Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel
Today we are going to chat about a book that I have been a part of the creation team. Welcome to Sanction Year One Volume One is the first part of a YA Paranormal Serial Novel. This story is about the Paranormal town of Sanction, NH, where most of the occupants are not human, and the stories center around the local high school.
Most of the authors are previously unpublished and we have lots of people involved in doing various activities. There is an active blog where you can read about the town of Sanction, hear from various characters, read deleted scenes, and win free books and even vote for your favorite drink at the BOT (Blood on Tap) Bar. We are live on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. I’ve enjoyed my experiences so far with this wonderful group of authors and generating characters that hopefully you will enjoy reading about.
Today, I convinced Dylan Strickland, one of our authors, to answer a few questions for me. Dylan has been writing the character of Nate. I’ve also posted a short excerpt and since this is Banned Book Week, we are giving away several copies at the blog, so head over and enter to win!
Barb – How long have you been writing?
Dylan – I started writing around age 7. I think I did little bits here and there before that, but 7 was when I really got going. The first I can remember was my grand epic in the second grade, revolving around a war between a few of my classmates’ stuffed animals. The hero was my friend Timmy’s blue bear, Cuddles, who, as it turned out, was an ace fighter pilot. Who knew? The tale became more and more complicated as other kids brought in their stuffed animals, and had to be added to the plot. It was poorly worded, action oriented, raw, unedited, and more fun than I can ever remember having. I’ve been writing ever since.
Barb – What’s the hardest part about writing a book?
Dylan – Well, it’s different with every project. Working on The Sanction Chronicles, the hardest thing so far has been keeping Nate in the scene. With this project, I’ve been experimenting a bit with a kind of free form, so I often don’t have a specific plan when I start a scene. I’ll have a vague idea of what the important plot point is, but for the most part, I just throw Nate into it, then watch to see what he does. Since this project is much more focused on character than plot, this works perfectly, and I get a much more natural reaction from Nate. Unfortunately, he’s got this crazy wall around him, so getting him to actually interact with other people pretty much takes an act of God. This started right off the bat, too. The first time he’s dealing with someone other than his father is when he’s off in the woods with his pack of werewolf classmates. I couldn’t even keep them together for a page. The pack went one way, and Nate took off on his own. It worked out beautifully in the end, though. It lead into this beautifully poignant scene where Nate winds up destroying the first beautiful thing he sees after coming home. The whole incident also reinforced his relationship with his father, and his place in his new home.
Barb – Where do you get your inspiration?
Dylan – Everywhere. Songs , anecdotes, documentaries, newspaper articles, billboards… It actually gets a little irritating sometimes. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation, and constantly having to excuse myself to jot down bits in my notebook. I’m finishing off a short film at the moment, a psychotic and slightly psychedelic thriller about a decompensating schizophrenic who becomes obsessed with an overheard conversation. That came from a comedy song I heard about 15 years ago. As soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to make the film, and knew exactly what it was about. The hard part of that project was figuring out the technical problems (inspiration’s ugly twin). Another project I’ve been playing around with, is a fairy tale that leapt into life after my friend Galen started burying jars of screws in the forest one summer (long story). It doesn’t take much twisting to turn just about anything into a compelling starting point. Once you’ve got that, everything else just starts weaving together around it.
Barb – If you wouldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
Dylan – To be honest, I’m not sure if I consider myself a writer now. I do write, and I plan to continue, but it’s just one method of self-expression. I’m always on the lookout for something new to play with. I’ve been doodling with photography for the past few years, which is a blast, and started dabbling with animation as well. Then there’s my absolute love, which is film. Film is probably the perfect art form for me. That’s my current goal. I’ve got a few short scripts that are nearing completion, and hopefully I’ll be shooting them soon.
Barb – What part of the writing process do you love? What part do you hate?
Dylan – I love the evolution of an idea. There’s that first moment when you’re walking along, in your own head, and suddenly you get the first burst of ‘oh… that’s an interesting thought.’ Then the process of developing the characters and relationships, the intertwining of their stories. And my favorite, is watching the whole thing grow deeper and start twisting back on itself. It’s just beautiful.
I don’t know that there’s a part I hate, exactly. But the part I enjoy least, is the actual writing itself. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments that are fantastic, like when you really nail a tricky scene. But largely it’s this hugely tedious and redundant process that just drives me nuts. From my point of view, the story’s done before I start writing. I’ve already written the important parts, they’re just not on paper. But you’ve got to do something with this thing you’ve spent months or years nursing into existence… so you write it down.
Barb – Have you ever googled yourself?
Dylan – Oh sure, I gave it a shot once or twice. It’s kind of an irresistible temptation in a way. There’s not much there, though. I’ve got a ridiculously small digital footprint. I think I have some credits on imdb, but that’s about it really. There’s a bunch of other guys with the same name on myspace and facebook and what not, but I’m not that big on social media sites, so it’s a good bet that’s somebody else. I think it would be totally badass if you send all of them tons of emails about the Sanction Chronicles, though… actually, can I get in trouble for suggesting that? Yeah, on second thought, that’s probably a horrifically bad idea. Just blanket your friends’ inboxes with Sanction News. They’ll love you for it. I’m promise.
I’d like to thank Dylan for answering some of my questions today! As mentioned, Dylan is one of the authors for Welcome to Sanction – available now at all the usual haunts! You can reach Dylan through The Sanction Chronicles blog. Without further ado – here’s a short excerpt form each of the three main writers of the first book. Enjoy!
Wow, he’s hot.
Hope’s skin was uncomfortably warm, the heat getting worse every minute. She smelled smoke, or was that part of the dream? He’s smoking hot, that’s it. Hope settled back to admire his dark hair and bright eyes. At least I dreamed up someone worth looking at.
She sighed. Life in Sanction was good.
Not was, is—is good.
So what if awake she missed Dream Guy. Missing Dream Guy, a.k.a. DG, did not make the rest of her life lonely. She never got to see him for very long anyway. These dreams didn’t last. Now he was here, but for how long? She wanted to enjoy the time, but it was just so damn hot!
His voice broke into her thoughts. “Hope. Hope. You need to wake up.”
Like hell I do. Just minutes after getting here he wants me to leave? No way. She was staying asleep and right here. He was free to do whatever he wanted.
Bored with watching another five fir trees go by, Jessie turned to study Marcus. He was six-one, blond, and an asshole with a wicked set of fangs. He flashed them with every word out of his mouth. “You have to think about what people will say. We aren’t kids anymore. Everything we do reflects on the Vittori name.”
Jessie took great joy from pointing out the obvious. “I am not a Vittori.” She wasn’t a vampire, born, or made. She was human.
After a pause he continued, “You live with the family.”
“In the servant’s quarters. I think everyone gets the picture.”
“You and your mother are not servants.”
“We are not part of the family either.”
Nate closed the front door quietly. He glanced around for his father. So far no sign. Nate let out a breath and shrugged his backpack from his shoulder. He’d been walking on eggshells ever since he got back a few weeks ago. Eight years away wasn’t enough to wipe the slate clean between them. Nate’s jaw tightened.
Nobody gets a clean slate.
He’d made it to the stairs when the voice hit him from behind.
“What the hell are you doing home?”
Nate turned to face his father’s frown as the older werewolf walked out of the kitchen.
“School’s over,” Nate mumbled, trying not to cringe.
“Don’t be a smart ass,” his father growled, moving closer step by step. “What about football practice?”
“Cancelled.” Nate licked his lips. “It’s the full moon.”
Welcome To Sanction – The Sanction Chronicles – Year One Volume One