Raymond Bolton - An Engaging Ride Across our Infinite Possibilities
Raymond Bolton lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Toni, and their cats, Max and Arthur. He has written award-winning poetry and has published six novels. In 2017, WordFire Press, publisher of many bestselling and award-winning authors including Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, Mike Resnick, Tracy Hickman, and David Farland, as well as the Dune and Star Wars series of novels, published Awakening, volume one of the Ydron Saga. In the latter part of 2018, it acquired and released the rest of that series. In 2015, Awakening was translated into Spanish, published as El Despertar. In 2019, it was awarded two silver medals by the International Latino Book Awards: best science fiction novel in Spanish & best translation from English into Spanish. Awakening has been endorsed by the late Mike Resnick, while international award-winning author, Paul Kane has given his endorsement to Thought Gazer, volume two of the Ydron Saga. Folder, his most recent work has already received praise from authors D. J. Butler and Anthony Dubronski. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about this.
Please give us a short introduction to what Folder is about.
Folder is a Young Adult sci-fi science fiction novel set in and around Portland State University and might be described as the movie Groundhog Day gone terribly awry. An accident leaves Eric Folder stricken with migraine headaches. The resulting visual leaves him virtually blind and defenseless when a gang of street thugs attacks him. Desperate to see in order to protect himself, he reflexively tears at the luminous lines of light and finds they have become tangible. When he tears them aside, his present reality folds away with them, leaving him in better circumstances with his enemies vanished. Efforts to fold his way out of subsequent perils, however, leave him in increasingly strange situations until his world becomes a nightmare.
What inspired you to write about someone who gets attacked by a gang of street thugs while stricken with migraine headaches?
Movies like Unbreakable and Jump that feature a protagonist with unusual abilities have always fascinated me. I wanted to create a similar sort of story, but with a character who is by no means a superhero, in most regards very ordinary. At one point, the premise came to me and I became a conduit while the story told itself.
Tell us more about Eric Folder. What makes him tick?
Eric is a college freshman who does the sort of things that men his age do: he makes new friends; he falls in love, he tries to fit into college life while trying to keep his family life on solid footing. So when events start transforming his world into something he’s never dreamed about, he keeps trying to return to the familiar, to the love he unexpectedly loses. Unfortunately, the multiverse of parallel universes has other plans for him.
Why do you write YA SciFi? What drew you to the genre?
I grew up reading science fiction. I’ve always been drawn to books that suggest alternate realities. After all, half a century or more ago, the world in which we all now live—one in which everyone owns their own computer, in which you can watch movies and get driving directions on your phone—would have only existed in the minds of science fiction authors and science fiction readers.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve been an FM disc jockey, a high-end hairstylist, a glider pilot, and for years I served as a mainsail trimmer on racing yachts on San Francisco Bay.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time! Most authors like myself will tell you about being in the middle of creating a scene, when suddenly the story they'd planned to write takes off in a new direction because one or more characters are saying or doing things the author never had in mind. Folder was very much like that. I’d be writing about a character who had appeared earlier in the book when, suddenly and without warning, the character turned into someone different. And I enjoy that, because if the story doesn’t surprise the author, it probably won’t surprise the reader either.
Why did you pick Portland as the backdrop for this story?
Whenever I write books set in the real world, it is important that readers who either live in that location, or else who have visited it, aren’t jarred out of the story by something that is patently wrong. Consequently, it is important that I know the place I write about as well as or better than they do. I live near Portland, Oregon, so it only made sense that I tell a story I could easily research.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I’m very pleased with the cover. Since Folder’s premise is unique, I wanted a cover that would suggest its core concepts to prospective readers and compel them to pick up the book and read a few pages. To do that, I needed a designer with superlative talent. After months spent searching, I discovered Amalia Chitulescu of Bucharest Romania. Amalia designs covers for some of the world’s best-selling speculative fiction authors like Dakota Krout and K. J. Fogelman. After a great deal of discussion, she was able combine several of the novel's elements into a unifying image.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively as an author?
The most evolutionary element has to do with the way a story comes together for me and how quickly I can assemble it into a book. I’ve always tried to put the best work possible into readers’ hands and I’m pleased to say that is reflected by the fact that every book I have published, from my earliest novel to my most recent work, average no fewer than 4.5 stars across the internet. But while it took me years to produce books of that calibre when I started writing, I can now produce a superior novel in less than a year. At this rate, it should only take a few months as my skills develop.
What are you working on right now?
I’m roughly two-thirds to three quarters into my first horror novel. It’s set in San Francisco and the only other things I can tell you is that its working title is Wraith and that it's due out during the first half of next year.
What have you previously written?
My four previous novels, Awakening, Thought Gazer, Foretellers, and Triad, which comprise the epic fantasy series, The Ydron Saga, are published by WordFire Press, publisher of authors like David Farland, Alan Dean Foster, Frank Herbert, and James A. Owen, as well as the Dune and Star Wars series of novels. I am pleased to say that these books have been endorsed by Paul Kane and the late Mike Resnick.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
They can take a look at all of my books on my Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Raymond-Bolton/e/B00HMY0B6U/ My Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/RaymondBoltonAuthor. I invite interested readers to Like it and Follow it. My website is http://www.raymondbolton.com. On it, for the last several years, I've interviewed more than 200 of the world’s best-selling authors, names like Kevin J. Anderson, Alan Dean Foster, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, and Paul Kane to name a few. Although I’ve stopped interviewing so that I can spend more of my time writing, they can read a few of my titles' excerpts on the site's Book page. They can subscribe to my mailing list, which will give them more information about what I’m working on or what I’m about to release. They can also send me an email through the Contact link at the top right portion of the landing page and I’ll be happy to reply.