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Friday, May 18, 2012

GUEST BLOG: LYNNE CANTWELL

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This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $10 Amazon GC to one random commenter on the tour. You can click on the banner above to see the other stops on her tour; remember that the more you comment, the better your chances.
“What I’ve Learned from Naomi Witherspoon”


I am of the opinion that the characters we write into our novels are like the characters that populate our dreams: each one of them is a manifestation of some facet of us, either as we are – warts and all – or as we would like to be.

So to say that I’ve learned something from Naomi Witherspoon, my main character in Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, is a little bit backwards. I think it’s possible than in writing her – and her friend Shannon, and her boyfriend Brock, and her mysterious Guardian Joseph – I’ve learned less about them than I have about myself.

That said, here are some of the things I admire about Naomi:

* She knows her own comfort level. Naomi is a lawyer who discovered early in her career that she doesn’t like the adversarial nature of litigation. She realized that she preferred helping people resolve their differences to helping them sue somebody. So she lobbied the partners at her firm to let her take mediation certification classes and then set up a mediation practice within the firm. I like to think that I’m similarly self-aware of my own comfort level.

* She is decisive. When faced with her fiancĂ©’s misconduct, she gives him the old heave-ho, right then and there. I might be inclined to give him another chance. Then again, this was Brock’s “another chance.”

* She knows when to quit. When Naomi is faced with a dilemma – either to help her law firm support an unscrupulous developer, or to represent the individual who will be evicted from his land if the developer’s deal goes through – she does the right thing. Granted, she is in a financial position to act on her beliefs. But I hope that if I were faced with a similar situation, I would know when to quit, too.

* She’s willing to suspend her disbelief. Naomi does not look kindly on what she considers to be New Age foolishness, and she certainly doesn’t believe the world will change at the 2012 winter solstice. But when she’s faced with proof that there’s more to the universe than the reality we can see, she doesn’t spend a lot of time in denial. I’m less inclined to disbelieve in the “woo-woo” than Naomi is, but I would like to think that if a goddess tapped me, I’d have the same sort of grace under pressure that Naomi has.

* She doesn’t try to be all things to all people. Naomi is intelligent, well educated, and funny. She doesn’t try to dumb herself down so that people will like her – and, either in spite of that or because of it, people do like her. I am…well, uh…I am too modest to admit to any of that. But I do hope that readers like Naomi well enough to read the rest of The Pipe Woman Chronicles! (Look for Fissured in September.)

About the Author:
Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. Her third novel and her first urban fantasy, Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, was released in March.

Find the author online at:

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Cantwell/e/B005JTP5NE/
Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lynnecantwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/696603.Lynne_Cantwell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynne-Cantwell/172485489493956
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynneCantwell
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lynnecantwell
Blog: http://hearth-myth.blogspot.com

The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....

Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?

Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

INTERVIEW: HELEN HENDERSON

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Helen Henderson, whose newest release Dragon Destiny was just released May 7.

"Technically, Dragon Destinyhas taken flight and is my latest release. The awakening of his dragon soul twin brought Dragshi Lord Branin the freedom of flight and near-eternal life, but not happiness. For eons, he feared he would never find a woman with her own dragon soul partner—until one day another's mind touched his," Helen told me. "But I haven’t fully shifted mental gears yet and in some ways, I still think of Windmaster, the story of Lady Ellspeth, the silver-haired captain of the Sea Falcon, and the dark-haired archmage Dal, as my latest release. Especially since writing a tale who features a sea captain proved an interesting challenge for someone who isn’t that fond of the water. I was fortunate to have a career sailor for a resource. And as for Ellspeth, with the gold bracelets of command and a ship, she was secure in her future, but between her plans and her destiny stood magic...and love."

Helen's been writing for almost as long as she can remember. She started writing her own stories after reading the works of author such as E.E. Doc Smith and Barbara Hambly.

