Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interview #7 JH Sked author of WolfSong with free ebook giveaway

For a chance to win a copy of J H Sked's book just leave me a comment with your e-mail address on this post and in 2 weeks the winner will be notified.  Thanks!

Interview with J H Sked

WolfSong (Tales from the Crescent)

When did you decide to become a writer?

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pen - it was something I always wanted to do. My parents taught me to read extremely early - I was reading at high school level when I was seven or eight - and I thought it was magic. I knew I wanted to try to make some of my own.

If you are not a full time writer what do you do to pay the bills?

I do compliance for a marketing firm. Former work includes graphic design, waitres, barmaid - anything that paid the bills. I also design t-shirts & sell paintings.

Any tips for your fellow Indie authors?

Keep reading and keep trying. Read everything - even if you don't think a book is good it's a great way to learn what not to do - and join a constructive writers group. Keep writing - even if you don't think it's good, you learn every time you sit down to write, and rewrite. Once you think your done put it away and look at it again in a couple of weeks or even months as though you were the reader - you spot issues you never knew about that way.

What served as your inspiration for WolfSong?

I had a dream about a bunch of soldiers riding into a village filled with bodies, and being attacked by a werewolf. When I woke up I started wondering what impact that would have, what the  ripple effect would be, and the main characters started defining themselves.

What other work do you have available?

This is my first book.

What sites is your work available on?

At the moment it's e-books only - Amazon u.k., Amazon, com, Smashwords and linked through affiliates diesel e-books, Sony Nook and Barnes & Noble.

Are you currently working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I'm hard at work on the second book in the series, and plan on a collection of shorts being released in the very near future.

Are there any authors that you really look up to?

Stephen King, Peter Straub, Katherine Kerr, Joe Hill, Lee Childs, Patricia Briggs and Illona Andrews. Tanya Huff,  Anne Bishop, Terry Pratchett, David Gemmell, J A Konrad and J R Rain are also particular favourites. I'm just getting into C.S. Marks - the Elfhunter series.

What do you see the biggest challenge in being an Indie author as?

Getting your name out and hoping you build a fanbase. If you haven't gone the traditional route, you don't have the confidence that people already believe in your work, and not everybody will like what you write. It's a bit like putting you heart on a plate and waiting for people to say "Ooh, I'll have another slice of that!" or taking a nibble and trying to bury the rest in the nearest pot plant.

Have you ever been published in any magazines or any national publication?

I had a short story published years ago called "Pushing Janey"  about ghosts on the underground - that was in 2003 and the magazine is out of print. When I was a lot younger I had some poetry published in Wits Magazine in South Africa.

Do you have a homepage/blog/twitter/facebook etc... that fans can follow your progress or contact you at?

Sure, I'd love to hear from people: my blogspot is  & my  twitter is @JHSked. I'm also on the kindle boards a lot - really nice community for both readers and writers, so pop on over.

What is your favorite book/series?

Only one? I'll try and narrow it down to fantasy, but still.. Series would have to be The Dark Tower by Stephen King and Anne Bishop's Black Jewels. Stand alone books - almost impossible to pick just one; Geist by Phillipa Ballyntine is brilliant - almost everything by David Gemmell. Floating Dragon - Peter Straub.

Are there any specific sites that you visit for advice or inspiration?

Kindle boards is a definite must for advice and just to have a nice chat. I don't say much but love the way people encourage each other - too many sites end up with threads full of slinging matches, which I hate - visciousness has no place in a community that has the same goal. J A Konrath has a brilliant blog called "A newbies guide to publishing". Query Shark - although the point is to get a query letter for traditional writing published, I think a lot of the points about writing in general apply to everyone who writes., and of course your blog all review and write about fantasy - I've picked up some great recommendations through these.

I get inspired by some of the smallest things - I'll see something happen, or someone's body language or outfit and start playing "what if?"  Trying to force it doesn't work though. Inspiration is a funny wee beastie - it tends to run away when you look for it and mug you when you least expect it to; sometimes at painfully inappropriate moments.

Where did the idea for the Hawks come from?

This goes back to a series of dreams I had (and sometimes still have) when I was much younger, about this race of non-human warriors and the country they live in. I read a lot of mythology trying to find where they came from -  they weren't quite like anything I'd read about. They weren't traditional vampires, or werewolves, or anything like the elves I'd read about. Eventually I decided my subconscious had come up with something new, and decided to just enjoy them.  

What character do you identify with the most?  Why?

Tarmien, who gets himself into so much trouble by sheer accident. I tend to do the same, with the best intentions.

Which of the races from the Crescent would you be if you had the choice?

I'd be a Hawk, definitely. Tough, fast healing, and a bit of an attitude problem.. 

Any update on the potential release of book 2?

I'm aiming for December 2011, if all goes well. Rewrites sometimes take on a mind of their own, and Amber gets cranky if she doesn't get her own way.

Is there any info you can give us on the plot of book 2?

We'll have Amber on the trail of yet another serial killer, and see the contrast between life on the Crescent and life in other countries.

Your tweets and blog make it seem like you are travelling more than you are home.  What exactly does your job entail and how do you manage to write while travelling so much?

I do regulatory compliance for a marketing company, so I travel all over the U.K. lending support to the people working in that particular field. I'm lucky enough to work with a great bunch of people, both at the main office and in the different locations I go to. There aren't many people who can honestly say they enjoy their job, but I definitely do. Saying that, if I'm home two nights of the week at the moment I consider myself lucky.

I write a lot in my head before it ever hits the computer screen, which travelling is ideal for. At the moment I'm also studying part-time, so I have a really strict time-table for writing and studying. I mainly study in the week and on weekends I have a certain number of hours to write. The rest of the time is hitting the university books and sleeping. And drinking coffee.

What kind of short stories can we expect to be seeing from you?  Do you have an idea of when they will release?

I've got a few short stories I'm trying to get ready for release at the end of May 2011. They tend to run more to horror but I'm hoping to throw a bit of dark fantasy into the mix - or maybe a story or two set in the Crescent. I have one short, Dim, available on Scribd for free at the moment, which will be in the collection - the link is here.
I'd love some feedback, if anyone takes a peek.

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Janet.  I wish you the best of luck in your writing career, and in hitting your goal for WolfSong part 2 although that one is for selfish reasons lol.


  1. Hi Scott - Thanks for this. It's pretty exciting to see my first ever interview up, although I'm reading through a haze of cold medication, lol!

  2. I really enjoyed the first installment. And cannot wait for the second. I am really looking forward to seeing how things progress.

    Jay are you going to publish Pushing Janey? You should it was good.

    Now get writing lady!

  3. Sign me up for a copy of Wolfsong! Would love to take a look!

    Janet, whether I win or not, I'm going to have to pick up a copy of your book!

    Tell your computer to behave itself! :)


  4. Darcy - Pushing Janey will be in the short story collection, not to worry. Jeff - my computer has issues. I'm thinking of therapy and a support group, lol!

  5. Uh, oh. :) Dare I ask how your computer is mistreating you now? You didn't curse at it again, did you? Remember, those darn things have a built in profanity sensor!

  6. Hi Jeff - From what I can tell either the graphics card is on it's last legs, or I need a new screen - this is the first time I've been able to go on line for a while without the screen turning into rows of pixilated colours. *sigh* I tried to curse in languages other than English, though..