Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Behind the scenes of the writing life

I’ve been challenged! My editor, Irene Radford ( included me in a blog tour soliciting information about various writers’ process and work. So here goes:

What am I working on?
The Mask of God: Book 1 of Fate's Arrow
New writing has been set aside for the moment. I delivered the fourth book in The Masters of the Elements series, Delver, to my publisher earlier this year, and now I’m revising the latter books in my Fate’s Arrow series. The first book, The Mask of God, is out, with books 2 (The Mark of God), and 3 (The Heart of God) already delivered. I also have one book to critique for my writing group and one that I’m editing for my publisher. So...I’m busy.

Oh, and I’ve been happily creating trailers for my various books, which you can check out on YouTube:

There is also a trailer for The Masters of the Elements, created by Deby Fredericks.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I try to turn the tropes inside out. The Masters of the Elements has nary a sword or dragon or king in sight, but the struggle is very real, if different. The elements (Wind, Fire, Water, Earth) are all very much alive and intelligent, and quite careless of the mortals who co-exist with them. The magic is different as well: a dance, a song, the ability to listen and communicate, are the keys to controlling them. 

In Fate’s Arrow, I went 180 degrees from the usual dysfunctional royal families found in fantasy. I wanted to explore the relationship between two brothers who must stand together, and what happens when both gods and immortals start trying to drive wedges between them. How far will love stretch when duty demands unconscionable choices? And watching one character whose entire reason for existence is to create chaos fulfill his purpose...well, that was just bonus fun!

In Heaven’s Shadow is way, way out there when it comes to defying classification. It is at once a ghost story, a historical novel, fantasy, and a sweet sort of romance, with a heroine who embodies innocence and yet still manages to get herself in hot water over and over.

Mostly, I write the stories I want to write, and they tend to be genre mash-ups in many cases, bringing in whatever interesting elements I feel are necessary for the story.

Why do I write what I do?
 I love history, fantasy, and works that stretch the imagination, so my stuff tends to combine all three. I started out to write straight historical fiction, but fantasy called, so now the history is usually found as a foundational element, or an overlay on a fantasy world. Like George R. R. Martin, I mine history for real situations that inspire (or depress) but always reflect real human choices and behavior.

How does your writing process work?
I am a total pantser when it comes to story. All I need is a blank page, a bloody ritual to force my muse to cooperate, and a first line conjured from...somewhere. After that, the story just builds line by line, the characters take charge, and it all somehow races off to a conclusion I had no idea was out there. The writing process is rather amazing. I don’t know where those words come from. They just do.

With historical stuff, when I know the story will be set in a certain time or centered around a particular event, I will do my homework first, so I don’t write in some incongruous detail that leads the plot off in totally implausible directions. It’s better to prevent than to correct, in that situation. I try very, very hard to get the particulars right for any era and character, which means hours and hours delving through books and internet sites and asking questions.

That's it! I now challenge Clare L. Deming and Deby Fredericks to hop with me!

Clare once applied to be an astronaut, but when that didn't work out she turned to writing fantasy and science fiction so that she could tell stories about stars, planets, and other fantastical places. You can find her here

Deby Fredericks  is the author of Seven Exalted Orders and creator of Wyrmflight, a blog for kids (and anyone else) who love dragons. You can find her here

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