"Their work sent my imagination to places beyond the stars and on journeys to worlds of fantasy and I couldn’t stay earthbound," she told me. "One of the earliest stories recently uncovered from deep in the bottom of a drawer was from the 1960s. No computers or word processors aided (or interfered) with the creative process. A number two pencil and lined paper captured my imaginary adventures dreamed of while sitting in the shade of a huge weeping willow tree."

Helen has actually been a writer, in one form or another, for most of her adult life. Computer code and 'how-to' manuals gave way as the technical writer started working for a more public audience as a feature-story writer and correspondent.

"I'm proud of my two local histories, Matawan and Aberdeen – Of Town and Field and Around Matawan and Aberdeen, both published under the Arcadia Press imprint. As things come full circle, the urges that I had suppressed years earlier to guide readers through the stars, among worlds of imagination, or back to the Old West re-emerged. Unlike my more youthful attempts at writing fiction, acceptance letters replaced the earlier rejection ones. A science fiction short story led to a fantasy, then more works in the genres were put under contract in ezines and print publications. After those first hesitant steps, I took the plunge," she said. "A great critique group, a supportive husband, and my debut novel, Windmaster, was created. The roller coaster ride started when Champagne Books placed the novel under contract. If I had to describe my journey to publication, I would say it is a winding path up a mountainside. Fiction and fact, the present and the past, all blend. And as far as the end of the trip, that is still being written."

Another reason it is hard to claim a particular book as her latest is the fact that she's recently received the cover for Windmaster Legacy, the sequel to Windmaster, which releases this summer. She's also working on another story, with the working title Imprisoned which tells the tale of a mage whose soul is imprisoned in stone. Only love and blood from another wizard can free him.

Helen uses a pseudonym when she writes in the western genre—she inherited a love of reading from her grandmother and mother and honors her grandmother by using her name.

"An aside, Ambush Luck, a story in the Dreamspell Goddess anthology, is my latest piece written as Jessie Treon," she said. "Although I did not use her name, my mother's reward is more prosaic—bragging rights. She gets to pass around to her friends in the senior housing the magazines and the anthologies my work appears in. Of course, my pieces are always marked with a yellow sticky note so the other ladies won't miss it."

Helen's favorite authors reflect her typical Gemini split personality.

"The farm girl of my youth is drawn toward western frontier. The adult that designed computers wants to fly a jet and journey in outer space," she confessed. "I read Louis L'Amour to fill the void in my western soul. Although she doesn’t write fantasy, I enjoy the delicate hand Lydia Hawke uses to blend history and details of how our ancestors lived in her Civil War historicals. Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Hambly, and E. E. Doc Smith keep me company when I want to explore other worlds."

"Tell us about the absolute best fan letter you have received," I invited.

"One of the challenges (or should I say fears) for authors is whether or not their work will be well received. The beginning and ending lines of a note from a reader after reading Windmaster answered that question for me. She began the note, 'Helen Henderson weaves magic and adventure in this tale set on a far-off world.' And, ended with, 'You are hereby warned: this fascinating story will keep you up all night, turning those pages!' After that, it didn’t matter what was said in the middle," she assured me. "Comments can hold unexpected meanings, especially if taken at first glance. After my mother received a copy of Dreamspell Goddess, she said she was angry with me. Now you would think that was not a good thing. Thoughts raced; didn’t she like it? An issue since the pen name for Ambush Luck was Jessie Treon, my grandmother. No, it was a more mundane reason. My mother said she started reading the story and realized she couldn’t finish without missing a doctor’s appointment. The reason for her anger--she had to wait to see how the story ended. While I realize a mother has to be supportive, or at least say nothing negative, I will admit that day, a glare meant more than a smile."

When Helen started writing, telling a good tale was sufficient; however, now readers expect more, she told me—that the characters change in some way, whether for good or bad.

"Ensuring the necessary depth of characters challenges me. Of course, having to rise to the test takes the work to a higher level," she said. "The character of Anastasia in Dragon Destiny presented the most difficulty as I aged her from a young woman to the heroine suitable for the love interest. Based on a real person, I knew if Anastasia was not presented well, her mother and grandmother (both of whom are several inches taller than me) might express their displeasure with a strategically placed size nine shoe."

About the Author:
A published author, feature-story writer and correspondent, Henderson has also written fiction as long as she could remember. Her heritage reflects the contrasts of her Gemini sign. She is a descendent of a Pennsylvania German/Scot and a Czech--a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer. This dichotomy shows in her writing which crosses genres from historical adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the realm of fantasy, in addition to the Windmaster series from Burst, she is the author of the newly released fantasy, Dragon Destiny. Windmaster Legacy, the sequel to Henderson’s debut fantasy, Windmaster, is a summer 2012 release from Burst.

Find the author online at:

Author Website: helenhenderson-author.webs.com
Blog: http://helenhenderson-author.blogspot.com

Branin is the last dragon shifter born in over 300 years. As a dragshi, he can take the form of his dragon soul twin, Llewlyn and knows the freedom of flight, but not happiness. Both are the last of their kind and have waited millennia for their mates. The red-haired firebrand, Lady Broch of Ky'port is more than willing to fulfill that position--with or without Branin's willing cooperation. When a faint thought impinged on Branin's mind, hope for an ending to eons of loneliness soared. Plagued by doubts because no signs of a dragon shifter's birth have been seen, Branin searches the world for the mysterious girl he only knows by the name, Anastasia.

All that stands between their happiness is destiny—and Broch.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CONTEST! WIN AN EBOOK!

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All month long we're featuring regular contests on all our blogs and giving away print books, eBooks, GCs and other prizes. Make sure you follow all our blogs! For more information, visit our Contest Page.

Today, leave a comment and be entered to win an eBook copy of "Withym: Treasure Beneath the Sands" by Helen Henderson .  Yep, that's all you have to do... leave a comment (make sure you include your email address so we can find you!) and you're entered! The drawing will be held the morning of 5/11/12.

A lost archive buried beneath the sands of the planet Withym's immense desert is threatened when a volcano, dormant for many years, erupts. Desperate to save what she can, archaeologist Treall not only enlists the aid of a member of the planetary survey team, but breaks rules and regulations.


An adventure in the world of tomorrow, "Treasure Beneath the Sands" blends technology and human spirit to save an alien treasure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

INTERVIEW: MINNETTE MEADOR

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Minnette Meador whose very first book, Starsight, originally published in 2008 has just been released to Kindle and she's very excited about it.

Minnette has always had an active imagination. She had a difficult time as a child: her parents were alcoholics; she was unpopular at school because she cried all the time; and the other children were extremely cruel.

"I used my imagination to convince myself that I could rise above the vagaries of life; in my hand was magic, in my head was brilliance, and in my heart was the kind of love that could conquer any evil," she remembered. "My fantasies bought me time to grow up and learn to fight for my rights. It worked… it still works."

Her first words were sung, not spoken, because music shaped her life from the womb. All she wanted to be when she was growing up was a singer and an actress.

"Thanks to good friends, wonderful teachers, and a plethora of gracious gods, I started singing in clubs when I was 13 and began acting professionally much later in life on the stage," she told me. "I retired from that about 20 years ago, but music and the love of art are in everything I write. The STARSIGHT books especially encapsulate my solid belief that the human voice is magical and can change the course of history. "

Minnette was born and raised in Portland and it's as much a part of her as her family is.

"The state and the city are all about conservation, keeping things green, and have been recycling since before it was popular. The people are amazing, sometimes colorful but always entertaining. Mt. Hood looms beautifully over my city and I wouldn’t live anywhere else, I don’t think."

From her first year of high school, she was a self-admitted theater nerd.

"I loved the stage and had wonderful teachers and directors. Of course, everyone thought we were freaks… we did nothing to disavow them of that notion," she said, laughing. "However, they always came to us when they needed talent… High School was very interesting."

