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Good Morning 🙂   I’d like to share a brief interview I recently held with fellow author Brhi Stokes today.  A budding author, Brhi has been writing ever since she could put pen to paper and daydreaming  in every spare second.  C A L I G A T I O N, her first published novel, is an urban fantasy about a young man lost in a strange city – the likes of which he never could have imagined – while he tries to dodge unnatural threats and search for a way home.

She is currently beginning a new profession, but decided 2017 was the right time to brush the dust off Caligation and deliver it to an audience.  In her spare time, Brhi enjoys reading, video games, tabletop RPGs, going for long, solitary jogs and music.

Please Introduce us to your Blog.  What is it all about?   What sorts of posts do you lean towards?

My blog focuses mostly on helpful writing posts. Anything that has to do with creative work, media or might help others with their writing. I also include short fiction and am looking to also post author highlights, interviews and reviews at a later stage. 

How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated?

I’ve learned a lot about my own creative process and a lot about how other people write. I’ve found the blog posts often spark some great discourse. I’ve learned so much about the way other people write and generally express their creativity. It’s amazing how differently everyone’s creativity flows.

Tell us about your book(s):

C A L I G A T I O N is an urban fantasy with horror elements. It’s a classic “lost in a foreign place of magic/supernatural” story with a gritty feel to it. I like to leave a lot of mystery around the city of Caligation and its inhabitants, so I won’t say too much about it. But it follows the struggle of a young man named Ripley, as he tries to discover where he is, how he got there and if he can even get home.

I also have a short story anthology offered for free on kindle unlimited and for mailing list subscribers. The anthology covers stories, excerpts and other fiction that relate to the theme of darkness. It’s called Out of the Darkness & Into the Night, but I love shortening that to ODIN. 

Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why?

This is one of my favourite topics, and one I’ve done a lengthy blog post on. I’ve tried them all – meticulous planning, freeform, and a mix. I think I’ve settled on a mix being my most constructive. I’ll start writing and a plan will form as I do. I jot down a brief description of every scene in a separate document (and add future plans to this as I go). So I end up with both the first draft but also a document detailing each scene and splitting it into sections and chapters, which makes editing and review a tonne easier. 

What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?

Edit. Edit so many times you think your head will explode and then edit some more. There is so much unpolished work out there, and if you want to stand apart from it, you’ll need to get rid of your typos and poor grammar and polish the book to your best possible standard. Get other people to read it. If you can, get people who understand proper grammar to read it. Research grammar as you go to make sure your commas are in the right place.

Then edit again. 

Would you like to share an excerpt from the book or a poem or two to give readers an idea what you offer?

Here’s an excerpt from C A L I G A T I O N:

By the time he headed back home, the sun was hanging low in the sky and the streets were beginning to come alive.

            Too alive, Ripley realised, rounding a corner and then stopping abruptly. A few metres ahead of him, in the centre of the street was a melee. Several creatures with elongated limbs, angular heads and a mottled mix of fur, skin and scales were on the attack. Without the pitch of night to hide their forms, Ripley could clearly see the deformities; the spines and horns and tufts of fur that covered the sinewy muscles of the creatures. Some moved with speed and grace, others in lumbering strides that impacted heavily on the road. Guttural sounds ripped from the group as they lunged and snarled at their opponents.

A gunshot ripped the air and one of the creatures reeled, blood pouring from the side of its face. Once it had gathered itself, it lashed out with a viciously spiked claw sending the shooter sprawling. It leapt, only to find its jaws clamped around the thick of a heavy crowbar as one of the woman’s compatriots dove in with such great strength he was actually able to hold the beast off.

            His crowbar snapped, and the creature fell upon the man with claws and teeth. The woman he had saved leapt towards the creature and thrust out a hand. Even from this distance, Ripley could see the sudden melting and hissing that came from where her hand touched its bare flesh. The creature reeled once more, a good chunk of its skin turned a brackish red, steaming.

            The two other creatures were under a barrage of gunfire, but they weathered it well. He watched as one of the humanoid men darted out of the way of oncoming teeth and clung like a spider to the wall nearby, sticking even without holding it.

            One of the less occupied creatures spun suddenly, its eyes glowing a deep, angry red as it scanned the street. It caught sight of Ripley and, with a growl like nails in a whirling drain, dug its claws into the ground and bounded towards him. Pink saliva bubbled from between its innumerable teeth and a long, snake-like tongue lashed out at him.

            Ripley stumbled back, hands reaching down to his pockets in search of any sort of weapon but the creature had sprung.

            It reeled suddenly in mid-air as something exploded in front of it, sending liquid and fire splattering across the ground. From the liquid, a sickly green gas rose and the creature began to prowl backwards, snarling and gargling as small bits of fire licked at the tufts of fur across its scaled face.

He did not need to wait for a second chance. Ripley turned and bolted down the nearest alley. Behind him, the sound of sirens was accompanied by the screeching of tires.

His apartment was safe and warm in comparison. He did not leave, and no one came to collect him. A small part of him wondered if he should call someone but he pushed it aside.

He made an informed decision never to go outside again.

When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?

I adore tabletop role playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Darkness). Co-operative roleplay and storytelling are a huge part of my life and I get really bad withdrawals if I don’t meet up for it for a few weeks. My friends and I usually meet up weekly (or, failing that, fortnightly). For those of you that are curious I also DM (or ST or GM or whatever your preferred name is). I ran a 3-year (OOC) long Vampire the Masquerade campaign for some friends a while back.

I also play a lot of video games and read. 

Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination.  Have you ever been there?  What makes this place Irresistible to you?

Tokyo. I had my honeymoon there, my then-fiancé-now-husband lived in Japan for a year. The two of us are always drawn back to that place. I love huge cities (like Bangkok, where I spent a year) and would love to live in one. Tokyo is the goal.

A city that’s open all night, always filled with people and so much life.

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Thank you so much Brhi for sharing your time and talent with BnV.  I wish you all the best success and happiness in writing 🙂

Be sure to visit Brhi to discover more about her writing on her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/brhistokes/

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~Morgan~