Interview with Author Jeff Provine

By now, you’ve heard the name Jeff Provine a few times if you hang around here. I reviewed his book, Hellfire, a while back and he recently reviewed The Other Side of Hope as well. Today, I’ve got two more reasons to mention his name. First, I got the chance to interview him and ask some questions about Hellfirehis other works, and what he’s got coming in the future. But that’s not even the best part. What I’m really excited about is that he’s agreed to give a signed copy of his steampunk adventure Dawn on the Infinity to one of you. More details after the interview!

RF: There are lot of changes to the timeline, all stemming from the Newton’s Catalyst, in Hellfire. Can you tell us where the idea started for you? What was the original spark that got the whole thing rolling?

Jeff: Heh, “spark,” I like that! Steampunk has always been a huge source of interest for me, mixing the past with enormous new tech. The problem that keeps steampunk from being a reality, though, is that steam engines are so indirect with their energy consumption, something like 5% efficiency. That’s a lot of fuel to carry! So, I asked myself, “What if there were some kind of gateway that could just port in the heat?” It was a fun idea, and then it came with a great twist. What would have more ambient heat than the Lake of Fire?

RF: One of the best things about Hellfire is that you don’t spend countless pages telling us the whole alternate history of your world. But there is this one tantalizing tidbit where you mention Napoleon invading Britain with airships. Any chance we’ll get to see that time period explored in a future book?

Jeff: A prequel would be a lot of fun! There are a few bits dropped here and there about the influence of Newton’s Catalyst on the timeline, but they weren’t pertinent to the plot, just thought-experiments about what might have changed. One of my other favorites was the use of tanks in the Mexican-American War. Both of these could easily merit a short story at least. Perhaps there’ll be a Catalystverse out there someday.

RF: Tell us a little bit about Dawn on the Infinity. Why should we read it?

Jeff: Dawn on the Infinity is an adventure across the multiverse. Dawn’s your average fourteen-year-old: braces, contacts, and enough of a spitfire to headbutt a troll right in the solar plexus. She’s kidnapped by a space-pirate crew of doppelgangers, robots, vampires and more as part of a plot to steal a power generator from another timeline, but soon she learns that nothing is as it seems.

RF: Seems like you write in a few different genres. Is there one that you consider “your” genre or a favorite? If so, why?

Jeff: I’m all about asking, “What if?” That sums up why I tackle so many genres, from alternate history to fantasy, since they are all taking a world and seeing what we can do to twist it. My absolute favorite genre is Magical Realism, but it is a very narrow field and super-hard to write for. Always worth it, though!

RF: Where should we go to learn more about you and stay connected to your work?

Jeff: Check my website out at and on social media @JeffProvine and

RF: What are you working on now?

Jeff: I’m tackling some new alternate history and a middle grade horror project (Remember those Goosebumps books? Ask yourself, “What if it all happened to the same kid?”). As a side-project, I’m following up on my love of board games with a whole series of twists on existing games I’m calling, “New Rules for Games You Already Have.” 2017 should be a busy year!

Thanks, Jeff for answering my questions and for providing a copy of Dawn on the Infinity!

For those of you just itching for your chance to win that signed book, just click here!

Interview with Author Patrick Marsh

This week I had the chance to talk to Patrick Marsh, author of The Greenland Diaries and Beware the Ills. Patrick writes dark fantasy and horror with a particular emphasis on monsters. So having him here is a pleasing contrast to Monday’s review of Tales of Mist and Magic since that one ran to the light end of fantasy. I’ve been following Patrick’s blog, What the Basement Said, for a while now and decided it was about time to ask him a few questions. Enjoy!

RF: I’ve noticed you write in journal form a lot. What is it about that approach to writing that attracts you?

Patrick: The journal format is appealing to me for a variety of reasons. First off, after reading so many chapter books in the standard first or third person format, I just wanted something different. I wanted to be part of the story, and when you’re trying to defuse the plot and figure out the characters like you would in a journal entry, you become emotionally and intellectually invested in a story. The journal is a very palatable author-photo-with-millieversion of making your audience work for information in your story. Instead of describing everything through an omniscient point-of-view, I’m limiting the details my readers receive, an I make their imagination fill-in-the-blanks. Sometimes when you make the audience work, they feel a closer kinship to the story.

RF: I loved reading your DOL stories when they were on your website and plan on picking up the book version when it comes out. Can you tell us what inspired the creation of the DOL monster?

