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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Author Interview & Contest with Anton Strout

This week I managed to get us a little testosterone here on Amberkatze's book Blog! Author Anton Strout is well know for his Urban Fantasy series (doesn't he look too innocent to write Paranromal in his photo?) featuring Simon Canderous. Now even though I am a little behind with the books I do have them on my to be read pile. Do you?

Dead Matter, the third book in the series is out now and it has gotten some amazing reviews! Deader Still and Dead to Me, the first two books in the series, is where you need to start if you want to get to know Simon better. So make sure you enter this weeks contest because Anton is going to send one lucky winner their choice of book from the series.

So get reading and maybe even win a book!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your Simon Canderous Series?

Anton – Sure! The first three books in my series follow the adventures of an ex-art thief in New York City who is trying to turn his life around. Simon possesses the power of psychometry- the ability to read the history of an object. After a brush with the law, he now works for NYC’s Department of Extraordinary Affairs- a clandestine and terribly underfunded agency that deals with red tape and policing the paranormal. Their proud motto is “Fighting evil, under budget.”

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the Simon Canderous series? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Anton – Simon came to me basically because I missed Ghostbusters and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I like the idea of a guy with powers he had trouble controlling trying to change his life for the better, and having lived in New York City for fifteen years, I wanted to explore it. The idea of a man with magic hands was based on a short story within John Irving’s The World According to Garp, about a man with hands that could perform miracles when he wore his magic gloves but he couldn’t feel. That got me thinking about the price of magic and Simon was born.

Amber - Are you anything like the main character Simon Canderous? Are any of your characters based on people in your life?

Anton - I think some of Simon’s laughing in the face of danger defense mechanism is a bit like me, but other than that, I don’t think he’s that heinous trope of a glorified version of the author. I think all my characters have bits of people I know in them, but no one specific. I do tend to throw in the names of friends as background characters though.

Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?

Anton – I have a book due a year, so I try to minimize my research on my first pass of my manuscript. Otherwise, I’d get totally caught up in all the coolness of historic New York and reading my Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. I tend to Wiki things so my narrative has the correct flavor regarding certain details, and only when I get to certain things do I allow myself to get totally immersed in the details.

Amber - The third book in the Simon Canderous series came out in February. What can readers expect from Dead Matter?

Anton – Monsters trashing supermarkets, secret and mysterious buildings dotting the New York skyline, ghosts, mountains of paperwork, and some villains I can’t talk about lest I ruin the book for your smart and sexy readers

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Anton – Sometimes I just feel them. Other times they have some significance. My favorites are the last names Canderous and Wesker, both from video games I adore. The first is from the Stars Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the second comes from Resident Evil.

Amber - How many more books will there be in the Simon Canderous Series? Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?

Anton – I just turned in book four to my editor. I have plans for a fifth book in the series, but it’s not under contract yet. I have three or four other ideas, ranging from some modern day zombie tales to a young adult Dickensian steampunk idea I’ve been letting stew in my brainmeats.

Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Why did you pick the Paranormal Urban Fantasy genre?

Anton – I always dabbled with writing, but I meandered about with it up until a few years ago. My friends and I started the Dorks of the Round Table writing group so we’d actually have accountability partners to keep us motivated. I didn’t set out to write urban fantasy. I was just writing about a guy and his problems, and in the end there were ghosts and vamps and powers and zombies… didn’t see THAT coming!

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

Anton – It’s a very bipolar career. You spend a year alone crafting something, then you edit it for another year once it’s turned in, the people get to read it and you finally connect with them. You get people who love what you do which is awesome, and then you have people who don’t love your work and it’s gutting to hear. The highs are incredibly high and the lows are just as intense.

Amber - How do you relax? Do you have any hobbies?

Anton – I read a lot and I’m a gamer by heart. Although being mobbed by zombies in Resident Evil 5 and Left 4 Dead right now aren’t terribly relaxing. In fact, I seem to twitch a lot.

Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?

Anton – I love music playing when I write, but I don’t have set soundtracks. I tend to write to either classical music or else techno/electronica. On a perfect day, The Matrix soundtrack is in the background. I also like all the Star Wars music and several video game soundtracks as well, such as Final Fantasy and the original Metal Gear Solid.

Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?

Anton – I’m all over the place. I’m a huge fan of Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, the DC Comics Fables Series, Planetary, Hellblazer… but most of all I adore most of what Stephen King writes.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Anton – I would, of course, be a werejaguar. I made it up when on a panel with Jim Hines at Gencon a few years back, then suddenly he and a whole lot of people sent me Happy Werejaguar Day cards one day. Meow.. rawr!

Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back for another visit in the future!


Contest Time!

