My latest interview is with author Rebecca Roland about her writing and upcoming release "Shards of History"
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Rebecca Roland: My name is Rebecca, although I prefer to go by Becky. I've lived on the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast, and now I live in the high desert in New Mexico. When my husband and I moved here from Florida, a lot of people thought we were moving to a foreign country. I work part-time in the health care industry and spend my time off from the day job hanging out with my two-year old, writing (of course), traveling, and eating chocolate.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Rebecca Roland: The first story I typed out was a mystery. I was probably fifteen or so when I wrote it. I recently found it during a trip back home and had a good chuckle while reading. Then I hid it away. I couldn't quite bring myself to burn it, although the world would probably be a better place without my juvenilia in it.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Rebecca Roland: I write because I love to read, and I want to write the kind of stories I'd enjoy reading. My parents turned me on to reading, my mother in particular. She had to rein me in every time we went to the bookstore. So I guess my parents inspired me to love reading, and in turn, love writing.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Rebecca Roland: Let me start with what I hate. Maybe hate is too strong a word. My least favorite part is getting the rough draft written. I start out with this vision in my head of a beautiful, gut-wrenching, unforgettable story, but when it first lands on paper, it's more like an ugly, shapeless blob of goo. I much prefer revising, which is when I get to shape that blob of goo into something more akin to my original vision. That's when I can focus on foreshadowing, symbols, theme, and the myriad details that make the story sing.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book Shards of History and the main characters?
Rebecca Roland: Shards of History is a fantasy novel in which Malia, a clan mother in training, comes across some information that changes what she knows about her people's history and also impacts the war her people are about to engage in.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?
Rebecca Roland: The novel started out as a short story written at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. I needed to turn in a story in a couple of days and was starting to sweat bullets trying to come up with something to write about. My subconscious came to the rescue when it provided me with a dream about towering, steep cliffs and houses built in them with no discernible way to get to them. I wondered what sort of people would live in such a place and then realized that nobody human would. That led to the Jeguduns, which led, eventually, to the rest of the story.
Books & Writing: When will the book be released and have you planned a release party?
Rebecca Roland: The book will be available on August 21, 2012. I'll be having a release party in September. It'll be an informal get-together for friends as opposed to a public event in which anybody would be welcome to wander in.
Books & Writing: Who is going to publish it?
Rebecca Roland: World Weaver Press will be publishing the book. They have been a pleasure to work with and have done a great job with providing edits to make the manuscript stronger, coming up with a beautiful cover, and with marketing.
Check out World Weaver Press at:
Books & Writing: I understand you have also written several short stories. Could you tell us something about those?
Rebecca Roland: My most recent publications include a story titled "The King of Ash and Bones" in Stupefying Stories in November 2011 and a reprint of a flash fiction piece called "The Secret Ingredient" in Uncle John's Flush Fiction earlier this year. I grew up reading the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers, so I was tickled to have a story appear in one.
Books & Writing: What do you love about fantasy?
Rebecca Roland: I love how fantasy can encompass anything from the gritty urban environment to the countryside to pseudo-medieval England to other planets. I love the magic and the magical creatures. I love how anything is possible.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?
Rebecca Roland: I'm currently working on a YA urban fantasy novel set in Albuquerque. I enjoy reading YA but haven't written much of it.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Rebecca Roland: If you'd like to see your work published, keep at it. It takes perseverance to spend years working at the craft and to keep on submitting when you've received dozens or hundreds of rejections. I had over a hundred rejections before I sold my first story.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Rebecca Roland: There are so many that it's hard to pinpoint one! I suppose, if you twisted my arm and made me choose, I'd say Stephen King. What he does so well is take your fears, turn them over and inside out, and inspect them with a microscope. He isn't afraid to go to dark places. That takes courage. I'd love to be courageous like that.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Rebecca Roland: People can find my aforementioned stories in Stupefying Stories at http://www.amazon.com/Stupefying-Stories or in Uncle John's Flush Fiction at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=uncle+john%27s+flush+fiction.
My short story "Clothes Make the Man" is forthcoming in Every Day Fiction on August 29th at http://www.everydayfiction.com/, and my story "The Appetite" is forthcoming from Aoife's Kiss on September 1st.
Shards of History will be available in electronic format August 21st.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Rebecca Roland: I blog: http://rebeccarolandwriter.blogspot.com/
I tweet: @rebecca_roland
I facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.roland
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Rebecca Roland: Breaking Bad is one of my favorite TV shows right now, and not just because it's filmed and takes place in Albuquerque. Sadly, it's in the midst of its last season. But Dexter will be on again soon to satisfy my blood thirst.
Below is an excerpt from "Shards of History"!
Soon Malia neared the spot where the Jegudun had fallen from the sky. She slowed, scanning the area for any signs of it. Wind rustled aspen leaves, the only sound other than her soft footfalls. The lack of animal sounds raised the hairs along the base of her neck.
Something rustled in the tree above her. Malia’s hand flew to her dagger as she crouched and looked up. A squirrel chattered at her, then bound along the tree limb. Malia pressed a hand to her chest and took a deep breath. Her heart raced as if she’d just run uphill. Then she grinned and shook her head at her reaction, glad nobody had been around to see her jump at a squirrel.
A few steps later, the aspen opened to a meadow about twenty paces across. The grass grew as high as Malia’s waist in some spots. Yellow cinquefoil bloomed along the perimeter. The wind died, and everything went still.
To Malia’s left lay the Jegudun, a small, human-like figure with wings. Standing, it would probably be no taller than a five year old child.
The creature’s face reminded Malia of a wolf. Sharp teeth lined an elongated snout covered with down, and a short beard clung to its chin. Its eyes, set forward in its face, were closed, and its tufted ears, although pointed, seemed relaxed.
Feathers on one side of an outstretched wing melded from light gray to dark gray on the other side of the wing. Blood covered its right shoulder.
Feathers gave way to down on its face and barreled chest, but that was the only thing soft about the Jegudun. It had squat, heavily muscled legs, and arms separate from its wings. An outstretched, human-like hand ended in curved, sharp claws that could easily tear flesh.
The tension in Malia’s muscles eased as she realized the Jegudun was dead. She imagined those men at the cliffs, facing a horde of these creatures, and shook her head. She didn’t think she could stand up to one living Jegudun, much less a bunch of them.
Malia swallowed the knot in her throat and inched forward. She reached a trembling hand towards the wing. The feathers were soft and smooth beneath her fingers. Emboldened, she ran her hand along the forward edge of its wing, moving to its bloody shoulder. Hard muscle lay beneath the down.
The Jegudun’s other arm whipped around to grab her leg. Claws dug into her flesh. The creature yanked, toppling her onto her back.
Malia hit the ground hard. She kicked her leg, trying to pull free, but the Jegudun’s grip was a vise.
It sat up, snarling, showing two rows of sharp teeth. Malia cried out and fumbled for her dagger, but it was pinned between her hip and the ground. The Jegudun pulled her towards it, her skin scraping against the ground. She imagined the creature’s teeth clamping on her leg and tearing out flesh, or burying its snout into her soft belly until it reached her intestines. I won’t die this way.