Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Dani, in Songbird, has not had an easy life, but possibly one of the hardest things she has to do in the book has nothing to do with her family. I don't want to spoil anything for those reading, but let's just say that when Dani is forced to choose, she's strong enough to make the right choice...even though you want to cry for her!

Get busy reading and go find out what I'm talking about. I'd love to hear other readers thoughts on Dani's decision in chapter 11.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Songbird...and the torture of being in love, and knowing it isn't returned.

"Deflect. Deflect before he realizes that is the one thing you wanted more than anything. I prayed for something to come to mind, anything that I could say to end the sickening silence, but nothing came and I watched the smile slide away, the quiet between us reflected in his face."

One of the best parts of Songbird is that just about everyone can understand Dani's pain when it comes to this. How many of you have had a crush, or been in love, knowing your feelings aren't returned they way you want? Angela does such a great job of taking those emotions we've all felt and using them to let readers really connect with Dani.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

More about Angela Fristoe...

While you guys are reading Songbird, check out Angela's blogs to learn more about her, her writing, and what she's reading.


New Book!

Alright, everyone, we're moving out of the realm of the magical and paranormal to a book that is all too realistic. Songbird, by Angela Fristoe, is a heartbreaking, but soul warming story of Dani Mays. There is no magical realism, no angels or demons this time, just the real life kind of monsters and the scars they leave behind.

There are defining moments in life when everything changes. For Dani Mays, it was the day she witnessed her father kill her brother. Now seventeen years-old, she still hasn’t put it behind her. After Jace’s death, she bounced between her alcoholic mother and foster homes, until she found a permanent place. And a reason to want to stay: Reece Tyler. He’s her best friend, yet Dani wants more from Reece. Faced with losing Reece, Dani struggles to define his place in her life and escape the influence her memories of her brother’s death have over her choices. Even as she weaves the pieces of her heart back together, the past becomes more than a memory when a former foster brother reappears and Dani begins receiving threatening phone calls.

Get your copy today, and read along with me in Paperback or Kindle or in any of the popular ebook formats on Smashwords

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview with Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark

For all of you that have read, or are currently reading The Apocalypse Gene, here is a little more info about the authors and how the book was written. Thanks to Suki and Carlyle for taking the time to answer my questions and share more about themselves and their work with us!

1. What was the inspiration for The Apocalypse Gene? How did the two of you develop the idea together? 
Actually, that’s the trickiest question because the inspiration comes from all of the revelations in the story, so even hinting at it is basically a big giveaway. But, what we can say is the story was shaped by our idea that at the end of the day—love it, hate it, or don’t care one way or the other about it—you will not be able to say you’ve read anything similar or that you “saw what was coming next.”
And that jives with how we developed the story, which was to recognize that at each crux of the story we came to, the first few ideas we came up with were just rehashes of the way other stories had handled similar situations, so we made sure to keep going until we found something fresh. That took a lot of brainstorming and, let’s just say, “passionate discussions.”

2. When you came up with the reason for the Pandemic, what made you decide to go with a familiar disease like cancer and twist it into something even more frightening, rather than taking the more common approach of inventing a disease? 
We actually struggled with this because we knew it may be off-putting to some people to have a real disease like cancer addressed in our book. At least one reviewer actually said something along the lines that “cancer shouldn't be in speculative fiction”. In the end, we decided that we respectfully disagree that speculative fiction is a literary “second class” citizen.
3. The hospice Olivya lives and works in lends a very grim slant to the book from page one. Was it difficult to write about so much sickness and death without letting the book get too depressing? (You balanced it well by the way!)
Thank you for the compliment. Suki works as a medical transcriptionist and I’ve worked—and still work—in various forms of security, we were,, perhaps a little more at home in situations that others would call grim. By the time we were through brainstorming and actually started writing, it was actually very natural to portray the world that way, and we’ve both found that despite how grim situations are in our personal lives we still find humor; we made sure to include a healthy dose of that as well.
 4. The virtual school Olivya and Mikah attend was an interesting touch. Did the current obsession for social networking in today's society inspire this element? 
To some extent it did. It seems the natural progression, especially with the current trend toward homeschooling, that that by the time our novel takes place there would be an established Virtual School system, and then when the Pandemic strikes it would be upgraded to the level it is in our novel.
 5.  How did the two of you write the book together? What was the process and balance of work like? 
We brainstormed in the gist of the novel. Then I would come up with different plotting ideas and Suki and I would debate them; when we finally agreed, generally I would write the 1st draft of a chapter and Suki the 2nd, though some chapters we did it the other way around. Then as we were going forward we were in a constant state of revision until we were happy with the whole shebang.
6. Do either of you have interesting tricks or rituals when you write? 
Hmm, Suki generally writes with an obese calico in her lap, and I sometimes work my way through scenes by doing a one-man show and acting out all the parts—it gets really weird when I do the non-human ones—and living in fear someone will videotape me through the window and put it on YouTube.
7. Who are your favorite authors? 
We both love Guy Gavriel Kay. Suki’s a huge Stephen King fan too.
 8. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
 We’d love to.
I am finishing up a crime thriller that will be out around the end of summer beginning of fall currently called, The Black Song Inside.
Suki and I are working on several speculative fiction projects, including a novel and a series of novellas.
We will also be releasing a novel that is a series of interconnected speculative novellas that spin the gamut from sci-fi to horror to folklore to fantasy to magical realism,  with recurring characters set in the magical town of Redemption, Arkansas during the Great Depression. Sort of like what Stephen King does with his mythical town of Castle Rock, Maine.
It’s called: REDEMPTION'S LAMENT: Book One of The Redemption Revelations

