Author Interview, Topher Sanders


Author Interview #38, with the music-obsessed Topher Sanders!

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Hi Topher! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Husband. Father. Silly. Geeky. Music-Obsessed.

Please share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):


Courtney and I talked for another two hours. It turned out we had a mutual obsession for Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There’s no way Captain Picard is a better leader than Admiral Adama.”

“What,” I said. “Are you kiddin’ me? All Adama had to do was fight the Cylons — and he never did that very well mind you — he never had to deal with Borg or Q or the Klingons.”

“Well, Picard didn’t deal with them all that well, now did he?” he said. “He did get his ass assimilated.”

We both laughed.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

People often talk about the writing process as the hard part. I know a lot of cats with multiple half-written manuscripts. Writing your novel is really the easy phase, it’s that one-page synopsis of your 120,000-word opus that’s a real bitch. The publication process can be brutal, but it’s a matter of how badly you want to share your creation with the world. If you believe in your project and you’ve worked hard to get it clean and ready for eyes, then publish it. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some more work to promote it, but it’s your book and you love it. You’ll love raising awareness for it too.

Hell yeah ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Writing that transports and transforms. It doesn’t have to be complex or verbose, heady or erudite, it just needs to tell the story. The best writing for me is simple, clear and keeps me on my toes for the next turn in events.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write and share. I know a lot of people give the ‘put-your-butt-in-the-chair’ advice and that’s good advice, that’s where it starts. But you have to share your writing with readers. You have to expose yourself to the opinions of others to get better. Being in a critique group is good, but those are also creative-types trying to get published themselves and they bring a certain type of eye to your work. But you need your average readers like your Aunt Gretchen or that guy at work who hates you or your girlfriend’s sister to read your writing. Those are the people who will tell you something so painfully obvious you or your critique-group pals should have noticed it, but it just slipped by you. So write and share often.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

For the novel it’s

Folks can follow me on Twitter @tophersanders

The book on Amazon: Aysel’s Arrow

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Much thanks to Topher for stopping by! Be sure to check out Aysel’s Arrow (featuring 29-year-old Latina Aysel Valencia, who is a straight shooter not only with her arrows at the archery range but also with her no-nonsense personality…).

Author Interview, Joseph Rinaldo


Author Interview #32, with writer/reader/husband/father/sports fan/fisherman/boater (many roles!), Joseph Rinaldo!

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Hi Joseph — please describe yourself in 5 words:

Smart, funny, creative, loyal, ambitious.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):



“I really didn’t want any part of gang life, but in my building every kid had to make a choice.”


Can a football scholarship to a rural Kentucky college save a gangbanger from his deadly past?

Read Hazardous Choices for the answer.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“In my gunny-covered cubicle I sat staring at the computer screen. My story for the day was a limp sort of evil. Four kids, ages two through six, were found locked in a room on the South Side with a couple of tuna sandwiches and a quart of milk. They’d been left three days, flurrying like chickens over the food and feces on the carpet. Their mother had wandered off for a suck on the pipe and just forgotten. Sometimes that’s what happens.”
— Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is effortless. I just copy down what the voices in my head dictate. Publishing is a nightmare. I tried the traditional route — got nothing but frustration and rejection. Went self-publishing — got sales, but the workload of promoting your own books is heavy and constant.

Sales and your own promotion = much better than nothing but frustration and rejection :P What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is creating a world that the reader can visit and lose himself in for a time. Good writing, to me, is pure escapism.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Revise, revise, revise, edit, edit, edit. Most importantly, hire a professional editor.

Mm-hmm with editing (argh!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:



Twitter handle: @jmrinaldo

Facebook Author Page | Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon

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Much thanks to Joseph for stopping by! Be sure to check out his website for more info/excerpts.

P.S. Both of Joseph’s books feature a character with Down Syndrome. His experiences “with this wonderful population come from not only living with someone with Down, but from [his] roles of Special Olympics coach, volunteer, and coordinator, and the countless interactions life provides for a dad with his child and her friends.”