This month’s question: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?
For me, the book titles (or for any type of stories, short or long) are more difficult to come up with. A title has to encompass the theme and message of the story, giving the reader some idea of what it may be about. Because of this, it takes a while to come up with a title that “feels” right. Many times I end up giving a story a working title until I can come up with a better one.
With some stories, any title I gave never felt right. For these, I usually set them to one side for a while in the hope that the right title will magically pop in mind. It does happen, but rare. I’d end up settling for one that I could live with, and move on.
What about you? Which one is more difficult for you to come up with a name?
It’s the most exciting find in archeological history. An ancient structure uncovered in a sea of dirt and rocks. Experts are telling the public that it once was used to house thousands of paper items. A library full of books.
Archaic relics of a long since extinct race of man.
You may have noticed a few subtle changes on this blog. One’s the color. The other is the name.
Since 2007, I’ve been blogging and (seriously) writing, and have used “a writer and her adolescent muse” as a title because I was still exploring genres and forms to see which were the best fit for me.
It’s now 2018 and I believe I’m close to the answers I’ve been seeking.
I enjoy writing horror and dark stories and dark poetry. And I plan to continue. As for writing books, I will be focusing on inspirational romance-suspense. Hence, the name change of this blog to A writer and her sentimental muse to reflect this shift.
I also have a memoir in me that wants to be written. This will be titled, The Whispering Shadows. I already have a blog by that name, and will be revamping it in the near future to start the memoir. I will share more on this in the future.
Question for this month: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
When I discovered writing as a girl, my first story I ever wrote was horror. Ever since then, I’ve mostly wrote horror stories, or dark fantasy, or dark poetry. Nothing truly had a happy ending.
Was this how I really felt about life in general?
Yeah, for a long time, I did.
But, there was always this other side of me that dared to hope, and dream, and wonder about the magical and beautiful aspects of life; and many times these involved this concept called…love.
I’ve always enjoyed reading both fantasy and horror books.
Romance novels? I devoured them. I never could get enough. It was a wonderful feeling when you get to the end of a book, and there’s a happy ending!
Real life doesn’t always have a happy ending. In fact, for many there’s only sadness and pain and emptiness. It’s nice to be able to open up a book and get lost in it, in another person’s life, and be able to feel what they feel, and experience what they experience, and leave your own unhappy reality behind for a while.
These are some of the reasons why I love the Romance genre. And why I’ve decided to write in this genre for my very first book.
What about you? Which genre do you enjoy most, and why?
Today I have a special guest with us-author of several Science Fiction novels, Huck Krueger!
If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say?
I’ve told people that I’m a pilot and a writer. But since I put my plane away and don’t know if I’ll ever fly it again, I might say, “Hi. I’m Huck. I’m a writer and a former pilot.” Or I might leave out the word, ‘former,’ for now.
Tell us what first drew you to writing.
Like most kids, I had fantasies, and I enacted them in my play. In my teen years, I still had those fantasies, though I didn’t play any of them out with toys or action figures. I started drawing cartoons and comics. But I knew I didn’t have any special skill at it and never assumed I’d sell any of my comic stories. Many of those comic stories and booklets are sitting in a box in my basement.From sixth grade through junior high, I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were enthusiastic about writing, and they had taught me the concepts of English grammar and writing basics. Then I ‘saw’ the ‘window’ to write my fantasies out in stead of trying to draw inept comics.I’ve thought that if I ever publish a big-time seller, I’ll dedicated it (my first book anyway) to my junior high English teachers.
What do you write?
I’m interested in science, especially astrophysics and aerospace. So I write Science Fiction mostly, though I’ve dabbled in romance, contemporary and wartime settings. My science fiction is most often involving space travel or life on other planets. I don’t care for the pure fantasy involving the supernatural or spirits, or worlds and creatures that likely wouldn’t exist.
I read a lot of history too, but I shy away from writing stories in that genre because I worry about being historically inaccurate. With sci-fi there’s usually more suspension of belief. I can be ‘way out there,’ and feel comfortable that no one will definitively prove that what I write can’t happen.
You’ve just released a book (or two) this year, correct? Can you tell us some about it (them)? Where can we find your books?
My latest novels are a series about four crew-members who fly an Astral Research Vessel, or ARV, throughout the galaxy to study stars and nebulae. The crew consists of two men and two women. My main character, Miles Wendel, is the pilot of their ship. Tana Vargas is their engineer and bio scientist. Li Keung is their astrophysicist who mans their science equipment. And Cassie Nystrom is their captain.
Their ship is ‘sustained’ by force fields and is often invisible. Only the objects and equipment they access or touch become visible. If someone wants privacy, say in his or her quarters, then the walls will appear, usually throughout the living compartment of their ship.
Their ship is capable of ‘bypassing the speed of light’ by what I’ve termed, ‘Hyper Sub-dimensional Transition (HST),’ which means they enter alternate dimensions of space/time and fly a ‘shorter’ distance to their destinations.
