I’m beyond thrilled to welcome, C.N. Lesley, to my virtual couch. So attention all fantasy/scifi/Arthurian lovers!
C.N. Lesley, please, tell us a something about yourself?
My home is in central Alberta, Canada, where I live with my husband and two cats. Two of my daughters are nearby, along with their husbands and babies. I currently have three little grandsons under two years old. My other daughter is on Vancouver Island, British Colombia.
What is or are the genres of your book or books?
I have a science fantasy series, a fantasy series and then I am working on a straight science fiction and two paranormal fantasies. On the backburner is another off world fantasy.
Are you a part- or fulltime writer?
Fulltime writer. I have an office in my home and that is where my computers and printer is set up. As long as I can keep one of my little cats out of my office this arrangement works really well. My needy cat is jealous of my keyboard and will drape himself over my arms as I attempt to type.
Sounds like a dream! I find it hard to concentrate as my two dogs are sitting and staring at me whilst I write, begging me to go out with them…oh, cats would be so much easier! Where do you get ideas for your stories?
Each one has come in a dream, not necessarily formed, but more in the nature of scenes here and there. Once I can find the beginning of the story it flows on from there.
Do you do a lot of researching before starting to write or do you go with the flow and check the details later?
Research is very important to me, but it doesn’t come before I start writing as I have no idea where the story is going until it unfolds. I will research anything I need to know as I progress. Some of the stuff will never get used in the story, but it is something I need to know.
I know what you mean! My walls are filled with my research notes! As an Arthurian, have you ever watched the TV series, Merlin?
No, I haven’t watched Merlin. I don’t watch much TV at all; maybe two or three hours a week at the most, as for being in such a show/movie; no, not for me. I like the finished product of historical productions and to see the mechanics of how it is made happening around me would ruin the magic.
Have you ever participated on a medieval festivals? If yes, what did you wear? If no, would you like to and what character would you like to play in there and why?
No, but I would love to go to one. They don’t seem to come to Canada much. Sigh. If I were in one I would like to go as Morgan Le Fay, a much maligned character if one goes back to the early Welsh legends.
Maybe we could go together! I’ve never been either but would love to go…Your book covers are absolutely fabulous. Do you design them by yourself or do you use a cover designer? If you use a designer, is it a well kept secret or care to share 🙂
Yes, my covers are gorgeous and I love them to death. Shadow Over Avalon and the Sword of Shadows are the work of the very talented Evelinn Enoksun, a Norwegian artist, who can be found here. http://siamone.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24
Unfortunately the guy who did Darkspire Reaches is no longer taking private commissions. Sighs. I have book two coming out this year. However, I think someone has been chosen as a replacement.
Go Scandinavians! What was the hardest part of writing your books?
Finding the beginning. It gets easier on the subsequent books in a series, but the first ones had multiple starts until I had gotten it right. I believe I might have had six beginnings for Darkspire Reaches and at least five for Shadow Over Avalon.
Aside from that, finding a good title, especially for a series. I think I had a lot of faffing around by the time I settled on what they are today.
Well, you did good! Your titles are very catchy and intriguing. I know you’re books are published traditionally. A lot of us Indie authors are pondering which path to choose, to stay as an Indie or try our wings with traditional. Could you tell us the best parts of having a contract with a publisher?
Oh that is easy. All I have to do is write and market. I don’t have to scratch around looking for cover artists, or editors, or people to put the manuscript in ebook form. All this is done for me. The editing alone is a huge bonus as I am aware of how expensive it is to get done properly and have the luxury of knowing I have the best and it is all in-house.
While this does not hold true for all publishing houses, mine will allow me input into the cover, so yes, I am getting what I envisaged and then some.
If it’s not a secret, could you share the name of your publisher and tell us why did you choose them or did they choose you?
I am with Kristell Ink, which is an imprint of Grimbold Books. I found them when they were just starting up so was lucky to be in the first few published. And yes, they chose me, also, as they only accept manuscripts that fly the flag for them.
Tell us something unusual about yourself…something only few people (or no one) knows…
Let’s see. I can drive a Zamboni and lay down an ice flood at an arena. Now that is mega fun, zipping around in the pattern. I wouldn’t imagine many people have done that.
I write under a byline, but don’t seek to hide my legal name, which I would have used if someone hadn’t beaten me to it first in the genres. This lady was the fifth wife of Frederick Pohl from 1984 until his death. Elizabeth Anne Hull, PhD is a science-fiction expert and academic. My middle name is also Anne, spelled with an ‘e’. Anyhow, it would have been impolite to use my name, so the non de plume was born.
Cool! I bet no one saw that answer coming! A Zamboni, huh, wow! Okay, I know that you’re a cat person. However, your cats are nothing but the usual house cats. Want to tell us something about your cats?
