Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! It’s so good to see you all again. You’ve no idea how I treasure our Wednesday meetings, especially when I can bring you someone like Tamara Shoemaker!
Tamara and I are good friends in real life, which is awesome because she’s pretty darn cool – and it shows how writing brings people together, since we met in our local critique group. Wahoo!
Tamara’s got not one, but TWO YA fantasy series she’s penning. Today she’s here to tell us a bit about her and about The Guardian of the Vale, the third book in her Guardian of the Vale series – the series I’ve called The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. Take it away, Tamara!
Typically, in a romance (or in your case, a romantic fantasy), halfway through the story, you’ll have a pretty good idea of who is “supposed” to end up together. You buck this tradition for your Guardian of the Vale trilogy. Why?
Good question. If it helps, I’ll say it’s not my fault. 😉
When I wrote the outline for Mark of Four (the first book in the trilogy), the romantic leads were who I intended to put together by the end of book three. However, as the story progressed, so did the characters.
By the time I wrote Guardian of the Vale, I had created a monster–that is to say: this character that I had created was so very strong, he wouldn’t let me pigeonhole him into the nice, neat portion of the story I had intended for him, and he insisted on becoming the romantic lead.
As much as it messed up my outlines and plans, I kind of liked it. It’s so much easier to write a character who takes the initiative than one who melts like so much flaccid ink onto a page with nary a struggle to be seen. Such a character may moldable, but there’s no depth there.
What type of romance do you love most and why?
I feel very … torn about this question.
Undoubtedly, the type I love the most is the happily-ever-after type where character A meets character B, and, after finally conquering the “problem” that keeps A from B and B from A, they finally declare undying love for one another, and voila, kiss, wedding, the pitter-patter of tiny feet, followed by “The End.”
On the other hand, while I love those, the stories I remember the most–the ones that never leave my head and usually burrow deep into my heart are the ones that are bittersweet, where something of great importance is lost in the struggle for great gain:
Gone with the Wind (don’t get me started on how much I dislike the main female lead; why, oh why, do I remember this one so well?)
Jane Eyre (sure, they lived happily-ever-after, but only after he was blinded and maimed, and they spent a year and more apart while they learned equal shares of pain)
Redeeming Love (a husband who loves his wife even through adultery and prostitution and any number of times she tries to leave him, and yet. And yet. Oh, that book makes me bawl my eyes out.)
I don’t know if there’s a way to say I love one kind of romance more than the other kind. They both affect me differently, though no less powerfully, I suppose, for those differences.
You know what’s fun about being friends with really cool authors? Everything.
You know what’s fun about being an author with really cool author friends? The chance to tell others about them on your blog!
We have marvelous #YAFantasy author Tamara Shoemaker in the house (virtually speaking, that is), and she gives us insight into her writing life, AND into her new release, Shadows of Uprising, Book 2 in the fantastic Guardians of the Vale trilogy (think Last Airbender meets Harry Potter).
What’s the biggest challenge in writing a trilogy?
That ridiculous middle book. I feel like it’s the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday. It’s so easy to fall into the feeling of waiting. The beginning dilemmas are described, the characters are evolved, the ending battles have yet to be fought. I think there’s an actual term for it: “the middle book syndrome.”
I try very hard to avoid falling into the middle book syndrome. Each of my books in a trilogy has a story arc within itself. I set up the central plot conflict, create a climax, weave together some satisfying falling action, and pull together a brilliant resolution. But all of that has to be pertinent to the overarching “trilogy plot.”
One of my happiest moments was when I’d handed my manuscript of Shadows of Uprising to my editor, and we’d gone over the developmental edits. We were preparing for line edits when she sent me this note: “Middle book syndrome successfully avoided.” That absolutely made my year.
How do you keep these two different worlds straight? (In other words, are you crazy for writing two YA fantasy series at once?)
Haha! It does border on insanity, it’s true. Sometimes, I have so many characters in my head that I get them mixed up on the page. Ayden from my Heart of a Dragon trilogy keeps showing up in place of Daymon in my Guardian of the Vale trilogy, and vice versa. My pinky finger constantly hovers over the backspace key. It’s inevitable that the wrong name leaves my fingers before I can blink once.