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A question of Avatars

In The Apocalypse Gene, Mikah and Olivya create avatars that look exactly like themselves. They use these avatars to go to virtual school, do virtual shopping and hanging out, and fulfill other aspects of daily life that no longer exists offline in their world. This provoked an interesting question for me. If the majority of daily interactions with other people only existed in a virtual setting, would people create avatars that really looked like themselves in a effort to show people who they really are, or would the desire to become who you want to be-or someone you think is better-win out in the end? Leave a comment and tell me what you would do...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review of The Apocalypse Gene

Some people love the paranormal powers of psychics and auras. Others are devoted science fiction fans. Still other readers fall to the lure of fantasy, angels, demons, and gods. And who doesn’t like a good action adventure? The Apocalypse Gene is a book that takes elements of paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and action adventure and weaves them into a tale that readers of all these individual genres can enjoy.

Olivya sees auras, something she has always tried to control and keep from interfering in her day to day life, which happens to consist of caring for the dying souls spending their final days in her family’s hospice. Who would want to see the vibrant colors of death and diseases? Olivya’s abilities lend a very vivid and artistic element to the story. I enjoyed the descriptions of emotions through color, the bright yellows for lighter emotions and dark variants of reds and greens for those that were more sinister. Seeing the world through Olivya’s eyes was a new and interesting experience.

Mikah is a mystery to Olivya in so many ways, but the reader quickly learns that there is a reason for his secretive nature. Bringing a mythical slant to the book is Mikah’s demigod heritage and not-quite-human abilities. His story also connects the death Olivya is surrounded by every day with worlds beyond imagination and monsters of alien background. The combination of these two characters twists classically separate genres into one story very well. The sci-fi was balanced well by the more mythical side of angels and demigods. Even the futuristic society were all “normal” life is carried out in an online reality contrasted very nicely with the everyday malignancy of cancer run amok.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the incorporation of the familiar with the unfamiliar. Many of us have heard of auras, but have you ever thought of using psychic power to do battle? And who doesn’t have an avatar of some kind in today’s world, but have you ever considered what you would say to a miniature version of yourself suddenly come alive? The Apocalypse Gene never felt too out of the realm of reality, even with Adversarii and Xeraf-Yim, because there was plenty about this society you could relate to still.

Overall, this was an entertaining book that had interesting characters and a well thought out plot. I never knew what was coming next, but I looked forward to finding out. The endings of books are a big deal maker or deal breaker for me. If the ending is awful despite the rest of the book being good, it’s most likely I won’t read anything else by the author because I hate putting in a lot of time with a book only to be disappointed. The Apocalypse Gene definitely came through on the ending. I felt like all my questions were answered, it was exciting, I was kept guessing right up to the end, and it was nice and dramatic. You won’t be disappointed at the end.

One thing I didn’t particularly connect with in the book was the heavy used of slang and hyphenated future names for things. I found these very distracting while reading and felt like it took away from the writing. Similarly, the Ayvilo character was my least favorite in the book. Her constant sarcasm and generally bratty attitude and constant slang usage did not help me connect with her. I found her to be obnoxious rather than funny, and a distraction at times. My only other complaint was that while the romance between Olivya and Mikah was sweet, it wasn’t as compelling for me as it could have been. It seemed to be based too much on looks for Olivya’s part. If the “outsider” connection between them had been used as a stronger pull for them to be together I think it would have struck me more profoundly.

