Friday, October 30, 2020

Marc Watson Interview - Between Conversations: Tales From the World of Ryuujin


Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

I’m Marc Watson, and I write stuff. I’m an author of genre fiction (primarily Fantasy and Science Fiction of all lengths). I began writing at the age of 15 with a pen and paper, and I’ve never really stopped, even though until recently it was more of a background to me than my defining trait. I have been published on flash fiction site www.101words.org, as well as comedy site www.thecorrectness.com. I’ve been a student of the excellent writing classes at Athabasca University for a number of years.

I live in Calgary, Alberta, and was spawned out of the depths of Southern Ontario. I’m a husband, proud father of two, and can be sometimes found at an actual job. I’m an avid outdoorsman, martial artist of some high repute, baseball player of very little repute, and lover of all Mexican foods. One day ‘World Famous Poutine Aficionado’ will be on my business cards.
      
  


What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Well I’ve just released Between Conversations: Tales From the World of Ryuujin, which is my first fully self-published work, so a lot of what I’m doing right now revolves around that, whether it’s talking about it like I am here, trying to sell copies, or just getting into the weeds on self-publishing and learning what I can.

Other than that, I’m continuing work on my paranormal thriller 12:13, and hope to finish that before the year is out so that 2021 can be dedicated to returning to the world of Ryuujin and the continuing stories I want to tell from there.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My biggest influence is Canadian/American YA author Gordon Korman. As a young man I started reading his books and loved how funny and relatable they were. He isn’t terribly older than I am, and grew up in the same part of the world so I was better able to relate to what he was writing about. He was published as a teenager and continues writing successfully to this day. I may have been a few decades behind him, but I’m proud to be a Southern Ontario boy who made it in the writing world right along with him.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Oh that’s an easy one. When I first started dedicating myself to really getting out into the writing world in 2016, I only had one goal: to take my family out to dinner using the profits from my first book, which ended up being the urban fantasy/dark comedy Death Dresses Poorly. I didn’t care how big or small it was. Just the act of feeding my family just one meal all thanks to the results of my brain words was a reasonable goal, something I have a habit of making for myself.

Shortly after its release I was paid my first check, and took them out for a nice Mexican meal, with dessert and drinks included. Add in a healthy tip and that was it. I sat with my drink in hand and a stomach full of great food and fired ice cream, as did the rest of my family, and just marveled that my brain words had actually done it.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your collection of short stories?
I hope they think “Man, this guy is really all over the place, isn’t he?”

The collection is so diverse and bounces around genres (intentionally) and I hope the reader goes from the adventure to the YA to the horror/thriller to the intimate conversations and enjoys them all, while appreciating how different they are.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?

An interesting question, but sadly one without a decent answer. I’m a writer of fits and starts, and this one was all starts. Once I committed to writing it, with the layout and general conceit of the structure planned, I just blitzed through it without much hassle. I’ve done that before, so it wasn’t that strange. I just hit my rhythm and rode it to the end. Once I commit to writing something, there isn’t much that can stop me.

Can you tell us when you started BETWEEN CONVERSATIONS: TALES FROM THE WORLD OF RYUUJIN, how that came about?
I would love to! I had written a story based in the world of my Catching Hell duology for submission to a short story anthology with some local writers. I actually submitted two stories. The other one ended up being picked up (Highlight Hard Case in Enigma Front 5). While I was happy with that inclusion, I felt I had a great story with the rejected one, which was Low Level Buzz, the sixth story in this collection.

I used that as inspiration to tell a bunch of similar stories; of people and places that fall through the cracks of my much larger Ryuujin novels like Catching Hell. What happens to normal people in a world where gods and magic exist? I also had the rough outline of a possible novel or novella in Alive Again, the first story in the collection. Using that groundwork, I set out telling stories I thought would be fun and help flesh out this epic, sprawling world.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing BETWEEN CONVERSATONS Collections?
Although it was so much fun to see different parts of some of my established characters like Crystal Kokuou and the phoenix-man Nixon Ash, I was really intrigued by Youngjin Ra, the protagonist of Low Level Buzz. Her whole story, which I slowly came to realize as I was writing it, intrigued me. Although she was somewhat meant to be a one-off, I think she could play an important part in the larger Ryuujin world. We’ll see.

