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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Monday, July 09, 2007

Take a Haunted Walk with Jamieson Wolf at The Dragon's author interview is with the author of The Ghost Mirror

One of my favorite authors and promoters is Mr. Jamieson Wolf, a gentleman who is just a workhorse! One of his latest works is The Ghost Mirror, a fantastical look into an alternate world where Mave Mallory (who had her first interview with Henry Bakerson at last week!) comes of age! And now, today, her author joins us here at The Dragon.

The Dragon: A lot of visitors to The Dragon are familiar with you and some of your work by now because I mention you frequently, but, for newcomers, could you kind of explain what it is about writing (and speculative fiction writing in particular) that you find intriguing or enjoyable?

Jamieson Wolf: Simply put, I love to write. It's my air, my breath, and helps keep me sane. As for speculative fiction, that seems to be the genre that I'm most comfortable in. I always try to write something in a different genre (romance, suspense, mystery) and the story always works itself into a fantasy or paranormal story. I always let the story write itself, so I don't mind too much. It's almost as if my muse is saying to me: "No no, you have to write THIS story. How can we make this work?" I also have the most fun with speculative fiction.

The Dragon: The Ghost Mirror is not your first work to be released, but you were still pretty doggone excited when you got word about it. Can you tell visiting/aspiring writers how you got your contract with eTreasures and what you recommend and don't recommend for them when contacting electronic publishers for their works?

Jamieson Wolf: No, it wasn't my first published work but it was my first non-self-published work. It's also the novel that I've shopped around the most. The Ghost Mirror is my favorite out of all that I've written; the story spoke to me from the first moment so it was so exciting for it to finally have a home.

eTreasures Publishing has been wonderful to me and to The Ghost Mirror. I first heard of them after a fantastic writer I know, Lea Schizas, had her suspense novel Doorman's Creek published with them. After reading Doorman's Creek (and it was beyond incredible), I saw the kind of work they were capable of and thought I'd send The Ghost Mirror to them. Lea had nothing but fantastic things to say about them.

So I submitted and I waited. And I waited. And I waited. The one thing I would recommend with submitting to any publisher, not just electronic ones, is patience. This is something that is really difficult for me as I have little to no patience and had to learn that along the way. Be patient and don't give up on yourself. You know you can write; you just have to be patient and keep on trying, don't get discouraged!

Thankfully, Vickie Kennedy got back to me and told me she was going to offer me a contract!

Speaking of contracts, that's another thing I would recommend. After you get your contract (and if you believe in yourself, you will!) make sure you read it. Before signing it and putting your name on the dotted line, make sure you read it over a few times to understand what you're agreeing to. It also helps to have someone else look it over and if you have any questions, ask your publisher. They should be happy to help.

The Dragon: Switching gears radically, I'd like to talk about inspiration and motivation and muses. I know where the character Mave from The Ghost Mirror came from. Can you share that story with visitors and give them some pointers about "finding motivation"?

Jamieson Wolf: The Ghost Mirror really came about because of my cat, Mave. I had wanted to write a children's book with her in it and sat down to write it but that's not what came out. Mave is in it, but she's a girl and she has to fight off an evil sorcerer who is an eater of souls.

Oddly enough, it was Mr. Lavender that came to me first. I'm not sure why this is, but he was a good starting point for me. He opened up doors that I wouldn't have gone into and would have otherwise left closed.

I guess my first piece of advice for finding motivation would be to just write and keep going even if you think what you're writing is crap or it's not what you wanted to write. When I first started writing The Ghost Mirror and Mr. Lavender popped onto the page, I stopped writing it for two weeks. I had wanted to write a fluffy children's book with cats. Now I was writing a young adult novel with soul eaters and girl Witches? I almost didn't continue.

But in the end, the act of writing should be the greatest motivation itself. I wanted to see where the story would go, what the words had to say. And most of all, what this new form of Mave had in store for herself. I knew I couldn't bring her to life on a page and just keep her there.

I wrote The Ghost Mirror while unemployed for three weeks and it kept me sane. It wasn't what I had set out to write, but Mave, my cat, kept me company. She sat on my lap through the writing of most of the novel. In a way, I think she wanted to see the story told, as well.