To write two different worlds simultaneously, I have to create distinctive breaks. After breakfast = Editing Guardian of the Vale. After lunch = editing Heart of the Dragon. After the kids are in bed = freelance editing for clients. Somewhere in there, I’ve got three kids to help with homework and a husband who occasionally appreciates a home-cooked meal. 😉
In spite of the breaks, it’s still a struggle to write multiple worlds at the same time. I keep telling myself—after these trilogies are out, I’m slowing down to ONE book at a time. But I doubt I’ll listen to myself. I have too many stories in my head that are desperate to come out. 🙂
How do you feel when people react strongly to your characters, whether positively or especially negatively? (I know some people aren’t keen on Kyle. I name no names, though. *whistle*)
To each his own. I’m not too keen on dear Kyle, either, although I perhaps lend him a bit more grace than the average reader, mostly because he’s my own creation. But I love the fact that people react, no matter what they say. It shows they have gotten so into the story that they care what happens to my characters.
My favorite message I received just the other day from a reader: “What is Alayne DOING? And why is she DOING IT?” (Capitals included in original message). Said reader went on to vent for a while, but when she finished the book, she sent me another message telling me how much she loved it. I thoroughly enjoy hearing my readers’ reactions to the characters, both positive and negative; it makes me feel like I’ve done a great job of pulling them into the story.
Describe your typical process in writing a story: plotter? Pantser? Write every day? Write in fits and spurts?
I go through stages. When I’m in the book-creation stage, I write every day, occasionally giving myself a day’s break if the storyline isn’t coming as easily as I’d wish. When I’m in the editing stage, I edit every day, but I don’t spend any time writing new material (unless I’m revamping a chapter or something).
I try at all costs to avoid writing in fits and spurts. I’m notoriously undisciplined in various parts of my life (Mt. Laundry, I’m looking at you), and I refuse to allow myself to lose control of my career. So, with rigid discipline, then, I sit down nearly every day in front of my laptop, even if I can’t think of what I want to write, even if the characters refuse to cooperate. If I don’t, if I let the manuscript sit, it grows more rebellious with time. I have to tackle it every day to keep it morphing and changing into what I want it to become.
Pantser or plotter? A little of both. I like to know where the story starts and where it ends and a few major happenings in the middle before I begin to write. My basic outline usually looks like this: Mega-exciting opening incident, throw in romantic interlude here, toss in suspenseful incident there, sprinkle in a climax where all characters fall apart, write a satisfying conclusion where all characters that make it through the climax pull it together. A few pages of world-building notes, and then I’m writing. Generally, the outcome of the book looks NOTHING like what I’ve jotted on paper at the beginning, but it’s the start that keeps me going.
Is there anything in the plot you wish you could change, now that you’re this far in?
With my Guardian of the Vale trilogy? No. I love all of it. I have no regrets. I love how the characters have morphed throughout, how they’ve grown and how it all comes together in the end. I absolutely would keep it the same if I could write it again tomorrow. My Heart of the Dragon trilogy has been a little more difficult to write, perhaps because I published the first book before the second one was written (all three books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy were already written before the first one was published). So I have found a plot-snag or two that comes back to haunt me from Kindle the Flame. Thus far, I’ve been able to work my way around the snags, but if I would have written all three of the books first before publication, those plot-snags would have hit the scrap pile.
If you could have dinner with any 3 authors, whom would you choose and why?
Oh, how fun! Authors are my favorite kinds of people—worlds of imagination around a dinner table! Hmm, I imagine I’m fairly predictable with some of these answers, because most people who know me know my great literary loves. But here they are:
JK Rowling (None of my books would be what they are without my imagination having been lit by her brilliant wizarding world.)
Jane Austen (Reading about the power of soul-deep love always stirs me to my core, and Austen not only creates the best love stories, but she mocks the foibles of society while she’s at it. I can’t get enough.)
David of the Bible (Anyone who writes “Deep cries to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me,” echoes the heights and depths and breadths of emotion that create the innermost part of me. I would love to talk with such a poet’s soul.)
I feel like these three authors would create a nice cross-section of what I identify with the most: fantasy, true love, and a person’s interaction with his creator.
If you could have dinner with any three of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Wow, you wore me out with the last question!
I think I’d have to go first with Professor Manderly Manders. The guy fascinates me. He’s a dusty, middle-aged professor of Elemental History at Clayborne Training Facility, and yet there’s an undercurrent of kick-tushie, rock-hard awesomeness about him that I can’t quite erase. I’ve posted pictures before of who I imagine when I write about them. To me, Professor Manders would be played in a screen-adaptation by Robert Downey, Jr.
