(Yeah, I’m in it)
(Yeah, I’m in it)
I got to “sit down” and talk with Kelly Edwards, author of Scorcher, and ask her what it’s like to have a book out, how and why she chose the route she did, and a lot of other things that have absolutely nothing to do with writing at all. She was a fantastic sport and great fun to talk to.
Nerdmobile: So, Kelly, tell everybody what the book and series are about.
Kelly: Scorcher explores the concept that supervillains are people too.
They’re not always megalomaniacs with dreams of world domination.
Sometimes they’re just people doing whatever they must to get by.
Aidan Grey is a college student with goals for the future, a drive to
succeed, and little time for romance. She’s also a woman with a
secret. At eleven, she was orphaned due to the accidental use of her
pyrokinetic abilities. She was taken in by the secret criminal
organization known as Iris and trained to use her abilities for the
organization’s profit. Marty Knox is a police detective who loves his
family, tries to genuinely make a difference in the world and falls
hard for Aidan. He shows up just as Aidan is starting to question her
loyalties to Iris and she’s surprised to find that she can’t resist
him, even if it would be dangerous to get involved with someone on the
right side of the law. What Aidan doesn’t realize is that Marty has a
secret of his own, one that would endanger both their lives if
discovered by Iris.
The series itself expands on this topic as Aidan struggles with
figuring out where her loyalties lie and fights for the freedom to
make that choice for herself, as opposed to allowing the organization
that’s owned her for half her life to continue to make all of her
Nerdmobile: You are a brand spanking new author, but that doesn’t mean you just now picked up writing. How long have you been at it?
Kelly: I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. I used to write plays to perform for my parents. In middle school and high school, that morphed
into poetry and short stories. And I must say, thank goodness the
internet wasn’t really a thing back then. Or else there might be some
of that middle school poetry coming back to haunt me.
Nerdmobile: What drove you to the method of publishing you used?
Kelly: I’m a control freak. Seriously though, I really liked the idea
of getting my book out there on my terms and spending time building my
audience instead of spending time trying to sell my novel to
publishers. I also enjoy some of the other things that have come with
marketing, from working closely with my cover artist to designing my
own website and running my own promotions on Facebook and Twitter.
Nerdmobile: Will you continue with self publish, or are you hoping to be picked up by a publishing house?
Kelly: At this point, I’m really enjoying the self-publishing process
but I wouldn’t say no if the right offer came along. Right now, I
think that my books fall into a niche market as they are unabashedly
genre fiction. While genre fiction can and does sell to traditional
publishing houses, it is a tougher sell.
Nerdmobile: In your opinion, what is the difference between the two?
Kelly: The biggest difference between the two is the degree of control
an author has over the finished book. With a traditional publishing
house most authors have very little, if any, say in what the cover or
layout look like. They are also under deadlines from the publishing
house instead of self-imposed deadlines. Of course, with a traditional
publishing house there is a chance for wider distribution so if that’s
what you’re interested in, there are many times when it’s worthwhile
to give up some of your creative control so you have the chance to get
your story out there to a wider audience.
Nerdmobile: Is writing your first love?
Kelly: Actually, my first love was a boy named Jimmy who was the He-Man to my She-Ra. Sadly, no one told us that they were brother and sister. But
after Jimmy, telling stories was my first long-lasting love.
Nerdmobile: Would you marry writing?
Kelly: No, I’ve already got a wonderful husband. Writing is just the sexy,
alluring mistress that I lavish with gifts and spend most of my free
time with. (Sorry, honey!)
Nerdmobile: If you and writing had babies, … oh wait. That would be your
book. What was your inspiration for this particular story?
Kelly: This story, like most of my stories, started with the characters.
Aidan came to me first. I really liked the idea of a character who has
reasons for being a villain and who might not be looking for
redemption at the start of the story but isn’t fully evil either. The
story evolved naturally from there. I had help from a dear friend,
Paul Leone, in developing Marty as someone who is both the anithesis
of what Aidan is but is similar enough to forget a strange sort of
Nerdmobile: So you’re a character driven writer, have you ever attempted to write a story that focuses not on the people but on the situation?
Kelly: I’m working on a story now where I came up with a basic sketch of
an idea first and then started filling in the characters. I would say
that the plot or situation tends to feed and inform the characters and
Nerdmobile: Do you fall in love with your characters?
Kelly: All the time. It’s getting rather full in my heart because every
character I’ve ever written has carved out a spot. If I don’t write
with them for awhile, I will start to miss certain characters. I also
frequently feel guilty if I’m not writing often enough to get their
Nerdmobile: Writers read, that’s a given. Who is your favorite author?
Kelly: I have a confession. I am a book slut. My favorite author changes on a semi-regular basis and I’ve never committed to just one favorite.
