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August 2017

Trunk Gaming

Kay Bess

KayBess_TrunkGaming
Photo By: Ricky Middlesworth Photography

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and…

Let’s start!

In the new feature Trunk Gaming, we will be first-person chatting with the people responsible for helping us fully immerse ourselves into those wonderful digital worlds we all can’t get enough of.

This time out we’re getting gamey with actress Kay Bess, the voice of Persephone Brimstone in the recently-released open world “Agents of Mayhem.” The California native has also voiced characters for popular games like “Call of Duty,” “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” and “Skylanders.”

We recently sat down with Bess to discuss the secretive world of video games, her love for Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera, and how like Batman, she generally works alone.

TrunkSpace: You are one of the industry’s top female voice actors, having worked on some of the hottest games such as “Call of Duty,” “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Skylanders,” and “Dead Space,” to name a few. How did you get started in voice acting and how has it evolved your career?
Bess: I got started doing voiceover in the mid 1980s, right here in Los Angeles. I dropped out of acting school at USC without a plan and somehow found my way to a one day workshop in voiceover, which changed my life forever. There really weren’t many v.o. workshops in those days. The profession was still sort of underground, a part of the commercial acting world, and frankly wasn’t very highly thought of. It was kind of the bottom of the rung in terms of prestige for actors. Nonetheless, those of us on the inside knew we were crazy like a fox! Commercial voiceover has been the focus of my career from the start, up until about three years ago when I started developing an interest in gaming and animation.

TrunkSpace: Your latest project has you voicing the mysterious, beautiful, and shrewd Persephone Brimstone (leader of M.A.Y.H.E.M.) in the highly-anticipated game, “Agents of Mayhem.” How did you go about developing your voice and personality for the character?
Bess: Well, it all developed around the accent – a sort of sophisticated “Euro-French” accent, which I modeled after a fellow actress in my acting class at the Ruskin School in Santa Monica, CA. With the accent in my pocket, it became a matter of working with the writers and developers of the game, and the voice director, Amanda Wyatt. It’s a collaborative effort to create a well-rounded video game character. They possess all the knowledge and storyline of the characters, and they share that information on a “need to know” basis. Video games are so very secretive when in production.

TrunkSpace: Can you tell us a little about the creative process behind acting out your role in “Agents of Mayhem” with your team of other characters? Do you have read-throughs with the other voice actors at a large table in an office, like we see with television projects? Or, were you in your own creative element in a recording studio?
Bess: Oh, there are no read-throughs. We never get a copy of the script. We don’t really get any fully fleshed out scenes either. Just our own lines for the day, which we receive at the session and record “wild” – that is, out of story context – with the help of the voice director and writers, guiding us and giving us what we need in terms of story details. While we video game voice actors do work with others, we rarely work directly with other actors. In fact, for all of the games I’ve done so far, I have never worked with another voice actor in the room. Almost all of my scenes for Ana in “Rise of the Tomb Raider” were with Lara Croft, played by Camilla Luddington. I’ve never met Camilla in my life. Never have I been in the same room with her. Even so, I think the scenes are very realistic. You believe we played it out together. It’s a testament to the skill of the voice director and his/her ability to choose just the right takes.

TrunkSpace: In “Agents of Mayhem” you not only portray the voice of Persephone Brimstone, but you give life to three other characters as well… Sarx, Chastity Belter and a Crazed Fan. How do you go about creating different voices and characters for the same game and does it ever get confusing with all of those characters bouncing around in your brain?
Bess: No, there’s no confusion. The characters are all so different, it would be hard to confuse them! Characters are cultivated by virtue of their needs, and each of those characters has distinctly different needs within the context of the story. I know one of the characters has a sort of Bostonian accent, and is rather troubled, and well, the Crazed Fan is just that. A sort of sociopathic stalker who’s lost her mind. She was really fun to play. They all were.

TrunkSpace: You have worked on a wide variety of games from the cute, yet action-packed “Skylanders” to the gritty and hard-hitting “Call of Duty.” Is there a type of game/role that you prefer or enjoy playing most?
Bess: Interestingly, all the characters I’ve played so far, and even the games I have coming up, are not playable characters. They are all integral parts of the storyline, the cutscenes. I actually love this. They are “acting heavy,” you know? Real, deep, character development. Not that playable characters don’t have character development, mind you, but in playable characters, there’s a lot of dying, a lot of different ways of getting shot and of killing others. There’s something homogeneous about that part of the job. So far, I’m getting to do exactly what I prefer, which is playing well-developed, nuanced characters. I seem to play villains, or complex characters as I prefer to think of them, which is pretty cool. My most fulfilling role was definitely in Call of Duty. My teenage boys loved it especially because they had all the knowledge about Warzone skins before anyone else at school!

TrunkSpace: We have heard you are not only a gifted voice actor but a singer as well. Have you had the opportunity to sing as any characters you have portrayed? If not, is that something you would like to do in the future?
Bess: Oh wow. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d love to sing in character! Can you imagine Persephone Brimstone, Leader of MAYHEM, with an underground career as a torch singer? I would die to see that happen!

TrunkSpace: Do you have a favorite video game or perhaps video game movie that you enjoy playing/watching?
Bess: As of yet, I am not so much of a gamer. It’s all kind of new to me. But I’m really looking forward to playing “Agents of Mayhem.” If I could just find a three or four hour window of time! My daughter is going to play it with me. One of these days!!

TrunkSpace: Along with being a well-versed voiceover artist, you also enjoy writing a verse or two and are a published poet. Where does your love of poetry come from and do you ever read poetry in different character voices, depending on the nature of the poem?
Bess: My mother was an English teacher. She taught Literature and Shakespeare and Grammar. My father is a retired Baptist preacher. So, I grew up with two parents who loved words and the beauty of the English language. They both spoke beautifully, and had lovely singing voices as well. I think it’s just in my blood. I loved old hymns as a girl, and there is such beautiful language there. So the combination of words and music… my love of it… well, it just pulses through my veins.