Second, I’d go with Marysa, possibly to cover any stilted silences, because the girl’s tongue is hinged in the middle, but also, you won’t find a sweeter or a wiser friend. She’s not marshmallow fluff, either; girl’s got steel underneath somewhere. I have thoroughly enjoyed developing her character from what it was at the beginning of Mark of Four to what it is at the end of Guardian of the Vale.
And third, of course I have to choose Daymon,
a) because he’s crazy hot, and
b.) he’s not your normal person who appears on your hero-of-the-day toilet paper. (ML says: What? There’s Hero-Of-The-Day toilet paper? Where do I get some of THAT?)He comes from a dark past, and instead of succumbing to the pressures of what he’s had to face, he finds ways to overcome. He’s stronger than most because of his experiences.
Only three? Honestly, ALL of my characters fascinate me, and who wants to throw such a small dinner party? I’m pretty sure I’d have to rent out the largest banquet hall and invite every last one of my characters. We’ll have a great time, between the Dragons that keep scorching the walls and the Elementals that throw water and fire around like it’s no big deal.
Y’all probably want an invitation, too. I’ll get right on that. 😉
Alayne Worth possesses the Vale, an object of mysterious power coveted by other Elementals. Danger shadows her every step when this secret spreads. As she grieves the sudden death of her boyfriend at the hands of the notorious Shadow-Caster, Simeon Malachi, Alayne unravels the mysteries of the Vale and her past.
When she returns to Clayborne to pursue her Elemental training, Alayne is plagued by disturbing visions that predict a dark future. As an ominous Alliance of pure-blood Elementals spreads intolerance across the Continent, Alayne’s visions show evidence of the truth–and reveal a deadly danger to her loved ones. Alayne must conquer her fears and use her power to muster an uprising that will obliterate the only way of life she’s ever known.
Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as Mark of Four and Shadows of Uprising, the first two books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction.
Yes! It’s Writer Wednesday! I love featuring writers on this blog every week – it’s amazing to get to know so many talented people just a little bit better. This week, I’m bringing you someone I am privileged to know well in REAL LIFE (such a thing does exist, I hear): my good friend and writer extraordinaire, Tamara Shoemaker.
Tamara and I have book babies born on the same day: her excellent YA fantasy, Mark of Four, made it into the published world on Monday, the very same day A Matter of Timehit Amazon’s shelves! We’re Book Twins Mommies! Or something…
Anyway, I hope you read all about Tamara and her brilliant new book, Mark of Four, which I call The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. If you like YA fantasy, you’re gonna love it!
If you could wield any one – but ONLY one – of the four elementals, which would you choose, and why? Secondly, because I’m a romance author, if you could DATE someone wielding one—but only one—of the elements, which would you choose, and why?
There’s a reason why Alayne is a Water-Wielder. Throughout the course of the trilogy, I had a chance to explore, deeply, the psyche of a person who wielded water, or one who manipulated flames, or one who turned air out of its courses, or one who sifted the earth. All of them were fascinating to me, but I love water. The fluidity, the clarity, the ebb and flow of it. It’s like music to me. None of the other elements connect with me as closely as that one does, so of course, I had to give it to the main character.
If I had to date an Elemental (did I say “had?” Of course I meant “get” to), my first impulse would be to look for another Water-Wielder, ’cause obvs., but then I thought, we might be able to cover more ground if I chose a Fire-Breather. I mean, if he lights the dining room table on fire, I can put it out. Or if I accidentally ice over the washing machine, he’s there to thaw it in the nick of time for that emergency load of laundry… 😉 It’s all about teamwork, y’all.
Why this story? Meaning, from whence did the idea / plot / characters come? In other words, was there one moment at which the light bulb went off and you knew immediately the story? Are the characters, ahem, based off anyone in real life (not that you have to fess up whom)?
The plot came to me in pieces. I think the seed of it was born when I got obsessed with the number four. I started thinking about how stories were often woven around four of something, four seasons, four years, four corners of the earth, four perspectives, four… HEY… four ELEMENTS!!! 😉 After that, the story kind of took off. I love school settings, especially where they train in other classes besides Algebra and French and Government/Economics. I had so much fun coming up with class names in this book. Water-Currents? Throw-Casting? Elementary Elementals? I so wish I could go to Clayborne.
The characters are purely creatures of my twisted brain; however, I will say that Jayme Cross bears a remarkable resemblance to Ben Barnes, bless his gorgeous self. Professor Manders shares a bit of a likeness with Robert Downey, Jr. All the rest look like what I’ve described them in the book, but I can’t place them too closely to a celebrity doppelgänger in this world.
