Monday, 17 February 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - SA Check

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

S.A. Check is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author.  As a kid, he grew up on comic books, heroes and villains, conflict and cliffhangers.  He read which-way books, science fiction and fantasy series, and classic horror fiction.  While earning his degree in English / Writing from Penn State University, he was exposed to poetry and prose, Shakespeare and Albee, anthologies and world lit. 
Today he lives with his E.R. nurse wife and tween daughter in Southwestern Pennsylvania and enjoys all the small dramas that come down the path.  He’s active on several internet writing sites, an active member of Pennwriters author group, and contributed articles to local newspapers.  His short story, Tangled Lines, appeared in the charity anthology, Hazard Yet Forward, and he achieved his first published novel, Welcome to GreenGrass with Bedlam Press, an imprint for Necro Publications, the first of what he hopes are many tall tales of his to be told.
Visit his author profile over at, his blog at, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, or shoot him a tweet @S_A_Check.

Tell us about Welcome to GreenGrass:

Welcome To GreenGrass is basically a story of loss and how people react to it.  It centers on family and friendships and the how the sun still rises even if not the star we’re expecting.  The relationships that we form and the domes we construct around ourselves in shaping our personal existences.  It’s only when we look outside of ourselves, whether by choice or circumstance, do we find that personal perceptions are deceiving and one man’s prison is another’s home.  The story focuses on the intrinsic values that everyone battles to define in their lives and how each action taken reverberates across society.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

Simple.  This was the type of story that I would want to read.  I hope GreenGrass falls into the same genre classifications as the authors I grew up reading and who influenced my writing style and tastes.  It’s science fiction fantasy through and through and is a blend of so many of the books that have influenced me over the years.  I started writing the book years ago and it has drifted and morphed in a few different directions since then.  Some of the characters have been crawling around in my head since I was a teenager and finally made their way to the page.  The setting for the novel really allowed me to throw a lot of creative touches to the story while exploring different sections of the city and the whole process has been nothing short of a blast to create.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

Instead of a snippet, I thought I’d share the GreenGrass Newbie Survival Guide.  Enjoy!

What if you saw a door while heading to that final white light?  Would you take it?  What if you didn’t have a choice?
Well, at least you made it this far, so you’re ahead of the curve.  Most Newbies never even make it here.  Don’t get too excited.  We put together the ten most important rules to help keep you alive.  Read them, follow them, and hope for the best!
1)  Stay inside the human quarter!  We’re used as cheap labor for the enchanters and technologists.  Be careful or you’ll end up as a potion tester or spare parts for a cyber- enhancement.
2)  Maybe you were a heart surgeon, a computer programmer, or dealt with high finance back home.  Well, that’s all over.  The skills you worked a lifetime to achieve don’t mean squat here.  Trade in that micro-processor for a shovel and start forming the calluses you’ll need to survive here.
3)  Don’t mess with the dome!  You can’t puncture, tear, scratch, drill, burn, dig, climb, ram, or break it.  Don’t you think we’ve already tried that?  The only thing you’ll get is depressed and do you really need a mental illness added to your growing list of problems?
4)  There is no such thing as a Kreelog!  It’s a Newbie joke!  Don’t go into the enchanted woods looking for one.  Magic Kreelog nuggets do not give you special powers!
5)  We have no formal currency here.  The system is barter and trade.  Swapping gem stones for goods is the norm.  Learn the difference between glass and the real thing or Otot the toad trader will have a field day with you in the market.
6)  We have several recognized holidays here but only five major ones you need to know:  Founder’s Day, Red Rise (when the twin moons align with the sun), Peace Between Us Day (annual enchanter and techno summit), Harvest Jubilee, and finally Mazopleneticalamus (yeah, we just slapped a bunch of holidays together).
7)  We’ll feed you for the first week or so and then you’re on your own.  Start a garden or at the very least buy locally for the first few cycles (that’s weeks to you).  Not all food here agrees with our digestive tracks.
8)  If you can’t resist the urge to explore, and we strongly suggest that you do, at least stay off the streets.  Hit the human is a popular pastime with GreenGrass motorists and ending up as road kill just sucks.  If you need to get somewhere fast, try the hopper service.  They’ll talk your ear off but at least you’ll get there in one piece.
9)  There are over forty-three spoken languages here, not counting the slang.  Universal translators are all over but some things still do not translate well.  Try to avoid using spaghetti in casual conversation and definitely don’t use shenanigans – it won’t be pretty.
10) We run a twenty-eight hour day.  Here’s a quick breakdown.  Mornings are rises, evenings are settings, a week is a cycle, a month is a rotation, and a year is an annual.  Time moves slow here but get used to it, it’s all you have left.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

