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Guest Blog:The Genesis of Inspiration by Gary Ballard

November 24, 2009

Today, I am featuring a Guest post by Gary Ballard the author of   Under the Amoral Bridge (The Bridge Chronicles), a self published debut novel that was originally published in a serialized format on his blog. Gary contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading his book, so I hopped on over to his blog (click here to or on the picture of the cover to check it out) and it sounded very interesting to me. I told Gary to  send it to me and the I asked if he’d like to do a guest post. That is what led us to where we are today.

I am still reading Under the Amoral Bridge right now, but I can honestly tell you that I am really enjoying it. It is the first Cyberpunk book I have ever read and if this is an example of Cyberpunk then I will be reading more in this genre. I will, of course be doing a complete review but here’s a quick mini-review based upon where I am right now:

I love Artemis Bridge, the main character and obviously the namesake of the book. In the introduction Gary says Bridge is ‘…a complete bastard, someone I could never sympathize with and could never like.’ I disagree with Gary’s assessment of Bridge, while there is no doubt that he is a bastard, there is also something I can’t quite put my finger on that makes him endearing to me. Its not your average ‘bad-boy’ lust either – its something deeper than that. Hopefully by the time I do the full review I will have identified exactly what it is about Bridge. When I read that part of the intro about him never being able to like Bridge I was wondering to myself why an author would choose to write an entire book around a character they didn’t like. Gary had also said that Bridge was a fun character to write and now that I have read a little more than half of the book I get it because, he is not only a fun character but also an intriguing and multi-layered character. As the book progresses its like peeling back the layers of an onion as you get to know Bridge. The world building is very good and the supporting characters are an absolute trip. Gary’s prose is at times absolutely mesmerizing. The only thing that has bothered me a bit so far is that I felt a like a bit to much was given way in the beginning over the book in respect to how Bridge became who he is and the key to why the book title is Under the Amoral Bridge – but that may be because of the format it was originally published in or there may be another reason I will find once I get to the end of the book. It in no way is enough of a reason not to read the book. I would definitely recommend this book right now, even if I am not happy with the ending (which I don’t know yet), because I am enjoying Artemis Bridge and Gary’s writing style that much.

(P.S. Yes, I know there would be no horror genere if everyone wrote MC’s that the personally would be friends with. But I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.) You can pick up Gary’s book at any of the following places:

Backcover Blurb:

Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city’s most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. This taut futuristic thriller is the debut novel by Gary A. Ballard, a rising new talent in the cyberpunk genre. The trade paperback edition includes the previously unpublished short story “Feeding Autonomy.”

Here’s the book Trailer:

And now the reason I gathered  you all here…

Today’s Guest Post:

The Genesis of Inspiration by Gary Ballard

Writers are always asked to name their influences, the specific or general inspirations that caused them to put pen to paper, fingers to typewriter keys and ephemeral thoughts to concrete words. I could write entire novels about the things that have influenced me. Growing up in the last ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, I come from a generation whose outlook was shaped by a curious amalgam of television, film, music and books. Inundated with visual and aural stimuli from music videos, the cross-pollination of movies derived from books complete with soundtracks that were made specifically for the movie and fed back to the audience through music television in some incestuous circular orgy of media saturation fed my imagination in unexpected ways. As a result, the inspiration for my first foray into writing cannot be linked to one source but many.

It would all have to start with my mother. Some of my oldest memories are reading memories: summer reading programs at the Meridian, MS public library with Curious George books; the first comic book I remember owning, a Batman comic from the Dark Detective mold so well presented by the artist Jim Aparo; stacks of hardback Hardy Boy mysteries. All of these disparate sources were a result of the love of reading instilled in me by my mother. During my elementary school years, she worked and went to school, eventually becoming a math teacher when I was nine. I’ve probably never told her how much I respected the difficulty she must have endured to get that degree. Raising three kids while working full-time is hard enough; earning a degree at the same time would be enough to drive anyone batty. But through all of that, she managed it and managed to instill a passion for reading in me. I took to the lesson with fervor. I do not remember a time that I was not reading something, often two books at a time, and it continues to this day.

Another library provided my second inspiration in the form of J.R.R. Tolkien. My school library had the most gorgeous edition of The Hobbit, complete with the lush illustrations that have always made Tolkien’s work come to life. At the age of 11, I discovered this fantasy world, a place and time so far removed from my own mundane, rural existence. I was hooked. One year later, I discovered the Lord of the Rings trilogy at the community college library where my mother pursued her post-graduate work. Digesting those books at the age of 12 was tough, but worthwhile. Not only did reading books with that density of language stretch my mind to the point that I was able to read Shakespeare right alongside it, but it fueled an interest in fantasy fiction that led me inexorably to the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

The final piece of the inspiration pie was a movie, or more specifically, the late-night B movies shown on the weekends after one of my favorite shows, The Avengers. In particular, the horribly cheesy movie Hawk the Slayer , which starred a typically overacting Jack Palance as the heavy. Make no mistake, the movie is bad. It’s B movie hack and slash fantasy at its best and worst, but for an 11-year old that has been introduced to the world of Tolkien’s Hobbit, it is manna from heaven. Sword battles, magic, elves, dwarves, it was glorious. And like Tolkien, it led me to Dungeons & Dragons and role-playing games. Role-playing games are the perfect arena for an imaginative mind, providing the structure for that imagination to create characters, situations and worlds in free-form, improvisational narratives. Running a role-playing campaign is worth a thousand writer’s workshops, regardless of how derivative the setting.

All of these things combined in my young mind to fuel my first attempts at writing. The stories were awful, of course, derivative hack and slash fantasy tales that might as well have been the flavor fiction found in the margins of the D&D rulebook. But the pulsating hum of that electric typewriter stashed in the laundry room gave me an electric charge. Those first stories morphed into other stories in other genres, each a derivative of whatever preoccupied me at the time. From fantasy, I moved to action adventure in the mold of Don Pendelton’s Executioner, horror copied from Stephen King, heavy metal songs and beat poetry and eventually the cyberpunk literature of my first published novel, itself derived from the setting of my own role-playing game. Those imaginary worlds of role-playing, created to interact with the worlds of movies and TV and books that I was so fascinated with, and the love of reading that led me to those worlds in the first place, those are the genesis of my inspiration.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Place’s you can pick up your very own copy of  Under the Amoral Bridge:

Createspace – where they are having a Sale from now through December 1st and you can get 25% off of Under the Amoral Bridge, just click the link and at check out use the coupon code:  HC86CZSY

Amazon

Plus there is an E-version that is available at:

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Here are some full reviews for your reading pleasure:

GoodReads

Fantasy Book Critics

Amazon Review

One last thing….

Giveaway! (Ends Sunday, 11/29/09)

Answer the following question for a chance to win a copy of Under the Amoral Bridge:

What inspires you? If you are a writer you can talk about what inspires your writing. For everybody else (and writers too if you don’t want to talk about your writing) tell me what inspires you in your everyday life. Something that motives you or just makes your day – even just an experience that happened just when you needed it. If you happen to be feeling under-inspired right now the you can just comment on something in Gary’s guest post – extra entry if you do both! 😉

Breakdown:

+1 entry if you answer my question or comment on something in Gary’s Post

+2 entries if you answer question & comment something in Gary’s Post

+2 if you re-tweet this post & contest

+2 if you link to it on your blog

+2  if you subscribe to the email new email update option

+2 if you are already a follower of my blog

+3  if you become a new follower of me on Twitter (@bookobsessedGrl)

+3 if you become a new follower of Gary on Twitter (@HaemishM)

+ 4 if you subscribe to Gary’s Blog (linked above by clicking on book cover)

Please let me know in your link if you would like the paperback version or the e-version  and leave either an email address or twitter user-id so I can contact the winner. Contest is open world-wide but if you are outside the U.S. you are only eligible for the e-version.

