Bruno Martins Soares
1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.
I’m working on a psychological thriller/horror story called INSIGHT. For once, it’s a stand-alone, a small book, but will probably be one of the best things I ever wrote. Emotional and strong. I don’t have the pitch fine-tuned yet, but it will be something like this: ‘Strange things begin to happen to Matt, a recent widower: his 10-year-old son develops supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of events of supernatural and/or sci-fi origin. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family.’
2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.
It’s a two-part post-apocalyptic novel with a few twists. It’s called LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING. The first volume is out now and the second will come before the end of the year. The title is purposefully deceiving – Laura is a little girl fleeing in the middle of the chaos that emerges after a deadly pandemic; but the Shadow King is not a supernatural being. It’s JJ ‘King’ Berger, the lieutenant leading the Shadow Team, a multinational SF team operating in devastated Southern Portugal and Spain. An invading army has come from the East and is pursuing Laura and her mother, who are very special people (won’t tell you why, but it involves superpowers). Berger and his team will have to face all kinds of trouble to save them.
3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) Hate re-writing. I sometimes take a long time preparing and writing, just so I have to do the least re-writing possible. In the past, I used to avoid it all that I could, but now I accept it as part of the process, still, it annoys me to have to do it. So I prepare and prepare, plan, structure, go through the scenes over and over, before I write. Which is sometimes frustrating. Still, I usually don’t have to re-write that much.
4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? Dialogues. Love dialogues. I love action scenes and when I get in the rhythm, I really drool over them. But if I must choose just one, dialogues are the thing. I love playing with the relationships and the dynamics between the characters.
5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)Ooo! I wish you had asked this one before the previous question!! I would definitely steal George R.R. Martin’s plot talent. The way the guy foreshadows and carefully grooms you over time and then completely destroys you or sends you to the sky is awesome! I love playing with details and create plotlines and storylines that will surprise you later, as they cross and cross. I love it when I can surprise my readers with clever solutions, but Martin is way better than I am. I’d love to have his talent for the thing.
6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? Oh, I really can’t tell you that. Suffice to say that if he keeps the faith in me, he’ll be alright.
7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?
Probably the fate of the world. But I would win the game with Geralt of Rivia. He’s just too honest. And JJ Berger, the Shadow King, is simply folding most of the time – he keeps playing, but he doesn’t care enough – as long as Laura is okay, he’s okay.
8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)
You usually can’t avoid them, but be ready for the following phenomena: 1) The Emotional Link – if you’re doing the right things, you’re really involved with your characters; and if you are putting them through horrible things, you will feel it in your bones. So be ready to suffer. 2) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Syndrome – If you’re doing things right, your characters will probably want to follow their own ways from time to time. If your characters are realistic enough, they’ll develop a personality. That will get you and your story in trouble. Get used to that and work around it. 3) The Caesura Effect – for years I didn’t know if it was a real thing, but more and more authors tell me it is. I call it the Caesura Effect. It happens when you’re approaching the end of your novel. It becomes harder and harder to finish, to just sit down and write. It’s like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But don’t panic. Finish the damn thing. If you have to re-write the last 50 pages, you’ll have time to do that later. But don’t stop.
9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. Sure. I was born, raised and live in Lisbon, Portugal. If you don’t know it, you have to come by. I think it’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful and friendly countries in the world and the food is one of the greatest culinary secrets you’ll find. I have many stories in my mind, many of which happen here. LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING happens in the Madeira Island, the Porto Santo Island, Lisbon, and Alentejo. All beautiful places to visit. So, here’s my challenge: pick up my book, get on a plane and check out those places. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised.