Archive for ‘Author Interview’

December 27, 2013

Meet Cerece Rennie Murphy author of Order of the Seers Series

Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you Cerece Rennie Murphy the author of the Order of the Seers Series. I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Murphy in October when I attended the Black Authors and Readers Rock Weekend presented by the Reading Divas in Bowie, Maryland. She was the only science fiction and fantasy writer present for the weekend, so you know I was excited to meet her. When she agreed to do an interview for my blog I was over the moon. So here it is my interview with Cerece Rennie Murphy.  Enjoy!

A.H. Tell me about yourself. Cerece Rennie Murphy

C.M. Ok. I am a city girl, born and raised in the beautiful city of Washington, DC.  My parents are West Indian, from Grenada and Trinidad and thankfully moved to DC in their late teens to go to Howard University.  I am so grateful to them for picking this city as my hometown.  I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t raised in DC.

In my former professional life, I did fundraising and program development for a number of community-based and international development organizations.  But these days, I am a part-time writer/business owner and full-time wife and mother to our two kids.

A.H. What author has influenced your current style of writing?

C.M. You know, I never know how to answer that question.  I don’t consciously try to write like anyone else.  But I can tell you the authors who leave me in awe and inspire me to dig deeper for the right word or to be unafraid of the emotion in a scene.  At the top of my list is Toni Morrison.  For me, her writing turns reading into an experience for all five senses.  Her stories aren’t linear, which I love.  They twist, turn and curl back on themselves.  You have to pay attention.  I love reading books like that.  Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed was the first book that ever blew my mind.  I read it over and over. It’s frightening and genuinely fantastic.  Other writers I love include everyone from Amy Tan to Lynn Emery to a fan fiction writer named YellowGlue.

A.H. Tell me about the Order of the Seers Trilogy.

C.M.  The Order of the Seers Trilogy is about a group of people who can see the future and are enslaved for that ability.  The first book in the trilogy, titled Order of the Seers, is about how the Seers escape the organization that seeks to exploit their gift, reclaim their power and start fighting back.  The second book in the trilogy, titled The Red Order, picks up right where the first book leaves off, but is quite a bit darker because you get to know your villains really well in the second book.  Having made some gains in the first book, the Seers are now faced with a larger mission and a deeper understanding of their gift and its potential.  I am working on the final book in the trilogy now.  I’d like to think that the first two books answer the question of who the Seers are and what they are capable of.  The final book answers the question of why the Seers have their gifts at this specific time.  I am really looking forward to sharing the final chapter in this story.

A.H. Where did you get this idea? Was there a person, event, place, or idea that inspired the idea?

C.M.  The idea for Order of the Seers came to me randomly as I was washing the dishes almost 4 years ago.  It was only later, after I read through the first complete draft that I realized how many of my own questions about human potential and the importance of spiritual connection permeated the book. That was not my intention starting out, but the books have been very cathartic for me in exploring those issues.

A.H. I know personally, that sometimes my original idea isn’t necessarily what the story turns out to be in the end. Did that happen for you with this book?

C.M.  Not yet.  I did a story outline pretty early on in the writing process, so I knew the story arc and how things would end from the beginning.  Then, before I wrote each book, I did a detailed chapter outline, which helped me figure out the goal, message and tension in each chapter before I started writing it.  For me, the adventure is always in how each chapter unfolds.  Even though I know what will happen, how it happens is almost always a surprise.  It’s so much fun!  Though I am following the same process with the 3rd book, I can already tell that this installment is going to keep me guessing in a whole new way.

A.H. Of all the characters in this book who is your favorite and why?

Order of the SeersC.M.  My favorite character in the book is Marcus Akida.  Marcus is who I want to be when I grow up.  Marcus is a man who has suffered unimaginable loss at the hands of the Guild.  In some ways, he’s suffered even more than other Seers because he was taken when he was older – he had a wife, a son and an entire life of his own that was taken away.  Despite this, he never loses sight of who he is and what is important to him and that inner strength is what makes him the most powerful Seer.  But even more important than his supernatural powers is Marcus’ ability to inspire the best in others.  Everyone around him tries harder and becomes better as a result of following his example.  I am so honored that he chose me to tell his story.

