Today marks the official kickoff of the How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy metal Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and we’re beyond excited to welcome S.D. McKinley for his first Storytellers event as the author in the spotlight! Throughout the upcoming week we’ve got a great lineup helping us feature his action-packed Comic Fantasy novel, How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal. I can’t wait to hear what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so stay tuned for some incredible content!
S.D. also stopped by for a quick chat where we discuss how How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal came into fruition, what he believes makes for a great story, and the exciting things that lie ahead. So, keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, the interview, and the giveaway to snag yourself a paperback copy of this beautiful book of his!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
FEBRUARY 17TH – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
Lecari’s Livejournal 2.0
Dream Come Review
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Jess Likes to Read (@jesslikestoread253)
Out of Babel
FEBRUARY 23RD – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
Ride along with LJ and Rom as they travel the US to stop the death of their friend Dom, a legendary heavy metal guitarist. What unravels before their eyes is a trippy conspiracy against them and technological warfare on the dreams of not only Dom, but humankind alike. Action packed with fast cars, guns, monsters, magic and an ending like no other.
“This book is a whimsical ride, easy read and a thrilling piece of literature.”
“I especially enjoyed the authors sense of humor.”
“You’ll love the pop cultural references and dialog.”
“In most logical circumstances everything in this story shouldn’t work, but it does and the style of writing just flows and works flawlessly in what is one of the most original books I have ever come across. It’s clear that the imagination of S.D. McKinley is one of a gifted story teller with an original voice.”
Meet the Author
S.D. McKinley lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in the first half of the 1980’s and grew up in Wisconsin as a young boy, then moved to Georgia when he turned exactly twelve years old. During teenage years, he raced dirt track go karts and played guitar. He discovered his current love for all kinds of art after his mid-life crisis at 25 years old. S.D. McKinley began writing books in 2017.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, S.D. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
72% manic squirrel that’s learning to use his tree climbing capabilities.
Give us an idea of how How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal came to fruition.
After noticing a polarity shift in the music industry and mourning the assasination of music stars in the late 90s and early 00s, I wanted to write a tribute, a healer of sorts to remind us to always look out for the ones we care about, no matter what. That is the most important thing in life. We are nothing without each other. Not our devices. Not how many likes we can get. It’s the people that make reality and it’s so easy to mix up our personal agendas with what is essential like love and helping others. So, I say: Power to the people!
One night, I was shredding on my Dean Dimebag Black Bolt guitar and an uneasy feeling came over me, a great feeling of sorrow in relation to these deaths, the polarity shift in music and I initially had a story where LJ and Rom would descend into literal hell to save Dom, but the story really had no basis after that, so I formed it into what you see today. I feel like a lot of the mainstream music is algorithmic and boring and I don’t like that. We deserve colors of all flavors in life, even if they seem undesirable at the time without having to feel like we are uncovering a hidden trove.
Just before I started writing the book, I slammed a Cocaine drink ( !!! I don’t recommend drinking this at all, it’s not safe for consumption and is now banned !!! ) and that really got things moving in a solid direction. The only bad part of the whole situation is I forgot that I already had my daily cup of coffee, so it was a bit unnerving.
The rest of the story combines knowledge and scenarios of things that are important to me both in cultural and personal values.
Can you share with us something about How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal that isn’t in the blurb?
I’ve seen some reviews, more than one comparing it to Jack Kerouac’s writings, although I haven’t read any of his work. Also there are a myriad of characters to fall in love with.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
My best research that I did was in fact a bit of backwards research. Where I would go into an empty room ( may have very well been the toilet at some point ) with only an ink pen and paper and just wrote. I did the whole first half of the book this way. Nothing but my mind, a pen and a piece of paper. It’s amazing what your mind does when this happens and it does take a while for your mind to blossom so-to-speak and at first it creates a bit of pangs, but patience is key with this method.
What do you hope your readers take away from How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal?
