Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

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  • The Modern Ink Society- Featuring Brendan Reichs

    July 9, 2018


    FEATURING GUEST

    Brendan Reichs

    The Dark Deep (with Ally Condie)

    Welcome to the fifteenth session of

    THE MODERN INK SOCIETY!

    at-vintage-typewrite


    “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

    — Eleanor Roosevelt


    Introducing Brendan

    Bio:Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, I attended the public school system as a proud Myers Park Eagle, Carmel Cougar and South Meck Sabre. I had many great teachers along the way, to whom I owe eternal thanks.

    Then I packed up and headed to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. When they finally handed me a degree — a B.A. in History, the most practical of all undergraduate studies — I moved to DC, and three fun years later, enrolled at The George Washington University School of Law in Foggy Bottom. Upon graduating from law school, I felt the siren call of home and returned to Charlotte, dragging my Boston-bred fiancé along with me.

    After three long years working as a litigation attorney, I abandoned the trade to co-write the Virals series (Virals, Seizure, Code, Exposure, Terminal, and Trace Evidence). This is not a decision I regret. I continue to live in Charlotte with my beautiful wife, mischievous son, and beautiful daughter. We also have a playful pit bull mix named Soldier, and two ferocious cats, Fenway and Wrigley. It’s a full house. No complaints. We’ve completed the fifth and final book in the Virals series, Terminal. I really hope you like it. A Virals short story collection, Trace Evidence, released on February 2, 2016, with a brand new story, SPIKE, set after the events of Terminal. Answers await!


    More about my upcoming book!

     


     

    Here’s a little teaser

    When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even ‘cool kid’ Opal -rush to his rescue… only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.

    Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can’t quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they’ve never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.

    As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened… and it knows their wishes and dreams – and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?


    If I had to choose characters from NEMESIS/GENESIS to represent the 4 seasons I would pick: 

    Winter—BLACK SUIT. Because he’s to be this cold hearted killer
    Spring—TACK. Because his hope for Min is eternal.
    Fall—MIN. She’s trying but is surrounded by things falling apart.
    Summer—NOAH. He’s the damage he has and pretending he’s normal and happy.

    Speaking of seasons, the one that best suits my personality would be summer. I’m such an extrovert and I feel like summer is an extrovert season.

    Out of my characters I’d like to be stuck in an elevator mostly with Tack. I was a smart-mouth jackass at that age, just like him. I think if we were stuck in an elevator together, we definitely wouldn’t be bored waiting to be rescued. We could entertain each other. We might even come up with an idea to save ourselves because we’d start to get on each others nerves….it just might not be the best idea.

    Describe you, your books, or characters in 5 words: 

    Brendan:
    will talk your ear off
    hates beets with a passion
    Next: The Darkdeep and Chrysalis

    GENESIS:
    Holy Crap! What just happened?
    Darker, crazier, more mind-bending

    NEMESIS:
    Weird, twisty, bizarre, and frightening

    Dying a lot would suck

    DARKDEEP:
    The Goonies meets Stranger Things

    One person who makes your life better: 

    My wife, Emily. I couldn’t do what I do without her. She definitely holds down the fort while I’m writing and touring. She is by far the better half.

    From where have you recently drawn inspiration?

    Most of my inspiration comes from pop culture:
    Movies like Highlander, The Matrix, and The Goonies
    TV shows like X-Files, Lost, Stranger Things and Scooby Doo
    Books like Lord of the Flies and Alice in Wonderland

    I love making my own twists on common tropes and creating surprises. I’ve always loved sci-fi, fantasy, conspiracy stories, and thrillers. I love getting the chance to write what I’ve always craved to read. I guess the saying is correct I’m definitely writing what I know.

    Flash fiction 7 word story:

    Man finds world inside his naval. Snacks.

    Describe your writing space.

    The most important way to describe my writing space is dead silent. It’s the only way I can focus. I have two children, two dogs, and a cat, so my house can definitely get loud, but I like to keep my office like a tomb. I also keep two pretty important essentials in my office. First would be my six-foot by six-foot white board—this is where I map out every part of a book before I start writing. The second would be my law degree. It reminds me of what I would have to fall back on if I don’t focus on writing. Fear is great motivation.

    Name your dream movie cast? 

    I honestly dont have a dream cast. I know a lot of authors do but, I think if PROJECT NEMESIS was made into a movie I would want unknown actors to play the roles. I want anyone seeing the movie to discover the characters for the first time. I think sometimes  having famous actors in a movie can allow previous roles to impact their current ones. I prefer a blank slate.

    How has writing changed for you in the past year?

    I recently graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Going through this program definitely helped strengthen my skills as a writer. It taught me to address my writing weaknesses and improve, pushing previous boundaries I had avoided before. The program made me a more purposeful and diligent author.

    Three other writers who inspire you…

    Tad Williams, Soman Chainani, and of course Ally Condie, my co-author for THE DARKDEEP.
    With Tad, I always loved epic fantasy and his books were my gateway into the genre. I think what Soman has done with fairy tales is pretty amazing and Ally’s works, like Summerlost, are the best kind of writing for kids.

    What are 4 things you love about your favorite book?

    If we’re talking about an under-appreciated book, then the four things I love about  Denton Little’s Deathdate are how thought-provoking, engrossing, dark, and just plain funny it is. Check that one out for sure. Otherwise I’ll go with my all-time favorite fantasy book,  The Dragonbone Chair. It’s inspiring, remarkable, epic and one hell of an adventure.

    What are our writing goals for next year?

    This fall the amazing Ally Condie and I will release our first co-authored book, THE DARKDEEP, on 10/2/18. It’s a new middle grade series that combines elements of Stranger Things and The Goonies and explores what lurk in the dark corners of our imaginations. Then I’ll be releasing the third and final book in my Project Nemesis series, CHRYSALIS, on 3/5/19, which is even wilder than the previous two. I’ll be sending the Fire Lake kids off in style (and horrible trauma, as always). Fun times ahead!


    Remember, his new book comes out October 2nd 2018 so check it out! Thanks Brendan!!

    This entry was posted in Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society.

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    Linda
    Linda

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.