Author Interview: Kay L. Ling

Q: How did you get into fantasy?

My librarian aunt gave me The Hobbit for Christmas when I was seven or eight, and that began my love for fantasy novels. I started writing my own fantasy stories during grade school. In one, mythical creatures lived and traveled inside a rainbow. In another, a bored sixth-grader turned her teacher into a maroon sofa and then teleported herself to London.

As a reader, I shy away from fantasy books that are mostly about wars and political intrigue. I prefer stories focused on adventure and a sense of wonder, so as an author, that’s what I write.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

Book 2 of the Gem Powers Series, Shadowglade, was published April 2017. The series opener, Beyond the Forest, is a standalone novel without loose or a cliffhanger ending, but the resolution opened the door to so many new adventures, I had to write Shadowglade to see what happened next! I’m currently editing Runes and Relics, due mid-October.

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books fall under?

My books are portal stories. I didn’t realize portal novels were a sub-genre, much less how many existed, until I found a Goodreads list devoted to that category. The thing I like best about portal stories is that the world on the other side presents endless possibilities for the imaginative writer.

Q: What kind of reader typically picks up your books?

Readers who like upbeat stories and want to experience amazing and wondrous things. I don’t write gritty, dark fiction, and I’m not a fan of morally gray characters. I like characters who face tough choices but typically do the right thing. My books include adventure, humor, and a touch of romance, and since they’re G-rated, they appeal to a wide audience.

Q: What makes your series stand out?

It’s impossible to write a completely original book, but my series has a number of unusual elements. The magic system is based on actual gemstone folklore. My main character, Lana, is a young gemologist who delves into gem folklore and discovers she can draw arcane powers from gems. This ability eventually plunges her into adventures in a world inhabited by woodland gnomes, a world full of strange and powerful gems. The gnomes’ ruler, a gem master queen, has oppressed and enslaved the gnomes for centuries. I haven’t seen many books featuring gnomes, and most fantasy series have male villians. The gem master queen, Sheamathan, is a woodspirit, a being of my own invention who looks rather like a human, but there the similarities end. She’s centuries old and has some unusual characteristics. Sheamathan surrounds herself with a servant race of monstrous, deformed gnomes, and by the end of the first book Lana has become sympathetic toward them despite their appearance and behavior. Offhand, I can’t think of any novels where the monsters become sympathetic main characters later in the series. I think my books have quite a few original ideas that readers will enjoy.

 
Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books?

Definitely my main character Lana Grayson. She breaks all the fantasy heroine tropes. She’s not an orphan or a misfit. She’s a menopause baby whose two brothers are so much older they feel like uncles. She’s used to being around older folks, and sometimes prefers them to friends her own age. She develops powers, but doesn’t think of herself as a one-of-a-kind superhero. In the opening of Beyond the Forest, Lana is about to take over the family jewelry store, which has been owned by a Grayson for five generations. Lana is the sort of person you want as your best friend. She’s smart, loyal, and has a great sense of humor.

Q: Which character(s) have you enjoyed writing the most?

Oddly enough, my “monsters,” the breghlin. They’re crude, disgusting, and have little concept of right and wrong, but that’s part of their charm. As the series progresses, several of them show significant character development as they explore previously unimaginable concepts like self-restraint, generosity, and loyalty.

Thank you Kay L. Ling for participating in this author interview. You can buy Kay’s books and find her on social media as listed below:

Author Interview: Konstanz Silverbow

Special notice for readers: Beauty’s Thief is discounted from 17-21 July.

Buy it now for only 99c! 

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Q: How did you get into fantasy?

As a child my Dad would read to my siblings and I. The one book I remember above all is The Hobbit. I loved the adventure, the magic, Dragons! And when I got old enough to read it on my own I did. This was my introduction to fantasy, and once I decided to write, I knew I wanted to write fantasy so I could tell stories with those same elements.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

Beauty’s Thief ~ a retelling of Beauty and the Beast!
Not every monster has claws—not every beauty is kind.
Born a princess, raised to be queen, but living as a servant, Avalyn never realized she would pay the price for her father’s mistakes. Now Avalyn is living in a castle not her own, a slave to an evil witch who wants revenge on the man who betrayed her trust and ruined her.

For Avalyn, her real punishment has yet to begin.
She will be cursed to work for the witch for the next one hundred years unless true love can find its way into the castle and into her heart.

Now the princess’s freedom rests in the hands of a lowly thief who cares only for himself.

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

I have always loved dragons. But growing up it seemed that all the books I could find made dragons out to be evil. I wanted to write about dragons that were good. This inspired the character, Fuentes. Along those same lines, I was tired of reading about princesses needing saving. Which inspired Shanice. These two characters are the stars of my debut fantasy, Missing Royal.

