Monday, 17 June 2013

Q & A with Moira Katson

Title: Shadowborn

Series: Light & Shadow #1

Author: Moira Katson

Published: April 8th 2013

Page Count: 266

Read It & Reap Date: March 2014

Book Description: It has been only two generations since Arthur Warden seized the throne of Heddred from the Conradines, and now the crown rests on the head of Garad, sickly and weak. Shadows gather: legacies of the centuries-long rivalries for power, old betrayals, the endless plots of the courtiers, and the murmur of rebellion in the southern provinces...

Catwin, plucked from her life at the edge of the Kingdom, is thrust abruptly into the world of the Court when she is chosen by the Duke of Voltur to be a Shadow-spy, shield, and blade-to his niece, the Lady Miriel DeVere. The Duke's ruthlessness is legendary, and he will stop at nothing to become the power behind the throne, using Miriel as a pawn to catch Garad's heart.

But the Duke's carefully-laid plans are only a piece of the intrigue of the court, and greater forces than Catwin can imagine are massed against her, determined to eliminate Miriel and impose a new order of their own. If Catwin and Miriel are to survive, they must learn quickly who to trust, and when to turn their skills against the very people who have trained them...

Q & A with Moira Katson
Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters, Catwin and Miriel.
  In a lot of ways, they’re very different — as you might suspect from the title of the trilogy — but they’re both quite resilient. Catwin is strong in a very straightforward way: she’s confident with weapons, very leery of the court and its machinations. She dislikes all of the lies she sees going on. Miriel, on the other hand, is very good at saying what she needs to say to get her way, which is something she has learned how to do because she’s in the spotlight all the time — unlike Catwin, Miriel really has to be sneaky in order to carve out her own place in the world. But despite being so different, they are both very strong characters, and they inspire each other—even when it’s through competition and mistrust!
Q:  What was your favorite scene to write from Shadowborn?
  Hmm. The very last chapter of the book was very meaningful to me, and it was something that I wrote very early on, and built up to. A couple of other moments stick out: Catwin’s first training session with Donnett, and Miriel beginning to find a sense of purpose in her life (I don’t want to say exactly how, for fear of spoilers!).
Q:  Did you know you were going to be writing a Trilogy when you first started Shadowborn, or how did the story unfold for you? A:  How did you know when the story was finished? Actually, it was originally going to be a quartet! I had planned out, chapter by chapter, the entirety of the story arc. But after my beta readers took a stab at book 1, they felt that something was lacking, so I ended up mixing some of the events from the original book 2 in, and shifting the format to a trilogy. It really does work better as a trilogy, so it was fortunate that I discovered that so early!
As for how the story unfolded, that's always been a strange process for me. There’s a fine line between planning out a story well, and restricting it. The characters breathe, and come alive — and that can change the context of plot points. I like to think of it as a trellis: there’s the story frame, but there’s room for the characters to influence the flow of events a bit.
Q:  In your opinion, what makes a good, strong female character?
  This is certainly a question being asked a lot right now. In my opinion, a strong character—male or female—knows what is important to them, and instead of just taking the hand that life deals them, the character works towards goals. I think there’s this trope of strong female characters being action heroes or geniuses, but there are a lot of ways to be strong. Catwin is the action hero, and she is strong, but Miriel is someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to behave like Catwin does—and she still finds a cause that is incredibly important to her, and works to further it with the tools she has at her disposal.
Q:  What do you see as influences on your writing?
  Pretty much everything I read is assimilated, one way or another. My mother was very careful to put books in the house that had female characters doing unusual things, so the books I remember from my childhood are the Pern books, Beauty by Robin McKinley, the Alanna series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and Madeleine L’Engle’s books. In recent years, Katherine Kurtz, Jacqueline Carey, C.J. Cherryh, and Stephen Donaldson. I’m quite drawn to books that use a different prose style than I have (Guy Gavriel Kay, William Gibson, Norah Lofts)—I think it’s just brilliant, what some authors can do with language!
Q:  What do you see as the biggest challenge for indie authors and what have you been doing to overcome that?
  It’s twofold, I think: standing out, and being taken seriously. There are so many books available now that it’s difficult to grab a reader’s attention. Also, there is a feeling in the industry that indie authors are either not very good, or just not patient or humble enough to wait for a publishing house to notice them. Thankfully, the solution to both of these things is the same: write, and write, and write (and take feedback as you get it). Keep writing, keep getting better, really dedicate yourself to your craft. Whether you want to stay indie or be published by one of the big six, the absolute best way to be noticed is to have a collection of very well-written works! I feel like that’s such boring advice, like telling someone who wants to get healthier to eat lots of vegetables and exercise, but it really is true!
Q:  What do you do to unwind and relax?
  I read, although that is not quite as relaxing anymore — I’m always scanning the book, going, “Oh, that was a clever device!” My husband and I built a garden in our back yard this summer, so I’m really enjoying that; there’s something so incredibly fulfilling about growing or building things! And I run. Like many people, I have a little voice in my head that tells me that I’ll never achieve my goals, or even if I do, that I’ll still be a total failure, and long-distance running is very good practice for learning to tell that voice to shove it and leave me alone!
Q:  What book are you reading now?
  I just finished a beta of E.M. McDowell’s debut novel, and I’m finishing up Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars. My upcoming science fiction novel involves a lot of theological grappling, so I’ll be reading some Borg, Crossan, and Merton as well. And I just downloaded The Assassin’s Curse. …as you might be able to tell, I have a very difficult time just reading one thing!

About the Author: I am a transplant to the frozen wastes of the Midwest, learning to love fried food on a stick, hot dish, and the winters. Having recently bought a house, I am also learning everything from how to wire chandeliers to how best to paint a room. (Also, I spend too much time at Menard's.)

I have been writing since I was old enough to read, and I write on every scrap of paper I can get my hands on. In the meantime, I read - oh, I read so much! I like to read articles about science, about economics, about psychology and neuroscience and sociology... Some of my greatest character inspiration has come from true-life tales of people at the center of historical events, and some of it has come from the "what-ifs" that academic inquiry produces.

I encourage you to stop past my website for the latest news on my work! You can find print copies of my work on Amazon and CreateSpace, and my books are available for Kindle, Nook, and through all channels served by Smashwords!

Where can readers find you on the web?
My website
All major book retailers

1 comment:

  1. Oooo Thank you for sharing :) Looks good, bought it to read later when I have a chance :)