Hey Hatters! Over the next few days we will be showcasing one of my favorite authors! Today we have for you her interview! Make sure you come back everyday for exclusive content and giveaways!
1. What made you decide to start writing?
It started out as a way to relax. I have been an avid reader all my life but never had any interest in writing. What started as scribbles and a series of interactions between characters started expanding. Eventually, much to my surprise, I would still read the authors I loved but instead of searching for interesting new books to read, I would just write my own stories and read them. Soon, writing started to dominate any extra hours I had. But it was so gradual that it was my husband who noticed it first. Before, when I went on vacations, I would write detailed travelogues at the end of each day. Then suddenly, I did not. Instead, I would scribble down stories. My husband convinced me that since I spent so much time writing, I should look at finishing a story and releasing it. Without Amazon and self-publishing though, I would probably never have released anything.
2. Where did the ideas for Saga of The Chosen and The Mercenary come from?
The Mercenary started out as a short story and grew into its present form as I kept writing – I was essentially looking for a good point to end the story for both Saakshi and Zoran while keeping alive the hope that the Budheya people would one day be free. Half way through it, I started writing Sila and the Ur’quay Captain’s story – this was also meant to be a short story. One day, it struck me that the two stories could intersect and The Araloka Chronicles (previously named The War Chronicles) was born.
Saga of the Chosen is more interesting. Over the years, I had multiple versions of the first meeting between Tasia and Hawk. It was meant to be a story about the ups and downs of Tasia (with her unique heritage) trying to live with a Shifter Pack led by a powerful Alpha who disliked her kind though his sense of honor would not allow him to throw her to the dogs. In the background, another story had been taking shape in my head – about three sisters who grow up separately and are brought together to change the fate of their kind. This was heavily influenced by Harry Potter in terms of a world that would unpeel very slowly, with more layers to the characters and the story as you go deeper. Then one day, it struck me that instead of crafting two different universes, I could collapse both stories and make it about the Chosen. Thus, the Saga of the Chosen. I will admit that a few of the characters that have become pivotal were only meant to be side characters with bit roles when I originally constructed the story.
3. Is it hard switching from paranormal to sci-fi?
Not at all actually. To me, both paranormal and sci-fi fall under fantasy which is pretty much the genre I love writing about. It allows me to create my own make-believe worlds with whatever rules I can conjure up or not J
4. I have to say The Mercenary is one of my all time top favorite books with The Prophecy and The Rainmaker coming in behind them, which is your favorite of yours?
It is hard for me to pick because a lot of the characters have lived with me for years, sometimes decades, before I wrote them down and published. But I would say that The Mercenary holds a special part in my heart because it was the first story I completed.
5. What does your writing routine look like?
I write multiple stories at a time. So, it is whatever I feel like writing that week. This keeps things exciting and fresh for me and allows me to move on if I’m not happy with how something is shaping up. It also makes me a slower writer because every time I come back to a story, I need to read a bit of it to get back into the groove with the characters, the world and the style of that universe.
6. I’m sure you will probably tell me to wait but what’s in store for Tasia and Raoul?
Lots of twists and turns that will hopefully surprise you J
7. Will we see more of Saakshi and Zoran in the future?
The Starfarer (Sila and the Ur’quay Captain’s story) which will be next book in The Araloka Chronicles will tell a little more of Zoran and Saakshi’s story.
8. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me but getting a book ready for release exhausts me. Mainly because it forces me to stop working on whatever is niggling me that week and obsess about the book to be released. I had no clue how much work polishing a story to get it ready for other readers can be – it is very different from writing for my own pleasure.
9. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
This is a tough balance to get right. And it’s hard to judge sometimes whether I have met it. In the early days, it was very much a hope. Now, I have wonderful early readers who give their time so generously to send me feedback and this helps me to tinker with the story before a book is released.
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have dozens in various stages. I tend to write four or five stories at a time, sort of whatever is flowing that week. I’m making an effort to be more schedule driven so that I can plan releases early and it is definitely a struggle for me.
11. I love all the names in your books, how do you select the names of your characters?
Thank you J I love to travel and when I come across a name that intrigues me, I tend to create variations of it to be used in a story. I have a notebook full of potential names! Having a crazy active imagination helps with the endeavor.
12. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I definitely read the solicited ones. In the early days, I would read them all. A review or a sale was so rare that each was to be celebrated.
A good review helps motivate me, especially on a day when I’m struggling and wondering what I’m doing as a story-teller. I try to not let the bad ones affect me and most don’t. In general, I do want to read all reviews because if I see a particular criticism repeated multiple times, I try and learn from it so as not to repeat the mistake the second time around.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
This is a hard one to answer because I have so many. Many of the ones I love end up making brief appearances in Saga of the Chosen which has the only contemporary realish world amongst all the books I’ve released. I grew up in a house full of books and read like crazy, even under the covers with a flashlight, after lights out. It’s a wonder my eyes survived J
Some honorable mentions – Enid Blyton as a child, Agatha Christie and Alistair Maclean in my early teenage years, Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart as I discovered romance, and so many more. Mary Stewart’s stories gave me an early desire to see the world. Something I’ve never revealed before – all the names for the main characters in Saga of the Chosen were carefully selected (many from a favorite book character or a TV show I liked) but one of the main protagonists is named after the hero of one of my favorite Mary Stewart books – Nine Coaches Waiting. I changed his back story a little to fit the name!
14. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Usually, it is finding the right point to end a book, especially if it is part of a series. I really dislike cliffhangers as a reader, so I want as much as possible for my readers to feel satisfied with the story while aware that some mysteries are yet to be unraveled.
15. Does your family support your career as a writer?
Very much so – I’m very lucky. My husband is my biggest supporter. He promised me a longish summer trip if I published and I’ll admit that pushed me to get The Prophecy out J He’s always encouraging and helps me brainstorm on marketing and other strategies (which I am very bad with). It was he who advised me that urban fantasy would find more readers as opposed to sci-fi romance – this is why I published The Prophecy first though I had completed The Mercenary more than a year before. My parents and extended family are super proud and also support me in different ways.
16. Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. Sometimes I get stuck on a particular scene – I know in my head what it should look like but the words won’t flow. Or sometimes a particular character will keep me up at night because I don’t like the way he or she is shaping up. My work around is to move on to another story and come back when things feel right again. That usually works for me.
17. What genre do you think you’ll never write?
18. Would you consider going into audiobooks?
Absolutely. I don’t know enough about the process and need to educate myself about it before I attempt it though.
Petra Landon is the author of three amazing books and an episode series found only on her website! Over the next few days I will highlight each book with a review, excerpts, and giveaways!
More about Petra’s books can be found here: https://amzn.to/2NQjqFB
An avid reader all her life, only recently has Petra allowed her own imagination to run riot. She loves to travel and reads everything she can get her hands on. Her idea of a good read is one where the story and characters linger, long after the book has been set aside. Sometimes, when the ending of a promising book disappoints her, she imagines a different and more satisfying outcome for herself.
She strives to write fantasy with vivid characters and elements of adventure, mystery and romance juxtaposed together, since those are the tales she has enjoyed the most over the years. To share the stories swirling in her imagination is a labor of love and a lifelong dream come true for Petra.