Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interview with E. Kaiser about her new release "The Traitor's Knife"

Welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay with us and visit often. Today, I brought a guest and fellow author, E. Kaiser. She released her first novel, Jeweler’s Apprentice, December 2011 and introduced the next installment in the series yesterday, July 9th 2013.

Welcome, Elizabeth, I am so glad you can join us today. Why don’t you tell my readers something about yourself?

Ah! The hard question first. Well, I’ve lived an un-normal life, have had some experienced a childhood akin to a gypsy’s and due to that I spent time in eastern and western mountains, the snowy north, the prairies and even a little stretch in the desert… which I did not enjoy.  I do not do heat very well. Still, it’s amazing the long list of things I’m been exposed to in my life so far, settings, actions, & characters, and I definitely think that it all combines to flavor the stories I have to tell.

Some things in my life have been very hard; which actually turns out to be good. Difficult financial situations, interpersonal relationships, the death of close family members… everything traumatic at the time was merely deepening my understanding of reality, I am awestruck by the Lord’s amazing power to bring flowers from ashes. I guess that might be a big theme throughout my books; that despair is exactly where hope is waiting.

The Lord is amazing that way.

I have three little ones and we are homeschooling them so my writing fits in the cracks between the craziness. When you are not writing, what are you doing?

I live and work on a farm/ranch with my three grown siblings and our parents. Our lives are a lot like rural American farm life in the 50’s; except we don’t sell eggs, so no egg-money. ;-) Big garden, canning, dehydrating, sew our own clothes, just old fashioned thriftiness and a willingness to delay gratification. It is incredibly hard to make a living in agriculture these days, unless you inherit a good chunk. We only inherited the dream from our parents; the Lord has blessed us, and we’re piecing that dream together as He allows. It’s always tough where the rubber meets the road, but it’s like Tim McGraw says, “How bad do you want it?” (And no, I actually am not a “fan” of country music. ;-) )

We have been blessed with a gift for working with animals, and my other siblings have majored in it by taking horse training into a family business. So we’ve got horses all over the place, my younger sis and I have a small herd of top quality Alpine dairy goats, (been breeding them since 1991) Of course there’s the chickens and the turkeys, the barn cats and our newest additions, the lovely Tervuren Shepherd dogs that are my special pride and joy. (I’m a dog lover; they are always first in my heart.)

I was reading your book’s blurb. I would love to hear more about your main character. What kind of person is she?

Almost seventeen year old Fia Brithin is somewhat shy, bookish, very polite, loves the jeweler’s craft and is slightly nervous around horses after an accident in the woods near her childhood home. She loves her large family and is devoted to her king and country; misses her elder brothers who went off to help the neighboring kingdom’s loyalist forces against the Ten Barons that have overthrown their government and caused havoc on the other side of the Gerardel mountains.

She is not at all the type who actually wants to go on an adventure; unlike her next younger sister who is always pining for one thing or another. Yet it is this sister that sets Fia herself on the path toward adventure, and that terribly uncomfortable thing called growing up.

When we were chatting before, you mentioned that your novels take place in a fantasy world that is similar to history. What historical periods and locations do the settlings of the books most resemble? How are they similar and how are they different?

I’ve made Fia’s home kingdom of Lorsia from my ideal world… rolling countryside with scattered trees, it falls down from the foothills of the Gerardels and slopes away to the main river where the palace sits.

The mountains are very much drawn from the ones I lived in, but I’ve made them a little softer than the Rockies tend to be. And there are jewels in them, which dwarves mine. I love that part.

The time frame is harder to pin down; they have diamond paned windows and magnifying glasses, elegant carriages and siege workshops. I guess you could say Europe in the decades before the Industrial Revolution… no engines, guns, or gas/hydro/electric power.

How many books are you planning for in this series? Do you have the titles already picked out?

My younger sister, Abigail, is heavily involved in conspiring on these books with me, and we have five planned for Fia’s journeys so far. (Three to go!) If one of them becomes too full, than it might need split, but I think we’ve got the plots pretty much scoped.

