So, some history. Teresa and I met on the Online Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror way back on March of 2009, or thereabouts. She was working on this really cool story that featured a kind of medieval fantasy world, yet also contained cell phones. And it worked. Teresa really took me under her wing as I learned to critique, even sticking with me when I overused the word "gel" as in "that scene where the horse lives doesn't gel for me," or "Wow, when the cross flips upside down in that exorcism scene, it really gels." Ad nauseum. Here we go!
|Teresa and I at StellarCon. Good times:)|
I've answered Lindsay (teenage girl from earth) on several blogs and she was very difficult to write. And it was my super awesome crit partners who finally helped me get her personality down (I knew it! I just knew it!) , but the one I'd like to talk about here is Catarina.
Catarina was incredibly difficult to write, believe it or not. I didn't want to give her an excuse for being evil, but I didn't want her so murky that the reader couldn't connect to her. I probably went over her scenes more in the beginning than any other character.
I needed her darkness to contrast Lucian's better nature. In the end, I finally managed to achieve that subtle twist to her nature that I wanted, but getting her there was a lot of hard work.
Catarina is sooo evil! I kept wanting her to be more like Lucian, to feel bad about what she was doing. Truly wicked!
You mention learning so much about religions and Christianity in particular while writing Miserere. How many books did you read? Was there anything that you read that blew you away?
I lost count of the number of books. I would guess around eight to ten that I read cover to cover and that's not including many that I skimmed for background information. I've got three Latin dictionaries and phrase books, one of which is specifically about Church Latin. I read numerous journal articles too.
The one book that absolutely blew me away was Armando Maggi's Satan's Rhetoric: A Study of Renaissance Demonology. Maggi's analyses of Renaissance treatises on demonology and his correlation between language and possession astounded me. He writes that in a possession, the "'virus' assaulting the mind is the mind itself. In a demonic possession, the mind listens to its own annihilation."
From that point forward, I changed the way I thought about Rachael's possession. I didn't want spinning heads and weird behavior. I wanted my Fallen to be more seductive; they would approach their goals through devious rhetoric, not head-banging violence.
So, yes, Satan's Rhetoric just knocked me for a loop. I'm still studying Maggi's theories. Fabulous work.
Sometimes writers fear losing control of their books when agents and editors get involved. Any words of wisdom regarding your experience?
I had a very positive experience with editors and that includes my agent Weronika Janczuk, who is absolutely marvelous at editing. Before we started submitting Miserere, Weronika made several suggestions to the manuscript. We talked about two or three approaches to Miserere's story, and when I explained the bastions and how they worked, she told me to make it clearer in the manuscript and beef up my world-building.
I added another 10,000 words based on her recommendations and Jeremy Lassen (at Night Shade) recommended that I add more words and clearly explain how Woerld worked. He made some very specific suggestions in some places, and not once did I feel like I was losing control over my story. No one ever asked me to change the main premise; they all wanted more detail in some areas.
No one ever made any unreasonable demands, and both Weronika and Jeremy wanted to see the book sell. So I trusted their judgment and I sincerely believe that their guidance made Miserere stronger.
Talk to me about marketing. I haven't seen you dressed up as your characters or getting your fans to wear chain mail and cuirasses. Did you put any thought into this or what?
Fans?!? There are fans!?! WHERE? *looks around wildly*
Sorry, Kelly. I've had some very positive reviews and some kind words from people, but no fans yet, so we don't have to worry about them dressing up as anything but themselves. I don't do dress up either, I'm afraid.
Meanwhile, good old-fashioned marketing is going on. I am working through the blog tour and that has taken an amazing amount of time, but I really believe it has been worth the effort. And I do want to stop here and thank everyone again for letting me a part of your various blogs for a day. Every stop has brought Miserere before new people and it's been a blast to meet all the gracious hosts out there.
What I do have are bookmarks and some swag in the form of some awesome oversized postcards, which are available when I travel. I'm working on setting up some book signings in my home state; I've got an interview and a review for Miserere coming up in the next issue of Bull Spec magazine; and I've got other nefarious plans boiling beneath the surface.
I hang out on Goodreads and Twitter and Facebook; although, I am going to be pulling back some soon so I work more on my next novel, The Garden. So far, people really seem to be enjoying Miserere, so I’m going forward with the next book in the series, Dolorosa.
I think the thing that surprises me is the amount of work involved in getting my name out there online and in person. It's taken an incredible amount of time to set up blogs and web sites and work all these things into an already hectic schedule.
Every ounce of work has been worth it, though, and I’m looking forward to meeting more people. Maybe someday, I’ll even have some fans.
Oh, you already do! And it's not just me. Jen McFadden has a question for you: Do you have a word count you try to hit every day?
No. I don't stress myself like that. I do try to write something, even if I do nothing more than edit the previous night's work.
Alright, that's it! Thanks For taking the time to come see us, Teresa. You can catch up with Teresa on her blog, on Twitter, and her author page on Facebook.
Click here to read the first four chapters of Miserere for FREE! I loved this story from the first chapter. Let me know if you enjoy it too!