Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with Kelly Hale

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

 

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

–Joshua

 

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

Ten. By thirteen I was writing short stories, plotting out novels that were far too unwieldy for my skills. I also wrote Star Trek fanfiction (although I don’t think it had an official name yet. It was 1969).

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

Beauty, by Sheri S. Tepper. I’m pretty sure I’d read speculative fiction prior but Beauty was the first one that I said, “oh, this is that thing which isn’t exactly science fiction but also isn’t remotely mainstream. I’m going to write this.”

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

That is a horrible question to ask a writer, you know. Currently, my all time favorite book would be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. The way the clues to the twist have been layered in from the first page and you only realize it at the same time as the narrator, when it’s too late and you’re hit with the same crushing betrayal and rage and desperate fear. As a writer, it’s kind of awe-inspiring. I’m so glad I knew nothing about it when I began the read.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

To really really start writing? Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. She boldly claimed she didn’t write science fiction, damn it, she wrote fiction. All fiction speculates. It’s all fiction. Plus, that’s a brilliant little book.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Most important, trite but true, write because you love it, because you want to, because it challenges you and also gives you joy. Odds are you will not become rich from writing, you may never make enough from it to live on. There was a great cartoon in The New Yorker once, showing a guy on the street selling pencils and the caption was, “Sold my first story and foolishly quit my day job.” Don’t do that.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

Well, your work is going to be rejected so you have to get over that. The toughest I think for most writers (as most of us are introverts) is having to self-promote. It’s easier now because of the internet, but not that long ago when print publishing was starting to slow, publishers required new work to be all lined up with blurbs and glowing reviews before they signed a contract with you. Which worked fine, I suppose, if you’d gone through Clarion or another prestigious workshop. If not you were forced to beg for a person who didn’t know you to “please, please, please read my book and write a little blurb!”

7. From where did the inspiration for your submission arise?

I was thinking about women as exploitable commodities now and throughout history. So my story was going to deal with that in some way. I have always been interested in the cultural clashes and co-mingling of the early interactions between white traders and Native Americans. So I began with the idea of a Shoshone man who offers his daughter to a mountain man in exchange for saving his life. The similarities of mythical figures from varied cultures is one of the most consistent connecting threads of our humanity. There is always a beast somewhere that can be tamed, tricked, or rescued by a woman.

8. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

My favorite character is, of course, Dove, the narrator. I liked her from the moment she started talking. I think every narrator is my favorite character when I’m writing them though.

9. On what projects are you currently working?

I am working on three novels and must soon decide which one I’m going to spend the next six months working on until the end. One is a time-travel, YA thingy called The Moontree Women. The other is the second novel in my Erasing Sherlock series. And the third is an expansion of a short story called Project Thunderbird, which is due out in March 2015 in the anthology Liberating Earth, edited by Kate Orman.

 

Read Kelly’s story, Blood Medicine, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

 

..About the Author..

KELLY HALE lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where the streets are paved with espresso beans and the garbage recycles itself. She is the author of a bunch of short stories in a bunch of anthologies, and a couple of novels (including the award-winning Erasing Sherlock). She has loved science fiction and fantasy for so long that the characters from the original Star Trek represent archetypes in her dreams.

..Connect with the Author..

Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with KR Green

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

 

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

–Joshua

 

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I used to use my grandmother’s typewriter when I was around 6 or 7, and finished my first story on it. But when I was 19, I tried National Novel Writing Month. I ‘won’ this, completing a 50,000 word draft in 30 days, and that gave me the boost to try writing on a regular and more dedicated basis.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

I grew up reading about animals who talked and curses/prophecies. The most influential for me was The Sight by David-Clement Davies. Mixing a strange-to-me landscape, wolf gods, sentient animals, and prophecies was my window into fantasy and supernatural books.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

My favourite book is probably still The Moon Riders by Theresa Tomlinson. It introduced me to strong female characters, spoke of living in harmony with the seasons, and held divination and dance as sacred powers. In terms of writing, it’s the book I remember when I need to create more tension because the main character survives and manages so many devastating events.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

