Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Author Interview Susie Hanley

  1. What is your book about?
Muse is an adult urban fantasy about a woman who finds out she is a Muse and gains some interesting abilities. The story is about her coming to terms with her new role in life, adjusting to having some superhero type Guardians stalking her every move and all the while, keeping her kids safe.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of a Muse, that unseen force that influences our endeavors. Even more intriguing is the idea that a person in our lives can be our Muse. This was such an unexplored idea that I wanted to build upon it and bring something new to the Urban Fantasy genre.

3. What makes your book different than others in your genre?
There are two things that really make Muse different to the Urban Fantasy genre. The first is simply the idea: it has never been done before. This uniqueness also makes for a bit of difficulty since people don't, generally, have any idea of what a Muse is. For example: if I told you I wrote a book about vampires, you'd have some idea of what that means (they probably don't go out during the day, they drink blood, etc.), but when I tell you I wrote a book about a Muse ... you probably have little, if any idea, what I am talking about. This isn't a bad thing, but it does make it unique.

The second thing that makes Muse different to the urban fantasy genre is that the main character has children. I am glad I found a way to incorporate this important aspect of many women's lives into my story. My hope is that it makes her a much more relatable character.

4. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
I don't think I can pick just one. I admire the talents of many authors and try my best to emulate each one at times. I will have to say that Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton have been the most inspirational while writing Muse. Stephanie Meyer will always have a place in my heart too and more recently E.L. James taught me a thing or two as well.

5. What strange writing rituals do you have?
I think the strangest ritual I have is doing my nails while I think. I am not big on having my nails done or spending a lot of time on my appearance, but when I am writing and stop to think, I file my nails. Then the next time I stop writing to think I buff them, and so on until I have a good few coats of clear nail polish on them. Then over the course of the next few days I peel off the polish and then start again. I am not sure how or why this ritual evolved, but it certainly helps me think.

6. Is your writing style similar to any other writers? If so which ones.
I write first person and there are a lot of writers that also do so. Janet Evanovich, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer, and E.L. James just to name a few. Charlene Harris also writes this way, as well as Richelle Mead, Jeanianne Frost and many more.

7. Who is your Muse?
This question made me chuckle. I have to say that I don't have just one Muse. I pull from a lot of characters when I write and each character that I write has a lot of characters that inspire them. I guess I'd have to say that my Muses are the people in my life who love me. They each bring something unique to my writing.

8. What are your hobbies?
Other than writing? Laundry. Just kidding, with two kids and a husband I often feel like laundry is a cosmic joke without a punch line ... it really does never end.

When not writing or doing laundry, I spend a lot of time on DIY type projects. This month I painted an exterior door, last month I repainted the man cave a couple nice shades of dark brown for my husband. Recently I made some cool paper window coverings and embroidered curtains for my daughter’s room and my dining room. I do a lot of needlepoint projects, and I do enjoy crafty things like painting and such. Otherwise I am organizer extraordinaire. If it can be sorted, I'll be there!

9. Does your main character resemble anyone in your family or circle of friends?
I suppose my main character most resembles myself, but she is really quite unique. I like to think that I mostly pulled elements from my life and put them into hers because they were familiar. Things like her car, house and kids. Otherwise she is definitely her own person.

10. How long did it take you to write your book?
To actually write Muse only took about 8 months with the help of an award winning writing coach pointing me in the right direction. However, Muse went through no less than 15 drafts over the course of nearly 4 years. There are many important steps in editing that often take more time than the actual writing does. Let alone all the time it takes to prepare the book for publication.

11. What are some writing goals for the future?
Muse is intended to be the first in a series of books about Muses and Guardians. My first goal is to have Book 2 released by the end of 2013. I also have a specific number of books I'd like to have sold by that date, which will also be about the time I turn 30.

12. If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?
Hmm... Definitely one that would have lots of information about how to survive being trapped on an island.

13. What makes a good (pick one, depending on your genre) mystery, horror, romance, sci-fi, memoir, how-to, children’s book, etc.
I guess I will pick romance and I think what really makes one good is when they simply can't live without each other for some reason or another. Forbidden love is always fun, but can get overdone and corny really quickly.

14. What was the most difficult thing you have learned being a writer?
This one is easy to answer: rejection.
The most difficult thing to accept as a writer is that not everyone will like my work and that's okay. I've collected over a hundred rejection letters from agents and publishers and even had friends and family tell me that the story just wasn't their taste. As you can imagine, at first that was really difficult to live with, but then after a while you realize that not everyone likes Harry Potter or Twilight either and you do your best to get over it. People love to complain and those who complain often do so louder that those who compliment.

15. What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading The Man with the Green Suitcase by Dee Doanes and someday soon getting back to Game of Thrones. I have a ridiculously long to-read list at the moment, but it is my to-write list that is keeping me awake at night for the moment.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Author Interview with Samantha Holt

Today I would like to post an interview for the best selling historical romance writer, Samantha Holt.

What is your book about?
The Angel’s Assassin is a medieval romance but it explores the ideas of trust and redemption. The hero, Nicholas, is the ultimate anti-hero - a man with a bad past and a sinful deed to carry out. My heroine, Annabel, is the complete opposite of him and challenges him in many ways. She makes him want to change but whether Annabel believes him capable of change is another thing!

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to write an anti-hero and I knew I wanted to set it in early Norman England, a time when the country was still very much in turmoil It started with a baronial revolt and the story went from there really. The revolt only really plays as the backdrop for the story as the events act as the trigger but the rest of the story really revolves purely around Nicholas and Annabel.