Poetry, at least my poetry, is not really about characters per se, and it’s tricky with reading poems aloud. You never want the voice to take center stage from the words themselves. Reading poetry is a specific skill, I think. You have to take a back seat to the words. Let them do the talking, if you will.

TrunkSpace: Do you have any influences or other creative voice actors that you look up to? Perhaps a childhood favorite?
Bess: Oh, there are so many creative people I look up to. And I’ve been fortunate to grow up in the voiceover world right alongside them, and to call them friends. Tress MacNeill, Rob Paulsen, Jennifer Hale, Cissy Jones, who is fairly new to the voiceover world comparatively, but she’s such an inspiration. They are all so talented and so driven, and such kind people. I host a podcast called The B-Hive: Women in Voiceover, which you can find on iTunes. Every woman I have interviewed and will interview is an inspiration to me. Their stories are amazing and I am humbled by them. And of course, from my childhood, it would have to be Mel Blanc and June Foray. Everything Looney Tunes. Everything Hanna Barbera.

Photo By: Ricky Middlesworth Photography

TrunkSpace: Can you tell us what upcoming projects you will be working on next and what we can expect to see (or hear!) from your voice talents?
Bess: Oh, if only I could! We sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) for every game we work on, and I am not at liberty to speak of them until they release. I can say that I’m fortunate to be working on some high profile AAA games, as well as some spirited independents, and it’s all a lot of fun. And challenging work, too. I want to say almost all of the games I have coming out in 2018 involve some sort of accent/dialect work. It’s my favorite kind of work.

TrunkSpace: As much as we love gaming here at TrunkSpace, we also enjoy being weekend warriors and have been known to binge watch HGTV. In addition to voice acting for some of the biggest games around, you are also the voice of the hit show, “The Property Brothers.” What kind of different challenges does this work present and how does it differ from playing a rough and tough character like Ana in “Tomb Raider?”
Bess: I am so fortunate to have worked on “The Property Brothers” because I had an amazing producer/director to work with, Danny Downing at Red Arrow Industries. It was just the best narration job ever. I can’t say there was a difficult or challenging thing about it. It was pure joy. Narration work involves a lot of sight reading, and reading to time. Those things are not difficult for me, as I have a pretty good internal clock. Keeping your energy up for narration is important too. But that’s what espresso is for.

TrunkSpace: When you look at your career moving forward, what would you like to accomplish? Do you have bucket list items that you want to check off in your career? Maybe a character you have always wanted to lend your voice to?
Bess: I would very much like to play a recurring, comedic role in a well-loved, well-written primetime animated series. I’d like to play a character that resonates with kids and brings them happiness. Yeah, I’d like to contribute to the happiness of the world. I’d love to work alongside some of my heroes. Mostly, my dream is to keep working until I just don’t want to anymore. I’m not sure that day will ever arrive, though. So, I guess I want to work as long as I live! That’s how much I love my job. I’m a lucky girl.

“Agents of Mayhem” is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

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The Featured Presentation

Chris Masterson

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Masterson in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

Welcome to the fifth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Chris Masterson to discuss the high cost of red, embracing the more affordable blue, and reacting to a puke-inducing toilet.

TrunkSpace: What personality traits are required to lead the Mystic Cosmic Patrol? And why do most leaders of monster-fighting groups wear red?
Masterson: An inflated ego and a lack of awareness on how others view your actions. Well, this leader wears blue, but only because red was more expensive and Jack is nothing if not thrifty.

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Masterson: The concept was brought to me by our executive producer, Tommy Meyer-Klipsch. I loved the concept of a “Power Rangers” type of a show starring six people with a mean IQ of 108, being tasked with defending Earth from evil space robots.

TrunkSpace: You’re also serving as producer on the series. What are your ultimate goals for it? Do you have a network home in mind that you believe best serves the project?
Masterson: I just want people who are fans of the genre to see it. Funny or Die has launched several of my favorite shows and characters so I’m pretty happy we found a home there.

TrunkSpace: You’re no stranger to comedy, but a lot of the humor you have delivered via previous roles was firmly rooted in reality. What was it like performing in a piece where anything, including a toilet creature named Potty Mouth, is possible?
Masterson: Pretty much the same for me. I think actors generally try to react realistically to whatever situation is presented to their characters, but from the point of view of the person they’re playing. In our case it’s through the eyes of a guy who’s pretty full of himself and is pretty certain he knows more than everyone else, but almost never does. And the world he’s in is just the world to him. The same way you or I might react to a neighbor’s dog getting loose and chasing us down the street is the way he’d react to being attacked by a puke-inducing toilet with arms, legs, and an attitude.

TrunkSpace: Flash forward a year from now and you’re walking the floor at a comic convention. You spot someone cosplaying as your “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” character. What goes through your mind?
Masterson: What the f@&k?!

TrunkSpace: It’s a great time for content creators, but more content also means that viewers are spreading themselves thin and DVRs are filling up with shows people mean to “get to eventually.” How does a show like “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” rise above the noise and find an audience?
Masterson: I hope we’ll have a pretty clear demo that’ll be sure to watch, regardless of what else is on because if you’re a fan of kaijū, the “Power Rangers,” and badly video’d 90s afternoon television (and if you have a sense of humor), you’re not gonna get much closer to that than us.

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Masterson: When it all starts coming together. When the various pieces that have been planned and rehearsed start to gel and I can tell it’s just starting to become something. That’s when I’m most excited to be doing it.

Masterson in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Masterson: I’m never hard on myself as an actor. I generally give it all I have and when I feel I fell short, I think, “Ha, well that didn’t work out!”

TrunkSpace: You played Francis on “Malcolm in the Middle” for 151 episodes. If “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” gets picked up and finds the kind of success that enables it to stay on the air that long, would you be happy playing a character again for such an extended period of time?
Masterson: Absolutely.

TrunkSpace: Potty Mouth sets a nice table of villains to come. What other kind of villains would you like to see the blue patrol member lay the mystic cosmic smackdown on? It seems like it is an “anything you can imagine” situation, which leaves the door open for some character-creating fun.
Masterson: I’d like to see some sort of a human centipede inspired space robot that feeds off of Earthlings it appropriates into its “circle”. That or a giant walking Zoltar machine who shouts fortunes at people, which come true the next morning, but they’re always terrible, terrible fortunes…

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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The Featured Presentation

Tim Russ

TimRuss_Bonus_Wingman_wednesday

Welcome to a surprise BONUS edition of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with sci-fi icon (sci-con?) Tim Russ to discuss what drew him to the series, performing without a body, and being the mystical mentor to the entire world.

TrunkSpace: You act. You write. You produce. You direct. You compose music. You have countless projects in production and in development. With such a busy schedule, what drew you to “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” and committing yourself to helping bring the comedic world to life?
Russ: I have known Gavin (Hignight) for a number of years. I’ve followed his various projects along the way, and when he was working on “Mystic Cosmic Patrol,” he asked me about playing one of the roles. I’ve always liked doing comedy whenever I get the chance, and this role seemed like something different and a lot of fun.

TrunkSpace: The series parodies the types of shows that many people grew up with like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman.” Those worlds were extremely fantastical in their storytelling, but when you add an intended comedic element into things, does that heighten the fantastical storytelling even further? Are you able to approach the performance aspect from a completely different perspective seeing that “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is not grounded in reality?
Russ: It’s that very fact that the show is a comedy based in a broad fantasy world, that opens the door to a lot of possibilities with this character’s direction and range.

TrunkSpace: You’re playing Gorgon, the mystical mentor who is a floating head. From what we’re told, actors love to do things with their hands/self during a performance… create actions for themselves that are organic to the scene. How do you approach a role when you’re only able to use your head in the performance? Does it change things, even on a personal level?
Russ: Not having a body with arms and legs, just means I have to play a lot of nuance with the character using more of my voice and facial expressions. Having done a lot of voiceover work, it makes it easier to accomplish this.

TrunkSpace: Heavy question alert! Imagine if you will… you are the mystical mentor head to the entire world. What advice would you give to people on how to live their lives and how to live with each other?
Russ: Realize that you are not alone… there are billions of other people living with you, all needing to use the same dwindling resources. The focus needs to be on preserving our home planet, and getting along with each other. Using our energies, technology, and wisdom to focus on the human condition… not personal profit.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: PREY

PREY_featuredimage_TrunkGaming (1)

Game Title: PREY

Platforms: PS4, PC, XBOX ONE

Release Date: May 5, 2017

This was, for these reviewers, an odd gaming experience.

What do we mean?”

Well, the marketing for PREY seemed to portray the game as an action packed, first person shoot ‘em up… yet folks online were touting the RPG perspective of the game. So what the heck is it? A first person shooter or an RPG?

The answer is, the game is not a single form of any inside the box gaming. Arkane Studios really thought outside the bun here, just like one of our favorite pregaming fuel up spots. As you start playing, you’re immediately dropped into a totally immersive environment. It appears you’re getting in a helicopter on a high-rise building to be whisked off, but don’t believe your eyes… or your ears for that matter. Nothing is what it seems in this game, and that is really what captured our interest.

Admittedly, it was frustrating at first. There isn’t really a built-in tutorial feel to give you the bearings you need to get going quick. There are “tutorials” available in the options menu, but nobody really wants to do that, right? You want to just seamlessly and naturally figure out how the controls work and be given a clear direction on what you should do. PREY does the opposite, and at first we were ready to turn the game off and take it back, but we forged on and before long, we could NOT put the game down. The lack of direction that frustrated us at first soon became what we loved most about the game. It’s as if you are truly the lead character of the game, MORGAN YU (male or female, they give you the option). You have no clue what’s going on at first, but it’s okay, because neither does your character. YOU decide what to believe and who to trust. Should you listen to your brother who tries to convince you of what your thoughts are, or should you listen to the robot that has your voice and supposedly YOUR directions on what to do and where to go?

One very exciting element of PREY is that there is not just one way to complete an objective. Say there is a locked door you need to get in, and you don’t have the access code. Look around your environment. Maybe there is an air vent up high or some duct underneath your feet. Is there a button on the other side of the door you can use a foam dart gun to activate? Maybe you can find a passcode via the computers in the space station, because guess what… there are actual emails on each terminal, maps, well acted audio logs, etc. Arkane does a wonderful job of painting this haunting space station environment. So these are really the RPG elements of the game. You can decide to help the people you meet, or if you don’t believe them… well, let’s just say you can launch them out into space, whack ‘em with a wrench, or let the aliens rip them apart.

Though there are a few guns in the game, you’ll soon find they are not necessarily the best way to deal with your opponents whether they are the aliens (Typhon), rogue turrets, or corrupted engineer robots. As you go through the game, you study the different aliens you have to fight. As you gain knowledge, you can use “nueromods” to inject this knowledge and abilities into your system. You’ll discover that using a lightning blast or increasing your health is far more beneficial than loading up that shotgun. You’ll also need to gather materials to recycle and fabricate your bullets, guns, EMPs, etc… there isn’t much of just finding random boxes of ammo lying around like a regular shooter game.

PREY is a wonderfully bizarre game that will grab you, pull you in, and before you know it, hours will have passed. That’s why despite our initial knee jerk reaction and a few glitches in the gameplay, we are certifying this game as a quarter muncher! Because if this game was in an old school arcade, we would be pumping in those hard-earned silver coins to find out what happens next. Our advice is play through the game once quickly (around 16-20 hours), then go back and really delve into the game and do all of the smaller tasks and enjoy the details (40 hours-ish).

Until next time, keep on pressing start!

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The Featured Presentation

Minae Noji

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Welcome to the fourth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Minae Noji to discuss the freedom in playing evil, the fun in carrying a scepter, and the grooviness of wearing bunny slippers to work.

TrunkSpace: You’re playing the big bad in “Mystic Cosmic Patrol.” Was it surreal to play such an over-the-top role surrounded by costumed characters and puppets? Is there a moment where you experience a, “Where am I?!?!” when you’re trading lines in that kind of environment?
Noji: I loved it. And I’m an only child, so I grew up with a lot of imaginary, crazy, characters and creatures all around me. It felt like home!

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Noji: The producers of MCP knew my work from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” both on screen in the film and from the animated show, so I guess they saw that villainy was in my blood! (Laughter) I was drawn to the project because I grew up watching “Power Rangers,” “Kung Fu,” and “The Twilight Zone,” and was obsessed with sketch shows like “The Carol Burnett Show,” “MADtv,” and “The Kids in the Hall.” “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is the perfect mix of sci-fi, martial arts, and crazy comedy, so I was sold immediately.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Noji: Definitely the freedom to really play with a character and have a good time! Rutina is so deliciously evil, it was a blast to really go for it with her. Oh… and the wardrobe. For the love of God, I’m wearing horns and holding a gigantic, long scepter. And who doesn’t like a long scepter? Right…

… Hello? (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Why does Rutina have issues with the Mystic Cosmic Patrol? What is her backstory and why is she so EVIL?
Noji: Rutina is tired of the MCP constantly thwarting her plans to take over the earth. She’s an ancient, evil being who consumes the energy and resources of planets to replenish her youth. Destroying and devouring worlds is one of her beauty secrets. Who needs Botox when you have the universe as your fountain of youth!

Noji and Alexander Ward in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actress? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Noji: There is nothing like working on a project that brings laughter into the world. As a child, I would grab a Hot Pockets pizza and my favorite blanket and just immerse myself in comedy shows on television. Laughter was my medicine. So as an artist, I am most energized and fulfilled when I have the opportunity to work on a comedy. It feels the closest to flying… without the airfare cost or needing wings.

TrunkSpace: You spent over a decade working on “General Hospital.” Soaps are known for their breakneck schedules. Has that kind of working environment prepared you for pretty much anything you’ve come across production-wise?
Noji: With soaps, you typically get only one take for each scene and the pace is very, very, fast. So when I get the opportunity to work on a project where I get more than one take. it feels like I just won the lottery! Soaps are a fantastic place to really work the craft and learn to breathe and trust in a high-stake situation.

TrunkSpace: You also do a lot of work as a voice actor. Do you approach a voiceover performance in the same way you would an on-screen role?
Noji: Yes, the prep is pretty much the same. I guess the only difference would be, sometimes with voiceovers, you don’t have a lot of time to study, so the preparation may not be as elaborate. But otherwise, it’s very similar.

Oooo…. except for the part where in voiceovers you can show up to work in your pajamas and bunny slippers! How groovy is that!?!

Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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The Featured Presentation

Chris Candy

ChrisCandy_Wingman_wednesday

Welcome to the third installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Chris Candy to discuss misidentifying salmon, the power of comedy, and sharing his iconic father with the world.

TrunkSpace: Steve Buscemi’s character was unhappy about being Mr. Pink in “Reservoir Dogs.” How do you feel about being the pink Mystic Cosmic Patrol member?
Candy: I think Carl is more of a salmon colored patrolman. Like the fish, it’s the mightier color pink. Joking aside, I love it. Pink is a great color. It is very empowering!

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Candy: I was sent over the scripts from friend and one of the show’s producers, Tommy Klipsch. He had seen some of my work and thought I would be a good fit for the team. When I read the scripts, I just loved the world the characters lived in. It was very creative and absurd, a solid combination for something funny.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Candy: Carl is a bit of a brute, so putting that type of energy in outer space while wearing a pink jumpsuit is just funny to me. I mean, one of his mystic cosmic powers is firing a laser beam from his crotch. It’s goofy. I am also a bit of a noob to the modern day sci-fi scene, so for me it was fun to learn about all of the unknown sci-fi genres that were getting a little Mystic Cosmic satire.

TrunkSpace: The great thing about a project like “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is that it’s nostalgic escapism, which in the current news cycle filled with so much negativity, escapism seems more important than ever. In your opinion, is comedy more than just laughs? Does it do something for the end user that can’t necessarily be qualified?
Candy: Great question. Comedy and laughter have always been incredible for a quick escape. Whether it’s satire or topical humor, everyone could always use a good laugh. Gavin Hignight, the writer/creator/ fellow patrolman, did an amazing job creating a new world filled with lovable lowlifes. They are so fun to watch and the show works incredibly well as a quick little escape from all of life’s realities. And in this day and age we could all use a good laugh!

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Candy: Different jobs bring about different pleasures for me as an actor, but in general I love connecting the dots of a character. Stretching the creative muscles and seeing what works and resonates with an audience. Creativity is such a beautiful thing to me. I simply love performing. It’s also a real treat when the cast and crew are solid. Everyone on the show was lovely to work with.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Candy: If I don’t get to the beach enough I’m pretty frustrated with myself.