Authors I’m loving quite a lot currently are Seanan Mcguire, Jim
Butcher, and Jim C Hines. Susan Ee is also my new favorite up and
comer to watch.
Nerdmobile: So there’s not one author that you’ve read since you were younger that still holds up for you today?
Kelly: Lois Lowry and J.R.R. Tolkien both stand out, though it’s been
awhile since I’ve reread either author. Unfortunately, my reading time
is very limited now so I usually try to seek out books that I haven’t
read yet and don’t have as much time as I would like for reading the
Nerdmobile: What is your favorite book of all time? How many times have you read it?
Kelly: See above, re: book slut. The Harry Potter books are my go-to comfort books for when I just want to read something familiar. I’ve lost count
of how many times I’ve read those. I’ve also lost count of how many
times I’ve read the Dresden Files.
Nerdmobile: Do you have other nerdly pursuits?
Kelly: Aside from the standards: reading comics and sci-fi and fantasy books, watching sci-fi and fantasy TV shows and debating them online, I’m
also really into making superhero costumes and of course, wearing them
to conventions and charity events.
Nerdmobile: What was the first comic you read?
Kelly: While I have loved superheroes for most of my life, I’m actually
relatively new to reading actual comics. I started reading them about
7 or 8 years ago. The very first comic I read was the trade of Batman:
Nerdmobile: Who is your favorite superhero? Why?
Kelly: There are a lot of superheroes that I absolutely adore, but I
would have to say that Black Canary (II, ie Dinah Laurel Lance) is my
all-time favorite. I could write an essay or two on why I love her but
I’ll try to spare you all the reading. I love her because her
backstory includes a mother-daughter relationship that is complicated
and not cut-and-dry. Dinah took up her mother’s mantle against Dinah
Sr’s wishes, and so you have both an act of rebellion and following in
her mother’s footsteps in one. In the best comics where Dinah is
featured, this informs her character beautifully. Dinah is also a
character who has a great power (her sonic cry, which can knock people
out, shatter just about anything, etc) but chooses to rely on the
abilities that’s she’s gone out and learned as opposed to simply
relying on the fact that she has a superpower. She was also
essentially ‘fridged’ in that she lost her superpower in a heinous,
violent way and yet instead of ceasing to be a hero, she continued on
and became even stronger for working through that loss and finding
ways to thrive without her superpower. And for all my good intentions,
I’ve still written you a novelette so I’ll leave it at that.
Nerdmobile: What is your must watch show currently?
Kelly: Once Upon a Time is currently my must-watch show. I’m a sucker
for fairytales and especially when they’re told in an interesting way.
Nerdmobile: Do you have a show that you go back to a lot? Rewatch again and again?
Kelly: Buffy and Firefly are two of them. I adore Joss Whedon because he
is always pushing the limits of the genres he works within and he
writes some of the most well-rounded female characters around. Even
today, that’s still something that’s harder to find than well-rounded
Nerdmobile: Batman or Superman?
Kelly: I love them both, but for me it will always be Superman. Why? Because he is unabashedly a square. He has his morals and he sticks by them,
in spite of the fact that he has the powers of a god and could simply
pummel people until they had no choice but to see things his way.
Nerdmobile: If you were able to choose a superpower, what would it be? Why?
Kelly: Is the ability to run on no sleep considered a superpower? If so, I
would definitely choose that because there are not enough hours in the
day. Otherwise, I would choose teleportation because I’m impatient and
hate waiting to get places.
Thanks to Kelly for taking the time out of her schedule to chat! I wish her luck in her future ventures and hope she enjoyed the interview as much as I did. I’m still curious as to her favorite villain, but maybe that’s a closely guarded secret for a reason.
Maybe she’s her own favorite villain…
DUN DUN DUN!
I’m completely serious when I ask – what the hell is with the way that Raptr works now? I am completely befuddled. This makes absolutely no sense to me. There doesn’t seem to be logic there. If there is logic there, I would like to know about it.
Does Raptr get something out of making people download and run a desktop app to get all their achievements run through? Is there some kind of partnership with some company out there? Something hidden within the desktop app itself that counts how many times you use it, thus getting them revenue? Is there some secret benefit to having this desktop app that I’m just not seeing? I would think that having to connect through two different places would make the burden heavier on Raptr, not lighter. And you can’t tell me that people who are using the app immediately dislodged their machines from the web-based account, since I am pretty sure that you can’t do that, just have all the info on the app and not the website. And if it can be done, show me 10 people who have actually done it. That means that the Raptr website and the Raptr app are pulling the information through the aether to display to the world.
I signed up with Raptr to share with people the shit that I’m playing and so that I could see what my friends are playing. I like to compare achievements and some of the people on my Raptr list aren’t on my XBL list, so the only way I have of seeing what they’re up to is Raptr. This may seem a bit stalkery, since I don’t generally play multiplayer games. And maybe it is. I just like to watch, okay?
