Author Spotlight: RobRoy McCandless

TOH-UpdateToday’s author is working on a fascinating series about a pair of Nephilim–the children of angels and humans–that I am quite excited to sink my teeth into(if I ever finish the million other books on my To Be Read list). The second novel in The Flames of Perdition, Hell Becomes Her has just been released.

Please give RobRoy a warm welcome.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your books?

Most of the background on the Flames of Perdition Series still requires Top Secret level clearance, but the statute of limitations has run out for a few mundane details:

In the past, the children of angels and humans, the Nephilim, were allowed to lead their lives as they willed.  But they proved too strong, too ambitious, and too cunning for their own good.  They became warlords, conquerors and emperors, causing war and strife until the Throne stepped in and forced them to submit to Its will or die.  Unlike most of her fellows, Del, one of the first Nephilim, had no interest in conquest and domination.  In the ancient past, prior to the Throne’s interdiction, she met and fell in love with Dami, a Mediterranean ship captain and trader.  Together, they faced down pirates and storms and tried create a future together. In the present, two-thousand years later, Del unwillingly works for the Throne, obeying the commands of the angel Ahadiel.  She helps to keep the world safe from the horrors of escaped demons.  At the same time, she keeps herself in the Throne’s good graces.  Whenever a rogue demon breaks free from Hell, she and her partner, Marrin, another Nephilim, work together to banish it.

The books are currently Tears of Heaven and Hell Becomes Her available at all fine ebook retailers.  Also, now in trade paperback!

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

I wasn’t quite born with a pencil in my hand—as that would make for an unusual and difficult delivery—but somewhere shortly after that.  In grade school, I’d turn sentence and vocabulary exercises into stories.  I told my mother I wanted to write plays and movies for a living.  I thought it was just another kind of job that people did.  I had no idea you needed “talent”!

  1. Did you start out intending to write fantasy novels or are these simply the ideas you had first?

I prefer genre writing (and reading for that matter) to just about anything else.  I prefer any world where dragons can make an appearance.  They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can—please and thank you!  I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around.  Not necessarily physically strong, although that’s groovy too.  Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else.  Obviously, my preferred genre is fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves for those reasons.

  1. Did you find writing the second book easier or more difficult than the first? 

Tears of Heaven wasn’t the first book I’d written, so that helped.  It was just the first that I published, which was really a good thing.  I’d come some distance on my own through writing, but publishing, especially the editing process, was the hard life-lessons that I needed.  Everything needs to be more—more discipline, more structure, more active.  As my editor told me, “Thou shalt not head-hop unless absolutely necessary, and then you may only do it from one character to another.  Three is right out!”  This aided me when I started writing Hell Becomes Her, and I was able to focus a lot more on the craft of writing, the storytelling and the character growth, than the fundamentals.

  1. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?

Scotch and more Scotch.  Scene concepts and plot turns seem to be the easiest for me.  The big picture of where we’re going and how we get there.  I understand how to get from A to B to C on down the alphabet like a boss kindergartner.  It’s the little details that I get bogged down in, and those my mind has to chew on like pitbull with a femur.  I’ve learned to not fight with a chapter or a scene too much, but get up, walk away, and let my head mill it down until it’s fine grain.  Then, somewhere, mostly the shower or the middle of the night for some reason, it will click into place, and I’ll have to bolt to my composition pad and write until my wrists are sore.

  1. What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?

Aliens won’t leave me alone.  Apparently, I’m big on Arcturus 17.  But aside form the Quadrillion system, marketing and reviews are my biggest struggle.  I can get the story out, eventually, but getting it in front of readers, and then getting the readers to be reviewers, is the stumbling block.

  1. Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I really can’t speak for anyone else.  At least, that’s what the judge told me.  And my friends.  And my wife.  For me, if I’m not writing, it’s because I’m being lazy.  I don’t get blocked by a story, where to take it, or what to do with it, but I will get tired of the grind of writing.  Writing is definitely a job, the same way sculpting or painting is—you have to do the physical work before you live the jet-set, lavish, playboy lifestyle!

  1. If you could give an aspiring writer only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Drink heavily.  Also, get an editor who knows what she is doing.  Not just someone who will find your misspelled words and your redundant commas—someone who will help you find your voice, make certain your characters and story flow, and that you aren’t head-hopping or switching narrators.  This isn’t about becoming a homogenized, generic, corporate storyteller.  It’s about getting past the basic mistakes and really writing some good stories.  Don’t let the language get in the way of your vision.

  1. What are you reading right now?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.  This was recommended by a friend in order to help tide me over until Patrick Rothfuss deigns to provide us with the third installment of his Kingkiller Chronicles.  Respect the Rothfuss!

  1. What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?

World hunger and global warming.  I’ve got some surprises in mind.  Also Book 3 (not yet named) of the Flames of Perdition series.  Del will be back, and this time it will probably be personal—because everything is personal to Del.  After that I have a steampunk book/series in the works—Constable of Aqualinne.  Constable Aubrey Hartmann will take center stage in a world of steamy-goodness, intrigue, danger and a little magic.  Because what’s a steampunk world without some anachronistic magic?

Rob - Head ShotR.A. McCandless has been a writer both professionally and creatively for over two decades.  He was born under a wandering star that led to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing.  He’s the author of the urban fantasy TEARS OF HEAVEN winner of the 2014 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll and a 2015 EPIC eBook finalist, and HELL BECOMES HER.  His shorts have appeared in IN SHAMBLES (with Kevin J. Anderson) NINE HEROES, and GEARS, GADGETS AND STEAM.  He continues to research and write historical and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with his three boys.


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