5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Barbara Underwood

Indie Author Interview with Barbara Underwood - Author of the Fantasy Novel Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom.

Barbara Underwood traveled extensively and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the culture of other countries. What better subject for her first novel than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!

Interview with Barbara Underwood

Author Barbara Underwood
Author Barbara Underwood
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Barbara Underwood: Besides enjoying essays and writing projects at school, and then avidly writing to penpals all over the world for many years, I completed a correspondence course in writing some years ago. My tutor was a retired journalist and editor who gave me some valuable instruction.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
My current favourite authors and books aren’t my writing influence or inspiration – that is reserved for Thor Heyerdahl, whose books first opened up a whole new world of great mystery and wonder. He wrote about his travels to faraway places where he investigated megaliths and other stone structures that still baffle scientists and historians today. At some point while reading all his books, I felt that I wanted to do something similar. That was many years ago, and even though I still read such books, some of my current favourite books/authors are: Sarah Rayne, Charles Todd (Inspector Rutledge mysteries and now Bess Crawford) Preston and Child (The Pendergast books) and for something light and fun, I read Hamish Macbeth, by M.C. Beaton.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
As I just said, it was while reading all of Thor Heyerdahl’s books, quite a few years ago now.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was a school project in 3rd class, and I still have it! Then, in 6th grade, we again wrote a story for a project with certain themes, and my teacher was quite impressed with my long short story.

"I read the last chapter I’ve written to help get me into the right mood"

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

Not much of a routine, actually. Mostly, I read the last chapter I’ve written to help get me into the right mood, and then I try to keep writing without interruptions as long as I can.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I have a desktop computer in my work/study room where I feel comfortable, but when it’s nice weather outside, I use my new laptop to write outside.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Easiest when I’m on a roll and the thoughts and words flow smoothly, especially when describing scenes or dialogue I particularly enjoy. Hardest is getting started in the first place!

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to create a world and people to express yourself, or express your ideas and view of the world which you can share with others.

Barbara, please tell us a little about your Fantasy Novel Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom.
Rhuna is a young girl who finds out she has special powers because her father was from Atlan, where many people can transform elements such as stones and metal with the power of their minds. They can also summon visions in a still body of water, and with all these powers they were able to build the pyramids and other great stone megaliths with ease. But one of them abuses his power and becomes known as the Dark Master, and only Rhuna has the extra special skills to stop him before he completely undermines the idyllic utopia of Atlan.

Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom (Barbara Underwood)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
Firstly by reading Thor Heyerdahl’s books, then other New Age books on theories about Atlantis, mental powers like that of yogis and spiritual gurus in Tibet, and then finally putting it all together in my own version of how things could have been done in the mysterious dark past.

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
Although it is labelled as Historic Fantasy and Fantasy Adventure, I feel that readers of general Fiction would also enjoy Rhuna because the setting is our world and earth, and the people are real with normal thoughts and feelings. The only Fantasy element is that some of the Atlans can do fantastic things simply with the power of their mind!

What makes your book special?
In describing Atlan, I found myself writing about the utopia or idyllic civilization of peace and harmony we all desire and yearn for deep inside. Rhuna learns about how the society operates, people’s mentality, what might be good, bad or wrong, but letting the reader think about it as well, which I think – and hope – will be inspirational for many readers. Alternatively, the book also offers a lot of adventure, magic and great characters for readers who prefer those aspects.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
In a few short months I’ve received four 5-star reviews already, with positive feedback from others, so I am hopeful of continued success and more satisfied readers.

How long did it take it to write the book?
Only a matter of four months or so, but the preparation took much longer. I also had to get it all ready in my mind – get psyched up for it – and then it all went quite smoothly.

"For me, the writing process is only the last 10% of the book."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
For me, the writing process is only the last 10% of the book. I developed the characters and ideas in my head and in a notebook first for some time until I felt it was ready to come together in a book. By developing them, I mean visualizing them, like you would when daydreaming, and this strong visual imagery stays with me and helps me write.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I’m working on a sequel to Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom! I had such fun with it, that I worked out a setting for an even more exciting adventure when Rhuna is a bit older and ready for a big change in her life. The sequel will be called Rhuna: Crossroads because she will learn about different ways of life when she travels to Ancient Egypt (called Safu in Rhuna’s day) and meets with not one but several life-changing challenges!

"[...] there will always be a place for real books"

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?
No, I don’t think book stores will disappear; at least not in the next decade or more. There are still plenty of people who like the feel of a physical book with a glossy cover or even hardback, so although popular reading is going electronic and making books more affordable, I believe there will always be a place for real books – even if the brick-and-mortar stores disappear, as they will surely still be available to order on the internet!

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a new Kindle Paper White, which I really love!

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Although I don’t have a day job, I do other things when not writing, namely paint. My other passion in life besides writing is art. And my latest interest/hobby is genealogy. Since I’ve always been interested in history, I’m finding it especially exciting to find out about my own family’s history, and I really enjoy looking through old documents and church books, looking for names of my ancestors!

How can readers connect with you?
I am on Facebook (both general and author page), a blog http://barbunderwood.blogspot.com.au/ and I can also be contacted on the website for Rhuna, namely http://www.rhuna.net I would be very happy to hear from readers and authors alike to discuss Rhuna or other related subjects!

Thank you very much for the Interview, Barbara.

About the Book Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom

Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom (Barbara Underwood)
Click to Read an Excerpt
A series of extraordinary events unfold after the young girl discovers the startling truth about her father and the enemy that caused his demise known as The Dark Master.

She also learns that she has inherited special magic-like powers, including transforming elements such as stone into metal and metal into gold.

As Rhuna struggles with her newfound abilities, her beloved homeland is thrust into chaos, threatened by her father's old nemesis.

In the midst of the unfolding cataclysm, Rhuna must find her extraordinary destiny and the courage to stop The Dark Master from destroying everything and everyone that she loves.

- "Full of details and background knowledge about ancient cultures, all woven into fantasy and yet feeling so real, a story evolves capturing all aspects of a good book:
thrill and brilliance, love and hate and the never ending battle between good and evil. And Barbara Underwood managed to take my imagination onto another fantastic journey [...]"
- Reader Review

Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Rhuna - Keeper of Wisdom with Excerpt on Amazon

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