Patrick: Thank you! DOL 39 is one of my favorite stories, and it really is fun to create. I’m in love with the monster. I wanted to create something truly terrifying and mystical. My basis for the DOL was to create something grounded in science, but also something completely unknown. The basis for the monster was something of a vampire, but more celestial and visceral. I basically took the idea of what if you had to live next to an evil god who was more powerful than you could ever imagine? How would you contain it? We throw so many shackles on god in the effort to control our idea of it. This is the same with the DOL. The DOL is a living nightmare. It is both alive and a legend at the same time. This is how a monster should operate. In a mixture of concrete feelings and complete suspense.

RF: Out of all the monsters you’ve created, do you have a favorite?

unblemished-coverPatrick: My favorite monster I’ve ever created thus far are my abominations from my book series The Greenland Diaries. The monsters in this series are unbelievably great. They are both mysterious and concrete. At times, they’re nothing more than shadows in the streetlights. Other times they are towering hooded shapes with claws dangling from empty spaces. Sometimes they’re clouds of spores with blades between their shapes. They throw thorns, move mirrors, and spray paint a language along the deserted highways no one understands. They only exist to kill humans. They never waver from their purpose. They’re like an elemental force, murder to them is air for us to breathe. They’re unknown and unrelenting. They are called the Unnamed.

RF: What’s your next big release or project?

Patrick: DOL 39 will be released on Halloween on the Kindle. This will include the first 25 chapters of the story. I will publish a sequel later this year. Depending on how the Kindle version does, I might publish a paperback version of the story as well. This will be an ongoing series. I’m very excited to get this story into a book format. I’m curious to see how the audience will enjoy the story. The format is unique, and the monster is to die for.

RF: What’s the best way for a reader to stay connected with you and your work?

The best way to stay connected to my work is to follow my blog What the Basement Said through WordPress, email, and Facebook. I publish three or five times a week on my blog. These are often new stories, nonfiction essays, and updates on my current publications and appearances. I love to blog, so you’ll always be in the loop.

There you go! Make sure to check out Patrick’s current releases The Greenland Diaries and Beware the Ills and keep an eye out for the release of DOL 39 later this month! I’ll be reviewing The Greenland Diaries soon as well and I can’t wait!

Click here to visit Patrick’s blog, What the Basement Said.

Interview with Author Carolyn O’Neal

I recently read Kingsley, the dystopian eco-thriller from fellow Virginia author Carolyn O’Neal and shared my thoughts both here on my website and over on The Wrambling Writers podcast.


I loved the book so much that I wanted to talk with Carolyn a bit more. So I asked her a few questions about Kingsley, where it came from and what might be coming from her next. Also, keep your ears tuned to The Wrambling Writers where we’ll have Carolyn as a guest in the not-too-distant future!

RF: Where did the idea for Kingsley begin?

Carolyn: About 8 years ago, my son and a friend were playing video games in the den.  They were middle-schoolers and adorable.  (I might be the only mom in the world whose heart melts when she sees her son playing video games!)  As they were playing, I was reading a report about how certain chemicals in petroleum based pesticides and herbicides mimic estrogen and have a detrimental effect on male fish and reptiles.  Almost immediately the conversation between Bapsi and Charlotte in Chapter 16 popped into my head, when Bapsi compared men to tigers: beautiful and dangerous and mourned deeply when they were gone.

RF: Do you have a favorite character from the book?

Carolyn: I think I did a good job of creating very different characters, each with their own personality.   My readers say their favorites are Joyce and Charlotte.   I’m happy with that.

RF: What do you do besides writing?

dscf0176Carolyn: I volunteer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program.   It’s important to me that I not just fret about the environment; I want to make a difference.   These two non-profits have improved the water quality of Virginia waterways.  I’m proud to be a part of this positive change.

RF: Can you tell us about what’s coming next from you?

Carolyn: I am writing another eco-thriller that continues the story in KINGSLEY and I’m working with an illustrator on a children’s picture book entitled TERRY AND THE MONSTER BEATERS that’s geared to preschoolers and early readers facing a frightening visit to the hospital.

In my next eco-thriller, I want to touch on the global effects of climate change. As with all momentous changes, there will be winners and losers.  Probably the best comparison is 1492 when North America was introduced to the rest of the world.  On the human scale, this accelerated the rise of the Spanish Empire and the fall of the Mayans, but the environmental impact s were arguably more devastating. The introduction of European and African plants and animals to the Americas drove hundreds, perhaps thousands, of native species to extinction.  Our beloved honeybee, which graces the cover of KINGSLEY, is a European import. It was considered a harbinger of evil to many early native cultures because it meant European settlers weren’t far behind.

Q&A From the Islam Sci-Fi Anthology

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Islamicates Volume Inow is the time! It’s a free short story anthology, so what do you have to lose! As an extra bonus, has also released a brief Q&A with the three winners of the contest (which includes me!). It’s a chance to learn a little more about the writers, where the stories came from, and what else we’re working on. Who knows, you might find a new author whose work you want to follow!