My Interview with C.J. Rutherford!
I’m very excited to be interviewing you today, my friend. I absolutely loved reading the first couple of books in your series, TALES OF THE NEVERWAR, and I look forward to finding out what happens next – both in the story and in your career!
1. Let’s begin by having you describe yourself to me and my readers please?
Oh my, where to begin. Well, there was that time, at band camp… but I don’t talk about that, and if you see any photos, they are false, okay?
Right, well. I’m just an ordinary guy with an imaginary dragon living in his head. I write gibberish that some people seem to enjoy J
2. I find authors to be very interesting. How they approach the writing process, what motivates them, and how they’re inspired to write the stories they do is intriguing. Therefore, I’d like to find out what makes you tick, both as a reader and a writer.
· I read on Amazon that you would make up tales for your daughters every night when tucking them into bed and that this was basically your inspiration for writing. Is it true you didn’t start writing until after your daughter announced she was getting too old for bedtime stories? If so, what pushed you to write your stories down, and more so, to publish them?
o It was actually heartbreaking. First one daughter, then the other, grew up. I mean, is that even legal? But that’s what happens I suppose, so I had to do something to get the voices out of my head. What started out as a retelling of some of the stories I’d made up for my girls, degenerated into what is now known as the TALES OF THE NEVERWAR. Like me, the series is a curious blend of real life and fantasy.
o I never thought I’d publish them until a friend pointed me towards KDP. I would never have gone down the route of traditional publishing anyway. I mean, they wouldn’t have let me bring my dragon along ;)
· What is your writing process like? Do you write from an outline or do you prefer to wing it? Do you write every day or only when inspiration strikes?
o Tales was a total seat of the pants affair. I literally had no idea what was going to happen next. Like in book two, one of my characters is all fine and dandy. Next minute they are dead. I NEVER saw it coming, and still cry when I read it back.
· What was your journey like to become published? Are you self-published, signed with a small press, or a traditional author? What lead you to this form of publishing and how did it influence your decision to go this route?
o I’m self published for now. I love the freedom of being able to make changes to your books on the fly, and I will always want to retain artistic control. I’ve heard nightmares of authors signing the rights over to trad publishers, only for their story to be basically rewritten by the editors. I’d hate that. My stories and characters are my babies.
· How did you learn about the publishing world? Did you research things or did you simply jump in?
o I jumped in with both feet. I wrote the first draft of Souls of the Never in three weeks on an Android tablet, bodged a cover together on Canva, and uploaded to Amazon. Imagine my indignation when I wasn’t an immediate overnight success. Thankfully, a lovely woman from New Zealand took me under her wing, pointing out the error of my ways. We spent a few weeks licking the manuscript into shape, and what emerged was like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
· Is there anything you wish you’d known in the beginning that you know now? Why and how do you think it would have changed things for you?
Ø You will NOT succeed overnight.
Ø The writing game is a slow burn, and don’t expect to make money off it unless you’re willing to put A LOT of money in first.
Ø Writing the book is just the beginning.
· What was the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
Ø Do NOT spam your book links all over the place. This will get you the reputation as a serial spammer.
· What advice would you give a novice author?
Ø Take it slow.
Ø Build your fanbase, and a relationship with other authors.
Ø I am a huge fan of ‘paying it forward’, and I love helping novice authors out.
3. The Tales of the Neverwar Series is considered an epic science fiction fantasy with time travel. I am curious about the creation and development of this book series.
· I know you grew up in Ireland. Do you feel like the rich heritage of myths, legends, and folklore associated with Irish, Gaelic, and Celtic peoples helped to influence your storyline? Why or why not, and how?
o Besides the book being based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, there are very little influences from my culture in it. It’s all a product of my own twisted imagination J
· Do you feel the amazing Irish landscape and your familiarity with it helped you with designing alternate worlds? Why or why not, and how?
o Nope. I’m just a bit mad.
· Was there anything in particular that encouraged your love for fantasy?
o I’ve always loved reading fantasy. I cut my teeth on the Narnia books when I was a kid, and progressed to J.R.R. Tolkien, among others. Plus, while growing up on the farm, I had a lot of time alone, where the stories grew in my mind.
· What do you think had the most influence on your storyline and characters? Why and how do you think this made an impact?
o The fantasy world in my mind has always been there. That’s where most of the bedtime stories came from, but I was shocked when I started TALES OF THE NEVERWAR how much science fiction evolved in the story line.
· Did your daughters’ opinions or reactions to your bedtime stories contribute to your book series? If yes, how? Also, did they give you any feedback on your manuscripts? If yes, then what did they suggest and how did that affect the finished product?
o Katheryne, the main character is modeled on my eldest daughter, Jessica.
o Gwenyth, the main character in the fantasy world, is modeled on my youngest, Lucy.
o No, they have never read them. To them, my books are my version of a mid-life crisis. Jessica has read my wip tho, and loves it.
4. SOULS OF THE NEVER: A YA Fantasy Adventure, the first book in the Tales of the Neverwar Series, has been nominated for an award and received Readers’ Favorite’s coveted 5-star Book Review seal (ORGINS OF THE NEVER: A Free YA Fantasy with Ancient Dragons and Faerie Magic was also recognized). I am focusing the next set of questions on these accolades.
· In your own words, what is the significance of the Readers’ Favorite’s 5-star Book Review seal, and why is it coveted?
o It’s coveted because it’s so hard to get a 5-star review. Readers’ Favorite reviewers can be brutal, and to get a 5-star for Souls of the Never was a great honor.
· Have these accolades made a difference for you as far as promotion, book sales, or readership? If yes, how?
o When I mention the award in a promo post, I always see a spike in sales.
5. What can we expect to see from you over the coming year?
I hope to have book one of The Companion series, Companion of Darkness, out by the summer.
· Where can readers connect with you most? Are you available through your Tales of the Neverwar by CJ Rutherford (@talesoftheneverwar) Facebook page or what is your preferred method for connecting with your audience?
Ø I’m on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/writerutherford
Ø And on Pinterest here: https://uk.pinterest.com/coljr3/
· Do you have a newsletter for readers who subscribe to your website? I know they can get a FREE eBOOK!
Ø I do have a newsletter. I send out updates about special offers, etc. You can sign up to it here: http://www.subscribepage.com/a4a9j4
Thanks again. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me and allowing me to introduce you to my readers. I pray you are blessed with great success in all you do!