My guest today is Raven Bower, author of Apparitions and soon-to-release Wendigo. Welcome and Happy New Year, Raven. Please tell us about your writing goals.
Thanks, Susan. My main goal with writing is simple in that I want to be the very best writer I can be. Yet it’s complex in that the goal requires constant assessment of my writing (which is sometimes hard to do!) and the pursuit of gaining more and more knowledge to apply to my writing. It’s a never-ending goal!
What is your most rewarding experience during the writing process?
Readers. I love readers and people of all sorts and being an author has granted me the ability to meet so many wonderful people. From the fantastic people in the writing realm to the astute and vibrant readers I’ve been able to exchange thoughts and stories with.
I also write screenplays and that’s given me the opportunity to meet some dedicated folks in the local movie industry. It’s been grand fun seeing ‘behind the scenes’ up close and personal. Though, I often feel sorry for them having to deal with all my questions and curiosities.
Tell us about your books. Available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
My first book, Apparitions, is a genre mix of supernatural suspense and romance with some dark elements thrown in there. It’s available in print and ebook. Wendigo, which is Book Two of the series will be released in ebook format Jan/Feb of 2011 and print in May/June.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? If so, why?
Yes. Oh yes. To date I’ve written five books, three of which are at various stages in the publication process and two screenplays, one of which is under production.
By far the most challenging was the first fantasy book I wrote and ended up trashing after a year and a half of toil. Contrary to what many seem to believe, fantasy is a very exacting genre and the author needs not only a ton of information that isn’t necessary in other forms of writing but they need to build an entire world – from scratch. It’s a world building intense genre and believe me, if the writer doesn’t have their world and ‘rules’ down darn good before they start – wow it can be just…yeah. Bad.
That said, it was a learning experience and this time it’s getting done the right and patient way of ensuring a smooth and magical story for the reader. Granted perhaps my multitude of maps and graphs and uhm…half a wall of binders full of information and world building might be going overboard but hey, better too much information and tools than too few!
How do you develop characters? Setting?
Mmm most excellent question. I don’t suppose carefully will do? * winks *
I’m a character writer and hold to the idea that plot is character and character is plot. For me the two can’t be separated. So, creating characters is a focal point of mine. I’ve developed a character sheet that asks questions that I need to know in order to delve deep into the characters and bring them to the reader in living, breathing color. I spend a lot of time with each ‘cast’ member before even thinking of typing the words ‘Chapter One’ on my manuscript.
Setting is important as well. To keep things consistent and detailed I write up a description of each setting. Sometimes it’s just a few words and other times it’s several pages long depending on the setting’s importance in the scene or story on a whole. Though, most of the details in the write ups are never used (Lord forbid…the poor reader would want to hang me for derailing the story for grocery lists of details – and rightly so I add!). Still, I find them infinitely important especially because most of my writing is serial work. I never know when the characters will go back to a certain place and readers are smart folk, they’ll call foul if the carpet was blue in Book One and mysteriously changed to pumpkin orange in Book Four.
After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?
Movies and wine! Movies have a special way of recharging my creative batteries because I can kick back, relax and be entertained. But they’re inspiring to me as well because the work, sweat, tears and dedication necessary to take a movie from Idea to Script to Finished Movie is arduous. Knowing that people of that caliber exist and make their dreams come true keeps me motivated.
Any current projects?
Two actually at different stages of development.
Book three of the Apparitions series is in pre-publication editing mode so I work on the edits my editor wants to see done when she doesn’t have the manuscript.
I’m also finishing up the character outlines and creating the story flow outline for a fantasy series. The world building is well underway and is expected to continue throughout the series entire. No rest for the wicked! Actual writing of the first draft is expected to start in early January 2011.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
My website: http://www.ravenbower.com has a list of Events, links to the books and notices on upcoming or in progress works. My email is also on there in case anyone has questions or comments – love hearing from readers!
There’s also Facebook and a board at Horror World – links available at the Raven Bower site.
Raven, thanks for dropping by. Continued success! Bloggers, leave a comment for a free copy of my first novel, Genesis Beach.