Shivering yet? Seasonal chill? No, it’s just Dead Air

An interview with Scott Overton.

Scott Overton is a radio morning man on Rewind 103.9 FM in Ontario, Canada, who blames his off-kilter perspective on years of lost sleep from waking at 4:00am. His short fiction has been published in magazines including On Spec and Neo-opsis, and the anthologies Tesseracts Sixteen, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic, among others. His first novel Dead Air (a mystery/thriller) is now available from Scrivener Press, while several SF novels are looking for good homes in the publishing industry. When not writing, Scott’s passions include scuba diving and a couple of collector cars, in which he hopes to someday find enough story inspiration to make them tax deductible.

Scott’s webpage is www.scottoverton.ca

An interview with Scott Overton.

Scott Overton is a radio morning man on Rewind 103.9 FM in Ontario, Canada, who blames his off-kilter perspective on years of lost sleep from waking at 4:00am. His short fiction has been published in magazines including On Spec and Neo-opsis, and the anthologies Tesseracts Sixteen, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic, among others. His first novel Dead Air (a mystery/thriller) is now available from Scrivener Press, while several SF novels are looking for good homes in the publishing industry. When not writing, Scott’s passions include scuba diving and a couple of collector cars, in which he hopes to someday find enough story inspiration to make them tax deductible.

Scott’s webpage is www.scottoverton.ca

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Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to visit Writerly Goodness in advance of Dead Air’s launch on October 11, 2012 (Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University – be there or be … oblong).  I’m very pleased to have you with me, if virtually.

WG: For those of my readers who may not know what your novel is about, could you give them a brief synopsis?

Scott: Sure. It’s about a radio morning man named Lee Garrett who makes a joke on the radio about a neo-Nazi gang and a few days later he finds a death threat left for him. Then a series of incidents of mischief and vandalism turns into outright attempts on his life. Someone wants him dead, and he doesn’t know who or why.

WG: Where did the idea for Dead Air come from?

Scott: I’m a morning radio broadcaster myself, and I was struck by the vulnerability of even small-scale celebrities. People think they know us, but we don’t know them. And it’s very easy to make an enemy without meaning to, or even knowing that you have. I also wanted to explore how an ordinary person would try to cope with such a devastating threat (as opposed to some Hollywood hero who’d just get a gun and blow the bad guys away).

WG: Writing process is a personal interest of mine.  Would you be able to speak to your process in writing Dead Air?

Scott: It took at least five years to write the first version of Dead Air because I was working full-time and was involved in quite a bit of charity work. I worked on it whenever I could: evenings, weekends, and vacation time, but was impossible for me to stick to a routine because of my other commitments. Fortunately I have an upstairs room that became my study and interruptions were discouraged (even when I was hogging the family’s only computer!)

My writing habits are better now, though I still can’t tolerate any distractions or listen to music. I don’t know how writers can do that and still feel the rhythm of their words.

WG: Dead Air is a thriller, but you’ve had a fair amount of recent publishing success in another genre.  If readers would like to find more of your work, where would they look?

Scott: Everything else I’ve written would be considered science fiction or fantasy, though often with thriller elements. I’ve been fortunate to have seven short stories published and, as a Canadian, I’m particularly proud to have been published in the two top Canadian SF magazines, On Spec (twice) and Neo-opsis, as well as the quintessential Canadian SF anthology series, Tesseracts (I have a story in the latest edition, Tesseracts Sixteen). So I feel like that’s the Triple Crown of SF in our country. Now I really hope I can get my SF novels published.

WG: How did you first start writing?

Scott: I’ve been writing stories ever since I was a child, and briefly tried to write full-time in my twenties, but couldn’t stick with it long enough to break in. I’ve always been determined to become a published author, so when I came up with the concept for Dead Air I just went for it, and I’ve been writing consistently ever since.

WG: Getting back to Dead Air, how did you get your contract with Laurence Steven of Your Scrivener Press?

Scott: I’ve always had a lot of respect for the quality of the manuscripts he chooses and the books he produces. My friend and mentor, Sudbury author Sean Costello, spoke highly of his own experience working with Laurence. Scrivener Press is also a recommender for the Ontario Arts Council’s Writers Reserve grants. I applied for a grant to rewrite Dead Air, Laurence recommended it to the OAC, and when the MS was ready I submitted it to Laurence. I didn’t get his answer for about six months, but he says that was because he was trying to work out the timing of the publication. He’s a busy guy.

WG: Finally, aside from your launch on October 11, are there any other upcoming events you’d like to promote, and where can readers purchase your book?

Scott: I’m sure I’ll be doing more readings and book signings at Chapters and places like that, but nothing has been scheduled yet. The book is available directly from Scrivener Press (though the web site’s a little behind on the direct purchase linkage), and I understand it’s now in stock at Chapters in Sudbury and likely Coles, too. Online it can be ordered through Amazon and Chapters-Indigo.

Scott, thanks for joining me 🙂

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Don’t miss the launch of Scott Overton’s thriller Dead Air! Thursday, October 11, 2012, at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre, 6:30-9:30 pm: free admission and refreshments. (Scott will be reading from the book at 8 pm.) More info at http://www.scrivenerpress.com/default.asp?id=580

 

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My Journey to the Misty Lands – Guest blog post by John Rice

John William Rice (1942-) was born in Iroquois Falls Ontario to parents of Scots/Irish/Welsh ancestry, spent his public school years in Charlton Ontario, and quit school after completing grade eight. In the spring of 1968, he returned to school under a government upgrading program, completed high school and studied electronics at Northern College of applied arts and technology where he earned the nick name, “The Whisky Poet.”

