Interview with Scott Colby

Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Scott Colby amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about his new book Shotgun!
Please read on …

“Shotgun” has it all. Do you like mystery and intrigue and political machinations and worldwide conspiracies? It’s got all that. Elves and demons and trolls and an amnesiac pyromancer with antlers? Check, check, check, check, check. Slightly heavy-handed commentary on the evils of Corporate America? You can’t possibly miss it. Magic shotguns, semi-sentient poundcakes, talking trees, and shapeshifters? Oh hell yeah. Are you an English teacher in need of content to stir a rousing debate involving fate and free will, and whether the heroes actually accomplished something or just did what the villain expected of them?

So Scott, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

I’m Scott Colby. Nice to meet you. By day I’m the mild-mannered IT guy at a museum in Boston, Massachusetts. But when the sun goes down or the weekend hits, I start writing. I recently self-published “Shotgun,” an urban fantasy novel with a good sense of humor.

2.What brought you to writing?

I needed something to do way back in school. I was the smart kid that finished things first. My drawing skills are miserable, so I started to write. It spiraled out of control from there.

3.How long have you been writing?

About eighteen years now. I’m pretty sure I started in fourth grade. Hopefully I’m a lot better at this than when I started.

4.Which was your first literary project?Tell us something about it.

The earliest piece I remember writing was an eight-page epic starring my real life friends and I. After discovering a bunch of magic weapons around town, we proceeded to fight evil. And I got caught and had to read the thing to the whole class.

5.Is this your new/latest project?

“Shotgun” is my latest project. I wrote it for the first time in my senior year of high school and I’ve rewritten pieces and parts of it several times since. It’s changed a lot, and definitely for the better.

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

Owning a Kindle made me a huge fan of e-books. It may sound silly, but being able to read a book with one hand is the greatest thing ever. Given that all the bookstores are closing and the difficulty in catching a publisher’s attention unless you know someone in the biz, I’m all for self-publishing via electronic means. It seems like everyone on the subway nowadays is packing a Kindle or an iPad.

7.Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it.

Chapter 3 is my favorite. This is after Roger acquires the elven magic called the Ether, and the elves are trying to figure out what to do with him. This scene has been part of “Shotgun” since I first wrote it, and it’s gotten better with each writing.
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8.What are your hobbies?Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

I enjoy working out, drinking fancy beer, playing the occasional video game, and yelling at my favorite sports teams. Sleeping in is pretty cool, too.

9.Who is your favourite author?

Iain M. Banks. His Culture novels are amazing. They remind me a lot of some of the post-modern stuff I’ve enjoyed, like Vonnegut and Pynchon, and he’s a fantastic storyteller.

10.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?

I’ll read pretty much anything, but I prefer science fiction. Fantasy is my favorite to write, but lately I don’t like to read it. The quality of the genre has definitely been in decline lately.

11.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

Not really. I try to diversify and pull inspiration from as many different sources as I can. “Shotgun,” to me, is a combination of Terry Brooks, Frank Herbert, and Neil Gaiman, spiced with just a little Chuck Palahniuk.

12.Where do get your ideas from?Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

When I watch or read something I really like, I tend to spend days analyzing it and trying to figure out what it would be like if some part of it were different. “Shotgun,” for instance is kind of a combination of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Men in Black.” You’ve got the hidden supernatural subculture of “Buffy,” and you’ve got the “MiB” like group that keeps it hidden from regular people.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?

I don’t have one. I’m pretty shameless, so I can’t imagine I’d ever feel the need for one.

14.Whats your experience been like in the publishing industry?Postive or negative?Please share your experience with our readers.

My experience has been extremely limited. “Shotgun” is the first project I’ve brought to publication. I have to say, I’m having a blast.

15.Where do you see yourself 10years from now?

I see myself seated in a comfortable chair on the deck of my yacht, writing my latest best-seller while a bevy of bikini models keeps my margarita filled and my pasty skin covered in sunblock. I can’t wait.

16.What motivates you to write?

More than anything, it’s fun. And it’s fun to think about during downtime at work while commuting, which is even better.

17. How important is good cover art for your books?

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I always do. I’m very happy with the work Jeremy Mohler put into the cover of “Shotgun.” Just wait until the full color version is done!

