Author Interview: LB Garrison

The next collection to be released by the Just-Us League is Fractured Ever After, to be released on 27th April 2019. The collection of fairy tale retellings will be the group’s seventh anthology. Author LB Garrison joins me to discuss his contribution to the anthology – ‘Beauty’.

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Have you ever watched the stars on a warm summer night and wondered if someone was looking back? Thoughts of dinosaurs and aliens dominated LB Garrison’s childhood. Adult concerns came later, but never could quite crowd out the wonder.

A microbiologist by profession, and dreamer by choice, LB has always been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, and recently a writer of speculative fiction.

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Author Interview: Lynden Wade

A Bit of Magic is an upcoming fairy tale retelling anthology, and will be the fifth collection of stories published by the Just-Us League. One of the authors, Lynden Wade, joins me today for an interview about her contribution to the anthology – ‘Reed Girl, Fire Girl, Cloud Girl’.

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LYNDEN WADE AUTHOR PHOTOLynden Wade was home schooled in a village in West Africa, giving her lots of time to read. The bright colours of illustrations to fairy tales, legends and medieval history – worlds away from the dry grasslands and termite hills around her – inspired her to write her own stories. Her muses include Joan Aiken, Diana Wynne Jones and Rosemary Sutcliff. She has had stories published in The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3 and in the JL Anthology From The Stories of Old. Two more stories are due to be published in 2018 in addition to ‘Reed Girl, Fire Girl, Cloud Girl,’ her contribution to A Bit of Magic. She is working on a historical novel. She loves tea shops, book shops, period drama, castles and trees. You can find her on quillsquotesqueensquests.wordpress.com, on lyndenwadeauthor.weebly.com and on Facebook.

What inspired your retelling?

One of my favourite books as a child was ‘The Kingdom under the Sea and Other Stories’ by Joan Aiken, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski, who drew delicate silhouettes that entwined the text. I particularly loved the story ‘The Reed Girl,’ but I also felt quite impatient with the Prince, who kept letting the reed girls die because he didn’t get to them fast enough to give them water. It needed a retelling!

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Author Interview: Sam Waterhouse

Today, Sam Waterhouse joins me as part of the Of Legend and Lore blog tour. This collection of fairy tale retellings by members of the Just-Us League takes a fresh look at both well-known and lesser known tales.

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Sam Waterhouse is a part-time writer with a full-time imagination from Hobart, Tasmania. ‘Wishes Between Worlds’ is his second published story, a futuristic retelling of ‘The Enchanted Quill’ fairy tale. He enjoys writing unusual characters, so a trickster, genie-esque crow was an opportunity too good to pass on.

Sam also contributed to the previous Just-Us League anthology Between Heroes and Villains with ‘Like You’, an original story where superpowers are treated as a disease to be eradicated.

You can follow Sam on Twitter (@SW_Wordologist).

What inspired your retelling?

I chose to retell ‘The Enchanted Quill’ partly because I like a good anthropomorphic character and partly because of how it portrays the power of the written word. I took a few liberties in the retelling – such as changing the setting to a spaceship during a multi-generational interstellar voyage and having Corvo play the part of trickster – but those were the two qualities I liked most about this particular fairy tale.

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Author Interview: Sarah Perlmutter

Sarah Perlmutter is an English teacher from Pennsylvania who has self-published her Young Adult apocalyptic novel The Blast. It follows the story of Beatrice and her family as they fight to survive in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, exploring themes of moral choices and humanity. The novel has been very well received and its current highest rank on Amazon is #26 in YA Dystopian! Sarah agreed to answer some questions about her novel and her self-publishing experience.

 

 

Why did you choose to write a story set during and after the apocalypse?

I’ve always been interested in human nature, and what better way to test it than to put people in extreme survival situations? I also really enjoy the science fiction genre, especially post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories, so I wanted to contribute to that genre of YA literature with my own take on the world’s end.