TrunkSpace: You grew up with a perspective of the industry that a lot of people who pursue a career in Hollywood don’t have. Did that unique point of view and look behind the curtain help shape your career approach?
Candy: Sure. With my father and his incredible talent, I was able to see from an early age how much drive is needed in this business. You don’t just sit around and wait for things, your career and your craft start from yourself. My dad had that and I was able to apply that to my career.

TrunkSpace: Your father’s film, “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” has became a tradition for people during the Thanksgiving holiday. His contribution to pop culture as a whole has touched countless people. What has it been like sharing your dad with the world and have your thoughts on it changed or evolved over the years?
Candy: Well, I am happy to say that is a similar tradition for me. I love watching that film the night before Thanksgiving, and have been doing it for some time now. PTA is one of my absolute favorites of his. He is so wildly hysterical and vulnerable. When I was younger, I had a hard time sharing him with the world, he was my dad and I didn’t have a good understanding of the difference between my father and the celebrity/characters he played. As I’ve gotten older and listened to all the lovely people who share with me how important he was and still is to them, it just warms my heart.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

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Next Up

Avery Austin

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Name: Avery Austin

Hometown: Centreville, Virginia

Current Location: Los Angeles, California

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Austin: I’ve been acting since I was about eight, so it was just a matter of when I was going to move to Los Angeles or New York!

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Austin: I absolutely loved Judy Garland and “The Wizard of Oz.” I was captivated. Once I was old enough to watch “Titanic, according to my mom, Kate Winslet. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Austin: I went to school first and got a BFA in Theatre and Acting. I did as many student/short films I could do while I was in school in order to get experience and footage. In all honesty, nothing can prepare you for the industry in Los Angeles until you’re there. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Austin: After graduation from college, so 22. I graduated, and two months later moved to LA.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Austin: Oh my gosh, hardest first year of my life! I call it ‘the dark year.’ (Laughter) I would say I started to feel that LA was more of a ‘home’ after a year to a year and a half. It’s still hard sometimes, but I love it.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Austin: I booked a co-star playing Vanessa on CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” about five months ago. That was amazing. SO much fun.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Austin: It’s funny because I have booked more comedy roles out here so far, but I love drama. I want to do a psychological, uncomfortable role where I have to ‘dig deep.’ I’d love to be on “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Stranger Things” and “Shameless.”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Austin: Drive and confidence.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Austin: I’d love to be in an Academy-nominated film. I’m sure that is most actors dream out here. I want to be a part of something that is more than just ‘a movie,’ but a story that lasts a lifetime.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Austin: Just keep going. It’s going to be really hard. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, but don’t give up, especially right away.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Austin: My IMDb is www.imdb.me/averyaustin. I have an Instagram as well, @avery.austin.

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The Featured Presentation

Laci J Mailey

LaciMailey_Wingwoman_wednesday
Photo By: Paul Smith Photography

Before the summer draws to a close, we’re going to be taking some time to visit the shores… “Chesapeake Shores.” The Hallmark Channel original series recently returned for season 2 and with it, even more critical acclaim.

We sat down with O’Brien family member Laci J Mailey to discuss how she tapped into the “Chesapeake Shores” source material, the impending Jess mess, and why “Supernatural” is the right kind of rite of passage.

TrunkSpace: “Chesapeake Shores” is based on Sherryl Woods’ book series. In your interaction with viewers, has the show been attracting fans of both the source material and those who knew nothing about the novels beforehand?
Mailey: YES! Sherryl Woods’ books are New York Times Bestsellers – so yes. Absolutely her fans have followed her work into the TV series. Sometimes the fans of the books get a little upset that we haven’t exactly followed the original storylines, but Sherryl allowed us a beautiful framework to play with these characters and I think at the end of the day, everyone is okay with that. I believe we are honoring the characters she has created.

TrunkSpace: As far as your character Jess is concerned, did you spend time with Sherryl’s books or did you want there to be separation between the television world and the literary world that already existed?
Mailey: Well, let me be honest. I had to be careful with this in order to keep my ego in check and to make sure I was doing my job at telling the most truthful version of Jess I could. From my original research before reading the books, I quickly understood that NO ONE liked Jess! She was full of drama and a lot of the reader reviews found her quite annoying. At first this scared me. But then I really sat with it and thought, well, everyone is flawed. How can I bring this girl to life while staying true to her character and still allow the audience to understand and connect with her, despite her flighty behavior? So to answer your question: yes I sat with the books… but I sat carefully. I didn’t want to judge her. That being said, when I am reading her in the books, she is a separate entity. When I am reading her in the scripts, she’s mine.

TrunkSpace: Where is Jess’ personal journey taking her in season 2 and what part will she play in the overall storyline?
Mailey: I’m so happy for Jess in season 2! She finally gets to grow up a little. Things are really shifting and changing for her. She is dealing with old wounds and opening her heart to new possibilities. As for the overall storyline, she’s still making Jess messes but she’s finally learning to let more of her family help her and support her in the clean up.

TrunkSpace: The show focuses on the classic theme of family dynamics and the idea that you can always go home again. What is it that viewers relate to when watching the O’Brien family and at the same time, what does the series do differently with that dynamic that we haven’t seen before?
Mailey: Well, hopefully the audience can find something in one or all of our characters that they can say, “That’s so me!” or “That’s so Dad!” That’s really all we can hope for, that type of connection. For the viewers to watch and feel supported in their own life or their own family.

