I’d like to thank Chauceriangirl so much for hosting me today, on the last day of my blog tour. It’s been really fun! I’ve been asked fantastic questions, and here are some more that live up to the rest.
I’d also like to thank all the great readers who have followed the tour and have left wonderful questions and comments.
Below is a teenage picture of me. As this is the last day of my tour I am now “grown up!”
1. How long did the process of finding a publisher take? Do you have the proverbial drawer full of rejections? If so, how did you handle those? And if not, share your secret!
The year that Erec Rex took from searching for an agent to finding a publisher was stressful, to say the least. I went into the details in a previous post on this blog tour, so I won’t repeat them all here. But I do have something important to say on the subject, that I hope your readers will take to heart!
At some point when I was writing The Dragon’s Eye, it became obvious to me that it was working as a book, and that I would have no problem finishing it. I was beyond excited, because I truly believed that if I just finished the book I would be completely happy and satisfied. I just wanted to have done it. To have written a book I loved. Then I could go on, life the same, whatever happened with it.
Well, I’ll never forget the night I finished Book One. I lay in bed, buzzing, unable to sleep. I knew my life had been changed, dramatically. It was like getting married, having a child. It was introducing something new into my life, something that would change everything.
So, when nothing happened for a while I got pretty bummed out. It took months to find an agent (which really isn’t too bad!) but it felt like years. And I kept telling myself that all I wanted was to get an agent. Once I got an agent then I could hand the project over to them. I’d be happy. Content. It would all be downhill from there. Wrong. After I got an agent all I could do was obsess, daily, about whether the book would find a publisher. That was all I wanted, then I’d be happy. Was that correct? Of course not! After the book was published, and on the shelves I didn’t feel content and finished at all! Happy? Yes. Thrilled and enthralled beyond belief to see my book on endcap at all the Barnes and Noble in the country over the holidays? Oh yeah. But content? “Done?” Not a chance. I wanted the book to sell well, so I could put out another! I was extremely lucky that Book One hit the fantasy bestseller list last year. But was I content? No! I was freaked out about how long it would stay there, worried about the future.
Suffice it to say, at some point, this process sunk in. I think it’s the human condition. We always are shooting for the stars. And that’s a good thing! But, it is SO important when going through all of this to remember to appreciate the little things, the day to day things, that are making up the reality of our lives. I can easily see how one could get caught up in what might happen next, and miss what is happening today.
So, my advice to your readers who may be writers (or have any other aspirations they are working toward!) is to try not to let it eat you up. It’s so true that the greatest part of writing is the writing itself – and later the readers reading it. All the in between junk – the waiting, the rejection, etc., – can really get in the way of living. Try and see it for what it is. The current phase in your life – that is also filled with some incredible other moments.
2. Did anything trigger your idea for Erec, or did he just sort of spring into being? Tell us a little about your creation not just of these incredible characters, but of their worlds.
The idea behind Erec was structured from the Hercules legend – but that was more the framework for Erec (that he had to do twelve quests like Hercules twelve labors, etc.) But the details of his personality, who he is, sprung up quickly as I wrote him. I think a part of me made him into the older brother I never had. But then he grew into much more than that to me.
It’s an odd thing, when I invented some of the worlds, such as Alypium and the wilds in Otherness, I could picture them almost like I had been there in a dream. I didn’t sit and figure out the setting. But when I sat and figured out the plot the setting just jumped right in, as if it was waiting for me. I think the more visual parts of the writing are more automatic for me, somehow.
3. I noticed a so not-subtle reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in book two. I love how you’re playing with the ideas of discrimination based on completely ridiculous factors, and the effects of prejudice based on forged writings. Any particular reason you made that choice?
I did have fun with that. When I was writing this segment of the book I researched what the Nazi’s did with their propaganda. They forced all of the artists in Germany to register with them and do free artwork for posters that made their enemies and scapegoats look evil, gruesome and distorted. But Germany was not alone – other countries did similar things!
The problem of isolating and persecuting people because they look or act different is such a global one. In Book Two, my thoughts on that had a lot to do with the place called “Otherness” where Erec found himself. I wanted to give him a taste of what it is like to be different. And, even more than that, to have to make a tough choice. What would you do if you could have everything you wanted, but at the expense of someone else? And what if that someone else was so different from you it was easy to not relate to them as well?
I just finished Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a terrific book that talked about how our perceptions of what people are like are affected by first impressions, and things we get all in one glance. It was a great read, and even gave me more to think about on this topic!
4. As a writer, I often find it very difficult to write the chapters where my characters are in trouble, or making decisions that will cause them a lot of pain. Do you experience this? How do you deal with it? (If this is a completely inane question, please feel free to ignore it–a book my sister and I wrote together has two sisters who are very loving and close, but for a few chapters they’re not speaking to each other. It just about killed us to write that!!!)
This is totally not an insane question – it just shows that you are really getting into your characters’ heads, which is great! Interesting – I find my heart pounding when I am writing really tense scenes. I don’t actually resist putting my characters through their difficulties. It feels at times like I am watching them in a movie, watching the scene unfolding before me. I definitely get affected by what happens to them, though! I’m sad when they are, thrilled with things work out. But I don’t feel myself stopping or pulling back … if that makes sense!