Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Nancy Bell

Amber:  Welcome Nancy Bell, young adult fantasy author and horsewoman.
Nancy:  I’m excited to be here, thank you for inviting me.

Amber: What type of Fantasy do you write?
Nancy:  Well, Amber, most of the time I write what my Muse tells me to. I have a Young Adult Fantasy novel coming out in September 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing and I'm waiting to see if I get a contract offer for A Step Sideways which features the same characters as Laurel's Miracle. Laurel's Miracle is a novel which deals with some social issues like bullying and dealing with an ill parent. A Step Sideways has a little bit of everything, time travel, first love, horses of course and lots of adventure. Both books are full of magic and mythical beings. Most of my writing is set in The World As We Know It, the fantasy comes in when magical beings manifest in our world and lead the characters off on an adventure, or help them in their quest.  I haven’t created any new worlds yet!

Amber: Tell me about how your love of horses fits in with writing fantasy for young adults."
Nancy:  Great question! Horses are so much a part of my life I don't think I ever write without having horses in the mix. Horses have a universal appeal to people, especially young people. It is always fun to have a smart alec horse as one of the characters, they lend themselves to very humourous situations. Whether it is a young girl's wish for a horse of her own or a boy's dream of being a cowboy, horses capture the imagination of my reader and allow them to interact with my storyline. Most young girl's I know have wished for a pony or a horse at some point in their life.

Horses, like dogs are the best friend in the world, they offer unconditional love and acceptance. They don't care what you wear or how you look, they only care about the person you are inside which is reflected in how you treat them. Horses are also the most forgiving of souls and will never repeat anything you tell them.

Without a horse a man is just a man, but even without a man a horse is still a horse. (Nancy would be grateful to any reader who can identify the author of this quote. Leave a comment if you can help.)

A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot.  ~John Steinbeck

 Amber:  What challenges do you face in writing Fantasy that will interest the Young Adult readers? 
 Nancy:  I really have to remind myself to stay in the character’s point of view.  It’s been a few decades since I was a young adult.   However, it allows me to live out wild adventures and let my characters have fun doing things that their mother’s would rather not know about.   

Amber: In your experience, why do readers love the Fantasy genre so much?
 Nancy: Fantasy provides a great escape from the everyday world. Anything is possible and the impossible is considered normal.   I think that people miss magic in their lives and reading Fantasy is a way of bringing the idea of the existence of magic into The World As We Know It.  For a little while, anyone can allow their inner child to believe in fairies and the bogey man again.

Amber: Nancy, if no one read Fantasy, would you still write it?
Nancy: Absolutely, Amber.  I love writing for the magic I bring to life by putting words on paper.  It’s something that I do for myself as much as for my readers.

Amber: That’s all the time we have for today. I want to thank you again, for dropping in today. Best of luck with your career.
Nancy: Thanks so much for inviting me, Amber. It was a pleasure.

Nancy Bell is proud Albertan, horsewoman, wife, mother and grandmother. She lives on a farm near Balzac, Alberta with her husband, two horses, two ponies, various dogs, cats and whatever else happens to wander into the yard. Nancy had her first poems and short stories published while still in grade school. She is a regular contributor to Earthsongs ezine.  

Her YA Fantasy novel Laurel's Miracle will be released September, 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing. Lots of horses in this one. :~) 

A Step Sideways, not yet contracted,  features the same characters as Laurel's Miracle. Laurel's Miracle deals with social issues such as bullying and an ill parent while A Step Sideways has a little bit of everything: time travel, first love, horses of course and lots of adventure. Both books are full of magic and mythical beings.

Nancy enjoys writing poetry and stories, both long and short.  She welcomes feedback from her readers and can be contacted by email

And Look for her book on Facebook

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Chassily Wakefield

Welcome Chassily Wakefield, Romantic fantasy author writing a series spanning 1,000 years!

 Chessily: Hi, Amber! Thank you so much for inviting me to do this interview, how fun.

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Chassily: I didn’t actually set out to write fantasy, at first. I just had a story I wanted to tell. It happened to have a lot of fantasy elements in it, but if I’d thought about the genre, I would have said I was writing a romance. Then I had a heart-to-heart with the fabulous Mary Buckham (her book—co-written with the also fabulous Dianna Love—Break Into Fiction, is awesome!) Mary very kindly asked me about my writing and was the one who enlightened me on what I was doing. I knew each genre had it’s own conventions and “rules” but had not applied that knowledge to my own work. Mary helped me work out not only what I was doing, but what I wanted to do with it, how to market it and why.

Now I can say that I write fantasy because the genre is a perfect fit for me and my work. I love the freedom to dream outside the box, the variety that’s out there. I love the world building and exploring the characters moving through those worlds, following them through multiple books. Plus, I just love magic and myths, potions and spells, wands and cloaks, fantasy creatures and epic battles. Who wouldn’t want to spend time playing with all of that?

