Author Spotlight: LV Barat

eyeofthehawk-200Today’s author is a debut novelist whose first epic fantasy novel, Eye of the Hawk, will be released tomorrow by Musa Publishing. She’s a lovely lady whose novel I simply cannot wait to read.

Please give LV Barat a warm welcome.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Eye of the Hawk?

An island exists in the far north surrounded by an astral golden band, inhabited by Jaanaarians, a people descended from gods who possess unrivaled magical talent. They cannot leave the island because some of their people became corrupted, bidding themselves out to the highest bidder of the royal houses of Perthia.

A shapeshifter named Hawk is sent on a mission that is given to him in coded verses by a Jaanaarian druid. He must discover the meaning of these verses during the mission. He goes through an elemental portal to arrive at the correct destination.

In the Crystal Palace of Corvasa, the Fire Globe has been stolen. It is an ancient relic that controls elemental Fire. Each country holds an elemental globe and changes the element every twelve years. They were gifts from the gods at the beginning of time.

Sillisnae is an Adept’s Apprentice at the Crystal Palace who studies magic under the tutelage of Lord Korodale, the Daimon Direttore and head sorcerer to the King. After hearing of the Fire Globe’s disappearance, she decides to do a little investigating of her own.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

I’ve always known I would be a writer. It was just a matter of acquiring enough self-discipline and that began to happen about five years ago.

3. What modern author do you admire most and why?

This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t really have a favorite author whose stories I admire over others. I tend to favor the works rather than the author. Some of my favorite books are Dune by Frank Herbert, The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, especially “The Drawing of the Three”, “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker. I read George R.R. Martin and Terry Goodkind as well. Whenever I’m engrossed in one of their stories, they are my favorite author at the time but then I move onto another novel by someone else and fall in love.

4. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?

I write between three and four thousand words a day. The story streams into my consciousness and I just write whatever I am experiencing in my mind. It is like writing down a daydream. At this stage, I don’t bother with selecting interesting words or making notes about the story. For the second draft, I fill out the story with description, clean up any discrepancies, and link events on the timeline. The second draft takes much longer than the first. The third draft is to correct grammar and spelling and check for mistakes in story and character development.

I’m what is known as a ‘pantser’, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants while I write rather than a ‘planner’ who makes extensive notes and follows an outline. Sometimes I’ll begin a manuscript in the middle, go to the end, then back to the beginning. I just go where the inspiration takes me.

5. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?

The most difficult thing for me is writing every day. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it. When that happens, I write some poetry and it usually gets my thinking into a mystical mode and I can move forward.

6. What’s your take on writer’s block? Does it exist, and if it does, how can you cure it?

I think writer’s block exists but I’ve never had it. I know some people experience it. I believe one reason I’ve never had it is because I don’t try to think the story, I let the story ‘think’ me. Like I said before, it is more like following a daydream, something called ‘journeying’ in the shamanic community.

7. Why did you choose an ebook publisher over a traditional publisher?

This is my first novel and I do not have a book agent yet. The manuscript was rejected by TOR and it took six months to receive an answer. Ebooks are the future and the great thing with Musa is if an author sells well, they will publish in print.

8. What was it like to work with an editor for the first time?

It was a very pleasant experience. I really saw how my writing can improve. The editor revealed the immense value of limiting repetition, propositions, and filtered experiences of the characters.

9. If you could give an aspiring writer one piece of advice and only one, what would it be?

Only write what inspires you, not what you think you should be writing. What inspires you will give you energy, what bores you will drain you.

10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to?

Currently I’m writing the third novel in the “Tears of Gods and Dragons” trilogy. The second is finished and waiting for content edits.

