Interview with Cat Patrick

Hi friends, I’m sure you’ve already known that Cat Patrick has new series which first book, Court, was released on October 23rd. I posted my review and all about the book last week, November 12th. Now it’s time for the interview with the author! I’m so excited with this interview because I really like her answers and it looks like Ms. Patrick and I share the same favorite authors 🙂

-Who are your favorite authors, past and present?
I would like to have a dinner party with Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Gabrielle Zevin, Rainbow Rowell, Harper Lee, Stan Lee and Neil Gaiman.

-Writing mentors
I find inspiration from every good book I read. I’d recently finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage as I was getting going on Court, and it inspired me to be more thoughtful about description of landscapes, for example.

-Favorite books to movies
The Hunger Games series, The Fault in Our Stars and Perks of Being a Wallflower are some of my favorites. Non YA, I think the Gone Girl adaptation was one of the best I’ve seen.

-Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?

Forgotten, is about a girl who remembers the future instead of the past. It’s a romance and a mystery and I still love my first book baby. What’s different about Court is that it’s a bigger world told from more perspectives. Ultimately, though, no matter the scale of the world, the most important thing in my books is the depth of the characters and relationships between them. I hope readers will find that even though Court is urban fantasy and on a larger scale, it’s still very “me.”

-Advice for aspiring authors
From one of my six-year-old daughters: “Think of something that happened to you. Touch and tell across pages. Write a quick sketch so you don’t forget. Then write the words.”

I’m not kidding. She just said that.

For me, I think the most important thing is to just do it. I hear from people all the time: “I want to publish a book.” And they haven’t written the book yet. Also, unlike my kiddo, I purposely don’t write down book ideas—or sketch them. If I forget them before it’s time to write then you’ll forget them before it’s time to read.

What do you think? I love her six-year-old daughter answer about writing. I think I can take her advice for myself 🙂

And here’s to remind you again what Court is all about.

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For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

 Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Goodreads | Amazon

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Interview: Danielle L. Jensen

Hi fellow bloggers, welcome to my second interview. Yeah I know it’s been a long time since my first interview but I’m working on it, am I not? 🙂 And this time it will worth the wait because the author whom I interviewed is the lovely awesome Danielle Jensen! Who is she, you may ask? Well…where have you been all this time doesn’t know about her? Kidding…she’s the author of the awesome fantasy book, Stolen Songbird. I love it and the sequel is one of books I’m looking forward next year. So without further ado, here are her answers for my questions:

Ask Danielle L. Jensen - Discussion Group

Me: I read in other interviews that Stolen Songbird was inspired by a dream of city buried and a real mountain in Canada. How did you develop it into the setting of Trollus?

Danielle: I thought about it A LOT. I spent months thinking about the world of Trollus before I wrote a single word down. The good thing about being a writer is that what other people call daydreaming, I call working.

Me: After the setting, what did you write/come in your mind first, the story or the characters?

Danielle: It’s hard to separate the development of the two, but I’d say the idea to have the trolls cursed to Trollus and Cecile being kidnapped to break that curse came next. In the first few drafts, Luc was a much more important character than he ended up being later on. He originally kidnapped Cecile to sell to the trolls because he was angry about her turning down his proposal. It’s a bit funny to think about that version of events now.

Me: When I read Stolen Songbird, there were characters that surprised me (Marc and Anais). Do you always know what will happen to the story and the characters long before you finish writing it?

Danielle: I didn’t plot out Stolen Songbird, so a lot of what happens in the novel surprised me as much as it would any reader. Which is a bit weird, given that it came from my imagination. But to answer your question, I do know how the series will end and what will happen to most of the characters.

Me: My friend (Hi Padma!) was kinda hesitant to read Stolen Songbird since it’s quite thick and she has not-so-good experiences with YA fantasy books with pretty cover and intriguing blurb. Stolen Songbird has both intriguing blurb and pretty cover, what will you say to her to convince her to read your book? (I recommended Stolen Songbird to her and she read my review and said that she will try it but if you meet her, what will you say?)

Danielle: Reading a thick book is like watching a television series with a lot of episodes: it isn’t harder, it just takes longer, and if you aren’t enjoying it, you’re probably less likely to stick it out until the end.

A lot of publishers offer the first three (or more!) chapters of a book free online through Amazon and other retailers. If your friend is hesitant about committing to buying the novel, I’d suggest that she read those free chapters to see if they catch her interest.

Me: What do you love about fantasy stories?

Danielle: I love that all the things that are impossible in real life become possible in fantasy novels.

Me: Did you always know that you will be a writer? What did you want to be when you were a child?

Danielle: I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was well into my twenties. When I was younger, I wanted to be a horse veterinarian, but I ended up getting a business degree and working in finance for quite a few years.

Those are my six questions to Danielle. She actually said that I can ask her five questions but five isn’t enough for me 🙂 What do you think? For those who haven’t read it yet, aren’t you interested reading Stolen Songbird? Since I love it, I’ll definitely re-read it in the future, maybe even sooner than later 🙂

I have a habit to “stalk” the author of the books I love. There are so many ways to stalk Danielle. I hope she doesn’t mind with me or you stalking her.