Photo: Laci Mailey Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: In the series you play the youngest sister. As far as her place in the family itself, does Jess feel like she has something to prove?
Mailey: Always! She is dealing with some pretty deep rooted abandonment issues, so I think she has lived her whole life wondering why she was left behind. What a great question. I think that might be Jess’s ultimate flaw – she is always trying to prove that she is worth loving and worth being heard. This is why she works so hard to make the BnB a success and is always making so many mistakes… maybe she’s testing to see if her family will stick with her.

TrunkSpace: What was it about Jess that you could relate to, and on the opposite side of that coin, what was it about her that is so far removed from who you are that it took some searching to find?
Mailey: Well, I like to think in my own life that I’m “the cool aunt!” I love her creativity and impulsiveness. I’m similar in those traits, so that is always pure fun for me to play. One of the harder things to find was understanding the six year old girl inside Jess who’s mom didn’t come home one day. Ouch. That was hard to imagine, but of course very real.

TrunkSpace: As you look over the first two seasons of “Chesapeake Shores,” what is the one scene or episode where you felt you really got to stretch as an actor and why?
Mailey: Season 2, episodes 7 and 8 were the most fun I have had yet. Jess gets to go through a whole whirlwind of emotions. It’s funny. It’s romantic. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a Jess mess. I loved it.

TrunkSpace: Something that you and many of your other costars have in common is that you have all also appeared on “Supernatural.” For actors based in Canada, is it a bit of a rite of passage to appear on that series?
Mailey: (Laughter)Very true. “Supernatural” is a staple of Vancouver actors. It also happens to be one of the best, kindest, easiest, warmest sets I’ve ever worked on. Those two boys (Jensen and Jared) are truly great people.

Photo: Laci Mailey Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: We’re admittedly big fans of “Supernatural” here, so not only do we know that you appeared for a three-episode run in season 11, but we know that you had previously appeared as a different character years before that. Is it unusual for an actor or actress to appear as multiple characters on the same series? What was it like returning to set with a different character to inhabit?
Mailey: No! Especially in Vancouver as they like to hire local actors. I think it’s awesome. I think the “Supernatural” fans love it too! Connecting the actors with characters from seasons before… how cool! I loved going back to play Jenna Nickerson. I had a bit more of an arc with her than I did with Emily in season 7, so I had a bit more fun on my second time around.

TrunkSpace: Your character Deputy Jenna played a big role in the overall storyline of season 11. Having helped set the car on its course, so to speak, has that very supportive and rabid fanbase accepted you into the SPN Family fold?
Mailey: I think so! I hope so. I am honored if they did. What an amazing fanbase that show has created.

TrunkSpace: As we look over your career, it seems like you haven’t really taken any time off since you started your career in 2011. Has the last few years felt like a whirlwind and is that a tempo you want to continue to work in as you look forward in your career?
Mailey: I love the whirlwind and I love not knowing what type of role I’m going to get to play next. I’m always looking for the next project. I did take some time off in 2014. I moved to New York and did the struggling artist/actor thing and LOVED it … until I hated it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: With the new season of “Chesapeake Shores” now airing, what do you hope fans will walk away with when the season finishes up?
Mailey: I hope they feel even more connected to our family than ever before.

“Chesapeake Shores” airs Sundays on Hallmark Channel.

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The Featured Presentation

Tim Jo

TimJo_MCP_Wingman

Welcome to the second installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Tim Jo to discuss serendipitous locker room run-ins, costume tightness, and how he experiences fearlessness during a performance.

TrunkSpace: “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a comedic take on popular shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman.” Within those shows, the human hero characters are often based on specific archetypes. Does your red patrol member fall into a specific archetype?
Jo: There are definitely some strong personalities within our cast of patrolmen. While our characters do adhere to some archetypes, they are definitely not the archetypes you see in traditional ranger shows! I think one of the funniest parts of the show is seeing how this crazy crew of patrolman come together to save the world.

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Jo: I have always been a huge fan of toku, especially “Kamen” Rider and Sentai ranger shows. My friend mentioned that he knew a group of people working on a ranger comedy series and I remember thinking, “OMG, I GOTTA get in on that!!!” He passed my name along and one day, I was in the locker room at the gym when someone tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you Tim Jo?” “Uhh yes?” “Sorry, I’m Gavin. I created Mystic Cosmic Patrol, I heard you were interested?” “Hell yeah!!!” A possibly awkward moment turned into a glorious one!

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on a lot of comedy projects over the years. From a performance standpoint, how did “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” differ tonally in what you have done in the past?
Jo: I actually think that tonally it is very similar to “The Neighbors.” I really feel like fans of that show will just love this one. There are lots of fun gags but the humor is really smart and there is a lot of heart. I hope that people who tune in to watch MCP will be able to feel the genuine love we have for the source material that inspired it.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Jo: The patrolman suits! I wasn’t lying when I said I was a big fan of this genre. I was SO excited to wear the costume each and every time. The skin-tight grasp on my groins did not bother me for a second – I felt like a real hero wearing that suit!

TrunkSpace: Those Mystic Cosmic Patrol suits did not appear particularly forgiving given their tightness and brightness. Does one need to avoid the crafty table on the days when one knows the suits will be a part of the wardrobe?
Jo: Very tight and very bright. The colors were actually quite beautiful in person. Our costume designer found perfect shades of each color for our spandex suits. As for the tightness – we actually took training pretty seriously. Even though this is a comedic series, it needed to be balanced with the belief that we could really defeat some nasty monsters. We took some personal lessons from Noah Fleder, who played our big robot Gigantus-6. He is a world class martial artist,  taught us how to fight and really made that robot kick some serious ass.

Jo in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Jo: Watching live theater usually gets me fired up and super inspired. I love the intimacy and intensity from live performances that you don’t quite get from watching things on screens.

