Apart from being a cat-charmer, baby-calmer and riveting public speaker, Deen Ferrell is also a darn good author who tends to keep his readers at the edge of their seats. When you pick up one of his books, you know that you are in for a thrilling ride. As our Author of the Day, Ferrell tells us all about his latest book, Cryptic Spaces: Foresight, talks about secret organizations, Nostradamus and much more.
Please give us a short introduction to what Cryptic Spaces is about
A beautiful violinist with a world-wide cult following meets a brilliant young mathematician. The two are recruited into a clandestine organization with a mysterious time travel technology, one that is hidden in clear view. The stated purpose of the organization is to probe the myths and mysteries of mankind, but hours into their first assignment, their eclectic team is thrown into a series of events across time and space that leaves them shaking, breathless, and terrified. In a story that begs us to look deeper and recognize the wonders around us, this unique weave of science, history, music, myth, mystery, fantasy, action, and all-out adventure, forces us to probe the most cryptic of all spaces--the mirrored walls of the heart.
What inspired you to write about a secret organization with time travel tech?
Let's just say a sparkle from an empty corner in the darkest alcove of a public mall. Want to know more? Go to my website and click the media tab (see website address below).
Tell us more about your main characters. Why did you give them such interesting abilities?
Well, first, I didn't give them abilities--I learned about their abilities as I came to know them. As to where they got them, that's one of the secrets you have to find out from the books, I will tell you the most powerful of their abilities come from the choices they make--how they choose to use the talents they have.
What inspired you to bring Nostradamus into your story?
Nostradamus is history, and fascinating history. Did you know he was a physician in his early life, then after losing his family to the plague, he disappeared for three years. When he came back, he had transformed into the mysterious seer we read about, and his predictions are legendary. What did he do for that 3 years? What changed him? These are questions that reach out and scream to be answered. You'll also meet the great Russian stage director, Vsevelod Meyerhold, and Hong Dagu, General of Khubla Khan's Ghost Fleet among others. Sometimes, the real history is even more fascinating than the fiction that may surround it in Cryptic Spaces.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Hmmm. Well, for some secret skills, I would have to come to know you first. In a more general sense, I am a cat charmer--in fact, wonderful with animals of all kinds, I have a unique ability to calm babies, I can be a riveting public speaker--especially when I am spinning tales. I have a unique eye, able to spot magic in the mundane, and art in the artificial. I can pull an eclectic mix of favorite music out of thin air ("Hey Google..."), I also dabble in graphic design, have a nose for points of scenic beauty and architectural splendor, forge new friends with my photography, compete honorably as a non-Olympian, have a wicked wit, walk often the halls of history, have acting and film honors to my name, and, to round out the more general list, have survived 4 teenagers (well, 3 and one third), which is easily the most perse of all the skills I possess.
What drew you to this genre. And did you write this book with a certain audience in mind?
I write stories that are compelling to me. Whatever genre they may fit in, so be it. Frankly, I have an audience in mind, but I am constantly discovering new fans who don't fit the profile of who I thought would be my audience at all, so that is a question to which I am ever refining an answer.
The story is fast-paced and keeps readers at the edge of their seats - how did you pull this off?
Ray Bradbury was a friend and a mentor. I have a writing process somewhat similar to his, though our prose are quite different. I put an idea onto paper, often in the form of a title, then use it as bait, waiting around to see what characters come along to attack it, or defend it, or explore it. I then grab hold of the lapels of that character, and follow, gasping, laughing, and hollering, through an entire adventure. The energy, I hope, transfers to the book, cooled in spots by vivid detail, intriguing perspective, and fun philosophy.
Although your book contains elements of fantasy, the plausibility of each element is thoroughly explored - why did you take this approach?
Because, to me, fantasy is never more fun than when it is so couched in reality as to be absolutely believable.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Oh, all the time! But I have learned in my writing to trust my characters--they are always right. It just, sometimes, takes me a while to understand how and why, but we get there. Eventually. Usually around the 700th edit...
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I have MANY favorites--I am a succor for great quotes and wise words. Here is one: "You are the one who has to decide, whether you'll do it or toss it aside; whether you'll go for the goal that's afar, or just be content to stay who you are!" (Edgar Guest)
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
Disciplined in the sense that I force myself to sit in my chair with my hands on a keyboard at consistent intervals. Otherwise, I would be off gallivanting and my characters would be sending hit men out after me.
What are you working on right now?
I live with at least seven thousand, six hundred, and thirty seven (exactly) projects in the works at any one time. Just a random sampling--I am working on a really FUN children's book with a Disney animator, and another with an East Coast artist. I am well into my fourth book in the Cryptic Spaces series ("Enigma"). I recently release a song collaboration ("Just Another Lonely Kid Like Me" Check it out on Google or YouTube!). I am working with an artist on an audio book. I have another series called "Paperwood" already in the works, and a string of stand alone book ideas I am exploring. I am also VERY interested in getting more involved with screenwriting and film projects.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I have Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn accounts. I'm on GoodReads and Authordb. But the best place to learn more about me is at my website, www.deenferrell.com.