Discussion group on Goodreads

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Beautiful Beautiful by Heidi Garrett

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Welcome to my first blog tour, my fellow blogger. This blog tour is hosted by Shane Morgan from Itching for Books. In this blog tour I’m also doing an interview with the lovely Ms. Garrett, and not only interview there is an interesting giveaway too. All you have to do is click the link below. Let’s this blog tour begins…………..

BeautifulBeautiful

Book Description:

Movie director Karen Mayham has an eye for beauty. Now her years of struggling on the indie film circuit are about to pay off. She’s the frontrunner to win Golden Pinnacle’s Director of the Year. Winning will mean generous financial backing for her next project, and the most bankable actors in the industry are already signaling interest in the leading role. How will she decide which Adonis is right for the part of Demion Glass?

In this contemporary retelling of the eponymous Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, Karen’s journey leads her to discover a deeper meaning of beauty.

My Thoughts

 “Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

  Hans Christian Andersen

Have you ever felt the blurb of the book you want to read mislead you when you finish reading the book? I often feel that way. When I want to read a book, I usually check on the blurb first, if it isn’t from my favorite authors. Sometimes it suits with the story and I really enjoy it but other times it doesn’t do the story justice. The blurb of this novella is one of those misleading blurbs, but in a good way, the opposite of what I used to feel. This story has so much more and an interesting one than what the blurb said.

From the blurb I can tell that it is divided into 2 parts. One part is when Kerrin tells her daughter a bedtime story. A story that has a fairy tale vibe which is in fact is her life that leads me to second parts. The more I read, I didn’t think Kerrin fairy tale was suitable for her daughter, Mibi. It was too dark and heavy for her. But then I think it was her way to show Mibi about life and beauty in the simplest way and was her way to deal with her past. Both parts intertwined each other. What she couldn’t tell Mibi, she told me through third person narrative. And at the same time, I understand her feeling of her own fairy tale. She’s smart, witty and always feels lonely. In some part I want to tell her to stop thinking of being a victim of her past and glad when she finally can get through it.

But what I most love from this novella is its unpredictable story. Although from the first line I’ve already known who Kerrin will be with, it can kept me thinking why and how she will be with him. I just love the surprises and twists in it. It’s like whatever what I thought the story will go, it ended up surprised me. I think it was kind of useless to guess it. Maybe it was because I haven’t read Beauty of Foam and Beauty of Mind by Hans Christian Andersen which is the source of this retelling, but I think even if you’ve read it you can still enjoy this story. It’s well written with good plot and different from fairy tale that I used to read.

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About The Author

Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairytale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

She is also the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series, a fairy tale/high fantasy mashup about a young half-faerie, half mortal woman who must save both the Enchanted and Mortal Worlds.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She also spent a decade in southern California, but was disappointed to discover it seldom rains there. Now Heidi lives in Eastern Washington state where she’s content experiencing the four seasons with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.

Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow and hopes to remind readers that: Once Upon A Time You Lived in an Enchanted World Too…

The Interview

heidigarrett

Why do you write fantasy books?

All fiction is fantasy, in that it is made up. However, I compare “reality fiction” and “fantasy fiction” to “photorealism” and “impressionism” in art. Photo realism is a painstaking and highly skilled replication of reality, as most, or many of us, would see it from the eyes of a camera, undistorted. Impressionism takes the same scene and inflicts a deeply personal perceptive upon it. The impressionists and postimpressionists—Cezanne, Degas, Monet, van Gogh, and Gaugin—added their vision of the world to their work.

When you’re writing non-fantasy fiction, you want the reader to feel like they are in the normal, everyday world, like this is happening, and the story you’re telling could be something that could happen to them, or to their sister or friend—perhaps something they could flip on the news and watch. However, when you write fantasy, you and the reader know many of these things could—and would—never actually happen… except, perhaps, they do—in our dreams and our imagination.

There is much debate about reality. Is reality seeded in our thoughts and imaginations? If that’s true, how does the collective reality of a family, a state, a country, or a world work? Are our dreams unreal? If our imagination is not “real,” how can it become so powerful, and consuming, at times?

For me, I can have the feeling “the world is too much with me,” and when I focus too much on facts, and information, the world becomes crispy, dry, and dull around me. I crave the possibility and mystery the inner realms offer.

Writing fantasy is a way of bridging the inner and outer worlds, and like rain, it freshens reality. Whether you’re reading or writing fantasy—a new perspective, a delightful moment, a unique comprehension occurs—you return to the real world with new awareness or insight.

I suppose, that’s why I write fantasy, because I believe the things that we can’t see, are as powerful as the things we can see, and that we must imagine great characters to become them.

What are your favorite things about reading fantasy books?

The escape from the real world, and the inspiration they provide.

Before The Queen of The Realm of Faerie, did you write any stories? If you did, where are they now.

Yes, I’ve been writing inconsistently for many years. I have at least three buried novels and many incomplete stories. The last I saw them, they were all on some floppy disc never be retrieved!

What is the hardest thing you face when you write?

