I want to extend a warm welcome to Sean as he stops by my blog on his tour for the release of his debut novel Origins.
You are stopping by on a release tour for your first book. Tell us a little bit about it.
Well, Origins is the first book of the Demonkin Series. Let’s start from the beginning. Ever wonder why every time you read a vampire book, or watch a movie about vampires, their abilities differ? Their weaknesses differ? In origins I used that premise and made all the difference explainable as vampires have several different subspecies. Origins is about the newest breed. Ashlyn Thorn is the main character and she was born different from other vampires. Curved fangs, claws, and a thirst for blood that isn’t human. She’s a predator of predators.
Could you tell us a little more about your non-writing life?
By night one way, by day another. Every writer when they first start out is kind of like a superhero. Working a day job and writing at night, hoping that one day they will be successful enough to quit the day job. I haven’t gotten to that point yet! I have the honor of being a telecommunications engineer and fiber-optic technician for the local cable company in my area. It’s a great job and pays the bills. As for home life, I’ve been married for fourteen years, have two children, a duck, a dog, a sugar-glider, salt water fish, three bunnies, and two cats.
Could you tell us a little more about your writing life?
I started writing about a year and a half ago. I penned my first novel and began the extensive search for an agent or publisher. Luckily I found the latter. Echelon Press is my publisher and new employer (at night). So day job first, then I come home, edit for Echelon, and write when I can.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Everybody has this moment. You go to the bookstore, pick out what is sure to be a winner, bring it home, dive into the pages, and say, “WTF? How did that piece of crap get published?” Yeah, it was one of those moments that made me realize I wanted to be a writer, just to prove to myself that I could do it.
When did you first start writing?
I believe it was about 18 months ago. I wrote Origins and then its sequel Deceptions right after that. I haven’t been in the game very long.
Do any of your novels have special stories involved in their writing?
Actually the whole Demonkin series is kind of strange. In the universe I created, all the supernatural entities you could ever imagine work, play, and die alongside normal mortal humans. Everybody knows a vampire or a werewolf and they live out in the open. What nobody in the world I created knows, is all the supernatural beings are the result of an angel or a demon mating with a human. This is where it get’s strange. When I wrote the novel, I chose a powerful demon lord named Asmodeus to be the sire of Ashlyn. He was summoned by her witch mother and subsequently sired an offspring. At the end of the novel, I brought into play, a powerful angel. I chose the name Raphael on a whim. What I didn’t know is that when you research the name Asmodeus, his mortal enemy was Raphael. Talk about coincidences.
What are your favorite books?
Oh, I’ve always been a huge fan of Urban Fantasy. I’m a closet Mercedes Lackey fan all the way. I think I’ve read every novel of hers and some of the anthologies she did as well. The serrated edge series and the Eric the Bard series, wow. Yeah. Some of my favorites. If I had to chose outside of Urban Fantasy, I would definitely chose R.A. Salvatore’s works. Yes, I’m a Dungeons & Dragons dork. His Icewind Dale series are some of my favorites.
Who are your favorite authors?
Mercedes Lackey, R.A Salvatore, Anne McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster, L.K. Hamilton, and don’t tell anybody, but I like J.K. Rowling too.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing?
Believe it or not, I don’t have one. I write what I make up. Even in the most difficult situations I could imagine to put my characters in, I have to add an element of humor.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Six months. Writing a novel is easy, finding someone who’s willing to publish a previously unpublished author, THAT’s the hard part. I thank my lucky stars everyday I found Echelon Press.
Where and how do you get your ideas?
I play what’s called the “What if” game. I look around me and take the most mundane things in the world, look at it, and say, “What if?” Make sense? Want an example? Okay, here you go. You’re sitting on a beach, sipping on a cocktail. You see the sand shift and you look down. “Oh, it’s just a little crab,” you say. BUT, what if? What if that crab was a tiny minion of a mother crab, a thousand feet below the surface of the windswept beaches? What if it’s going to go down its little crabby hole and tell mama crab, lunch is lying under the sun, crisping nicely, and should be ready to feast upon in twenty to thirty minutes? Get it now?
Are you an outliner or a pantser, or like me, somewhere in between?
The actual idea of sitting down and outlining a book truly gives me the hives. I’m a total pantser. I don’t even make grocery lists. Ask me what I’m having for dinner tonight. G’head. I haven’t got a clue. We plan, and the gods laugh. That’s the way the universe works.
What’s your opinion on writer’s block?
People with writers block haven’t had enough to drink. Just kidding, I RARELY drink, but the idea of writer’s block is so foreign I can’t even wrap my brain around it. I must have a hyperactive imagination. Gimme a topic and I could go on endlessly about it.
In your opinion what is the most important part of a story?
Easy. The characters. You could have the most awesome thought out plot, descriptive scenes, uber-unexpected twists, and the most awesome ending in the world, but. IF YOUR CHARACTERS SUCK AND THEIR DIALOGUE IS BORING, your book is gonna suck.
Do you ever base your things in your books on real life experiences?
Why yes, I fight werewolves and vampires on a daily basis. Okay, just kidding. No. My stories are pure imagination.
How many novels have you written and which is your favorite?
Origins and the sequel Deceptions are done, I’ve written a steampunk short which is coming out soon and I’m working on a series of YA steampunk shorts with my son. I also have a YA urban fantasy that is almost completed. Out of all of them, Origins is my favorite. It was my first and my baby.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
Well, I didn’t pass go and I didn’t collect 200 dollars. Actually as I said before, writing a book is easy, getting someone to read it is damn near impossible. My recommendation to new authors is if you haven’t ever had anything published before, skip looking for an agent. Find a small indie pub to publish your work. You’ll get more cred than self publishing. Echelon Press is completely awesome and I couldn’t be happier, but if they’re not right for you, check out duotrope.com. It’s a great site for finding publishers.
Are you currently working on any projects? Can you tell us about them?
I’m almost finished with my YA urban fantasy manuscript. It’s about a young man who sells his soul for his fondest wish. He unfortunately did it on a whim not believing it would work. To save his soul he asks to be made a Soul Seeker as his wish. It doesn’t turn out like he planned. The other item I’m currently working on is a series of YA steampunk shorts. I’m writing them with my 11 year old son. It’s a lot of fun.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never give up pursuing your dreams. It can happen, you just need to be persistent. WHEN you do become published, listen to your editors. They’re there to help.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Never have an operation that ends in “ectomy” unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Never play poker with somebody whose first name is also a city.
Last but not least, NEVER trust people who are happy all the time unless they’re medicated.
Sean thanks so much for stopping in.
Origins will be released on February 15th and you can find out more info here at Sean’s website: http://www.seanhayden.org/
Sean Hayden works in South Florida as a Fiber-optic Engineer for a cable communications company.
Born in the Suburbs of Chicago he relocated to Florida as a child, where he grew up and attended school at a small Catholic elementary and high school. It was there, in literature class, he fell in love with books. Vampires especially fascinated him as well as the realm of possibilities of the urban fantasy genre. This fascination gave birth to his first novel, Origins. The sequel, Deceptions is under contract and will be out later this year!
He lives at home with his wife, children, and a plethora of pets.
And Friday Tea Time wouldn’t be complete without tea. This week I’d like to highlight Celestial Seasoning’s Tension Tamer.
Tension Tamer is composed of soothing herbs including our favorite, catnip. I had a glass the other night and my kitties just went crazy about it. Not a normal reaction from them, but I was entertained by it. Tension Tamer could also be useful on a book release tour. It has a complex taste, and I like it best with sugar, but it does seem to help with stress.