But now, like half my achievements don’t show up unless I run that stupid app. Or leave it running. Since I don’t do any kind of PC gaming, I see no reason for it to always be on. And I’ve just discovered that there’s not a version of this desktop app for Apple machines.
So if you’re going to force people to use this app in order to see all of their achievements, and so their friends can see all of them, why don’t you have something compatible with MacBooks or whatever? How does that make sense? These people literally cannot have their correct information displayed on their profiles because there is no way for them to do it unless they want to manually input all of the details themselves. And who the fuck wants to do that? Nobody.
I would like a very clear, very descriptive answer to these questions: Why? What is the point? Where is the benefit? (Not just the benefit to US, but also the benefit for RAPTR.)
What the fuck.
No, seriously. What the fuck is going on with you? Why is it that you don’t seem to fucking function anymore? Not even in the “I hate the way you tried to ‘streamline’ your shit” kind of way, either. But in the “I don’t think your employees are actually doing their jobs” kind of way.
I guess it started a while ago, maybe even before you decided to start charging more for shit. Splitting up the DVD and Instant services was just an asshole move. But things were rocky before then, weren’t they?
You started suggesting things that you thought I might like that were NOTHING like the movies and shows I had just watched or were in my history. Okay, I can see that I suppose. Maybe there’s something in this romance movie I might like even though 70% of what I watch is drama or horror, and 20% of it is comedy. Maybe somebody dies, I don’t know.
From there it went to what you were comparing with what. In your “More Like ___” sections, I started to find more and more things that were NOT alike at all. Not in any way. That got paired up with the fact that you started grouping things wrong. Care Bears in science fiction? That’s not how that works.
Then it was like a trainwreck happening, one that’s still happening. One that I just don’t even try to understand anymore.
– You say there are new episodes in a series when there aren’t any.
– You list things on the New Releases tab when they’ve been out for four or five years. If you just got it, and are just now able to let us see it on Instant, it should go under Just Added.
– There is no longer any way to search by actor if you’re not online doing it. It just tells you that shit doesn’t even exist. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that Marilyn Monroe did a couple of movies and that you’ve got them all stashed somewhere. The fact that I have to search each one by title instead of being able to bring them up by her name? What the hell?
– Your copy is wrong. More often than I would like, I find myself watching something because of the description I read. And hating it. Or, on the flip side, not watching it because it sounds like something I would loathe, and then finding out later that I would have loved it.
– Your employees aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing. Did you know that for a really long time after you added Life to Instant that you had Charlie Crews’ name completely wrong? Hm? You did. Shouldn’t have happened.
– Episodes for shows are actually skipped over during regular play. When I watched Supernatural, it skipped over half of a season when I was hitting “play next episode”. When I watched Ugly Betty, the first few episodes of the first season had the wrong information tied to them, and weren’t in order. A couple might have even been missing, but since I don’t know the series, I couldn’t say. But it was all very confusing.
– Recently Watched randomly just doesn’t show up at all. Doesn’t seem to be any reason for it. I’ll just turn on my 360, fire up Netflix, wait to see my Recently Watched so I can easily pick up where I left off, and … it’s not there. The whole goddamned field is just gone.
Now let’s add into the things I’ve spoken of before, shall we? I’ll just copy and paste it to make things easier for both of us.
“To make it worse, Netflix also changed their dashboard to coincide with the Xbox change. And the Netflix dashboard is so goddamned useless sometimes that I want to throw things. They show you movies you might like to see during the last bits of movie you’re watching (some movies have stuff going on during or after the credits, so I’m not particularly happy that they reduce the screen) but they don’t give you a description of the movie, you have to seek it out after to see what it’s about. There’s no way to rate a movie without playing it. There’s no longer any way to mark that you’re not even interested in the movie anymore, so stuff you really don’t want to keep seeing pop up will, unless you go to the site. For tv shows, you can’t go in and pick an episode unless, again, you start playing the series. So if you haven’t watched in a while and want to see if the “new episodes” they’ve added are really and truly new, you have to start playing, then go to the episodes list. This is completely stupid.”
That’s just something I tacked onto a rant about the 360 dashboard. I think it’s good here, too. Since it’s about you. And the things you’re slacking on. Or forgetting. Or just don’t care about anymore.
The money I shell out to you for this service might not mean much to you. But it means a lot to me. I’m on a really strict budget. Netflix is one of the things that is completely unnecessary to life that I allow myself. A fun little thing that I enjoy having quite a bit.
It might not matter to you that all this shit is broken, but it matters to me, because of this money I hand to you every month. I know it matters to other people as well. Maybe they don’t use Instant as much as I do. Maybe that 10 bucks isn’t a really big deal to them. But it still matters. You know why?
BECAUSE WE PAY YOU FOR THIS SERVICE.
