Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Ring of Power: Elizabeth Hull/C.N. Lesley

Today's author interview with the Blog Ring of Power is Elizabeth Hull. Welcome to the Realm. To find the rest of the interview, don't forget to stop by my co hosts Sandra and T.W.'s blogs:

Elizabeth Hull, writing under the by line of C.N.Lesley, lives in Alberta with her husband and cats. Her three daughters live close by. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth likes to read and to paint watercolors. She is also a keen gardener (despite the very short summers) and now has a mature shade garden. Once a worker in the communications sector, mostly concentrating on local news and events, she now writes full time, and fusses over her cats. She was senior managing editor of FlashMe Magazine and now is assistant flash fiction editor for Abyss and Apex. 

Section #2: The Writing Life

BRoP: What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc

EH: I used to write with pen and paper but now use a computer. I also have a lot more time to write so part of each day is dedicated to getting words in stories that are started.

BRoP: How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life? 

EH: I have little grandsons now and sometimes babysit. That would take precedence over everything.  Family comes first and I need to pay attention to my little cat, or he will butt my head off my keyboard.

BRoP: When do you write? 

EH: During the day, when I am alone and don’t expect to have visitors.

BRoP: How much time per day do you spend on your writing? 

EH: Grins. It depends on what else I have going on. Right now I am also working on house renos and am tiling my bathroom. I would say I will spend at least three hours writing.

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you've written? 

EH:  That has to be when my late father told me I was writing trash, having never read one word of my stuff. He considered fantasy and sci fi trash, only caring for detective stories and mystery/thrillers.

BRoP: What is the strongest criticism you've ever received as an author? The best compliment? 

EH: The strongest criticism was getting slammed for what someone called a rape scene in Darkspire Reaches. It was actually a magical seduction, but I guess the person reading was skimming as they got the book for free when it was on promo. The best compliment was someone stating they lost all track of time reading that same book as they totally got lost in the world and the characters.
BRoP: Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support? 

EH: Other writers in a heartbeat. I have met some truly wonderful life friends as a result of joining the writer’s workshop.

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews? 

EH: If everyone liked the same stories, written in the same style, then there would probably be only five writers in the world. Rejection means I picked the wrong door and a negative review merely means someone picked up the wrong book for them. Tomorrow is another day.

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

EH: Dreams. For some bizarre reason I have always had really fantastical dreams that I can recall on waking.

BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style? 

EH: I believe I have been called minimalistic on occasions. I do have to go through to make sure I haven’t been too cryptic.

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block? 

EH: Open another file and work on something else. I often have two or three works in progress at any one time.

BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? 

EH: Nope. They arrive in my dreams and then take on a life of their own.

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)? 

EH: Oh a pantser every time. I have tried to outline on occasions and have utterly failed to come even close to those guidelines as the story progresses in its own way.

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not? 

EH: Yes, I do. How would I know if something isn’t working as I intend if I don’t run it by my good guys? I need to deliver the best book possible to my publishers.

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do? 

EH: Research is a big part of writing. It doesn’t matter if a certain thing is not going to be included in the final story. It does matter that the author knows the thing is there. Aside from that, research is so much fun, as well as being startling on occasion. For Shadow Over Avalon, I went back beyond the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who turned out to be a misogamist monk who had rewritten the Arthurian tales to deliberately discredit Morgan le Fay as it was politically incorrect to have a woman with power in his time. What a chaste monk was doing having thoughts about incest is beyond me, but there it is. There is no mention of that nastiness in the Arthurian tales until squinky Geoffrey picks up his quill and parchment.

BRoP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write? 

EH: Grins. Writing a tasteful sex scene without being cheesy or going anywhere near erotica. The balance is so exact and the character feelings must be spot on or the whole thing will implode.

..."Author C.N. Lesley’s second novel, Shadow Over Avalon is an exquisite science-fantasy that portrays a world divided with masterful skill and detail...Inspired by literature’s most-loved King, this novel remains true to his purpose yet breaks every boundary to portray his challenge in the future. In all aspects, from the brilliant characterization to the warriors’ undying courage, this story is a journey like no other. Brought to life with breathtaking prose that is emotive and compelling, this book, like its inspiration, is destined for the halls of legend..." Jeanne Haskin, Editor, Artema Press. 

Fortune twists in the strongest hands. This is no repeat; this is what happens next. 

A man, once a legend who bound his soul to his sword as he lay dying, is now all but a boy nearing the end of his acolyte training. Stifled by life in the undersea city of Avalon, Arthur wants to fight side by side with the air-breathing Terrans, not spend his life as servant to the incorporeal sentient known as the Archive. Despite the restrictions put on him by Sanctuary, he is determined to help the surface-dwellers defeat predators whose sole purpose is to ensure their own survival, no matter the cost. 

Ashira, War Maid and princess of the surface-world, is ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but when she is betrayed and cast out of the life chosen for her, she must choose whether to die with honor or become one of the creatures her kinsmen fear and loathe. 

Following two threads of time, C.N. Lesley’s new incarnation of the Arthurian tales of old delivers the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy. 

Arthur and Kai have escaped the threat of Emrys, but now they must face life on the surface world—and all the fearsome creatures that dwell there. But just as they assemble the beginnings of a fighting force, they discover a vital component to their safety has been compromised. This means a return to Avalon, where Arthur has an unexpected encounter with the untrustworthy Merlin. The magician's orders are clear: Arthur must find the sword to save the surface-dwellers and Avalon. There is no alternative. 
Kiri Ung, leader of the Nestines and ultimate controller of the Terran slaves on the surface, needs Arthur in order to ensure of the continuance of his species. With the Nestine Queen dying, failure means ultimate extinction. Wherever Arthur goes, so goes Kiri Ung. 
Whoever finds the sword first gains control over all humanity. But simply gaining possession of this powerful artifact is not enough to wield its power. Let the battle commence. 

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