Author: R.A. McCandless

Author: R.A. McCandless
No Comments » Author Interview, Interviews Heidi Angell

R.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.

Q: How are you?

A: Spiff-tastic!

Q: On a cold day: coffee, tea, cocoa, or something a bit stronger, and why?

A: Cold or warm, I start my day with a Monster Ultra. There’s something about an ice-cold drink, even on a cold day, that gets the engine running.

Q: What is the current book you are promoting?

A: Hell Becomes Her: Flames of Perdition Book 2

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

A: Omedelia bar-Azazel, but call her Del. For centuries, Del has been responsible for banishing demons back to Hell. Now she takes her orders, does her job, and goes home to kiss her daughter, Jordan, goodnight. But when Jordan is kidnapped by a shadowy group, Del finds that the world is even more dangerous than she suspected. Lost in the deserts of Northern Nevada, with myths and legends hungry for blood, Del may have to fight an entire army to get her daughter back.

Q: Who is your least favorite character and why?

A: There isn’t a character I didn’t enjoy writing. There are certainly some evil bastards in HELL BECOMES HER, but they were perfect for the time and place of the plot, and really fun to get inside their heads and take them out for a spin. Most of the characters aren’t truly bad folk—they all have their agendas, trying to make their way through a chaotic world as best they can. It’s when those goals and objectives come into conflict that choices have to be made, and some of those are bad choices.

Q: What inspired this book?

A: My wife and I were foster parents for about two years while I was working on TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER. Shortly after, we became parents again to our own child, and that really changed the way I viewed the world and how I went about my daily life. It wasn’t better or worse, it was just different, and I wanted to explore that through my own characters as well.

Q: If you could have your book made into a movie, who would you want to direct it?

A: Without a doubt, Christopher McQuarrie. WAY OF THE GUN is one of my all-time favorite films, and the look and feel of the JACK REACHER movies is perfect for how I’ve imagined the world of Del.

Q: If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast?

A: When I was writing TEARS OF HEAVEN, I had Lexa Doig in mind for Del. Although, Tao Okamoto or Dichen Lachman would also work nicely. Marrin has to be someone who is not only physically big, but with a big personality. Alexander Doetsch or Charlie Hunnam would be great. Jane, who became a personal favorite of a lot of readers so someone like Tessa Thompson or Zazie Beetz would be excellent.

Q: Dessert: cake or pie and why?

A: Cheesecake please. It’s the best of both worlds, and leaves all the bad points of cake and pie behind.

Q: What is your next project?

A: Sins of the Throne: A Jane Ivey Adventure will release in 2019 and possibly COMPANY OF THE DAMNED the last of the Flames of Perdition series.

Q: What is one place you would like to visit and why?

A: Most definitely Japan. I’ve been to Scotland the the Mediterranean, so those are crossed off my list. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and see some of the famous shrines, and if there’s time the grave of William Adams, the historical basis for John Blackthrone in SHOGUN.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

A: This changes with whatever book, film, or TV series I’m currently following. Right now, I’m really loving the entire concept of Poe, the AI avatar for The Raven hotel in ALTERED CARBON. This was such a brilliant stroke to take a timeless character based on Edgar Allan Poe (also a favorite) and bring him and his whole ambiance into a cyberpunk setting.

Q: What one person from history would you like to meet and why?

A: Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz. I’ve enjoyed reading his unfinished ON WAR (Vom Kriege), and I’d be curious to talk to him about his his perception of military strategy and political/historical theories changed over time.

Q: If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?

A: Tolerance. We all could use more, and there’s never enough.

Q: How do you write your books?

A: In the shower, mostly. Once I have the plot figured out, the rest is just filling the blanks. A lot of that comes to me while I’m in the shower, mulling over the various scenes or dialogue that I’ve been working on. I’ll have to text myself to keep the ideas from leaking out.

Q: What is your comfort food?

A: Sushi is always a lovely comfort food. It has to be fresh, of course, and the ambiance has to be right, but it’s just enjoyable to sit down to such lovely food and take your time enjoying.

Q: Who inspires your writing?

A: Other writers, especially short story authors in science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk. I tell my wife it’s all for “research” and it is, but really reading or listening to how they frame out a story under 10,000 words is just beautiful.

Q: Where do you come up with your stories?

A: Threads of research fascinate me, so when I hear about some obscure bit of information, following it down the rabbit hole drives a lot of my writing. When I first heard about Nephilim—half-angels and half-mortals straight out of the Bible—I knew that I had to write a story about them. All the mythos that surrounds them was just too good to pass up, and drawing that together in a single world was so much fun.

Q: What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

A: It doesn’t matter how good you think the work is, or how perfectly you’re researched and written it, if the reader is going to get lost, confused, or frustrated, then it has to go. If you fail to reach the reader, you’ve failed as a writer.

Q: What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

A: The long, long hours of slaving over a piece of work. That’s sometimes the best too, because once it’s complete, you have a total sense of accomplishment, of having achieved something. But getting to that point is like scaling Mt. Everest without oxygen or a Sherpa guide—it’s endless toil that most people will never see.

Q: If you could never write again, what would you do?

A: I’d love to work in film in some capacity. If not as a writer, then almost anything—sound, camera, staging, lighting, costumes, location—anything really! The idea of being on location, watching actors do their work, and helping to create stories that come to life would be wonderful.

Q: Tell us something unique about you.

A: Running is like a drug for me. There were a few years when my knees were really bad (from doing other things) that I couldn’t run, and I really missed it. I would see someone running, jogging along, sweating out with their headphones on, and I would daydream that it was me. I love running.

Q: What is your favorite word?

A: Not a word but a phrase: orders of magnitude. I’ve just loved how compactly that can describe the escalation or the pressure of a situation.

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