After graduating in 1971, he began a 34-year career as an instrument technician at International Nickel Company. Along the way, he married and fathered two sons. His wife Patty died from cancer in 2003. John retired in 2005 and after completing a book of verse, From the Heights to the Enchanted Places, he plunged head first into his fantasy novel, Keeper of the Sword.

John lives and writes in Sudbury, Ontario and can be reached on twitter, @keeperofthsword, on Facebook, and on his blog.

My Journey to the Misty Lands

I lie on my bed, let Return of the King, the last volume of Lord of the Rings drop from my hands, and close my eyes. My mind drifts far away from my small room in the Piccadilly Hotel, far away from Vancouver, and far away from my job as a sheet metal helper at Humble Manufacturing, to Middle earth, where I march with Frodo and Sam toward Mount Doom.

The sounds of feet shuffling outside my door bring me back to harsh reality. I prop myself up on the pillow, rummage around in the rickety dresser drawer for a pen and scribbler, and write, “Keeper of the Sword” across the top of the page. Images of a completed epic poem dance through my mind and I bend all my thoughts to the first word, the first line, but nothing comes. I struggle for a while, still nothing comes, and it seems my muse, such as it is, eludes me once more. “Someday,” I whisper, “Someday I’ll write it.”

I put my writing utensils away, snuggle under thin blankets and let my mind drift over towering mountains, across the endless prairie, through the rugged Cambrian Shield, to the village of Charlton Ontario, to the house where my sister, mom, and dad live. For a moment, I wish I was there, instead of in this city by the sea, thousands of miles away.

I kick the homesickness out of my mind, and go back, back into my past, back to my first attempts at writing verse. I remember finding a love poem my brother wrote for some high school girl, remember thinking if he can write poems than I can write a song.

I remember the name of the piece, “There once was a horse named General Jim,” but little else of my first plunge into writing, and most of all I remember sending it away to an address I found in Popular Mechanics, to a person that promised to turn it into a hit record.

Days, each one seeming like a year, passed while I waited for my first of many checks, and at last one day after school, my mom handed me an envelope. I took a deep breath, and taking care not to damage the contents tore it open. A piece of folded paper fluttered to the floor. I bent over, scooped it up, and unfolded it. “We don’t think this subject matter is suitable to become a commercial song,” burned into my eyes.

“What’s wrong,” mom asked.

I turned away, hiding my tears, hiding my disappointment.

For years I never wrote another thing, but at last my bitter disappointment slipped deep into my mind. One day a cousin of mine wanted to know if I had any songs he could sing to the girl he was courting, and over a couple of hours I managed to write a piece he liked. This adventure sparked a creative flurry and dozens of lyrics tumbled out of my mind onto paper.

My alarm clock’s strident ring drags me out of my dream of home and to the reality of a new workday.

Forty-six years have come and gone since I first read Lord of the Rings in that small dingy room, since I first came up with the title, “Keeper of the Sword.” Over those years, I’ve completed high school, completed two years of electronics at Northern College of Applied arts and Technology, worked thirty-four years as an Instrument Technician, fathered two amazing sons, and lost my wife to cancer.

During that span I had periodic spurts of writing verse, most notably while attending college, where I earned the name, “The Whiskey Poet.” Of course I didn’t deserve the title because at that time of my life I could only afford to drink beer.

While at northern college I believe I let an opportunity slip away, an opportunity that might have changed my life in a dramatic way.

I always sat with my peers from my Man Power retraining days, where I completed high school, for lunch, and often wrote poetry during the hour-and-a-half. One day our English teacher joined us and asked if he could see the poem I was working on. I finished the last line, and handed it to him with a degree of trepidation.

He took several minutes to read the short poem, nodding several times. He handed the poem back and said, “Not bad, as a matter of fact it’s quite good. I know someone in Toronto that might be able to help you, but before I put you in contact with him, I want you to learn ten new words every day for two weeks. You not only have to be able to spell them, but you need to be able to use them correctly in a sentence.”

I folded up my poem, “Waiting,” and placed it in the binder.

As the years have speed by on the one way train of time I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if I’d taken his advice, but I preferred to spend time in the bar with friends instead of taking the time to improve my vocabulary.

The dream of becoming a writer and completing at least one novel has always lingered in the deep recesses of my mind, and in the winter of 2007, I decided it was time to make my dream come true. I started off by attempting to write a play. About half way through, “Music Box Dancers,” the concept for another play, “I taught a Mocking Bird to Sing,” came to me.

After completing two plays, and feeling confident, I wrote several short stories, a book of poems, and remembering that title from long ago, I plunged into Keeper of the Sword.

I still live and write in Sudbury.

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And here is a free excerpt from John’s novel:

In the beginning

 

Morgan Connelly, stunned, unable to move for the moment, feeling a warm wetness dripping down her skin, fluttered violet eyes open and stared at the growing red stains on her blouse, the amber feathers attached to a long slender egg yolk colored piece of wood jutting out from under her collarbone, and whimpered, “Josh. Josh. Josh. Help meeee.”

 

Something crashed to her right, and screams sounding like a cat in pain filled the air around her.

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To read more of Keeper of the Sword visit John’s blog, tweet him @keeperofthsword, or friend him on Facebook.  His novel is available on Smashwords, on Kobo, or on Amazon.