18. Do you have a pricing strategy?

I wanted to keep it cheap enough that people would want to buy it, but expensive enough that I would make a little bit of cash. When sales dry up, I’ll drop the price further. Like anything else, you put it on sale when it stagnates.

19. Have you read a bestseller which you felt wasnt as good as your book?

Ha! I get a bit annoyed, to be honest. But it also motivates me to get some work done so I can prove that I can do better than whatever book I’m not enjoying at the time.

20.Why do you think readers should buy your book?What can you offer them through your book?

It’s a fun, easy read. They can get some quality entertainment from “Shotgun,” and they can get it cheap.

21.Where is your book available?Any Buy Link for our readers?

My book is available exclusively through Amazon. Check it out here:

22.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here.

Check out my ramblings and terrible attempts at comedy here:

23. What advice would you give to other writers?

Just keep working at it. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

24.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers

I’d like to give a shout out to Dan Gooden and William Ward for their help editing “Shotgun.” It’s a much better book because of their input.

  • Thank you Scott Colby for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Shotgun By Scott Colby

    Chapter 3

    Roger woke as if from a deep sleep, his thoughts and senses slow and fogged. The world around him was a swirl of color and light, like an oil painting left out in the rain. Voices assaulted his ears, pounding and insistent. Roger blinked, shook his head, and forced his mind to the surface. He immediately wished he hadn’t.
    “Just let me kill the stupid son of a bitch so we can move on!” bellowed a deep voice Roger would’ve sworn belonged to some kind of large, predatory cat. He traced its source to a terrifying young man seated to his left, a man wearing bright red plate armor who’d shaved his head bald and his facial hair into a menacing brown goatee. When the man noticed Roger looking at him, he gnashed his teeth and snarled. “Yes, that means you.”
    Roger found himself seated at the head of a long table made of luxurious wood. The grains swirled slowly, amber and cinnamon galaxies in a chocolate universe. Roger dismissed the movement as an aftereffect of whatever Aeric had thrown in his face. Every other seat at the table was occupied. The room around him was small and narrow and bare, its walls and ceiling pure white. Warm light came from everywhere and yet nowhere, and certainly not from any visible fixtures.
    To Roger’s right, a familiar voice came to his defense. “We shall not stoop to the level of our enemies, Pike,” Aeric said calmly, though a vein in his neck pulsed wildly and his face was as red as Pike’s armor. “We practice what we preach.”
    The rest of the motley bunch gathered around the long table erupted, some joining Pike in calling for Roger’s head, others backing up Aeric’s sentiment with shouts about morality and justice. Their voices echoed throughout the largely empty chamber, off the high ceiling and the tiers of ornate seats that rose up and away from the dais on which they sat, a senate without senators.
    Roger’s eye, however, was inescapably glued to the ancient, bearded man at the far end of the table, to the cool gray gaze he could feel dissecting him. The man snapped his fingers. Although the participants continued to gesture and move their mouths, the argument around Roger disappeared.
    “It’s never easy when everyone wants to be heard but no one wants to listen,” the man said slowly, his words crackling softly like gravel under one’s footsteps. “I’m Aldern. On behalf of the other members of the Combined Council, I welcome you to Evitankari.”
    Roger glanced uneasily at the aggressive battle raging around him. One old woman had climbed up on her chair to better berate a fat, well-dressed man seated opposite her. The one named Pike was busy making slashing motions across his throat. Aeric slammed his fist into the table, causing the wood grains to twirl away from the impact.
    Roger leaned forward toward Aldern. “I’m Roger Brooks,” he whispered. “What the hell is going on?”
    “No need for secrecy,” Aldern replied. “Just as we can’t hear them, they can’t hear us.” To illustrate his point, the old man stood and pointed at Pike. “Pompous asshole!” he hollered angrily. Pike didn’t react, and Aldern sat back down with a smirk.
    “That’s…um…neat.” Truth be told, it was slightly disconcerting.
    “Do you know why you’re here, Roger?”
    Roger tapped his fingers on the table, watching the grain scatter like leaves in a soft breeze. “No,” he said matter-of-factly. “Why didn’t Aeric just take my gun? Why did he have to bring me along?”
