Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Part That Doesn’t Burn by Sam Poling

Do you have a specific writing style?

Direct, wry, and often dialogue heavy. I love smart, cutting, indirect, snappy dialogue. Characters bantering with each other is my favorite thing to write, and it just pours out of me.

Do you write in different genres?

I write dark fantasy, but it dips into science fiction, drama, romance, thriller, and even humor all in one. I only have one novel to my name officially, but I’ve written everything from westerns to paranormal ghost stories for the fun of it.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

Definitely science fiction/fantasy. Within that, definitely dark fantasy. I like the freedom it gives me to rip into the human condition. And I mean that in the most non-creepy way, of course.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I always give my projects a “working title,” but it may change throughout the writing process, or late after completion. Most of the time, the working title grows on me and sticks. Such was the case with THE PART THAT DOESN’T BURN.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Dr. Lisa C. Murphy. She was and is a mentor to me.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding time with college and the day job getting in the way!  How bothersome they can be.
Within the writing process itself, I find world-building to be the single most difficult element. Characters and plots come together beautifully, but making a world that doesn’t feel like a million other fantasy worlds I know of is a challenge. It delays me more than anything.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

Not in person, but I certainly travel far on the interwebs. If there is a scene about a character struggling to ride a horse, I go online and research beginning horse lessons until I feel comfortable writing about it, for example. Still, it is always best to experience something first hand, but we have imaginations for a reason!

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

Cora at Cora Graphics

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Buckle down, understand the work-load you’re getting into, get imperviously thick skin (which merely requires you making the choice to have it), and never give up.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

The best single song to represent my novel, at the time, is probably “House on a Hill” by The Pretty Reckless. Something about the mood of it works well. Aside from that, I have a massive list of songs that I associate with every small part of my novel. Part of completing it meant staying enthusiastic. My trick to doing that is involving my novel in all my other hobbies. When I listened to music, in the car or otherwise, I would match songs with characters or scenes. I ended up making a playlist of the top songs for each scene, and downloading instrumental covers to play while I was writing the scenes. Some of these included “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, “Coming for You” by The Offspring, “Heretic” by Avenged Sevenfold, and “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling.

The Part That Doesn’t Burn
Goetia Series
Book One
Sam Poling

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

Date of Publication: March 23rd, 2016

ISBN: 9781310401916

Number of pages: 319
Word Count: 97,000

Cover Artist: Cora Graphics

Book Description:

In an overpopulated city-state where technology and magic are forbidden by the corrupt church, young witch, Mirabel Fairfax, plots the creation of a deadly plague to cull the burdensome rabble.

That is, until she falls in love with the very alchemist she has been deceiving.

Now, with soul-hungry geists flooding the city, the church scrambling for their prey, and her own mind at war with itself, Mirabel must decide what she's fighting for before she loses everything to the evils of Autumnfall.


