I’d like to welcome Scott Borgman who is with me today. Scott is the author of fantasy books and has two series available on Amazon. Thank you, Scott, for taking time from your busy writing schedule to visit with me.
SB: It’s wonderful to be here, thanks for having me, Grandma Peachy!
GP: Scott, I’m sure that readers would like to know a little more about you. Tell us about some of your interests outside of writing.
SB: Well, I love spending time with my family of course. I also like to poke around and find anything even remotely amusing on YouTube that gets me laughing (not difficult to do, since I have a sense of humor that borders on overactive!). I do still play the occasional video game on the PS4, though I’ve got 3 teenagers in the house so it’s kind of rare that the tv is actually available. Watching movies, and of course reading.
Since I started writing as a career and became an indie author, I’ve pretty much gone to reading other indie authors exclusively. There are some amazing storytellers out there, and I love discovering them. It’s like finding buried treasure without having a map to follow! Or a pirate ship. Or rum…
And since I like to shamelessly promote, here are some fellow indie authors I’ve discovered who are definite must reads: Jen Winters, Veronica Del Rosa, Kirsten Campbell, Lu Whitley, Mistral Dawn, Julie Nicholls, and CK Dawn. Ladies, you’ve been plugged!
Umm… that came out sounding dirty, didn’t it? Unknowingly promoted! That’s what I meant, I swear!
GP: (Laughing) When did you first know that you wanted to be an author?
SB: I first knew I wanted to be an author when I was little, probably around 7 or 8. I used to lay on my bed with a notebook and spend hours writing. Of course, back then, the attention span wasn’t always there, so I’d start a story, write about 10 pages or so, and then another idea would pop in my head so I’d start a new story based on that idea.
I think we’re all given some kind of gift when we’re born. Some can draw, others have a naturally good singing voice, while others love to make people laugh, or go out of their way to help an injured animal, for example. Some of us follow those dreams, and others don’t – for one reason or another. My teachers from 3rd grade on always used to say I had a gift for writing, and that encouraged me to continue writing up through high school. English classes, creative writing… those all came naturally to me. I took every class I could that had anything to do with writing. But I didn’t pursue it after high school because at that point I was only encouraged to write for a newspaper, a magazine, or to do something in television. That wasn’t the kind of writing I wanted to do though, so I ended up spending twenty years working in the grocery industry instead.
But Fate’s a lady who does not like anyone but her messing with her threads. She wasn’t exactly kind in reminding me that I was squandering the gift I was born with, and that it was given to me for a reason. I’ll grudgingly give her props though, because her plan worked. I’m going on about my 5th year now. It’s harder than any job I’ve ever had, but I love it, because I’m doing what I was meant to do. I have a job that focuses outwards to others. That makes every minute worth it for me.
GP: I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasy and so far have read the first two books in your Chronicles of Tal’Avern. What made you decide to write in the fantasy genre?
SB: 6th grade reading class –everyone had to take it, whether they wanted to or not. Some students hated the class and picked out the thinnest book with the largest print they can find. Others like me love to read and looked for the thickest book with the smallest print. I happened to grab a fantasy book called Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It was the first book that introduced me to the worlds of dragons and magic, elves and dwarves, that kind of thing. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and the story – which stretched through three books. I like reading most genres, but fantasy has always been my favorite. Paranormal Romance has quickly become a very close contender though, which is the second of my two series that you first mentioned and the other genre I write in.
GP: Which of the characters from all your books is your favorite and why?
SB: Can I plead the 5th on this one? Haha. It’s changed over the years to be honest, going from Jaelyth to Kylie, and then when I overhauled the Paranormal Romance trilogy, Celeste took the spot as my favorite. I think it was the whole ‘angel with a mouth who isn’t exactly the halo and wings type’ that won it for her.
But out of all of the books, Kalyndra (oops, sorry… Kaly. She HATES being called by her full name!) from the Exiled trilogy. She’s almost more real than fiction to me. I absolutely love everything about her. Kaly embodies so many things, and it’s hard not to say much else without giving spoilers because there’s so much I WANT to say about her. I honestly shed more tears while I was walking with her and writing down what she was experiencing than any other character – ever. Kaly has that effect, and I hope I’m not alone in that respect as readers meet her, walk beside her, and share what she goes through up to the end.
GP: Why did you make the choice to become an indie author? Did you choose to publish independently from the beginning or did you consider traditional publishing?
