Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview: Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler, Pt. 2

Aaaaand, we're back.  Aleksandr Voinov and Rhianon Etzweiler, authors of the awesome that is Dark Edge of Honor, are hanging at mah Place, letting me bombard them with questions. This time, less book, more them.

That right there... makes my day. Don't forget to check out the rest of the special Dark Edge of Honor coolness they've been sharing, it's totally worth checking out.  I'll link them all at the end and they're still hanging out on the sidebar as well. Now, onward to... Interview, part 2.

Amara: So tell me guys, what  made you want to become a writer?

Aleks: I've always been a writer—I've always made up stories for other people. It never occurred to me to be or do anything else. The main thing was to find a way to not live under a bridge while I write, but my real career is writing and books.

Rhi: Writing is my passion, an artistic outlet, my means of venting and expression. What made me want to become an author? I still don’t consider myself one, to be honest. I’m just telling the stories in my head. Sometimes I feel like a court transcriber, sitting there pecking away furiously while these people’s lives play out around me. I’ve little control over what happens—much like a photojournalist embedded in a combat zone. You duck, and click, and stare a whole lot.

Amara: *nods* Hm. *leans in and whispers* I consider you one. *winks* What do you do on an average day?

Aleks: Work. I'm an editor in an investment bank, so I edit. In quiet periods, I read or write or write feedback emails (my boss doesn't mind) or edit my own stuff. In my free time, I'm currently starting my own business, and I write. On the weekends, I write, read, and edit. I'm quite boring. I'm also a workaholic and get a kick out of finishing stuff.

Rhi: I usually spend my mornings checking emails and doing promo work. Keeping up a constant stream of #soldierporn photos in the tumblr, and a weekly update of gay soldierporn links on my website takes some research. Sometimes I’ll get some writing in, but usually if I do it’s a blog entry. On the days I work, I take a notebook with me and scribble scenes on my lunch break. When I get home, I’m usually up for an hour or two, transcribing my notes into the computer while things are fresh. I try to keep up with these, because if I don’t then I spend my weekends catching up on transcribing and don’t get any new writing done.
That’s pretty much my schedule though—pretty boring ain’t it?

Amara: Boring? *chuckles* Nah. Not to me. Um… can I have that notebook? Yeah, probably not huh… yeah, moving on.  Do you guys have any writing rituals? Special place, music, anything like that?

Aleks: When we bought our house last year, I got the perfect study (and a library), so that's where I work, looking out into the garden. I tend to write with music – anything loud and rhythmic will do, but I listen to everything from R'nB to rap to classical music to industrial, heavy metal and reggaeton.

Amara: Oooo, study and a library overlooking the garden? Sounds wonderful.  What about you Rhi?

Rhi: Each muse and story tends to have one or two songs that really resonate with it, but beyond that I tend to use trance music for writing. It helps me block out my surroundings and the general lack of lyrics lets the words in my head flow without interruption. When we were doing tandem writing sessions for DEoH, I had Pandora’s Trance genre station going almost constantly. A number of the songs in the soundtrack playlist came from there.

Amara: *nods* Cool. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Aleks: That changes by mood and whatever I'm currently researching. Right now, I'd love to interview a high-ranking Templar officer about some of their policies, or maybe one of the kings and queens of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There are a few things I'm hazy on in my research, and having a real witness there could be brilliant.

Amara: Oh, I want to meet them too! That would rock. Rhi?

Rhi: Yeah, what he said. J At the moment, I would love to meet international runway model Andrej Pejic. Just to take some pictures of him, although I imagine any length of conversation we had would likely spark another story. And wouldn’t that be interesting…

Amara: Indeed it would.  Most fun you’ve ever had… what were you doing/what was it?

Aleks: Hitting the flow is probably one of the best feelings in the world. When the words are just coming so hard and fast you can barely type them fast enough and next morning you read them again and they are just perfect? That's a huge thrill. But I have to say, starting my own business is currently the reason for a lot of maniacal laughter, jokes and fun. I just enjoy making things. I also enjoy meeting people you click with. Those things make me happy.

