Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Introducing Linda Rucker to The Dragon's Visitors last

I had some technical difficulties this morning, but now I've got it together and I'd like to introduce a friend of mine, Author Linda Rucker, who has published a couple of fiction novels, including the current thriller available from Page Free, Dark Ridge. As Linda says, she was born without the patience gene, so she wasn't waiting around for the traditional publishing industry to get this book on shelves; she went the self-publishing route, but did so the smart way. The title is being distributed through Ingrams and Baker & Taylor, which means you can walk into your local book store and order it - no sweat. Without further ado, let's see what Linda has to say about this murderous mystery tale...

The Dragon: Your teaser for Dark Ridge states it is a tale of lies, betrayal, violence, madness, and murder. So, first off, what age group do you think will enjoy this novel?

Linda Rucker: Hmmm, have to be careful with this. Age wise, I think it is more intended for mature audiences. Although most of the R-rated material is more innuendo than actual hit-you-in-the-face openness, the book does strongly hint at incest, child and spousal abuse. People tend to get squeamish about those things, but it was necessary to advance the story.

The Dragon: What sort of experiences or stories from your childhood did you draw on to pull this kind of plot together?

Linda Rucker: A bit of Dark Ridge was actually taken from my Granny's life, and the stories she told us about her life growing up in rural Alabama. Back then a man's wife and children were his property to do with as he pleased, and the consequences were often brutal and sadistic.

The Dragon: How did you embellish the anecdotes from the stories you heard 'around the kitchen table' so-to-speak to create the main plot?

Linda Rucker: A lot of the stuff came from my mother-in-law and father-in-law and the stories they told of the small S.E. Kentucky town they were born and raised in. Like a lot of towns that were basically cut off from the rest of the world, crime and passion was an everyday occurrence. Those tales helped to create the world of Maylorsville and Dark Ridge.

The Dragon: The story develops as America is recovering from the war with Japan and Germany. How do you let the effects of war and characters returning from battle influence the way other characters think and react to one another? Was it difficult, as a woman who had not been to war, to give characters those types of reactions and how did you do your research?

Linda Rucker: Actually, the town Maylorsville is modeled after was fairly isolated. The allusion to WWll and Henry's homecoming basically served to present a timeline, without coming out and saying that Dark Ridge takes place just a few years after the war. As for the research, I am in the process of writing a fictionalized account of Phenix City, Ala., during the war years. It is to be a tribute to my mother and father and their love story. Phenix City is the only city in the United States to ever have been placed under martial law. A lot of the research for that book came from the stories my mom and dad told me, other relatives and from some very in depth books written about Phenix City. It also helps that I used to live there. But the research for Dark Ridge was mostly listening to the stories my father-in-law told me. He is a font of information about the Cumberland Mountains and that area and time.

The Dragon: You're working with a mutual friend on a community project called Just Say WHAT to raise funds for AIDS research, and 40 percent of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of Dark Ridge go toward that project. Could you tell visitors to The Dragon how you met theauthormike and how you guys came up with the idea of Just Say WHAT?

Linda Rucker: Now you're talking! And you might well be sorry you asked, because I could go on forever about this!

Mike Morris is not only a fellow author, but he is a dear, dear friend. I adore him, and so do you, I believe! Actually, the idea for W.H.A.T. was born from an Oprah show one day when Bono was on there talking about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. You know how you get one of those, "How can I help?" moments? Well, watching that show was my "How can I help?" moment. Actually, to be honest with you, I figured I could more or less kill two birds with one stone. I could draw attention to the plight of those infected with HIV/AIDS and to my book at the same time, but I had to figure out how to tie the two together. Then it hit me. Why not offer a percentage of the royalties from the sale of Dark Ridge to HIV/AIDS research and education?

People react to others who are willing to put themselves out there and offer assistance however they can. As a writer yourself, you know that we actually make very little percentage-wise from the sale of our books. So, I figured I better be generous and contribute as much as I can to the cause. I decided to donate 40 percent of my royalties to HIV/AIDS research and education. Then, I had to figure out how to get the ball rolling. Mike was the only answer that made any sense. He is not only a darling, darling man, but he is warm, compassionate, highly intelligent and he is personally connected to this disease. So who better to hook up with than him? We put our heads together and Mikey came up with Just Say W.H.A.T. That stands for Writers Helping with AIDS Treatment. Mikey set up a website and has been tirelessly promoting the idea for months. Very soon we will be accepting submissions for an ebook. Every dime from the sale of that ebook will be donated to HIV/AIDS research and education.

It's a slow process and it is not as easy to interest people in helping with this most worthy of causes, but Mike's tireless efforts are beginning to apy off. Honestly, without Mike, I doubt my idea would have gained much attention, but with his genius and determination, it's beginning to look like it will after all.

The Dragon: My next question is about the ebook and submissions. The site Mike created at mentions the proceeds will go completely to help with AIDS research funding, a first submission deadline, etc. Do you feel you have enough submissions yet that you could print the collection of short stories as a chapbook if someone donated the funds to do so?

Linda Rucker: Actually, Mike is in charge of the submissions, so I'll defer that answer to him. But, I think we did well with the submissions. It is an opportunity for would-be writers to have their work in print and to draw attention to W.H.A.T. We are hoping to get enough submissions to create several ebooks and we're hoping that a publisher out there with a heart will take a chance and publish the books in hard copy. As far as chapbooks go, that's a good idea, if we can find someone willing to help us out.

The Dragon: What else would you like visitors to The Dragon to know about the Just Say WHAT project?

Linda Rucker: Only that it is a worthwhile project and with your readers' help it can donate a lot of help to those who suffer from this deadly virus. Every one of us out there either know someone, or know someone who knows someone who has this virus or they have it themselves. It's not as farfetched as you might imagine, and for those of you who think it can't happen to you, read the statistics. This disease is growing faster than anyone wants to admit, and burying your head in the sand isn't the way to go about stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is only through research and education that we will be able to defeat, and eventually eradicate this disease.

The Dragon: Linda, it's been a joy to have you stop by The Dragon today, and I wish you much success, not just with Dark Ridge, but with the Just Say WHAT project as well. I hope visitors to The Dragon can stop by to check out more information about your book and to pick up a copy!

Linda Rucker: Thanks for having me, Sandy, and I wish you all the best with Choices Meant for Gods. I am so excited for you and anxious to receive my autographed copy from you!

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Blogger Jeni said...

Great interview here, Kiddo! Ya did good! Now, on another note, I gave you an "award" today -stop by my blog and pick it up and wear it proudly on your blog cause you do, always, make me think!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

Good morning! I'm on my way over...and I'm totally intrigued...

Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

8:48 AM  

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