What makes your book different than others in your genre?
My use of language is different. I know my native English tongue differs slightly but I hope that brings a sense of realism, particularly when it comes to dialogue. I love writing dialogue and I think that comes across. I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to visit places featured in my books (castles etc) and I hope to bring a sense of realism into my stories by blending my experiences into my tales.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Generally I take about three months. I write full time so I put in anything between 4-6 hours of writing a day.

What are some writing goals for the future?
I’d like to perhaps expand into a different historical era or even write some contemporary romances. For the moment, I still have some untapped medieval stories but I imagine there’s only so many you can write. Having said that, I’m always sure the one I’m working on will be my last one and then another miraculously comes along.

If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?
How to Survive on a Desert Island - I’m making the gross assumption this book exists! Failing that, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

What makes a good romance book?

The characterisation is essential. I love it when a book makes your stomach churn with fear, apprehension, excitement… If you don’t care for the characters then that won’t happen. In romance, you need to want them to get together and I love that little stomach flip you get when it finally happens.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Book Launch Party!

Hi guys! Very happy to report on how my Book Launch Party for Sons of the Wolf went at Crawley Library last week. My novel is my debut attempt at historical fiction. Click on the above link for the synopsis.  I wanted my party to have something different than just a book talk, reading and 'buy my book' theme. I wanted people to enjoy the night and be informed, regardless of whether they bought  my book or not.

 I am pleased to say that it went amazingly well! I had 5 members of the public turn up the rest were my friends and family. Altogther including myself, my re-enactors and library staff, there were 43 people in the room and to be honest we couldnt have fit any more people in there. It was very exciting for me to see so many people turn up for my debut novel and I was overhwelmed. It felt amazing to have this opportunity and am so grateful to the library staff for their help. I was very lucky to have my re-enactors Adam Price and Katrina Burton who did me very proud and Rich Price who read so beautifully for me  and helped his son Adam demonstrate the weaponry.

The evening started with a welcome, food was laid out and wine and soft drinks for the guests to help themselves to. It was great to see so many of my friends coming through the door and also the people I had not met yet. The library had told me that 15 people had put their names down at the library but at least 5 turned up! Each guest was given a raffle ticket to win a free copy of my book. They didn't show it but I am sure they were delighted! Then when everyone was settled and the Library staff had done their Health&Safety thing, I nervously got up to introduce myself and thank everyone for coming. I must admit I was nervous and felt that I shouldn't be reading from a script but I had been so busy with work and everything I hadn't had a chance to try and 'learn' my speech. Still, people gave me great feedback and I was happy with that.
After I had done the intro, my dear friend and fellow re-enactor Rich Price read from the first chapter of Sons. To be honest, he blew me away with his rendition, it was amazing. If anyone has ever experienced someone read their book with such grace and eloquence  as Rich did for me, then they will certainly know the feeling I got when I heard his deliverance of my prose. I could hardly believe I was hearing the words that I had written. I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. the applause he got was heart warming.
The next part of the presentation was to introduce my first re-enactor, after I had explained a little more about the main character and his background. Initially I had intended to have someone play his part, however, due to work commitments, the actor was unable to make it so his 'wife' Ealdgytha had come accompanied by Wulfhere's deputy, Esegar. Ealdgytha was played by  Katrina Burton. I have known Katrina for some years now and she knows her stuff. Katrina has worked for Tunbridge Wells Museum and currently works at the  Fishbourne Roman Villa near Chichester. She began by describing what she was wearing, her tunic and her underdress and her wimple and what her day would have been like. She  described how she had dyed her clothing with woad, to make her dress a pale blue. She also demonstrated how wool is spun on a drop spindle.

After Katrina had wowed the audience with her presentation, I spoke a bit more about the land division in Sussex and how the military system in 11thc England was linked to this. Then it was time for my young warrior, 'Esegar' AKA Adam Price to take centre stage. Esegar is Wulfhere's right hand man and shield bearer. He is a semi professional warrior and part time farmer, brought into military service by the one man for every 5 hide law. As a King's thegn, Wulfhere also owed military service. He and Esegar have been through much together having served in two major battles. As Wulfhere was unable to attend due to being on King's business, Esegar has come in his place to demonstrate the weapons used by the 11thc army.
 Rich demonstrates how the sword might have an adverse affect on an armoured warrior.
 Rich wields a great Dane axe at a terrified audience.
 Some of the shields available to a warrior were round.
The Kite shiled was becoming more popular

Now it was time to talk briefly about the Battle of Hereford before Rich performed the last reading, a scene from Chapter 19 The Battle of Hereford. As I listened to the reading, I was amazed once more at the care and considerstion Rich was giving to the prose. The dramatic lines made me realise how gory it was and I was satisfied that I had done the scene justice, however I apologised to the audience just in case the gore was too much for them. Apparently they thought it was brilliant!

Next I talked about Regia Anglorum, the re-enactment society that we belonged to and hopefully may have recruited a couple of people. And then it was time for questions and answers and got some great feedback from the audience who asked some really interesting well thought questions to which I tried my best to reply with sensible answers. Of course I had my trusty re-enactors to help me out. This followed with book signing and raffle draw. I managed to sell 12 books, most of my friends already had bought one prior to the launch. I also donated a copy to the library and was pleased that the library people were impressed enough to offer me some more venues around West Sussex libraries. which I am happy to say I will take up in the near future.

It was a great evening and I cant thank every body enough for coming and helping me have a fantastic first Book Launch!

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