Hello Everyone and welcome to a new Author Interview here on Kenchi Reads. The Author for this week’s interview is Mr. Sidney Wood the Author of the extremely thrilling book Path of Jen: Bloodborne.
I met Mr. Sidney on Twitter as well. and he’s been so nice to me and I just loved how he wrote Path of Jen. and I’m looking forward to read his other books. so I won’t keep you waiting here’s my Author Interview with Mr. Sidney Wood.
Q: Hello Mr. Sidney, thank you again for Accepting this interview request, would you mind telling us a little something about yourself?
A: With relevance to the Path of Jen series, I would first say that I am a veteran. I was approached recently by a Muslim woman, who was drawn in by the cover art, and asked if I have ever been to the Middle East. She was testing my authority to write about that region and the cultures represented there, and rightly so. I was deployed to Iraq in 2004, and spent a year traveling the country on various engineer missions. My personal experience was not enough to make me an expert on culture or religion by any means, but it was enough to allow for apt descriptions of geography and climate. It also gave me a starting point for the extensive research I would have to do to bring the reader into my story in a genuine way.
My twenty years in military uniform includes service in the US Marine Corps and the US Army. I also have over ten years in law enforcement, where I served as a line officer, supervisor, and trainer. I am currently certified as an instructor/trainer for various weapons systems. Each time Jen is faced with a new problem, such as, “How do I make this thing go bang without hurting myself?” I draw on my experiences as a trainer and a student. I ask myself, “How would she actually problem solve her way through this process?” I think anyone familiar with firearms will connect with Jen because of that, and anyone who is not may learn something.
More personally, and still relevant to the story, I am father to three beautiful daughters. Path of Jen: Bloodborne was written with my two older daughters in mind. My oldest was Jen’s age when I started writing. Every situation I created for Jen was done so with the understanding that parents would read this and come to the frightening realization that these things could happen. I also understood that this was a powerful tool to reach out to my daughters and other young women, and send the message that they are stronger, more capable, and much more valuable than they know. Never give up.
Q: what genres do you feel comfortable writing Mr. Sidney? What draws you into those specific genres?
A: When I started writing I thought I would stick with Fantasy because that is where most of my reading is focused. I am a sucker for dark and gripping Fantasy! My first novel was a Fantasy, and I loved every second of the process! Well…I didn’t enjoy the first round of edits. I’m not sure anyone is excited to hear where they dropped the ball. As soon as I was done with that book, Thicker than Blood: Stronger than Bone, I brainstormed a fantastic idea for a new series: Path of Jen. I came up with a catchy title first (kind of backwards, but it worked!), and then made up a storyline based on the main character and real-world threats. It turns out that I enjoy modern settings and Thriller and Suspense genres every bit as much as Fantasy. In fact, I am working on a Paranormal Fiction novel right now, and I am having a blast with that as well. I think I’ll answer your questions with, “All of them, and everything! Except maybe Romance and Erotica…” J
Q: Can you tell the viewers a little bit about your Book? Which is Path of Jen: Bloodborne.
A: Path of Jen: Bloodborne, is the story of an American teenage girl who is kidnapped by criminals in the Middle East, and sold into slavery. She is abused, experimented on, and tricked into questioning her own beliefs. In this book there, I compare and contrast the cultures and religions Jen experiences with the American culture she identifies with. The deeper I delved into Jen’s world, the more I realized I needed this book to be a platform for change. I used this fictional character to advocate for women’s rights.
There are examples of real-world bias and prejudice associated with many of the characters, but all of the content is meant to be entertaining or thought provoking. Path of Jen carries a message of empowerment for young women, and a warning to everyone. There are some things you will be powerless to prevent, but while you remain alive there is always hope. Our government can and will only do so much.
Q: Can you please tell us what made you want to write Path of Jen: Bloodborne?
A: This was a personal quest to craft a believable female lead character, and weave an immersive story that a broad range of readers could enjoy. My daughters, and the Marines and Soldiers I served with, were on my mind throughout. In part, this book is a tribute to American values and the servicemen and women who sacrifice to protect our rights and borders every day.
I am also aware that there are women and children in certain parts of this world that are treated as less than human. Sex trafficking and slavery are alive and well, and there is deafening silence when it comes to their plight. This book and its sequel, due January 15th, reveal the inconsistency and outright refusal to acknowledge one major source of these legal crimes.
Q: Please give us an Insight to your Main characters. What do these characters do that makes them special?