LV BARATLV Barat has been writing fiction and non-fiction for twenty years. Epic fantasy is her genre of choice whilst some suspenseful mystery has managed to worm its way into her opus corpus.Jane Eyre was the first novel she read as a prepubescent. Its gray, mysterious moors and subdued emotions that raged under the surface of its characters called to her longingly, convincing something deep within her to become a writer.LV Barat lives in the Rocky Mountains, the spine of North America. An enchanted place of glistening pine needles, massive boulders, jutting gray crags, stealthy red foxes and antlered elk. You can find her at www.lvbarat.com.

You can purchase a copy of Eye of the Hawk here.

Author Spotlight: Carol Browne

theexileofelindel-200Today’s author is a lovely lady who I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with at Musa Publishing. She’s also an awesome fantasy writer. I recently finished her first novel, The Exile of Elindel, and I’m eagerly waiting for the next one.

Of course, I think it’s best if you let the author–and the book–speak for themselves, so please give Carol Browne a warm welcome and enjoy her thoughts on the writing process.

 

1. Can you tell us a bit about your novel, The Exile of Elindel?

The Exile of Elindel is Book I of my fantasy trilogy The Elwardain Chronicles. It was published by Musa Publishing on 18th April, 2014 and is available on Amazon Kindle or directly from the publisher:

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

2. When did you decide you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was six or seven when I wrote my first poem. I was always scribbling something or other, starting with poetry and moving on to short stories. Then in 1977 I wrote the first draft of what went on to become The Exile of Elindel.

In 2009, I decided to take writing more seriously as a career and was lucky in getting proofreading clients and finding some of them needed web content and blogs. Even earning very modest amounts of money in this way, I began to get a different perspective on writing; it was no longer a hobby. This was a turning point for me because it gave me more confidence in myself as a writer and I decided to have another stab at getting a publisher for my novel

3. How much planning/research do you do before starting your first draft?

Not doing enough research is where I let myself down with my first book. I just started writing with only a vague idea of where I was going. I had studied the period of history the book is set in, but not thoroughly, and at each successive rewrite I needed to change a fair number of the details. The Anglo-Saxon period isn’t called the dark Ages for nothing. New facts about that era are still being unearthed, while what was once established fact is often disproved. The setting of the book isn’t massively important to the story, however. I hope readers care more about the characters and what happens to them then whether or not they are wearing the right clothing or using the correct tableware. The first draft of the book was completed in 1977 and I would find research so much easier now, thanks to the Internet. I now have no excuse for not doing it properly!

The next two books in the trilogy, written many years later, were planned and plotted chapter by chapter before I ever put pen to paper. They were much easier to write and this has been a major lesson for me as a writer.

4. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?

I still keep all my notes, plans and the first draft in hard copy, all in longhand. Once the first draft is finished I read it through and do a first edit. Then I will type it into Word. This process will horrify some authors but it works for me. (I love it when I get to throw yet another empty Biro in the waste-paper bin. Very satisfying!).

5. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?

Finding time to write is the hardest thing for me because I have to work as well. Fortunately, I’m very organised and disciplined. I’m not a time-waster and can sort my days into blocks of time to accommodate work, life and writing. I tend to be always busy.

I frequently get an idea for the beginning and end of a story but struggle to flesh it out and I find this exasperating. My current work in progress is an example, having been on the back burner since the 1970s! It’s only recently I had one of those light-bulb moments that has allowed me to finally get to grips with the thing. Often it is when I am doing menial tasks that my best ideas come to me. I wrote a great deal of Book 2 of my trilogy while doing a client’s ironing!

6. What was it like to work with an editor for the first time?

Working with an editor is very illuminating. It taught me a great deal about writing more concise text, text that is punchy and less wordy. The editing process is exhausting too; hours and hours of intensive work. I had no idea how hard it would be, yet it is also immensely enjoyable. It is playing around with words, something I love to do. My editor is so knowledgeable about the English language and the craft of writing and I’ve learnt so much working with her.

7. Have you ever considered self publishing? Why/why not?

I have a self-published anthology of poems and short stories on Kindle: An Elf’s Lament upon Leaving & Other Tales. It’s been up there a few years and I did it originally as an experiment to see if I could do it. I would probably not do it again because I’m not technically competent enough to do the formatting. I found the whole process difficult.

