Today we sit down with author and blogger Craig Boyack to talk about his latest work, his influences, and writing in general. Please enjoy this interview with this talented author.
DM: What is the title and genre of the book you want to tell us about?
CB: Thanks, Don. I’m here to tell everyone about The Playground. I’m calling it a paranormal adventure with science fiction sprinkles on top.
DM: Can you summarize your book in one sentence?
CB: No, ha ha. Let’s try this: A social network geared toward children is brainwashing them into a private army.
DM: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
CB: This book has some adult themes, so it isn’t for the kids. After that, it’s for those who enjoy a thrill ride in speculative fiction.
DM: How did you come up with the title?
CB: The network is called The Playground Network. It seemed like the most natural title for the book.
DM: Tell me about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
CB: I always come up with my own concept. This story is written from three interwoven points of view. There is something on the cover to represent all three characters. It’s dark and threatening, and a pair of eyes on the cover is always a good thing. My artist this time is Sean Harrington, who has his own graphic novels.
DM: What are your biggest writing influences (another author, another book, a movie, etc.)
CB: I like to have a good time whether I’m reading, watching a movie, or program. I try to deliver that in my stories. I’ll fall back on Conan Doyle, but also folks like Michael Crichton. I enjoy films like the Pirates of the Caribbean series, anything super hero related, and Jurassic Park.
DM: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
CB: One of the point of view characters is Clovis. He is my first attempt at an anti-hero, and he’s so over-the-top I just loved him. He has his own character arc, and was a ton of fun to write.
DM: How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
CB: I have to go with Tommy Fazio. He’s the man behind The Playground Network, and is just so creepy. He turns to occult methods to accelerate his plans, and abuses children for his own advancement. He almost looks at our kids like something to be harvested and consumed.
DM: If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
CB: This is a tough question, and I’ll bet all your guests struggle with it. There is a special car in the story. I struggled with wrecking it, or letting it come through unscathed. I still wonder if I made the right choice, but I’m not going to spoil it for readers either.
DM: Can you give us a fun fact about your book?
CB: I’m trying something new to me in this book. There are three individual stories involved that weave together to tell a bigger story. I think it works well, but readers are the ultimate judge of such things.
DM: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
CB: That’s hard to come up with, because there have been many with a megalomaniac, a chase for the maguffin, and paranormal adventures. I’ll note that it has similarities to the movie Pulp Fiction, and the graphic novel and movie Sin City.
DM: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
CB: I have a sourdough starter that’s approaching 30 years old. My wife and I like camping, and looking for wild foods like blueberries and morels. I even like to catch the occasional fish.
DM: How can we find out more about you and your books?
CB: Here are my social media contacts, and I love to talk to visitors:
Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com
Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY
On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack
DM: What can we expect from you in the future?
CB: I’m working on another novel called The Yak Guy Project. I’ll probably come up with a real title as I finish it, but you never know. It’s about an entitled youth that wakes up in an alternate world, with everything stripped away from him. He will need to do things for himself if he’s going to survive. I’m using the Fool’s Journey from the tarot cards as the basis of the story structure. It’s a fun experiment.
I also write short form fiction. When I get a dozen or so good ones I’ll release another book of short stories. These are speculative in nature, and run from science fiction to paranormal, and the occasional fantasy.
DM: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
CB: I think reviews are the most important thing. Amazon puts a lot of credit in how many reviews a book has. They increase exposure for those with enough reviews. It doesn’t take much, pick a star value, add a few words and you’re finished. It doesn’t have to be like a book report from grade school. Tell other readers what you liked. Maybe one liked the Binky Thief, another one liked the dog in the story. These count just as much as someone who typed out three pages.
Goodreads is another good option. The simple act of adding it as something you’d like to read gives the book exposure.
DM: Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
CB: I add a personal challenge to every novel. Sometimes it’s simple like first person point of view. Sometimes it’s more complicated, like my use of the Fool’s Journey. These challenges have made me a better author.
I think it’s important to actually get to market too. I’m the personality type who looks for perfection that doesn’t exist. Getting over that was a real growth mark for me. I can look at each project and see improvement. Readers might not notice, but I can and it gives me confidence to try new things.
DM: Can you give us an excerpt from your book to intrigue and tantalize us?
CB: I’ll try to keep it short, because I don’t want your interview to go on too long. A little bit of setup is required. Clovis, my anti-hero just returned from meeting with Wanda. She works in public records, but Clovis wants a bit more detail than that. He’s interrupted by his neighbor, who goes by Chip.
A hard banging came at the door. Only Chip knocks like that. He answered the door in his boxers, “What do you want, Chip?”
The tiny Asian man said, “What’s with dog? He set out here and shiver all morning. Whine like big baby too. Oooooo, Oooooo. Dog freezing to death, so I take him my place.”
“Did you eat him?”
“No, asshole. My family not eat dogs. Dog eats everything in sight. Cold noodles, garbage, drinks from toilet.”
“He’s not my dog. Sounds like your ancestors blessed you with a pet.”
The dog pushed past Chip and jumped on the couch. He thumped his tail excitedly at seeing Clovis.
“Not your dog, huh? He’s just like you, no manners. Licks his own butt.”
“Come on in and shut the door. Want a beer?”
“What’s the odds on the Rams game this weekend?”
“Not good, fourteen points.”
“Give me ten on the Rams anyway.” He grabbed his wallet from the pants on the floor and handed over the money.” Chip closed the refrigerator, and handed him one of his own beers.
Clovis found the frozen dinners in his bag and offered them to Chip. “This ought to cover what he ate.”
“No. That’s all crap. Feed it to stupid dog.”
“I need you to watch him one night next week too. I have a date.” He pushed the boxes at Chip. “You can feed these to him. The kids will love him.”
“No. He tries to hump kids.”
“How about you watch him over here then? There’s beer in the fridge and a basketball game on TV.”
“Basketball is stupid sport.”
“You can rent a porn movie then. My treat.”
“Okay, but might need two movies.”
Clovis opened his beer and sat on the couch. “Knock yourself out. What do you know about Asian Dawn?”
Chip waved his hands back and forth. “They tough characters. Big business, all illegal. It’s how we came here. Get in shipping box in Singapore, get out along the river before the boat docks. Daughters happy now. Go to school too.”
“How do I tell who’s who on the streets?”
“Hard to do. They like invisible tattoos. Need special light to see. They brand themselves though. Look at back of hand for cigarette burns in a pattern.”
“What kind of pattern?”
“All different. Sometimes straight line, sometimes Southern Cross, sometimes triangle. Don’t know what it all means. They very secret people. Dress clean cut. No saggy butt pants, no flashy colors.”
“But they’re all Chinamen like you?”
“No. Upper class all Asian, different kinds, but all Asian. Regular workers could be anyone.” He pulled back his sleeves. “See no burns.”
“So you’re above all that.”
“Run clean sports book. No gangs.”
“Know any of them?”
“Only one in Singapore. We paid, got in box, that’s it.”
“Thanks, Chip. Take another beer with you when you leave.”
“You never date. You with fat Wanda again?”
“You caught me. I’m thinking of taking a new job and she might know something.”
“Fat Wanda. Ha ha ha ha ha.”
“Don’t rub it in.”
“You be careful. Don’t break hip. Ha ha ha ha.”
Clovis waved his hand at Chip and headed for the shower.
Thank you, Don, for inviting me to your blog. The Playground is available . Your readers can get a copy here http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI
About Craig Boyack:
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.