As a whole, the book was a very interesting read. I loved the separate genres combined in such a fun, yet dark, way. The creativity of the story was very compelling and the artistic and vivid descriptions pulled me in time and again while reading. The Apocalypse Gene was an entertaining read that will make you laugh and threaten to make you cry when you’re convinced nothing is going to work out. And the end will pull all the myth, science, and emotion together beautifully.

Would I recommend The Apocalypse Gene? Yes, you’ll enjoy it!

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone willing to give crossed genres a try, and YA readers who want a slightly dark, but a generally sweet book with a great ending. 

Go get your own copy today 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to The Apocalypse Gene

I've been a little absent from the blog the past little while thanks to getting my awful cold back, but while I was laying on the couch feeling icky I did get to finish The Apocalypse Gene. I will have the review up tomorrow afternoon, so stay posted!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In the end...

Hopeless ending or new beginning? That's my biggest question as I read Apocalypse Gene right now!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back to Apocalypse Gene...

Have any of you ever wondered what the world would be like if social networking became your life? Apocalypse Gene is such an interesting mixture of fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi. It has so far managed to mix paranormal mind abilities with angelic and demonic powers, and now the virtual world run amok has been thrown into the mix. It would be hard to find such an eclectic composition anywhere else. Check it out!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview with Jenni James - Author of Pride and Popularity

Jenni was so kind to answer a few questions about herself, writing, and her books. Read on to find out more!

 1.  How did you decide which parts of Pride and Prejudice to follow, and which to change?  

It all came so organically to me, the characters sort of popped up and and presented themselves, which became really easy to bend them a bit to fit a new more modern adaptation.  I also had to leave room for them to grow, since you will be seeing many of these characters again, playing different parts, in some other of The Jane Austen Diaries. 

·         2. Did any of the funny situations in the book come from personal experience?

Oh, yeah.  A lot.  I have a lot of material to use and bend at my will.  My own life has been full of many, many zany and fun experiences.  It's definitely unique!  Which makes writing all the more real and fun. :)

·        3.  Did you start the Jane Austen Diaries with a rewrite of Pride and Prejudice because it’s her most well-known work, or for another reason?

Honestly, I had no idea I was rewriting Pride and Prejudice until about 4 chapters in and still no title for the book.  I called my mom from England (we were stationed with the Air Force there) begging for help with a title.  After a few minutes of chatting and explaining the book in detail, I said, "You know what this book is like?  It's like Pride and Prejudice."  We're both HUGE Jane Austen fans so she said without missing a beat, "Well then, call it Pride & Popularity."  After a few more chapters in, I realized I had the characters for the other books already beginning and the rest you can say, is history. 

·        4.  What was your favorite moment from the book?

Eeeh!  Okay.  So my most favorite scene is Morp. I love it so much!  I think it's fun and perfect and wonderful when her friend saves her. :) 

·         5. How do you find time to write?

Lol!  With as many kids as I've got, if I don't take time to write, I find myself going insane.  To me, writing is my release, my way of contributing to the world in some small way without feeling shutout and drowning in motherhood.  lol! 

·        6.  What is your writing process like? Any quirks, special rituals?

Well, I usually write at night, while the kids are in bed.  I edit during the day, since it's much easier to walk away and help children when you're editing.  But with 10 kids around me during the day, I find I shut everyone out as I write--it's much safer for us all if I write at night. Lol! I also clear my head and say a prayer before beginning.  If I'm writing a sad scene, or something intense, I find I do much better getting back in the mood, if i've got a mood building song on repeat really low in the background.  If I'm writing comedy, I have to have complete silence.  

·        7.  Can you tell us a little about Northanger Alibi?

Northanger Alibi is by far my funniest book.  I love love love it.  And in the same tradition of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, I've placed Claire in the middle of what she imagines to be her favorite novel, Twilight.  Since Northanger Abbey is all about a girl who reads way too many Gothic novels and finally gets to go out into the world believing all she's read is true... I had to base Northanger Alibi off of a modern Gothic novel that every girl knows, and wishes would come true.  But the best part is, in the end Claire learns that real life is better than anything she'd ever read in a book.  

