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Advice from IR Approved Author EF Skarda: “Find your own writing process.”

The Mortal God – The Infinity Chronicles: Volume 1 received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author EF Skarda.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The Mortal God – The Infinity Chronicles: Volume 1 was first published on May 1st 2020.

What’s the book’s first line?  

“The rain started to fall just as the sun finished descending behind the mountains of Gallatia.”  Glorious hook, right?

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.  

This book is what I would consider adventure science fiction.  It follows Commander Kyle Griffin, a superhuman soldier endowed with mutant strength and Celestial telekinesis – unheard of powers even in a futuristic galaxy.  He’s a dominant soldier for the Dominion army, one who, along with his elite Infinity Force team, has never lost in battle. But in a shocking discovery, he’s betrayed by the Gentry, the omnipotent ruler of the Dominion, and forced to seek refuge with the only people that would take him…his mortal enemies.  The story details his quest for revenge on the Dominion, and its divine master.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person?  An event?

When I was 13 years old and first starting this book, I just wanted to tell a good story.  I was a huge fan of rip-roaring action/adventure, probably because my dad was too, and I thought I could tell the best version of it ever.  I succeeded in some ways – my book is exciting – but eventually I grew up and the characters sprouted emotions that I couldn’t comprehend as a teenager.  They became deeper, more relatable, and suddenly the thrill ride became about people and their daily struggle.  After 25 years of working on this book, I’m most proud of that.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?  

If you’ve ever wanted to step into the shoes of someone that can literally do anything he wants, and then really piss that guy off to see what he will do…well, that’s what this book is about.  Sure, that might be gratuitous, but feeling the emotional turmoil he endures to eventually push him over the edge…that’s what makes this story great.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?  

Kyle Griffin is a stubborn alpha male-type, quick to anger and emotionally immature.  He fears failure and inadequacy, which, for most of his life, isn’t an issue.  Yet, when he does fail – when he’s not perfect – it tends to cost people their lives.  Who does that remind me of?  Probably Christian Bale’s Batman.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?  

I think I’ve always imagined Chris Hemsworth – in his full Thor physique glory – as Kyle Griffin, but lately I’ve thought Tom Hopper would be an outstanding choice as well.  For Jackson Hilton, I think Sam Worthington would be great as the steely sniper.  James MacArthur…Dax Shepard.  Jay Harrier…Tom Hardy, with a thick beard.  Dan Preston…gotta be a heartthrob…Justin Hently or Liam Hemsworth.  Adam Brady…Ryan Hurst of Remember the Titans fame.  Vaughn Donovan…needs some villainous chops…Michael Shannon.  Angel Preston…Alexandra Daddario.  And finally, Ellie Decker…Abby Cornish.  Gonna need a big budget…

When did you first decide to become an author?  

I wouldn’t say I decided on it…I just love writing.  If you do it for long enough, you end up with a catalog of stories and characters that you care about, and at some point you want that to mean something.  So you give it to the world, for better or worse, and hope that people enjoy it.

Is this the first book you’ve written?  

Yes and no.  While it’s technically my first book, I wrote the first version when I was 13, and have completely overhauled it at least three times since then.  So while the premise is the same, the story is totally different now.  That seems like the type of nebulous answer an author would give, doesn’t it?

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?  

I actually have my doctorate in physical therapy.  I run a very small out-patient clinic in Denver, Colorado, and teach continuing education classes on the side.  Ask me about anything biomechanical and I can give you a dissertation that will concurrently blow your mind and put you to sleep.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?  

I would say 6-10 hours a week when the world was normal.  With this pandemic issue that’s going on currently I’ve upped that to 3 hours a day, if not more.  It’s been one of the few silver linings of this quarantine, outside of spending every day with my son.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

The marketing.  By far.  And getting reviews.  I’m inherently self-conscious about my writing, so asking people I know to critique my work is tough.  But the best thing for that was hiring an editor or two.  Once they said that the story was good, it really gave me a lot more confidence.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?  

Find your own writing process.  I’ve gone in a thousand different directions to get the content down on paper, and each has yielded their own mixed results.  I’ve poured over every word before writing them down (which I don’t recommend, it loses your pace and tone), and I’ve just gone stream of consciousness and returned to edit profusely.  Plus several methods in between.  The best thing you can do for yourself is find your own path.  Just because John Scalzi can write an entire novel in two weeks with limited revision doesn’t mean you can (cuz really, who can other than him?).  Your process is yours.  Love it, and it’ll love you back.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

I doubt it.  I wouldn’t say never, but it would have to be a sweet deal.  This story has just been too much of my life to give over control of it to a publishing house.  To me, it would be like letting someone else raise my son.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)  

The feeling of creating something special.  Sure, making some money for the effort would be great, but I get excited about plot twists that manifest organically, or when I decide to alter a plot point and realize I was already set up for it.  It makes me think that the story was meant to be told.  And in that moment, I can’t fail.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire? 

John Scalzi and Joe Haldeman.  They were revolutionary in their vision.  I wish I could be like them.

Which book do you wish you could have written? 

As per above, I would say Old Man’s War and the rest of that series.  Breathtaking science fiction.