The winner this week is allowed to pick on of Anton's three books! So if you haven't started the series yet you can start with Dead To Me! Or maybe you have been waiting for the new book? Then you can get Dead Matter!

How to Enter

Anton is a gamer. Are you? Tell us what you like to play. Maybe a computer game? An online game or just a normal board game?

No Game = No Entry

Earn more entries for each place you link this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your info in one post.

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Amazon link below and around the site!

The contest will stay open until Sunday 6th of June 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Curling up by the Fire said...

I am not really a gamer, although I like to play some hidden objects games once in a while. The only games I played all day was when my son received Dragon Age for Christmas (at least I think that's what it's called) and I got hooked on Myst a few years ago.

Katie said...

I'm not a gamer. I easily get bored with games so if I play it will be for a short time and then I'll just stop.

Thanks for the interview!!

tetewa said...

My favorite games to play are Poker and Cafe World on Facebook! I also enjoy playing Hidden object games! tWarner419@aol.com

SiNn said...

i lovee to play games

pc games my fav o nline games are

pangya, latale ,and snow bound

playstation 3 games FF all of them

board and card any and all really i love to play game

Barbara E. said...

I'm not a gamer, although there are a few games I like - Scrabble, Solitaire on the PC, and the other day Google had Pac Man up and I couldn't stop playing it.
I haven't started the series yet, but I have Dead to Me and Dead Matter, so if I could win Deader Still I would be able to get started reading the series.

emmad said...

I'm not what you would call a traditional gamer.
What I do play is an online game called HAJINC (Hunters and Jumpers INC) it revolves around showing and breeding horses. The cool part about it though is that it uses real horse colour genetics which is very cool.
I've also been sucked into a few of the Facebook games including Envoy

JenM said...

I don't game at all (would take away too much time from my reading), but my spouse is seriously into WOW (World of Warcraft for the uninitiated). He's been addicted for over a year now. He keeps saying he's getting tired of it but that doesn't stop him from continuing to play.

Anton's books are on my wishlist so I would love to win the first one.

Pamk said...

this series sounds good and though I haven't had the pleasure yet I have them on my tbb list.
I love card games, solitaire, rook, spades being my favorite.

Linda Henderson said...

I have Direct TV and I like to play the games on Game Lounge. Uno, Skip Bo, Scrabble, Word Search, and Monopoly. I also like board games too.

seriousreader at live dot com

Anonymous said...

not a gamer, but im addicted to the quarters game, where you put in a quarter to win a bnuch, or the ones trying to win a stuffed animal, GEEZ i can spend 5.00 trying to win 3 quarters

Vickie said...

Not really a gamer, unless you count Hi Ho Cherri-o or Memory with my 7 year old. I play Spider Solitaire on my computer and I play games on my Wii, but nothing gamer type. I am not very organized in my brain for keeping up, I think.

I have DEAD TO ME on the WWBL and will get to it one day. I would love to have more reading time, more reading cha-ching....

Anonymous said...

I'm an occasional gamer. If I'm going to play it's RPG's for me. Most recently Mass Effect 2. I absolutely loved that game! Can't wait for the third.


debbie said...

I like to play rpgs, and I play carcassone and settlers of catan with my son.

Ricechex Kindle said...

I've played a few varieties of games. The RPGs I've played are d20 Modern, and of course, D&D (both 3rd and 4th edition, which I have to say, I love 4th edition).

On my computer, I play Peggle or Chuzzle, usually.

And then there are card games. I love playing with actual cards (as in, four suits and 2 jokers).

Bethany C. said...

I'm not a big video gamer (my husband is) but I love the Wii- like bowling, mini-golf, archery. And I am undefeated in Trivial Pursuit. My husband had to get me drunk to snag his one Scrabble win. So I guess I'm kind of a gamer in the out-dated nerdy sense.

posted this to fb-http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1625972197&v=wall&story_fbid=126243644063330&ref=mf

E.J. Stevens said...

Ooh, I'd love a chance to win Dead to Me!

I'm a total gamer girl. I started with pen & paper RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Shadowrun when I was a kid and later became addicted to CCG's like Magic the Gathering. I was also a total World of Warcraft addict but MMO's really cut into my writing time. LOL! For single player computer games I love FFVII and Oblivion....I could go on and on. ;P

Great interview.

From the Shadows

Julie S said...

Hubby and I like to play the Lego Indiana Jones on the PS3. And Apples to Apples is one of our favorite group board games.


Unknown said...

I love to play hidden object games and any solitaire games. Once in awhile I'll play online Bingo.

jellybelly82158 said...

There are only two games that I play. One is Solitaire and the other is The Curse of Ra. I don't play them on line just on the computer.

jellybelly82158 said...

Shared on Facebook - user name jellybelly82158

Kayla :) said...

I love video games but, unfortunately, never can finish them [without enlisting the help of my brother to beat the horribly difficult parts]. So I usually stick to regular board games, like Apples to Apples. My cousin and I are also addicted to this random Nancy Drew computer game.

Anonymous said...

I play a lot of online games on shockwave's website. My favorite game is Mahjong.


Unknown said...

I'm a fan of old school video games....wish I had Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago...played that when I was younger on my MAC LOL....I only have two now...You Don't Know Jack an Doom. I don't have any TV gaming systems.

Great interview!

Sue Brandes said...

My son is the gamer(XBow 360) in the family. He likes all the Halo games, first person shooter, etc. I prefer solitare, monopoly, farkle, & I love the Rayman Raving Rabids for the Wii. Except I laugh too hard that I hardly can play them. Your books sound very interesting and I would love the chance to read one. Wonderful post. Thanks.

Karen W. said...

I'm not a gamer, but I'm dating myself by admitting I used to play some Q-Bert back in the day. :)

Great interview! I loved Anton's first book, and I'm looking forward to reading the others.

Llehn said...

I'm not a gamer but I do love board games like Scrabble.

LuAnn said...

Innocent? Well, at first glance, Anton does look innocent, but take a second look and there's a kind of gleam in his eyes!

Hubby and I have a regular Yahtzee tournament going. We usually play in the evening after everything is done for the day. It's a fun way to wind down.
I also play some of the solitare games on my computer.

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

vvb32 reads said...

ooo, this sound like a good series to start reading. when i played computer games, myst was my favorite. now i'm into scrabble.
vvb32 at yahoo.com

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I'm a huge fan of video games. I haven't played in a while because it takes away from my reading time. However I love the Final Fantasy games and Rock Band/Guitar Hero has been one of the most brilliant things ever created! I miss rocking out =)

Thanks for the contest!

Anonymous said...

I am addicted to playing Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix.
I got it the day it came out and I just can't seem to stop playing it. lol I play a lot of other games too. I love me some Resident Evil.

Tweet: http://twitter.com/rae_reads/status/15208714284
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/275xo5d
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/rae_reads


Lori said...

I used to be a gamer a good while ago. Lately, I haven't played as much. I think on of my favorite games used to be Ultima. I tend to gear towards stradegy games versus shoot them up games.


LSUReader said...

I like computer Solitaire and very occasionally we'll play a few board games at home--Scrabble, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly. Thanks for a fun interview and great contest.

k_sunshine1977 said...

i've been wanting to read this series - i think the concept sounds great!

i used to play nintendo and genesis with my little brother (wow, has it been that long ago?), but i don't play any of the games that have come out nowadays. i love playing board games with my friends, however, and i used to be in a trivia group a couple of years ago.

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm ridiculously hooked on Bejewelled on FB and I have a biofeedback mind/meditation game called The Journey To The Wild Divine & The Passage. There's a cool little contraption that hooks up to three of your fingers and you have to control your breathing, heart rate, etc to get through levels of the game. Amazing graphics & scenery!

I have some other puzzle games, slot machines, mah jhongg, oohh, and Polar Bowler & Polar Golfer are fun too!

Ok, I guess I am a gamer, though I never really considered myself to be one. I don't play often other than that darn Bejewelled everyday, lol.

Daelith said...

I'm not a gamer either. Rather read.
I do play Vampire Wars on FB. I like to watch hubby play Gears of War.
Many long years ago I used to play Castlevania and Street Fighter.

cheleooc at yahoo dot com

Dawn M. said...

I'm not much for computer games but I do like to play a few card games. Solitaire, Phase 10 and Skip Bo are my favorites.

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm not a video gamer, but I do enjoy board games, like Scrabble. (I'm so old-school, or is that just OLD?)
If I'm lucky enough to win, I'd have to choose Dead to Me.




Momma Told Me said...

I love RPGs and SIM games, such as Final Fantasy
six_one_nine_girlie86 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Unknown said...

I Love board games! With ym sisters even though we have grown up we still like to play some time :-) and I also loved Pacman :-D

tweeted here: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/15555785042

posted on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000899165880&v=wall&story_fbid=127964427231130

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Spav said...

I love playing simulation games, especially The Sims, Simcity and Civilization 4.

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/15556136668

Kelly g said...

I like the games on facebook

Anonymous said...

Since I have been unemployed since 12/08 the only types of games I tend to play are on PCH games. There I play the Mahjong Dimentions. If I'm a lucky winner I would welcome any of your books because they all sound good.
Susan L