A.R. Tjomsland is an author, husband, and dabbler in the social media arts. His 140-character-or-less musings can be followed on Twitter @artjomsland. This is his more long-formed ramblings. Bio provided by authors site
We had the pleasure of interviewing A.R. and get a chance to learn a bit more about him. We learned he is a private person who just loves to write. So grab a warm mug of your favorite hot beverage and please give a warm welcome to A.R.!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I think the key to a good hook in any story is the characters – lets face it, if you didn’t care about the characters, you don’t care about the stories. Television’s a great example. If we didn’t care about the team in NCIS, would it have lasted 200 episodes? If no one cared about the characters in Chuck, would it have been pulled from the brink of cancellation multiple times? Characters have to be the heart of the story, in my opinion. If you aren’t engaged emotionally and feel an attachment to them, it’s difficult to write a good story at all.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
(chuckles) organization can be a foreign concept to me at times. I’m not super linear when writing, I’ll start at the beginning most times but wind up jumping ahead to work on a part as it comes to me. I need to write things down before I forget about them.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I’m a write when inspired type – part out of necessity and part out of habit. If I try to pin myself down to one time of day, it becomes too routine and I don’t usually get inspired at the time I scheduled. In high school and college my best writing usually occurred at 1:30 in the morning the night before an assignment was due, now that I’m older I can’t keep that kind of frenetic schedule, though.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
Good heavens, I have to pick? (laughs) I’ve read everything from Tom Clancy to J.R.R Tolkien, my reading list is so varied at this point that it’s hard to pick just one. I was really drawn in by Tolkien’s epic storytelling, I want to be able to write grandiose epics at times, but I’m definitely going to be working my way there. Another inspiration was, strange as it may sound, Ian Fleming – I like in his stories about James Bond in that they tended to tell a complete narrative, but we’re broken up across multiple short stories – Casino Royale, for instance. I think that’s what inspired the format I’m using in “The Cobbler of Belfalls and other tales”.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
Writer’s block. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to that point where you’ve worked to a standstill and can’t find a way to continue That you think continues here narrative well.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I do, right now I’m working on LeCarré’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. I think I’m going on a spy novel binge to cope with the end of “Chuck”. (laughs)
7. How did you get started in writing in the sci/fi fantasy mythology lore genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
Bluntly? I’m a nerd. (laughs) I’ve admittedly always wanted to be Robin Hood or Legolas, running around the forest fighting of mythical evil beasts. Unfortunately, the closest thing I have to life experience in that has been beating Legend of Zelda on SNES!
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
It depends – I actually managed a bookstore for several years, I think in a lot of ways to publishing industry still needs to exist – even with the self-publishing revolution and the ability to circumvent publishers altogether, I think having the vast promotional resources of a publisher still has merit. But I also think as an industry they need to adapt and maybe even start to embrace self publishing more. I think the more people who choose to self publish, and the more major publishers resist the change, the more irrelevant the publishers will eventually become.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I’ve recently started working on a blog, http://artjomsland.blogspot.com
, it’s pretty scant right now but it has links to the Cobbler as well as a short story I did for NaNoWriMo as a part of a contest – be warned while free, fly away is far from my best work – condensing a story to 500 words is borderline painful. I’m going to try to keep people posted on goings on and random musings there. I’m also on twitter @artjomsland
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
Well, I have several burners going at once – my current project is to complete the “Cobbler of Belfalls and other Tales”, which should be finished later this year. After that, I’ve been kicking around an idea for a sci-fi story – but I’m still fleshing that out in my head. And that’s assuming I don’t get super depressed and start writing Chuck fan fiction… (laughs)
11. Who would be your first choice to play the Cobbler from your book “The Cobbler of Belfalls”?
An excellent question – I’m a huge fan of Zachary Levi, but he’s about a foot too tall. I suppose they could always do the Lord of the Rings forced perspective trick, but… Ahh, what the heck – I think he’d make a fine cobbler! Although second choice would probably be more realistic as Dominic Monaghan – I know he comes with the accent, at least!
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Probably Tolkien. I’d have to ask him how much of his free time was spent crafting the entire LOTR mythos – going into some of his volumes of notes, I think that man had more stories to tell than I could ever hope to write!