Monday, August 17, 2015

Indie Author Interview: E.A. Haltom


Indie Author Interview with E.A. Haltom - Author of the Historical Fiction / Fantasy Novel Gwendolyn's Sword.

E.A. Haltom writes what she likes to read, and sometimes that requires a lot of research and a sword. Preferably a 12th century English broadsword.

Interview with E.A. Haltom

Author E.A. Haltom
Author E.A. Haltom
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
E.A. Haltom: Gwendolyn's Sword is my debut novel. Prior to this all of my writing has been academic or professional.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I have so many favorite writers: Mary Gentle, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Douglas Adams, Barbara Kingsolver, William Napier. My writing influences are the people I come across every day. I see them and their stories, and they're beautiful. Even when it's difficult and ugly, there's a sort of beauty to it all. I want to write that.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was nine years old and I wrote and illustrated an epilogue to King of the Wind.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Words have always been in my head and I've been putting them onto paper, playing with characters and experiences, for as long as I can remember.

"[...] sit my a-- down and write every opportunity I can get."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Ha! My routine is to sit my a-- down and write every opportunity I can get--which isn't as often as I'd wish. I write historical fantasy that is woven with actual historical events and known individuals, as they lived their lives at the time. I have to have the historical background fresh and alive in my head every time I write, so that I'm staying true to the time and place. This means I can't grab a few minutes here or there while the kids are occupied. Summer school breaks I get very little writing done. Once they are back in school, I block the mornings for work and try very hard to protect that time.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
The permanent space is a wooden desk in the kitchen, but I also have a laptop with a gigantic screen that I can see side-by-side pages on that I take out to the Whole Foods or a particular taco place near me where I can plug in and have no house chores or animals to distract me.

"You have to be entirely self-driven."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Writing novels is the hardest thing I've ever done for a job. I guess the easy part about it is the lack of hard deadlines when you're independently published. That's probably the hard thing about it, too. You have to be entirely self-driven.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing the reactions out there to the world and characters I've created. I love my characters. I wouldn't be able to spend so much time with them otherwise. So it's great to see other people respond to them positively and enjoy them, too.

E.A., please tell us a little about your Historical Fiction / Fantasy Novel Gwendolyn's Sword.
It's an Arthurian-inspired tale of a woman who finds herself having to take on the Plantagenets and the power struggle between King Richard and Prince John in order to protect her estate.

Gwendolyn's Sword (E.A. Haltom)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?

I have known a lot of amazing women in my life--heroic, strong, smart, and gracious. And I hardly ever see these women reflected in the stories of tough heroes who risk everything for what they believe in--particularly as the main character in the story. I wanted a story like this to exist, and I love the period of twelfth century England. That century really doesn't get the credit it deserves for the advances in the arts and philosophy and government and law that occurred then. And there were actual women carrying swords during this time--not many, but a few, mainly out of necessity, because the men couldn't always be everywhere a siege was breaking out. I find it intriguing how much our past is interpreted using social assumptions that are based on current practices and norms. I'm not sure the assumptions about the uniformity of the subjugation of women in the middle ages is entirely accurate. For instance, better DNA testing has now shown that about half of the Viking warrior skeletons in collections are actually women. There are examples of women owning property in their own names and determining their own lives--again, not many, but some. So I'm also enjoying re-interpreting this time and some of the known characters to suggest explanations for some of their life events that may not have been considered before, and that cast our understanding of how and why events unfolded as they did in a completely different light.

Who do you see as your target audience?
Anyone who enjoys an action-packed hero's tale.

What makes your book special?
The refreshing take on heroic female lead characters.

How would you describe the success of your self-published books so far?
Surprising. I really didn't know if the book was going to get any traction out there. It's been fun to watch it take off.

"Believe in yourself. Keep writing [...]"

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Believe in yourself. Keep writing, even if you think what you're writing is bad. You may be right, but keep writing anyway, because your writing will get better. Keep working at it. And when you're not writing, read. Read authors who make your writing better. Read Booker and Pulitzer winners.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I have several projects going right now: the sequels to Gwendolyn's Sword (I'm currently planning a trilogy), a sci-fi fantasy novel, and a novel about a middle-aged woman coming to terms with her parents and the life choices she's made.

"Print is here to stay, and so are bookstores."

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Print books are not going anywhere. I've met too many people who prefer to hold their books, and my own print sales have been stronger than the eBooks. Print is here to stay, and so are bookstores. The pleasure of browsing the shelves of books in a bookstore cannot be duplicated by any other experience. Plus, it makes for a great date night. Bookstores will have to offer more events and become more connected to their local communities, though.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
We have a Kindle, but I'm one of the people who likes to hold books, although I do occasionally use the Kindle, too.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I wish I could write full-time. I have two young kids and I'm a stay-at-home-mom, although that phrase is a bit of a misnomer since that second job has me out of the house a lot. We also raise chickens (I'm lobbying for adding goats) and try to grow some of our own food, so I also stay busy with that.

How can readers connect with you?
Readers can visit me at my blog, www.smittenbythewords.blogspot.com, tweet me at @eahaltomauthor, or send me a note on Facebook. I love hearing from readers--see above re the greatest joy of writing.

Thank you very much for the Interview, E.A.



About the Book Gwendolyn's Sword

Gwendolyn's Sword (E.A. Haltom)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Cornwall, England, 1193. Eleanor of Aquitaine, the indomitable dowager queen, has ordered all of England onto a war footing while her son King Richard languishes in a German dungeon.

Gwendolyn de Cardinham, the defiant wife of an absent crusader, protects and defends her estate, Penhallam, with her sword and the garrison of men that she commands. While travelling to deliver a captured mercenary of would-be usurper Prince John to a nearby gaol, her constable takes her on a detour to the local prior, who gravely informs her that King Arthur's mythical sword, Caliburn, is destined to be hers. When Gwendolyn discovers that Prince John has been hunting for Caliburn, she realizes she is in a unique position to end the wayward prince's rebellion.

Determined to protect Penhallam and its tenants at any cost, Gwendolyn travels to London to present herself to the dowager queen, placing herself in the middle of the brothers' duel for the throne.

But Gwendolyn has kept a secret from even her constable that could put all of Penhallam-and herself-at risk if the queen discovers it.

- "As Gwendolyn's story builds to its tension-filled climax, Haltom draws the storylines together into a cohesive, largely enjoyable whole. Well-written, well-plotted, and mostly well-paced, a feisty addition to the historical fantasy genre." - Reader Review




Link to the Book

Link to the Paperback Gwendolyn's Sword on Amazon

Link to the eBook Gwendolyn's Sword on Amazon


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