Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature that shines the light on Indie and Debut authors. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:
~Author of Spirits of Glory~
Nine of my books were published conventionally by NAL/Roc before I started publishing ebooks. I wrote under three pen names (Emily Devenport, Maggy Thomas, and Lee Hogan) and was published in the U.S., the U.K., Israel, and Italy. My novel, Broken Time, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award. Now that I'm an Indie writer, I'm writing again as Emily Devenport, and plan to publish my entire backlist as ebooks under that moniker. I'm married to artist/writer Ernest Hogan, live in Arizona, and am (slowly) pursuing my degree in Geology. I volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
What inspired you to write Spirits Of Glory?
SOG was inspired by a vivid dream about a rainstorm – which may sound like a pleasant and innocuous thing, but this storm was taking place in the middle of something called a time fracture. The storm seemed suspended, and the raindrops looked like crystals. It was so beautiful I wouldn't have minded if it lasted forever, but the dream eventually shifted to more perilous events.
The funny thing about dreams is that we have more than one a night, as our brains keep cycling through different states. Usually they don't hang together – they're sort of like TV programs that come on, one after the other. But sometimes it seems to us as if all those dreams are happening in the same universe, like sequences in one lifetime. So my first dream was about the rainstorm; in the next one I was traveling along a shattered highway. The overarching theme in those dreams, and the ones that followed, was that one morning all of the people in the Northern half of the continent where I lived woke up to discover that all of the people who had lived in the Southern half had disappeared. I knew that if I continued South on that shattered highway, I was going to find out why.
I woke up before I had the answer, so the only way I could find out why was to write the book.
Indie publishing....hard road or good experience?
Both. I worked with excellent editors when I was being published conventionally, but the publishing industry is not designed to allow writers to publish all of the books they want to write. They want all of your books to be of a type, sort of like your brand. And they don't want you to write more than one a year. So the best thing about Indie publishing is that you're in charge – you decide what you're going to publish and how often you're going to do it.
Unfortunately, once you're on your own, you no longer have those wonderful editors to go over your work and make sure it's polished enough to publish. So you need to hire your own editor, someone who will look at your manuscript objectively and kick your butt when it needs to be kicked. You usually also need to hire a cover artist and a formatter (though some writers finesse that stuff pretty well on their own).
That's a lot more work than conventionally published authors have to do. But the work is just beginning – once you've published your indie title, you've got to get noticed. Most of us try to get reviews from book bloggers, and then we try to get them to paste those reviews onto major retail sites, like Amazon & Barnes & Noble. This takes a lot of time, and it's hard to make all these queries without sounding like a pest. You need a blog of your own, and you need to spend some regular time on Twitter and Facebook. Somehow, you've got to find a way to be entertaining and interesting, instead of sounding like an annoying commercial. It's very challenging – and a heck of a lot of work.
If you could pick a song that fit the mood of your book what would it be and why?
It would be “The Lark Ascending,” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. RVW's music captures the beauty of wild, lonely places better than any other music I've heard. I think the lark portrayed by this piece is the human heart – once broken, but still full of courage, love, and integrity. This is a good description of my main character, Hawkeye. “The Lark Ascending” fits this novel so well, I named one of the forbidden cities Lark.
Not to be a cheater pants, but there is one other song I'd like to mention: “Useless Desires,” by Patty Griffin. I quoted a line from this song at the beginning of the book:
Goodbye to all the windowpanes, shining in the sun
Like diamonds on a winter's day, goodbye, goodbye to everyone . . .
This line gave me the shivers the first time I heard it, because it made me think of the empty cities of the South, whose inhabitants mysteriously disappeared overnight.
Have any authors or books inspired you or your work?
I've loved a lot of books, and I think the science fiction and fantasy novels I read as a kid had a profound influence on my personality – certainly, on my ability to dream and to have a sense of wonder. But what inspires me to write a particular book is more likely to be music, nature, dreams – even news stories. Movies and TV shows have also inspired me, not because I feel compelled to copy them, but because I see directions stories could have gone (but didn't).
Whats on the horizon for Em?
I published my first two ebooks (Spirits Of Glory and The Night Shifters) at the very end of 2010. By the end of 2011, I released an ebook version of one of my backlist titles, Broken Time, and a new novella titled Pale Lady. I'm about to release another backlist title, Belarus – I just turned the manuscript in to my formatter. And my husband and I just finished co-writing a YA fantasy titled The Terrible Twelves. We're hoping to get that one off to the formatter near the end of May.
I've got several works in progress. The two that are closest to completion are King Monkey (a YA kung-fu/Cinderella story) and The Order Of The Dragon (about a race of Dragon knights who discover the old Dragons are not as dead as they seemed).
Emily has been published under three pen names: as Emily Devenport, I wrote SHADE, LARISSA, SCORPIANNE, EGGHEADS, THE KRONOS CONDITION, and GODHEADS. As Maggy Thomas, I wrote BROKEN TIME, which was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. As Lee Hogan I wrote BELARUS and ENEMIES. My books have been published in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Israel. I'm writing as Emily Devenport again, and I have two new titles out from Smashwords: THE NIGHT SHIFTERS and SPIRITS OF GLORY. I'm also an undergraduate studying Geology and a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
Wow- sounds like your going to be one busy lady.....I loved the song you choose for the book, it was beautiful. Wishing you all the best for those future books. Thanks for being on the spotlight today!!
Today Emily is giving one eBook copy of her book to one winner. Please leave a comment to enter.
One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.
That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight :&emdash; what else might they do?
But the Northern gods say Hawkeye should go and her curiosity won't let her refuse, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine. Pain and puzzlement wait along the broken interstate, along with scavengers who want to kill them all. Hawkeye's questions only generate more questions as they move farther and farther into the South, right into the heart of the Disappearance, until Hawkeye's questions have all been answered.
Even the ones she was afraid to ask.