The Blast is fairly short, did you consciously choose for it to be a short novel or did it just turn out that way?

I did consciously choose for it to be a shorter novel, because I wrote it to be a companion piece or prequel for the trilogy I’ve been working on for a couple of years now. I meant for it to only be a novella, but at its current word count and length it’s straddling the line between novella and novel. Once I started writing, I had more to say than I initially anticipated I would.

How did you build the cast of characters for The Blast?

I built the cast of characters based on characters in my trilogy. I knew Beatrice, Eleanor, and their parents had to be in The Blast, but some of the other characters I added to help explain who they became as adults, like Henry and the Smiths. Characters like Jacob and Mr. Timmons were included to help explore themes in the novel, while characters like Drew helped me to flesh out the community within which Bea and Eleanor grow up and later raise their children.

The Blast is a prequel to your Deathless trilogy. Which idea did you come up with and write first?

I came up with the idea for the Deathless trilogy first, and then halfway through the second book, I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about Beatrice or what happened before the trilogy begins. I began writing The Blast as an exploration into Bea’s character and as a way to bring the entire world to life for myself. The trilogy now exists in a world that is much more believable and complete than it did before I wrote The Blast.

What made you decide to take the self-publishing route?

I sent out maybe 5 queries for the first book of the trilogy when it was not in the proper shape to be published, and, not surprisingly, received 5 rejections. I began researching self-publishing then, and learned that it can actually be a viable route for publishing these days. I wanted to test out the waters of self-publishing as an alternate option, and after receiving positive feedback on The Blast from readers on Wattpad, I decided that would be the perfect book with which to test self-publishing. I’m glad I did, because now I feel like I have a better handle of the whole industry.

What do you think the pros and cons of self-publishing are?

The huge pro of self-publishing is how much creative freedom you have. The book is exactly as you want it, as is the cover and all other materials for it. However, as a self-publisher, you really need to be ready to invest serious time and money into your project. Good cover designers and editors cost money, as does professional formatters for your manuscript. That’s the con of self-publishing: Because you are in control of everything, it requires much more work to get your book into reader’s hands. A lot of writers just want to write, but when self-publishing, you must also be your own editor, production manager, designer, marketing professional, advocate, and internet personality.

Has self-publishing been a positive experience?

So far I have really enjoyed my experience with self-publishing! I have learned so much more about the industry than I would have if I kept querying, and I love experimenting with different marketing platforms for The Blast; however, I will still try my luck at traditional publishing for the trilogy and for any future projects. If it doesn’t work out with traditional publishing though, I’d be happy to self-publish again. Do you have any advice for writers hoping to be published?  Write! Write so much that it becomes an obsession. Write books, stories, plays, and poems of all genres. The more you write, the more pieces you have to choose from for submission calls, and the more likely one of your pieces will be chosen. Have fun with the submission process, and find a new way to view rejection. Rejection shows you’re living your dream, because every single writer you’ve ever heard of was rejected just as much as you. And if you like the idea of self-publishing, do it. Don’t wait. Get your manuscript ready, and do it.

 

Quick fire questions!

-Are you an organised or messy planner?

I am a messy planner masquerading as an organized one. I always have a plan, but it will be in 15 different notebooks, in the notes on my phone, on my Pinterest boards, and in my mind.

-Favourite character from The Blast?

I have to say Bea. When I finished writing The Blast, I really felt homesick for her perspective. But I also love Ellie. I didn’t think I would, but by the end of the book, she was one of my favorite characters to give dialogue. I love her voice.

-Would you survive the apocalypse?

Not likely. My husband and I are not at all prepared like Bea’s family was, and I’ve never even held a gun.

-What would be your weapon of choice – force or diplomacy?

Diplomacy for sure. I’m a teacher by day, so I feel like diplomacy is second nature to me. Force, not so much.

-Favourite book?

So difficult! It’s a four-way tie between Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

-Favourite film?