Minnette has published seven full-length novels: two fantasies, three historical romances, one paranormal romantic comedy, and one urban dark fantasy romance, as well as a children's book.

"Yes, I have a schizophrenic muse," she assured me. "I have three more books coming out this year and next--the second and third books in the Ghost series (paranormal romantic comedy), and the fourth Centurion series book (historical romance) about an Egyptian Pirate. I have several works in the works at the moment. Check out my website for future books… My favorite is always the one I’m working on."

That would be Phantom Hearts, the second book in the Ghost series. Minnette's doing research on demons, the tarot, the nine circles of hell (Dante), Portland Police, paranormal phenomenon, and HOAs. She's having a blast and sharing some of her research on her blog. Check it out—it's good stuff!

"How do you develop your plot and characters?" I asked.

"There is a story ARC in everything you write; whether it’s a thriller, mystery, or even a children’s book. I use a mix of the Heroes’ Journey and Aristotle's tragic fall from grace for most of my books. For a complete outline of the steps I take in plotting check out this article. I develop characters using a character survey that goes through every aspect of their lives. I use this form and LOVE it. I don’t know what I did before this!"

Minnette thinks the plot comes first for her, but she told me she does the character survey to learn about her characters and see which way they would go, developing their GMC (goals/motivations/conflicts) which drives the plot in many ways.

"It’s kind of a back and forth for me," she said. "Sort of the chicken or the egg, I guess."

Since Minnette works full-time as well as write, she usually writes in big blocks of time—12-16 hours at a stretch over a 2-3 day period. She's found it the best way for her to get anything done. Then, she does her research on the weekends.

I asked her about her writing space.

"Here is a picture of my wonderful little space. Having raised a bunch of kids, I never could find enough space for myself and had to settle for a corner of my bedroom or the kitchen table… funny thing is, now that I have a writing space to call my own, I STILL write on the kitchen table and in my bedroom! Just goes to show you that habits are hard to break."

She loves hearing from her readers and told me, "They are absolute angels. I love to chat with them on Facebook and Twitter and they have helped me so much, especially over the last year. I run ideas by them, ask for their help in finding pictures, making choices on names and traits. I’ve even have a few of them help me get organized during contests! They are brilliant and keep me sane and writing."

She has many favorite authors, but the most influential ones on her own writing were Ray Bradbury and Rex Stout.

"Bradbury’s writing is more human than anything I’ve read. Even when he writes about aliens. There is a warmth and lovingness in everything he writes. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a bad Bradbury book. Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes are among my top five books of all times," she explained. "Rex Stout is another matter; his characterizations of Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin have deeply influenced my approach to writing characterizations. There is humor in every nuance and a brilliance of simplicity in everything he writes."

"Your books are so varied," I said. "How do you do research for them?"

"I use every angle I can on research. The internet, Wikipedia, books, magazines, articles, scholars, and even friends and family. I also strive to live as much as I can of the book by experiencing it first-hand. In the Centurion series I spent a great deal of time in the woods living without electricity the way it was at the turn of the first century AD. In Ghost of a Chance, I went for a ride-along with the local police and interviewed a wonderful, tolerant officer for hours. For The Belle Stalker, I spent several hours with the Chief of Homicide at the central precinct on how they did a murder investigation. For the Centurion books, I contacted the Frasier Museum who got me in touch with a master in arms fighting who was a field scholar in Roman fighting styles. When I requested a review of my battle scene, he did me one better; he took his 12 black belt experts and choreographed the fighting scenes for me. They were amazing and I think my stars for this wonderful man’s help. For my current book, I’m working with an expert on Tarot to get the readings right and studying Dante’s Inferno (the classical piece). It’s been an amazing journey. For Starsight, I was very fortunate to get a copy of Patricia Wrede’s Fantasy World Building Survey. It has been my bible for creating all my worlds."

