I met Teel at EPICON in Virginia Beach. During a reading session, he blew me away. I read from my printed out pages while he recited his from memory complete with gestures and emotional expression. At the banquet, he wore his kilt. I do like men in kilts.
1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
I really don’t recognize genre’s as such—I consider myself an adventure writer, but since there is no direct market for that I write horror/adventure, fantasy/adventure, romance/adventure, thriller/adventure etc.
Since the characters are what really matter for me it is not hard to adapt to the conventions of the given genres.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
Oh, the muse chose me! I was exposed to the great writers and classic adventure films as a young, sickly child and heroes like the Lone Ranger, Tarzan and Doc Savage called to me…
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
I’ve written in almost every genre imaginable including westerns and MM fantasy so I can’t really see where –if the characters took me there or I was commissioned- I couldn’t go with a good yarn.
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
I read the Spenser books, Robert E. Howard, the Doc Savage series (or almost anything by Lester Dent the author), the Modesty Blasé series, O’Henry, Poe, Hawthorne, E.R. Burroughs, Hammet, John Carol Daily are all books that I read for pure enjoyment as well as technique.
I also read a lot of non-fiction and historical works.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
I’m a native of Brooklyn though I’ve traveled the world for thirty years as a Stuntman/ Fight choreographer/ Swordmaster, Jouster, Book Illustrator, Storyteller, Bodyguard and Actor. I’ve been lucky to study under the head of the Seoul Military Academy and Errol Flynn’s last stunt double and feel obligated to ‘pass that on’. I was head instructor at the Hollywood Stunts professional stunt-training center in New York and teach stage combat and swordplay at the New York Film Academy and for Different Directions school group.
I have always written, I had stories and articles printed in scores of magazines from Mad to Black Belt and Fantasy Tales among others over the years but five years ago when I was laid up with a lung infection I pulled out old stories, retooled them and took the plunge into world of eBooks. 25 books from 5 publishers later I know it is the right path for me. I’d like to ease out of the fight work into the keys-for-food world full time.
My greatest achievement however, is my awesome daughter Aislin Rose.
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Oh what a Sophie’s choice—I guess my trick answer is whomever I’m writing at the moment. But the most fun to write has to be Moxie Donovan—he is such a wise acre…
Next would be T.K. Mitchell from my Altiva fantasy series for pretty much the same reason. Smart aleck is fun to ‘live’.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
Can’t have a good hero without a good villain but unlike a lot of writers I strive to keep my heroes more interesting—I do not find evil attractive and don’t think it should be portrayed as such. The badguy usually doesn’t think of himself as a badguy, so I try to connect with his humanity but I don not like to spend time on justifying their evil.
Too many people confuse ‘protagonist’ with ‘hero’ because they are too lazy to work at finding the reason why someone is a hero and the cost he-or she- has to pay for the job.
8. What are you working on now?
I’m part way into a period adventure novel set in 1937 in Manchuria called “Manchurian Shadows.” It is in my Dr. Shadows series and deals with the Japanese occupation and the germ warfare experiments done on the locals. It is a thriller with a social conscience.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
Deadline Zombies: the Adventures of Maxi and Moxie just came out from BooksforaBuck.com.
“Chasing a headline is just a job for ace reporter Moxie Donovan, but sometimes those headlines turn on him and bite. Moxie, along with his sexy better half, Maxi (a theater and film actress) face a tiger-sized panther, mechanical gunmen who support the master race, Irish Fae with the urge to pay Moxie back for the loot his grandfather took from them, murder and a hypnotist intent on re-filming Ben Hur.”
Their adventures started as almost an afterthought when I was writing a story in my Skullmask horror/adventure series. I had always like the old wise-cracking reporter films of the thirties and decided to use such a narrator for a Skullmask story. Within two paragraphs I knew I wanted to know more about the reporter and the rest is history (or myth at least) as they say.
10. Tell me about your latest story and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.
The Traveler’s Tale , out from Eternal Press is my first trip to a new fantasy world The Seven Kingdoms- that I have since written two other stories in. I wanted to explore the outsider-loner hero in a completely new place (I have several other fantasy worlds-Altiva, the pseudo historical Dr. Argent stories) but nothing set in a world with no connections to our earth –in Altiva our window to the world is an Earthman, T.K. Mitchell.
And I wanted to write something with an old fashioned, romantic fell that had a little of Dark Shadows and a little of Prisoner of Zenda in it…
The first chapter starts this way:
A Stable State
“I don’t have any use for Gypsies myself,” the blonde Pyrran lad said with a cold laugh, “except maybe for target practice.”
“Naw, Midan,” his friend said, “seems the Crown found another good use for one of them damn Darkhairs.”
My name is Korvan Orm and I am what the rest of the world calls a Varnian Gypsy, or, insultingly, “Darkhair”. We call ourselves, simply, the Travelers. I was backed against the wall of the barn while the two stablehands, armed with cudgels, advanced on me with a look in their eyes that I had seen before: pure racial hate.
“Linden,” Midan said, “I am a loyal Pyrran but I swear I can’t see the sense the King has in letting scum like this have even a job shoveling horse droppings. I lost a brother fighting in Ardulia to keep Pyrran pure and then they let this sort walk the streets with full citizen rights.”
The two men were big and broad with faces that might have been handsome had they not been twisted with an almost bestial rage. Their blue eyes were fixed on me with very clear, vicious intent. They were dressed in rustic leather jerkins that were stained with tobacco and ale. A few stains just might have been blood picked up after their night at the tavern. On their arms they wore the sleeve markers of the “Pure Pyrran” cult that was sweeping the country because of the bad state of things.
“Gentlemen,” I said with the best, non-threatening smile I could muster, “surely you have me confused with someone else. I am from Shinaria.”
The two thugs exchanged a startled look at that, not because my statement was credible but for exactly the opposite. Shinarians were blonder and paler then my new playmates. Like most of my race, I am dark, tall and lean (well, young Travelers are lean—it’s amazing what pear-shaped fellows so many of the elders become with us young bloods doing all the work).
Midan, who seemed to be the lead buck, shook his head and smiled an ugly smile. “You think we are as stupid as a Gypsy, huh?”