Title: The Journals of Bob Drifter
Author: M.L.S. Weech
Genre: Paranormal Thriller / Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Bob Drifter is a substitute teacher with a secret. He seems like no more than a polite young man who loves to read and mentor students in his free time. Yet, on the side, Bob takes part in some rather strange extracurricular activities that soon attract the attention of local police. For some reason, people have a way of dying around him.
It’s not his fault. Maybe he just hangs around people who are already dying. Maybe he has bad timing. But Bob knows better. He has a secret mission that must be completed before he ends up in prison or raises the ire of the most frightening individual in the supernatural world. No pressure.
A terrifying new force has set foot into Bob’s life, and a string of ghastly mutilations follows this figure wherever he goes. Now, Bob has to keep his own secrets, protect his students, and fulfill his mentor’s wishes. Welcome to the world of those who watch over the dead.
Interview with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m 35. I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, but I grew up in a small town called Yuma, Arizona. I’ve had a hunger for attention and adventure for as long as I can remember. I grew up, got an AA in elementary education and bounced around a few jobs before finally making the decision to join the Navy in 2005. I enlisted as a Journalist, serving 10 years. I’ve been on three deployments (one at sea, one to Iraq, and one to Afghanistan). Now I teach journalism to Sailors at the Defense Information School, where entry-level Sailors who learn the basic skill sets for their jobs (as mass communication specialists) in the Navy.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I’ve been writing since I was 8. I was watching what is still my favorite movie of all time (Krull). During the movie, my favorite character dies. So I sat there crying, and my biological father made some crass off hand comment. It was something along the line of “If you don’t like it write a better movie.” I didn’t realize he was being sarcastic. I sat down at my dinner table for at least an hour writing a movie describing how my favorite character wasn’t actually crushed to death. I gained a zest for writing then, but it really took off in junior high. I had so much energy and demand for attention I was quite a difficult student. (Ironic since I’m now a teacher.) Turns out, my junior high teacher could only find two ways to keep me from disrupting her whole class. (A skill I was quite proficient at.) She’d take me for walks. Whenever I got too overzealous, she’d put the class on break and walk me down the hall. During one of those walks, I’d mentioned a story I wanted to write. So she gave me permission to write that story whenever I didn’t have anything to do in class. She promised she’d read it. I still have parts of that first book. A lot of where I am as a writer came from people encouraging me to do so (usually just to give me an alternative to doing some foolish thing for attention).
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
My favorite authors are:
Leo Tolstoy. I read “What Men Live By” and decided that should be a fundamental aspect of my own personal code.
Ann McCaffrey. The author of my all-time favorite series “The Dragonriders of Pern.”
Robert Jordan. I read the first book of “Wheel of Time” in about three weeks. Read the rest of the series in about a month. Read the whole series about 14 times so far.
Brandon Sanderson. Discovered him when he took the over “The Wheel of Time.”
I must give some credit to Stephen King. It’s weird. The content of some of his books go places that I don’t necessarily enjoy, but his philosophy on writing (and his book “On Writing”) was fundamental to my approach to the craft.
It took me a while to realize what affect they had on me until I started diagnosing what I enjoy about books. I tend to strive for compelling, proactive characters. I love stories with an implied depth (if not a more obvious one). I like stories with a large scope and opportunities for more stories if I should ever want to go back and visit that world. They also gave me a challenge. They’re all prolific (in that they’ve published A LOT of books), dedicated writers. I’d argue the most drastic affect they’ve had on me is their tenacity. Their consistent efforts to provide a multitude of stories gave me a particular drive that I think isn’t honestly common in writers.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
In some way or form, I write 1,000 words a day. That may mean editing a chapter. That may mean writing additional material or outlining. even research. I’m happiest when I’m actually writing 1,000 words of content, but I understand that writing is a process, and that benchmark has served me well, helping me write six-and-a-half books in just about six years. The math isn’t as direct as I’m implying (I didn’t write one a year exactly), but the results are the same.
As a Sailor, I had to master time management. There’s no such thing as a 9-5 job in the Navy. At least, that certainly wasn’t true for anyone I know. Deployments were all about massive amounts of word broken up by long periods of waiting, affectionately called, “hurry up and wait.” When I first started teaching at DINFOS, I was a Sailor, a teacher, and a writer. I also had another job (called a collateral duty) which required I be available 24-7. I worked anywhere from 10-15 hours a day minimum. Since leaving separating from the Navy, I have a bit more time, but it’s still a challenge to make time to write. Ultimately I have to choose that writing is more important. It’s not the most important thing. Family always comes first. My students are a close (very close) second. From there, I have to work to find time to write and market my writing.