8. What modern author do you admire most and why?

I guess it would have to be J K Rowling, not just because Harry Potter is awesome or even because she made reading cool again, but also because I admire her as a person. She is an excellent role model for young people and an antidote to that celebrity culture of people being famous for being famous. She has real talent and achieved success through sheer hard work and perseverance. She also remains humble and unspoilt by fame and has made huge donations to a number of charities.

9. If you could give an aspiring writer only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Get a box file – or better still a box! You’ll need it for all those rejection slips. File them away and don’t take them personally. Rejection is a necessary rite of passage for writers.

10. What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?

Readers who have enjoyed The Exile of Elindel can look forward to Book II (Gateway to Elvendom), to be released in March, 2015, and Book III (Wyrd’s End), to be released in December, 2015. Meanwhile I’m writing something completely different from my usual genre. It’s a paranormal thriller set in the 1980s and is called The Curse of Cankerfret Castle.

Carol Browne first appeared on the planet in 1954. She regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky, when she’s not writing fiction, Carol spends her time as a housekeeper, proofreader, and ghost writer in order to pay the bills. Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

You can purchase a copy of The Exile of Elindel here.

The Best Weapon by Martin Bolton and David Pilling

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I originally met Martin Bolton through Musa. One of Urania’s many authors, he generously provided me with my first ever guest post, and, even better gave me a copy of his co-written fantasy novel to review. Due to a combination of mountains of homework and other obligations, it took me about two months longer than expected to finish the Best Weapon, but I can say it was certainly worth the wait.

The Best Weapon is the story of two brothers created by the ‘Lords of Hell’ as a last ditch effort to save themselves from an unnamed evil force. These brothers, Naiyar and Fulk, are placed on opposite ends of the planet so they won’t draw attention to themselves or discover themselves until the time is right. This book tells the tale of these brothers discovering their true natures and finding each other. Each faces trials which test their will power and strength while showing them that they are more than human.

From the very first scene—the scheming ‘Lords of Hell’ creating the two sons—I was entranced by this novel. I greatly enjoyed the vastly different cultures Naiyar and Fulk belonged to. Both Naiyar’s Djanki and Fulk’s Templars were created with tender care and great detail. While both sons came from deeply religious warrior cultures, the similarities end there. From the dress to the food to the rituals, the reader is shown just how different these two cultures are—and how beautiful, and twisted, each is in its own way.

As a writer, I find it incredible that these two authors managed to create a masterpiece together. I’ve never co-written anything, and to be honest, I’m afraid co-writing would lead to a lot of conflict for me; I have an incendiary personality and I don’t play well with others. So the fact that this world and book were brought together seamlessly by two authors is particularly impressive to me. While I’m pretty sure each writer took on the perspective of one son, there’s no noticeable change in style or writing quality, so you’d never be able to pinpoint which part is which author.

All in all, The Beast Weapon is well worth reading. It involves conflict at every level imaginable, fight scenes on a grand scale, incredible sacrifice and suffering for both brothers, and a beautifully detailed world. I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to review it and I highly recommend you purchase your copy today—and with any luck, you’ll be seeing these two lovely authors here for an interview sometime in the coming months. If I had to give this book a rating out of five stars, I’d give it four out of five stars because it’s a great book but it never quite moved me to tears, which is to me the mark of a book that surpasses even the idea of great.

You can purchase your copy of The Best Weapon here.

Martin Bolton was born in Cornwall in 1979 and now lives and works in Bristol. Previously he concentrated on his artwork and writing small pieces of nonsense for the amusement of his friends, before deciding to do some serious creative writing. His first published work, a full length novel co-written with David Pilling, is The Best Weapon, is due to be released by Musa Publishing on 02 March 2012. His work is inspired by authors such as Joe Abercrombie, Robert E Howard, Bernard Cornwell and Iain M. Banks.