I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with the faculty at a local high school who had chosen the Lady of Steinbrekka as their May fiction novel! It is certainly daunting to have a group of teachers reading your work, and part of me was terrified that they were going to hate it.
Quite the opposite, it seems :) We had a wonderful question/answer session and everyone was also very excited about the bookmarks I handed out, as well as the sneak peak for the cover of Heart of Kylassame, coming June 26th.
Here are some of the wonderful questions they sent my way (paraphrased because I have a horrible memory, even of my own answers)
Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite is definitely Rowan. He's like my fantasy husband, you know, if I were ever kidnapped and taken to another realm. Savin is my second, and he's like my fantasy boyfriend. Obviously I have a hand in giving them qualities I like, but they also developed a bit on their own, and I like how Rowan "grew up" over the course of the book(s).
Are you Rhea?
I wish! Parts of me make up Rhea, like my archaeology background, horse experience (the story she tells KataOlya is a true story of my past), as well as my fondness for cats. But, I think it's safer to say that Rhea is who I wish I could be. When writing, I am able to think of how I would react to a situation and then have time to formulate the results. This allows Rhea to be stronger and wittier than me. I'm the type of person who thinks of the perfect response...5 minutes later.
How do you write? Do you use an outline?
(I will do a post on this later, but here's the short answer). I typically have a loose plot outline for each book. Normally I have a beginning and an end, but the details in the middle get kind of fuzzy. Mostly I just write down things I want to have happen on paper, and then they all begin to magically connect, sometimes with much frustration on my end. The Lady of Steinbrekka was much more outlined than Heart of Kylassame (due out June 26th), and I gave up within 2 pages of Soul of Asimina (due out Christmas 2013) because the characters weren't listening to me anyway.
What inspired The Lady of Steinbrekka?
It sounds cliche, but I had a dream about some of the scenes and the rest just kind of happened. I dreamt (from the pov of Rhea) about getting kidnapped and waking up to see this evil High Prince who wore my friend's face. I knew I had to save him, but couldn't figure out how. I also dreamed the scene with the Gormellyn. Then I just had to figure out how to connect them.
What is it like to be a famous author?
I wouldn't say I'm famous (yet?)! It's still processing for me. Some days, like when I get awesome reviews or make a profit, it's really incredible. Mostly, I just feel like a person who likes to write books, and who is lucky enough to be able to share them with the people around her and have readers who enjoy the work.
When do you write?
Whenever I can, which is not nearly as often as I like. I have paper near me so I am scribbling plot lines and ideas all day, but really can only sit down and write when my child is asleep. Of course, that's also when I have to clean/cook/pay bills, so that's why it takes so long in between books! One day I'll be able to just sit and write for 8 hours a day, but that is not today.