    Aldern sighed as he leaned forward under a canopy of pointing fingers. His beard pooled on the table, a tangled white nest for his craggy chin. “If only it were that simple. That shotgun is very special now, but it’s only special when you pull the trigger.”
    “Why’s that?”
    “Because it’s your weapon, Roger Brooks, and the Ether only responds to its host’s owner. Like it or not, Roger Brooks, you are our new Pintiri.”
    He didn’t like it, and he suspected he’d like it even less if he had any clue what Aldern was talking about. Pike’s angry finger was in his face now, so he scooted his chair a few inches further away from the silently raging brute. Pike pressed the attack, spattering Roger’s face with sticky spittle. “I take it that’s what all the fuss is about,” he said as he wiped his cheek with his sleeve.
    Aldern shrugged. “Only one thing can separate the Ether from the Pintiri: the Pintiri’s death. Your execution will be immediate should we decide you are unfit for duty.”
    A lump formed in Roger’s stomach and he shifted a few inches further away from Pike, feeling every bit the stupid son of a bitch he’d been anointed earlier. He never should’ve investigated the sounds in the kitchen; he should’ve hidden in the closet and called the cops. He should’ve tied his blankets together to form a rope and escaped through the bedroom window to take refuge with the neighbors. He should’ve loaded his weapon and shot the strange woman on sight. There were a million things he should’ve done, and as usual he hadn’t thought of any of them until they’d become nothing but a useless list of past participles.
    “Who are you people?” he asked, straining to be firm as his voice cracked.
    “What if I told you that all of the creatures you’ve been taught were fictitious—things like fairies, nymphs, dryads, trolls, gnomes, demons, and imps—what if I told you that they were all real, and that we were in charge of keeping you out of their business so that they could get on with their lives without interference?”
    “I’d ask you what the hell a dryad is. Then I’d probably tell you to quit drinking,” Roger replied, the words out of his mouth before he could stop them. He moved quickly to apologize, but he was cut off by Aldern’s sharp cackle.
    “So I suppose if I told you that we are elves, you’d ask if I were on crack?”
    Roger nodded tentatively.
    “And if I told you that we choose the best of us to be the Pintiri, the greatest hero in the world–supposedly–and wielder of the most powerful magic in existence, would you page the nurses to take me back to my padded room?”
    Roger nodded again, more assured of himself this time, though he had no clue where the old elf—if he really was an elf—was going with this train of thought.
    Aldern shook his head and sighed. “Typical.”
    Before Roger could protest, Aldern snapped his fingers again. For a brief moment the argument returned, and then it was squelched as everyone’s lips snapped shut–including Roger’s.
    “When you’ve seen two hundred and fifty years, you tire of certain inefficiencies,” Aldern said slowly. Beside Roger, Pike pulled manically at his lips, his eyes bulging out of their sockets as he struggled to voice his opinion. “You’ve all had more than your say; can we stifle it long enough to take a vote?”
    The others all nodded, save Pike. He’d taken to banging his fists on the table, sending all the grains scattering to the opposite end like a herd of frightened animals.
    “Good,” the old elf replied. With another snap of his fingers, most of the mouths around the table lurched open and gasped for breath. Only Pike’s and Roger’s remained shut.
    A vote, Roger thought hopelessly, slumping back in his seat and taking a heavy breath through his nose. Why would any of these people vote for me?
    The voting began to Roger’s right. “Mongan Aeric,” Aldern said. “Do you confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri?”
    “He deserves a chance,” Aeric said, casting Roger with a nervous smile that made him feel a little bit better about his situation. “I confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri.”
    “One for, zero against,” Aldern said. “Council of Intelligence Driff, do you confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri?”
    The bookish looking elf seated to Aeric’s right pushed his spectacles up on his nose. The high collar of his black trench coat formed a wall around his thin neck. He glanced once at Roger, cold and calculating, and then he turned to Aldern. “I do not confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri.”
    Roger’s heart sank. He knew it was only the first vote against him, but he feared it wouldn’t be the last. “One for, one against. Council of Economics Granger?”