·        8.  What authors, books, or movies have influenced you? 

I love good clean teen movies, they're always so much fun and now my daughter is a teenager I can sneak in some more guilty pleasure by watching them with her!  Lol!  My favorite modern author is Judith A. Lansdowne, she is not only an amazing friend, but a tremendous writer as well.  When I began writing I vowed to make sure my guys were as in depth and as sweet as her heroes.  You really just fall in love with any of her characters, and I hope that's what happens with my books as well. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Book!

This week is going to be busy for me personally and the blog. I'm heading back to school tomorrow but I'm going to do my best to keep the reviews and interviews coming! So up next is Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark's Apocalypse Gene. Read on to find out more!

Apocalypse Gene
Global pandemic is raging. Olivya Wright-Ono's once loving home has been converted to a hospice for the dying.  Her ability to see auras forces her to witness, with agonizing detail, the vibrant colors of life consumed by malignancy.  The beautiful and troubled, Mikah, is an elite Empath in the ancient Kindred clan, led by the brooding, ever-morphing, monster named Prime. Mikah has learned a terrible truth . . . the plague is linked to Kindred origins.  When Olivya sees evidence of disease creeping into her mother's aura, she has no one to turn to but Mikah. Can he unearth the Kindred secrets and find a cure?  Can she trust this boy whose power allows him to  manipulate her very emotions? With her mother's life, and that of the world, in the balance, Olivya and Mikah embark on a quest to stop the Pandemic, only to discover it is far, far more than a mere disease . . .

" ...a wildly imaginative young-adult apocalyptic thriller that also utilizes elements of science fiction, fantasy, folklore, mythology and romance...the well-choreographed, thematically powerful conclusion, coupled with the deeply developed characters of Olivya and Mikah, make this a memorable read.” --Kirkus Critics' Pick
"With its snappy, razor-sharp dialogue and wildly vivid imagery, the book, while geared toward young adults, has plenty for adults to enjoy as well." --Foreword
""The Apocalypse Gene" is a thoughtful read with plenty to consider, highly recommended." --Midwest Book Review

So everybody go out and get your copy and read long with me. I'll also be posting an interview with Suki and Carlyle, as well as backtracking for a minute tomorrow to post the interview Jenni James, author of Pride and Popularity which was reviewed on the blog a few weeks ago. 

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Review of Eolyn

High fantasy isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but Eolyn is a different story. What turns a lot of people off of fantasy is complex magic systems, outlandish characters, epic journeys that last forever, and long drawn out backstories. While Eolyn captures the basic elements of fantasy very well, she dodged the bits that make people shy away.

Eolyn is the journey of a young woman whose life has been torn apart by war. Running from further cruelty, Eolyn is set upon a path that changes the path of not only her destiny, but that of an entire kingdom. While trying to unravel her destiny Eolyn discovers more than she ever imagined. Magic, friendship, betrayal, death, and love are her companions on her journey.

One of my favorite aspects of the first part of the book is watching Eolyn grow up. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t usually like this approach because of the choppy, rushed feel the “growing up” chapters usually exhibit. This was not the case in Eolyn. Karin did a wonderful job of starting off the book from a young girl’s point of view. The innocence of Eolyn was expressed in her unfailing belief in the around her. This was made even better by the hints Karin gave through other characters eyes that maybe the people ein Eolyn’s life were not as pure as she believed. It was a fabulous tactic that lead into the later chapters were Eolyn is forced to confront lies and deceptions.

As Eolyn grows there was a subtle progression of her character from naïve child to a more understanding young woman. The change is not complete, of course, or Eolyn would see future conflicts too easily, but it is realistic.

Woven throughout the story is the love story of Eolyn and Akmael. While the story in general was beautifully written, the innocence of secret childhood friends turned into lovers on opposite sides of a war enhances every aspect of the story. In the beginning their relationship is sweet tempered by lies. As it grows it turns more passionate, but held off by circumstance and fear. In the end…well I don’t want to spoil too much, but trust me, it is a beautiful and heart wrenching love story from the first day.

In the background of love, lies, and battle are the descriptions of the world in which Eolyn lives. Vivid descriptions have long been a tradition in high fantasy, but Karin managed to resist the four and five page cataloging of every single detail some authors get trapped by, and keeps her painting of the surroundings simple yet captivating. In her interview Karin mentioned wanting to give people who have never had the chance to experience the forest a chance to do so in Eolyn, and she was successful. The descriptions of the South Woods and the journey to the King’s City are difficult not to get sucked into. You’ll find yourself reading a little slower just to take it all in.

