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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview with Krista D. Ball

Hello Krista D. Ball, and welcome to Kitty’s Inner Thoughts. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. Tell us a little about yourself.

What were your feelings when you first learned that Road To Hell had been accepted?

Having Road to Hell accepted was amazing. I'd written that novel originally as a short story/quasi-script. It was nearly all dialogue, and was really just me writing during a time when I was working a lot of hours and was feeling down about the main series I was working on at the time. Along the way, that short story evolved into a novel. As luck would have it, it was accepted two months before Tranquility's Blaze, my epic fantasy novel, so I have two novels accepted within as many months.

What inspired Road to Hell?

Lots of things...and nothing. I wrote it while I was working a lot of long days on my feet at a homeless drop in, I was frustrated with my epic fantasy novel, Tranquility's Blaze, and needed to stop and write something new. So, that's where it came from. Originally, it was supposed to be a short story, but instead it became a novella...and then a short novel.

Do you prefer writing sci-fi over writing paranormal?

I can say that science fiction comes a lot easier to me story-wise, but paranormal is a hell of a lot easier to write once you got the story. There's no world building; it already exists! After writing epic fantasy and science fiction, doing a paranormal was easy. But I wouldn't call it my first love.

What was your favorite part about writing Spirits Rising?

Not answering to anyone. I wrote Spirits Rising (and indeed, will be writing the entire series) for me. I grew up in Newfoundland, and I wanted a story where the only person I wanted to impress was me. I knew going in that I would self-publish it, would do little promotion for it, and that this was really a for-fun project.

For-money projects are great, don't get me wrong. I love those! They pay bills. But every so often, a girl needs to spread her wings for love projects, too.

What are some of your favorite elements of writing paranormal?

Less world building! Oh wow. Going from science fiction and epic fantasy to writing a contemporary story like Spirits Rising was such a brain release. People could use cell phones! People have cars and wear jeans. It was such a relief for me and it wasn't until I was writing these things that I realized how great writing today could be.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay inspired during revisions?

Alcohol should never be underestimated.

I have a schedule board, where I note what projects I should be working on by month. That way, I can tell at a glance if I'm behind schedule by just looking at the board. Besides, I never get too bored because I can see when things will change.

Right now, I'm putting the final touches on the second of my Tranquility series, and also writing a non-fiction book. That one is due in by August 15 to the publisher, so I'm definitely feeling the pressure!

What are some of the difficulties you run into with the world building aspects?

Not getting bogged down. I have a history background, so it's so easy with epic fantasy (especially) to just get all tangled up. I try to use the rule stick of: am I doing this because it's needed or because I want to show off? I've discovered it's usually option 2 ;)

What is something your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

This is a tough one. I don't know, actually. I don't have any really weird hobbies. Well, I do, but I try not to let anyone know about those!

How do you balance writing with your ever day life?

I am asked this question a lot, and I have no good answer for it. I ensure those around me respect my schedule, weird hours, and deadlines. Kids who scream when I have a galley due in 12 hours get grounded and send to their rooms. I think many of the problems people have with balance have to do with respect:

Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.).

I'm pretty lazy about these things. For my trade stuff, the publisher handles all that. It's really glorious and I love it! For the self-published stuff, I generally just let folks I have new stuff out and tweet about it every so often.

I do plan to do some book signings and such later this year. But right now, I'm really too busy to organize those things. Convention season is coming up and I'll be at a couple of cons locally. I often speak and such at those, so I'll do signings and whatnot then.

Right now, I'm just trying to get stuff in by their deadlines!

What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?

Nothing, to be honest. I'm very good going into projects with figuring out what I'm going to do with them. I am going to *try* to go slower for the next year, however. I've had a mad push to finish stuff this year for some personal reasons. But I'm nearing the end of the two major projects I need to finish (the last deadline being August 15), so I hope to take things slower for the rest of the year.

Do have any future projects you’d like to tell us about?/

My epic fantasy series debuts with book1 called Tranquility's Blaze. That'll be out April 17th. My history guide for writers called What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Author's Guide to Food and Drink will be out toward the end of the year, possibly November. Of course, I have my web serial, Collaborator, that I am working on that folks can read on my website.

Thank you for spending time with us today and sharing some of your experiences with us. Hope to hear from you again, Krista!

Bloggers, be sure to check out her website, and books. You won’t be disappointed. This lady is a master of creating new and exciting worlds. In fact, you can read my reviews for Road To Hell and Spirits Rising and see how much I enjoyed them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Shape Shifting

One of the biggest parts that goes into writing a book is research. You can either view it as a boring, chore, or as an exciting new adventure. Either way it's often a requirement for pretty much any book. You can spend hours, weeks, or months depending on the subject and how much you need to know to make your book seem authentic.

I've spent the past several days scouring the internet for research on the many aspects of shape shifting all over the world. Asia in particular, has some awesome mythology behind shape-shifting.

For instance did you know that shape shifting comes in three main forms?

Mental (M-Shift) - A change in psychological state, where a person thinks and behaves more like their animal. This form is rarely used, because let's face it, anyone acting like this would be committed. Right? But it could be fun to play with if you have the right setting for the characters.

Spiritual (S-Shift) - A change in spiritual state, often broken down by type (astral shifting, auric shifting, etc). The spiritual self, astral body, or aura change to resemble the animal. This is the form that Native American and Indian tribes lean towards the most. It could prove a fun aspect to play with for just about any kind of plot.

Physical (P-Shift) - A change in physical state, physically changing to become more like, or entirely like, their theriotype animal. Controversial, and largely thought to be impossible {except in books, movies, and animes}. This form is the most widely used and therefore widely recognized form. Who doesn't want to change into a real animal right?

Three main forms of shifting leave us writers a whole lot of room for creating legends for our characters to explain how they transform.

However, depending on where in the world your characters are located, will determine the extent you can play with the legends. In my opinion were-wolves while good, are way overdone these days. So, let's take a look at were-cats instead. {Who doesn't love those affectionate balls of fur?}

In India the were-tiger is often a dangerous sorcerer, portrayed as a menace to livestock, who might at any time turn to man-eating.

Chinese legends often describe were-tigers as the victims of either a hereditary curse or a vindictive ghost.

In both Indonesia and Malaysia there is another kind of were-tiger, known as Harimau jadian. The power of transformation is regarded as due to inheritance, to the use of spells, to fasting and willpower, to the use of charms, etc. Save when it is hungry or has just cause for revenge, it is not hostile to man; in fact, it is said to take its animal form only at night and to guard the plantations from wild pigs.

In Africa in reference to were-cats who turn into lions, the ability is often associated with royalty. Such a being may have been a king or queen in a former life, or may be destined for leadership in this life.

European folklore usually depicts were-cats who transform into domestic cats. Some European were-cats became giant domestic cats or panthers. They are generally labelled witches, even though they may have no magical ability other than self-transformation. During the witch trials, the official Church doctrine stated that all shape-shifters, including werewolves, were witches.

As you can see there are many different versions of were-cat {aka Ailuranthropy = human/feline transformations.} Some say they are good, and non threatening to natives, others say they are dangerous to everyone. It leaves authors a lot of play room when developing legends to suit their novels or movies.

Move over were-wolves and make room for the cats to come out and play.

Which legend is your favorite? Which transformation is your favorite? Why do you think P-shifting is the most popular form used in novels and movies? Feel free to respond in comments. I'd love to hear your insights and opinions.

This is another awesome post about Ailuranthrophy you should check out.

Reference Materials: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werecat and http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Therianthropy