A.H. Let’s talk about creating worlds because as Science Fiction and Fantasy writer that can make or break a story.  What’s your process for creating worlds? Do you have a book where you write it down or on a poster board?

C.M.  I do a lot of outlining in notebooks. Order of the Seers is contemporary sci-fi, so instead of creating an entirely new world, I wanted to offer a new interpretation to some common assumptions in the “real” world.  I wanted the world of Order of the Seers to feel very familiar, so that when I started folding in the secrets and the lies, it feels like maybe you could be living in the world of Order of the Seers.

One of my next projects is a two-part space opera, so I am sure that will require even more outlining, but I like to work out the framework as much as possible before I get started.

A.H. What’s your take on being a woman in science fiction and fantasy? What challenges have you faced? And how did you deal with them?

C.M.  You know, I look at it like everything else – there is always going to be something in your way, whether it’s because you are black, you’re a woman or someone doesn’t get what you’re trying to do.  You just have to decide what you believe in and who you believe is truly in control of your destiny.  I have the luxury and ability to push forward because of all the doors that have been opened for me by my ancestors.  That is the legacy they have left for me.  I honestly believe there is nothing I can’t do if I am willing to work hard enough and smart enough for it.  With so many avenues opening up in the publishing industry, this is especially true. I am not someone who sees my gender or my race as a disadvantage.  I think, as an African-American woman, I’m used to a certain amount of struggle, which makes me more prepared to fight the battles I need to fight.  There are many things that people thought were impossible, right up until the moment when somebody did it.

I think one of the biggest challenges for African-American authors in any genre is overcoming the perception that stories written by African-American authors are only intended for an African-American audience.  There is a very pervasive belief within the industry that there is no point in marketing our stories to a wider audience because no one outside of our community will read them.

Fortunately, I am my own publisher, so I’m not subject to anyone’s limited interpretation of the market for my work.  I can place myself wherever I think I can find an audience and sell my books and that is a huge advantage.

A.H.  Tell me about being your own publisher.

C.M.  I started LionSky Publishing in 2012 to publish and promote my work.  The learning curve has been steep, but I enjoy the control I have to decide how and when my work is presented.

A.H. Where can people buy your book?

C.M.  The first 2 books in the Order of the Seers Trilogy are available in paperback on Amazon, BN.com, Books-a-Million and in your local bookstore. If they don’t have it on the shelves, they can always order it for you. Both books are also available in eBook format on Kindle and Nook.

A.H. What kinds of questions do you want people to consider when reading this book?

C.M.  I think mostly I would like people to question their own assumptions about who they are and what their potential really is.  I’d like to challenge them to look past the stories they have been told about themselves and redefine their own expectations.  The Seers spend a lot of time believing other people’s stories about who they are and what they are meant for.  It’s only after they escape the Guild and begin to answer those questions for themselves that their true power emerges.  I think that dynamic is true of all of us.   I’d also like people to reconsider occurrences that we regularly dismiss, like déjà vu and dreams that come true, and ask themselves if there is something more going on.  Finally, I’d LOVE it if people would reconsider their own understanding of their relationship with God (however they define it) and become really curious about what that relationship might look like if there was no separation between us and our creator.

A.H. If people wanted to meet you where will you be promoting your book? (Do you have a link to a book tour schedule or blog tour schedule?)

C.M.  In November I finished a book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours (http://www.orangeberrybooktours.com/2013/11/ob-phoenix-30-cerece-rennie-murphy/ ).  And this week I finished a book tour with Prism Book Tours (http://prismbooktours.blogspot.com/2013/10/new-ominous-tour-order-of-seers-by.html ).

