Today, I'm chatting with fantasy/sci fi author, Rosalie Skinner. The first book in her series, The Chronicles of Caleath, Exiled: Autumn’s Peril, has recently been released by MuseItUp Publishing.
First, Thank you Penny for inviting me to your blog. It is great to be here.
Tell me a little about your book. The first book in the series The Chronicles of Caleath, is a mix of Science fiction and Fantasy. Exiled: Autumn’s Peril follows the journey of a star traveler who finds himself stranded on a world where science is an alien concept. Driven by the need to avenge his abduction Caleath’s plans of escape are coming to fruition. Or so he hopes.
What gave you the idea for this particular story? There were many incidents that helped weave this story. Watching my daughter struggle to come to terms with chronic illness was probably the strongest inspiration. The idea of Virtual reality games and the way people become obsessed with competing and online interaction was another. I couldn’t resist using the idea that our next move into space, if we accept the challenge of getting to Mars, will entail the need for at least three different types of nanobots. What we consider today to be science fiction, tomorrow is discussed as reality. How can a writer pass up such brilliant ideas? Of course the concept of things never going quite as you expect, helped shape the story. Learning from our mistakes and taking responsibility for our actions are two underlying themes. Oops. I should stop now. There are more, but for now that might do.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? I wrote obsessively for about ten years to complete the first four books in the series. Then I began to learn how to write. It has taken another ten years of hard work to realize how little I knew, then. It is only after rewriting and correction that I believe I am starting to learn the art. At present I am only writing part time. I try to find time each day to work on my writing. Some days that works, others it doesn’t. I dream of having time to hide away and begin the second book of the second series. It will happen.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. For twenty-five years I painted portraits and taught art. I read avidly all my life. The local library ran out of books that I hadn’t already read. My favorite authors didn’t write fast enough and one fateful day I tried to write a letter. I found I struggled to remember words I thought I would never forget. So I decided I needed to start writing. My friend and I used to ride together and both loved reading Fantasy, so we hatched a plot and a few characters. Although our combined efforts didn’t amount to anything then, the characters from those days are alive and well in my books.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing? I hope they enjoy the journey. That’s pretty much all I hope for. If they look twice at the story and see deeper themes and concepts, that would be great too.
Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why? I write a mixture of Science fiction and Fantasy. Of course, the age old idea of relationships weaves through all the books. Like life, not all relationships work out with the HEA and the story deals with that too. I originally thought Fantasy would be a good starting place for an author. Nothing needed research. Ha. That was the first and perhaps the most interesting lesson I learnt in the first few years. All my writing has some basis in experience and I researched every event. The research becomes obsessive in itself but once all is correlated it is fun to apply imagination and fantasy.
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? When I write I become obsessed with the world I am creating and the characters living in my head. I find the most difficult part of writing then, is remaining in the real world and coping with life. The writing is the easy part. Editing and re writing is fine too. It is just keeping sane while a story is scratching its way through your head that is hard. How do I get past that? Not sure. Would probably be better to ask my family how they cope! Once the ink on the final chapter dries I take a breath and come back to reality. Then I try to catch up with things.
Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it. Many things in the series are based on experiences I have had. Of course I manipulate them to fit the story. Watching someone fight depression and chronic pain and disappointment helped the plot arc. In Autumn’s Peril the hero is looking for a means to escape from his destiny. I guess in real life, I watched that same struggle, the story is a metaphor, but the grief, elation, relationships made and betrayed have a strong base in real life.
How much is your protagonist like you? How different? Well… I don’t think the protagonist is like me at all. He wasn’t based on me. So, I would say he’s more an opposite of me. He does things I would never contemplate. He rides a neat horse though, and I have done that often!
What kind of research did you do for this type of story? I think Life has been my source of information. Although I did spend a lot of time researching Virtual reality games, nanobots, the life and culture of ants, drug addiction and rehabilitation, sailing, mediaeval cultures, weaponry, herbs, wormholes and space travel, the real life TV shows (like Survivor and Big Brother), and holograms. I was lucky enough to witness one of the world’s first holograms at a University open day back in the sixties. That was neat.
Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? I tend to avoid vivid sex scenes. Somehow they don’t make up a huge part of the story. If they happen, it is up to the reader to use their imagination. Hey… it’s Fantasy. I hope my reader has a good imagination and likes to fantasize a little.
What about your book makes it special? Exiled: Autumn’s Peril has captured the wonder of science fiction and mixed it with the magic of fantasy while telling a gripping and captivating story. Although the story transports the reader to another world, they should relate to the main character and his desperate effort to escape. Although an off world drama, readers don’t leave their comfort zone, they retain a sense of reality.
What is your marketing plan? At present I am promoting the release of the first ebook in the series. It will be available in Sept 2011. The series appeals to most readers from young adult to the more mature reader, so I am marketing the books through various internet groups as well as organizing book launches closer to time. For the past few months I have been writing articles for Fantasy-Faction.com, and maintaining several blogs and an official website.
Where can people learn more about you and your work? Check out my blog at Ramblings From Lady Rosalie or my website http://rosalieskinner.com/index.html. There are extracts and chapters there from the series. I also have an author page at Museitup Publishing where the books will be available once released.
Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book? Read. Write. Learn. Enjoy. If you are serious about getting published, join a critique group and learn about the art of writing Fantasy. Don’t give up. Keep reading the genre. Know what is selling and popular. Keep writing, keep learning and keep on enjoying the process. I have a few articles on how to write Fantasy on my Blog that you are welcome to read. I am happy to help critique short pieces if I can help. Contact me by emailing me from my website.
CHAPTER ONE Scene One
Around him, floating debris stood testament to the death throes of The Albatross and her battle with Nature’s spite.
“Balls of a hairy goat!” The oath came with a surge of elation. Salvation lay beyond a final line of breakers. Caleath’s determination returned when he saw the fractured spar of the mizzen mast dumped on a narrow beach. He renewed his hold on a waterlogged barrel and struggled against the storm’s spent fury.
He gulped air before the next wave struck. The crashing foam tore the barrel from his grasp. Without support, the weight of his companion’s body dragged him underwater. After keeping the blacksmith alive for so long, Caleath refused to lose him within sight of land.
Panic drove adrenaline through pulsing veins and gave him the strength to heave his burden to the surface. Despite salt water trying to fill his lungs, he remained afloat until the maelstrom dumped him onto solid ground.
Slumped on a beach beneath driving rain, he could not relax. With each successive wave, he lugged his companion’s body higher onto the shore. A greedy undertow dissolved the sand beneath his feet, but Caleath held ground against Nature’s fickle temper. Dragging air into tortured lungs, he waited for the next incoming surge.
Having survived the shipwreck, he hoped saving the life of his companion might serve toward providing redemption for the dark morass of his past.
A tumble of rocks offered protection from the wind. In their care, Caleath examined his shipmate. He cleaned a calloused finger, gritty with sand, and searched for a pulse or the telltale warmth of living flesh. Life pumped beneath clammy skin, and the smith still breathed in ragged spurts. With a sigh of satisfaction, Caleath relaxed.
Eyes closed. Fatigue plagued every cell of his body. To succumb to dreams before dawn meant facing the ghosts that haunted his nights. Instead, he mulled over the task ahead, concentrating on how he would escape this accursed planet. Only then could he focus on revenge.
With a curse, he vowed to punish the man who abducted him and left him stranded on this world where sorcerers and slavery existed.
Anger warmed his blood while he contemplated how Ephraim would die.
Thanks for having me here, Penny.