There is nothing really usual about my cats. All of them are/were rescues, starting with the first, a totally black cat who was thrown over my backyard fence in a grocery bag as a six week old kitten. I had to hand rear him. The tiny ball of fluff grew so large that people asked if something had escaped from a zoo. He was also a mighty hunter and would bring back bunnies to devour on my grass. It took him around four hours to eat the lot, only leaving the gall bladder and the ears. No, I have no idea how he managed the bones. Those went in the head end and got pulverized.
My latest boy is another sad story. My husband found him at the SPCA after we lost another of our rescues to age. This boy was on his very last visit to the show floor as he had been removed from it three times already because he was so unwell. He had a very bad cold and was passing the remains of blue plastic gloves. My husband was told not to adopt him. Bad move. He promptly insisted and the boy was fine in a day. It was a stress cold. He is very, very needy though, and likes lots of attention constantly. He will even bring his food up to join me for lunch in my office if it is in a Styrofoam bowl. How he gets it up a flight of stairs without spilling is beyond me.
Your cats are very lucky to have you! You have a big, caring heart. My respects! Any current projects you’d like to share?
The next ones coming up are Serpent of the Shangrove, the next one in the Darkspire series, and Shadow of the Chalic, the third future Arthur book. Here is a link to the trailer for Serpent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMwPuG0FEys
All the actual photos are mine, taken a few hours west of me in the Rocky Mountains. The one with the clouds in the mountain tops is my banner for my website and was taken as the sun was rising at five a.m, when the mist was burning off the peaks.
They’re beautiful! And what a great personal touch. I love it! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I think that would have to be when I won the Editor’s Choice on the Online Writer’s Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. It was for the first chapter in what is now The Sword of Shadows and was a critique by an editor. After the steam stopped coming out of my ears, I realized the person had made some very good and valid points and altered the chapter accordingly. The site was extremely good for leveling people out and getting them to look at criticism as constructive.
What has been the best compliment?
Three death threats sent via email when I was on the above site and running by what is now Sword of Shadows. The chapter concerned might just have featured what may possibly have been the death of a major hunk. Did I kill him? Guess a person would have to read the book to find out and I guess I am still in the land of the living.
What is your best marketing tip?
Multi-platforms, consistency and make sure the posts are interesting and not continual pleas to ‘Buy my book’. Readers do like to get to know the author and any insights in the authors like that might be interesting will help this process.
Aside from that, join in with other authors. They are fun people and will help.
So true! Do you have any words of wisdom for the other writers?
Make sure the book is the very best it can be before committing it to release. There is nothing worse than having someone point out flaws in a review. I have seen this with several books I have read that didn’t have the best editing.
Once the book is out then make sure it is properly marketed. How are people to know that this wonderful book is newly released if they are not informed and pointed in the right direction to find it?
This is a personal preference, but I would also suggest putting the book on multi platforms. In particular, iTunes is up and coming and may well end up rivalling Amazon in years to come. Aside from anything else, iTunes has much fairer terms for authors.
Where can people find out more about you and your books?
Do you want to tell us something about your book?
Her birth mother left her as a sacrifice to the Wyvern, believing a second
born twin had no soul.
Her foster mother thought Raven possessed the magic of the First born. She believed she raised a slave.
The emperor of all the lands believed she knew the secret of his birth and
that he must silence her.
Her tribe thought they could trade her for safe passage out of the
The Wyvern knows better. He is coming for her. His fury has no limits.
Raven always knew nobody wanted her: Her own mother abandoned her as baby for a wyvern sacrifice. Saved by a local witch to a hard life of labor, Raven always fears a wyvern would hunt her. And when one does he takes her to the mountain aerie of Darkspire Reaches, where she encounters the mighty Drakken lord. Apart from being handsome and powerful, Connor is the most arrogant, self-centered, difficult man Raven has ever encountered. Instant power battles ensue leading to a sparkling love/hate relationship.
View the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWTaDpBORsY
Beyond the mists of time, a dying warrior binds his soul to his sword with an oath to protect his people. His shade rides with the Wild Hunt while he waits for the call of greatest need, but when it comes, he doesn’t know it is a lie. In the undersea city of Avalon, Arthur nears the end of his acolyte training. But he doesn’t want to spend his life serving the Archive, he wants to fight side by side with the air-breathing people to defeat the predators who are determined to ensure their own survival no matter the cost. Ashira, War Maid princess of the surface-world, is ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but when she is betrayed she must choose whether to die with honor or become one of the creatures her kinsmen fear and loathe. Fortune twists in the strongest hands. This is no repeat; this is what happens next. Following two threads of time, CN Lesley’s fresh take on the Arthurian tales of old delivers the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy.
‘Find the sword’, Emrys said. ‘The lives of all those in Avalon depend on it.’ Could Arthur trust this being after almost becoming his victim? How was he supposed to find a relic lost millennia back? ‘Bring Arthur alive to Moonbase,’ his queen had ordered. Kiri Ung had no idea how to track this elusive mutant and yet he had no choice. Te Krull had been listening. Te Krull wanted the queen’s favor above all else and would carve through a world to gain glory. Time is running out for someone.
C.N. Lesley will be on my blog every day this week! So stay tuned…there are so much more to come!