Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Sheri McGathy

Welcome Sheri McGathy,  Fantasy author of stories filled with danger and magic!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Sheri: Fantasy, to me, evokes the wonder of dreams and unfettered possibilities. It can be filled with fanciful pleasures or unimaginable fears—all the things we believed in without question when we were kids. Fantasy is Santa and pixie dust, unicorns with long golden horns, and the monster that lurked in the shadows beneath your bed when you were little. Fantasy is fantastical and holds the promise that wishes just might come true if only we dare to believe in the magic of the moment.

Magical moments exist all about us, yet all too often, our busy lifestyles cause us not to notice. We're simply unable to pause long enough to allow the magic to touch us. The moment passes unnoticed and unremarked. 

I think twilight is one of those magical moments—a time when the world holds its breath as if waiting for something special to occur. The day has not yet arrived or ended, and the night is not yet born or faded. A hush settles over the land and a sense of awe surrounds us. So much so, that we accept the possibility of other realms where elves exist, magic works, unicorns graze, dragons fly, and anything is possible if only we believe. And maybe, if we wish hard enough, we might be able to bring a bit of that magic to our daily lives. 

Twilight holds the promise of enchantment and ignites my imagination. It makes me ask, "What if?" It's simply magical.

I personally feel that magical moments come to us in many forms and strike in many different ways. Old legends, ancient puzzles, a word or words overheard in a crowded place are all things that make me ask, "What if?"

Each story in my OMNIBUS collection was conceived from its own what if moment. The Birth of Spring was born from my fascination with the fairy tale charm of three while Thief of Dreams sprang from a line in an old ballad. The Ancient One developed both from my love of trees and from a very simple question: How does one become a goddess? The idea for Where Lies Beauty started with a rose and a single tear.

Amber Why do you write the type of fantasy?

Sheri: I like to take old lore or myth and rework it, incorporate it into my stories, but make it my own. When I wrote WITHIN THE SHADOW OF STONE, I took a wonderful, at least wonderful to me, legend surrounding the King’s Stone and then started the “What if” process. What if the standing stones really had warriors trapped within. What if the people forgot the truth of the stones, and the whys of their own religious ceremonies. From there, I just sort of “flew into the mist,” and let the story unfold. That is pretty much the essence of how I craft. I might hear a snippet of someone’s conversation or catch a show on the History Channel that causes me to say What if. I just never know.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels? 

Sheri: Well, that’s not an easy answer but if I had to pick just one, it would be Shadow Castle, a YA fantasy novel that was my introduction to the world of elves and dragons, goblins, and magic. I read it in grade school. It was the book that made me want to write fantasy. Since that time, I have been introduced to so many wonderful writers and tales that we could fill your blog with their titles. 

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy? 

Sheri: For me, it is the wonder and the chance that maybe it could happen. I love the adventure, the worlds, the magic, good and bad. The characters. The escape fantasy offers. I just love fantasy.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?

Sheri: Yes, I think I would. I love to imagine and make believe. If an idea grabbed me, possessed me, and I started to imagine characters, I’d have to write he tale if nothing else so I can find out what happens!

 Who is Sheri L. McGathy?
Born in the Buckeye state, I was uprooted in 1971 and replanted amongst sunflowers, tornadoes, and college football. It’s a good life. During the weekdays, I’m a Graphic Arts Coordinator/Copy Editor in prepress. In the evenings and weekends, I’m a writer…or I try to be. Sometimes that is debatable. I’m also a freelance cover artist

*.:~~:.*.:~May the magic always brighten your world~:.*.:~~:.

Learn more about Sheri L. McGathy
at her Website And more about her books  

 Sheri's Contest!
Leave a comment to win a .pdf 
of one of her latest short story releases

Shay, a Blade Whisperer, has made a promise. A promise she is determined to keep, no matter the consequences or the pain that promise might cause. She has searched long, following the countless whispers of forgotten blades, until one quiet whisper reveals the blade she seeks. And now that's she's found the bewitched dagger, she must fulfill her promise to set her lover free…by killing him.
What magic lurks in a selfless gift, whispered by one who has lost all hope save for love? On the eve when darkness must surrender its cold grip on the land and cede victory to the light of renewal, one such gift is offered, but what ancient earth spirit will answer?
Take Your Pick!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Joe Vadalma

Welcome Joe Vadalma, author of fantasy novels and short stories!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Joe: I've always loved the fantastic. When I was six or seven years old, my parents took me to see “The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland. I read the book and wanted more. As a result, I spent every penny I could scrape up on Oz books, not only by Frank L. Baum, but by Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. O'Neil.

