Thursday, 4 October 2012

Blog Tour - Steve Bein's 'Daughter of the Sword'

Today I'm pleased to be a brief stopover on Steve Bein's 'Daughter of the Sword' blog tour (a book that I'm into pretty much as we speak, review next week I reckon). Here's the blurb if you haven't come across this book already...

Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her. 

Like I said, look out for my review next week but here's Steve now with 'The Fighter in the Writer (Part One)'...

They say you should write what you know, and I guess it’s fair to say I know fighting.  I’ve been in the martial arts for about twenty years, earning black belts in a couple of arts and dabbling in about two dozen others.  So with all of that under my belt—white, at the moment; I’ve returned to Brazilian Jiujitsu after many years off the mat—I want say a bit about what all the training has done for me as a writer. 

There are some obvious benefits.  Daughter of the Sword is about—duh—swords, and since I spent a little time studying kendō, iaidō, and Florentine sword fighting, I also have a sword rack in my basement.  It’s handy to have a katana or two in your house when you need to know just how much space your samurai character has to swing in an average bedroom. 

More important is the experience itself: not just the techniques but the feel of the sword’s weight in your hands.  Writers can try to fake it, or else they can go out and do some research—as I needed to do, for example, when it came to my police detective’s pistol work.  I think readers can tell when you’re faking it, so I made sure I got to spend some time with cops shooting pistols.  (It really helps when one of your martial arts buddies is also a range officer.)

But that stuff only helps when writing about the weapons themselves.  Martial arts have helped me write plenty of pages without fight scenes, because it turns out earning a black belt and getting published have a lot more in common than you might think (and certainly more than I’d ever expected).

First and foremost is simple pain tolerance.  Everyone knows writing demands a certain degree of stick-to-it-iveness, but before I started this game I didn’t really understand how much of that was discipline and how much of it was the sheer refusal to acknowledge you’ve been hurt. 

I got a very strange piece of luck right out of the gate: the first story I ever submitted was a winner in the Writers of the Future contest.  Because of that, I got the idea that getting stories accepted was normal.  It was only afterward that I discovered just how many rejection letters I would collect before publishing my next short story.  I’ve got enough of them now to wallpaper my office.

A natural inclination for a lot of writers is to take each one of those rejections like a kick in the crotch.  Fortunately for me, my best friends used to kick me in the crotch on a weekly basis.  For years.  I even paid money for the privilege.  It’s not the sort of thing most guys are thankful for, but I’ll tell you this: rejection letters ain’t so bad after that.

Editors will beat you up in this game.  Critics will too.  The trick, to quote Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, is not minding that it hurts.  And full-contact fighting will teach you that trick lickety-split.

Cheers Steve :o)

If you're following Steve's tour (or want to catch up), here is where he has been and where he will be over the next few days,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I like this guy! The fact that he's studied some of those sword fighting styles is most impressive. The plot sounds pretty good too. Thanks for the heads up, I might check it out.