About the Author:
Somewhere between thirty and dust...red hair, blue eyes...six kids, one slightly used husband, and any number of pets from time to time... wanttabe hippy... wanttheirmoney yuppie... pro musician and actress for 20 years...native Oregonian... lover of music, beauty and all things green. Willing slave to the venerable muse. Minnette currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and one cat. The cat Formerly Known As Spook, pretty much runs the show.

Find the author online:

Minnette's Web Site
Contact Minnette
Amazon Author Page
Facebook
Writer's Room FB Group - Tips, Tricks, & Traumas
Twitter
LinkedIn
Blog
Coffeetime Romance
Manic Readers Author Site
Gather
Redroom

STARSIGHT I Excerpt_Chapter One

Trenara never thought she would have to guide a student she loved to become a messiah, but it is the only way this second trial Starguider can salvage her world.

“[Starsight] is one powerful and imaginative fantasy adventure novel with many nice touches...there is magic galore, and challenge galore; nothing comes easy. It's the first of a series, and it should do well...” Piers Anthony

STARSIGHT II Excerpt_Chapter One

Trenara no longer trusts the power that has turned the boy she once loved into a man she no longer understands. He frightens her. Will Joshan use the power to rescue his world or will a new tyrant sit upon Sirdar’s throne? Second volume in the Starsight Series.

“This is a Typhoid Mary of a book, from a writer to watch." Spider Robinson

Monday, May 7, 2012

INTERVIEW: DAVID BROWN

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This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one random commenter at the close of his tour.




What influence, if any, the advent of fandom via the internet impacted science fiction in general and the author in particular?


I would say it’s given sci-fi and fantasy a new lease of life. Fanzines, clubs, forums and conventions spring up from franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. While some might argue that SFF is purely for geeks, the Internet has helped fans to realise it’s not and find a plethora of communities where they can share their experiences and just belong. SFF isn’t for everyone but those that do enjoy it should be left to appreciate this fascinating genre. SFF has branched out into books, films and console games and continues to enjoy great success in all mediums. The fandoms are a great research tool for SFF writers. If they’re not already part of one of these communities they can soon jump on board and learn first-hand what readers want most from the genre.


What is your take on the future of Science Fiction/Fantasy in general? Do you see it expanding and vibrant, or derivative and stale?


I think SFF is alive and well and will only get stronger in the future. Old masters like Tolkien will never lose their significance and every once in a while a new franchise will begin that everyone is talking about. Harry Potter is not forgotten but it is moving into the past while the likes of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones are currently all the rage. The truth is that we can’t resist a fantasy world of dragons and magic or a depiction of the future with spaceships and intergalactic battles. These are not new ideas but they are as enduring as love stories.


What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?


I don’t think any other genre gives a writer the same scope to truly push their imagination to its limits. Many writers in this field have to become gods and create their own worlds. Before you’ve even written one page of a book you’ve made a massive commitment in giving life to your own world. This genre not only allowed me to explore my existing passion for fantasy but also to incorporate my love of history, which started at school. The world of Elenchera has a very detailed history and despite a decade of work I have no regrets about the time devoted to this venture.


How do you decide the characters' names in your book? Are there specific conventions you follow for each world?


All my novels are set in Elenchera but when it comes to names I have different approaches if I am being honest. I sometimes just snatch names from history that I particularly like - but I have yet to find a place for Svein Forkbeard! Other times I’ll come across a word, check its meaning and if it sounds plausible for a character, town or government I might use it. My next novel, A World Apart, features a character called Halcyon, whose character is pretty much the opposite of what the word actually means. I also like to take letters of the alphabet and jumble them up into words that sound nice and might make good names. I applied this approach in naming the main protagonist in Fezariu’s Epiphany.


Tell us about how you do your world-building.


