Sunday, June 24, 2018

Indie Author Interview: Guenevere Lee


Indie Author Interview with Guenevere Lee - Author of the Historical Fantasy Novel Orope -The White Snake.

Guenevere Lee has spent a lifetime interested in the Bronze Age, devouring any book or documentary she could get her hands on, as well as inventing languages and drawing maps in her journals when she was supposed to be listening in class.

Interview with Guenevere Lee

Author Guenevere Lee
Author Guenevere Lee
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Guenevere Lee: I started taking writing seriously when I was 13. I had just moved at the beginning of that summer, so I was in a new city with no friends and nothing to do. I thought, if I really was serious about becoming a writer it was the perfect chance to see what I could do. I never stopped writing. After high school I studied journalism and creative writing and really honed my style.

Who are your favourite writers, your favourite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Tolkien's the easy answer. Reading Lord of the Rings taught me so much about world building. That, and the Narnia books really inspired me. As a child I was always making maps and inventing languages and histories. It wasn't until high school that I started writing stories for these worlds I was building. I still get inspired looking at the appendixes in LotR and seeing how much work went into them.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I was around 10. I was already really into world building (though I just called it 'playing' back then). I told my mom I wanted to make a movie. I think she was trying to avoid buying me a video camera, so she said movies were too much of a hassle and if I liked making stories I should write. It was like a switch got turned on. I instantly knew that was what I wanted to do.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first novel, yes. Story, no way. I've kept a journal since I was 7, and looking through them I see I was always writing down stories. I would write entries as a space alien or a vampire. In my first journal, the back few pages is taken up by a family tree for a Star Wars-esk space opera. I guess I just liked playing pretend so much that I would write down my ideas and they just became the bones of short stories.

"[...] I decided in Japan to only focus on one novel and give myself a schedule."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
I try. I wrote Orope while living in Japan. Before then I had a bad habit of working on one story for a month, then getting distracted by something else. I had so many things unfinished, so I decided in Japan to only focus on one novel and give myself a schedule. Every weekend I would go to Starbucks (or Mister Donuts, which is the Japanese doughnut chain of choice) and write a chapter. I would spend the whole day drinking way too much coffee, some weeks writing only a sentence or two, but I kept going and eventually got to the end. I finished it in my first year there, then kept going with the sequels. It's such a hipster thing to do, writing in a cafe, but it worked for me!

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
My desk is organized chaos. I don't usually write there though. I get lazy at home. I always need to move myself outside, so usually I'm working in a cafe, sometimes a library, with my headphones cranked up so I can't hear anything other than my thoughts.

"It's hard to motivate myself some days."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
I don't really think of writing as being easy or hard. The stuff around writing is hard. It's hard to motivate myself some days. It's hard to find a place where I can get cheap coffee and a comfy seat. It's hard to get published. It's hard to convince people to read your stories. Writing is easy. Even editing. Once you stop writing and start selling, that's when all the problems start.

"got the idea to make an online wiki [...]"

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Creating worlds. It's like building a personalized playground. I just love drawing the first map and looking at my world and imagining all the things I can do with it... I was a little disappointed I couldn't have an appendix at the end of Orope. I considered saving it all for the last book like with Return of the King, but then got the idea to make an online wiki (I call it Whisperpedia). Whenever I feel burned out I work on the wiki to remind myself why I love writing so much.

Guenevere, please tell us a little about your Historical Fantasy Novel Orope - the White Snake.
It starts with a tribal people performing a ceremony to see what the future will hold. Several of the Rhagepe, the sand witches, have seen a vision of a flood destroying the world. They think they have time to go out and warm the world, but the gods have other plans... We follow four characters: Tersh, a mother forced to put duty before family. Kareth, a young man determined to prove he's the chosen one, even though he lacks most skills and common sense. Sha'di, a man who never took life too seriously until he's forced to confront death. And Samaki, a merchant who has spent his life building profit, only to loose nearly everything and have to find his way again.
It's set in a fantasy world heavily influenced by history and myth (the flood myth being the most obvious). I wanted to capture what it was really like to live in the Bronze Age, but I also didn't want to constrain myself, which is why I set it in a fantasy world.

Orope -The White Snake (Guenevere Lee)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
One of the first thoughts I ever had about this book was when I was contemplating how myths were created. I've always assumed that all myths start in reality. Maybe Herakles wasn't the son of a god, and maybe he wasn't named Herakles, but maybe once there was a man who was famous for being strong. An Arnold Schwarzenegger of the ancient world, if you will. It also interested me how many cultures have similar myths - like a flood - and it made me wonder if there could be a common connection. I thought it would be cool to write a story about real people in the ancient world, and see how their stories become myths. Later I was inspired to set it during the end of the Bronze Age, because it's such a mysterious time in our history, and the theories about why the Bronze Age ended are such a great backdrop for a story.

