The Sunday Spotlight
Author Interview and Excerpt
Yesterday, if you were here you will know that I have fantasy writer Ellen Mae Franklin (aka Carol Bond) back today for more fun and answering a whole host of questions and letting us have a sneak peek at her fabulous novel.
Talking with Ellen/Carol
The Sunday Spotlight
Welcome Ellen/Carol, thanks so much for joining me today, I just love a good fantasy novel and yours sounds amazing and will be on my TBR asap!
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I would like to thank you Bella for inviting me along for such a very special interview and I will do my best to give your readers the best answers I can to your questions.
Allow me to introduce myself - My name is Carol Bond and I live in Adelaide, Australia. It is not a large city, unlike others here, but it is a great place to live and surrounded by parklands, It central to a fabulous, sandy coastline and undulating hills.
I am a mother of three and most recently, a Gran. I have a great many interests and very soon, I will be undertaking one of them - traveling. Reading, Gardening, Swimming, Cooking and loads more are great fun. Mix it up and have some fun, I say!
What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
I have always read Fantasy. It is my first and foremost love. The workings of an imagination, fascinates me. Human nature, also adds to the flavor of writing fantasy. So, you see, I have no choice but to follow my nose and invent worlds and scenario’s with characters, which are fanciful.
Are there any other genres you’ve written?
I have dabbled in a little history, but for the moment, I am so heavily invested with projects relating to Fantasy, that I am very happy dabbling in what I love best.
Have you published any other novels, if so can you share the details?
No, I have not! The Unseen Promise is the first book on my list. There are more to come though and I do believe not too far away.
Are you working on anything new right now?
I am currently involved in 5 projects.
My sequel to ‘The Unseen Promise,’ which is the first book of the Tarkeenia Sagas. It will be called ‘It’s not the Bite that kills you.’
I have a co-writing partnership with Pete Emmerson, a UK author, as we work on a fantasy series titled the ‘Un-named’.
I am co-founder of a writing group for Australians. We focus on Australian themed short stories, which we will collate into Anthologies.
On the website - http://www.theunseenpromise.comis a contest I am running. It is the Black & White contest for short stories and entries are very welcome. First prize is a printed copy of ‘The Unseen Promise.’
Last of all, I am writing for a group on a new Blog called - ‘Out of Print.’ Look us up and read the stories posted. There are some marvelous tales. http://out0fprint.wordpress.com/
What inspires you to write?
This particular question has no easy answer. I write for the pure enjoyment of creating, so I am always looking to put words to paper.
Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
I believe it is important for anyone writing and wishing to succeed on any level to ask questions, listen and find out as much as you can along the way. Become involved with group and make connections. To build awareness about yourself and your work before you release your book. This, I believe is very important.
What is your all-time favourite novel?
I don’t have a favourite novel as such, but I will happily put up one for the reader. It was one of my early reads and a series that I go back to every so often to refresh, ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever’.
Who is your all-time favourite author?
My absolute favourite is Joe Abercrombie. His books are fast paced and gritty, violent and extreme in the genre of fantasy. He has taken this genre to a new level and has a solid grip on character development, and human behavior.
What are you reading at the moment & would you recommend it to us?
I am reading two books at the moment - Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Heroes’ and Robert Jordan ‘Knife of Dreams.’
I thoroughly recommend both of these reads.
If you could Time Travel, what year would you visit and why?
I am a curious person by nature and although, I would love to know what science hold for humanity in the future, I fear that we as a race of beings just don’t learn. We need to live with the world, instead of using it.
No, I think I would like to go back to the 1950’s - a time, just after the Second World War when all the mod con’s were invented and the world was still a relaxed place to be.
Do you have a favourite quote?
'As a race of beings, humans are fundamentally insane’. I laughed when I read this and still think it is accurate.
If you could be any character in any novel, who would it be and why?
I would like to be Nynaeve in the book series, ‘The Wheel of Time.’
She is strong and strong willed, full of life and certainty. An amazing character that grows into a power, that cannot not be challenged.
How do you come up with the Titles for your novels?
If you listen very hard, you will hear me laughing, for I have no idea. I write and keep writing until the title jumps out at me.
When working on your current novel, were there any moments when you thought: - OMG what am I doing?
No, not at all! I don’t know if it is the genre I work in or my love for what I do. Every word is a joy and since I am a Panster (writing by the seat of my pants) I just keep it all flowing.
Do you have a day job, other than writing?
Yes I do Bella - I am a Field Merchandiser by trade. I do visual displays advertising for the latest movie releases for Sony, Universal movie studios. I have a territory, which I work through each week, visiting stores on behalf of the company.
What is your preferred method of writing: The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
I always have a general idea of where I am going. It is a basic frame for what is to come, but each time I sit and write, each word is a surprise.
Are there any tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters?
I love character development. Building accents and voices, personalities and habits and what side of the fence they sit on, so to speak. It is essential in placing each character in a story for the right reasons. It is one of the most important elements I feel, for a character gives any tale depth and light.
