Thursday, July 17, 2014

Interview with Madhuri Blaylock

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My latest book is called THE BOY and is part of a series, a trilogy in fact. The Boy is book II in The Sanctum Trilogy; The Girl, which released in November of 2013, is Book I in the trilogy. The following is a bit about both:

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.

A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.

All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum.

Set against the backdrop of New York City, THE GIRL is “outstanding, original, complex, deep and intoxicating”, a “well written, unique…fast-paced read” that  begins as one girl’s simple quest for revenge and evolves into a complicated tale of trust, friendship, honor and love.

And the journey only becomes more perilous and intense as the trilogy surges forward with THE BOY, “another masterpiece in The Sanctum trilogy”, certain to “keep you up all night reading.” Can you cross the plains of death, collect every piece of your soul and make it back to the land of the living? And if you complete the journey, will your loved ones welcome your return?

Do you have a favorite character?
Hmmm...this is tough because I love them all, even the bad ones, but Wyatt and Darby hold special places in my heart. I love Wyatt’s quiet determination and loyalty. There’s a scene where he stands outside Dev’s door and offers her his hand - it’s such a simple gesture, but holds so many layers of meaning. I love it.

And I’ve said it before - Darby is the girl I always wanted to be.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
In fact, that exact thing happened with a character in The Boy. Jedda, my shape shifter, was initially intended to play a small role, share a couple of scenes with Max, but as I started writing him and he was staying in Darby’s apartment, I suddenly realized he was meant to play a much larger role both in the book and in Darby’s life. From there, he just took off; his character became so real and so easy to write and by the end of The Boy, I was madly in love with him.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I do use a designer, her name is Michele Mason Holmberg and she is the business. I love that broad. When she and I first started working together on the cover for The Girl, I gave her some ideas of what I wanted and she put a cover together, which I thought looked great. Obviously, she didn’t agree because a few days later, I distinctly recall I was driving up the hill to our house and she sent me her version of the cover and I was totally blown away. I pulled over to the side of the road and just stared at her work in amazement. She’s a gift. Seriously. A total gift. So yeah, I tried to give some input, but the real magic occurred once Michele was left to her own devices, with the freedom to do what she does so well. 

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I began The Girl using a detailed outline and very quickly found myself deviating from it. Initially, that drove me crazy but about midway through, I simply stopped caring and just focused on writing, finding the experience so much more pleasurable. So with The Boy I didn’t even bother with an outline; instead, I made sure I knew how the book would begin and end and then let my imganation and the characters do the rest. It was positively exhilerating.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Right now, no, because I am enrolled in Amazon’s KDP program. And because I found that most of my sales were from Amazon. I intend to start selling my paperback copies on my website, but I have not set that up yet.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I try to take advantage of as many marketing tools as I am able to juggle at one time. Currently, I have a Facebook page for The Sanctum, a Twitter feed, my blog, my Goodreads page, and am members of certain Goodreads and Facebook groups. It’s difficult to manage everything so I find myself mostly focused on my Twitter feed and my blog. 

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do - it’s quite brutal. I love to write and would love to be able to just focus on my next book, but that is not the reality of our current environment. Even if you’re a traditionally published author, you still have to promote yourself on some level, we Indies just have to do it a bit more. I actually don’t mind the marketing as much as I used to, probably because I have met so many amazingly cool authors out there who make the process almost enjoyable.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Write, write and write some more. And when you get tired, pour yourself a shot of tequila and get right back at it.

What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m working on the finale in The Sanctum Trilogy, Book III: The Prophecy, and after that, I’m going to start a trilogy centering around the centuries-long relationship of my vampire, Darby, and her “great, burdensome love”, the shifter, Jedda.

Madhuri will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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