Friday, May 10, 2013

Character Spotlight - Faulks

     While Faulks is a minor character in The Lady of Steinbrekka, he becomes a key player in the second and third books of the series, Heart of Kylassame and Soul of Asimina.

     A wild hawk with russet colored wings and a larger than average size, Faulks was given to Rowan by Queen Sula in honor of Rowan’s 5th birthday. Though he left for unknown reasons after the death of Queen Sula, he returned to Rowan when the man was old enough to venture from the castle walls.

     The character of Faulks was inspired by the many hawk sightings I had while writing The Lady of Steinbrekka, and then when I began Heart of Kylassame. I have always been fascinated with the beautiful predatory birds, but rarely was able to view them in my daily travels. When I began writing The Lady of Steinbrekka, I began to see at least two hawks per day on my daily commute to work.

     This became significant to me when I found out that I had become pregnant. Every day I would see more and more hawks, almost as if they were watching over me. Once I gave birth, the numbers dwindled down, but I still occasionally see one sitting on a power-line, watching over me as I make the commute home.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Questions at the signing

For anyone looking to do an author signing, my biggest suggestion is to prepare for questions and have them already thought out. Here are some from my event last Saturday at the Cascades Library in Sterling. (answers have been slightly expanded and I have removed some nervous "ums")

The most asked  - "What is your book about?"
The Lady of Steinbrekka is about a young woman who suddenly finds herself in a different realm that is filled with mysterious strangers who all have dark secrets. While there, she must find the strength to challenge the status quo and fight to change her destiny in order to survive.

"When did you become a writer?"
I began writing at an early age. My first book was typed out in 5th grade and was about a magical garden, so, you could say, fantasy was always my genre. As a teen, I wrote in order to express myself and it became a form of therapy for me. I began seriously writing with the main goal to publish in 2011.

"Why do you write fantasy?"
Fantasy books are my way to express every day problems in a different setting. It is easier to take something that is a common problem and put it into a fantastical world and not have it directly affect the reader, or cause them pain. I think it is also a way for readers to connect with characters that are so different from "normal" when they have the same daily issues.I also just really enjoy making up different worlds and being able to suspend disbelief within a person's mind.

"What is the hardest part about writing?"
Editing. It is so hard to go through the story and not get wrapped up in the plot, which you have to do in order to make the grammatical edits. I'm also just really bad at grammar, so there is that component too. Luckily, I have an awesome editor who will find anything I miss.

"Why do you self-publish? Is it because you kept getting rejection letters?"
I've actually never submitted any of my writings for publication before. I self-publish because it allows me to have control over the finished product. While I do have editors and readers who suggest changes, the ultimate decision is mine. I also have control over the cover as well, which is a big deal to me. I like that, with self-publishing, the book is all mine, for better or worse.

"What is your suggestion to a wanna-be writer?"
Keep doing it, no matter what. I stopped writing for almost a decade because people told me that it was stupid, a waste of time, fantasy would get me nowhere, etc. If you enjoy writing, then do it."

"What is your best suggestion for how to pick a book to write?"
My favorite writer's quote is "Write the book you want to read" and that's what I take to heart. A lot of time characters will pop into my head, or scenarios, or just general emotions that, I feel, need to be expressed a shared. Don't force it, just let it happen naturally.

Cascade's Signing

What an incredible day! I woke up bright and early and was relieved to start my day by leaving the husband and the kiddo happily asleep in the bed. A quiet and calm morning is always a nice way to start the day. My parents came to pick me up, as their Acura gives substantially more storage space for the stuff I needed to bring to the signing. I naively thought I was only going to need to bring a tote bag and my box of books, but...well...a picture says a thousand words.

The end result ended up being 
 - In leather bag on left : Ipad + charger, 2 different fabrics for the table cloth (because I am indecisive and couldn't decide until I saw the table itself), book display stand, rack card display, business card display, several sharpies and pens. 
- In middle bag with the circles : bookmarks, rack cards, more pens, small notebook, business cards, candy, basket for candy, book stand, sign with Heart of Kylassame's blurb and release date, Square card reader, scratch paper, water bottle, iced coffee (for me), wallet, cell phone.
- In box : books

It was just...awesome. I didn't have a panic attack which really surprised me, and I felt confident the entire time. There was an incredible array of authors there, although I was fairly alone in the fantasy fiction genre, at least during the morning session. There were also quite a lot of self-published authors there, which really surprised me.

I do have to admit, my dad now has free reign to say "I told you so" regarding Lady of Steinbrekka's cover. I have been wanting to change the cover since it is rather generic, and he told me not to even think about it. All I heard all day were variations of the statement that amounted to, "your cover is gorgeous" "what a beautiful cover", etc. Fine, the cover stays :)

Here is my set-up :) I was pretty happy with it, especially for my first event where I really didn't know what to expect or what would be provided. I went with a white, sparkly table cloth, then fanned out my bookmarks, set up two books, had my bookmarks and rack cards, and then a bowl of candy. My blurb for Heart of Kylassame was just beside the candy.

For future events, I plan on making a big poster-board sized sign that has "Author Signing Today" as well as reviews from my books. I'm also going to make a few card-stock copies of the titles with an "Available for Nook" or "Available for Kindle" so that readers know that there are e-book versions available. 

I also could not have been happier with Cascades Library, who was hosting the event. They went above and beyond to give us a wonderful time. There was a really considerate green room set up with water, coffee and snacks, and then they provided a really thoughtful lunch spread. They also had many volunteers who would watch our tables if we needed a restroom break, lunch break, or went into the other room to do a reading. I am already looking forward to signing up for the event next year.