These days I work from 6-6 (including prep and travel time). I get home and spend time with family until about 9 p.m. Then I work on my writing from 9 p.m. until I’m simply too exhausted to do much else. Then I wake up and do it again. Weekends are usually when I get a big burst of work done.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
The Journals of Bob Drifter actually started out as a short story. The relationship between my father (my real dad) and my dog was a spark. Then, while talking to my brother, I’d mentioned how interested I would be if the version of a “mundane” grim reaper ever had to fight the supernatural, super-powerful grim reaper. His immediate reaction was, “You have to write that book.”
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
What I want all of my books to stand out for are memorable, proactive, compelling characters. My personal goal as an author is to stand out for that reason. I hope I achieved this in Journals, but that is for the reader to decide. The storytelling concept I thought was unique is the conflict between two opposing points of view on Death. I’ve seen TV shows where death is just an average guy. I’ve seen shows were Death is all powerful. I hadn’t seen a book that puts one in direct opposition of the other.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
With this book in particular, I’ve had a number of friends comment on how much of “me” is in all of the characters. I think that’s the most true statement I can make. I gave a great deal of myself to each of these characters, blending in other aspects of characters from other books or people I know. I don’t KNOW that there is any one character who has the most aspects of my personality, I think I would have to say my favorite character is Richard, who, if I were forced to pick one character, probably has the most of my personality.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I think one reason I feel so good about this book is the fact that most of my favorite scenes in the book aren’t exactly critical to the story. I think my favorite scene in the whole book is the scene when a group of characters are arguing about a best way to fight the bad guy. This is Chapter 72. I also like the first date between Bob and Patience and the chapter called Fishing. They’re not very integral to the plot. They’re not big fight scenes or climactic endings. They’re the chapters that reveal the personalities of the characters. Those mean more to me and help me connect with the characters. Those chapters make the bigger, more plot-driven chapters more impactful.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I really just want my readers to come away with a sense of enjoyment. There are a lot of concepts I looked into and touched on in this book, but the message is really that life should be lived. But I’m happiest when I see comments about how enjoyable the book was. I want them to put the book down feeling like they were glad they picked it up in the first place.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
My most honest hope is that the people who read the novel (at least the majority) enjoy it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want it to be successful in terms of sales and things of that sort, but if I sell a million copies, and only ten people like it, I’d consider it a failure. I’ve sold (so far) about 100 copies, and have received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the great majority of those who’ve spoken to me or provided reviews. I hope to one day write and pay rent exclusively by writing. The book has been successful so far, in my opinion, because the people who’ve read it, liked it. That will always be my top priority.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m nearly finished with revisions to the book I plan to release early next year called Caught. This is a paranormal horror novel. It’s probably darker. It’s content is a bit more mature. One thing I like doing is challenge myself to try something different. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t, but it always helps me grow. Caught is about a group of characters essentially trapped in an unending series of nightmares. It’s creepy. It has some really cool paranormal action scenes. I hope readers find it to be an terrifying, action-packed good time.
I want to thank SolaFide Publishing for taking the time to host me on this tour. I’m grateful to all of the people who give me a chance to talk about my book. Writing is easily something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. This book is the realization of a dream-come-true, and having the chance to promote it with you is awesome.
L. S. Weech was born in August 1979 in Rapid City, South Dakota. He fell in love with fantasy and science fiction at an early age. His love of writing quickly followed when he tried to write a sequel to his favorite movie. He didn’t know what copyright infringement was. He can’t remember a time he wasn’t working on some sort of project from that day on. He wrote for a junior high project. The only way his freshman english teacher could get him to settle down was to let him start writing a book. He completed what he calls his first manuscript when he was 17.
He got a ton of feedback that was honest, helpful, and not much fun to listen to, but instead of quit, he simply wrote another, and then another.
He fell in love with reading in high school when he was introduced to Timothy Zahn and the Star Wars novels. Then he was handed Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Dean Koontz, Brandon Sanderson and so many more. He went from reading to complete homework to reading more than three books a month.
He joined the U.S. Navy as a journalist in 2005. He served on aircraft carriers and destroyers. He served in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. He finished his time in the Navy in 2015, and currently teaches future Navy Mass Communication Specialists at the Defense Information School.
When he wasn’t taking pictures or writing features or news stories, he was writing fiction. Photojournalism was a hobby he enjoyed getting paid for, but writing fiction has been and remains his true dream.
He’s completed six manuscripts and is already planning a seventh. He took his third project to Archway Publishing, who helped him turn his life-long dream into a reality.