Of course, at their destinations, they encounter adverse situations. In each of the four stories I’ve conceived so far, they’ve encountered extraterrestrials as well as ‘external conditions’ which complicate their struggles.
I’ve published the first two books in this series which I call, Voyages of the Altair. I named their ship Altair after the star in the Aquila constellation. Its name means ‘Flying Eagle.’ I thought it was appropriate. Each book has a main title, and so far, I’ve titled them after the star or nebula where the plot takes place.
The first book is WR104, which I published in June, 2017. On their maiden voyage we find them near the unstable blue star, identified by astronomers as WR104. The second book is M42, which I published in November, 2017. The crew is assigned to fly through and study the famous Orion Nebula (M42). I’ve finished the first draft of the third story, Eta Carina, and I’m currently writing the fourth, with a working title of, M54.
Information about these books and links to purchase them, along with my other books, can be found at my website, huckkruegerauthor.com. One can also find them via Amazon. Nook and Kindle versions are available.
What seems to be the recurring theme(s) in your stories?
Space travel and extraterrestrials are what I write about most, because they give me so much ‘room’ to create and work out ideas. I like to note that most of my aliens are not evil aliens out to destroy humanity or Earth. They have their faults, but I often have them interact and cooperate with my human characters.
How do you get into the minds of your characters? How do you come up with various settings?
I usually use the ‘closely attached’ third-person point of view, and usually choose one main character to do it in each story. To clarify, the story is shown through the view of one person–only things he/she knows is told. Though, I try to imagine what each character thinks, sees and feels, so I can have them interact in a believable fashion. Sometimes while writing, as an excuse to get up and move around, I’ll physically act out a scene to get the concept and figure out how characters would respond.
Many of my story ideas have come from a topic in science I happen to be studying at the time. I try to construct a story with that aspect of science involved. I came up with one story after I read about Jupiter and its moons and the forces at play between them. In the story I explain the basics of Jupiter’s ‘plasma torus’ and how it affects the electromagnetic fields around the four moons. Then I ‘stretched’ the science and went beyond to create a plot for the main two characters.
Another idea came from combining two news stories. Back when the influenza virus was ravishing through the world, I had that story rolling through the back of my mind when I read about UFO abductions. I combined the two into a plot of aliens abducting someone and mistakenly allowing their victim to contract one of their diseases. After they set him/her free, the disease spread rapidly. The result was a pandemic that wiped out hundreds of millions. I created a story about an astronaut woman whose family had died from the disease.
In my new series, Voyages of the Altair, I’ve been reading about dark matter and dark energy, and worked the plots around the idea of living beings made of dark matter and energy.
How valuable is being in a writing group for you?
It turns out that the writing groups have been very valuable. Since the late 1990s, I had let my story writing go dormant. I had only dabbled with poetry and some articles and essays from that time until the local retired fire chief invited me to check out the local writers’ group in November, 2006. That group identifies itself as the Lake Region Writers’ Group. There was another group that met in Willow City, called the Prairie Rose Writers.
They ‘prompted’ me to rekindle my story writing. While I worked on an old story and wrote new ones, the Prairie Rose group, who had collaborated with our group on an anthology, ‘recruited’ me to assemble and publish the work. After learning the processes of self-publishing, I decided to ‘join the ranks’ of the other two in our group who had self-published their own works. After learning about what I did to publish the anthology, one of the Prairie Rose writers has now self-published one or two books.
When you’re not writing, where would we usually find you?
Outside of my job, which is custodial and maintenance at the local college, I’m often at my computer studying a science or history subject, or communicating with someone, or just entertaining myself. Otherwise I might be working in my shop in the garage or doing some chores or repairs around the house, and in the summer times I often worked on or flew my ultralight plane.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest obstacles facing writers today?
Writers today still face the usual problems any writer has such as writer’s block or deciding how to compose an article or story. In the business realm of literary jobs and publishing one’s work, I don’t know how much competition one faced in the past. But now-a-days writers will find a lot of competition. The major traditional book publishers and major magazines receive tens of thousands of submissions in a year. Getting noticed will often be through luck.
An ‘outlet’ for many writers has been via the internet, which includes blogs and self-publishing. Writers of blogs, ezine articles/stories, self-published books, or other digital compositions can get their ‘foot in the door,’ if their piece catches the eye of a major publisher. Publishers sometime notice when a piece gets thousands or millions of views or sales. They might approach the author(s) and offer a proposal.
Any additional comments or advice you’d like to add for our readers?
Off hand I can’t think of any advice or tips that haven’t already been mentioned or posted somewhere.
About the author…
Huck lives in Devils Lake, N.D. with his wife, Linnea. He graduated Cando High in 1982, and in 1989 received a B.A. with a major in English, a minor in Computer Science, and a concentration in German from MSU-Minot. You can find his science fiction titles atKindle and Nook.