I started with a world map and then individual drawings of the twenty-three lands that make up Elenchera. Once you have a map with all the contours in place you’re already well on your way with the history. Take a look at an island and its geographical layout, you already can answer questions such as where would be the best place for a settlement, where could I invade, where would I get coal and iron ore from, wood, set up farms etc. Elenchera comprises 47,000 years of history, divided into twenty-five ages known as Shards and I have a map for each land in each age, so more than 500 maps in all, every one tracing the building of new towns and cities. With those elements in place all that was left to do was create an in-depth time line of world events which turned out to be easier than I thought. The real difficulty was cross-referencing when lands met each other through war, trade, alliances and colonialism.
What directions/topics/issues would you like to see SFF authors take on?
I’m personally trying to make my fantasy more accessible to a wider range of readers by putting the focus less on the world of Elenchera but more on the characters that inhabit it. Many of their stories in essence could take place in any world and this is something I’d like to see other writers consider too. SFF is such a great genre and although it’s popular I wish more people read it. I appreciate many books in this area, especially science fiction, might seem too daunting to read but we can still learn from these books. SFF authors shouldn’t be afraid to branch out and incorporate elements of other genres in their own work, to keep this style rich and varied. It will never die but it’s always great to a offer a rich array of choice to any readers that do decide to drink from this imaginative well.
Describe the difference, as you see it, between science fiction and fantasy. Similarities?


I read an excellent article in March by Pavarti Tyler from Novel Publicity which addressed this particular question and I share the same view. She argued that fantasy is about the impossible whereas science fiction is about the possible. Fantasy is often in a setting that is very much part of our past, with a Medieval-esque feel to it as warriors with swords and bows do battle against one another and mythical creatures such as dragons and goblins. Science fiction speculates about the future and though some of the novels in this field may seem too extravagant to ever happen, that isn’t to say their events won’t occur. When Orwell and Huxley wrote their dystopian novels 1984 and Brave New World, most readers would have assumed their worlds couldn’t possibly come true but those books have turned out to be very relevant indeed! Science fictions and fantasy are united in their ability to truly push the imaginations of readers and writers alike: they’re the greatest form of escapism in literature as you literally visit alternative worlds. Though the settings are in stark contrast many of the themes are inherent in both genres. I recently read Iain M Banks’ Culture novel Matter and much of that storyline could have been extracted and inserted into the fantasy realm. Science fiction and fantasy should stand shoulder to shoulder but they are very different to each other.
About the Author:
David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Honors in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.


Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and the in-progress A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month traveling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.


12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.


Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

INTERVIEW: RACHEL HUNTER

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Hunter, whose debut novel Empyrial Fate was released last month. It sets the stage for a great war between the races of man and elf, and is the first of Rachel's Llathalan Annal series. it focuses on developing a crucial part of the story—which the reader will unravel as he ventures forth—and establishes the basis through which her characters will learn and grow.

"I find a story comes to life when its characters mature and express marked wisdom. Indeed, as the series progresses, I hope the reader is able to make those connections and also tie himself in Llathala’s realm as well," she told me. "Oh – and just a word of caution… Keep an eye on the young one. She’s not always as she seems."

The series consists of five novels, which Rachel has already written. She has also written a short story, "Perfect Nothing", which is an abstract account of her experience with an eating disorder and is available on both Amazon and BN.com.

Rachel is in college and has classes every day, five days a week, so her writing time is limited—studies and school work take up the majority of her time for the time being. However, she also has OCD, so when she writes, she writes.

"Sometimes I may only get a few words in, but my thought process behind it has been met with much contemplation and scrutiny," she told me. "I tend to be a perfectionist, so… well, I think you get the picture… Let’s just say I don’t always know if the sun is shining (this happens when I’ve been locked in my room… for days on end)."

She writes in her bedroom, with the lights off.

"No sounds; not even music meets my ear," she said. "I find it distracts me, for I become entranced by the words and start to sing along. If I chance to turn on a tune or so, it has little or no lyrics and is most likely classical. Or Enya. I stand behind my desk (stand, yes. I abhor to sit for long), and I submit to the glorious Muse within."