A.H. Do you have any suggestions for those interested in writing science fiction and fantasy?

C.M.  My main suggestion would be to just GO FOR IT!  Don’t let your own self-doubt stop you from telling the story you have inside you.  Enjoy that process of bringing your unique vision to the world as much as you can.

A.H. Do you follow any bloggers on writing Science Fiction and Fantasy?

C.M.  Not really and I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing.  I tend to live in a little bubble that let’s in very few outside resources.  I am easily overwhelmed, so most days, I only have time to figure out what I’m going to do.  I find reading advice on writing both helpful and intimidating.  I don’t want to start censoring myself based on someone else’s opinion of “how it’s done”. The upside of isolation is that I stay pretty self-directed.  The downside is I think I miss out on a lot of opportunities to feel connected and learn from the successes and mistakes of others. I did just recently start following the Black Girl Nerds blog, though and I absolutely love it.  It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my geekitude.  J

A.H. I’m a big fan of Black Girl Nerds too! So in true geekitude in a dystopian world what would you hoard?

C.M.  Food, and anything that could help me ensure the safety of my family.  The other thing I would hoard is music.  I can make up stories to tell my kids, but both my husband and I can’t sing worth a damn.

A.H. Thank you Cerece for your time. Connect with her at:

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Google+

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November 29, 2013

Meet Dormaine G author of “Connor”

Today I want to introduce Dormaine G a contemporary fantasy writer who has recently published her first book. Dormaine didn’t come to writing in the traditional way, nor did she choose to take a traditional way to publish her first book. It’s an impressive story that I’m exited to share with you.

A.H.: Tell me about yourself.Dormaine G.

D.G.: I was born in New York and lived there until I was eight then we moved to Mississippi.  Ten years later, I went to college at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana for about two years then moved to Massachusetts for a new life experience.  Eventually, I moved back to New York where I became a registered nurse and studied forensic nursing.  After working some years in New York as a nurse, I started doing travel nursing and loved it.  I decided to stop traveling while in Colorado to stay close to family and shortly after, I met my wonderful husband and have been here ever since. Even as a child, I have always had a love for science fiction and enjoyed it through books, movies and comics.  I have dabbled in writing throughout the years, and decided it was time to let my true self free.  I took some time off from work to pursue a career in writing and recently published my first book Connor which will be a series. My goal is to be finished with the second book by the middle of 2014.

A.H.: What author has influenced your current style of writing?

D.G.: I have two that have influenced me, the late L. A. Banks and Kelley Armstrong. As a child, I have always loved science fiction but never really saw any characters, superheroes or actors that looked like me and that was somewhat upsetting. Even now, it has not really changed and I know there are more people out there, like me, who love science fiction.  Banks opened up my eyes to the fact that I am right, people of color can be special too and we can write about them. Armstrong’s style and comedy flare is so like me it is amazing and her sarcasm and making light of a serious situation hits home for me.

A.H.: What’s your take on being a women and minority in science fiction? What challenges have you faced? And how did you deal with them?

D.G.: That’s a hard question but I realized that only people of color, ranging from Filipino, Black and Hispanic, have reviewed my book. I know because I made connections with these people on author sites. Whenever I have submitted my book for review to a site, of nonspecific color, it never gets chosen. Yes, my book has only been out for seven weeks but still that is a bit noticeable. So far, I have had some wonderful reviews which make me feel better about myself. You can get very discouraged in this industry but I look to the reviews that I have received for support, believe in work, and stay determined to never give up.

A.H.: Where and when do you like to write?

D.G.: I write at my kitchen table by the television where I have a fiction movie or TV show on in the background, volume on low.

A.H.: Before you published your novel, did you publish any short fiction? If so where?

D.G.: I did not. I have had people read my stories before but never submitted anything for publication. I have been told in the past that I should submit but never did.

A.H.: Tell me about your current book, Connor?

D.G.: The book is about a fifteen year old girl named Connor who discovers she has abilities. There are five other teenagers like her and they are faced with danger and are forced to grow up fast in order to protect themselves from beings that want to harm them.  Unfortunately, everything does not work out with a happy picture book ending especially when everyone doesn’t want to face the truth. Lastly, we start to see the beginning of a possible dysfunctional love triangle.

A.H.: I know personally, that sometimes my original idea isn’t necessarily what the story turns out to be in the end. Did that happen for you with this book?

D.G.: I didn’t really have a plan other than I knew it was going to be a fictitious story about a female having certain abilities. I wrote what felt right and what made the most sense to me.  I never had a beginning or end planned. I just wanted certain aspects in the story and made them work to my satisfaction.

A.H.: Of all the characters in this book who is your favorite and why?

D.G.: Connor, of course, because she is sarcastic, already had a super power called denial and she is a Science Fiction geek like me.  She is not me or what I want to be but just a small fragment of my personality.

A.H.: Let’s talk about creating worlds because as fantasy writer that can make or break a story.  What’s your process for creating worlds? Do you have a book where you write it down or on a poster board?

D.G.: This book is not so much about another world, only characters from it, but the next one will be. It will take place in a fictitious world that I think about almost every day. I see the world in my mind, some of the characters there and what it feels and smells like. That is how I always wrote even when I was young and probably will continue to do so for the most part. With that being said, I have never created an altered universe before either. I have a feeling I will most definitely need to plot things out in a file for the next book.

A.H.: Who’s the publisher?

D.G.: I went through Xlibris self publishing company.

A.H.: Why did you choose to go with self-publishing?

D.G.: I chose to go with self publishing because, as a black female author writing about diverse characters, I knew it would not be readily accepted so instead of seeking approval I took a chance on myself.

A.H.: Where can people buy your book?

D.G.: I am on print with Xlibris publishing company, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Nook, Alibris, Powells, and Better World Books. You can walk into most book stores and order my book. My ebook is with Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and Xlibris.

A.H.: Just for fun if you lived in a dystopian world, what would you hoard?

D.G.: Besides making sure my family including my dog is with me, I would take clothes, water, canned food, a lot of chocolate and three of my favorite books, ‘Connor’, ‘Bitten’ by Kelley Armstrong and ‘Kindred’ by Octavia Butler.

A.H.: Where can people learn more about you and your work?

 Dormaineg.com

Smashwords:  (Dormaine G)  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/375457

Twitter:  (Dormaine G) https://twitter.com/dormaineg

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7329928.Dormaine_G_

A YoungCover for "Connor" Adult Urban Fantasy story filled with lies, secrets, and betrayal. Don’t expect this to be your typical picture-book ending.

Connor Esquibel recently discovers she has the gift of invisibility among other gifts. She doesn’t realize how her life is about to change for the worse. She is 15, sarcastically funny, at least she thinks so, and doesn’t always like to face reality. She meets five other teenagers who have abilities similar to hers and they try to figure out how or why this is happening to them but not everyone is so excited about finding out the truth.

Connor, sensing their lives are in danger, is determined to figure out the truth by any means necessary. She is forced to grow up fast after she is slapped with the cold, hard, fact that the people around her are not who she thought they were and all human beings are not what they appear to be.

Through all of this, Connor and Tony, one other with abilities, start to develop feelings for each other causing jealousy in more ways than one. That is where Ronin comes in, he is beautiful, smart, and ruthless. He too has eyes for Connor but not in the way one may think.

October 25, 2013

Blogger Interview with Nicole Evelina

I’m so excited to present today’s Blogger and Author, Nicole Evelina. Nicole is one of the first people I met when I started blogging. She’s been super cool and supportive, so it was an obvious choice when it was time to do my first blogger/author post.  Without further adieu..drum roll please….. I present…

Blogger: Nicole Evelina

Title of Blog: Through the Mists of Time

Address: nicoleevelina.com

A.H. When did you start blogging?