My gut’s telling me to go with Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

-Favourite character?

Oh man, even more difficult! I love so many characters for so many different reasons! Right now, because I recently finished reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, I really enjoy Finch’s character.

 

The Blast is available NOW to purchase on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.

Follow Sarah on social media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahPerlmutterbooksTwitter: @SaPerlmutterWebsite: http://www.sarahperlmutter.comPinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/saraibunbury/Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24265868-the-blast

You can read my review of the book here!

Author Interview: Ashley Maker

Ashley Maker is a young adult author who recently had her debut novel, Under the Trees, published by Cliffhanger Press. Ashley is from Oklahoma and enjoys writing songs for her books as well as writing them. Under the Trees is a fantasy romance which follows the story of Princess Araya as she runs away to a neighbouring kingdom to escape an abusive arranged marriage. There, she falls into the hands of Prince Thoredmund, who decides to help her and provides refuge for her in his kingdom, unbeknown to his father. As their feelings for each other begin to grow, the fragile peace between the two kingdoms is threatened.

 

Where did your inspiration for Under the Trees come from?

UNDER THE TREES is actually a complete rewrite of a book I finished when I was nineteen titled ARAYA. The first version was much sillier, and I had an agent tell me it had too much of a Middle Grade tone for a Young Adult book. After a few years of it being shelved, I set out to rewrite it as a Middle Grade book, but the first words of the rewrite ended up being the opening scene of UNDER THE TREES. I knew before I hit the end of the first page that I wasn’t writing the lighthearted, comical MG novel I set out to. Araya’s new voice, and her desperation and fear, sent the novel in a darker, much more mature direction, falling squarely in the upper YA category. I loved it so much I plotted the entire novel around that scene, and on giving Prince Thoredmund his own point of view chapters, whereas before he had little journal entries interspersed at the end of every few chapters. The two versions are so drastically different that they’re hardly comparable today. Just about everything changed.

 

What made you decide to write from the alternating perspectives of Princess Araya and Prince Thoredmund? 

I wanted the reader to be able to see the story from both sides, especially since Prince Thoredmund’s first chapter opens where Araya’s leaves off. There are important things the reader would never get to see if it only followed Araya’s POV, like all of the stuff going on at the castle and how the feud between the two royal families plays out.

 

What is your writing process? Do you have any habits?  

I’m a very slow writer, and I tend to edit while I write. I almost always write in my office at my desk, and before I type anything out, I try to take ten minutes or so to brainstorm what I want to work on that day. As far as habits go, I like to listen to music on Grooveshark, and I always have something to drink and snack on nearby.

 

How long did it take for you to bring Under the Trees from its planning stages to its final manuscript? 

I started the rewrite in the fall of 2010 and finished it in the summer of 2011. That doesn’t include revision, which was an on and off again process all the way up to December 2013.

 

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

Prince Silas. He’s Araya brother, and I had so much fun with his character because he’s a bit of a wild card. I’m even thinking of writing a companion novel from his POV one day.

 

Do you have any advice for writers hoping to be published? 

Write what you want. If writers followed every piece of advice, or tip, or trend, we’d be writing in circles or not able to write at all. So write something you love and will be proud of, regardless of what others say about it. After your book is revised and ready, that’s the time to look into publication. Be sure to do lots of research on the different avenues of publishing so that you can find the best one for you. If you choose to submit to agents or publishing houses, make sure they’re legitimate since you’ll likely be working with them for years if they offer on your book. Also, while you’re shopping your book out, try to write something new. Publishing is one big waiting game. Having something new to focus on helps during those periods when things are going slow.

 

Under the Trees is available now in paperback and on Amazon kindle.

For more information on Ashley and the novel see:

www.ashleymaker.com

facebook.com/authorashley

twitter.com/ashleymaker

 

You can read my review of the book here.

 

(This interview was originally published in the University of Surrey’s student newspaper The Stag)