makes your book stand out?
The subject matter. Iíve taken some obscure archaeological theories and introduced them into mainstream culture by using a fictional plot. I donít think that particular material has ever been treated in this way.
15. What makes your book warrant five stars?
Hopefully, itís because Iím an entertaining writer. The books contain elements that can be suspenseful, funny, tragic or just plain odd but never dull.
16. What makes your novels or novel unique?
Itís a combination of little-known subject matter told from a slightly offbeat perspective.
17. What else would you like to add?
I think itís a great time to be an author. The advent of ebooks has allowed new ideas to circulate in a way that would have been impossible a decade ago. Those of us who have had difficulty getting our books past the bottleneck of legacy publishing are being given a chance to let the market decide if our work is any good or not. So far, the market is deciding in my favor.