N.E. June 2011. It was an odd series of events that led up to it. A friend of mine had suggested it about a year before and I swore I’d never do it because it took time away from writing. But then I finished my first book and started to think about querying and building an audience. Then, I had the great fortune of meeting author Alyson Noel in Pasadena, California, which was a life-changing experience. It made me take my writing career seriously. I came back from that vacation ready to blog. In fact, the story of meeting her was my second blog post.

A.H. What’s your favorite thing about being a blogger?

N.E. Having a place to express my interests and connect with those of like mind. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my blog.

A.H. Where do you work on your posts?

N.E. Usually in the living room with at least one cat (I have two) on my lap.

A.H. What is the coolest thing about your blog? This could be a section, feature, contributor, widget, etc?

N.E. I’m really proud of two pages that probably don’t get looked at much: the research page and my playlists. The research page is where I list out all the sources (books, people, TV shows, etc.) that have helped me craft my historical fiction. I hope that it will give other people interested in the Celts and/or Arthurian legend a good place to start their own adventure into those worlds. As for the playlists, I’m always listening to something when I write. When music really resonates with me and fits the story, I want to share it.

A.E. What kind of posts do you have coming up on your blog?

N.E. I’ve got a wild mix of things planned from a guest blog by author Janet Reedman (who writes Arthurian legend set in the time of Stonehenge), and a silly post about cake/book genres. I need to watch a bunch of The Great Courses that I purchased, so I’ll blog about those, too. Then there’s whatever pops into my head. I also blog over at Spellbound Scribes. Those posts are a little more off the wall than the ones on my main blog because they have looser criteria than what I’ve established for myself. I don’t plan those ahead; they are whatever is on my mind when it’s my time to write.

A.H. What is your favorite post on your blog? Why?

N.E. I’m really proud of a recent one on a Celtic lullaby called Dinogad’s Smock. It’s this tiny bit of history I uncovered when researching something else and on the surface doesn’t seem that important. But when you look closely at it, it tells us a lot about the daily lives and concerns of the Celts from around the year 500. And to think that the song still exists and is being sung 1,500 years later is amazing to me. I’m just happy to be able to pass it on to others. I hate the idea of things being lost in the pages of history. (That’s also why I write historical fiction.)

A.H. Aside from the cool posts to come, what else do you have planned in the future for your blog?

N.E. Later on, after the first Guinevere book comes out, I’ve got a few Celtic subjects in the queue that relate to specific plot points and I really want to blog occasionally from the POV of my characters. I’m also hankering for a blog redesign, but I want to wait until I have a book cover to coordinate it with.

A.H. You’re a writer, so how do you decide which book to write next?

N.E. You know, that’s a tough question. All things being equal from my agent’s perspective, it’s a matter of which story has the most urgency in my head. My next book (beyond my Guinevere series) is a Tudor historical centered on the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey that was just conceived in June, but it wants out of my head NOW, so I’m doing it for National Novel Writing month. Then I promised my best friend to get serious about a fantasy novel with strong historical elements that we’ve been talking about co-authoring for about a year. Beyond that is a Celtic historical that has been marinating in my head for a few years and has just found its muse in actress Katia Winter who is on Sleepy Hollow. I could go on, but I won’t. 🙂

A.H. I know you prefer Arthurian legend, but lets pretend were in a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

N.E. Denial. I’m not a zombie fan. In any other type of catastrophe, I’d go for a sword or dagger. You can’t go wrong with a little steel.

A.E. How can people follow you?

N.E. Twitter: (https://twitter.com/NicoleEvelina)

Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Evelina/477419575613360?fref=ts/)

Pinterest: (http://pinterest.com/nicoleevelina/)

Goodreads:(http://www.goodreads.com/nicoleevelina)

Pushpages: (http://www.pushpage.me/nicole.evelina)

Flickr: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicoleevelina/sets/)

Youtube: (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyi5-knSn0Abm5ujfpcHgbg/videos?view_as=public)