I am beyond glad that I listened to the Muses. Sure, when you go to put something on paper, it may not be what you see in your head. But how will you know how great it's going to be if you don't put it on paper?

The Dragon: Did you find it difficult to put Mave in sad/distressing situations with her parents and in dangerous/life-threatening situations in the town of Elements? You see, I have come to love my character Chariss so dearly that as I'm writing Book III of the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy, some of the trials she endures tear me up inside. It breaks my heart to see this. And to see Nigel's reactions? Oh my God. So knowing what Mave means to you, I wonder how difficult it was to write the "exile" she experienced from her immediate family.

Jamieson Wolf: I found it immensley difficult to put Mave in difficult situations. I know how much you love Chariss, so you must know how much I love Mave. And, let me tell you something, The Ghost Mirror only gives you an idea of what's in store for Mave. There are two more books planned and things will get darker with each book. It's one of the reasons I haven't written the sequel yet. I don't want to go there. But I'm going to have to because in these cases, the story really writes itself. I don't like it, I don't enjoy it, but I have to tell the story the way it needs to be told.

As for her immediate family, I knew that Mave's family wouldn't like her. This is more because people always fear what they do not know or understand and it was the same with Mave and her parents. But don't worry, they get what's coming to them in the second book.
I don't like putting her in difficult situations, let alone a few where she could have died. I knew at the beginning of writing the story that a huge weight would be put on her shoulders.
In the end, I had to write the story the way it wanted to be written, regardless of what was going to happen to Mave. This was really hard to do. But I didn't want to shy away from what was going to happen because of my own selfishness.
Of course, it hurt to do so. But I think that if I had not let the story go where it needed to go, it would have sounded fake. The dialogue would have suffered and it would have come off sounding fake. This happens a lot, especially in young adult fiction; the author feels the audience may be too young so they talk down to them. I just perfer not to patronize my audience and let the story remain as is.

The Dragon: Without giving away any names with this question, could you tell readers how you prepare yourself for the death of a character? See, I have a few important characters die in the line of duty in Books II and III of the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy, and, as a writer, I can tell you that it hurts. You grieve as if you've just lost a member of your family, depending on how close you were to the character. I don't know if you want to tell visitors which character I'm referring to in The Ghost Mirror, or how close he/she was to your heart, but I'd like you to share your philosophy in general with our visiting writers, if you would.

Jamieson Wolf: I will tell you honestly that I cried writing that scene. I won't reveal who it is either, and if you want to know you'll have to read the book. *grin* But you're right. It hurts, a lot. When you create a character, you essentially create an extension of yourself. All characters have something of their creator in them. To have to kill them off or have them hurt: it's painful.

There wasn't any way I could really prepare for it. I knew a few chapters ahead that the character would have to perish. So I just kept telling myself that it had to be written, that the story had to write itself the way it needed to. It still hurt, but it kept the integrity of the book together.

The Dragon: And on a cheerier note, would you share with our visitors where you got the "concept" for The Ghost Mirror? Did it start with Mave? With the alternate reality she visits?

Jamieson Wolf: I started with Mr. Lavender. He scared the crap out of me. I think mostly this was because I knew that if I continued, there could be no rushing through, that this could be the best thing I had ever written. So I thought on him for two weeks. At the time, I hadn't even connected him to Mave, to her story. But in the end, it just seemed to make sense. So, how did I bring her into it? Why did Mr. Lavender eat the souls of children? Who was his henchman? What was Mave's Grandmother like? For two weeks I brainstormed and didn't write anything down. I stayed away from the computer until I was ready. And I knew when I was because words the words came so easily when I finally sat down at the computer and wrote.

The Dragon: Plug it, Baby! Where can folks pick up this book? I've got my copy (and I printed it out so I could carry it around because I like to read while lounging, doncha know).

Jamieson Wolf: Well, currently you can find the book at eTreasures Publishing. You can buy the book by clicking here:

You can buy it in e book format or in paperback. The paperback will be available towards the end of July and will even be available on and ! But for now, you can buy it at eTreasures.

The Dragon: Thank you for stopping in, my villain. It's always a good day when we have the Wolf with the Dragon!

You're welcome Sandy! Thanks so much for having me!

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