There really is no specific process for me with character creation.  It’s kinda natural and they could originate from any of those three.  Traveller’s personality came long before he had a name or look but Talyn and Bonz were probably first defined by how I pictured them.  I don’t name my characters until later in the process and that name may change multiple times before it’s done 
Any tips for aspiring authors?:

My favorite writing mantra is that you can never fail if you never quit.  It’s a pretty simple process that has worked well for me over the years.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy by any means and you have to enjoy what you’re doing and be patient.  Make friends along the way and truly enjoy the path every bit as much as the destination because it’s there in the stops and wrong turns and dead ends that you pick up the knick knacks and experience that you need when you finally arrive. Whether you get there on the expressway, the scenic route, or sometimes it feels the road takes you through parts unknown, remember we’re all following the same lines.

Questions for fun:
What super-power would you choose?:

Super-fast typing skills!  I’d like to be able to churn out a complete novel in a couple hours.  My head is filled with them but finding the time to get it  out and on paper is always the challenge.  There’s a lot of cool technology out there to help make the creative process smoother than it’s ever been but they would all pale in comparison to … the Typist! (Okay, the name definitely needs some work).
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
1)      Endless supply of raspberry filled donuts
2)      Probably gonna need a lot of napkins
3)      Glass of milk

Coffee, tea or wine?:
Every few years I think my taste buds may have reached that magical milestone of maturity that I’ll find coffee appealing.  That hasn’t happened yet.  It’s awful.  I don’t like tea and haven’t had a glass of wine in years – so I’ll reference you to the previous questions answer 3 on this one.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):

I don’t know about one favorite but there are quite a few that I hold in high regard.  My favorite sci fi / fantasy series?  Robert Asprin’s Myth series will always hold a special place for me in my reading life and really was the first series that I literally couldn’t wait for the next installment of to come out.  In other genres, I’ve read a lot of Dean Koontz and my favorite from him has always been Life Expectancy.

Favourite genre and why?:

Really, I love books that mix genres.  I grew up on comics and sci-fi, so they are my core reading preferences but I’ve read some really great historical fiction, horror, and essays recently.  Sci-fi and fantasy just open up so many doors to an author, allowing them to disregard convention and follow their imagination and take a look at society from alternate viewpoints.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

I’m hoping for a green light for another project for this year.  A new novel with a new direction and story.  I’d like to release a sequel to GreenGrass soon.  I’m halfway through my first middle grade novel and shopping around a few short stories, so 2014 is shaping up to be a busy year.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Book blurb:

John Traveller never asked to be ripped from his life as a police detective on Earth. He definitely never expected to find himself trapped inside a patchwork alien city of magic and technology, locked down under an impenetrable dome. But when a high profile death rocks the citizenry of GreenGrass, Traveller is forced into the middle of a brewing civil war between the city’s two dominating factions.

Racing beneath the city’s twin red moons, on a search for a cloaked stranger, Traveller and his team consisting of a pacifist demon, a cast out demi-god, and a telepathic female, find themselves drawn into dark alleys and guarded secrets, facing bestial street predators, techno-assassins, amphibious conmen, and a vampire acting troupe. The answers they discover may save their new home or bring the walls of the dome crumbling down around them all.


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