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why?

Most of the Finding Gold books fall under Fairy Tale Retellings. I would love to be able to write an epic fantasy like Lord of the Rings, or the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

Q: What makes your books stand out?

I like to take popular tropes, clichés, and origin stories and flip them on their heads. Such as princesses saving the prince and dragons being good.

Q: What was the worst piece of advice you had been given?

That probably has to be “Write what you know”. If I followed that advice I’d never be able to write about different worlds, magic, mythical creatures, or quite a few other things. Instead, I make sure to know what I write.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Know what you write. Research is key. Get the small things (colors, smells, emotions, textures … etc) right, so the big things (dragons, magic, mythology …etc) are believable.

Thank you Konstanz Silverbow for participating in this author interview. 

Author Links: 

Author Interview: Erin Bedford

Q: How did you get into fantasy?

I’ve always loved reading fantasy. From Harry Potter to Anita Blake. So, it was pretty simple to figure out that was the kind of stories I wanted to tell. Eventually, I might expand into more contemporary or maybe even Science fiction but at the moment Fantasy is my niche.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

My latest release is Bound by Hell. It is book two of my new Urban Fantasy Series, The Mary Wile Chronicles. The series follows a former archangel turned detective as she tries to find her way back to heaven and get revenge on the demons who hurt her. It’s honestly becoming one of my favorite series to write!

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

My first fantasy book was a fantasy romance called Flames of Auriel. It has since then been renamed to Song of Blood and Fire and is a series of standalones in the prelude of a global war. I was inspired to write this story by one day wanting a more adult version of the cartoon Swan Princess, then it just evolved from there.

It took me about two weeks to write the first draft and then a month or so to edit it and then even longer for me to decide to publish it on my own.

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why?

All of my books are fantasy of one kind or another. I have one that is fantasy romance, two series that are urban fantasy, and then a whole fairy tale bad boys series that is paranormal romance. In addition, I have a couple of standalones which are also paranormal romance.

Q: What makes your book(s)/series stand out?

I think, personally, it’s the humor. I’m not a very serious persona and always try to lighten the mood by throwing a bit of humor in (whether it be dark or not). To people in the real world I’m not that funny but ask any of my readers and they’ll say I’m a blast!

Q: How do you come up with your stories?

Depends. Since I do retellings of fairy tales alot of the times it’s just me changing the story to how I would have wanted it to turn out. With some of my other stories it’s usually just something as simple as a thought or image that flashes through my mind at random. My book Chasing Rabbits started from the Katy Perry song, Wide Awake.

Q: What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

A: The current project I am working on is a paranormal romance called Granting Her Wish. It’ll be available at the end of the month and is available on all retailers while it is on preorder.

Thank you Erin Bedford for participating in this author interview. You can buy Erin’s books below:

Marked By Hell: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MS88S8Y
Bound By Hell: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073JKQ5FH
Song of Blood & Fire: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071ZT78VY
Chasing Rabbits: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FMIJBM2
Granting Her Wish: erinbedford.com/grantingherwish

Links:
Amazon Profile: https://www.amazon.com/Erin-Bedford/e/B017BYM6O0
Newsletter: http://erinbedford.com/newsletter
Website: http://erinbedford.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/erinrbedford
Twitter: http://twitter.com/erin_bedford

Author Interview: Phil Tucker

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

It’s been a lifelong passion, truth be told. Back when I was a kid there were these Fighting Fantasy books with bright green spines, and I bought as many of them as I could out of an insatiable desire to experience the wonder and magic contained within their covers. They were like Choose Your Own Adventure books, but replete with ruins, demons, haunted forests, bizarre dungeons, cruel magi, horrific monsters and so much more. Combine that with my love for the board game HeroQuest, and I was pretty much doomed at a young age to love the genre.

The first real books that swept me away however were David Gemmel’s Drenai Saga, and they made such an impact on me that I ended up writing my college application essay on their themes. Those early influences indelibly marked me, such that when I realized I wanted to be a writer, there was no question as to what I was going to write: my highest goal is to inculcate in other kids the same breathless joy I felt as I turned those pages so long ago.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

Book 4 of my Chronicles of the Black Gate! It’s called The Iron Circlet, and is the penultimate book in the series. I’ve been thrilled with how well it’s been received, and while discussing it might prove too spoilerific for those who haven’t yet checked out Book 1, suffice to say that everything’s moving deliciously into an endgame, with characters getting tested to their limits (and in some cases being broken) while world threatening menaces emerge to do battle. It’s called epic fantasy for a reason, right?