Probably the biggest reason I write fantasy is just so I can create a world I want to disappear into for a while, with characters I love. I hope readers will want to stay there with me, the way I enjoy staying in the worlds created by some of my favorite fantasy authors, like JK Rowling (I’m a HUGE Harry Potter nerd!), Juliet Marillier, Anne Bishop and Mercedes Lackey, and they’re just the very tip of the iceberg, there are so many amazing fantasy authors out there. I’ve barely scratched the surface in my own reading within the genre, but I’m so impressed with the scope of their work. My “Too Be Read” pile is enormous!

Amber: As a librarian I love to see how research is used in fantasy writing. What kind of research helped you write a story spanning 1,000 years?
Chassily: I’m not a natural researcher, so that part of writing has been difficult for me. I have a hard time figuring out what I need versus what’s just interesting, or what to include in the story versus what I need to know personally to make it authentic but won’t actually make it into the work. I want to use it all! I tend to flip around a lot online, following link chains willy-nilly until I’m so far away from the topic I originally looked up that I’ve forgotten what I was doing. Sometimes that works in my favor, if I end up coming across interesting bits of information I wouldn’t have otherwise, but often it turns into wasting time.

Cataloguing the information I find has also proven challenging. I have scraps of paper everywhere, with no retrieval system in place to find them again when I need them. I’m working now on setting up a story bible to organize it all, but that’s been a learning experience! I’m really grateful to other authors out there who are willing to share their systems and expertise, they’ve helped me tremendously. For example, Yasmine Galenorn has detailed information on how she organized her story notebooks available free on her website. She may have saved my life!

As for the actual research, I again have to thank my fellow writers. I’m a member of about thirty writing loops, so there is always someone around willing to answer questions or point me in the right direction. They share links or books they’ve found that are helpful, including both primary and secondary historical sources, movies that have a fair amount of accuracy, History Channel productions, and more.

This 1,000 year saga will take place over nine books, but it starts in early medieval Ireland (980 AD) and then moves into a fictional world. The majority of it plays out throughout the medieval period. Eventually it will move into renaissance England, and then there’s a big jump to modern day America. Because of that, I’ve had a lot of fun picking and choosing which historically significant events to use as anchors within the story, things I can play off of or add to. Then there’s all of the mythology. That’s my favorite part—finding less well-known myths or creatures to pull into the story and making them come alive, adding depth.

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?

Chassily: I think readers love fantasy for the same reason I love writing it—the escape into a new world or the chance to explore different facets of our own, following the hero on his or her journey, experiencing it with the characters. The epic battle between good and evil, the myths, the creatures, the magic, the themes. When I’m engrossed in a really excellent fantasy, everything else just falls away. It takes me out of myself for hours or days at a time, it’s total immersion.

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

Chassily: Absolutely. I write my stories first for myself. If I don’t enjoy them, why would anyone else? I do have readers in mind, and I hope they’ll enjoy them, too, but first and foremost, they’re for me. If we lived in a world where no one read fantasy, I’d be sad, but I’d still write them to entertain myself. Then I’d try to convince other people to give them a shot!

Chassily Wakefield loves heroic characters and stories full of magic, passionate romance, and epic battles between good and evil. She writes Mythic Romantic Fantasy and Paranormal Romance and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three kids and three crazy kittens. 

When she's not writing, you can find her at local Renaissance Faires, rereading Harry Potter, scrapbooking, or hanging out with her various writing groups.

or find her at 1st Turning Point
a website devoted to helping authors learn 
how to promote their work.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Krista D. Ball

Welcome Krista D. Ball, author of Native American fantasy. 
Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 
Krista: I really enjoyed making my own rules. The conventional world is so constraining at times. It can be more fun to bring the otherworld into things and mix it up.
Amber: Why did you choose to write Native American Fantasy?
Krista: First Nations, actually J In Canada, that’s what we call our Aboriginal, Metis, and Inuit peoples. Too often, the stories out there deal with a very small segment of the North American native population. I really wanted to present a different group of people, who aren’t often represented in stories outside of Canada.
Amber: Why do think readers love fantasy?
Krista: I think it’s the same reason I want to write it; mixing it up!
Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Krista: I wrote for four years with no publications to my name. No one was reading me and I still kept doing it. I can be stubborn like that.
Krista D. Ball is a speculative fiction author who dabbles in freelance non-fiction and snarky literary fiction. But don’t tell anyone. I have a reputation to keep. She was born and raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, where she learned how to use a chainsaw, chop wood, and make raspberry jam. After obtaining a B.A. in British History from Mount Allison University, Krista moved to Edmonton, AB where she currently lives with her partner, two crazy but likable step-boys, seven cats, and a very understanding corgi.

Like any good writer, Krista has had an eclectic array of jobs throughout her life, including strawberry picker, pub bathroom cleaner, oil spill cleaner-upper and soup kitchen coordinator. These days, when Krista isn’t software testing, she writes in her
messy office.