As an introvert, acting is the only time I feel fearlessness. I get a free pass to explore myself and others without the fear of judgment or consequence. That’s why I love acting.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Jo: I’m always hard on myself and never walk away from a scene feeling like I got it. But I think that is what is also what keeps me going. I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I would pick up new hobbies every other week and once I got good enough, I would move on to another. With acting, I don’t think I ever got good enough. That’s why 10 years later, I’m still trying to get better.

TrunkSpace: We loved your character Reggie Jackson’s innocence in the series “The Neighbors.” How did you approach playing that character? Did you view him as an emotional fish out of water?

THE NEIGHBORS – (ABC/PETER “HOPPER” STONE) IAN PATRICK, TIM JO

Jo: I had such a strong connection to Reggie because with that character, I was basically wearing my heart on the outside. I played him with every ounce of optimism, purity and love in my being. My personal life at the time was a bit of a wreck, so playing such a bright character was quite therapeutic. He was totally an emotional fish out of water because he had yet to be tainted by the world. He had no emotional guards or walls because he never had a need for them prior to meeting the human neighbors.

TrunkSpace: Life is weird. You played a character named Reggie Jackson and then starred in “Pitch,” a show about baseball. Are there any other coincidences or strange career occurrences that you have experienced?
Jo: Meeting the creator of a dream project in the gym locker room is right up there. But honestly, every step in my career has felt like divine intervention, so I am extremely grateful for all my opportunities.

TrunkSpace: We believe you spent more time with Reggie Jackson (the character) than you have with any other role. Could you see yourself spending just as much time as a member of the Mystic Cosmic Patrol and what would be the most exciting aspect about playing a spandex-wearing hero for that long?
Jo: I would love nothing more! They say the real success of a project comes down to casting and I think we hit it out of the park with ours. Everyone that worked on this project has become a dear friend and I would love nothing more than to continue making episodes of MCP for years to come. And really – I love spandex. It just hugs you in all the right places.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

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Between The Sheets

Diane Rios

DianeRios_BetweenTheSheets

In our new feature, Between the Sheets, TrunkSpace picks the imaginative brains of authors to break down what it takes to create the various worlds and characters they breathe life into via the tools of their trade… sheets of paper. While technology continues to advance and change the pop culture landscape, the written word has remained one of the most consistent and imaginative art forms.

This time out we’re chatting with Diane Rios to discuss her new novel “Bridge of the Gods: The Silver Mountain Series, Book One,the fantastical draw of fantasy, and how working in the world’s largest independent book store inspired her on multiple levels.

TrunkSpace: Your debut novel, “Bridge of the Gods: The Silver Mountain Series, Book One,” was released on August 15. What emotions were you experiencing leading up to the release of the book? Was it a mix of excitement and nervousness?
Rios: Yes, both! Also joy and relief! It being my first novel I had no idea how it would be received, and it’s a bit of a leap of faith to throw yourself out there like that! Especially being such a fan of middle grade literature – I did not want to let my literary heroes down, or my friends or their children! Thanks to some very encouraging reviews I am feeling a lot better, and the joy and excitement are taking over.

TrunkSpace: What was the journey like for you in terms of the first creative spark that gave birth to The Silver Mountain Series to where you physically held a copy in your hands? How long was it? How difficult of a journey was it, if at all?
Rios: I always wanted to write a middle grade novel, because I LOVED middle grade novels when I was a middle grader. They were my best friends for years, and those friends never left me. That was the initial “creative spark” – those books. L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” books, the Little House on the Prairie Books, the Cricket in Times Square series, the Narnia books, Beatrix Potter’s stories and Marguerite Henry’s books, among others, all took me to worlds I wanted to live in forever. Also, I was absolutely crazy for horses and anything to do with horses. As I grew, those passions remained, and when I got a job working at Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland I was in middle reader heaven.

For three years I worked in every room of the store, which is the size of an entire city block, and my favorite of course was the Rose Room, or the children’s room. There I shelved new and used and out-of-print children’s books of all kinds. Caldecott winners, Newberry winners, Coretta Scott King award winners. Middle readers, Young Adult, fantasy, poetry, biography – and my favorite, horse stories. I rebuilt my personal collection of best-book-friends from childhood, and my imagination was definitely sparked to finally write my own story.

“Bridge of the Gods” took four years to complete. The original manuscript was around 170,000 words, over 60 chapters long, and I decided it worked much better as two books, so “Bridge of the Gods” is Book One of the series, and Book Two is obviously already written. When I discovered She Writes Press through my mother, it seemed the perfect way to publish and I submitted. After being accepted I began the editing process, which lasted about six months. Six months after that – the book arrived on my doorstep in a big cardboard box. A thrill to open!!! All told, from submission to doorstep was about one year.

TrunkSpace: As a new author looking to build a readership, what are the biggest hurdles you face? How does “Bridge of the Gods: The Silver Mountain Series, Book One” go from being published to being read?
Rios: My biggest challenge as a new author is to get reviews. I need to connect with my readers and ask them to help support the book by leaving reviews everywhere they can – on Amazon, on Goodreads, or any blog or article they see it mentioned. As a consumer, I know how important reviews are – I rely on them myself! I hope the media attention the book has gotten so far is enough to excite people to read the book, and if they like it I would be THRILLED if they could take a second to leave a review, and recommend by word of mouth. I love getting book recommendations from my friends!

