Today I’d like to introduce you to Giselle Marks, author of fantasy Princess of Zenina. She’s been kind enough to come over and share her inspiration, the challenges and tribulations of self publishing, and more!
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Princess Marina, who is on a hunting expedition to the Royal reserve, Planet Qu, rescues a group marooned by pirates. They are protected only by a one-armed, disgraced, former Markaban officer, Major Heneran Bromarsh. The Zeninan race has many abilities most humans do not have, including healing powers.
Marina carries the refugees home to Hemithea, capital city of Zenina, ruling planet of the Zeninan Empire. Zenina is ruled by Marina’s mother, Queen Kerina. Here men are sex slaves and the rapacious women are stronger. It is a dangerous place for unprotected men.
Bromarsh strives to discover why he was framed for causing a massacre of civilians and seeks revenge. But the plot is not easily unravelled, and during his journey of discovery he falls under Zenina’s spell. Bromarsh is befriended by the gorgeous Charles, Marina’s slave. Charles, though deeply in love with his mistress, is a leader of the movement for the liberation of Zenina’s slaves. Princess sets the scene for Marina to fulfil her destiny, but there are many difficulties in her way
Can you tell us a bit about Princess of Zenina?
Princess of Zenina was written as a dare. I had read some lovely feminist sci-fi but disagreed with the idea that if women had all the power they would all be sweet, nice and loving. I thought they would have the same faults as men in absolute power. I was dared to write from that point of view.
Zenina is the capital planet of the Zeninan Empire and it is ruled by beautiful women. The planet has a historical male infertility problem and so the best men from other planets are persuaded or abducted. Zenina is not a safe planet for unwary men to visit…
There are three main characters in Princess of Zenina and a host of minor characters. Major Bromarsh is a disgraced former Markaban soldier who is rescued and brought to Zenina by Princess Marina. She is the preferred choice of the people as next queen to replace her mother. Her elder sister is not considered a suitable heir, but Marina does not want to be queen.
Major Bromarsh is fascinated by Marina and Zenina but obsessed with proving he was framed and wrongly cashiered from the Markaban army.
The third main character is Charles, who is Marina’s loving and loyal slave. He dreads Marina becoming queen because she will have to choose a consort and he will be given his freedom and discarded.
What part of the story came to you first?
Princess of Zenina started at the beginning with her hunt of a giant carnivorous horned bear and rescuing the refugees including Major Bromarsh on planet Qu, the royal hunting reserve of Zenina. But the story came so fast that I was not really writing it, I was trying to keep up with the dictation. It did however need a lot of polishing after my first draft.
What was your favourite part of writing Princess of Zenina?
How the characters developed from my very sketchy book plan. I found it enthralling as they took on a life of their own. I also was amazed at how the story moved onwards of its own volition; there are more books in The Zeninan Saga already written and being prepared for publication. Once I started writing I found it very hard to stop.
You’ve self-published all four of your books. Why did you choose to go this route?
I started publishing with a small American romance publisher. My first two historical romances were out for only a few months, when the publisher went bust owing a little money to me and a lot to many other authors. I was very disappointed with the company before its failure. As my first experience in publishing full length books, I felt my fingers were burnt and considered not publishing again. I was offered a couple of other contracts with small publishing houses, but felt they were trying to package me as only a romance writer. Princess of Zenina is sci-fi /fantasy and so is not a romance as such. I felt that I would be limited to writing what they wanted me to write. I was very wary of going the indie route but eventually I was persuaded to try indie publishing and so far I am quite pleased with how it is going.
What has been your biggest challenge as a self-published author?
The biggest challenge with indie publishing is promotion. You do not have a publisher to support the promotion effort which makes it harder. For me this is made more difficult because I write in more than one genre. I am not someone who is very comfortable at promoting me as an author. My books are what I am promoting, because I know my writing is good and that I have stories that people will enjoy reading. I really get a kick out of knowing readers have enjoyed something that I have written.
If you could sit down to lunch with any one author, alive or dead, who would it be?
This is a difficult question because there are so many writers I’d love to meet, many in different genres, as I read a great variety of books. I have excluded my on-line writing friends who I am desperate to meet and decided to choose someone famous I admire but think I might get on with. So I selected Bernard Cornwell, who wrote the Sharpe and Last Kingdom series of books, because I love the history and the stories. I think he could teach me a lot about researching the background to his stories. I suspect he might be more pleasant to dine with than some other writers. I revere Patrick Rothfuss as currently the best fantasy writer for example. But much as I love his writing I can’t face seeing food going in above the huge beard.
What are you working on next?
I am currently towards the end of writing the first draft of a gentle contemporary fantasy about magic users. It is romantic and a little sexy. The working title is Wishing Well Cottage and it is going pretty well. Then my next writing job will be to finish editing Heroine of Zenina, book 2 of The Zeninan Saga which I hope to get out some time this summer.
Giselle Marks is an English writer, poet and novelist, born in London, who has been writing most of her life. Currently Giselle lives in the beautiful Isle of Man. Her family is grown, contented and expanding. She spends most of her time writing.
Her historical romances ‘The Fencing Master’s Daughter,’ ‘The Purchased Peer’ and ‘The Marquis’ Mistake’ have been receiving good reviews. Together with her fellow writer and cover artist Sarah J. Waldock, Giselle wrote and illustrated ‘Fae Tales’ an anthology of fae and mythic tales updated to modern times and intended for teenagers and adults. All three books are available. The ‘Princess of Zenina,’ is the first in the sci-fi / fantasy Zeninan Saga.
Find Giselle at: