Hi Donna, tell us thank you for taking this interview. Let's start, shall we?
- So,What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My debut novel Shock of Fate is the first in a series of seven books, called the Anchoress series. I have gotten amazing feedback about the exciting and unique adventure storyline in SoF. But my favorite comments are about how the book would make a great movie. It has been said that I am a visually oriented writer and the story is action-packed — a perfect mix for a major motion picture. My goal is to finish the series within four years and to enhance reader experience by getting my stories onto the big screen.
- What is Shock of Fate about?
Fifteen year old Vanessa Cross is coerced into leaving her comfy Massachusetts life to go on a grueling journey in alternate world, called the Living World. Before time runs out Van must retrieve the Coin of Creation, a magical relic that will not only get her home but will save her loved ones from being destroyed by a rising army of demons.
- Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?
I would like an unknown actress to play Vanessa Cross. I have no problem with well-known actors cast in secondary roles.
- Why did you choose this title?
The title Shock of Fate is a translation of a hexagram in the ancient Chinese oracle called the I Ching, where you toss coins to get a reading. The I Ching (pronounced “E-Ching”) is designed to give guidance and to show the correct path to the reader of the coins, which coincides with one of the magical properties of the Coin of Creation.
I chose hexagram #51 in the I Ching because this title reflects Van’s character and story arc. The hexagram translates to: When we exercise ego, our spiritual development stops and the universe must use shocking events to move us back onto our path. A continuing series of shocks occurs until the obstruction in our attitude is removed. The only remedy for doubt and fear is reconnection to the higher truth. The sooner you return to acceptance of this truth, the sooner the shocks will stop.
Also, Van is shocked that there’s another world, shocked about who her parents are, of who she is, about what she has to do, and that there is no easy way out. But it is her destiny to retrieve the Coin of Creation. So she is both shocked and fated for this journey.
- Which writers inspire you?
Without a doubt, J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. I aspire to emulate her creative genius.
I also love the wild adventures of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
- What genre are your books?
My book has been classified as high fantasy, epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, quest fantasy, and urban fantasy. To me, the story is a revamped quest fantasy told from the point-of-view of an American teenager. I would describe the book as a mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit. But I am a huge sci-fi fan too, which is expressed in my writing. Although Shock of Fate falls into the fantasy genre, elements of sci-fi are weaved throughout the story.
- What draws you to this genre?
I am drawn to adventure fantasies. The story must be a fun, emotionally moving story full of surprises or I won’t be interested in reading it or writing it. I want an experience that allows me to escape reality and become immersed in another world, one that I can explore with new characters who become my friends. I want to get emotionally involved with the character’s dilemmas so we can overcome challenges together while going on a wild ride through the story.
- How much research do you do?
I started researching this series in 2006. I studied different religions, politics, physics, science, economics, oracles, anthropology, mythology, folklore, etc. and took bits I liked and wanted to comment on via my characters and their storylines. There are many spiritual reflections throughout my story, along with social commentary. But they are easy to miss with all the drama and action going on!
- How do you relax?
I hang out at tiki huts on white sand beaches while sipping fun concoctions that have little umbrellas peeking out of fresh coconuts.
- What is your favorite motivational phrase?
When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings. —Dean Jackson.
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
Get writing. Don’t let anyone or anything steal time away from what you want to do—what you need to do—for yourself.
- If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Authors pour their heart and soul into their stories. We type until our fingertips bleed. I can’t extend my imagination far enough to be comfortable saying I would have liked to be the author of anyone’s else’s work. Just can’t do it. What I am comfortable with telling you is that I would have loved to write alongside Hemingway during the time he lived in Key West.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My number one piece of advice is to make sure to get a professional edit of your manuscript. This costs money. Spend it. It is worth every penny. Doesn't matter if you want to go traditional or indie — just do it.
- What are you working on at the minute?
I am excited to be working on book 2 in the Anchoress series.
- What is book 2 about?
It is going to be another sensational story. Sixteen year old Van is forced to confront new challenges in the Living World such as the Plague of Death and terrible sea monsters like Charybdis. How will she ever survive?
- Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I want to thank you so much for this interview. You are the best!
- 17. Where can we buy Shock of Fate?
Shock of Fate is set to be released in April 2017 and will have worldwide distribution. The print and ebook will available for order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBook store and other major retailers. My website will also be set up for purchases. I am considering having a limited run hardcover edition available too. During my book launch there will a special promotional price for the ebook, giveaways, and book signings for the printed copies.
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
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