 

 

Q: What fantasy book are you reading now? Are there any new authors that have caught your attention?

I’m currently making my way through Josiah Bancroft’s ARM OF THE SPHINX, book 2 in his TOWER OF BABEL series. It’s brilliantly written, with a precise, poetic language that makes following the adventures of his headmaster-cum-pirate captain a true delight.

Q: What are your favorite fantasy tropes? Which ones do you wish would die?

Let’s see, how about one of each? One of my favorite fantasy tropes is the well-executed learning montage. Whether it’s our hero first learning how to wield a blade or being taught how to weave magic, those first lessons always give me a thrill.

As for a trope I wish would die? I’m pretty tired of the Big Bad Evil coming out of the frigid north.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be commercially successful, don’t think of writing as an art but rather as a craft. You only get better through constant practice, and waiting for inspiration to strike will leave you waiting forever. Sit down, get your hands on the keyboards, and write. It’s fine if your first draft is awful – you can refine it. But if you don’t get that first draft down, if you never commit yourself to telling your tale, you’ll never be able to call yourself an actual writer.

  
Q: What were some challenges you faced when you published and how did you overcome them?

There have been plenty of challenges, but the toughest was figuring out how to get my books in front of readers. It’s not enough to simply upload your book to Amazon these days and hope for the best. I did that for years and got nothing out of it other than self-doubt.

I overcame this obstacle by stumbling upon the Writer’s Cafe at Kindle Boards. There was a wealth of advice and experience being shared there at the time, and I profited immensely by reading about what successful authors were doing. That’s where I learned the importance of paying for a professional cover, workshopping your blurb to death, how to use keywords to your greatest advantage, how to control the length of your Look Inside sample, and how best to use promotions to tickle the Amazon algorithm so that it would do your marketing for you.

Q: What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’m almost done with Book 5 of the Chronicles, and I hope to have that out by the end of July. Then it’s on to finish the Godsblood Trilogy, which should be done by the end of summer, and then? I’ve got a bunch of ideas swirling around in my head, but I’m not sure yet which one I’ll be tackling. I can’t wait to find out, however.

Thank you Phil Tucker for participating in this author interview. You can find Phil’s books on Amazon.

Author Interview: Holly Evans

Q: How did you get into fantasy?
It didn’t really take any thought, it’s where I naturally started writing to be honest. It brings together my love of myths, magic, and mayhem! I write Urban Fantasy specifically because I love the idea of the supernatural being right there, in the shadows, and just around the next corner. It’s such a fun concept, that if you look in the right place at the right time you’ll fall into this whole hidden world.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?  I’m not sure if Ink Bound counts as it’s up for pre-order rather than live, so either that or Blood & Ink – both books in my Ink Born series. That follows Dacian the gay tattoo magician. I can’t really say too much about either of them as they’re books two and three, and thus have spoilers. They’re set in what I call my Ink world, which is a huge fantasy kitchen sink. It has over twenty types of magic, and every magical creature and being I can think of. It’s such amazing fun to play in, and I love the Ink Born characters.

 

 

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?
My first fantasy book is a trunk novel that will never see the light of day, it was awful! It started with an image I had of the protagonist on the run from her past, and her past was catching up with her. Everything built up around that opening image. I wrote 120,000 words in 6 weeks.

My first published fantasy is Infernal Bonds, which is book 2 of the Infernal Hunt series, but it’s the first full novel in the series. That came from my desire to write about twins and the amazing bond between them. I wanted to write a book with strong platonic bonds, with an amazing female friendship, and family both blood and chosen. Oh and a sexy hellhound, I wanted one of those too! It took me about a month to write, I write reasonably quickly.

Q: What makes your book(s)/series stand out?

The Infernal Hunt series is set in Prague, there aren’t many Urban Fantasies set there. The Ink Born series has a gay protagonist who’s a tattoo magician. As far as I can tell, there’s one series with a tattoo magician out there. I dug around trying to find some for a couple of years before I just wrote my own! There are a few urban fantasies with LGBT+ protagonists, but combining that with the tattoo magic makes the Ink Born series stand out from the crowd.

Q: Which of your books do you believe resonated with readers the most? Why do you think it received that attention?

