Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Interview with Melanie Karsak, LADY MACBETH

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My new novel is Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens. It is Book I in the Saga for Lady Macbeth series. The saga is a historical fantasy saga, dark fantasy actually, that follows the life of Gruoch, the “real” Lady Macbeth. While many of the details of her life are based on history, I also added many elements of Shakespeare’s play . . . like the inclusion of Banquo (as a love interest!) and the three witches (as practitioners of old Celtic beliefs).

Do you have a favorite character?
Of course I love the protagonist, Gruoch, but I really love her close friend, Sid. Gruoch meets Sid at a secret coven of women who still worship the old religion of Celtic Scotland. But Sid is different. Sid can see and talk to fairies and travels to the fairy world. But her behavior, talking to fairies others cannot see, makes her seem crazy to everyone except Gruoch. They develop a close bond. I love that these two friends see and love each other for who they truly are!

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Not with this series, but that did happen in my dark fantasy/zombie series, The Harvesting Series. I have intended a short parallel story that incorporated a girl names Cricket, a carnie girl who survives the zpoc, in The Harvesting but it didn’t work out that way. I ended up with a full novella, Midway, just about Cricket and she will be a major character in the second novel in the series!

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Liliana Sanches (seen on Deviantart as Princess of Shadows) is the designer for both The Harvesting Series and The Saga of Lady Macbeth novels. Liliana is wonderful to work with. I basically told her what I was going for, the feel of the novel, and comps for the novel. She showed me drafts as she created all my covers and we tweaked from there. She did an amazing job getting important symbolism and vibe going with the covers.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I belong to the Blazing Indie Collective, a facebook group of amazing writers from across genres. Our group’s purpose is to support each other, provide positive encouragement, and cross-promote our works. We also work collectively. We are currently planning a mermaid collection that will release next summer, The Falling in Deep Collection. This is a great group and I love working with them!

The Falling in Deep Collection:

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I work with two different editors, and sometimes a proofreader, for my novels. I have dyslexia so I have to have someone read for me. It’s very easy for me to miss errors. My novels The Harvesting (dark fantasy/zombie) and Chasing the Star Garden (steampunk) have both been awarded Indie BRAG Medallions for excellence in writing so it seems like my team is doing something right!

Becky Stephens Editing:

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
That I don’t have to wait for permission, that’s the first and biggest lesson I had to learn. I can let readers, not publishers and agents, decide if they like my work. I was still stuck in the old mindset that I needed a stamp of approval. I don’t. I’ve also learned that being authentic, kind, and patient are very important qualities as I continue this journey. I am excited to see my peers succeed; I think it’s great we all have a chance. I am not big on drama or aggressive competition. I try to take bad reviews gracefully and celebrate the good ones. It’s important for writers to enjoy every small success and ignore negativity!

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am active on facebook, have a busy blog, and am growing my newsletter. I do have twitter and tumblr but am much less comfortable on those platforms. Right now, I am really enjoying writing my newsletter and figuring out what people might like to hear and read. My facebook is more where I meet people than market, but I do share new release and sales info there at times too. And I’m also a Pinterest junkie, but just because I love to look at the pretty pictures (it’s my stress-management go-to, lol!).

How about some fun facts-which do you prefer? Dogs or cats, coffee or tea, vanilla or chocolate, morning or night?
Dogs! I’ve had to clean one to many litter boxes. Sorry, cats!
Coffee! Lots and lots of coffee!
Chocolate. That wasn’t really a question, was it?
Night! I would love to get up in the morning and head to my desk, but I have 2 little people and a job that need looking after. Until I hit the publishing lottery, I’ll be sticking with the night shift.

What’s next for you?
My next two projects are the second novel in my dark fantasy/zombie series, The Shadow Aspect, and my mermaid novella, Ink.

Book & Author details:
Lady Macbeth by Melanie Karsak
(Daughter of Ravens #1)
Publication date: December 3rd 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Something wicked this way comes . . .
Gruoch is born to rule, but long before she becomes Macbeth’s queen, ancient forces claim her soul.
Marked from birth by the old gods, Gruoch is initiated into the ancient religion of her ancestors and begins learning the mysteries of the Goddess Cerridwen. But not everything is as it seems. Soon the Battle Goddess Morrigu imposes her will, and Gruoch finds herself at the mercy of the Wyrd Sisters.
With King Malcolm plotting, the Wyrd Sisters schooling her in arcane craft, and haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch feels her fate is not her own. That is, until she meets a druid named Banquo. Gruoch’s heart is swept away when Banquo awakens something in her more powerful than duty, magic, or destiny: love.
This retelling of Shakespeare’s classic work leads readers through an unforgettable saga of one woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.
Begin the Lady Mabeth Saga with Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens.

Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the  Green Fairy) and the award-wining horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. 

She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Author links:

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