- What type of books do you write? I write Speculative Fiction novels, including fantasy, science fiction, and my new favorite: steampunk. I adore how words can sweep readers off their feet and carry them into other worlds. This is what I aspire to do through my writing. I also share an infatuation with poetry, so when I write, it is to a beat rhythmic beat in my head. Stringing words together is truly an art form, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my creation with the world, as well as enjoy the work of others.
- What is your latest or upcoming book about? My latest piece is a fantasy novel, titled, Empyreal Fate. It is published through Hydra Publications, and is available in both print and ebook formats. Here is the book copy:
The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.
- What inspired you to write Empyreal Fate? My deep-seated love of words and my fascination with the fantastical realm inspired me to begin Part One of my Llathalan Annal series. I've always enjoyed how the words on a page can capture the emotions of its characters and the vibrant imagery of new lands, and I wanted to create such a scene for myself - to bring to life new people and dangerous conquests, strange lands and vicious creatures. I was inspired by works before me, as well as the majesty of printed words.
- What did you do before you became an author? Well, I've always been an avid reader and writer, and that aspect of my life still hasn't changed - and, perhaps, never will. Though I am also a psychology and nursing student at the University of Oklahoma, a yogini, a biker, a swordsmith, and a jedi knight. (Okay, so many not the lightsabers or swords... but in my head, I am whatever I wish to be).
- How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? It’s a wonderful feeling indeed; quite surreal. It is what I have been aspiring to accomplish since I was but a little girl. And having accomplished it at the age of nineteen, I am quite proud, to say the least. I say this to everyone - not just writers - but as far as advice…. READ. Seriously. And write to your heart’s content. It doesn’t have to make sense at all (in fact, the more nonsensical, the better). But the Muse must come out somehow; it must be beckoned and tamed, and then it must be heeded and groomed. But without the “experience” of literature under one’s belt – from reading, writing, and even research - the craft of writing will fall in shadow. At least – I find that immersing myself in words helps spark the creative flair. It gets the cogs turning, at the least.
- Where do you see book publishing heading? I see publishing as ever-expanding. Print books will (most likely) always exist, but the electronic medium will indeed stretch farther. Unfortunately, as the popularity of e-readers and e-devices increases, I foresee the decrease in the number of independent booksellers. But, alas! One cannot see the future, and the future as we know it is never certain. I suppose we will just have to wait and see – and make the most of the now.
Interview With Author Margarita Engle
- What type of books do you write? I am the Cuban-American author of young adult novels in verse inspired by the island's history. The Surrender Tree is about a nurse who hid in caves and jungles during Cuba's three wars for independence from Spain, healing soldiers from both sides with medicines she made from wild plants. The Surrender Tree received many awards, including the first Newbery Honor ever received by a Hispanic author. My other YA novels in verse include The Poet Slave of Cuba, about a slave who wrote poetry while he was still enslaved, Tropical Secrets, about Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, The Firefly Letters, about a Swedish suffragette's exploration of Cuba, and Hurricane Dancers, about Cuban Indians whose first contact with outsiders was with a shipwrecked pirate.
- What is your latest or upcoming book about? What inspired you to write it? My most recent young adult novel in verse is The Wild Book, inspired by stories my grandmother told me about her childhood. She grew up in Cuba during the chaos following U.S. occupation of the island after the Spanish-American War. She also suffered from dyslexia, which at that time was known as 'word blindness.' She lived with the illusion that there was actually something wrong with her eyes. I incorporated the inner and outer turmoil of her youth, along with rural Cuban traditions, including the essential role of poetry in the daily lives of farm families.
- What did you do before you became an author? I have always written poetry, but I was also a botanist and agronomist.
- How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? It feels like I have received a precious gift. Nothing can ever be taken for granted. Published authors, no matter how well established, have no guarantees that the manuscripts we are now working on will ever be published. Each book is an exploration, a quest, and a challenge. Struggling writers should never give up. Summer Birds, my first picture book for young children, was recently published after languishing in a desk drawer for three decades. There is always hope. I would also advise young writers to write passionately about themes that mean the most to them, not what they think is marketable, because markets change quickly, while writing is slow.
- Where do you see book publishing heading? Since no one can accurately predict the future, I would rather talk about where I would love to see book publishing heading. I would love to see more originality, more creativity, fewer formulaic stories, fewer predictable sequels, and definitely, absolutely, always, more poetry. As the world around us grows more callous and materialistic, we need poetry more than ever before.
Interview With Author Norman German