Overall, I really loved joining Eolyn on her journey. My only critique-and this is really just a personal preference-is that I thought the book could have ended a little sooner. I say this not because I didn’t find the final few chapters fascinating and beautiful (especially the last scene) but because the battle and excursion to the underworld were so breathtaking and climactic that the final chapters felt slow in comparison. Having read the first few chapter of book to I thought it might have been interesting to have seen the book end after the battle and insert the final chapters of book one into book two. Like I said, this was by no means a flaw in the book, just my thoughts. For those of you who have read my work, you know I like things to end on a dramatic note! 

Eolyn was a beautiful story, one I highly recommend. 

Would I recommend Eolyn? Absolutely.

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who loved fantasy, people who have never read fantasy in their lives (this will make you want to read more), anyone who loves the forest or mountains, okay...pretty much anyone!

So, go get your copy of Eolyn and get ready to be swept up in a journey you won’t soon forget.

Get your copy in Kindle or Paperback, or follow what's going on in Eolyn and Karin's worlds. 

Finished Eolyn!

So, I stayed up until 1 am reading Eolyn last night, and I'm done! Getting sick and having to go fight with the college because things got screwed up again slowed down my reading time, but Eolyn was definitely worth staying up. I really enjoyed the read. I'll have the review up later today, so don't forget to come back and check it out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Author Interview with Karin Rita Gastreich

Karin was so kind to answer a few questions for me to help us learn a little more about Eolyn and about Karin as an author. Thank you, Karin! So read on to hear what she had to say about her book, her writing, and what she's working on next. Enjoy!

1) What was your inspiration for Eolyn? 
This question comes up a lot, and I always seem to have a somewhat different answer.  I guess that’s because there have been many things over the years that inspired Eolyn – books I’ve read, experiences I’ve had, places I’ve been, people I’ve known. 

I’d say at the core of it all was a deep-felt desire to write an epic fantasy in which a woman played an essential role, and made important achievements, without necessarily altering the ‘rules’ of medieval society; that is, while maintaining a basic patriarchal structure similar to the one with which real women have struggled throughout our history.  Eolyn challenges the prejudices and prohibitions of her time in order to define herself as a woman and a Maga; but she does so without donning armor or wielding a sword.  Her weapons are her mind, heart, and magic, as well as her unflinching conviction that the world can be imagined and constructed in a different way.

I also wanted to write a story that would bring the forest to life; make it a real and vivid experience, especially for readers who have not had the opportunity to experience ancient woodlands.  The South Woods is not only Eolyn’s home, it is the ultimate source of her power, and she cherishes it greatly. 
2) Did you read a lot of fantasy growing up, or is fantasy a more recent find? 
I read some fantasy growing up.  I was brought up on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Also, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King is a good example of a story that has stayed with me since my youth.  I was also into historical romance as a teenager, and while I no longer remember any of those titles, I’d be willing to bet they influenced my approach to writing Eolyn. 

But I have always read books from a broad set of genres, two of my current favorites being history and historical fiction. I’ve also read a lot of natural history and Latin American literature, which I very much enjoy. 

In truth, I was not very well versed in fantasy fiction when I started writing Eolyn.  I had read and enjoyed some of the classics in speculative fiction, such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert.  My lack of familiarity with the genre was one source of uncertainty when I started to consider publishing Eolyn.  I wasn’t entirely sure if I had anything new to offer. So I was very proactive about getting feedback from other writers who were more knowledgeable about fantasy fiction than I.  These same authors have since introduced me to a host of writers whose work I very much admire, such as George R.R. Martin and Patricia McKillip.

3) How did you decide what the rules of your magic system and world would be? 
In general, I don’t like to speak of magic in terms of ‘rules’, since in my mind, the whole point of magic is to break the rules.  Nonetheless, I had several things in mind when I started laying down the foundations for magic in Eolyn’s world. 

For example, I wanted Eolyn’s magic to be grounded in the landscape of Moisehén: forests, mountains, plains and valleys, fertile earth and all the creatures that inhabit them.  I knew from the beginning that a prerequisite to mastering magic would be an intimate knowledge of the natural world, and that such knowledge would require years of study and apprenticeship.   

