Friday, October 13, 2017

Interview with R.L. Steadman, A MEMORY OF FIRE


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
A Memory of Fire is the final of the SoulNecklace Stories. The SoulNecklace Stories are set in a parallel world to our own. The world is similar to ours in some ways, but very different in others. My main characters are Will, an orphan, and Dana, a Princess, and their quest to overcome evil. The series is really about the haves and the have-nots and the choices we make. It’s not all serious – it’s also about romance, sword fighting and magic!

Here’s the detailed synopsis:

About my wrist is a tattoo of roses, strung like beads on a bracelet of thorns. I have a past, if only I could remember — but I cannot remember.
Held captive in a strange city, Dana dreams of fire and flight. There is something she must find, but she does not know what it is, or why it is important. If only her dreams would let her rest.
Half a world away, Will studies a new, exciting discipline. But while enchantress N'tombe is impressed by his newfound skills, inside he feels only desperation. A terrible moment is approaching. Soon, Dana must face her final ordeal. 
 
Is his new power enough to save her? And is he prepared for what might happen next?

In this thrilling conclusion to the award-winning SoulNecklace Stories, Will and Dana must make a heart-breaking choice. A choice that will change their world forever.

Do you have a favorite character?
Will has always been my favorite character. His story is so sad, but he’s growing into a really nice young man. I’m very proud of him! Most reviewers comment on Will -  they seem to really identify with him.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Great question! Yes. In A Memory of Fire, Mai-Long began as a side character, but by the end of the story she had become a significant force.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I was first published by HarperCollins (Voyager imprint). I shortcut the slush pile for this one by winning an award – that award came with a publishing contract. When I began writing there was no other way to get a book out – you had to use a publisher. So, I’ve written a lot of query letters (and received a lot of rejections).
How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
A Necklace of Souls was my first novel, and was published in 2013 by HC. Before that was published I’d spent around 5 – 6 years querying, writing shorts, doing writing courses, etc. I’d written a novel and a novella prior to A Necklace of Souls.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I like some aspects of working with a publisher, but I prefer the control and reporting that comes with self-publishing. I’m a bit of a data geek and I like to be able to see my sales numbers in real time, which you won’t with a traditional publisher. But I think either pathway is fine – it’s what’s best for you and for your book. I’m open to either traditional or self-publishing, but my preference is always to have maximum control over the work.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
When I was with HC I had no control at all. They sent me a mockup of the cover and there was all these things wrong! Like: the image of the necklace, was totally not as it’s described in the book, the girl had brown hair (in the book she’s red-headed) AND they’d given me the wrong name! They’d called me J. R. Stedman.

The best thing about being self-published is the amount of control. Now, I work with a really good designer (Christa Holland from Paper and Sage), and she and I work together to brainstorm what we think will work, and she comes back with a mockup. Most times she nails it straight away.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely! Good editors are as important as a great cover. Editorial is expensive, so I try to have a very clean manuscript before I send it to my editor.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books are available for sale on all main platforms: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Nook and Book Depository

What’s next for you?
I’m planning a series of urban fantasy/fairytale retellings. The first is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Working title: Songs of Strangeness. It’s set in LA and stars Jubilee Johnson (I love that name!) and Zoe Banks. Although I’ve planned the story out, I’m fairly sure it will wander off-plan as I go. I’m looking forward to discovering where Zoe and Jubilee will take me!


A Memory of Fire
R.L. Stedman
(SoulNecklace Stories #3)
Publication date: October 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

About my wrist is a tattoo of roses, strung like beads on a bracelet of thorns. I have a past, if only I could remember — but I cannot remember.
Held captive in a strange city, Dana dreams of fire and flight. There is something she must find, but she does not know what it is, or why it is important. If only her dreams would let her rest.
Half a world away, Will studies a new, exciting discipline. But while N’tombe the enchantress is impressed by his newfound skills, inside he feels only desperation. A terrible moment is approaching; soon, Dana must face her final ordeal. Is his new power enough to save her? And is he prepared for what might happen next?
In this thrilling conclusion to the award-winning SoulNecklace Stories, Will and Dana must make a heart-breaking choice. A choice that may change their world forever.

Author Bio:
Award-winning author Rachel Stedman lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Her first novel, A Necklace of Souls, won Best First Novel at the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014. In 2012 Rachel was the winner of the Tessa Duder Award and was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award. If she’s not got her nose in a book, she’s on instagram or twitter (@rlstedman) or at her local library.
Her website is www.RLStedman.com.
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