Saturday, February 16, 2013

Interview with Author Ryan Orr

Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.
Yes well I started out as a little boy and grew old. I was born in St. Joseph Missouri and raised on and off in Phoenix Arizona and now reside in New Mexico, about 250 miles from nowhere. It is a nice place for tranquility, lizards, snakes, scorpions and vultures. Come to think of it a lot of horror movies have been made in this area. I am happily married, you can ask my wife yourself, she will tell you!
On my book, well I have written several but I guess this would be about my book 'Land of Dragons' which is available on Kindle and in paperback. I prefer the paperback just so I can look at the shiny cover, but what is inside is pretty good too.
The story is about a young man that must lead his people across the desert to what was their home over 200 years prior, a land known as 'Land of the Dragons' Actually I think it is a historical novel, and probably closer to the truth than anything anyone has written about dragons, but I suppose it has to fit in the science fiction fantasy genre. Honestly though, it is not, it is an explanation of dragons that no one has written about before. It truth it is an action adventure book.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a short story called 'The Little Tin Shop' I was twelve-years old, and my imagination went wild enough for it to appear in Sci-Fi Magazine. The inspiration came from author Robert Heinlein. I read everything he wrote that year and thought I would start with something small.
I stopped writing after that until I had children, one of my own several foster and one adopted. They were all boys and I got tired of hearing them say how bored they were. We were an adventurous family, going camping (the hard way) climbing mountains, going to Native American events, it is not actually that they were bored, it was the fact that 5 days a week they had to go to school, compared to our family life, it was boring.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Each writer has their own style, some write tight like an action movie, other write loose and lose their way. I believe I write in between the two, realistic but loose and never getting off track. Loose is a good way to describe what actually occurs between people. It is not the tight lipped Robocop or Terminator. There has to be interaction, and you actually have to use speech.
How did you come up with the title?
Land of the Dragons was an easy title to come up with. It was about Dragons, it was about their land. Naturally Land of the Dragons would have been the first choice.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a lot of messages in this book and all of my others. It is a message of peace, harmony, action and reaction. In this particular book, it is the hardship and struggle to come to terms with what you already know, and put it into words. Everyone knows this story, it is in their minds any time someone mentions a dragon. The only thing I have done is put it in a book… because of the visuals; this would not make a good movie unless someone like Abrams or Spielberg were to figure out how to do it.
How much of the book is realistic?
That is a loaded question, how much of history would a person think is realistic? We are not even sure of that. Authors like Verne and Wallace have written Sci-Fi novels that have become reality. I think books that are tight somehow make everything very unrealistic at the end. For instance you watch a movie and during the whole thing, even though you love it, you are saying that's not very realistic. Whereas in a book, if it is loose but not off in several directions, it becomes real and you can feel it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I am glad you asked that. The first rule, or the first rule I know of in writing is to write about things you know about. So If I were writing about mummy's coming alive I guess I would have to know a lot about mummies, or make something up that sounded like it. None of my books come from events of my own life, but a lot of the material does from my boys and their friends.
What books have most influenced your life most?
For fantasy I think Burroughs "Tarzan' fits the bill, but it was not actually fantasy. His book Tarzan was based on reports from the Royal Geographic Institute seminars, the same seminars that Kipling went too. For science I would say Jules Verne, "Around the world in 80 Days'. You may think there would be more science in his other books, but that was it for me. For action adventure I would say Crichton with 'Jurassic Park'. For drama and realism I would have to say William Walling 'Triage'
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Hands down it was Robert Heinlein, nothing I have read since has come close to his style, including my own works.
What are your current projects?
I am writing my first spy drama now. A lot has been written about the CIA, KGB and other international spy rings, probably too many to be honest, and I guess recently some are so wild they actually happened. So I would like to write one that is so unrealistic you have to believe it happened. I think with my writing style I can do that.
Do you see writing as a career?
I have made a lot of money writing, but not as an author, so no, if you are referring to books as a career I don't think that will happen in my lifetime. Chances are I will be Poe and become a famous after I am long gone, if at all.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I had to do it all over again? There is the first printing, and then the second printing, and this is the third printing, and hopefully more. Each printing there is something different, something has changed, whether it is about corrections, punctuation or story line, there are always changes.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From 'Land of the Dragons' Chapter 7: Warlord
" I will not let you down Irai. Now listen to the air, and watch their camp." Mark smiled.
The group was as quiet as they could be under the circumstances, so they didn't notice anything at first. They could not see the air on both sides of the camp below stirring in straight lines. They of course could not see the dragons, because they did not know what to look for.
When the fire came, everyone jumped to their feet. Lines of fire surround the encampment. The soldiers began screaming, surrounded by the fire. They could hear many yelling out 'dragon!' but could not make out whom.
It was not a dragon, it was many dragons. The roar of the fire was unreal. Boyer's mouth dropped open and he stood speechless along with everyone else. Then the roar from the sky came, one, two, three, five another ten. Dragons filled the night sky and moved so fast you could not see them. One group sounded like ten thousand dragonflies inside your head, others, much larger their thunderous sounds shook the entire being of those witnessing the attack, and then just as suddenly the noise stopped.
Irai was not the only one who had pee running down his leg, yet everyone was awestruck at an attack that no one even saw. No one spoke, there was nothing anyone could or would say. As they stood their dumbstruck the dragon mist slowly fell from the sky and covered the valley below.
Soldiers from behind came running forward so afraid of the noise, they needed to be near their leaders. Below them the soldiers fell into a deep sleep as the men above watched. Finally Mark broke the perfect silence, "As you wish my lord. Give the mist time to dissipate, and then go get your people. The dragons will be back, they will want their food and their victory."
Still shaking to the core Irai turned to Mark and glared as he grabbed his head with his hands. All he could say to no one in particular is, "I cannot get that sound out of my head!"
Boyer came to first and when and hugged the boy, "Even I, who have seen them before Irai, could not have explained what we just heard and saw. That sound has run through my mind for twenty years or more."
Who designed the covers?
Alexandrescu Paul of Romania made the new cover. I have tried several artists, some are good at certain things and Paul is good at fantasy.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The ending is the hardest part of any book I write, because I do not want it to end.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned that there are many jealous and petty authors out there. I did learn from the experience though, and most of it was good.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write from your heart and soul and as my second term English teacher told me, 'YOU write, let the editors correct it.' An author spends too much time on editing. Leave it to someone else. Never let anyone tell you it is not good enough, keep going until you get it right!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
One is never stop dreaming, two would be you can do anything you set your mind to and lastly there is a world out there to explore with your two legs or your two eyes or both, don't waste it.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I think the hardest part of writing would be the psychology behind the character. In books like 'Jeremy Ruhl' you have to know or learn your history but in a book like 'Land of the Dragons' you need to focus on what people would do, say and think on each page.