The integrity of magic in Eolyn’s world also depends, in the long run, on a balance between male and female powers.  There are very few characters in the novel who understand this explicitly, and in fact that balance is all but obliterated just before Eolyn’s journey begins.  But Eolyn and Akmael share an instinctive drive toward recovering the full tradition of magic in Moisehén, and both struggle to achieve this balance under ever more difficult circumstances.

Once I had these two overarching ideas in mind, everything else was just filling in the blanks.  While there are perceived constraints on magic in Eolyn’s world – certain things Magas and Mages can and cannot do – I also leave some room for magic to break its own rules once in a while; to act in ways that are surprising, unexpected or inexplicable, even for the practitioner. 

4) Your world, story, and characters are very complex and rich. How long did it take you to work out all the details of your story line? 
Oh, thank you!  I love the characters in Eolyn.  It’s been so much fun working with them, and several of them have stayed with me for book two.

Orson Scott Card, in How to Write Fantasy and Science Fiction, claims that it takes about twenty years to gestate a full novel.  My experience with Eolyn seems to corroborate that.  Long before I sat down to write, certain scenes began to come together in my head.  Some of the most fundamental elements of the story – Eolyn’s tragic childhood loss, the prejudices she would face, the nature of the relationship she would develop with Akmael – were with me as early as my college years. 

So, I had a lot in my head by the time I first put pen to paper on this novel in 2006.  From that point forward, it took about four years to finish the manuscript.

Now, before all the young aspiring authors out there get discouraged about that 20-year rule of thumb bit, the good news is that most of us who write are gestating several novels at once.  Also, many of us start gestating at a very young age.  But it takes a long time to craft a novel, so you have to be prepared to enjoy the journey, and to give it the time it deserves.

5)  How is the sequel to Eolyn progressing? Can you tell us a little about High Maga? 
This second novel has been a whole new challenge for me, and it’s coming along very well. High Maga is a darker tale than Eolyn, more entrenched in the terrible realities of war.  It also involves a more malevolent kind of magic. 

The story picks up a few years after the end of the first book.  Eolyn has matured, and is assuming greater responsibilities, including students and followers of her own, but she also faces much more formidable dangers.  The novel features some ruthless villains, and many characters are forced into extraordinarily difficult situations.  The writing of High Maga has pushed my limits as an author; but I’ve found that the most challenging aspects of this novel have also been the most fulfilling.   

I plan to finish High Maga in 2012, and it is scheduled for release in 2013. 

6) What books are you reading right now? 
I’m reading Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, a nonfiction book which describes the history of the relationship between plants and humans, and especially how plants with certain traits have been particularly successful at “training” us (in the evolutionary sense) to take good care of them. 

I’m also beta-reading two manuscripts in fantasy fiction, one by Eliabeth Hawthorne, the other by David Hunter.

7) What is your writing process like? Any interesting rituals or techniques?
Interesting rituals?  Hmmm…  Well, sometimes I light a green candle because a friend told me years ago that green candles invoke fertility and creativity.  I don’t know if the candle works, but it makes my office smell like a Christmas tree, which is nice. 

I set goals for myself, and try to schedule at least one time during the week when I can have a few hours of peace and quiet to focus on the story.  But even when I’m not writing, I’m often thinking about the characters, motivations and events of the novel.

It’s also really important for me to have ‘empty’ time; periods when I simply do not write or even think about the novel.  So while I set word count goals and so forth, I try to avoid obsessing over them.  Having a life outside of writing, I think, is somehow important to having a writing life.

One thing that is really integral to my writing process is interacting with other authors.  I’ve met some very talented people during the journey of writing Eolyn, and their feedback, ideas and support continue to be important as I work on High Maga. 

8) Who is your favorite author? 

It’s so hard to pick just one.  I guess I’ll say Gioconda Belli, mostly because of her memoir The Country Underneath My Skin, which chronicles her involvement with the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua during the 1970s and 80s.  It’s a remarkable story, and beautifully written.  One of those books that I think everyone should read.

Thank you again, Rita, for taking the time to answer these questions and letting us get to know you and your work a little better. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Growing up with Eolyn

Normally I'm not a big fan of starting your character off as a child and working to adulthood in a small portion of the book because it often comes off choppy and rushed. Fits does a great job of not rushing through Eolyn's childhood, but she does a fabulous job of capturing the innocence of a child and progressively developing Eolyn into a mature young woman. N