Stolen Ink (Ink Born 1). From what I can see, readers loved that Dacian’s a gay guy who’s fleshed out as a real person. He’s not sex obsessed, there’s far more to him that his sexuality. That and the world. People seem to really enjoy the big intricate ink world that I’ve built for Dacian to live in. There’s so much there to explore (I really love that world!). I don’t think everyone gelled with Dacian himself, at least not immediately, but they seemed to really enjoy everyone around him. He has some fantastic friendships that were fantastic fun to write, and I tried to make them feel real. Add in the tattoo magic, and Kyra the cat, and people seem happy.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

To me, a good story is one that’s engaging and vivid enough that I want to squeeze between the lines and live there within the story. It’s something that completely pulls the reader out of the real world, and allows them to live another life, even if only temporarily. It’s something that takes them on an emotional rollercoaster and leaves them with a buzz, a feeling of satisfaction at the end. A good story, to me, is one that makes the world a little bit brighter and life a bit more interesting and enjoyable.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I know I’m probably supposed to say one of my protagonists, but I absolutely adore Tyn, he’s my broken little kitten. He’s a Cait Sidhe (a fae cat) that shows up in Blood & Ink. He’ll probably get his own series at some point. He has a tragic backstory, but he’s strong, and sweet, and absolutely adorable. Vyx is a close second. She’s a snarky, strong, takes no bull asexual vixen feral. She has no problems staring down alpha shifters that are twice her size, despite not being what you’d call the combat model. She’s an artist, a dainty little artist, but that doesn’t stop her from doing whatever she feels needs to be done. They’re both amazing, I have so much love for them.

Thank you Holly Evans for participating in this author interview. You can find Holly’s books at Amazon, follow her on Goodreads, and chat with her on Twitter

 

Author Interview: BR Kingsolver

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since junior high school, but never thought I could write a book. I’ve always made up stories in my head, though. I started reading urban fantasy with Anita Blake and Harry Dresden, then got hooked on Richelle Meade’s succubus books and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

About six years ago I bought a Nook, and discovered indie published authors such as H.P. Mallory and read about Amanda Hocking’s amazing success. I mentioned to a friend that I had a story I thought would sell, and she encouraged me to try and write it. The result was The Telepathic Clans Saga.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

I’ve just released the third book in my Chameleon Assassin series, Chameleon’s Challenge. The series is sort of a cross between urban fantasy and dystopian science fiction set 200 years in the future, “after the oceans rose and the bombs fell.” In an exchange between the main character and her father, the question of “what is magic arises”:

“Rumors of chameleons have been around for a long time. And, of course, legends of shape changers are ancient.”

“But those are just fairy tales.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Are they?”

“Daaad. That’s not funny. All those old stories depend on magic.”

“And what’s the difference between magic and what you do?”

I stared at him.

“Magic is manipulation of the physical world using some sort of energy,” he said. “Using radio waves to transmit sound does the same thing. Clark’s Law. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

“But I’m not using any technology.”

“I think the same principle applies. We don’t have the science to explain it, so it might as well be magic.”

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why? What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’ve written eight books in the urban fantasy genre on the edge of contemporary science fiction. The book I’m currently working on is high fantasy, a Tolkienesque trilogy. I’m hoping to finish it this summer and publish it by the middle of September. I’m usually late, though. The trilogy is called (subject to change) Chronicles of the Soulless, and the first book is Winds of Prophecy.

Q: What makes your book(s)/series stand out?

I don’t do shifters and vampires and witches, at least in the conventional sense, which is what most of urban fantasy seems to be now days. I bend the tropes a little. The other thing is I write for an adult audience. So much of UF is written in a YA voice, and I don’t do that.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I think my characters are what makes my books stand out. My current lead character, Libby Nelson, is one that I love. Rhiannon Kendrick from my Telepathic Clans Saga is another one. They’re similar in some ways. Both are kick-ass and don’t care much about what other people think.

Q: Do you have a favorite book cover? Why is it your favorite? Who designed it?

I have recently re-covered my Telepathic Clans series, and love a couple of those like they were my children. The cover for Succubus Ascendant is my favorite of all of them.

 

The covers are all done by the incredibly talented Heather Senter-Hamilton at bookcoverartistry.com. She also writes UF novels.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be careful who you listen to. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice. Listen to those who are successful. Quality is important. If you can tell a good story, the writing doesn’t have to be Pulitzer quality, but the presentation does. Good covers, good blurbs, and good editing are important. Yes, some people are successful selling books with crappy editing. The authors would be more successful it they did things the right way. You want to have pride in a book with your name on it.

Thank you BR Kingsolver for participating in this Author Interview. Discover BR Kingsolver’s latest books at the Amazon page.

You can also visit website, Amazon page, Facebook, and Twitter.

Author Interview: C. Greenwood

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

I stumbled across the epic fantasy genre as a teenager. I was into medieval history at the time and I started picking up fantasy books because the covers showed people with swords and cool armor. Once I started reading, I discovered that I loved the magic and the worlds invented as well.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

My latest release is The Magic of Dimmingood trilogy, beginning with Book 1: Thief’s Blade. These books are prequels to my older Legends of Dimmingwood series and explore the pasts of some of the characters.