SB: I actually didn’t know about independent publishing at first, but I’ll thank the traditionals for putting me on the indie path. When I finished my first book, I tried the traditional route; because that was the only option I thought I had. I did some research beforehand when the book was done and found out that my childhood ideas of how one becomes an author were WAY off. When I was a kid, I thought it was simple: write a book, send it to a publisher, bada-bing-bada-bam, published! I didn’t know about literary agents, query letters, that kind of thing. So when I finally came up with a query letter I felt was ‘eye-catching’, I sent it off to about 20 different agents. I expected all of them to say no – the whole ‘expect the worst, and if one says yes, I’ll be pleasantly surprised’ line of thinking. I received 2 replies back that said ‘no thanks.’ The other 18 never replied at all. Not even so much as a form letter saying ‘not interested.’
Now, I understand they receive a LOT of query letters, but if someone takes the time to send something, I consider it rude not to respond. If a pipe in your house bursts, you call someone to come fix it, right? Well, if you get an answering machine, you expect a call back. Until then, you wait. And wait. And WAIT… in the meantime, your basement is flooding. Literary agents are busy, I get that. But make a form letter of rejection and take 5 seconds to send it. At least then the receiver has an answer. He/she has closure. Otherwise, they sit and wait with that spark of hope is still flickering… while below the water in their basement continues to rise. It’s common courtesy. It has nothing to do with ‘business’ – it has everything to do with showing a little human decency.
I apologize if I rambled there. Anyway, the whole experience made me think: “Is there another way to get this published other than the traditional route?” After a little bit of searching on the internet, the path of the indie appeared before me. I’ve never looked back since.
GP: I do agree, if you take the time to send a letter you should at least get some kind of response. I know that when I was job hunting several years ago there were a number of companies that never acknowledged my application.
Now, the popular question is, are you a planner or a pantser?
SB: I was going to answer this one right off the bat with ‘pantser’ since a lot of the time I’m nothing more than a shadow that walks beside the characters, writing down what they decide to do. But then I thought about something Kaia (one of the angels in my Paranormal Romance series) said: “We all have to make choices every day. The ones we make in haste – when we’re stressed, tense, or upset – those are the decisions we usually end up regretting afterwards.” So I deleted the ‘pantser’ answer and really thought about the question. What I came up with is this:
I’m both. There are times when I’m just walking beside the characters, recording what they do like a silent historian. On the other hand, I’ve planned out a lot of things that required researching and jotting down notes. There were a lot of things in the Exiled trilogy (PNR) that I spent quite some time researching – though I can’t say what specifically, because that would be giving away spoilers.
For the Tal’Avern books, some things I knew beforehand what was going to happen, while other times I literally stopped writing and sat at my desk with an open mouth and shocked expression as a scene unfolded before me. I’ve followed along with those characters for years, and they still surprise me. And if they can do that for me, I like to think that readers will have similar reactions.
GP: What is the best advice you can give to new authors working on their first book?
SB: Don’t look at the word count. Focus on one thing and one thing only – the story. The ‘experts’ will say a story should be X number of words. But those are based on statistical numbers, an average word count that the best-selling books have been. Their ‘expert’ opinion is based on profits, not the story.
When you set a ‘target’ word count, you’re lessening the story. It will never be as good as it can be, because your focus is on a number, not the story. If you come up short, you’ll end up ‘fluffing’ the book. If you go over, you’ll cut pieces from the story. Either way, you’re lessening the story.
A story is done when it’s done.
GP: If you could meet and chat with any author from any era who would you choose and why? What is the one question that you’d most like to ask that author?
SB: Hrm, is Bill Gates acceptable? Because I’d love to ask him why there isn’t a ‘No, I don’t want Windows 10, stop asking me every hour to upgrade to it’ option! On a serious note, I would enjoy chatting with R.A. Salvatore, because he created Drizzt Do’Urden, one of the most famous characters in the Forgotten Realms fantasy world. The question I would ask is how Drizzt came to life for him.
Some characters begin as little more than a basic description and take on a life of their own, while others we know almost everything about before we even start writing. It would be interesting to know how Drizzt came to life and compare it to some of my own characters. Though truthfully, most of mine have introduced themselves to me. I’m still finding things out about them that I slap my forehead and say “I should have known that!”
GP: Where can readers find you and your books; please share your links with the readers.
SB: I’d love to, thank you for asking!
Here’s where you can find/follow/get in touch with me:
And here is where you can find all of my books:
Amazon Author Page: http://hyperurl.co/glxcl9
I do have a small collection of poetry as well that is permafree on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278478
GP: Thank you again Scott for being with us today. It’s been a pleasure having you here.
SB: Thank you for inviting me, Grandma Peachy!
GP: Readers, please check out Scott Borgman’s links to his books and social media pages. Remember to come back this Friday to read my reviews of Province of a Thief and Darkness and Dragons from Scott’s Chronicles of Tal’Avern series.