Friday, December 16, 2016

Felix Hartmann: Author of Dark Age, on Writing His Debut Novel

Felix Hartmann talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Dark Age.

“The best way to make somebody think, to expand their paradigm, is by telling them a story and then making them immersed in it, and then they start to question.” ~Felix Hartmann

Felix is an immigrant who came to the United States in 2008, and even before then, in his native Germany, he loved writing stories as a child, recalling that he rewrote J. R. R. Tolkien’s works as a child and had been writing stories since then. He started writing Dark Age in 2012, originally as a video game which he would create in conjunction with his programmer brother, and it was influenced by the Arab Spring that took place in that year. As Felix continued to develop the story, he got more and more involved in it, so much so that his storymaking ran far ahead of his brother’s capacity to develop it. Felix counts Shakespeare, George Orwell, T. A. Barron (who replied to an e-mail Felix sent him) and Mary Shelley as his literary influences.

Felix is attracted to books that make him think, hence is being attracted to the kind of literature that others would call “dark,” as he doesn’t believe in stories where the good guy is all good and where the evil guy is all evil, but are rather complex individuals whose flaws and strengths show why they are who they are. Felix remarks that dark themes enable a more complex and thorough investigation of humans as they are, enabling him to challenge the reader’s paradigms, rather than the somewhat shallow treatment they would get in a sunny kind of storyline, and also points out that, in all his reviews to date, nobody has commented that Dark Age is “just like (this book).”

Where writing the book is concerned, Felix began with a bare outline and then let the story grow based on that outline, giving an interaction with some villagers in his book as an example, as that scene wasn’t included in his original outline. He mentions that the first draft is likely not to be the way the story will finally turn out to be, and that authors should know the beginning, know the end and then think two or three steps ahead. He says that he did at least a dozen rounds of editing and that the edits should revolve around the needs of the story.

Felix doesn’t believe that one should have just one passion, but should have several, and it shows in his life in that, in addition to being passionate about writing, he is also presently in his last year as a college student and is setting up his own company. He also remarks that writing a novel in his second language was a good way to practice English, noting that his first draft had a lot of errors in it, where the English language is concerned. He also notes that English is the best market to write a book in, noting that he has readers in places like Japan and Africa. He encourages writers to go ahead and put their books out in the world and remarks that, had he put out Dark Age two years previously, he would have gotten good feedback that would enable him to bring out a better second book that much sooner. Felix decries the attitude that reading should only be done in school, pointing out that reading books enables the expansion of the mind.

Felix Hartmann’s website for his book, Dark Age, is

Purchase from Amazon: Dark Age by Felix Hatrmann

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kathrine LaFleur on Moonlight Hunting, Book 2 of The Cardonian Chronicles Fantasy Series

Kathrine LaFleur talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Moonlight Hunting.

“One of the things I love about writing is when the characters take over and all I have to do is sit there and move the pen and they tell the story.” ~Kathrine LaFleur

Kathrine started writing early in life, and she counts, as her influences, Edward Ormondroyd, Edward Eager, Daphne du Maurier and Louise Penny. She dabbled in short stories before writing novels and only began writing with the intention of being an author around ten years ago, writing The Elephant Girl before writing the Cardonian Chronicles series. Kathrine admits that the series had had a lot of false starts, and that the plotline “came out of the characters,” rather than outlining an entire plot prior to writing the stories, which was a point of learning for her. She admits that writing the series required a lot more effort compared to the stories she had written before, because of more plotlines and characters to work on. The first book took a whole year to create, while writing the second book was somewhat easier. She needed to do a lot of research for her upcoming third book, as it takes place in the desert and she didn’t know much about desert environments.

Kathrine admits that she has been curious about telepathy since childhood, and she decided to make these natural in her world of Cardonia. She admits that the characters in the series come from people and characters whom she has known or read about, and her favorite is the protagonist, Moonlight, whom she remarks has her vulnerabilities and faults as well as strengths, just like ordinary people. Kathrine admits that writing about conflicts is somewhat difficult for her. That said, she admits that conflicts are necessary, particularly when she finds herself “writing in circles,” where the story then doesn’t progress.

Kathrine has a daily quota of pages to write, and she takes the time, after her day as a teacher, to go to a coffee shop where she reads for about an hour and then write for an hour or so before going home, preferring not to write at home because of all of the distractions there. Kathrine keeps notecards “around an inch thick” with notes on each character, as well as additional notes in her computer, which include details such as hair type and eye color, inventions they created and the like, to keep any loopholes from showing up. She admits that she’s concerned about maintaining consistency with what goes on amongst the characters rather than focusing on every single detail, and if these don’t correlate to reality, well, it’s not an issue for her since the book’s a work of fiction and the world within is her creation, after all.

With Moonlight Hunting, Kathrine has discovered that she’s capable of writing a fiction series, which seemed impossible for her to do five years ago. She hopes to write a mystery novel once she is done with the Cardonian Chronicles. To would-be authors, she says that it is better to try, (knowing that they might fail), than to not try at all, and that this could also apply to any dream that one has.

Kathrine LaFleur’s website for her book, Moonlight Hunting, is

Purchase from Amazon: Moonlight Hunting, 2nd book of the Cardonian Chronicles, by Kathrine LaFleur