I began writing more seriously due to a friend asking me to do National Novel Writing Month with her. When I’m stuck or struggling to write how I want to, I re-read Dianne Sylvan’s first Shadow World book, Queen of Shadows. I personally find her writing style works for me, and I own nearly every book she’s written, so she’s definitely a positive influence.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Perseverance. And because picking just one is tricky, I’d also say to expect your first drafts and early planning to have gaps, holes, issues or be plain rubbish. Writing isn’t a race. I believe even well-known, prolific writers have rubbish chapters in their first drafts and sit staring at a scene wondering how on earth they can fix it. Therefore, my two-sided advice is to not rush the process—to give the writing time to breathe and yourself time to recharge when writing. However, don’t give up. Don’t let your writing sit in a drawer for too long. Keep moving forward, step by step.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

It’s difficult to pinpoint something specifically in publishing, but while people at the publishing end are getting things sorted, the author can be left waiting without much communication (as they’re busy getting things rolling) at times.

7. From where did the inspiration for your submission arise?

I studied the story of Taliesin as a module on Celtic mythology, so I felt familiar with the symbols and messages often found within it.

8. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

When I studied the tale, it rarely gave Morfran’s view of this magic to be bestowed upon him; that led me to tell his side of the story—with his secret power and the balance of wanting his own life versus pleasing those around him.

9. On what projects are you currently working?

I’m currently editing a young adult novel draft which focuses on a young falconer and her hawk discovering the secrets of a city during rebellion.

 

Read K.R. Green’s story, The Night of Awen, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

 

..About the Author..

KRGREEN writes about dragons, falconry, mythology, and sorcery. She attends a local writing group, and outside of writing enjoys herbal teas, reading, and gazing up at the stars. When she isn’t painting pictures with words, she works in the Mental Health sector in London and for Children’s Services in Sussex.

..Connect with the Author..

Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with Diana Murdock

Diana is a very good friend of mine, and I’m excited to feature her interview for the Twice Upon A Time anthology blog tour. Definitely check out her story in the collection, a reinvention of Deirdre of the Sorrows.

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

–Joshua

 

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

Thirteen.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

Although I learned a lot from my mother (who was psychic), once I read Seth Speaks, a whole new world opened up, like parallel universes. I couldn’t wait to write about it.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

My favorite is the War of the Roses trilogy by R. Garcia y Robertson, which begins with Knight Errant. It’s about time travel, and I love stories like that.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

A variery of authors inspired me. Hard to choose just one.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Believe in yourself and never lose sight of what you want.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

Time or lack thereof. There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book. A lot that has nothing to do with writing.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

In another novel I wrote, titled Again, my favorite character is Eryn, a woman who dreams of a past life and is bold enough to recognize and break the destructive pattern that has continued into her current life. Very empowering.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

I’m working on the sequel to—as well as finalizing the screenplay of—Souled, a YA paranormal. I have several books and screenplays I’m anxious to get down on paper.


Read Diana’s story, A Prophecy Untamed, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

DIANA MURDOCK, from a very young age, has always dabbled with stories and poems and shared them only with family and friends. It wasn’t until she had a very powerful and dream, a dream that became her first novel, that she took her writing seriously. With many stories now lining up, waiting to be written, Diana is committed to penning each and every one. To add more variety, she’s adapted the first in her trilogy into a screenplay and is a partner in an independent film production company. A single mother of two boys, she’ll take on the world, one story at a time.

..Connect with the Author..

Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with Elizabeth J. Norton

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

—Joshua

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

When I was in first grade, I was asked for a classroom yearbook what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied, “a writer.” I think if it started anywhere, it was there.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

Hard question, but the first speculative fiction book I remember is The BFG by Roald Dahl, which my teacher read to our class in fourth grade.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

As a librarian, I would like to register that this question is not fair!! I adore the Saving Mars Series by Cidney Swanson for the absolutely glorious combination of flawless world-building and unforgettable characters. They’re smart, fun, suspenseful—just all around fabulous.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

I began writing Swan Song after meeting author Joelle Charbonneau of the Testing Trilogy. At this signing, Joelle encouraged me to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I had to tweet her my word count every day, and if I missed a day, I would have to start over.  And so it went. Every day I wrote, every day I tweeted. Every day she tweeted back. Joelle is an amazing cheerleader and a wonderful author. I couldn’t have done this without her. And if you’re a fan of dystopian fiction, the Testing Trilogy is top-notch.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Draft the whole story out before you edit. The little things that become important in the end will shock you.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