Rhi: Does driving an M1A1-Abrams count? Also, making my flying instructor puke. Being so deep in military culture, I had some unique experiences as a teen. Nowadays, though, I get my greatest thrills by crafting stories that keep a reader guessing. Edge of the seat tension is great, but it’s not the sole aspect I aim for—what I ultimately aspire to create are stories that you don’t want to put down because you want to find out what happens next and what you’re missing if you stop. DEoH presents one facet of that, but I’m hoping to explore some different ones in the near future, with some unrelated works.

Amara: What’s your favorite book?

Aleks: “Light in August” by William Faulkner. In the m/m genre, it's “Angels of the Deep” by Kirby Crow. In the fantasy genre, it's A.M. Tuomala's "Erekos". In the thriller genre, it's an unpublished novel by Jordan Taylor.

Rhi: I have many, and it’s difficult to rank one above another because I like them for different reasons. One of my favorite fantasy novels is “A Companion to Wolves” by Susan Monette and Elizabeth Bear. My favorite science fiction is “Black on Black” by K.D. Wentworth.

Amara: If you could be any fictional character, who would you be, and why?

Aleks: I'd probably end up as Ozymandias from "Watchmen" – the super-smart, super-rich super-villain. He's got money, he has power, he's brilliant, smart, and he's a visionary. Could be fun.

Rhi: Mystique, from the X-Men movies, because she can be anyone, regardless of gender, age, or race. And the blue skin-scales are really cool.

Amara: Ha. Cool. Favorite song?

Aleks: Changes so fast. I've had a real fixation on Jessie J's "Do it like a Dude" recently. Another one was "The Scorpion" by Megadeth. There's a whole pile of old Judas Priest songs, stuff like "The Sentinel" or "Blood Red Skies".

Rhi: Like with books, I have many. But “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Candlebright” by Stevie Nicks are my personal favorites.

Amara: Awesome. I love ALL of those too.  

If you came with a warning label… what would it be?

Aleks: Warning – too clever for his own good and knows it. (Also: Much nicer when not bragging and smug.)

Rhi: A warning label would take all the fun out of it, I think.

Amara: Ha! Agreed. So, big question of the day, the one we all want to know.  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

Aleks: I don't believe they sell them here. How many peanuts in a Snickers bar?

Rhi: *crunch* That’s okay, Aleks, they don’t sell kindereggs over here…

Amara: *laughs* There are 16 peanuts in a Snickers bar *sticks tongue out at Aleks* and… what’s a kinderegg? *shakes head* Nevermind.

Thanks guys for coming to hang out and let me bombard you with all my questions. And thanks so vera much for all the coolness you've shared with my little Place here.  You rock.  Congrats again on your awesome book. *whispers* #1 on Carina's Most Popular list... you rocked it tough

Dark Edge of Honor extra coolness:
Interview with Aleks and Rhi part 2

Still to come...
Special Mike vignette #3
Special character/book pics


Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London where, after four years in financial journalism, he is now making his living as an editor at an investment bank, freelance writer and creative writing teacher.  At 35 years of age, Voinov has written about 13 novels and commercially published five with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov has set his sights now on contemporary and historical erotic gay novels. He published his non-commercial work as Vashtan.

You can find Aleksandr online at his... 

Rhianon Etzweiler spent her formative years steeped in military culture, and many of her writing inspirations bear that mark – with a definitive twist. Her main genres are science fiction and fantasy, but she enjoys spicing things up with a speculative mixture that sometimes defies an easy label. Next to Elizabeth Moon and Meredith Ann Pierce, she still counts Jane’s Defenseand Popular Science among her influences. “I used to read these articles about cutting edge technology and science, and wonder what impact it would have on society and culture. How it would change us.” 

Her biggest failing is the inability to write a ‘short’ story – they may begin that way, but they rarely stay small.  “It’s like asking someone to tell you about their life,” Rhi says of her muses. “Like any real person, once you get them talking, it’s unlikely they’ll shut up any time soon.”

You can find Rhianon online at her...


  1. Thanks for coming and sharing that with us. I love when authors make book recommendations.

  2. Hiya Alex. Thanks for coming by. :) I always like that too, I've actually got a couple of those on my TRB pile. Cant wait to check 'em out. :)

    Hope you have a good day darlin'.

  3. Ok, one thing - you don't know what's a kinderegg?!? o.o LOL! It's the best thing a kid can get! XD

    Wonderful interview, as always. :)



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