Titles, titles…. No, we do not have the titles nailed down. We have working titles; Erlandia, White Castle, and Verrizia/City of Water. Both Jeweler’s Apprentice and Traitor’s Knife were mostly written under working titles, so I’m not sure how far along in the process we will be before we find the perfect title for each upcoming book. I like to tie the title in with something; perhaps small but significant, in the storyline.

I would love to hear about how you work. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the great space between?

I am a dream-catcher type, so I sit down to write and find out what I have after it comes out. Terrible for scheduling, but the results are always so fun and interesting! That being said, it takes a tremendous amount of discipline for me to complete a whole novel, so I have to buckle down and grab that impudent muse out of the cloud where she likes to sit and throw plot bunnies at me.

But I CANNOT plot down every little detail like so many writer-advisors say. It totally kills the fun, and my writing becomes dull and boring.

So I try to mix and match, like making a salad. Toss in a little of this, a little of that… I brainstorm with my in-house editor, (Abi) and chart out the major turning points of the plot, then I throw down every scene that shows up in my brain. After a while I start getting to pull themes out and links between the scenes I have and more scenes present themselves; and then I have Abi read it and tell me what I’ve forgotten to put in. (Because at this point my brain’s pretty much mush.) Then I go back through and add those points that were missing, and then it’s time for edits.

Sometimes I take breaks in between, or whenever something in real life crashes my creative muscle. I try to get a lot of sleep and maybe read a book, and make sure I’m up on iron supplementation.  ;-) Of course Pinterest is a beautiful way to capture essences of ideas, and my Fia’s Journey board is pretty full. ;-)

I can completely relate to not being able to plan out all the details. My writing grows laborious if I know all the interesting bits and pieces beforehand. Besides, it never turns out as I planned when I get it on the page. My characters tend to surprise me. :)

Please tell us about the coming book.

The first book pushed Fia way out of her comfort zone, and she had to step up and hold down a supporting role in a place that she was not prepared to be. She has grown from that, and is much more confident as a person, though in Traitor’s Knife she still has a lot to learn about the world and what lives in it. In Jeweler’s Apprentice she was a fish-out-of-water with nothing to lose, but she made friends and earned respect and now in Traitor’s Knife that is all threatened.

“When the loyalist cause enlists the mountain house into a weaponry, apprentice Fia is confronted with three refugee children, a disturbingly upstart former messenger, and accidents happening everywhere. Are saboteurs out to nix the weapons works, or is it the incognito crown prince they're after?”

If the theme from Jeweler’s Apprentice was “Mistakes happen even when you try your best, but that’s okay and can work out better than you thought.”

…Then the theme with Traitor’s Knife might be “Be careful who you trust.”

Where can we find your books?

I’m on Amazon here, E.-Kaiser and folks can find Jeweler’s Apprentice here. Traitor’s Knife is now available, too!

My author site:
Twitter: @EKaiserWrites (though I confess it still intimidates me a little!)
Facebook: E Kaiser writes
Goodreads: E. Kaiser
Google+: E. Kaiser Writes (just new on here, so if anybody wants to connect, I’m open!)

I’m very much an off-grid girl setting sail into the roiling waters of the internet, so I am open to friending and connecting with anyone on any of these sites! Anyone that will have me, that is, of course. ;-)

Thank you so much for visiting with us today. I would love for you to come back again when your next book is ready to debut.

Thanks so much, Rachel! I appreciate the opportunity to be here! I’d be delighted to come back when we’ve got Erlandia ready for the great reveal. Abi is already so excited about it that she can hardly sit still in her chair, which is wonderful.

I’m still thinking I need a little sleep. ;-)

But it’ll be great to be back here when that comes around! 


Prairie Shepherdess said...

Great interview, Rachel! Thanks for having me.
It's always so fun to talk about writing and books, and what drives us to write the way we do.

Rachel Rossano said...

It was delightful having you. We should do it again sometime. :)