To celebrate the re-release of The Key of Amatahns by Elisabeth Wheatley, Inkspelled Faery is hosting ten days of visiting your favorite authors as they talk about their very first novels, topped off by an all-day Facebook party with fun, games, and giveaways. Read on for more about my own debut novel, Thorn.
Be sure to also check out the full line up of authors and don’t forget to join the Facebook party on the 25th! I’ll be hosting an hour at 1 pm EST this Saturday, so come out and join me!
For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.
Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.
But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust yourself.
To start us off, can you sum up your first novel in a tweet, 140 characters or less?
Sometimes betrayal is the best thing possible. A Brothers Grimm-inspired fairy tale of a princess torn between responsibility and freedom.
What are you most proud of in this title?
I love that this is a story of growth. Alyrra is not a kick-ass character, she never learns to be a prodigal sorceress, and she certainly doesn’t save the day by being anything other than herself–which is more than enough. I set out to write a story where a character is surrounded by power and feels powerless, and over the course of the story, without changing herself or her abilities, she comes into her own. Alyrra does just that, and I am about as proud of her as I am of my own kids!
Do you think your writing has changed since your debut? In what way?
I’m honestly not that sure. I try to let go of stories faster (I held on to Thorn for ten years!), but I find that I still need to do the same major overhauls and revisions of each manuscript as I did when I first set out. Hopefully, I’m getting better at spotting plot bunnies before they multiply, as well as learning to combine and improve the effectiveness of each revision round. But writing has definitely not gotten suddenly easier, nor am I convinced that I am a much better writer than what I was when I finally published.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were writing your first book, what would it be?
Revise something else. Seriously, I wish that, instead of continuously coming back to Thorn, I had also taken a swing at revising any of the other seven or eight manuscripts I also generated over those ten years. I wrote a variety of first drafts, but I only ever revised Thorn. I suspect I would have learned more faster by working with different stories, and also giving myself more downtime in thinking about Thorn.
Worst piece of writing advice anyone’s given you?
Write every day. Sorry, but I am not cut out like that. Writing every day had me hating writing. So I make sure to write most days, but I give myself days off (or nights off, now that I’m a full-time mom during the day). I’m also more effective when I recognize that some nights off, staring at the wall and going for walks is actually my writing time, when I’m processing scenes and issues that I need to let simmer for a little while before trying to write.
I think every writer needs to understand their rhythm and how writing works best for them. I do think you should make a habit of writing–because if you don’t, you won’t sit down to get through those miserable chapters where you’re not sure how to work through things, or smash your way through writer’s block. But what that rhythm is will differ by writer. Know yourself, and know your writing.
If you thought this was fun, drop by the Facebook party going down on the 25th for more interviews with your favorite Fantasy authors as well as games and goodies galore!