If you don’t like a character you’re writing about, what do you do?
a. Kill them off instantly
b. Get over it and learn to like them
c. Give them a whole new personality
Can I give an alternative answer - No, I believe you should develop them into the story. If you do not like a character, make it someone that every one hates and then have him or her, kill off one of the favourite characters in the story. Does this not create an explosion of emotions with the readers? I do feel, that as a writer this is what we are all trying to achieve.
Do you like to write while listening to music and if so, does your book have particular playlist you’d like to share?
I listen to music, but I prefer the droning of a TV. Most times, I forget what is happening in the room and as I write, I am aware of noise and voices. This suits me right down to the ground.
If you were stranded on a distant planet: Which of your characters would you like to be marooned with and why?
On the cover of the book stands a large Murdock - half man/half reptile. His name is Guventher and I would have to choose him for his steadfastness, warrior abilities and cunning. He’s not much of a conversationalist, so there is a down side to choosing someone that would help to keep you alive.
Which type of book do you prefer to read?
b. paperback - This answer shouts out to me. I do love paperbacks and have a full wall of them at home.
Do you have any weird writing rituals? (Such as, you can only start writing after you’ve scoffed all the choc-chip cookies and drank 3 cups of coffee or only after you’ve listened to a certain song or playlist?)
There is no writing regime for me. I do like to be comfortable and since I am responsible for working, a family and running a house, I am always conscious of maintaining that role.
Do you have any input in the Cover design of your novel?
The cover of a book is as important as the content. My role as a merchandiser these past 9 years has show me, that without a doubt, we are visual creatures and will only stop to investigate something further is we are visually pleased, first time round.
My role in the design of my book cover was based on the content and being fantasy I wanted the colours to vivid and the overall picture to be full of light. Dark covers are very displeasing to me, I rarely stop to look further.
I chose a graphic artist to do my artwork and looked for a while on many different platforms. Eventually, I was told about the site Odesk and found Cristian Popa. An amazing artist in Romania and hired him to create a piece of beauty. I gave him the overall description of a background and a detailed outline of the characters I wished on the front and back cover. It was money well spent in my opinion.
What is the best thing about writing for you?
The joy of telling a tale! Absolutely, writing for the love of it.
How many novels/books do you typically read in a month?
What is your favourite genre to read at the moment?
There is not a general answer to this question for me. Before I began writing some years ago, I consumed books. Now, my reading habit has slowed, due to the writing side of my life. As always, fantasy is comes first.
Who’s your greatest inspiration to date?
My best friend and partner is my inspiration. When you have someone who accepts you for being you, then I believe there is nothing that can stop you from reaching your dreams.
Which of the following suits you best?
a. Thrill Seeker
b. Mildly Meek
c. Totally Chilled
None of the above - I am on the go all the time.
Apart from writing, do you have any other hobbies?
Yes and I like to mix it up - Cooking, working in my large garden, reading and very soon my grandchild. I adore traveling and will be spending 3 months overseas in 6 weeks.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am both - I fire up nearly all of the time.
What’s your least favourite part of the writing process?
I love to create, a tale that contains more than one story thread is a must and I find the challenge of solving scenarios just delightful.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
This depends on what I need to prioritize in my life. I am someone who needs balance and will not forego one thing for another.
How many hours a day do you dedicate to your writing?
On a general basis, I would put in a few hours a day. I do not believe in writing for the sake of putting words to a page. It is non-productive. If you do not have something worthwhile to say, then it is best to find something else to do until the inspiration takes a hold.
Are you a:
a. Laptop Writer - This was an easy answer. My laptop is portable and transportable. It is a fantastic device to use no matter where I am in the world.
b. Desktop Writer
c. iPad Writer
d. Pen and Paper Writer
If you didn’t write, what would you do instead to fill the creative void?
I consider most things to be creative - cooking, knitting, even gardening, for you need style, colour and flair to make a beautiful picture.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Well! I am going to be cheeky and name two places. Spain for the architecture and the history of having every religion live in harmony on a particular timeline in the world. I love the people and culture of Spain.
I am in love with Florence. Living in Australia, we are so very close to Asia, so it has always been the Australian playground. For an analogy, I feel that if there is a Bali in Europe, it would have to be Florence.
Who would be your dream cast if your novel was made into a movie?
I would like 90% of the actors to be new and undiscovered. Uniquely chosen for their part to play in context with the story.
If you had a choice, which would be your preference: Your books serialised, a la Vampire Diaries style or made into movies, a la Twilight style?
Neither for I feel my movie is different again and can only say that I would like HBO to jump on board. Then, I would like nothing more than to see my book and series worked as ‘Game of Thrones.’
Tell us one thing that no one else knows about you.
This answer is for the readers of this interview. I sing and have performed as a front man on stage a few times.
If there was an apocalypse, would you want to go up in the middle of it, or be a post-apocalypse survivor and live without the creature comforts that we are so used too?
I don’t think, you’re thinking straight if you answer with ‘wanting to go up in the middle of it’. I couldn’t think of giving up and dying.