It’s not something that you give us for free. It’s not an add on to DVDs like it used to be. It’s a stand alone service that shouldn’t be as fucked up as it is. It should work. It should be functional. It should be valid. It should be fun, and not frustrating.
I’m not going to threaten to not use your service, because that’s unrealistic at this point. But I am going to ask you to fix your shit, because I’m tired of it, and there’s a good number of people I know who are also tired of it. It should be seen as a courtesy to us, your paying customers.
To sum up?
Get your shit together, Netflix.
This is not a writeup about the show House, where a snarky doctor pops Vicodin and solves medical mysteries. If that’s what you’re looking for, turn back now. This has nothing to do with that show, and never will. There are no similarities, except for maybe that some of the actors are male.
There are lots of movies out there about haunted houses and people getting trapped in them. Or people spending the night in one and then getting trapped in them. Or people going to a house because they’re lost/car’s broken/think it’s a nice hotel and then get trapped in it. It’s a familiar story, and it can be said that it’s a little played out. But then, you could really say that about every movie out there, couldn’t you? All stories have already been told, it’s the way in which they’re done that we should be looking at.
And by god.
I think I originally began to watch this because I thought it would be crap, and maybe it would help me fall asleep. Michael Madsen was obviously another pull. He’s okay in my book. But it’s very likely that I didn’t really have much hope, though I swear to you now that I recall no such thoughts happening.
Mostly because this movie just blew all such thoughts right out of my pretty little brain. Then said brain was splattered against the wall.
This is, apparently, also a book. Which I’m going to have to seek out. Because wow. If this is what I get from the movie, I can only imagine what I’ll get from the book (*knock wood* please, don’t jinx me, please don’t let me be wrong, please don’t let it be horrible since I opened my damned fool mouth).
This doesn’t just get you through plain old every day fear, either. This really fucks with you all over the place. It’s like it had a party in your brain with Motley Crew and Guns ‘N’ Roses and didn’t tell you. It also didn’t tell you that it invited some heroin junkies and gave you some acid in your sandwich. Every single angle, this thing is coming at you. I loved it.
I think that more horror should be all encompassing, instead of just focusing on the physical horror or the psychological horror. Combining it can make some very beautiful music. Haunting, melodic music carrying a chainsaw. Oh, I know it can go the other way, too. I’ve seen it happen. I’m not an idiot. But more should at least try. If we do not try, we do not learn.
We can take notes from this movie, and spread them all over the place, and hope that little baby movies with this much intensity are born. Or something.
I waited a very, very long time to see this movie. I knew how I would feel about it pretty much right away. I love the Prince of Persia franchise. From the very first one that I used to play in elementary school on the school computers, right up until the Two Thrones. I am wildly, madly in love with these games. I remember being pretty excited when I heard that they were going to make a movie, trepedacious, but excited as well. I hoped beyond a hope that this would be the video game movie to break the bad streak of video game movies.
Then I saw the star.
Now, please, for the love of god, do not get me wrong here. I also very much adore Jake Gyllenhaal. I have seen pretty much everything that he has done in his career, and I have found very little to complain about. I think he’s an amazing actor, and has a great range. So it’s nothing at all personal to Jake.
It’s just that… well.
He’s not the Prince.
My excitement didn’t just waver, it sort of completely and utterly deflated and left me with absolutely no wanting to see this movie. That’s a pretty big drop, really. I see now that I should have expected it, given Jake’s appeal and stardom, who was producing the movie, and the fact that there are only a handful of video game movies out there worth their salt (and no, I cannot name them off the top of my head currently, so don’t ask. [but I can say none of them are by Uwe Boll.])
I waited for it to come up on Netflix Streaming until I would watch it. And I wasn’t even really waiting for it. I was just browsing one day, bored, and realized that it was there. I thought “hey, I have a few hours to kill and no desire to think about anything or put much effort into life, why not”.
While I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was bad. It disappointed me that they had to fuck with the story, they had to give everyone names. There wasn’t enough of the Prince jumping around like a supermonkey. It all sort of fell flat. Especially the ending. Flat. Predictable. Boring. About what I had come to anticipate.
I am glad that I watched it. It’s behind me now. I’ve seen it. I have an informed opinion. I wish Netflix had an added star for “meh”. Between “didn’t like it” and “liked it”. I didn’t turn it off. I didn’t loathe it to the core of it’s being. It was disappointing. I won’t ever watch it again, but I sat through it once. There’s no way to reflect that feeling on the Netflix rating system, and there really should be. I have felt that way about more than one movie.
I know it was exciting for Jake to have a role like this, who wouldn’t say yes to being the Prince? But maybe, just maybe, he should have taken a moment and really just thought it out. Asked himself if he was really right for the part, or if he was a fanboy getting his ultimate dream.
My vote? The latter.
The movie where fucking everybody and their mother dies.