TEN QUOTES FROM BETWEEN CONVERSATIONS: TALES FROM THE WORLD OF RYUUJIN
  • “I pity any man who dies in a fire. Call it my sentimental side.”
  • “This is a dangerous world. Better to learn how to handle yourself in it.”
  • Sometimes two people talking can change the world.
    Sometimes words will never be enough.
  • “In every instance of faith and fiction I’ve ever experienced, in every book, bible, and tome about every master, creator, and almighty being that has existed in the endless cosmos, nothing is more flawed, arrogant, and so sure of themselves as gods.”
  • He’d have sworn on every holy book in the land that Youngjin Ra pissed on the word luck during her morning routine.
  • “Sorry, but you’re not going to find a believer in me for anything but people. Real people. We are where my faith begins and ends. Not with magic powers and ancient or new religions.”
  • In future retellings, his beloved wife would swear to the gods above and the demons below that she could hear the eye roll Ollie let loose when they first heard the posse of a half-dozen swagger into the bar.
  • A person never got tired of riding a dragon. If ever there was a solid fact in life, a fundamental truth, unwavering and undeniable in all of the universes, that was it.
  • He kissed his wife and children goodbye and started off towards the other mysterious villages they’d been told of, eager to see new faces and slowly crawl out from the shadow of the ever and the other.
    The world was suddenly very large, and full of possibilities.
  • “Did you kill any of them?”
    “Yes.” He didn’t hesitate. He held nothing back.
    “I thought you said no harm would come to us.”
    The large man was cut from stone. “That is true. However, they did not, as instructed, cooperate and follow along.
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Oh god… I’m famous in my circles for the amount of useless facts in my head. I’m a nightmare to play against in just about any trivia game. Picking one seems kinda futile… You can type the word typewriter entirely on the top line of a keyboard…honey never goes bad and is the only food we consume that doesn’t harm another living thing in its making…Doc Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pirates while sky-high on LSD… I could really go on. Holding on to useless facts is my super power.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Exploring their own country. Whether you’re from a large country or a tiny one, know where you are from. Now, a part of me firmly believes that borders are arbitrary and national pride is a construct of an ancient time, but if you’re going to be nationalistic, don’t claim to be wise to the world if you don’t know where you come from. I’ve traveled all 10 provinces of Canada and 1 territory, and I can tell you a fun story from every one.

If I go someplace overseas and tell someone I’m from Canada, and they say “Oh, I was there! Have you been to Vancouver? Or Halifax? Or Winnipeg?...” I want to say yes. It relates us. Gives us common ground, and I believe it shows a level of respect for where you come from.

Best date you've ever had?
I can’t honestly say I’ve had some kind of crazy, epic date nights. I’m a pretty easy guy who appreciates simpler things. I will say that my first date with my wife was memorable because of what followed, and since then we’ve had great times out in California, Hawaii, Banff, Saskatoon. Best dates rely on who you are with. If I had to pick one, Disney Land. We gave the kids to the grandparents and hit all the rides at night, and had a Mexican meal at Tortilla Joe’s.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
I dress up every year. Halloween is my Christmas. Nothing specific. Just a long dark robe, black gloves, and a scary mask with light up eyes. Halloween isn’t complete unless a little kid gets scared enough to not want candy from me, but I always take my mask off for them. A little fear is good for kids.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
When I was 16, two good friends and I went on a 10-day hike on the Bruce Trail in Southern Ontario. We were under-prepared and ignorant, but all the love in the world to my single mom who let me go. 10 days and three young men just walking 150 miles in the back country. Cliffs. Rattle snake encounters. E-coli. Wolf spiders. Pounding thunderstorms.

When we made it to the end, we dropped out packs and staggered to the trail end marker. It was a defining moment for me, personally. It wouldn’t be a monumental action spectacular, but it was an epic in its own right.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Before September 3rd, 1998 I’d have said that hike. I was an invincible teenager! I was strong-willed and indestructible. I was an unbeatable martial artist, confident in his skin and ready to take on the world. Then that day happened.

I had decided to pick up everything and move to Calgary, 3000 km from my home. My buddy (one of the ones I hiked with) lived there by that point and I was joining him. Then, in an empty field in Montana, we crashed in his truck. I lost literally everything I owned, was doused with battery acid, and had my head damaged so badly that I lost 2 weeks of memories. I was wrecked. Every shade of invincibility was wiped away, and I suddenly realized that all the flippant brain trauma and concussions I’d suffered over the years could take my life away. I grew up decades in about 24 hours. Also remember: seatbelts save lives!!!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
On a surface level, the usual stuff. The health and wellbeing of my family. That kind of thing, but that’s not unique. Honestly, nothing. One day I should get tested for weird brain stuff again. If I had to pick something, I guess Gamma Ray Bursts or Vacuum Decay, which can both silently kill everyone on the planet and just delete the universe and we’d never have any idea what was about to happen at any time. Or other galactic things like The Great Filter. But those things are so huge and unknowable, they’re still not really worth worrying about.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
Oh the hustle, for sure. Two moments in particular. The first was at my first writer’s conference. I set myself up for two pitches to publishers. I was successful on the first one, and realized I needed to change my approach for the second. With about 15 minutes left I pivoted and changed my second pitch completely to another work. And that was successful as well!

The other is when I was told my publisher was changing business plans and couldn’t likely make the second book of my duology. Instead of taking both back, I challenged them to tell me what I can do to make the second book happen. Taking that leap and throwing it back to them worked, and Catching Hell: Destination was put on their release docket, though much faster than I or my publicist would have preferred. You need to take those leaps!


In the world of Ryuujin, heroes rise and fall, but there are always stories that slip through the cracks. The tales of the people who shape the years to come. Heroism and betrayal. Conversations between friends and enemies that will change the course of the world.

These are nine stories from a world that is historic, modern, and terrifyingly futuristic. A world where science and magic intertwine, and give birth to the unknown souls who become heroes, and the legends who fade away into history.

From the author of the renowned dark comedy Death Dresses Poorly, and from the world of his hit science-fantasy duology Catching Hell comes a collection of adventure, drama, joy, and terror as we look into the lives of the powerful, the meek, and the people who make the world turn over the course of
  centuries.

You can purchase Between Conversations: Tales From the World of Ryuujin at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARC WATSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Between Conversations: 
Tales From the World of Ryuujinby Marc Watson.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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3 comments:

  1. The People Under The Stairs was the scariest movie I ever seen. Even though it was just a movie I think that it could really happen.
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