Friday, May 18, 2012

Meet the Author: Gregory J. Downs

 Hey everyone! Welcome to my interview of Gegory J. Downs, the author of the Song of the Aura series.
First, a bio:

I’m the author of more than a few stories, including the six-novel Song of the Aura series, the two-novel Excather Cycle series, the ongoing Ghostwalker’s Chronicle series, and multiple short stories, as well as a how-to book about self-publishing. As far as the rest of my life goes, I like all sorts of fantasy games, movies, and books. My current projects are the next book in the Ghostwalker series, and a standalone epic taking place in the world of Song of the Aura.

You can reach me by email at…

…or at my blog, at

…or on Twitter, where I go by the totally-original moniker of “@GregoryJDowns…”

…or you could even contact me on Facebook! I have a fanpage for each of my three series: (my Arthurian series), (my epic fantasy series), and (my current series).

And, on to the interview!

~How do you get ideas for stories? Specifically, what gave you the idea for the Song of the Aura series?

I get ideas for stories from… well, everything. My best ideas have come while I’m out running and thinking about whatever I was just reading/watching. Song of the Aura actually grew out of a rainy day. I was inside with a friend and we got bored, so we drew a big map of a fantasy world where there were two continents at war: the ‘magic’ and ‘knights’ people and the ‘steampunk’ people. Later I added element-powers like you see in Wheel of Time or Avatar, and plunked the whole story down in my original fantasy world called “Sceptre.”
Some people say I ripped off Avatar: The Last Airbender. That is mostly a lie.

~It reminded me of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I liked the similarities! When did you start writing? Do you feel that God specifically called you to write, or is it something you took up on your own?
I started writing when I was made to for school. Only in highschool did I figure out you could write things for fun, too… and pretty soon I’d written a book and decided I wanted to do that for a living. I do feel called to write, though I’m open to whatever else God has in store. Perhaps I’ll become a novelist, like I hope. Perhaps an apologist. Perhaps a teacher. Who knows? I really like writing novels, though… that’d be first choice.
~Do any of your characters take over the story, or do they generally stay well-behaved?
I am the master of my characters. Oddly enough, I had never heard of this ‘character rebellion’ other authors seem to fear. The writing group I’m in is full of people who talk to their characters. That’s great, but not how I, ahem, “roll,” as the delinquents say. My characters are pawns in my scheme of doom. They do as I say, because they exist only in my head.
On a side note, “Nim’s Island” is a great movie, and Jodie Foster argues with her own Main Character in that.

~Um, yeah, Jodie Foster's character in Nim's Island basically portrays my everyday life. *embarrassed cough* :) Why did you decide to write fantasy?
I didn’t, it’s just that so far all my ideas have ended up looking like fantasy. I have a few non-fantasy shorts, but that’s it. One day, though, I’m sure I’ll turn to other things. I have some ideas… we’ll see how it plays out. I have plans for at least one Sci-fi and one thriller novel in the next few years.

~Which fantasy creature is your favorite?
Hobbits. Here I must digress: I have never understood why people like dragons so much. I like them, but I only write them to kill them. All dragons are evil in my mind. I must read too many Tolkien essays. And unicorns… I only ever liked one unicorn story. It was by a friend of mine, and the unicorn had all his unicorn friends come kill a unicorn hunter. That was cool.

~I agree with you, on the unicorns anyway. ;) Did you base any characters off of someone you know personally?
I named a character in my first-ever short story after a good friend of mine. Then the character almost killed himself… I never did that again.
Ahem. Well, apart from that, I sometimes base certain characteristics of characters off people I know. But never whole names/personalities. Anyway, I think to a certain extent every character an author writes has a sliver of that author in them. So in a way… everyone a person writes is based slightly off of their very own self.

~Who is your favorite character that you've created? That you've read about?
My favorite character of my own so far… is the one I’m writing now. His name is Arley and he is incredibly annoying. The most annoying MC I’ve ever written. It’s awesome.
My favorite character in reading is… Samwise Gamgee. Do I even need to explain that?

~Nope. Sam is just awesome, and anyone who argues with that can go sit with their nose in the corner. ;) How do you go about writing a book or story?
I could go on for hours and pages about this. It’s different every time, really. I’ll try to boil it down.
Step 1. I get an idea. “Airbending looks so cool!” or “What if the dragon was a steampunk robot?” or “What if I wrote a sequel to this fantasy story, but a thousand years later, and with guns and bowler hats?” are all previous inspirations of mine.
Step 2. I elaborate. A plot outline or a map or something similar. I rework the world/story as I go. Sometimes I have it outlined scene-by-scene, and sometimes I write a whole novel out of a two-paragraph summary.
Step 3. I write it. This is the most painful step.
Step 4. I edit it. Sometimes I edit as I write, changing huge chunks that don’t fit, and sometimes I just skim over afterwards and fix any gaping holes. Then it’s on to the publishing phase.

~What do you do if you have a severe case of writer's block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. No one runs out of ideas… just motivation and interest. When THAT happens, I tend to regress into a twitter-facebook-blog-compulsive-rankings-stalker for a while. Don’t do that. What’s better is to try something crazy in the story and change it later if you need to. Or start a new story. Or drink some tea. I drink a lot of tea when writing.

~Can you tell me a little about future projects you have planned?
Song of the Aura was my biggest project yet. Totaled, it’s about 300,000 words. The next behind that is The Excather Cycle, which is two parts equaling about 100,000 words.
The project I’m working on now should be between 200,000 and 300,000 words total. It’s set in the same world as Song of the Aura… but thousands of years later. There are guns. Bowler hats (remember…?). Trains. And vengeful false deities. It’s not quite a sequel, but there are related incidents. It also resembles steampunk- slightly- but I really, really balk at labeling it that for some reason. That’s all I can say at this point, but I hope to have something (or multiple somethings) out by the summer.

~Awesome! What is your favorite funny writing quote?
I don’t really have one. But I want to ask you a question instead:
“How do you get a writer off your front porch?”
Pay him for the pizza

:) And on that note, thanks Gregory for taking the time to join me on Magical Ink.
Readers, you can find all of Gregory's Song of the Aura novels on Amazon, as well as Mordred (book 1 in the Excather Cycle), a short story collection, Dreams of Steel, and his novella, Ghostwalker. There is also an omnibus edition of the entire SotA series available on Barnes and Noble as an e-book.
Also, don't forget that we're running a giveaway for THREE e-book copies of the first book in the Song of the Aura series, Brother Thief. To enter, leave your name and email address on THIS POST. I'll draw a name in two weeks (June 1st) and notify the winners the next day (Saturday, June 2nd). Don't forget to post on FB, Twitter, your blog, and whatever other social media you're a part of and let your friends know about this great opportunity!

3 responses:

Lostariel said...

My name is Anna. I've done this enough that you probably know my email, but still: sarajak at sbcglobal dot net
I'll go post on my blog now. You sure I can't enter for Mordred? I like Arthurian stories.

P. Creeden said...

Great Interview - This is a book series I'd never seen before, and am interested!


Galadriel said...

I'd be interested.
veritas6913 at gmail dot com


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