The blank page. Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Whether it’s the beginning of a book, the beginning of a chapter, or the beginning of the end, it all starts with a blank page. Nothingness. That page seems not to care at all whether it remains blank until eternity. So for me, the moment between writing and not writing is the most treacherous. But, I have found, that if I will begin to fill the page, sooner or later, I will tap into something—an energy, a source of inspiration—and then, the writing becomes, if not easy, then at least, possible.

What are your favorite books when you were a little?

When I was a young child, my favorite stories were about Curious George, and pretty much anything by Dr. Seuss. Although, Happy Birthday to You! was probably my most favorite. When I got a little older, I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Three Investigator series. By the time I hit puberty it was: Lord of the Rings, Salem’s Lot,  and the Angelique series!

Are there any authors who inspire you’re writing The Queen of The Realm of Faerie? Who are they?

The traditional fantasy authors—J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis—were big influences. The world-building, the epic quality of the story, and the purity of love between Melia and Ryder, are heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings. However, Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui Indian shaman, don Juan,  and Lewis’ The Last Battle, specifically, influenced the cosmology of the Whole. The Dragon’s of Babel by Michael Swanwick seeded Umbra.

What is the most enjoyable moment from writing?

When things start clicking. You’re writing, and then the story starts coming through you. Time passes, you get up from your chair, and you’re like, “Who wrote that?” The thing is written, but you don’t feel like you did it.

My husband and I are actually beginning to believe that it’s our cat, Jack, who’s writing these stories.

 What is the most uncomfortable moment while you are writing?

When every idea you have is stupid, cliche, boring, and you know it. But you can’t think of anything else at the moment.

 Is there any particular time to write?

Although, I can’t make a regular schedule of it, my favorite times to write are early in the morning, and late at night.

 If you aren’t a writer what would you become?

The next indie singer/songwriter sensation, lol. I don’t know. If I could set aside my need to write, I might go into something like public relations. I’m completely fascinated by modern ways of connecting.

Is there any part of you, or someone close to you, in books you wrote?

The spring faerie, Flora, in The Queen of the Realm of Faerie was inspired by my beloved grandma. Although, Grandma was petite and had much greater social decorum, the essence of Flora, captures Grandma’s spirit. Her endurance and embrace of life—in spite of great loss.

 Also, Melia’s relationship with Flora is pivotal in her coming into her own power, as my relationship with my grandma was pivotal to my becoming a woman. However, Melia is not, specifically, based on me. Although, I’m sure she possesses some of my qualities—perhaps, ones I’m not aware of.

 The relationship between Melia and Ryder is influenced by my relationship with my husband. We met, and that was kind of it—so that was the inspiration for Nandana’s mark! However, like Melia and Ryder, despite our mutual attraction, we didn’t become involved right away, either.

My latest releases, the three short stories, The Girl Who Watched for Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing, are as close to fictional autobiography as I will go—and it’s pretty close. Although they are fictionalized, they are each based on real life experiences I’ve had.

 I did spend an interesting afternoon with a Tarot reader. I was enthralled by Clarissa Pinkola Estes audiobook, The Red Shoes: On Torment and Recovery of Soul Life. And I did spend some years as a singer/songwriter on the local indie circuit. However, not every single thing in those stories is fact!

 For years, I’ve been encouraged to tell my story, but—like many people—I’ve had some dark moments. I never wanted to tell the story in a depressing way, and I’m finally happy with the way these stories came out. I love the humor and mysticism that runs through them. Recovering a sense of humor, and a consciousness of the mystical, have been key elements in helping me move forward from my own dark times. Telling the story of leaving the darkness behind, was as important to me as telling the story of life’s difficulties.

 I know that Nandana’s Mark is based on French story and Beautiful Beautiful is a retelling of an HCA story, what made you decide to use those stories? as I’m not familiar with them so I’m kind of think that I read new stories.

 Well, I’m kind of glad to hear those are new stories for you. I’ve always been drawn to the unusual, the offbeat, the stuff on the fringe. I’m always the last to read the most popular books, like the Harry Potter books and Twilight series.

When I began developing The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, I was very clear that I wanted it to be a spinoff. During my research, I came across an old collection of Time-Life books. They contained many wonderful fairy tales that I’d never heard of before. Initially, I narrowed it down to four stories about the myrtle tree fairy, the rose-petal fairy, the swan lovers, and Melusine. I’d planned to have each story’s main character sit on the Grey Council. However, the world and story I was building for The Queen of the Realm of Faerie was becoming too unwieldy. I had to winnow things out. Out of those four fairy tales, I settled on the Tale of Melusine. I’d already begun doing some of the writing, and the scenes connected to her story, were the ones I felt most passionate about.

 For the first fairy tale in the Once Upon a Time Today collection, again, I was looking for something off the beaten path. Going through The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairytales, the title ‘Beautiful’ jumped out at me. As soon as I read the story, I knew it was the first story I wanted to retell. Beauty—and its many faces—has always intrigued me. Telling a story, that touched on different kinds of beauty, would allow me to explore that enigma.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and don’t forget to give a try to Beautiful Beautiful. I love it and I think you will love it too.