As stated above, drafting without editing is really difficult for me. I tend to be very critical of myself and want to pick things apart and over analyze them. During bad writing days, I sometimes wanted to scrap the whole thing.  Sometimes I didn’t know where the story was going. It was hard on my inner critic, but we got there in the end.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

My main man, Luc, was easy to write but hard to have in my brain. He’s already been through the mill by the time we meet him, and I could feel all his pain acutely. I had the most fun with Nik, though, because he surprised me all the time. He’s much more complex than we get to see in this story and I would love to revisit him someday.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

I have ideas for both a prequel and a sequel for Swan Song, which are in early plotting stages.


Read Elizabeth’s story, Swan Song, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

ELIZABETH J. NORTON has been the Teen Librarian the Commerce Township Community Library since 2007. An avid reader, writer, knitter, coffee addict, and the Assistant Editor (a.k.a. Head Minion) of The Bearded Scribe Press’ blog; she also reviews young adult and professional books for Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine. She lives in metro Detroit with her cat, Bianca, and too many books

..Connect with the Author..

Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with Court Ellyn

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

–Joshua

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I think I was fourteen. Pretty sure. It all started with a historical romance, inspired by Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. The book was too ambitious for my knowledge and skill level. I never did finish it. But long before that, I was plotting out stories and characters with my sister and our three cousins, which we would then enact. So it was a toss-up between writing and acting. Writing won out because there are no spotlights involved. Or almost none.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

The first fantasy novel I ever purchased was A Breach in the Watershed by Douglas Niles, an okay novel, nothing stellar, but it had a gorgeous dragon on the cover. (I wasn’t supposed to read fantasy, because it led to irresponsible, even dangerous, lifestyles. So I had to buy the book behind my mother’s back. I love you, Mother). But in truth it wasn’t a book that introduced me to the genre. It was Walt Disney and Rankin and Bass, of course. (Watching fantasy was permissible, reading it was not.) One does not escape childhood these days without becoming enthralled with animated Sleeping Beauties, Snow Whites, and King Arthurs, with a Frodo tossed in here and there.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

I am particularly affectionate toward 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye. It’s a book of poems, all about relationships and tensions in the Middle East, but its scope is so much deeper than place. It’s about human beings, and Nye’s insights are remarkable, heartbreaking, heartwarming, illuminating. It’s a small book, so I often take it with me when I travel. I think this book more than any other, outside of Holy Scripture, has caused me to be a more compassionate, open-minded person.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

Probably Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince. The complex interplay between dozens of characters made the novels become so real in my head. I had to try writing something just as epic. “I can do this,” I remember thinking. Whether or not I have succeeded, I haven’t stopped trying.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

How to network. Writing can be a lonely business. Find a critique group to learn from, a support group outside of friends and family to give you an objective eye, but also who will encourage you when the rejections start rolling in and nudge you to keep submitting.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

It’s a toss-up between marketing and submitting. Finding potential venues for my stories is an intimidating and exhausting process. Visiting several websites, crossing out magazines that clearly won’t work, weighing the others, hoping they’ll be a fit, choosing one, waiting weeks, if not months, receiving the rejection and starting all over again. All kinds of doubts set in during this part of the process. It’s the most necessary of the necessary evils, however.

The second is the self-promotion. *shudder* It’s a mystery to me. It means that I must actually stop writing for a few hours, surface from my story worlds, and talk about my story worlds … outside my office, to strangers who may or may not care. It means getting creative in advertising and being pushy while smiling and trying not to sound pushy and scared to death. It’s an art all in itself. Luckily I have several writers to learn from, but I still have a long way to go, and I fear I’ll never be comfortable with it. How’s that for transparency?

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

The Bone Harp centers on Angharad, the jealous older sister who murders one of her younger sisters. I loved diving into Angharad’s inner torment, her attempts at hiding her dark secret, her helplessness when it all comes spilling out. She may be the most tortured soul I’ve written to date.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

The Falcons Saga. The first three volumes are currently available on Amazon. The series just keeps growing. At the moment, I’m somewhere near the middle of Book 4: Cry of the Falcon. The series contains all the classic elements of epic high fantasy: elves, ogres, mages summoning lightning, battles that shake the earth, forbidden love. I’ve even got pirates and sea monsters tucked away in there somewhere. The one thing it doesn’t have is a Dark Lord Somebody, thank goodness. But, other than this, name it and it’s probably included. When I say “epic” I do mean Epic.

