Today we have a guest blogger with us, Indie author Dionne Lister. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and The Circle Of Talia fantasy series. I met Dionne for the first time on Twitter through another Indie author K.A Last. Kim happened to be posting about her book or something and I decided to investigate further. I love fantasy and wanted to know what her books were about. I fell in LOVE with her book covers. Gorgeous! I am currently reading book one in her series and will report back once I am finished. Enjoy the interview! I just found out that the first book in the series, Shadows of the Realm, has been nominated in the 2013 eFestival of Words Awards! Congrats Dionne!
Please give us a peek into your writing life. How much time each week do you spend writing? Is your desk messy or clean? Do you have a schedule or are you sporadic? What helps you stay motivated? I have a messy desk, but I write in an armchair with my laptop on my lap. if I’m determined to finish a book, I’ll manage 3-4 hours a day but I haven’t written anything for 3 weeks after releasing my sequel to Shadows of the Realm because I needed a break. So I guess you could say I’m sporadic. I’m finishing a university degree at the moment too and trying to fit writing in around paid work and children. My biggest motivators are my friends who always encourage me when I’m feeling a bit over it and the need to write always hits when I haven’t done it for a while.
How has social media helped you to reach/retain your readers and fan base? Any words of advice? Without social media I would have no fans because I wouldn’t have been able to reach my audience. Twitter and Facebook have not only allowed me to get the word out, but I’ve met great people on there who have given me advice on what advertising and promotion channels to use as well. I would advise people to spend a lot of time connecting with others in a real way, not just spamming links 90% of the time or only putting quotes from famous people on your Twitter timeline. Be you, be polite and help others and in return, they’ll help you. It’s important for writers to mix with other writers because they will be your best source of information and referrals for things like where to find a good editor, cover artist, or even how to upload a book to Amazon.
Favorite punctuation mark? I like the em dash—it sets things apart in a smooth way.
Do you have a favorite writer or someone who inspires you? Charity Parkerson inspires me because she never gives up and she works so hard, also she’s successful and earns a living from writing. Also, writers who write eloquent prose, such as Michael Cunningham, have me wanting to emulate their amazing feats of poetic articulation.
Is there another genre you like to read other than fantasy? Almost anything. I love literary fiction, romance, paranormal, crime. I just love to read.
I think I’ve already told you a few times that I love your book covers. Who is your cover designer? Robert Baird, an Australian artist. He is talented and easy to work with. I would recommend him to anyone.
Some writers like to listen to music while they work. Do you have a certain style you listen to and if so who? I listen to Keane, 30 Seconds to Mars and The Fray. I like modern stuff with guitars and passion (as you can see, I’m not exactly a music connoisseur).
Tell us about your publishing journey. Why did you decide to self publish? I wanted to self publish because I have always wanted to be a published author and I was not getting in the traditional way. I wanted to see my dream fulfilled before I died lol.
Do you have an underlying message or theme in your Circle of Talia series? If so, what is it? It’s a coming of age story, so I guess one of the messages is to keep trying, even if you don’t believe in yourself because you might be surprised what you can achieve and what you’re capable of, also that everyone, no matter their age, race or species, is capable of being useful, nice or evil—don’t judge a book by its cover (sorry for the cliche).
Give us a brief summary of your series. Shadows of the Realm is set on Talia, a world within the First Realm. When the gormons from the Third Realm threaten their world, Bronwyn and Blayke have to learn as much of the magic of the Second Realm as they can. The first book covers their journey to Vellonia, city of the dragons. At the end of the first book, a couple of the characters are in dangerous situations which they may not get out of. The second book picks up from there and this is the book where the danger escalates because the gormons finally reach Talia in great numbers. One of my characters is killed in a battle and it’s quite sad. I can’t say too much more or it will spoil things ;).
Finish this sentence: If you like to read __________ then you’ll like my books. David Eddings
What are your plans for the future of the series? I’m about to start book three, which will be the last in the series, so it’s a real trilogy (not a trilogy that ends up being ten books long). There is a realm in the book, The Sacred Realm, which I think could be the setting for the next fantasy series.
Was there a certain aspect to world building that you found hard or easy? I found the world building easy because I didn’t try to be too weird (at least I don’t think I did) and I had rules to work within. I think I did well with the world building, but I’ve had comments from some readers that they found the information slowed the book at times, but I think it’s a matter of taste. If I hadn’t explained some things, the solidity of my world would have suffered.
Description: Bronwyn and Blayke are two strangers being drawn into the same war. Their world is facing invasion from the Third Realm. While they move unknowingly toward each other, they are watched, hunted, and sabotaged. When the Dragon God interferes, it seems their world, Talia, will succumb to the threat. Can they learn enough of the tricks of the Realms before it’s too late, or will everything they love be destroyed?
The young Realmists’ journey pushes them away from all they’ve known, to walk in the shadows toward Vellonia, city of the dragons, where an even darker shadow awaits.
This is an epic fantasy adventure book with lots of action, intrigue, creaturas and dragons, for young adult to adult.
Description: While Bronwyn languishes in a cell in the bowels of Vellonia and the dragon king argues for her death, the gormons are one step closer to destroying Talia. To add to The Circle’s problems, Leon’s plans to overthrow his brother, King Edmund, are moving ahead faster than anyone could have imagined, and someone will die as a result. The realmists and dragons are doing all they can, but how could it possibly be enough when thousands have already been slaughtered?
The prophesized time of darkness, a time the realmists have dreaded for the last thousand years, has begun.
Author bio: I live in Sydney, Australia, with my two young sons and husband. After working as a property valuer for seventeen years, I decided the manuscript I had written eight years ago was not going to fix itself. Wanting to improve my skill as a writer, I enrolled in a creative writing degree and have since immersed myself in the world of writing.
I work as a freelance editor and copywriter, co-host the Tweep Nation podcast (where we interview authors and be a bit silly), co-host the Club Fantasci book club, and I have just released the second book in The Circle of Talia trilogy, A Time of Darkness. I’ll be speaking at the 2013 Sydney Writers Festival and Shadows of the Realm has recently been nominated in the eFestival of Words Awards. Life is good.