Interview with novelist Eric Trant

readers. My special guest to wrap up the week is
Eric Trant. We’re talking about his new
historical supernatural thriller,
Eric visited
in July 2015 for his sci-fi novel Steps
and talked about how
much time you should really spend writing to be a writer
Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short
stories and the novels 
, out now! See more of Eric’s work here: Publications, or order
directly from Amazon (print), Amazon (e-book), Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.


Eric, welcome back to Reviews and
Interviews. Please tell us about your newest release.
Well, it’s my
third book with WiDo Publishing, and we worked at least three times as hard on
this one as the other two. I hope it shows!
I’ll share
the blurb for Risen:
Haunted by visions of a demonic angel
and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the
horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine.
Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto
must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their
father’s mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.
Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback
master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell’Inferno, the Door
to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his
dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has
lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.
Now Alberto must face the creature from
his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain
forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.
What inspired you to write this book?
Risen was inspired by Booker T. Washington’s Man Farthest Down. I discovered this
work as I was researching sulfur mines, and stumbled onto Booker’s tour through
Europe searching for what he called “The Man Farthest Down,” or what
would be the European equivalent of the American slave. He found in Europe that
women were the lowest on the social ladder, but when he reached Sicily, he
discovered they used child labor to haul rocks up from the sulfur mines.
Boys as young
as eight or ten years old, with a lifespan hardly reaching sixteen, were sold
into bondage and spent their few short years trudging naked and barefoot, up
and down the mineshafts with rocks on their shoulders. The conditions were so
horrifying that Booker thought they might not allow him to leave. It terrified
him, and the opening quote of my book Risen
borrows on his shock, quoting Mr. Washington as stating that a Sicilian sulfur
mine is quite literally Hell on Earth. He stated quite clearly that American
slavery paled in comparison, and that says a lot about what he witnessed.
And with that
image in my mind, having stumbled on this amazing work by accident, I decided I
had to write Risen. The book
practically wrote itself, because I could not stop wondering about these boys
they coined carusi who dedicated
their lives to mining the rock that even today powders our rifles.
It is equally
horrifying to know that this sort of labor continues today in sulfur mines
throughout the third world.
What’s the next writing project?
I am
currently drafting a working title of Wish.
It is in the very early stages, and I write in a linear fashion, which means I
don’t always know what will happen until it happens. But it is a book delving
into the heartbreak surrounding the loss of a child, the anger it involves, and
the lack of understanding those around you seem to have. I am drawing on our
own experience of loss in 2012, and hope to do justice to the topic.
It will
involve a wishing well, though, a young girl and her older sister, a fae and a
bunch of spiders and spooks, and of course, some Southern Gothicism, set in the
present-day Texas Hill Country. Oh, and an Elsa doll.
What is your biggest challenge when
writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
Probably my
biggest challenge is coming up with a story I truly believe in. The writing
itself is easy. I mean, it’s hard work, but it is work I enjoy, like going to
the gym or programming. It is a pleasant sort of pain to write, and I feel
stronger afterward, so drafting and editing are not issues.
But coming up
with a story I hook into, that’s the ruse. I have to ~love~ the story and the
characters. I am not a formula writer, is what I mean to say, so I need more than
just a plot with the an/pro-taginists and that arc and whatnot going on. I want
that story you relate to your kids or hear from your uncle around the pit, or
your aunt when she has too much wine.
So I guess
the hardest part is finding a story I love enough to spend a year or two
pecking away on.
If your novels require research – please
talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while
you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
Perfect question
for Risen. This book is set in a 19th
century Sicilian sulfur mine, so I had to research Sicily, the Italian
language, sulfur mines, vineyards, seasons and landscape and so on. I also did
quite a bit of research for Out of the
Great Black Nothing
(which is no longer in print but will be re-written
someday), which involved quite a bit of modern-day space tech research.
My process is
simple. I start with a topic that sounds interesting. I hit the internet. I
cross-reference ~everything~ with multiple sources. I step outside of the box
and check foreign sources as well, which was especially true for Risen, since it was set in Sicily.
Then I watch
for anything that relates to it in documentaries and other ad hoc resources. I
had amazing luck in that my wife found an Italian documentary on some
historical channel, where in the middle of the 20th century, around the 1950s,
they interviewed men who had worked as carusi
in the sulfur mines in the 1890s. The men cried as they told the stories,
and all of them were visibly traumatized. They reacted like veterans retelling
the horrors of war, and told of the boys beside them who had not survived the
labor, and the abuse they suffered under their masters (I toned this down in my
book, but these mines were every bit a living Hell for these boys, and were
literally full of demonic men who tortured and abused them).
I was also
fortunate to find a native Italian speaker in one of my writing groups, who was
currently translating an Italian piece into English and needed an English
proof-read. So I read her work, and she verified the Italian in mine.
So when it
comes to research, as I’m writing it is a full-time endeavor. I am always,
always on the prowl for anything related to the topic I am penning.
What’s your writing space like? Do you
have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us
about it.
quiet, with my Bose headphones — not earbuds, ~headphones~ — for total
immersion and a crisp, wonderful, perfect sound quality.
Perhaps the
only unique thing about my writing space is that I select a single song and
listen to it over and over as I write my work. It slips me into the mood. For Wink, I listened to Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks. For Steps, I listened to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. You’ll
see those songs in the work if you pay attention.
For Risen, I listened to Seether’s Rise Above This, and for my WiP, working
title Wish, I am listening to Pearl
Jam’s Wishlist.
And if I
ever get stuck, I drink a dark beer to flow the juices.
What authors do you enjoy reading within
or outside of your genre?
I love
reading authentic books by any author. I mean something written from the heart,
even if it is poorly penned or goofball. I have been on a kick reading memoirs,
but need to find some good fiction to read next.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers today?
Just a hearty
~THANK YOU~ for taking the time to read the interview and maybe picking up one
of my books. I always say we as authors should write first for ourselves, and
then for others. So, the first draft is always ~mine~, just the way I like it.
After that,
all those revisions and cuts and back-and-forths with the editors, all the
labor for release and marketing and blogs and updates and so on forever, that
is for Dear Reader. That is for others.
first for yourself, then for others. That’s what I mean to say.
Thank you for coming back to Reviews and
Readers, if
you’d like to learn more about Eric, here are his other tour dates and stops:
Monday September 4th (today) @ WOW! Women on Writing
& Giveaway
September 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Trant writes today’s guest post at Choices “Is a Career in the Arts
(writing) Realistic?”. Readers can find out more about Trant and his
latest book Risen.
September 6th @ Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now
YES: Why Taking Chances is Imperative” is today’s topic at Mari McCarthy’s
Create Write Now. Hear from author Eric Trant as he examines this important
topic and shares more about his latest novel Risen.