A: Jena Ahmadi is the main character of this series. She is an Iranian-American teenager and very naïve to the workings of the world when she is kidnapped at sixteen. She grows/evolves into something more out of necessity. She is a problem solver, an optimist (when it counts), and a dig-deep, give-it-your-all kind of girl who won’t give up, even when things seem hopeless. She discovers things about herself she wouldn’t have under less severe circumstances. She’s a protector and a fighter, yet manages to remain very much a woman.
Deep South is Jen’s protector. He is a Special Forces soldier who risks everything to help her when he discovers who and what she is. He struggles to balance his duty and loyalty to the military with what he feels is a calling to protect Jen. At six foot three, he is an imposing figure, and he knows how to throw down.
Fouzia Ahmadi is Jen’s mom. She was born in Iran, and tries to guide Jen into an understanding of the importance of freedom. On many occasions she tells Jen about the way Iran used to be, and the suffering Iranian women have endured since the Islamic Revolution. Fouzia is a medical doctor and devoted mother and wife, who can’t help feeling that something is missing in her life.
Here’s the picture of the book cover of Bloodborne: Path of Jen
Q: The cover really got my attention. Can you tell us how it came about?
A: I have beautiful, mixed ethnicity children. When I finished writing Path of Jen and realized my own artistic abilities were not doing the story justice, I decided to commission a professional artist to design the cover. I had already made up my mind that I wanted Jen on the front cover wearing a hijab, but I wasn’t sure what else to add. I asked my teenage girls to experiment with a scarf and take some pictures. I thought they might inspire some new ideas.
When I looked at their pictures, I was blown away. They found an American flag themed scarf and used it to fashion a hijab on the younger of the two. The images were striking! I attached a few of the photos to my query to the artist and a week later, it was a done deal! Although the girl on the cover is not my daughter, she looks very similar.
To see the photos of my daughter, visit http://www.facebook.com/sidneywoodauthor or https://www.amazon.com/Sidney-Wood/e/B01AZMFVFG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 and view the book trailer for Path of Jen: Bloodborne.
Q: Who designs your book covers?
A: I commissioned an award winning artist from fiverr.com. If you are interested in checking them out, the link is: https://www.fiverr.com/akira007/design-you-a-professional-ebook-or-createspace-cover-from-your-ideas?funnel=0ef8a885-1799-4688-a25c-d3f9489c9bde
Q: Do you think that the cover plays an important role in the buying process?
A: I sure hope so! Yes, I have heard repeatedly how much people enjoy the cover. Even when people don’t love it, they will still stop to see what the book is about. The cover to book 2 is equally eye catching.
As with the rest of the book, the cover is meant to be thought provoking. Path of Jen is more than a Thriller. It is meant to be an open conversation, and a pathway to discourse on broader level.
Q: while writing your book, specifically Bloodborne: Path of Jen did you encounter a “writer’s block”? If so, which part of the book?
A: There were times that I wrote myself into a corner. I had an overall sense of where I was going, but the details penned me in once or twice. On those occasions, I had to back up and work a different angle.
I don’t usually have writer’s block. If I find myself slowing down, I’ll work on another part of the story or another book entirely. In fact, I am working on two other novels currently, so I am never short on things to write about. The problem is, how do I find the time to write everything buzzing through my mind?
Q: Path of Jen is an ongoing Series how do you feel on writing a series? Do you think writing a series is hard in some way?
A: There are pros and cons with everything. I have a hard time letting go, to be honest. When a good story ends, I am usually a bit melancholy, regardless of the outcome. Writing a series is right up my alley in that regard. I suppose I will end things sooner or later, but I am not inclined to do that just yet.
It is difficult to keep things progressing in sequence sometimes, but that is more of a flaw with technique than something inherent in sequel writing. That is why beta readers and editors are so important. They pick up on inconsistency and plot holes much faster than I can. My mind is always racing to the next step and the next story.
Q: Besides the second book of the Path of Jen series, which I’m super excited to read soon, what are you working on at the moment? Can you tell us what’s it about?
A: I am currently working on the sequel to my very first novel, Thicker than Blood: Stronger than Bone. Thicker than Blood is a Fantasy series featuring a die-hard war hero named Lynn Hayes and his crew of misfits. There is blood magic and violence, a healthy amount of gore, and plenty of humor. If you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and characters that are flawed in the best ways, you’ll love this book! I hope to have book 2, Thicker than Blood: Sharper than Steel finished by spring.
