Friday, 1 March 2013

Author Interview - Elizabeth Lang


About Elizabeth Lang:

I'm a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery. 

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series.


What’s your favorite place in the entire world? On a cruise ship on the Mediterranean. I took a trip about eight years ago and fell in love with the area, plus cruising is my preferred mode of travelling on vacation. Lots of food, as little or as much activity as you want, someone else cleans and cooks, unpack once, wake up any time you want…plus go to exotic ports of call.

How long have you been writing?
That’s a complex question. The very first time I wrote stories was as a youngster—fantasy and an action-adventure. That didn’t last for long because my love of reading took over and I didn’t have time for anything else, but those two first stories are the origins of my online avatars. So, the answer is – years.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? My first loves as a reader are science-fiction and fantasy, so it’s not surprising that I feel most comfortable writing them.

Being a systems analyst has definitely influenced my writing, as well as my approach to life. I tend to be very analytical and detailed, and love complexities and patterns, hence my intricate plots, multiple plot lines, deep character backstories and dotting ‘clues’ throughout the stories that pay off later. Nothing is done without a reason.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The writing is a joy—the characters, the worlds, putting together storylines like an intricate maze. The most challenging is deciding which project to put on the front burner when another one is finished. Which one of my ‘children’ do I play with?

Do you intend to make writing a career? That’s the idea. I’ve had a long and successful career in computers and while I enjoy the challenges and the problem-solving involved in it, nothing is as soul-satisfying as writing. I would love to be paid to do what I love. The real change came when I started telling people I was a writer instead of a systems analyst.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? My greatest strengths as a writer are my abilities to create believable and multi-faceted characters and weaving together strong plots. Like many writers, I have the ‘voices’ of the characters in my head, and some of them demand better roles…

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Ah, the writer’s bane. What I normally do is work on another project or jump to a different scene or chapter. Since I write multi-plotted stories, if I get stuck on one storyline, I can move to the next one and hope the problem unravels as I work on a different part of the story.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I have two active ones. I am currently working on the third book to the Empire Series as well as a new sci-fi/fantasy. Why don’t I share snippets of both?

The Andromedans (first few paragraphs of Chapter 1)