What is the one book you can’t live without?
The one book I couldn’t live without is the one I am currently working on.
Many thanks to Ellen/Carol for sharing life, the universe and everything with us today, I really enjoyed myself!
Kitty licked her lips. Her tongue slid out into the night air for the hundredth time. This waiting was unbearable, and her hunger hurt so. If she didn’t feed soon, her belly would distend and the pain, dear Lord, the pain would cripple her. They would find her then, of this she was certain, and it was this fear that spurred her on.
She had developed a fondness for human flesh, and the sour rusting taste of hot blood made her mouth water. Voices drifted through the walls of the stables, the straw jabbed her, the smell of dung made her nauseous and she was, oh, so hungry now.
“Where are you?” she growled. Roedanth had been gone too long. What the hell, she was hungry.
From shadow to shadow, under the watchful eye of the Pata Batu, in the blue and rose hues of the evening light, Kitty made her way towards the voices. They grew louder and to her ears, younger. She couldn’t help herself. Kitty raised her eyes over the window ledge and saw a mouth-watering buffet. The room, bathed in yellow light, was filled with children, fledglings soft of meat and clean blood. Twelve boys and girls talked and laughed, some stretched out on their cots wriggling their toes, while others swapped stories in a gale of theatre play. All were oblivious to the danger as Kitty watched on.
Through the window and over to a tall nightstand, it was the perfect cover. Down went a fair-haired girl who couldn’t have been more than eight years old. It was a clean kill and her whispering moan went unnoticed. Using a little of the girl’s sticky blood, the Speck slithered on her belly to the next cot. This time, a boy disappeared to the shadows. He squirmed, choking on spit and tears.
“I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I want my mummy.” Kitty laughed at that and gave him a kiss. She chewed off his tongue, gulping the black blood as the light went out of his eyes.
One of the children noticed the spreading pool of blood creeping towards the feet of Bella Hiela. She screamed and screamed some more, then stuffed a small hand into her mouth and began to cry. The noise, awful in its entirety, rose in pitch over a squabbling pair of older boys.
“Cut your screaming, Bella! How can we hear ourselves yell with all that cat-calling?” One of the youngsters shot off a “boo-hoo” and stopped short when he saw the crimson puddle. “What’s that? What in the hell is that?” His voice shook with panic.
“Barney, you sound like a girl…” His friend’s laughter drained away as he was yanked off the cot and disappeared underneath it.
His scream bounced up and over the heads of the others. No one moved, even though the door was so close. Terror gripped them fast.
Kitty’s head poked out from under the cot and grinned, her razor sharp teeth stained red and her pink chin hair dripping blood onto the floor. The remaining children, all white faced with pants probably full of shit, opened their mouths in wide O’s and a terrible chorus of distress and fear began to sing. Strong fingers grabbed the closest child, poor Bella Hiela, and ripped away her throat. She wasn’t screaming anymore.
Kitty made short work of the rest. In the room, littered with mangled flesh and blood soaked sheets, she finally felt full. She was happy. This time when she licked her lips it was to clean them of blood.
They walked side by side, but they were in no way together. Being this close to each other was probably a first and Kahlu chewed his lip. t was a small kindness allowing him to walk unrestrained. He’d been such a fool. At least Te’Jou had given him that, the last scrap of dignity he would ever get. The Peacock no longer strutted. He walked quietly, with his head slung low, watching each foot take those fateful steps to his familiar prison. The only change in all of this was his new jailor.
Two men just as burly as the one-armed warrior walked a little way behind them. These armed guards didn’t speak, didn’t smile, didn’t do much of anything except bore holes into the back of Kahlu’s head with their angry eyes. Nothing would get past these two.
Opening the door, Te’Jou stepped through and Kahlu cringed, his imagination declaring that Roedanth would be waiting, fingers stretched and ready to claim Kahlu’s beating heart as his own. Maybe that would be preferable to the foreseen future of dangling from a rope.
“Send him in.” Hard words, it was to be expected in these dismal circumstances, the usual command given to guards when dealing with a prisoner.
Kahlu almost staggered in, drunk on fear. He took his place in the chair, up against his desk. It used to be Juno’s. Ironically, he didn’t much care for it anymore.
“I’ll have a tray brought up, Kahlu. You need to keep your strength for the trials ahead. We need you strong, at least strong enough to answer some questions.” His laugh was the same, just as hearty as ever, except the two guards, posted on either side of the doorframe, didn’t join in. They were here for a very specific reason and laughing was not one of them.
“I’m not hungry, thank you.” He was a beaten man.
“Suit yourself.” There was that laugh again.
The door closed, and Kahlu was once again left alone, shuffling papers back and forth, as if it was just another day.
to find Carol Bond aka Ellen Mae Franklin
Createspace Preview Gallery:
Out of Print:
Links for purchase:
Barnes & Nobles
So we come to the end of another awesome author spotlight, thanks so much for joining me and stay tuned as there's lot's more coming this week.
Remember, Stay Cool and be Totally Awesome!