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Ask an Author 2.0 #22

Carlos Hazday


During the dog days of summer, most South Floridians yearn for cooler, drier weather. If you are unfamiliar with the expression, it refers to days being so hot even dogs want to lay around moving as little as possible. August is the time most of us want to move to the Carolinas’ mountains to escape daily rain, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

The Signature Authors profiled this month are well known and don’t require introduction. I’ll shut up now and let them answer their questions.




You are a prolific user of sequels and serials and have a lot of stories on the go, Gone From Daylight and Savage Moon come to mind. What keeps you motivated and what do you gain by doing serials and sequels?


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"Well, to answer all questions at once...it's the readers. The feedback makes all the difference in the world to me. So that is my number one motivation to keep going.


When I was growing up, I was super heavy into comic books. I still have many of them to this day. And, honestly, comic books taught me everything that I know about character, dialogue, tension, foreshadowing, flashbacks, plot twists...and the best part was that I got a chance to come back every single month and catch up with fictional people that I had grown and evolved with over an extended period of time, and I LOVED it! I never thought I'd see the day when movies or TV shows could be treated the same way, but now you see it all the time. And it works wonders.


So being able to build on my characters one chapter at a time, share them with a vocal and participatory audience, and actually feel the energy of having them enjoy what I do, is my biggest inspiration. It might take me an entire year or more to finish a whole story from start to finish, and that's if I'm LUCKY! I can't imagine going that long without some type of positive reward or constructive criticism from my audience. Without their support, I think I'd feel like I'm just typing away at this keyboard for nothing. So I treat my stories like comic books. I post new material, I get good feedback, I come up with new ideas all the time, and my readers get to see the process unfold as it's happening. They grow with the story. It creates a momentum and an excitement that helps me to keep building and challenging myself to complete whatever vision I had in mind from the beginning.


I hope that answers the question! And thanks! :)"


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Looking at you library here at GA, you don’t seem to use sequels or serials but have a nice collection of stand-alones. Is there anything that keeps you away from bringing more of the characters your readers love?


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My answer would be that it is the way I view sequels. Most of my stories are stand alone, so if I were to write a sequel or make a story into a serial then a lot of changes would have to happen. I have started a sequel in the past, but I doubt that people would have enjoyed it, because it was so different than the original. That is how I feel sequels should be though, if you created a story and completed it, any story involving those characters should be different with different themes and obstacles for the characters to overcome. The story I mean is, "Are You Christian," and the story ended on pretty happy terms. The sequel would then have to be - for me to have the motivation to write it - darker with new themes. It would no longer be a coming out story, so I would have to come up with something else. I was going with drug abuse and depression as main themes and I doubted my readers would want to see that huge of a transformation for the characters that would be involved.


Also motivation and time. Most of my stand alone stories are about High School students maneuvering around coming out and being younger. I don't really have the motivation to do those kinds of stories anymore so stories that involve those characters here are either still going to be in high school or freshly out, wouldn't really be strong motivation for me.


I feel that my current style of romances don't translate well to sequels overall as well. So I just don't work on making the attempt.


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@AC Benus

What is it about sonnets as a form that keeps on inspiring you?


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Thanks for the question. This gave me pause when I first read it. To me, various poetic forms are just tools. So to translate this question to another discipline, would you ask a carpenter what it is about a hammer that keeps inspiring him? He may have a long personal history with a certain hammer, and knows he can reply on it, but the tool itself is just something he calls on to build an end-result.


More precisely, Sonnets are a key to me to unlock the universe. Basho had such a key with Haiku and Haibun. Villion’s was the Ballade. The discipline required to master these forms opens up the freedom to say any and everything.


A quote I leaned as a teenager from an old Night Court re-run sums up this artistic principle best. “Mastery appears in limitation of form, and order alone can give us freedom.”


And none of us should wrestle in disagreement with the likes of Goethe       


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A short installment this month; there’ll be a longer one in September. But I need questions for after. If you want to get to know ANY author a bit better, this is your chance. I forward the questions anonymously so if you’re shy, I’ll protect you. LOL

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These are two @Comicality and @Krista contrasting opposites to the question of sequels. It's easy to see how writing inspired by comics would lead to series and sequels. Comics are all about the hero and what adventures endlessly befall him. Comics go on forever and never end. By contrast when @Krista has written a story set around the age of adolescence and dealing with coming out, it's complete in itself and doesn't necessarily lead to a sequel. I say necessarily, because I have read a story or stories (I forget the author) about first love, coming out, which easily lead into a second book where the young lovers ran away to be together. So it very much depends whether a story is completely resolved or if there is scope to continue, but with a new adventure and problems. 

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