My guest today is K.L. Bone, author of the YA fantasy series Rise of the Temple Gods, among other work. Her dark fantasy novel, Black Rose, is coming out in October, just in time for her to make an appearance as a panelist on Anne Rice’s Undead Con. Did I mention we are on the panel together? Can’t wait to meet her.
Please join me in welcoming K.L. to the Guest Author Program!
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.
- Tell us your name, and a link to where we can find you (blog, Facebook, etc).
My name is K.L. Bone. I live in Dublin, Ireland where I am currently working as both a writer of fantasy and science-fiction, and am a PhD student earning a degree in literature with a focus in vampire fiction. My website is: www.klbone.com which includes links to both my Twitter and Facebook pages.
- How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).
I have written and published two novels thus far.
The Indoctrination is a science fiction novel about a young girl, kidnapped and trained in the ways of the Setians, a powerful alien empire spanning thousands of worlds and races. It chronicles her dark journey as she learns the brutal, and often terrifying, ways of the empire and is ultimately forced to question her own humanity. The book is currently available in paperback and on Kindle. Links can be found here: http://klbone.com/indoctrination/
My second novel, Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Kale, is the first in my young adult fantasy series. It tells the story of twin Princesses, Ameria and Mariana, who are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful temples to be trained in the arts of combat, swordplay and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. They believe they are being trained to become protectors of the realm, however at seventeen, the King declared that one of the sisters must succeed him as future Queen and the race for the throne begins. This novel is also available through Amazon in both paperback and Kindle here: http://klbone.com/temple-gods/
- Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.
My next novel is titled Black Rose and is set to be released October 2014. It is a dark fantasy novel written for a more adult audience than my previous works. It tells of a thousand year love story between two tormented souls, Mara and Edward. A member of the immortal guard, Mara was charged to protect the life of the Princess – and failed. Haunted by this failure, she embarks on a centuries-long quest for vengeance, forsaking everything – including the man she loves.
It will be followed next year by the first of two sequels Blood Rose. A full synopsis can be found here: http://klbone.com/2014/09/06/black-rose-cover-reveal/
- What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?
I am more of an organic writer, and generally do not complete full outlines. I tried a few times, but have rarely ever ended up at the place that was pre-planned. However, I do write character profiles. I tend to make lists of characters, with details like hair or eye color, particular scars or markings and anything of specific significance. I also have family trees for the more important characters and even a series of badly drawn maps for helping to visual a character’s journey across fictional landscapes. I find this is a great way to help ensure consistency throughout the story.
- Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.
The best advice I ever received when it comes to editing was this. When a manuscript is completed, put it away in a drawer for a few weeks. Then spend some time working on something else, whether it be relaxing, working on a different hobby, or writing a different story. When you do come back to the manuscript, it will be with fresh and eyes and perspective. I would also suggest finding a good editor outside of yourself, someone who can help improve the story you are writing, without changing the fundamental elements or your character’s voice.
- Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?
In my view, research is one of the most important elements of writing, even in speculative fiction. One of the most common pieces of advice offered to young authors is ‘Write what you know.’ While I think this is a great place to start, I believe that the statement should be extended to include ‘Write what you know, learn what you don’t.’ For my own work, I constantly find myself going outside of my usual area of knowledge in order to support the individual interests and backgrounds of my characters. An example of this in in my YA novels, where in order to write the swordfights and combat scenes which my characters have been trained in, I first had to learn about martial arts and swordplay. I did this by reading books both fiction and non-fictional on the subject, interviewing students and teachers of both karate and taekwondo, observing classes in both fields and taking a crash course in the history of the disciplines. I conducted this research in order to make the scenes as believable as possible.
- if you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?
I would highlight the importance of usual various type of social media as a cheap way of getting news about your books to potential readers. Things such as Facebook, Twitter, and setting up a websites can be useful tools.
I write predominantly in dark fantasy. One of the most interesting challenges I have found about this genre is finding a way to create humanistic characters in a fantastical setting. I believe it is important for characters, especially for protagonists, to remain human in nature and their emotional range in order to connect with their audience. I also have delved into darker elements in my stories (Black Rose in particular), touching on topics both sexual and violent in nature. Sometimes it is difficult to determine how far is enough.
- What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out? I suppose two very simple things. First, if you want to write, then write. Don’t talk about writing or think about writing, just put your hands on the keyboard or grab a pen and notebook and write. Second, be aware that no matter how great your story, there is no such thing as pleasing every reader. A writer should learn to accept criticism, both constructive and non-constructive with grace, and work to learn the difference between them.
- What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2014?My goals are to release Black Rose in October and, hopefully, release the second novel in my YA series Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Koloso, by the end of the year. I have also spent the year speaking at several conferences, including the Emerging Graduate Perspectives conference in Dublin, Ireland and the Great Writing Conference in London, England, where I spoke on the importance of research in creative writing.
Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.
Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Kale
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you.” – Prophesy of the Kalian Twins.
In the land of Kale there lies a delicate balance between the powerful Temples and the rulers of an ancient, royal bloodline. The Temples are ruled through combat, determined by a series of tournaments. Of these tournament champions, only a select few are chosen to become Defendants – an elite team charged with protecting the realm from all enemies. Selection to this team is considered the highest of honours and leadership of the team is decided only once every thirteen years.
Princesses Mariana and Ameria, twin daughters of two such champions, are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful Temples. Through years of rigorous training both are educated in the arts of combat, swordplay, and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. Both eventually attain the rank of Kalian Champions with the expectation of one day serving upon the coveted Defendant Team. Then, at the age of seventeen, the King declares that one of the Princesses must succeed him as future Queen. As the race for the throne begins, the sisters’ long standing rivalry intensifies, leading both upon a dangerous journey that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of the entire kingdom. Unbeknownst to the twins, this treacherous path is the elaborate collaboration of an ancient prophecy and two creatures charged by the Gods themselves to ensure it comes to pass. As primeval powers awaken, the two sisters must struggle to learn the truth behind the Prophesy and search for a way to change their inevitable fate.