Her love of words sparked her pursuit—her infatuation with reading.

"It all began with a penchant for tales and a fascination for the art of creation. I’ve been intrigued with stories since I was a child, and I have longed to create worlds in which others may escape to… worlds in which one has only to close his eyes and feel the wind sift through tangled locks," she explained.

"Are you a plotter or a pantser?" I asked.

"If by 'plotter' you mean ‘one who aspires for world domination’, then yes… If by 'pantser', you mean ‘one strips another of his clothing’, then no… But – if you were to refer to the art of either ‘planning’ a novel’s outline before writing – as opposed to one who simply sits down and types as they go, then I fit into the latter category. I don’t let an outline constrict my writing, for each day is a new adventure with new thoughts and ideas to be had."

I asked her, also, if she's working on anything she's like to tell us about.

"Only that it’s experimentation and it’s Steampunk. Victorian Steampunk, to be exact. I adore the elaborate diction and free realm of fantastical underpinnings. It’s quite a venture to be had, I daresay."

"What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?" I wondered.

"I find this to be an odd question indeed. Define the limits as to this ‘research’? I’ve done experimentations – yes. But many of said tests were personal endeavors to test my humanity. My conclusion is noted: I am not from this earth. But as to how I came to this answer? May your imagination exasperate you~"

She also told me, "I was bred from a dream, and dreams never die. They have never been quite tangible either. Therefore, I cannot quite explain it. Nor can I even remember… Dreams are like that, you know."

"The beauty of creation and the realm of impossibility" intrigues Rachel the most and why she leans toward science fiction and fantasy as genres.

"When an author can impart his imagination of vast universes and breathing characters onto blank parchment, it… is the most magical thing in the world. Indeed, the brilliance of the genres is that one can read a book and escape from the mortal plane – becoming someone else entirely. That, my friends… that is enduring. It is boundless. And it all starts with a single word and ends with a period."

"How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?" I asked.

"I write to a beat in my head: both rational and not. The words don’t just come randomly; rather, they flow to a silent rhythm in my brain. I would try to explain it more if I could, but I’m afraid there are simply no words with which to describe. It’s the breath of my soul, I fare to think. Yes…"

Titles, also, seem to just come to her.

"I delve into the ambiguity and symbolism of my work, and from there, the titles seem to flow from my mind," she explained. "It’s refreshing – quite."

Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"Read, explore, listen… Discover, experience, dream… Write the piece you want to read. Jot down the aspects that arrest you the most, and let the Muse guide your hand. Don’t try to fit into cookie-cutter definitions of what a writer 'should be' or 'should do'. Write what comes to you; create the tale that begs to be written. Only you can know. It lies within…Anton Chekov said it best when he wrote, 'Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.' Hence, show me the world of your dreams. Elaborate on the textures, the tastes, and the smells. Don’t bother with the straight narration; expand upon the senses and show your world through its dazzling facets. You can tell anyone about a diamond, but when one sees the real thing – when one closes his eyes and dances with its many rays through words – it is difficult to part."

About the Author:
Born in 1993, Rachel Hunter has always been fascinated with words and the intricate way in which they combine. Since a child, she has been an avid writer, winding vibrant tales and elaborate stanzas on folded bits of paper.

As the years passed, her love of words never died; her adoration for reading fared no equal. Always with her nose in a book, Rachel took fondly to works spanning all genres. Yet it was the compelling grasp of fantasy and science fiction that wrenched her fascination above all.

Fulfilling the desire to incite intrigue, she seeks to explore new worlds and create vast empires of her own. "Empyreal Fate" is only the first of her series. Indeed, it is only the beginning…

Find the author online at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Hunter/170131499766376
http://www.twitter.com/young_author
http://www.rachel-m-hunter.blogspot.com
http://www.rachel-m-hunter.yolasite.com

Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.

The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of man's mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.

Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.