Mirabel waited in the darkness.  Each passing second made it exponentially less likely the power would return.
“Mirabel? Did we lose power?” Felix’s voice quivered in the darkness.
“It should return momentarily.”
They waited. Mirabel could practically feel Felix’s demeanor evaporating.
“Unbelievable, the singular time I am protecting company on the geistlines, a train dies. We are not coal powered. We are coming to a stop. Perhaps your pessimism rang true. Sour fortune must have followed you from Haugen. We need to leave.”
“L-leave? As in, leave the train, and go out there?”
“Felix, without power the only thing stopping a geist from swooping in here and taking your face off is nothing. One hundred percent nothing. Essentially, we already have the cons of being outside, along with the narrow space of being inside. Not a survivable combination.”
Without hesitation Felix took to gathering his tools, and corralling them into his bags.
“No time for that.”
She tugged him out of their room and through the train car. One side of the car featured the cabins. Asleep and unaware, no one else left their rooms. Windows with their blinds drawn and a faint cyan shimmering through adorned the other side.
“They’re lining both sides of the tracks. How long do we have?” said Felix.
“Geist behavior is a constant mystery, even to me, but eventually some will strike. Even those with eternity run out of patience.”
They reached the door to the next car and Mirabel mashed on the panel. Nothing. No power, no doors. She tried the manual handle, but it wouldn’t budge. If only Miss Perfect-Priestess were here, then the door wouldn’t be able to fly open fast enough.
“Oh bother,” she said.
“Door haunted too?”
“Handle denies me. Seems rusted, and I wonder if they automatically power lock.”
She could barely make out Felix’s nervous wince. “I wouldn’t expect that, Mirabel. Emergency situations would turn fatalities.”
“That is not happening with us.” She put her weight on the lever. It didn’t amount to much, and the lever knew it.
“Let me try.”
Felix consisted of average build and height, if not a tad lanky. Certainly not the strong type. Petite Mirabel stood quite small, a whole head shorter, also not the strong type, but she expected she could generate more strength. The alchemist didn’t have the mind for it.
“Felix, darling, put your hands here.” She directed his hands next to hers. “Press down on three, yes?”
Violet light washed over the handle they gripped before she got to “one.” She didn’t have to turn around to know its source. It traveled up her arms and across the door. If another passenger had opened a blind, the light source wouldn’t be nearing them.
“Three-three-three,” she shouted.
Felix threw down on the handle alongside her. Perhaps he did have the mind for it when terrified. With a shriek the lever punched into the open position, and the partners threw their hands into the crevice at the door’s left.
“Get the blasted thing open. Pull, Felix, do not look back.”
She made a mistake. Everyone looks back when instructed not to. He turned his neck and got an eyeful of something that forced a spate foul language. Such words didn’t suit him. Pulling with whatever force her slender arms could muster, she joined his blunder and looked over her shoulder.
A geist, two-thirds down the corridor, drifted closer. Its face partially lifted from its head, hanging a few inches from where it belonged. The glowing wisp mimicked the body it used to have, but poorly. The translucent skin melted and slid ever downward. She knew the face would contort any moment: the precursor to assault. And it had the gut-wrenching violet hue. Of all the geists to enter first, it had to be a damned giftgeist. She had no hope of generating enough magic to destroy it before it reached them.
The broken door started to grind open. She fit her thin body part way into the opening. Her heels dug into the carpet and her back braced against the door’s narrow edge, with her hands pressing against the wall. “Felix, pull.”
The geist twisted into a monster far fiercer than before; its face warped into elongated grief and its jaw stretched to the side to give a dry, raspy howl. Passengers meandering into the hall heard it. They slung their own screams and ran the opposite way. The worst decision during a geistline incident: running toward the rear of the train. They wouldn’t live long.
She reached above her head and flicked her fingers. “You want electricity, you fromping door? H-have some.” More white flashes fluttered between her fingers with each flick. “Come on, I had this spell mastered yesterday.”
“Mirabel? Mirabel,” yelped Felix. “It’s-it’s coming.”
“Simmer. I am focusing.”
“Focus faster!”
With a final flick, current rushed from the witch’s fingertips up into the door mechanisms. She had no idea what it accomplished, but the lights around the immediate vicinity flashed, including the door panel. Her left hand dropped and swatted it. The door grinded opened halfway before its lights died again. Halfway gave them more than enough space. The partners darted through into the next car. Glancing back, Mirabel saw the geist stop and turn to its side. Another passenger had peeked out of their cabin an arm’s length from the specter. It shot from Mirabel’s view before the rattled cries of a man and woman reached her ears.
Felix stopped as abruptly as the geist had. “It’s attacking someone.”
“Keep moving.”
“Mirabel, you’ve got to do something, there are three cars full of people back there.”
“And we are the only valuable ones.”

About the Author:

Sam Poling has been writing fantasy and science fiction for the thrill of it his entire life, from short stories to screenplays. His love for each of the subgenres led to dedication to writing genre-skirting fiction with all the elements that make up the human condition. He holds a strong enthusiasm for medical studies and currently works as a medical assistant in a large clinic while taking classing for nursing. He also serves on a health and safety committee, including disaster preparedness and infection control. His interest in epidemiology and medical science tends to spill over into his writing endeavors.

Author’s site: www.samuelpoling.com

Twitter: @SamuelPoling


Unknown said...

Thanks for featuring my novel!