Contest ends: Sunday, November 29, 2009 at Noon

P.S. You still have a chance to win a copy of Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre also until Noon tomorrow, November 24, 2009 at Noon click here to enter if you haven’t already.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free by the author for review purposes, however none of my reviews are given positive feedback unless they deserve the positive feedback. I am honest in my reviewing practices. The giveaway copy will not be the one I was sent by the author it will be purchased with my own money.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 01:57

    Good question and great contest!!! Hmm what inspires me..I would have to say as a blogger it would be other bloggers and wonderful twitter friends. If I don’t snort laugh at least once a day then I know I’ve been away from twitter too long.

    Great post – PS love the new look!

  2. November 24, 2009 01:57

    Hey, Heather, thanks for your mini-review. I hope you are feeling better.

    My comment about not liking the character of Bridge is simple – if he were a real person, I’d probably hate him. At first, you love the guy, because he’s witty, he’s funny, he’s a bit of the life of the party. But the more you get to know him, the closer you get to him, you begin to see him for what he really is. He’s a liar, a manipulator, a narcissist and an asshole. He’s toxic because of how he inspires others to do things they shouldn’t be doing, and he can convince them that they are doing it for themselves instead of for him. As the series goes on, you’ll see more of the damage he does to the people around him, mostly through selfishness both deliberate and unconscious. I’m writing the third novel now (the second is complete on the web site and due for release in paperback in February) and the consequences of being around him will become painfully apparent.

    But he is so interesting to write, because I’m constantly thinking of things that happen to him and around him and I know exactly what he’s done to cause them.

  3. November 24, 2009 01:57

    What inspires my novel ideas is usually an article in a magazine or newspaper. That leads to me asking why would someone do that? What is their deep belief that would drive them to that action? And it all starts to build. Well, that a glass of good red wine and dark chocolate.

  4. November 25, 2009 01:57

    Hey you two!
    What inspires me? Tough question. I think it always depends. Sometimes is just some music I listen to or BF telling me some stupid fact! As KC said other bloggers and twitter are really inspiring cuz so many different opinions clash together. Love that most about both! And I forgot my kitty.
    BF showed me into the world of fantasy with LotR. Before him I mostly read SF. My hero!
    I follow you both on twitter and tweeted the contest a million times 😉
    I follow your blog and I will subscribe via Email too(perhaps better than forcing you to reply me your posts on twitter LOL). Will take a look at Gary’s blog now.
    Loved the post! Have a great week you two!
    Hugs,
    Susi

  5. November 25, 2009 01:57

    I’ve never heard of cyber-punk before, but this sounds like an interesting read!

  6. November 25, 2009 01:57

    Wow – lovin this post. “Deeper than bad boy lust” – very interesting.

    what inspires me – authors. period. They are amazing.

  7. November 25, 2009 01:57

    Sublime landscapes inspire me. The scale of the Scottish Highlands, the Arabian Peninsula or the Himalayas change the way I see. But people inspire me most, and especially people who are thoughtful in what they do and say. If they can do this with verbal or written economy then I’m really inspired!

  8. Bailey permalink
    November 26, 2009 01:57

    I’m inspired by doing things -being active. That doesn’t necessarily mean exercise or getting outside or even getting away from my computer. Finding something interesting almost always sparks an idea of some kind. I like to do and read as many things as I can every day, since all of those strange little momentary activities usually add up to a good idea at some point. Playing chess and chasing my cat around the house are two of the activities that really get me going -chess because it takes my focus away from everything else and I enter a kind of lucid trance state when I play. Chasing my cat around gets me laughing and gets my blood pumping faster, which is ideal for thinking out loud and getting excited about whatever idea I’m mulling over at the time.

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