Eric is a fellow MuseItUp author. He stopped in for a visit a while back and I’m tickled to have him here again. He lives with his wife and two sons in northwest Iowa. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. Later that same year he published his first work of fiction, a spooky children’s story called Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast. Since then, he has written stories for children, young adults, and adults. Three of his science fiction stories have won honorable mention from the CrossTime Annual Science Fiction Contest. His first YA fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel. His second novel, The Squire and the Slave Master, continues the Saga of the Wizards. He is a member of SCBWI.
Now let’s get to the fun part where I get to ask questions and find out a little more about my guest. Eric, describe what you consider your ideal writing conditions.
I need my desk to be clean. Even though I use a laptop, I prefer to write in my office. I typically listen to music while I write. I try to find something that fits the mood of the scene I’m writing. It works best if I’m very familiar with the song. Writing is not a time for me to check out new music.
Name a book/author you can read again and again and always learn something new.
I adore the Harry Potter books. I’ve read them countless times to myself. I’ve listened to the audio books. I’ve read the series to my oldest son, and now I’m on book three with my youngest, yet I still catch new details each time.
I love the Harry Potter books, too. They remind me of the stories that drew me in when I was young–all mysterious, dark and magical. I wanted to live in that kind of world. Tell us about your current WIP.
My current WIP is titled A Wizard Reborn, and it will be the third and final volume in my Saga of the Wizards series. In Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, Owen and Yara went on an adventure together. In The Squire and the Slave Master, Yara got her own book. This one is Owen’s solo project. It takes place at the exact same time as The Squire and the Slave Master, so I’m finding it harder to write than I had imagined (and I imagined it would be tough)
What is the best compliment you ever received as an author?
“I read your book.” Okay, it may sound like I’m taking the easy way out here, but think about it. Someone dedicated several hours of their time, time they could have done any number of things, including read a different book, to read your book. They are four simple words, but they hold a lot of weight.
You are absolutely right. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
As a family, we travel a lot. And we usually drive where we’re going. When the kids get restless, I sometimes feel like pulling out my remaining hair, but when their teachers tell me how much they contribute to their classroom discussions with personal experience stories, I know it’s worth it. Last summer we took a road trip covering Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, back to Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and finally back home to Iowa. We redefined tired by the end of that one.
What is the one thing you never seem to have enough time for?
Cheesy Answer Alert! Okay, I warned you. I never have enough time to write. But the bottom line is, for me, writing doesn’t pay the bills. So when something has to get cut, either because I’m out of time or because I’m too tired to do anything productive, it’s usually writing.
Yeah, I hear you. There are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes things we enjoy have to get put on the back burner, don’t they?
Folks, here’s an excerpt from Book Two of Saga of the Wizards: The Squire and The Slave Master.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.” Yara cut the fat from an emmoth rib. “I don’t suppose anyone knows. It will take as long as needed to end the slavery.”
Her mother pushed her mostly untouched meal around her plate. “I’d prefer you didn’t go. It sounds dangerous.”
“Mother, these people are engaging in slavery. Not farm animals forced to work, they’re humans.”
“I understand. I’m not saying we shouldn’t intervene. I’m just not sure why you have to go.”
“King Kendrick and Owen think an undercover magician could give us an advantage. I agree with them. Besides, I want to go. I need to get away from here for a while. Plus, I’m an adult now. You can’t tell me what to do.” Chancing a glance at her father, she hoped she hadn’t upset him again. Their earlier argument had been mostly in jest, but the comment she made about her brother must have stung.
Instead of looking angry, he leaned back in his chair and chewed his emmoth meat. When he finished, he grinned. “Don’t get upset, Kamala. At least she told us she planned on leaving this time.”
“When I left in search of Owen and Cedric, I didn’t have time to tell you. This time we have a plan.” Yara chewed her last piece of rib meat. She’d snuck out after her parents had turned in for the night.
She could usually count on her father to have a level head…when he wasn’t provoking her about a woman’s place in the world.
Her mother cleared her uneaten food from the table. “I don’t presume to tell you what to do. I just want to make sure you’ve considered all the aspects of the mission.”
“To the best of my ability, I have considered all aspects. First, I have to travel as a boy. Aside from my appearance, I shouldn’t have trouble with this. My best friend is a boy, and I’ve never had much interest in girly activities. And why would I? As a child, playing with dolls couldn’t compare to chasing piglets through the muddy stockyards.”
Her mother’s eyes lightened for the first time that evening. “You also don’t care much for washing clothes. If you did, you’d have realized most of the mess you got into in the stockyards wasn’t mud in the truest sense.”
She laughed. “Fair enough. Now my second concern, while traveling as a boy, I’m best to not get caught. Big burly men, out to sea for several days, may have more interest in a helpless girl than just someone to whom they could confide their deepest secrets.” She grinned, raised her hand above her head, and caused a blue flame to burst forth from her palm. “Good thing I’m not a helpless girl.”
As long as they don’t attack me in my sleep.
Her father collected the dirty dishes.
Yara helped him clear the table. “If I can keep my façade, the trip should sail by, so to speak. Once we get to Buisna, we’ll have to find the ruler of the slave operation. I suppose this could present itself as a difficult task, but at least I won’t have to do it alone.”
Of course there’s always the question of what we’ll find in Buisna. Why does a country the size of the Western Domain need our help? How large is this new country? How many people are there to fight? The military of the Central Domain is weakened from the attack by the Wizard Rebellion. Why would King Kendrick decide to send troops at a time like this? Do they know, or suspect, more than Owen told me?
With the table cleared of dishes, Yara stretched and yawned. “Now, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll retire to bed early tonight. Shoeing that horse wore me out, and I need to get some thorough rest before my training tomorrow.” She hugged her mother. “Everything will work out. King Kendrick and Owen will have a strategy planned for the whole mission.”
A loud, rapid knocking at the front door startled her. Answering it, she found Owen standing with a man about his same size but a few years older, donned in the armor of the King’s Sentry
Owen glanced around the room, his eyes wide and observant but clear of any panic. “Yara, you have to come to Innes Castle now. The plans have changed. You’re leaving tonight.”
If you haven’t had a chance, read the first book in Eric’s series. Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud is where the story begins.
Muse It Up Publishing (both)
Left Bank Books (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (both)
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Readers, thanks so much for stopping by. If you get the chance please check out Eric’s blog https://authorericprice.com/ for a peek at my newest book, Xander’s Tangled Web due out April 26th.