Everything changed the day Argus killed himself.
~~~
Tension crackled like a thin sheet of ice and the bounty hunter's fingers twitched against his holster, the tips brushing the cross-hatch like a lover unconsciously seeking a connection. It would be so easy. The gun would slide out with a whispered hiss of menace and the crew of the asteroid miner would be dead before they realized the danger.

Drel Argus forced himself to relax, letting the hunger bleed away like wispy strands of razor sharp silk. He didn't want to kill anyone by accident. Not yet, anyway. Of course, he never killed anyone by accident; it was always strictly professional.

The environment system hiccupped, releasing stale air that threatened to choke him. These old ships were more like floating coffins, only fit to carry the dead. 

The crew stared at him and he stared back; unflinching, unconcerned. These people were no danger to someone like him—but he guaranteed the reverse wasn’t true.

Mrs. Beeston (A set-up scene for one of the main characters)

Snow swirled around Trevellian, snaking between his legs, blowing whispers into his ears, teasing him with ghostly messages not meant for human hearing. 

Were they good omens? Or would they turn into real serpents and wrap around his neck, binding his arms, leaving him helpless to the reaving forces of the Void?

A tree-lined path stretched out before him, their naked limbs blanketed with a light dusting of snow and reddish-brown trunks bled in the harsh winter sun.

It was strange, but he could see two snow-filled ruts even though he knew that no human vehicle ever touched this sacred ground. He wondered which of the ancients created the original illusion to mask the portal, this break in the dimensions.

It was a living painting with sights and sounds and movement, but no smells. Strange. He'd never noticed that before. Of course, when you're in a battle for your life, as he normally was when crossing the dimensions, odors weren't particularly important.

A shudder rippled through him as he stepped up on the platform. Beneath the stormy-grey cloak, his fingers unconsciously rubbed the five-stamped circlet sealed around his left wrist and his lips twitched into a brief scowl at the remembrance of the reason he was wearing it, why he was forced to wear it. 
It was a burden he could never forget, along with the five radiating lines of power snaking up his arm, just beneath his skin, only visible to those with the eyes of a mage. 

With a flick of his thumb, the mage staff hummed to life but at its crown, within a clawed titanium prison, the black jewel remained dormant until his command. It was the Bone Crystal, once the soul-locked possession of a great demon lord. An evil object some said, its heart corrupted beyond redemption, and the most powerful spell stone in existence. But, as long as he was its master, the jewel answered to him.

Can you tell us about your main character? The main character is Adrian Stannis. He’s a brilliant physicist who has a problem. Make that several. First, he’s a loner—which sounds cliché except that he’s not really. He believes himself to be a loner, people confuse him and he would prefer being considered a colorless individual, except that inside him is a real, feeling human being who keeps threatening to break out. This irritates him to no end, of course, and as he grows from book to book, the real Adrian emerges. In many ways, Adrian serves as a mirror in the book. He’s a rational thinker and while he refuses to think of himself as heroic, or even moral, how people react to him shows a great deal about who they are.

Who designed the cover? I’ve been very fortunate with both my covers. A very talented cover artist named Anne Cain did The Empire. She works in both traditional and digital medium and does fantastic work. Unfortunately Anne was overcommitted when I was ready with The Rebels, but she recommended April Martinez, who did a great job matching the style of the first book cover. She also did the one for the third book, The Andromedans.
Each of the characters will be consistent through all four of the covers for the series. It was great fun searching for the ‘perfect’ look for each of the characters from the stock photo sites.

Who is your publisher? My publisher is a small indie in the US, called IFWG Publishing.

Will you write others in this same genre? I plan a second multi-book series in the Empire universe based on the backstories of the main characters. I’ve dotted hints throughout the Empire series about the backgrounds of Adrian, Argus the bounty hunter, and Sester the psychostrategist that will dovetail together in the new story.
The other project I am currently working on is a sci-fi/fantasy titled, Mrs. Beeston.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Maybe not a villain, but a protagonist of some kind can make a story pop. They can provide the tension and the conflict that makes a storyline more interesting.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Not for research, though going into space would be great, but I have attended a couple of sci-fi conventions, the farthest one being the MegaCon in Orlando when my publisher had a dealers table.

Who is your favorite author and why? J.R.R. Tolkien writes sweeping epics with a large ensemble cast that resonates powerfully. I also tend to write epics with ensemble casts. If I could be half as good as he was, I’d be happy.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
There are lots of great online resources that teach the craft of writing, but one of my favourite is the Emotion Thesaurus from the Bookshelf Muse (Angela Ackerman). Not your standard guidebook on writing, it lists a host of places, scenarios, colors, etc. and gives invaluable descriptions for each—even more useful than a standard Thesaurus.

What contributes to making a writer successful? For me there are five:
  1. No matter what happens, keep writing and honing your craft.
  2. While praise and recognition is important and necessary, learn as much as you can from criticism. Try not to take someone else’s opinions personally.
  3. Accept that no matter what you do, you cannot please everyone, nor should you try.
  4. Remember that this is a business.
  5. Respect the readers.
Thank you for hosting me on your page and the Page Turner Tours. This has been fun.

“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
—William S. Burroughs

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:



The Rebels (The Empire series)

Blurb:

With Adrian's jump gate, the Empire is readying to take the fight to their enemies. The Rebel Alliance takes advantage of this opportunity to expand it's power and bring down this oppressive regime.

The charismatic Tucker and his second-in-command, Dain, are at the vanguard of this Rebel push, but is everything as simple as it seems?

Adrian is once again caught up with factions vying to use his brilliant mind when a bounty hunter recaptures him while Kali and Bryce try to save him.

Will they succeed? Are the Rebels their salvation or is there a hidden agenda that will destroy them all?

Charles Sester the psychostrategist is back and at his manipulative best, but whose interests is he serving this time?



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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

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Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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