    The next elf shifted uncomfortably in a chair much too small for his massive girth, his pinstriped suit straining to keep his flesh contained. Beads of sweat lined his creased forehead, trickling in thin streams down his jowls. He dabbed at his face with a silk handkerchief before speaking. “As a group, humans are great for business. Individually, not as much. I do not confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri.”
    “One for, two against.” Aldern skipped himself, instead naming the ancient crone seated to his right, opposite Granger. “Council of Medicine Chyve?”
    She wore a thick white robe Roger had only seen in bad science fiction movies shown on basic cable. A heavy ruby hung suspended on a golden hoop through each of her ears. Her smile was kindly but hard, like that of a grandmother assessing the latest exploits of a troubled but beloved grandchild. “All life is sacred,” Chyve said slowly. She paused as if daring any of the others to contradict her. Pike rolled his eyes dramatically, his lips still sealed. “I confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri.”
    “Two for, two against. Council of Agriculture Piney?”
    Next up was a comely blonde woman no older than Roger’s own daughter. Her overalls and flannel shirt were speckled with dirt and dust. She favored Roger with a pretty smile and a wink as she cast her vote. “I confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri.”
    “Three for, two against. Council of War Pike?”
    The large, angry elf responded with a glare, the pulsing blue vein in his red forehead threatening to burst. Across the table, Aeric snorted.
    “Right,” Aldern said, shrugging melodramatically for sarcastic effect. “Three for, three against. That leaves the Council of Sorcery.”
    Though Roger had done much better than he’d expected, his heart sank when he realized who must be the Council of Sorcery. He hadn’t impressed Aldern with his answer about that trolls-and-gnomes nonsense. His fate was sealed; he was sure of it. His breath caught in his throat, his every muscle paralyzed as he awaited the vote that would be his end.
    Aldern settled his chin in his skeletal hands and sighed. His gaze swung toward Roger conspiratorially. “Roger, do you like poundcake?”
    The entire table groaned. Pike stood, lifted his chair, and hurled it over Aldern’s head and up into the seating beyond. It shattered into several pieces against a railing with a violent crash.
    Roger couldn’t stand poundcake, but he knew a chance to save himself when he saw one. “I love poundcake.”
    The corners of Aldern’s mouth curled upward in a smile to either side of his clenched fingers. “Excellent.”
    The others rose to protest, but Roger didn’t hear a word of it. Aldern snapped his fingers and the world shifted. What had been a long, lacquered table in an imposing senate was now the simple plastic sort in a small kitchen. The light was softer, streaming into the room between a pair of soft blue curtains hung upon the window above the stainless steel sink. A white refrigerator hummed along at Roger’s left, framed by cherry cabinets and blue granite counters. The floor was blue and white tile arranged in diamond patterns. Aldern was still Aldern, though he seemed unreasonably pleased with himself.
    Roger wanted to know what in the hell had just happened, but he didn’t dare ask. He took quick stock of his parts and, finding them all intact, steeled himself for whatever strangeness might be next.
    “Oh dearest!” Aldern called in the general direction of the framed entry leading to a different room off to his left. “Do we have any poundcake?”
    A feminine voice, obviously annoyed and apparently Aldern’s wife, shouted back, “No, honey, we don’t have any damned poundcake!”
    Aldern raised one bushy white eyebrow. “Perfect.”
    His hands erupted in green flame as he jerked them over his head, a maelstrom of energy gathering in the space between his palms. His eyes rolled back in his head, pure white now. Roger cringed away, fully prepared to make a run for it. The old elf brought his hands together with a sharp clap, dissipating the flames. Reality above the table top shimmered and warped, like heat rising off the pavement on a hot day. When things settled and Aldern’s eyes rolled back into place, there was a perfectly formed poundcake in the center of the previously empty table.
    Roger’s jaw dropped.
    “Neat, huh?” Aldern said. “Now watch this!”
    Leaning back in his chair, Aldern opened a drawer and retrieved a large knife. He put the knife on the table beside the poundcake, waiting expectantly. Roger was about to pick up it up to cut the cake when the strangest thing happened: the dessert sprouted a cakey arm, snagged the knife, cut two slices of itself, and laid the knife gently back on the table.
    Smiling like a small child, Aldern picked up a slice and took a bite. “Bet you’ve never seen anything quite like that!”