Mostly, however, I write dark fantasy about witches, demons and vampires. My Morgaine the demon witch series is up to nine novels. I'm also writing a series about a character I created for the Morgaine series. Her name is Raven Lenore, and she is a tough private eye and psychic. I like writing in this genre because of all the possibilities from trips to hell and fairyland, time travel, magic, science fictional concepts, the occult and interesting characters.  (I have also written science fiction.)

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novel?
Joe: There are many. I love Pierre Anthony's Xanth series, all the Oz books, anything by H.P. Lovecraft, Lord of the Rings, of course, and novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley, especially The Mists of Avalon.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
Joe: I believe it is because fantasy takes you away from the humdrum world that most of us live in and into worlds of adventure, magic and mystery.

Amber: Would you write fantasy if no one read it? 
Joe: Probably. I think writers are cursed to write. We are like drug addicts, only story addicts. Ideas are always popping into my mind that I need to write down. I'll probably never write all the stories that I have ideas for. I'd have to be immortal, like some of my characters. I enjoy writing so much that I'd probably do it even if they paid nothing (which is the standard with most E-zines ). Don't tell my publisher this.

I call myself Papa Joe. I've loved science fiction and fantasy from the time I learned to read.  When I was twelve or so, I discovered the pulp magazines. They had garish covers and were printed on blotting paper, but the insides were marvelous. In these magazines, and the slicks and paperbacks that followed a few years later, I learned to love such writers as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg and so many others. 

 For most of my working life, I was a technical writer for a major computer firm. I learned many things there about computers, about writing and about people and corporations. I lived the Dilbert cartoon. Because of my work, my wife and I moved to a small town in upstate New York where the manufacturing plant was located. We still live there. 

Find out more about Joe Vadalma 
At his website:
The Fantastic World of Papa Joe

and his fantasy novel series and short stories:
The Morgaine Chronicles &
Raven Lenore, Psychic Investigator

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Alma Alexander

Welcome Alma Alexander, author of historical fantasy for young adults and "grown-ups"!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

I think fantasy is the best shot at reality we've got. Things which you could not say in this our "real" world, wrongs which you could not right, opinions which must remain unsaid because of fear of persecution or retribution - all of this you can give, the bitter truths wrapped in the sweet pill of a fantasy world, and those who read this will take both in and understand them. 

And then, of course, there's the sheerest joy of it all, creating your own world to play in and making its rules and then seeing others wander into it from the borders and start looking around and smiling.

Worldbuilding has always been one of the best things about writing a work of fantasy - one of the hardest things to do well, to be sure, but one that has always made me happy. I do not, it would seem, like the easy things in life - everything that's worth a damn has to be earned and I've enjoyed every moment of earning the joy of writing fantasy.

Amber: Why did you write historical fantasy?

I like historical fantasy (Guy Gavriel Kay take a bow) because of the richness of the tapestry and the sense of "this could almost almost almost be real... and if it isn't or wasn't it damned well SHOULD HAVE BEEN..."

Amber:  What are your favorite fantasy novels?

"Tigana", "Song for Arbonne", "Lions of Al-Rassan" (Guy Gavriel Kay); Glenda Larke's work; Marie Brennan's Onyx Court series; Tolkien; Zelazny's Amber books; Catherynne Valente's work; there are so many.

Amber:  Why do you think readers love fantasy? 

Because it lets them out of the traps of their mundane lives and lets them live something different, something bigger than themselves. It lets them read about, and believe in, magic. it lets them fly. It lets them dream. it lets them IMAGINE - imagine different, imagine greater, imagine more powerful, more poignant. The best fantasy isn't escapist
pablum that lets a reader slither into ignorance and the bliss of the lotus eaters - it's the kind with an edge, the kind that slices open the skin of our own reality and makes both the fantasy and the reality solid enough to make your mind sting and your sould bleed.

 Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?

Alma: Yes!

Alma Alexander is a novelist who writes for both YA and
"grown-up" audiences - her books have been translated into 14 languages and sold in more than 20 countries worldwide so far. She lives in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, with her husband and assorted visiting wildlife that passes through the wild cedar woods of her back yard. She is currently owned by two cats.