I hope you will laugh, enjoy and at the end of the day see that it is in our genuinity with ourselves / nature and cooperation together that we hold power. Without those two things, we are completely powerless.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
While I admit, How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal may be a bit lacking in character development the plot definitely comes first. This came as a reflection after I really started taking the industry seriously. I will be sneaking some backstory and more character development into later writings.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
My favorite character out of the book is Vincent, one of the steamin’ demon children. He really helped LJ and Rom the most by showing them how to kill a jhaman ( the advanced zombie with a gem in his chest ).
What do you think makes a good story?
I don’t think any one thing really makes a good story. It’s a combination of logic and chaos, meaning and non-sense: A reflection of the power of humans to control things smaller than we can see and bigger than planets, universe and life itself, in fact, to deliver a message to our hearts and even warn us about the past or future. A good story holds a balance that is not easily explained without deep meditation and a thorough understanding of what envelopes our paradoxical existence.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
When the book was first published in 2018, it was a complete mess because I didn’t have the money for a professional editor. And, while I felt like I accomplished something huge, I was just beginning the journey. Working full time, trying to get somewhere in life, all while writing a book, sometimes sleeping in my car and no place to stay. It was no excuse to give up. So to answer the initial question: If I could have done anything different writing my first novel, it would have been that I had prepared for a proper launch and not pulled the trigger prematurely. Oh, and if I would have had my own comfortable writing nook with absolutely no technology involved besides a pen and paper, that would have been great, too!
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Do it because you want to. Do it because you feel it in your heart. Don’t do it for a word count. Don’t do it to win contests, although if you win one in the process, good on you. Do it because you feel like you can potentially save a life by writing one. Don’t follow rules or what that silly agent is telling you just to simply weed out applicants, be your own person and ‘stick it to the man’ so-to-speak. If you listen to every advice that is being told, you will lose yourself in the process. You can actually do that while still being completely respectful. It’s strategic and tactful. They love it when you do that.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee! I drink it black, upside down, right side up, with sugar, cream and sugar, or sometimes honey. Actually, come to think of it, I’m a coffee connoisseur.
Winter or Summer?
Winter and knee height snow.
Physical books or Ebooks?
My ultimate preferred method of reading is physical, although for on-the-go reading, the dictionary and embedded research capabilities, Kindle is the bee’s knees for accessibility.
Mountains or Oceans?
Ah, I’d take a healthy cruise liner in the middle of the ocean over a mountain any day.
Beer or Wine?
Craft beer! I love some good Terrapin Hopsecutioner. It’s brewed semi-locally in Athens, GA.
Books or Movies?
Books, duh. Or, even better read a book while watching a movie. It’s a great concentration exercise.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Cowboys! As a matter of factly( ← NOT a typo ), I was named after a cowboy.
Pie or Cake?
Pie! My most favored pie is a cheesecake, which is actually a pie, not a cake.
Rural or Urban?
Rural. I’ve always said I actually wanted to live urban at least one time in my life, but I’m beginning to change my mind based on recent events. Why does everyone feel like they are stuck in the city anyways?
Work hard or Play hard?
I can’t pick one for this. Sorry / not sorry!
Thank you again for taking the time to have a chat, S.D. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
I’m working as fast as humanly possible on LJ and Rom book #2 ( name currently undecided ), being released as a web serial on my blog now @ sdmckinley.com. It’s coming to a head on what LJ and Rom landed in at the end of book #1, now and . . . there will be games. I don’t rely on collaboration or feedback from users, but I sure would like to hear some genuine feedback on it. Cheers and good luck to Story Tellers on Tour and all the clients. I hope everyone that uses you for book tours gets a good luck charm and it takes them to that next step they need to evolve their work. -S.D.
Enter to win yourself a paperback copy of How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal by S.D. McKinley! Five copies are ready to find their forever homes!
(Ends February 23rd, International!)
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/01/22/tour-schedule-how-lj-and-rom-saved-heavy-metal-by-s-d-mckinley/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!
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