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Thursday 20 August 2015

ℚ The Alastair Stone Chronicles [1-2] - R.L. King

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about her contemporary urban series The Alastair Stone Chronicles.

Author Q&A | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A big welcome to R.L. King, thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

What was the inspiration for The Forgotten, the latest book in The Alastair Stone Chronicles?

"The Forgotten was actually the first book I wrote in the series, though it’s not the first chronologically.

 It was inspired in a bit of a strange way: the glimmers of it first showed up in my mind in 2005, after reading a short story by Chuck Palahniuk called “Slumming,” [read it free online] where jaded rich people devised a new game and pretended to be homeless, and someone was murdering them.  That got me thinking about homeless people who were more than they appeared.  I didn’t put it together with Dr. Stone and his crew until much later—originally I was going to make a game out of it, but that didn’t pan out.  I’m much more of a writer than a game designer."
How much of yourself is reflected in the series, and how?
"Alastair Stone is a character who’s been knocking around in my head for a long time, so he’s pretty near and dear to my heart at this point.  He does have a few of my traits: we’re both sarcastic, don’t suffer fools gladly, and can be a little out of touch sometimes.  Also, and more obviously, the series is set in the area where I live (albeit a slightly alternative version where technology hasn’t quite caught up with us yet).  It makes it easy to do research when all I have to do is get in the car and drive a few miles, and I’ve gotten inspiration from some interesting buildings in the area.  Two in particular will appear in an upcoming book in the series."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Alastair Stone Chronicles - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"All the series covers are done by a company called Streetlight Graphics—they do great work, and I’ve been very happy with them.  When I released Stone and a Hard Place, I knew that one of the most important things about getting your book noticed was to have a compelling cover, and I think Streetlight did a nice job of capturing the essence of the book.  One funny thing about it: originally, I released with a different face on Stone—it still looked good, but it made him look too young and “pretty boy.” I was iffy on it but since this was my first experience with a designer doing an actual image of the character, I let it go.  But then I got feedback from some friends saying they thought he looked way too young, so I went back to Streetlight and we found a new face. I’m much happier with this one!"
I can see what you mean, I find the original one, shown here, very reminiscent of Harry Potter.  The new one definitely fits in better :-)

Why should we read The Alastair Stone Chronicles and what sets it apart from the rest?   What makes your book unique?

"I suppose in a way that every book is unique—you can take the same basic idea and give it to ten different authors, and you’ll get back ten completely different stories.  That’s one of the cool things about writing.

As for why people should read my book: I’ve been told by enough people that I’m starting to believe it now that Alastair Stone is a pretty interesting character, and people enjoy reading about his adventures.  If you like Dr. Stone, you’ll like the books, I think.  As a writer, I tend to focus on really getting into my characters’ heads—I have a hard time sustaining interest in writing something that doesn’t have at least one main character I can sink my teeth into."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Alastair Stone Chronicles, its story and characters?
"The original version of Dr. Stone has been around since 1991, and was based on my character in a roleplaying game called Shadowrun.  I wrote fan fiction novels in that world’s universe, with a similar character as the protagonist.  But then I ended up getting a freelance job working for the game company, and got my fan fiction character included as an actual in-game official character.  That was incredibly cool, but I asked the line developer to give him a different real name so I could continue to use Alastair Stone in my own fiction.  I reimagined him, keeping the same basic personality and the fact that he’s a mage, but changing the other aspects of his life, and made him the star of his own series."
Who would you recommend The Alastair Stone Chronicles to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend my books to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy leaning more toward the supernatural thriller/light horror end of the spectrum rather than the romance end.   The stories include a lot of action and a fair bit of violence (mostly PG-13 with occasional wanderings into R), though the sex (when there is any, which isn’t often) is PG.   The exception is that part of The Forgotten takes place in a BDSM club—the execution is still mostly PG, but the concepts are probably a little closer to R in that case.  

A lot of people tell me that they like Dr. Stone and enjoy reading about him—he’s a sarcastic, charming Brit who’s insatiably curious, driven to learn everything he can about magic, and a bit baffled about why women tend to find him attractive (at least until they get a taste of the weirdness in his life).  One reviewer called him “Harry Potter meets Harry Dresden with a bit of Indiana Jones,” but I’d like to think there’s more than a touch of the Tenth Doctor in there too. ☺"
If you could / wished to turn The Alastair Stone Chronicles into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"My ideal actor for Dr. Stone is David Tennant—I still remember seeing him for the first time at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, poking my spouse, and whispering, “Hey! He’d make a great Dr. Stone!”  It wasn’t until later that I discovered Doctor Who, and confirmed it.

For Jason Thayer, maybe Chris Hemsworth with an American accent.

I haven’t decided yet who should play Verity—still scoping that out.

As for location, right here in the Bay Area would work just fine, since that’s where the series is set."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I’m pretty much an urban fantasy/horror/supernatural thriller writer.  I’ve never tried writing in other genres (well, the Shadowrun stories are sort of cyberpunk, but since they include magic and fantasy elements, I consider them closer to urban fantasy).  I like to add some magic to my life with my writing, and every time I try to write something without any supernatural or horror elements in it, I’m always tempted to take a left turn into the Land of Weird.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  I don’t think I could write a non-paranormal romance or a literary novel if someone put a gun to my head.

As for characters, my basic main-character template stays pretty much the same: flawed, smart guys with sarcastic senses of humor, who are very good at what they do as a profession but a bit out of touch with everyday life.

As far as the genres I like to read: I prefer urban fantasy and horror, but I’ll give other things a try and I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed some things I never thought I’d like (for example, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch)."
What is your writing process?
"When I’m actively working on a novel, I’m focused.  I write every chance I can get: lunch hours, weekends, after work.  I can finish a 100,000-word first draft in a month if I’m really getting into what I’m doing.  I have two places I write: an upstairs room where I can shut myself away, and a downstairs area for when I’m feeling more social and don’t mind being inundated by cats.  Fortunately, I have a very understanding spouse who puts up with my writing habits!"
What is in store next?
"The next book in the series is called The Threshold, and continues the events that began in The Forgotten.  These two and the one after them are a trilogy in that they deal with the same threat, though each is a self-contained, standalone novel without cliffhanger endings.

After that, I’ve got one more finished and ready to edit, another one finished in first draft, yet another I’ve just started, and ideas for more. I plan for this series to be around for a while.
Aside from that, I’m hoping to get the green light to write another Shadowrun novel [the first one was "Borrowed Time", 26 May 2015]—I’m submitting the proposal to my editor next week."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I’m a bit camera shy, so I’ll let my cats speak for themselves.  I couldn’t make up my mind which one to send (I have a lot of cats!) so I’m sending two and you can pick the one you want to use. The tabby is named Nabby (after the San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov) and he’s my “mews”—he sits with me while I write and keeps me company.  The Russian Blue is Sonata (we call her “Fred”) and I caught her in a particularly derpy pose!

Gorgeous!  Nabby is the spitting image of a cat I used to have - Whiskey - same look as well :-)
Thank you for sharing them with us.  And thank you for chatting to us!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog! ☺"

The Alastair Stone Chronicles 
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from find on Goodreads

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