Here’s another fantasy author that I know who you might be interested to hear from. He’s got a couple of books available and some new stuff on the way. Check out RJ Mirabal on his website and watch for his new book coming in August.
How do you get inspired to write?
Strange as it sounds, once an intriguing story idea gets in my head, I lose control and either I start working on the idea—mentally or in hardcopy—or it keeps popping up like an annoying “mind-worm” whenever my mind drifts. The sane choice is to start writing down the basics. Then more ideas flow as I jot notes, develop the story line, describe characters, establish setting details, etc.
The self-generating inspiration comes from the idea. That, or I eventually forget it and regret the loss.
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
Zero Visibility Possible, is Book III of my Rio Grande Parallax series, a further development of a short story I wrote thirty years ago. I wanted to write a fantasy story in the general mold of The Lord of Rings but with a twist. Instead of the typical European-style Middle Ages setting, it would take place in the American High Desert, specifically New Mexico where I was raised and still reside. So I created my own sub-genre of Southwestern Contemporary Fantasy.
But as the idea developed I realized that High Magic had been done very well by a multitude of writers, so I have aimed for a low key magic coupled with stronger psychological, romantic, mysterious, and adventurous elements. Later, I developed a main character who starts out as very disturbed and apathetic when he is thrust into this alternative New Mexico where danger and exciting possibilities beckon.
At first, I thought it was good for a 10K short story or two, but so far, it’s spawned three lengthy books with an idea for a prequel of unknown length!
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Write every chance you have. Make even each email a work of craft instead of a sloppy mess of incoherence and bad mechanics. Have a short idea? Write a short story. Big idea? Write at least a story line. If you like that, get started on your new novel.
Keep at it and submit often to whatever outlets will publish you whether free Internet sources or commercial publishing. But then that’s a whole other subject that requires careful research and advice. Definitely, I would advise any writer to join a writers group to share ideas, information about publishing, and critique each other’s writing.
Don’t write in isolation.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Time and effort is solely your choice. You’re working for yourself and may not get paid, but the satisfaction of creating a world with people, situations, an environment, and rules that are all under your Godlike control can be addictive. If you meet expenses, great! If you make a profit, fantastic (but don’t expect that at first).
The point is you’re in charge of your universe.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Keep writing something, anything, until substance comes. Sometimes when there are no expectations or a “plan” is when the best stuff emerges. When all else fails, I wait until evening and then lie thinking in bed trying to drop off or when partially awake in the middle of the night or morning. I’ve been pleased and surprised how something “far-out” would hit me and break the block.
My advice, just don’t forget what that flash of inspiration was before you get up!
What is your current book about?
As mentioned above, it takes place in New Mexico, specifically the Middle Rio Grande River Valley. There is the present-day “real world” in the town of Rio Luna and an alternative valley called Valle Abajo. In the Valle the terrain is on a monumental scale and life is more primitive and magical. Many clans of the Valle are subjected to terror, murder, and slavery at the hands of a powerful, evil clan called the Soreyes.
My first main character, Don Vargas an alcoholic loser, is lured through a portal to the Valle Abajo. He is asked to assist the simple-minded clans to resist the Soreyes. But his reluctance is even greater than his bad attitude. Once there he learns he is not the first to travel to this alternate existence. He is also not the last as his young cousin, Esther, arrives five years later with a similar mission.
And now here’s my spiel for the new book.
Adventures and conflict develop in Books I and II, finally intensifying in Zero Visibility Possible, Book III. Events move at a breakneck pace to the shocking conclusion of the Parallax series. Impossible odds face two groups of comrades who have traveled far seeking answers to mysteries. The first company heads for the Saddle of the Mountains of the Sky while the second, a hundred miles to the west on the barren Malpais, a vast and ancient lava field, is led by Esther. Both groups face deadly enemies and startling enigmas.
Back in Rio Luna, Esther’s mysterious disappearance confounds her parents and her friend, Markey. In the Valle, though, questions surrounding Don are resolved. Meanwhile, the Soreyes heap new terrors on the clanspeople. Will the travelers return in time? Facing challenges far more insurmountable than bringing down the Tower of Il Serrohe, can the hapless clanspeople dare hope for freedom?
What book/movie/etc. is it comparable to?
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings compares to my series as well as Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (also a New Mexico author) with elements of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima (a coming of age New Mexico novel with strong magical realism elements). There are some features from TV’s Breaking Bad present in my main character, Don Vargas, though Walter White is more extreme than Don Vargas (Yep, takes place in New Mexico, too, though I wrote the first book years before!).
What are you working on now?
I’m mulling over a prequel to the current series explaining how this whole alternate world came into being as well as those from whom Don Vargas descended. But I believe I’ll first turn to a more conventional novel based on one of those “out of the blue sky” inspirations that has hounded me lately.
Mum’s the word for now.
Where can readers go for more?
Excerpt from Zero Visibility Possible: “Zero Teaser!”
Website/Blog: RJ Mirabal, Author
Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (published Summer 2015, see the Dust Storms “teaser”) is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Page Foundry/Inktera, Scribd, 24symbols, and my publisher Black Rose Writing. Of course signed copies of both books can be ordered directly from me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zero Visibility Possible (tentatively scheduled for an August, 2016 release) sources will be announced soon on my web site, though the outlets mentioned above for Books I & II should all be included.