Dancing Cat angers her Ancestor, whose harsh punishment teaches her that true strength comes from the spirit within.  Cursed, abused, and desperate to know her future, Dancing Cat sneaks a glimpse inside her tribe’s Sacred Bundle, a powerful source of spirit magic. Instead of the future, she sees her most powerful ancestor, Small Tree and incurs her wrath. Small Tree strips Dancing Cat of everything —her home, her identity, even her gender – and drops her in the middle of enemy lands.

Injured, and in a strange, new body, she is befriended by Bearclaw who is on a spirit quest. He offers her assistance and asks for nothing in return; a kindness Dancing Cat had forgotten existed. She struggles to weave a path around the obstacles of friendship, identity, and longing in order to survive her eventual return home to face even further punishment. And she does it while wearing someone else's skin.

When Robert is bitten by his nephew, he's convinced that he isn't really going to turn into a werewolf. After all, werewolves aren't real. Unfortunately for Robert, mischievous Pan is nearby, lamenting that there aren't enough shapeshifters in the world.
Find out more about Krista D. Ball 
and her Blog

Special Bonus
A coupon for a free copy of Wicca Dog 
Valid until Oct 31. 
 J Coupon XY28R

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Kari Thomas

Amber: Welcome Kari Thomas, paranormal romance author who adds a touch of humor to her fantasy. Tell me, Kari, why do you write fantasy?

Kari: WHY? Because I’m insane. Okay, before you shake your head, think about it. Authors spend a large amount of their time writing. We end up living in the world(s) we create, and sharing countless experiences with our characters. Contemporary writers get the opportunity to “live in the here and now, real world” with their characters. But, a Fantasy writer? Nope. Imaginative worlds, weird and intriguing characters, and anything your crazy brain can create. In an author’s Fantasy world, you can escape from reality for a short time.

Amber: Tell me how humor and fantasy work together for you. 
Kari: I love adding humorous moments to my stories. Writing humor into fantasy is always a good way to break up the constant darkness that the plot has to have.  Spell-Kissed's heroine is a bumbling witch whose spells go wrong every time her emotions are involved while spell-casting. Imagine her chagrin when the oh-so-secy hero affects her constantly.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

Kari: For the author and for the reader, Fantasy brings limitless possibilities you can only dream about, and proves that the Magic of Love has no boundaries.

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

Kari: A most definite YES! I write what I love to read, and to be able to create and control my own fantasy worlds is something I couldn’t give up --- even if no one else ever read it. It’s that “insanity” part of me!

And it’s FUN! Imagine living in a world where sexy Shapeshifters, intriguing Vampires, heroic Angels, and even mysterious-but-hunky Demons roam. Imagine being able to create AND control a world that brings your reader into it like a willing captive and keeps her there as she experiences every thing that happens in this Fantasy. I write what I love to read, and it’s a great feeling to be able to share

All of my paranormal romances are unique and different from the norm. Sure, I have incredibly sexy male heroes and brave heroines, but I write each book with plots that you won’t find elsewhere.

Want a hero that is half Angel and half Demon? HER HEART HIS SOUL has Drake who fights an inner battle against both his natures.

Want a hero that is so Alpha Wolf Shifter that he doesn’t know the word “no”, and only concentrates on his “prey”? PREY FOR THE WOLF has Kane who sets his prey-sights on his brother’s fiancĂ©.

What about a Cougar Shifter who is the head of a household of unique and various species shapeshifters? You’ll find sexy Aiden in TEMPTATION UNLEASHED.

Want the ultimate hero who tries to put Honor above his own wants and needs, his uncontrollable lust? Logan in HUNTED MATE is that hero! How about a sexy cowboy-turned rancher who is all male-sexy --- but vows to never allow love into his life again?

In SEDUCING THE HERO, poor Colt doesn’t stand a chance against the feisty witch heroine, but he’s going to try and resist as long as he can!

And, in UNDER A SHIFTER’S MOON there’s Lyon. A too-sexy-too-Alpha-for-his-own-good hero who has to make a fateful decision that will either destroy his Jaguar Pride or kill the woman he loves.

Who wouldn’t love spending time in those worlds, with these characters? Okay, maybe you have to be a bit insane too, like me, but hey … it’s FUN! And that’s why I write Fantasy!

Amber: Thanks Kari, for taking time from your fantasy worlds to visit Wordshaping.
Kari Thomas lives in Northern Arizona, and divides her time between taking care of her dad and writing. When life gets overly hectic she retreats into one of her fantasy stories.

Kari has eight paranormal romances and two shorts published. She knows there is no cure for insanity, so it appears she is destined to continue writing fantasy stories for years to come!

Kari's latest release is HOLD ONTO THE NIGHT from All Romance Books. It's a hot short contemporary romance(in ebook format only). Proceeds to benefit the American Heart Association.

To learn more about Kari’s worlds visit her website!

Kari's Contest
To win a pdf copy of HOLD ONTO THE NIGHT,
leave a comment answering the question:
"What 3 awards did Kari win on one day?
(See her website.)