But the series is certainly not all about adventure and saving the world from evil forces. Not at all. One of the themes is accepting one’s destiny and walking that path well—or poorly. It’s about rising above one’s own desires for the greater good. My characters succeed at this better than I do.

Read Court’s story, The Bone Harp, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

Court Ellyn defines herself as a dreamer, a cynic, a klutz who loves cats, a homebody who roams. She started writing historical fiction when she was fourteen but slowly gravitated toward the fantastical. Now, somewhere between dragon dens, haunted bogs and battlefields strewn with otherworldly foes, she moderates the LegendFire Critique Community.

Her fiction has appeared in Kaleidotrope, Silver Blade, A Fly In Amber, Explorers: Beyond the Horizon, an anthology by Dead Robots’ Society, and a number of other publications. Her novels, The Falcons Saga, are available at Amazon. You can also learn more at her website.


..Connect with the Author..

Twice Upon A Time Blog Tour: An Interview with Rose Blackthorn

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

–Joshua

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I began “telling” myself stories at 12 or 13. When I was a few years older, maybe 16 it occurred to me that if I wrote them down, then I would be able to go back and re-read them later.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

Firestarter by Stephen King

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

I have favorites in several genres, so I don’t know that I’d be able to choose just one. The one that I’ve probably gone back and re-read the most times is The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip. (And it makes me cry, every single time.)

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

No specific author or book. I have read things that were so wonderful, they made me aspire to write something that would have that kind of impact on someone else. I have also read things that were so bad, I felt there was no reason I couldn’t do better 🙂

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Be true to yourself. You can take classes, listen to and apply advice from others, outline every bit of your story or go from the seat of your pants – but regardless, don’t lose your own voice. No one can write what you can.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

Probably rejection. It is difficult to spend long hours writing something, putting a part of yourself in it, and sending it out to another person only to have them say they don’t want it, don’t like it, etc. Publishing is a business, and tastes are subjective—but it still stings to get that rejection.

7. From where did the inspiration for your submission arise?

My story is based on The Selkie Bride. I have always been fascinated by stories of shape-changers from the sea who could live among people and then return to the ocean. There is a bittersweet condition in so many of those old legends that the selkie is held in human form against their will because their seal-skin has been stolen from them. Inevitably, when the seal-skin is recovered, the selkie will return to the ocean, even if there is true love between she and her human mate.
I also have a passion for post-apocalyptic fiction, and I was curious to explore what might happen to a diminishing population of selkies after human beings have poisoned the world in some great final war.

8. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

Naia is the main character of my story, and definitely my favorite. I enjoyed exploring what’s left of the human world through her eyes, and the fact that although she has come out of the sea for a specific purpose, she could still come to love the people she meets.

9. On what projects are you currently working?

I have a novella (another post-apocalyptic piece, sort of) that I’ve been working on over the last few months between other projects. Also, the first of a trilogy of “epic” fantasy novels which includes shapeshifters, war against an evil that is apparently unkillable, and the unexpected relationships that can thrive between people who are so disparate. Between all that is the real life stuff, that so often takes precedence—even when I’d rather be writing 🙂

Read Rose’s story, Before the First Day of Winter, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

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..About the Author..

ROSE BLACKTHORN lives in the high mountain desert of Eastern Utah with her boyfriend and two dogs, Boo and Shadow. She spends her time writing, reading, being crafty, and photographing the surrounding wilderness. An only child, she was lucky to have a mother who loved books, and has been surrounded by them her entire life. Thus instead of squabbling with siblings, she learned to be friends with her imagination and the voices in her head are still very much present.

She is a member of the HWA and has been published online and in print with Necon E-Books, Stupefying Stories, Buzzy Mag, Interstellar Fiction, SpeckLit, Jamais Vu, and the anthologies The Ghost IS the Machine, A Quick Bite of Flesh, Fear the Abyss, The Best of the Horror Society 2013, Enter at Your Own Risk: The End is the Beginning, FEAR: Of the Dark, and Equilibrium Overturned, among others.

..Connect with the Author..