What made you choose Red Adept Editing?
I knew Lynn from her Red Adept Reviews days. Her knowledge, conscientiousness, and attention to detail impressed me back then, so when I finished writing a book and needed an editor, I knew I could trust her and her editing team with my story.
You’ve mostly worked with Karen on the RAE staff. What do you enjoy most about her editing style?
She understands the fantasy genre inside and out. She has a special ability to absorb my worldbuilding and operate within that framework. She also understands my writing style, so she knows when I meant to say something vague for the purposes of my plot, and when I did it on accident. Her mind is curious, intelligent, and flexible, with a vast breadth of reading experience to pull from. Those qualities shine through brilliantly when I throw an entire at fantasy series at her and she fields it with aplomb.
Tell us a little about your series, Seals of the Duelists.
The series idea came to me all at once on an October night in 2011. I envisioned three books that would take my main character, Bayan Lualhati, from a young, innocent teenager to the kind of man who can challenge emperors and gods alike. The hero’s journey is both literal and mental. And we’ve got love, friendship, greed, betrayal, mistrust, political maneuverings, magical fights…all the good stuff. I based my magic system on my years of training in jujitsu. I enjoyed the heck out of my worldbuilding: cultures, foods, languages, clothing styles, political stuff.
Oh, and I have a lovely fat glossary. That’s what all the serious epic fantasy books have nowadays, right? Well, I love me a good glossary, whether they’re fashionable or not right now. I also drew some nice maps for my readers, because I always get a little disoriented reading secondary-world fantasy books without maps.
Right now, it’s mystery. But that’s probably because I’ve just started a new mystery series, and I’m still in the honeymoon phase. Who can say what the future will bring? As long as it brings me more stories to write, I’m happy. And I hope my readers are too.
One of your hobbies is geocaching. Tell us a little about that.
I know two things about geocaching. One is that it’s basically a treasure hunt, which appeals to the kid in everyone. And two, it’s not as widely understood as I thought. But you’re not dead yet, so there’s still time! Whether you get a dedicated GPS unit or use an app on your smartphone, it’s easy to find coordinates to hidden geocaches in your town. If you use the Google Maps feature on geocaching.com, you can zoom in and see the closest containers to your home, as dictated by their exact GPS coordinates. Those weird people beating the bushes in the park across the street? Probably geocachers. Entirely harmless.
What part of self-publishing do you enjoy the most?
The direct feedback from the market sites, which lets me know if my sale plans are resulting in the bumps I hoped for. I learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t when I can keep my finger right on the pulse of my book.
Well, that and still getting to enjoy the attentions of a proper editor. I’ve read way too many indie books that didn’t get a good editor, and it makes me sad and determined to keep paying for the quality work I get from Red Adept.
Streetlight Graphics does all my fantasy covers. And I love them so hard.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m reading or binge-watching, and I’m always jotting down ideas in my various notebooks. I have about half a dozen in current use, scattered around my house and in my car. I’ve suffered the existential agony of having lost a super idea I was so sure was too awesome to forget. Way too many times. So: notebooks. According to Agatha Christie’s grandson, she amassed around sixty notebooks full of ideas during her lifetime. I think that’s a fine goal to aim for.
Name a few of your favorite authors and tell us what you like about them.
Lois McMaster Bujold blows my mind. The woman has a vocabulary to rival Benjamin Franklin, and yet her plots are filled with clever subtlety as well as thrilling action.
J.K. Rowling did something that needed to be done: she drew a whole new batch of children into the habit of reading. Her ellipses may be overused, but by golly she can capture young imaginations.
On that note, I have to thank J.R.R. Tolkien for turning fantastic fairy tales into epic, sweeping, relevant fantasy for grownups. His love of linguistics and alphabets amazes me. In high school, I memorized the runic alphabet and wrote notes in class that my teachers couldn’t decipher. One day, my boyfriend and I saw a novel in a book shop window. It was The Fellowship of the Ring, and I could read the runes on the cover art. It was the One Ring poem, which I had already memorized, but that was a thrilling moment that taught me the joy of familiarity with the otherworldly.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Writing is a long, long process. Practicing what it’s like to finish a book, and what you do after that, is just as important as practicing your writing skills. Always have more books to write, more to offer your readership. And yes, it’s a lot like juggling.