Although published after Kindle The Flame, Mark of Four was actually your first foray into young adult fantasy. How hard was the leap? What inspired it? Do you plan to write more mysteries, or is your heart forever after in worlds of your own creation?
Soul Survivor is, at least at present, my last planned mystery. I enjoyed writing mysteries, and it was a great experience and one I’m profoundly thankful for, because I weave a bit of mystery even into my fantasy plots, but I don’t think I’ll write any more of them. That’s not a hard and fast answer, though. I’m a big proponent of writing the story that comes, and if another mystery slides beneath my laptop keys and whispers (creepily, as mysteries do), “Write me,” you know I’ll have to obey.
The leap from mystery to fantasy didn’t seem hard at first. I loved the freedom I found in fantasy; the only rule was that my story had to make sense within itself. I had no strictures that said I needed to do such-and-such a thing in such-and-such a way. I could throw my imagination to the wind and let it carry me where it would.
However, as time went on and edits and revisions sucked the ink from me, I started to realize that fantasy wasn’t as easy as simply splashing down my imagination onto a page. There were rules to follow, big ones, like world-building plot gaps (and I had many), and romantic entanglements that burned too hot, and then too cold with edits, and then too hot again, and then got scrapped because I was sick of messing with it, and then re-added… anyway, you get the idea.
I will never be able to say enough about the importance of using the services of a good editor. I found an amazing one who found flaws I couldn’t see in my story, and turned it around into a book I can be proud of. She encouraged me to create better work than I’ve ever before done, as well as inspired me to open my own freelance editing business. Mega shout-out to Emily June Street (who is herself an incredible fantasy author; check out her books on Amazon)!
You love to throw love triangles/quadrangles/big ol’ messes at us, in Kindle the FlameAND in Mark of Four. So fess up: which potential love interest in Mark of Four would you a) most want to date, and b) actually be best suited for, temperament-wise?
Haha, you caught me! 🙂 I confess that I love the emotional angst that goes into love triangles. Not that I would ever want to be in one myself, but I do love to watch the give and take of what attracts people to others. Still, you did ask me to place myself in this situation, so… I have to admit that while I am drawn to more than one of the dear boys in the book, I do love Jayme’s easy grin and teasing personality. Coupled together with my mental picture of Ben Barnes, he would be really hard for me to resist. 😉
Both Kindle the Flame and Mark of Four feature kick-tushy, feisty heroines. Are these fun to write? How do you make these women realistic for a young adult audience? (Too perfect, and they’re annoyingly unbelievable; too flawed, and they’re just annoying.)
Um… that’s a great question, and I’m not sure I have an answer. I love protagonists who show loads of character development, and I want to see a journey from page one to page three-hundred and whatever. I enjoy writing female heroines who kick tushy, mostly because I know I would never be able to do the same, and I figure if I can’t in real life, I can at least in my imaginary world. However, the characters are flat and stale if all they do is wield elements and fly dragons. There has to be a mountain to climb somewhere in the story, so I spend lots and lots of time on character development as I go.
[ML says: I italicized that sentence because I love its honesty – and it’s exactly how I feel!]
Would you ever consider writing a male lead? Why or why not?
I did dabble in the male head a little in Kindle the Flame, as I wrote three out of every four chapters from the perspectives of three different males. It was quite an experience. I had to cut waaaay back on the drama and use a more common sense, minimalist approach. Basically, I sat and took notes on my husband before I tried to write those chapters. Not to say that my male points of view were subliminal efforts at inserting my husband into the story; I’d never hear the end of that… 😉
If you had to choose one of your fantasy worlds to live in, which would it be? That of KTF, or MOF?
Which fantasy world would I prefer between epic dragons and element-wielding people? It’s a tough call. But Kindle the Flame didn’t have such conveniences as indoor plumbing and heated homes; plus, how awesome would it be to not have to wear a coat in the winter anymore when you could pull the heat from the atmosphere to warm you? Sure, it’s hard to beat the idea of riding dragons through the open skies, but I gotta say, twisting the elements has gotta be cooler.
Mark of Four
Seventeen-year-old Alayne Worth is an Elemental Water-Wielder. All she wants is to master her talent and live a normal life, but the sudden escape of a feared criminal leaves her family reeling and threatens to keep her from achieving her dreams, especially when the criminal’s reach pushes too close to home.
Secret pasts, strange powers, and tense relationships weave a tangled net around her. As she leaves home to cultivate her skills at an Elemental training center, she clashes with a disturbing reality: both good and evil forces covet Alayne’s unusual gifts, and each side is willing to do almost anything to obtain them.
As Alayne confronts the battle for the power she possesses, she must discover the truth of who she is.
MARK OF FOUR
Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Vale trilogy.
Thanks so much, Tamara! It’s always a joy to get to share your talents with the world. And, reading audience, if you yourself are a fan of YA fantasy, or know others who are, I highly recommend picking up your copy of Mark of Four today!
Good writer friend Tamara Shoemakerand I have novels debuting on the SAME DAY (11/30/15)! And to celebrate, we thought we’d give stuff away – because who doesn’t like free stuff?
So enter the Rafflecopter giveaway above for your chance at an autographed copy of A Matter of Time or Mark of Four (Kindle version for international participants) or a $10 Amazon gift card – and tell your friends!
Here’s a quick blurb about each book:
A Matter of Timeis Margaret Locke‘s new time-travel Regency romance, in which a modern-day Austenite’s dream comes true when she lands in the arms of a Regency duke – only to realize some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming.
Can a duke with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?
Mark of Four is Tamara Shoemaker‘s new Young Adult fantasy in which Elementals wield one of four elements, and teens are sent to an Elemental training center to hone their talents.
But what happens when one Elemental can wield all four? Further, what happens when all the powers the world over, both good and bad, want this Elemental’s powers for themselves… and will stop at nothing to obtain it?
Woo hoo! Recently I sat down with friend and oh-so-talented author Tamara Shoemaker and asked her all sorts of questions, because I’m nosy like that. Luckily for me, she put up with it and didn’t incinerate me, like the dragons in her latest book Kindle the Flamemight be wont to do.
So sit back and get out that chocolate bar, because we’re all in for a treat.
What was the inspiration behind Kindle the Flame?
About a year ago, my then four-year-old son wanted to know where he went when he slept. I didn’t understand what he meant at first—“Uh, you stay in your bed, silly.” He was bowled over, shocked that his dreams were not reality (he may or may not have inherited a teensy amount of my own weird imagination). After that conversation, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head; it was a great jumping-off point for a novel. Of course, now that it’s all said and done, there’s absolutely nothing in my book about moving anywhere while dreaming—sleep-walking, world-travel, or otherwise. But it was the first spark that started me building my world.
Which magical beast from Kindle the Flame would you choose to be and why?
Looking at West Ashwynd’s roster of creatures, I think I’d really enjoy being a Pixie, which is why I spent so much of my time with them in the Pixie Glades. They seem like a fun group of creatures, and they can make magic with their words. What author doesn’t dream of doing that?
If you HAD to pick between Kindle the Flame’s Ayden and Cedric, who would you want and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one! When I write a character, I fall in love with every single one of them, whether good or bad, because I get to know them so intimately. I enter into their struggles so completely that it tears me apart when they blunder, and I dance around my kitchen when they succeed. Ayden and Cedric both come from very different backgrounds, but both hold such appeal for me, because they both are lonely, unloved, and uncared for. Over the course of the book, however, that changes. When I first meet them, I pity them, but then that pity slowly morphs to love. Since someone, who shall remain unnamed, is forcing me to choose one over the other *glares pointedly in Margaret’s direction*—I’d probably go for Ayden. His silver eyes get me every time. 😉
How long does it take you to write your fantasies?
I cranked out Kindle the Flame‘s first draft in under a month (a product of National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo), and put the spit and shine on it for the next five months. What’s that—six months all told? That’s not normal for me. I do write fast, but NaNoWriMo lit a serious fire under me. I’ve never seen smoke coming from my keyboard like that. 🙂 This is a longer book—112,000 words. My shorter 90,000 word fantasies take a little less time.
What’s your favorite kind of character to write? Male/Female? Hero/Anti-Hero? Villain/Lover?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Male/Female: I think I enjoy female just a bit more. They’re so amazingly complex and confusing and they make absolutely no sense, so they can go off on rants, and no one is surprised. If I sound like I’m speaking from personal experience, well… maybe I am.
Hero/Anti-hero: I think I may like writing the anti-hero’s point of view just a teensy bit better. Evil characters often have so much more complexity than a simple wish to do well, to better the world. As noble as those things are, and as necessary as they are to any plotline, the angst and struggles of an anti-hero are often more intriguing to me. 🙂
Villain/Lover: Again, villain, mostly for the reasons I listed above for the anti-hero. Lovers have a fairly simple, straight-forward mind-pattern (mostly ushy-gushy, ooh-la-la train of thought). Oh, the possibilities of a villain—there’s a reason they are the way they are, and I love to explore that.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you that we wouldn’t expect.
Thing one: I’m extremely ticklish. Like the kind of ticklish that if you take a swipe at one of my feet, you’d better be prepared for a broken nose. I have NO control.
Thing two: I hate to answer my phone. Or anyone’s phone. I really, really, viscerally hate talking on the phone. I love to spend time with people, hang out, have fun, text, email, etc. In general, I have loads of friends, but if my friends know me well, they won’t call me. There are one or two rare exceptions to this, but in general, this is the case. If you ask me what my problem is… yeah, I have no idea. It is what it is.
(ML’s note: This is one of the reasons Tamara and I are soulmates. Of a sort. Phones suck.)
You are locked deep in a cave (but luckily have a sun lamp and self-generating chocolate) and may only have three books with you to read. Which would you choose and why?
First, thank you for allowing me the self-generating chocolate. It’s the important things in life… I’m assuming a Kindle is out of the question, because a.) that would be cheating, and b.) I have never learned to love e-readers. So moving on to my essential three books.
a.) The Bible. Because that’s the one book that has gotten me through everything and on which I base my entire belief system.
b.) Anne of Green Gables – because as I noted in a recent blog post, I am Anne. It is one of the few books that I can read… and read and read and read and read and never tire of. Although, I admit I’d struggle for a while choosing it over Pride and Prejudice and/or Jane Eyre. Still, I believe it would win out.
c.) Harry Potter (um, series? Does that break the three book rule)? – The bespectacled wizard was the first character to truly help me realize my love of fantastical magic. I owe a lot of my love of this genre to those amazing books.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: persistence is key. Plugging away, day after day, is what gets you through. It doesn’t sound fun, and sometimes it isn’t. I find that writing a novel is like journeying from one mountain to another. You start out on the peak of that first mountain. You’re excited; your idea is fresh and new, and you can’t wait to start laying those words on that paper (or that laptop). You look forward to completing the dream—a novel with your name on it! You take your first steps—the first chapter, or two, or three. The characters are new and fresh; the inciting incident is power packed and vivid. Loads of ideas roll through your head. You hit the first 12,000 words, and you’ve descended into the valley. Staleness sets in, and you lose the vision for your book. You follow a million rabbit trails, and your focus slides sideways. The only way you can finish that book is that consistent, persistent plugging away, climbing that second mountain, step by arduous step, 500 or 5,000 words every day, day by day, until at last, your book is finished. You’ve reached the second peak! The world lies at your feet, yours for the taking! Never give up, never.
What’s up next in your fantasy writing? Any hints on Kindle the Flame Part II? Or new books coming down the pike?
Yes, I’m currently working on the sequel to Kindle the Flame(with the idea of making a trilogy). Hints? Um, let’s see. Lots more Dragons. You get to know Chennuh and Ember pretty well in book one. There will be others in book two. Epic warfare. An evil king that only increases his horribleness. Love triangles, more than one! A huge twist ending (which I’m super excited about and have been planning for months).
Oh, and I have to tell you about a new release I have coming up in November! Mark of Fouris an urban fantasy about people who can wield the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and most especially about an anomaly of a girl who can inexplicably wield all four elements, something no one else has ever been able to do. There’s a delicious villain in that one, as well. And here’s a secret. I really wish I could be that girl. Hmm, maybe that’s not so secret.
Now that we’ve sparked your interest in Kindle the Flame (hardy har har; yes, I love corny word play), here’s the blurb:
A girl who never fit in, a young man forced into an outcast’s life, a boy raised without a community, and a ruler who holds the key to their destinies…
Kinna has a Pixie she can’t train and a head full of doubts. Her worst fears come true when she fails the Tournament entrance test. She flees her Clan in disgrace, inexplicably drawn to a Mirage, a rare Dragon she has no business training.
Ayden is cursed—anyone he touches turns to ash before his eyes. He hides amongst the Dragon Clan with the only creatures he cannot hurt. When Kinna frees his favorite Dragon, his world turns upside down.
Cedric grows up in isolation, fostered by an outcast Centaur. When tragedy strikes, he ventures into a strange new world of Dragons, political intrigue, and magic.
Sebastian’s country hovers on the brink of war. Chased from his rightful throne, he schemes to retake his kingdom by any means possible, even if it threatens an ancient agreement that underpins the foundation of his realm.
Only by examining their pasts will these four find their futures. But will they survive the fires of discovery?
Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy:Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Valetrilogy.