Friday, January 28, 2011

We need a new name...

Actual conversation I had with a lady this morning...

Lady, "So, what do you do for a living?"
Me, "I'm a fantasy author!" (always so cool to say)
Lady, "Oh wow! So like Harry Potter?!"
Me, "No, Harry Potter's YA, I write adult fantasy."
Lady, "............." 
Me, "NO! Not THAT kind of adult fantasy!"

I still don't think she believes I don't write porn. Would you believe this has happened to me more than once? I need something new to call my books. I usually go with adventure fantasy, since there's lots of fighting and action-y type mayhem, but they're also funny. Yet with YA becoming the prevalent fantasy mainstay in mainstream culture thanks to HP and the other usual suspects, I find myself having to clarify all the time that my books are for adults, or at least they don't feature kids as protagonists. (Actually, teens and kids seem to really like my books).

So, how to specify that this is a novel written for grown ups without veering into all the nuances of "Adult"? The most obvious choice would be a pairing for Young Adult, but somehow I don't think Old Adult Fantasy would be very marketable. 

Maybe I'll just stick with "I wrote a book. There's a wizard in it!" And let the intrigued figure it out from there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Evolution of a Wizard Thief

Been a rough opener to the year for us here on the homefront. Snow shutting down the city, sick kiddo, and all the drama that comes with those. BUT, Edits for The Spirit War, Eli book 4, are done! Even I like the book (this is a rarity, I usually HATE my books by the time I'm done). It had some REALLY fun scenes to write, though it continues the darker trend my books have been going down, which is actually what I wanted to talk about today.

If you've read my first three books, you'll notice a shift in tone from the almost goofy light heartedness of The Spirit Thief to the much darker Spirit Eater. The Spirit War continues this trend. Now, this shift towards the dark wasn't an accident, but it wasn't really planned either. This post isn't an excuse for the slide, but I thought it might be interesting to talk about how the novels ended up the way they did.

I approach writing from the bottom-up. I lay a firm foundation for my characters, give them histories, problems, priorities, and what not, and then let them sort things out. So we've got Eli, who's sly and cheerful as they come, but he's got some dark stuff in his past, and when we begin to dig in to Eli's character, all that starts coming up. Same with Josef, Nico, and, to a lesser extent, Miranda. The Eli novels have always been character driven, so it's only natural that, as the characters are forced to deal with more difficult choices and things they've been trying to run away from, you end up with darker books.

Generally speaking I've had a good response to this change, but I've also gotten some complaints. To these readers, I can only apologize. I would like to say that this is my first series and I'm still learning the ropes, but honestly I think this particular story would still have gone dark no matter what. With more experience I probably could have made the shift gentler, but in the end, Eli is who he is. He's a man who runs from his problems, and you can't do that forever. You can't be both irresponsible and moral without eventually having to pick one and take your stand. Also, there's the subject matter. The Spirit War is about a continent size war. You can't have something like that and not have it go dark in places. People die in war, it's not fun or pretty. That said, I think The Spirit War is the best book I've ever written. And it's not all doom and gloom. For all the war and hard decisions, it's still Eli. Just try to get him not to be a smart ass, I dare you.

The bottom line here is that if you've liked the books up to this point, then you're probably going to like The Spirit War too. Big secrets are revealed, questions are answered, the past is dredged up, and the stage is set for the final book. There's also some squee scenes for anyone who likes Nico/Josef :D. I had a really good time writing this book, and I think you're going to really enjoy it. The Spirit War will be out this fall. I should have some advanced copies before that, and I'll be running contests so you'll all get a chance to win the book early. Meanwhile, thanks so much for reading. Fans are the absolute best part of being a writer!


Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 - the year of more Eli books!

2010 was a big year for me - first year as a mom, first year (really) as a published author, first book releases, first lots of stuff. That said, 2011 might be an even bigger year if you can imagine. I've got 3 books out and 2 more to go on the Legend of Eli Monpress series and lots of projects on the back burner just waiting to be poked. That said, I think the most exciting and difficult challenge ahead will be ending Eli's story. I've known the truth of Eli's world and the way his story ends for a long time, and now that I finally get to write it, I'm nervous. This was the little story that could, and I want to make sure the ending lives up to everything that came before it. Trust me, I'm going to be putting in a LOT of work making sure Eli gets the ending he (and you readers) deserve.

But enough looking forward! Let's look back a moment, for lo, we have new reviews!

Andy over at "All Things Andy Gavin" has a nice, short review of The Spirit Thief, which he sums up as "Ethereal fun." Who am I to argue? Also in Spirit Thief news, Travels Through Iest calls it "an extremely promising debut" among other nice things.

(On a side note, I am continuously surprised by the number of people who really like Marion the Librarian. She definitly wins the award for most mentioned side character. If I'd known she was going to be so popular, I would have given her a bigger role. Though the series isn't over yet, so who knows? Maybe she'll come back in book 5?)

And finally, Whatchamacallit Reviews goes above and beyond, reviewing all 3 Eli books currently available! Thanks guys! I'm so glad you liked them!

That's it for the current round up, if I missed any, please let me know!