Back to today. I'm honoured to be interviewing bestselling author Wendy Knight as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. The second book in her Fate on Fire series, Feudlings in Flames, was released yesterday.
Over to you, Wendy.
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not writing?
My name is Wendy Knight. I'm from Utah. I have three kids, so if I'm not writing, I'm chasing them! Hide and Seek is also big at our house.
Q: You've published three books this year. How hard has it been juggling writing and all the other tasks that come with publishing three books?
I have an amazing husband who watches the kids when he comes home from work so I can work. Honestly, writing is amazing, but the marketing and author appearances sort of scare me to death. A lot.
Q: I see you've done NaNoWriMo. What advice would you give someone considering taking part for the first time this November?
I know there are tons and tons of tips-plan the book beforehand, lots of plotting...stuff like that. For me, it was more about planning my time. I set aside an hour a day to write, every single day of the month. And during that hour, I did nothing else-even potty breaks were forbidden (I'm a cruel taskmaster). BUT I did get done in eighteen days the first time, and twelve days the second. So it payed off!
Q: On your blog you say, 'Girls are the heroes of their own stories'. How important are strong female characters in your books?
They are so important. And it doesn't just mean physical strength. I have characters who are small or broken or weak, but they don't give up and they don't wait for someone to save them. I want my daughters to realize that they can save themselves, and the boys, too!
Q: The cover art for the Fate on Fire series is stunning. Who designed the covers and how much of a creative input did you have?
Ahhh! I absolutely love my cover designer! Her name is Amanda Matthews and her website is AMDesignStudios.net. She is fabulous to work with! I'm always so afraid she will think I'm a diva because I want red sparks instead of blue...or, ya know...things like that. But she never complains and is always amazing with my suggestions, no matter how insane I sound!
Q: Where did the idea for Fate on Fire come from?
I was reading a story to my girls, in which the princess got stuck in a tour and sent a dragon to go get a boy to rescue her, instead of climbing out the window herself. I was so annoyed! So in my own little mind, I started creating a heroine who was tougher than all the boys-and Ari was born!
Q: Would you like to share an excerpt from Feudlings in Flames with us?
Of course! *Clears throat, prepares reading voice*
"No no, Hunter, it curves this way." Ari stood back, watching with a frown, and then jumped back in. "Imagine in your mind what you want the spell to do. Tie your emotions to your spells."
Shane watched her guide Hunter and tried again on his own. "Close, Shane, but like this," Ari reached out, holding his hand as she led him through the motion. He felt the flames racing through his blood react to her touch and sparks flew from his fingers, igniting the spell. It hung, burning, in the air, a bright blue curlicue thing. "Perfect," she whispered, still holding on to his hand.
"Maybe, but does it work?" Tristan's voice was flat and uninterested, but Shane could hear the animosity running under the words.
"We don't have any targets set out. He can't test it." Ari shook her head, and still holding Shane's hand, made a quick swiping motion through the spell, dissipating it. "Try again." She let go of his hand and stepped back, watching expectantly.
Shane tried, once, twice, and three times. He couldn't get it quite right, but neither could Hunter, which made him feel better, and Tristan wasn't even trying.
"It's okay if you can't do it, Shane. There are a lot of other powerful spells she uses that will be much easier for you to master," Will said.
Ari vehemently shook her head. "No. He can do it. Just give him a minute!"
Shane kept his attention focused on the spell in front of him, but he couldn't stop his grin.
Ari believed in him.
He burned the spell into the air again, trying to replicate the one Ari had drawn, but it fizzled into a mass of smoke. The spell had to ignite to actually do anything. He groaned in frustration, tipping his head sideways to look at Ari. "What am I doing wrong?"
She bit her lip, studying him for several seconds. "When you did it the first time, what were you thinking?"
Shane paused, dropping his hand that was still poised in the air. "Umm… I was thinking we were gonna die and I had seen you throw that spell so I knew it was possible. It just happened."
Q: Now for the compulsory random question: what punctuation mark best describes you and why?
The exclamation point. I'm like a small dog. Always excited, always bouncing, always yelling. Well, if small dogs yelled instead of barked, then I'd be like a small dog.
Ari thought being in love with her prophesied nemesis sucked. But being responsible for her best friend's kidnapping? It sucks worse.
Ari and Shane thought they’d beaten Fate and ended the three-hundred year war plaguing their people. They thought love had won. But they were so, so wrong.
Instead of graduating high school like the normals, they’re in a battle to save Charity – Shane’s cousin, Ari's best friend, and the seer who might hold the key to ending the war for good. To do that, they’re forced to accept help from a boy they aren’t even sure they can trust. He’s powerful and knows spells even Ari’s never heard of, but he’s also secretive and has a past he’s determined to keep hidden . Add to that the fact that he has his sights set on Ari, and Shane would rather do without his help.
Ari has bigger problems than mysterious boys and their strange powers. The powerful Edren Family is hunting her brother, and she can't very well save him or Charity while they’re constantly being attacked by her own people. To stop the raids, she has to take the fight to them. But if she starts hunting the family that raised her, what kind of monster will she be?
Fate still waits for the death of one by the hand of the other.
Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.
Thank you, Wendy. You have a lovely reading voice and a wonderful husband. The excerpt from Feudlings sure has me wanting to read more.
I will be back tomorrow with my entry (with a little help from my friends) for Hart Johnson's The World Ends How?! Blogfest and then on Friday we have the super-cool Jeremy Hawkins talking about the legendary William Shatner. Can my week get any better?