Learn about her current project Rebirth of a Novel
(a rewrite of a novel she wrote when at 14 - 
with the help of a team of teenage advisers)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Cynthia Gael

Welcome Cynthia Gael, who shares her secret that she actually two fantasy writers, K.G. McAbee and Cynthia D. Witherspoon!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?

CG: We write fantasy because of the infinite possibilities the fantasy genre offers for a writer. After all, where else can you write stories about witches and curses, magic, and Witchfinder Generals? And while we both write traditional fantasy, we don’t restrict ourselves to it alone. We do urban fantasy, paranormal fantasy, steampunk—the list goes on. 
Amber: How do you write fantasy as a duo?
CG (KG): It’s scary easy! We tend to think alike, to the point we often finish each other’s sentences or come up with ideas, locations, even names the other one was just thinking of or getting ready to suggest. We’re also open to negotiation. If one of us wants to go in a certain direction, the other is willing to give it a shot. But both of us have to agree on important things, like which Mexican restaurant is best for lunch. All in all—and this is K.G. speaking here—I cannot imagine a better collaborator than C.D.
CD here! I couldn’t agree more with K.G. Before we began to write together, I was so sure that my craft was a solitary position. However, K.G. makes it so easy! Not only can she seem to read my mind, but its such fun to get her chapters to see what new aspects she has placed in a story. If you can find a great friend, whose also a legendary writer, and they want to work with you? Jump on the chance. You’ll be sorry if you don’t!

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

CG: Lord of the Rings; Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber; The Dresden Files; The Dragon and the George: Harry Potter; and Skulduggery Pleasant, and The Hunger Games,  and and and….

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

CG: Readers love fantasy because it allows them the chance to escape the mundane world and become something more than what they are. A good fantasy writer will pull you into their world. But a great one will have you packing your luggage and moving in to stay.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?

CG: Absolutely. Sometimes, something gets lost when you say you’re a writer. Most think it’s for money (its not) or fame (nope, it’s really not for that either). We write because it’s our passion. It’s in our blood. And our characters won’t shut up until we get their ideas down on the page.

Cynthia Gael lives in South Carolina in a small log cabin built in 1817. She writes in a loft described to her, years before she saw it, by a psychic, thus influencing her already vast interest in psychic phenomena. Her other interests include: all forms of paranormal phenomena, history, literature, the literature of history, the history of literature, and dogs. She is a firm believer in magic in all its forms, thus she believes she’s lived many times before. Cynthia often draws inspiration from these past lives, where she existed in ancient Egypt, medieval France and Victorian England, among other places and times.

Cynthia Gael has one ultimate secret; she is actually two writers, K.G. McAbee and Cynthia D. Witherspoon—how’s that for a split personality? While they both share the writing of the Cynthia Gael books, they also write their own novels and stories, and a passion for submitting to anthologies. 

Be sure to explore the Balefire Universe further in 
Book Two: BALEFIRE AND LODESTONE (coming soon) 
and visit Cynthia Gael’s website
                                                      And Cynthia D. Witherspoon’s

If you have read Balefire and Moonstone, be kind enough to leave us a comment on either or and send us a note to say you’ve done so. We’ll send you a personalized thank you card (a real one if you give us your address!) signed by Cynthia Gael herself.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy -Jennifer Allis Provost

Welcome Jennifer Allis Provost, author of epic fairies fantasy!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Jennifer: The main reason I write fantasy is to escape everyday life. When I was a child, I enjoyed nothing more than getting lost in a good book, and the more fantastical the plot the better. By writing the fantasy you get to create a world you’d like to live in.

Amber: Tell me about why you chose to write about fairies on an epic level? 
Jennifer:  I've always been enamored by those stories where a normal girl (or boy) wakes up in a fantastic otherworld, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Wouldn't it be amazing if such doorways existed?

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Jennifer: The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley. I first read The Hero and the Crown while I was in the fourth grade, and I go back to it every few years. Other early favorites were A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
As for newer works, I am completely in love with Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. I also recently enjoyed Graceling by Kristin Cashore – it reminded me of something I would write.

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Jennifer: I think people like reading it for the same reasons I write it – to escape. Consider the current influx of urban fantasies in your local bookstore. After a tough day at work, it’s nice to read about a character whose problems include dragons and evil wizards. And hey, if the dragons and wizards can be conquered, so can that paper jam.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Jennifer: Absolutely. Writing is who I am, not what I do.

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with a dog, two birds, three cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior. 

Find out more about Jennifer's