Who do you see as your target audience?
It's definitely, definitely, a book for people who are really into history and archeology. People who really crave the experience of living in the ancient world. It will also appeal to people who, like me, love to see the maps, histories, and legends authors create to fill out their imagined worlds.

"[...] it's set in the Bronze Age."

What makes your book special?
The thing that really sets it apart from most fantasies is that it's set in the Bronze Age, and because of the regions I've worked into the story, it also means the main characters are all from different ethnicities and backgrounds. I think it's kind of boring to write another fantasy book set in Medieval Europe. There's really no reason why fantasy books shouldn't use different cultures for inspiration.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
It's been out less than a month, so I haven't actually seen a sales report yet, but just from doing book signings around Toronto it's been selling pretty well. I will consider it a success when my publishers decide whether or not the publish the sequel. So for the next month or so, I will be on edge, lol...

"You also need to set realistic goals."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Just find the time. I found it really difficult in university to find any free time to write. The older you get, the less time you have to spare. That's why I give myself a schedule. You also need to set realistic goals. Doing 50,000 words in November is great, but you can't keep that pace all year-round (well, I can't!), and you don't wanna start missing goals and getting down on yourself.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I'm going to start serializing a novel on Channillo.com starting August 8th. It's another historical fantasy, but set in Edo Era Japan. It's inspired from the time I spent living there. It's about a girl named Leda who travels to the past, but history is not the way she remembers it. English ships land in Japan, and they are looking for something. Leda teams up with a samurai, Bennosuke, and together they try to find a way to figure out what the Englishmen are up to, how to save Japan - and how to get Leda home. It's called Leda and the Samurai and will update bi-weekly.

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?
I don't think it will look too different. I think big box stores are going to start disappearing, and we're going to get a lot more small indie bookstores. It's already a trend in Toronto. Physical books are not going anywhere soon. Even record stores didn't really disappear, because we have more vinyl stores opening up all the time. People like having a physical copy of their stuff.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use my iPad, or my phone, but I don't really read a whole lot of eBooks.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm working full-time promoting my book for the rest of the summer. I'm doing a tour of Southern Ontario at the moment. I'm not sure how long I'll be doing this, at least until the end of September. Once I have more time I will probably go back to teaching ESL.

How can readers connect with you?
They can get ahold of me easily on Facebook and Twitter @GuenevereLee. Or if they go to my website (http://gueneverelee.com) they can reach me through the contact section. If they live in Ontario, they can catch me at one of my book signings (details here: http://gueneverelee.eventbrite.com). And of course, they can go to Whisperpedia (https://whisperpedia.wikia.com), the wiki for my novel. I'm hoping it will be a place where people can go to ask questions about the story, add things they discovered in the books, or just browse and learn some interesting trivia.

Thank you very much for the Interview, Guenevere.



About the Book Orope -The White Snake

Orope -The White Snake (Guenevere Lee)
Click to Read an Excerpt
The Whisperers of the Gods have seen the vision – the gods will destroy the world in a flood because people have corrupted and forgotten the old ways . Three are chosen, Tersh, Kareth, and Sha’di, to go out and warn the world: the gods must be appeased.

In Orope – the White Snake Tersh must leave her children and travel to Matawe, the kingdom in the mountains. She must also care for Kareth and keep him out of trouble. Kareth, told since birth that he is destined for greatness, has been expecting this moment. Certain that he is ready, he quickly discovers that his confidence and curiosity have a tendency to lead him into dangerous situations. Sha’di finds himself travelling alone to find the people of the jungle, the Petzuhallpa. The jungle seems like a paradise, until he discovers the darker rituals practiced within.

Samaki is a merchant who returns to Mahat to find his home destroyed, his father dead, and no one to buy his expensive cargo. With his first mate Tiyharqu, the merchant struggles to move forward after his entire world has been upended. The stories of these four travellers intersect and entwine with each other as they move towards their destinations. Guided by visions the Whisperers must use their wits to survive in these strange new lands that would rather use them as political pawns than listen to their warnings.

"Very beautiful descriptions, interesting characters. A little violent. The time period is well researched and feels real. Love the maps." - Reader Review (5-Stars)




Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Orope -The White Snake on Amazon

Link to the eBook Orope -The White Snake on Amazon




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