TrunkSpace: As mentioned above, you actually used to work in a book store. Did that experience help shape you as a writer? Did it help shape your branding/marketing brain because you were able to see firsthand what connected with consumers and what didn’t?
Rios: Oh yes, Powell’s was an incredible education for me. It was my first job as a bookseller and they trained me from scratch. As you may know it is the biggest independent bookstore in the world! They have literally acres of new and used, out-of-print and rare books, and I was the luckiest girl in the world to have been able to handle them all. My job title was “Generalist” and that meant I worked in every capacity – as a cashier, at the info stands, shelving, sorting, labeling, I even got to work in the Rare Book Room!!! What a dream!!! I am a very visual, display-oriented person and LOVED Powell’s displays, and I saw how much customers were drawn to that. But that is just my marketing/branding brain, I was so influenced by my job at Powell’s in other ways too! Just the books themselves, and the amazing rooms they were in gave me no end of inspiration! Working in the Gold Room – it’s the Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Graphic Novel room – I spent hours and hours up a ladder in there shelving, and I worked deep in “The Cave” (the almost-windowless-lined-with-paperbacks work-space of the Gold Room), listening to loud rock and roll while we sorted the sci fi/fantasy/romance/paranormal romance/mystery/ books off the big carts from the warehouse. It was SO much fun, so inspiring, and the PEOPLE I worked with blew me away too! As you can imagine, Powell’s is full of talent – incredible talent. Artists, writers, musicians – I was amazed on a daily basis by who I was working with. Someone ought to just start a Powell’s music label and publishing house already.

TrunkSpace: YA is a term that is thrown around quite a bit these days and it seems the actual definition of it blurs based on who you ask. In your opinion, what does YA mean and who is the audience? (Not necessarily age demographic, but the profile of the reader.)
Rios: In my opinion the definition of “YA” has changed over the years. Perhaps in the early days it referred to an age group, but now I think it is incredibly inclusive. There is a lot of overlap these days between other genres like middle readers, memoirs, and fantasy. Young Adult encompasses all of those now, and it’s really cool because it opens up all these other worlds to readers of ALL ages! I mean, what age doesn’t like Harry Potter?

TrunkSpace: How important has the written word been in your life, both as a consumer and as someone with thoughts that just need to get out in a creative capacity?
Rios: Almost everything. The written word has been absolutely critical to me. My values and world view was formed in large part by the stories I read as a child, and as a young adult. My expression of my deepest feelings and instincts, the expression of any wisdom I may have acquired through my 50 years on this planet, is mostly-expressed through the written word. Writing is an outlet for everyone. It is one of the most powerful tools we all have access to. You don’t need a power cord for it, or a computer, or wi-fi access, or a phone – you only need something to write with or on. Writing is therapy, it is healing, it is love, and literacy is one of the most important issues of our time.

TrunkSpace: Readers escape in the worlds of fantasy, getting lost in the characters and their thrilling adventures. As an author of fantasy, do you find yourself getting lost in those same situations but from a different perspective?
Rios: Actually, it’s very much the same! I write what I want to read – and I edit by reading it as I would any book, which works very well for me! The terribly-written parts just jump out at me when I pretend I’m a reader reading it for the first time. It’s kind of horrifying actually – editing can be scary, but oh-so-necessary! When I finally get it just the way it should be, I know because I feel transported. I walk into the world in my head and I just…expand in it, trying to savor it, be in it, live in it. It makes me want to write more and more books just to BE in those places longer! It’s one of my favorite things when an author I love writes a long series. I’m never ready for it to be over!

TrunkSpace: Regarding the process, is writing a labor of love for you or does it feel more like labor? Do you enjoy the process?
Rios: I do love the process, but I didn’t always. When I started BOG I didn’t really know what I was doing. The very first version of the manuscript was IMO very silly, and I basically re-wrote the whole thing, from a different angle. Then I re-wrote it again because it was still kind of terrible. It’s at times like these that it isn’t any fun at all, and does feel like hard work. I felt like giving up of course, I think that is a predictable stage in any difficult project. I didn’t give up because I wanted to finish it. I’m not getting any younger, and even if nothing ever happened and it was never published, at least it would be DONE. And hopefully not too embarrassing, please literary gods! So I rewrote it again until it was better, and I was happier, and then further editing made me even happier, so now that it’s done and I’ve gotten some good reviews – it’s finally fun! Phew! I think Book Two will be a lot more fun.

TrunkSpace: And what does that process look like? What are the ideal conditions for putting in a good day of writing?
Rios: For me, the best time to write is in the wee hours of the morning. “Bridge of the Gods” was written almost entirely between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. I have a bit of insomnia and I go to bed at a ridiculously early hour, so believe it or not, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at that hour! It’s very quiet out in the world then, and nobody is up in the house so I can really immerse myself and get a lot done.

TrunkSpace: Do you self-edit as you write?
Rios: Yes, I will write it all out quickly at first – changing things here and there – and then I immediately will go through again and really edit. Then another pass usually, possibly a fourth – and it’s usually there, at least until the next day when I re-read. A little time between editing frenzies makes a HUGE difference in the end result!

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as a writer?
Rios: I criticize myself for not taking MORE time on it. I’ve heard you never feel “done” and I guess that’s true. I’m so nervous I’ll see something I really don’t like about it, something that I missed during the editing process – that I’m afraid to read it! Like an actor that doesn’t watch their own movies. That’s just the nerves talking though, it goes away, and it motivates me for Book Two.

TrunkSpace: What are you working on now and what will people be able to read next?
Rios: I’m going to start editing Book Two next month! I have a working title I’ll share at a later date, but Chloe’s adventures continue with a super-exciting finish! It’s the culmination we’ve all been waiting for, and along the way you get to meet some incredible animal characters. In Book Two we meet Auberon King of the Bears, Mai the Wise Wolf, Afra the Great White Doe and King Cornix of the Ravens. Book Two will be an action-packed sequel, and hopefully will be out in 2018!

I’m also writing a collection of children’s poems called “Poems For Little People” inspired by A.A. Milne’s “When We Were Very Young” and “Now We Are Six.”

“Bridge of the Gods” is available now from She Writes Press.

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