Another novel I am working on is paranormal fiction based in my hometown of Palmer, Alaska. It’s the story of a young boy who deals with abuse and anger in a very unusual way. It is intense and thoughtful: a strangely disturbed work that will pull you in and make you cringe. I hope to finish sometime this spring or summer.
Q: How are you publishing this book? And why? (Indie, Traditional or both)
A: I am self-published, and I intend to keep publishing that way. As an indie author, I have all of the freedom to do things my way. In this day of digital and social media everything, an indie author can fill many of the traditional publishing roles themselves. I have been working hard to build a following and market my books in a productive way. Visit my website at http://www.sidneyawood.com and join my Readers Club! (See?)
Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
A: The main disadvantage to self-publishing is that you have to build your own network. Publishers typically have a roster of authors with established followers to market to, and distributors that are familiar with their products. As an indie author, I have to go find those potential readers and make my appeal to distributors individually. It’s a lot of work, and time consuming.
Even with a publisher, a writer still has to do many of the same things, but they have the might of a well-known name in the industry behind them. It’s nerve wracking to approach a book seller as a non-represented author.
The good news is I love challenges! I like meeting new people too. As I get older and more experienced, it is also getting easier to talk shop.
Q: Was there a particular Book/ Author that inspired you to write?
A: I love reading, and I admire a multitude of authors. I have to say, the author that finally pushed me over the edge and inspired me to put pen to paper is Victor Gischler. That guy is amazing! I read Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse and it was on. Over the course of a few weeks I downloaded every book of his that I could get my hands on, and devoured them. The last Victor Gischler book that I purchased was The Deputy, and I purchased it in paperback. It was dark and brilliant.
I can only hope that someone has the same excitement about my books someday.
Q: When does inspiration hit you?
A: It seems to happen randomly. I have had some of my best ideas while driving, or while lying awake in bed. Sometimes I will have a great idea while working on some other project, or while I am at work. Whatever the trigger, it comes when it comes, and I try to make a quick note before I forget. I have a few pages of notes with ideas for books, inventions, and some memorable quotes.
The best way to come up with new ideas, if inspiration is lacking, is to free write. Just put pen or pencil to paper (or fingertips to keys) and let go. Write whatever comes to mind. In my experience, the incoherent babbling only lasts a few seconds before some part of it jumps out at me and I veer toward a specific idea.
Another technique I use is concentrating on a character rather than a story. Develop a character and you’ll begin to form a world around them. Those loveable/despicable qualities, quirks and character flaws must have come from somewhere! When I create a memorable character, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do or say next. That is when it really gets fun!
Q: Do you write books when you feel like it or you set a schedule when you write your books?
A: I try to set aside time, but with a full time job and a family, including a feisty baby girl, my writing time is often flexed out of the daily routine. I am not complaining. J My cup is full! I will just say that I feel like writing more often than I actually do write. There are times when I am not in the mood to write, but that is seldom the case.
Q: Do you think book trailers help in promoting books?
A: I am not totally convinced that they do, but they are fun to make! I made my book trailers for free by using the Animoto app on my iPhone, but I know some authors pay to have theirs done by production companies. I honestly don’t see much difference in quality, although, using a free app has many limitations.
Q: How long does it usually take to write one book?
A: That’s a good question. It feels like it takes 100 years, but it goes by much faster J My books generally take six months to write, and about a year from start to publishing. If I didn’t have a full time job I suspect I could crank out a book every two to three months.
Maybe that’s why people dabble in short stories. I published one short story, and I will say that the gratification of finishing a book is the same whether it is 20,000 or 90,000 words.
Q: What would be your Advice to aspiring authors?
A: Start now, today. If you have an inkling that writing is for you, then get going! There is no “not good enough” or “nobody will like my ideas” in this arena. The brutal truth is that almost everyone sucks when they start. Practice and feedback will make any writer better, so get started! When it comes to writing a book, I would argue that proper grammar and technical writing ability mean spit in comparison to depth of thought and a limber wit. The fundamentals of writing and language are important, but they can come later.
You have nothing to lose; but if you find out that you have a gift…the whole world might just have something to gain.
Here are the links to Mr. Sidney’s Social Media and Website.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sidney-Wood/e/B01AZMFVFG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
This a was a great interview. I pretty much found out what I wanted to know about the book and Mr. Sidney. If you enjoyed the Author Interview please leave a like down below and comment some of your thoughts.