 

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

I wanted to write in a familiar setting, someplace where my characters and their fairly simple plot wouldn’t get swallowed up by a sprawling world. So I based my setting on the forest surrounding the house where I grew up. That location was my inspiration and everything else just naturally grew out of it. I spent a year writing books 1-4 of what would later become the Legends of Dimmingwood series. But they wouldn’t see the light of day until many years (and a lot of revisions) later.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I always enjoy the villains most. My favorite character is a thief named Rideon, who’s both the villain from my first fantasy series and the hero of a later series.

Q: Do you have a specific method for developing characters?

It sounds a bit weird but I start with choosing an interesting place. Then I ask myself what kind of person would live or work there and how their surroundings might shape them. The characters pop into my head then and I fill in any missing details.

Q: What was the most memorable moment in your publishing journey?

I’m not sure there was any one moment, so much as a gradual realization that I was doing this thing. That’s the most amazing part. When you realize people are reading what you’re writing–and they’re liking it. There are a lot of fun milestones before that, like finishing a novel and publishing for the first time. But when you sit back and think, “This is really happening. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted,” that’s the best.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be persistent. If an obstacle gets in your way, don’t give up. Look for a way around it, even if that means trying a path you never expected to take. When I discovered agents and major publishers weren’t interested in my work, I found small digital publishers for my early stories. When I failed to reach many readers with those books, I switched over to self-publishing. When self-publishing sales were good but not great, I reinvented myself with a new pen name, genre, and branding. At a glance, it might look like my first fantasy books were successful right away. But there was a lot of unseen effort before that, years spent honing my craft, collecting rejections, learning about new ways to get my stories out into the world. Always keep pushing until you get where you want to be.

Thank you C. Greenwood for taking the time to tell us about your books and publishing journey. You can find C. Greenwood at Facebook and more fantasy books at her Amazon Page.

Author Interview: Alec Hutson

Q: How did you get into fantasy?

I was a dinosaur kid. Some of the first words I learned were ‘ankylosaurs’ and ‘diplodocus’. An interest in fantasy grew out of that, I think. My mother read stories set in Narnia and Prydain to me, and by grade 3 I was reading Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books. I’ve always been attracted to stories (or paintings or movies) that can elicit a soaring sense of wonder – and by that I mean a feeling of ‘otherworldness’, that tingling that suggests another reality has touched our own. I’ve always wanted to create that same feeling in others. In Grade 2 I wrote my first fantasy book. I’ve always had the dream, but for much of my adult life I set it aside. Then three years ago I took it out and dusted it off and set to work.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

My latest is a sword-and-sorcery novelette called Twilight’s End. But the work I’m most well-known for is my debut, released last December, which was The Crimson Queen. It’s epic fantasy, and the start of a new series.

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

I would say the literary inspiration for The Crimson Queen is mostly George RR Martin, although my book isn’t nearly as dark and sprawling as The Song of Ice and Fire. What I wanted to do was try and merge the nuanced characters and deep world building and quality writing of Game with the tone and feeling of the old TSR fantasies (Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance again) I grew up reading. Basically, a less dark and gritty Martin, or a more refined pulpy fantasy adventure.

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why?

I like writing epic fantasy and sword and sorcery. I know it’s trite, but I enjoy adventuring in medieval-style worlds. Castles and swords and fortresses clinging to the sides of mountains. I know a lot of readers are tired of this millieu – but not me.

Q: Which of your books do you believe resonated with readers the most? Why do you think it received that attention?

The Crimson Queen shocked me with its success. I was hoping to sell a few hundred copies this first year, and after seven months I’m verging on 20,000 copies sold (ebook, full reads in KU, audiobooks, and print combined). I think there’s a hunger for non-YA medieval style epic fantasy that has a bit of depth to the characters and plot.

Q: What are some professional milestones that you’re proud you reached?

Today I just reached 1k ratings on Goodreads for The Crimson Queen. I think Goodreads ratings is a better measure that Amazon reviews (and harder to game) for reader satisfaction, so I’m quite pleased. I’m also quite happy that even though I’ve had a large number of reviews, the averages are still high, with 4.36 / 5 on Goodreads and 4.7 / 5 on Amazon.

Q: What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’m writing two short stories that I hope to include in anthologies in the fall. Otherwise, I’m working hard on the sequel to Queen. I hope to have it out this winter.

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Thank you Alec for participating in the Author Interview.

You can find Alec’s books on Amazon

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