Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Writer's Life Chats With Hank Quense Author of the Fantasy Novel Falstaff's Big Gamble




Award-winning author Hank Quense lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat.  They have two daughters and five grandchildren.  He writes humorous fantasy and scifi stories.  On occasion, he also writes an article on fiction writing or book marketing but says that writing nonfiction is like work while writing fiction is fun.  A member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, he refuses to write serious genre fiction saying there is enough of that on the front page of any daily newspaper and on the evening TV news.


Welcome to The Writer's Life, Hank.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
 
A: When I was 50, I decided I needed to decide what to do for a second career since it was only a matter of time until my corporation told me to take a hike.  I decided I wanted to write fiction.  I began writing stories, mostly on the bus during my morning commute.  A few of my early stories received encouraging rejections, so when the corporation offered a lucrative buyout offer, I took it and I’ve never regretted it.  That was in early 1996 and I’ve been writing ever since.  Altogether, I have a dozen books published, over fifty published short stories and a number of non-fiction articles, all on fiction writing.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: I love rewriting Shakespeare's plays and ancient myths and legends.  Falstaff's Big Gamble happens to take that love of rewriting to extremes.  Here is the 'official' book blurb:
This novel is Shakespeare's Worst Nightmare. It takes two of the Bard's most famous characters, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them in Gundarland.  There, Hamlet becomes a dwarf and Othello a dark elf. If that isn't bad enough, these two tragedies are now comedies with Falstaff, Shakespeare's most popular rogue, thrown in as a bonus.
Both Hamlet and Othello are plagued by the scheming Falstaff, who embezzles money from Othello.  After Hamlet becomes king (with help from Falstaff) the rogue becomes the dark nemesis behind the throne.

Never read Shakespeare?  Not a problem.  No knowledge of Shakespeare's plays is required to enjoy this romp through the Guandarlandian countryside. 


What kind of research was involved in writing Falstaff’s Big Gamble?

A: I read synopses of Shakespeare's plays, read up on the characters and bought a copy of Reduced Shakespeare by Martin and Tichenor.  I highly recommend that book

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

A: It's been a struggle at times, but I can't say if that is unusual or if it is normal.  Probably, it's equal to accomplishing anything else in life.  it wasn't all that easy, but what is?

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

A: The book was published by Strange World Publishing and it took about six months to get it out the door.  The ebook versions became available on September 1 and the print version a month later.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: I don't have an agent and I've never had one.  When some early reviews raved about the Falstaff book, I decided to try for an agent (once again).  I contacted more than a dozen via email.  I got one "No" within minutes, much too fast for the agent's company to have read the material.  One agent requested a sample then rejected it and the others never bothered to reply.  Not even a "Thanks, but no thanks" message.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A: At the moment, I have a novella almost completed and extensive story designs on another novella and three novels.  So many stories, so little time.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A: In my office, a former bedroom for one of my daughters.  Since I got an IPad, I also do a lot of work sitting in a recliner.  That's where I'm writing this material.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A: I think I'd buy full page ads in the New York Times Book Review Section

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

A: Without self-promotion, there is no promotion. I use the usual social media stuff, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin.  In the last year, I decided I spend too much time in my office  talking to imaginary characters, so I developed presentations on fiction writing and self-publishing.  I've given these in schools, libraries and cafes.  It improves my name recognition, gets me talking to 'real' people and sells some books.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

 A: Despite the stuff you see on the web, self-publishing a book is not easy. It's a complex undertaking that unfolds over a period of several months.  I believe a lot of potential authors approach self-publishing without a clear idea of the process or the costs involved.  Many of them also don't understand that publishing a book, no matter how it was done, means the author is now the marketing manager and the sales manager for that book. That is daunting assignment.
I never faltered.  The phrase "too stupid to learn" comes to mind, doesn't it?


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

A: Don't give up.  It may seem like a mountain that is too high to climb, but it isn't.  It is high, but not all that high. Once you get part way up, it gets easier.

Thank you for your interview, hank. I wish you much success!

A: I enjoyed being here.  The questions were the type that made me think and come up with a unique response.  I couldn't just copy and paste a stock answer here and I have a lot of those stock answers on file.







About Hank Quense
Award-winning author Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and sci-fi stories. His motto is fantasy and sci-fi stories told with humor and satire. He has over forty published short stories and a number of nonfiction articles. On occasion, he also writes an article on fiction writing or book marketing but says that writing nonfiction is like work while writing fiction is fun. He refuses to write serious genre fiction saying there is enough of that on the front page of any daily newspaper and on the evening TV news.  Hank lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Hank’s previous works include Zaftan Enterprises, Zaftan Miscreants and Tales From Gundarland, a collection of fantasy stories.  Readers Favorite awarded the book a medal and EPIC designated it a finalist in its 2011 competition.  His Fool’s Gold is a retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth and Tunnel Vision is a collection of twenty previously published short stories.  Build a Better Story is a book of advice for fiction writers.
He has a number of links where you can follow his work and his occasional rants:


Strange Worlds website:http://strangeworldsonline.com

Follow him on twitter: http://twitter.com/hanque99


Purchase Falstaff’s Big Gamble in paperback or kindle format at Amazon

About Falstaff’s Big Gamble

This novel is Shakespeare's Worst Nightmare. 
It takes two of the Bard's most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them in Gundarland.  There, Hamlet becomes a dwarf and Othello a dark elf and Iago and his wife, Emilia, are trolls.
If that isn't bad enough, these two tragedies are now comedies with Falstaff, Shakespeare's most popular rogue, thrown in as a bonus.
Both Hamlet and Othello are plagued by the scheming Falstaff, who embezzles money from Othello.  After Hamlet becomes king (with help from Falstaff) the rogue becomes the dark nemesis behind throne.

Purchase Falstaff’s Big Gamble in paperback or kindle format at Amazon

About The Strange Worlds of Hank Quense

Hank Quense has written about the Strange Worlds that he has developed as a background to many of the books he has written. One of these worlds is called Gundarland, a planet inhabited by humans and fantasy creatures. The second is Zaftan 31B, home world of the alien race known as Zaftans. The books contain information on culture, races, religion, politics and other topics. His latest book in this series is Zaftan Enterprises.
Strange Worlds website:http://strangeworldsonline.com

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