September 7th @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
Trant pens today’s guest post at Writer’s Pay It Forward. Today’s post is
titled: “Breaking In vs. Breaking Out: The Writer’s Career Arc”.
Readers and Writers alike won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from
Trant as well as finding out more about his latest novel Risen.
September 8th @ BookWorm
from Anjanette Potter of BookWorm as she reviews Eric Trant’s latest novel
Risen – this historical supernatural work of fiction is sure to please readers!
September 8th @ Lisa Haselton
Haselton interviews Eric Trant about his latest novel Risen. You’ll want to
learn more about this supernatural tale of fiction as well as the mastermind
behind the dynamic writing.
September 8th @ Hott Books
Gets Better: An Angel Dad Reports Five Years Later” is today’s post title
at Hott Books. This touching true life tale is told by guest blogger Eric Trant
as part of his WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour of his latest thriller
September 11th @ Tara Forst at Digging with the Worms
Wisconsin Mama and Entrepreneur Tara Forst reviews “Risen” by Eric
Trant. Don’t miss this review and giveaway of Trant’s latest thriller!
September 12th @ Bring on Lemons with Tess Fallier
Fallier is today’s guest blogger with a review and her thoughts on Eric Trant’s
Risen. Don’t miss this blog stop!
September 13th @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto
and book blogger Crystal Otto reviews Eric Trant’s Risen and shares her
thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe.
September 14th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Trant visits Memoir Writer’s Journey and shares his thoughts with readers of
Kathleen Pooler’s engaging blog. Today’s post title is: “Setting: Its Role
in Storytelling”. Don’t miss this chance to hear from the talented Eric
Trant and find out more about his latest book Risen.
September 15th @ Building Bookshelves
Webb of Building Bookshelves interviews Eric Trant about his writing, his life,
and his latest thriller! Don’t miss this blog stop!
September 29th @ Coming Down the Mountain
Trant is today’s guest author at Karen Jones Gowen’s blog Coming Down the
Mountain. Read Eric’s guest post titled “Luck: Its Role in Success”
and find out more about his latest thriller Risen.



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