    Roger eyed the cake suspiciously. “That’s impossible,” he said, regretting the words as soon as they’d left his lips.
    “No,” Aldern said, stopping to swallow. “Quite the contrary. Are you familiar with the rules of mass-energy conservation?”
    Roger shook his head, thinking it best to be honest.
    “Mass and energy are pretty much the same thing,” Aldern said. “I took a bit of mass–the air around my fingertips–mixed it with a bit of my energy, and poof! Poundcake!”
    “Yes, but based in science and reality. Magic can do many things, Roger, but only within the laws that govern the universe. Go ahead–try a piece. It’s perfectly safe.”
    Roger reached across the table tentatively, nervous that the cake would snatch up that knife and make a try for his fingers. He returned the slice to his mouth safely. As far as poundcake went, it wasn’t too bad.
    “The strawberries and cream are built right in,” Aldern explained happily. His mustache was flaked with yellow crumbs. “Cuts out the mess and hassle of real strawberries and cream.”
    Roger nodded, taking another bite. That bit was pretty convenient.
    They ate in silence for a few moments. Aldern poked the cake experimentally and it flexed away from his touch. Roger could’ve sworn he heard it giggling.
    “Unfortunately, Roger, life is not all poundcake and strawberries and cream,” the old elf said sagely, swatting crumbs from his hands when he finished his slice. The cake reached for the knife again, but he shook his head to dismiss its offer. “Whatever are we to do with you?”
    “I’d kind of like to live. I’m sorry about what I said earlier about the fairies and the unicorns–”
    “Psshhh,” Aldern replied with a wave of his hand. “From a human, that’s to be expected. I’m sure today has been hard to swallow.”
    “All but the poundcake!” Roger said, hoping he didn’t sound too fake.
    “Ha! You’re a poor liar, Roger Brooks, and a welcome change from those rats on the Council,” the old elf said with a smirk. “In most cases, that’d be enough to win my favor. But yours is a special case. There isn’t a creature in the world that can stand against the power of the Ether–assuming the Pintiri wields it properly. We elves are a strong, courageous people, but we need our Pintiri desperately. Hence the demon in your house.”
    Roger leaned forward, the last of his slice forgotten on the table. “The woman that came first asked if I wanted to change the world.”
    This seemed to pique the old elf’s interest. “And how did you answer?”
    “I told her no.” He wondered if he’d be better or worse off had he said yes.
    Aldern shifted, apparently uncomfortable for the first time. “And yet you still might. A human Pintiri is no small thing. Tell no one else of this woman, Roger, and put her out of your mind. Some villains are not worth trifling yourself over.”
    Roger felt Aldern knew more about that strange woman and her stranger request than he was letting on, but he let the matter drop. For now, he needed the elf’s favor more than he needed answers.
    “Tell me, Roger: if she came to you again, with the same offer, how would you respond?”
    Roger flicked his gaze to the floor, pondering the possibilities. He felt that this was important, that his life hinged on his response. Aldern had already proven adept at detecting lies; he couldn’t embellish too much, couldn’t just tell the old elf what he thought he wanted to hear. And so he told the truth, crude as it was.
    “I’d pick up my magic shotgun and shoot the bitch in the face.”
    Aldern cackled, a sound like nails on a chalkboard. In the other room, his wife guffawed. Roger blushed, searching vainly for something more intelligent to add and failing miserably. Honesty hadn’t been enough and he was as good as dead.
    When he finished laughing, Aldern wiped the tears from his eyes and motioned the poundcake to cut another piece. “I do believe you could’ve won Pike over with that statement,” Aldern said. “I confirm Roger Brooks as Pintiri. That’s four for, three against. Welcome to Evitankari, Pintiri Roger Brooks.”
    Roger couldn’t believe it. As the weight of Aldern’s words sunk in, a smile slowly spread across his face. He was going to live!
    “Wait,” he said, suddenly nervous again. “We aren’t in the–uh–senate…place. Can you do that?”
    “It’s called the Council Chamber,” the elf replied with a friendly wink, taking the slice offered by the cake. “I’m old as dirt, I’m the senior member and moderator of the Combined Council, and I can make poundcake appear out of thin air. I can do whatever I want.”
    Of all the things Roger had seen and heard since waking up, that statement was the easiest to believe.

    Buy Shotgun by Scott Colby On Amazon Kindle >>

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