I'm excited to see the epic and beautifully written “Tales of Goldstone Wood” series continue with the release of Dragonwitch! Anne is here to share a little more about the book with us today...
Amber: Welcome, Anne! First off, what are your thoughts on the cover? It’s quite different from the other covers in the series, especially since the villain is featured vs. the heroines on the other covers. Like/dislike? Does it set the tone well?
And ultimately, Dragonwitch has appealed much more to the male audience, which is also nice. I don’t think of my stories as “girly,” but with a steady stream of lovely ladies on the covers, most boys aren’t likely to pick them up. But Dragonwitch looks epic!
Also, for all there are a number of wonderful characters peopling this tale, it is ultimately the Dragonwitch’s story. She had to be on the cover.
Amber: It is indeed epic, and I am intrigued by the fact that this is her story!
What “dragons” did you have to face in writing this particular story? Was it more difficult to write than previous stories?
Anne: I wrote five different beginnings of 40,000 words each, none of which worked with the story I was trying to tell. Each time, I would try a completely different approach to the same basic story, and each time, I failed. And, with a deadline looming, that did not make for a happy writer! I have never had so much difficulty with a story before or since.
I think the problem stemmed from a stubborn insistence on holding onto storylines and ideas I had conceived years before, back when Dragonwitch was just a few notes in a spiral notebook. But many of those ideas simply did not work anymore, or weren’t as good as the ideas I was having later. But it’s hard to let go!
When I did finally stop insisting the story had to be any one thing and let it tell itself the way it wanted to be told, it started coming together. The final draft that became the book it is now really wrote itself in just three months! But I never forget the thousands of unprinted words that form the foundation of the story as it is now.
Amber: Wow, Anne! Your dedication and effort are incredible! You set such a great example for other writers - appreciate you sharing that!
Now, a little lighter of a question... If your cats could read, which of them would most love Dragonwitch and why? For some reason I’m guessing Minerva Louise… *wink* (Picture from Minerva's blog.)
Anne: I think Minerva would like it best, though she would definitely view the Dragonwitch as a sympathetic, misunderstood heroine, and all the other characters as Minions Who Should Be Crushed. Thank heaven Minerva doesn’t care to read!
Back to another serious question: What is your “weapon” of choice for slaying the dragon of writer’s block?
Anne: I’ll call it the 500 Word Knife. I faced the worst writer’s block of my life while working on Dragonwitch, but with a nearing deadline, I dared not step away from the manuscript. So I would sit down and tell myself, “You only have to write 500 words.” They didn’t even have to be 500 good words. Just 500 words that generally moved the story forward. After those 500 words were written, I would take a break, do something else, clean the kitchen, etc. Then I would sit down and write 500 more. It was a slog, but I could usually get 1,500 or 2,000 words written a day this way. (My normal is between 3,000 and 4,000.)
When the writer’s block was at its absolute worst, I ignored the deadline, took a few weeks off, and threw myself into intense research. Not even research for Dragonwitch necessarily. Just research in general, to see if ideas would come. I read books of theology, studied the history of the Norman Invasion of England, pulled out a book on British dragons, and more, taking copious notes while I read. Eventually, while pursuing these studies, I began to feel new ideas forming. Then it was back to the 500 word stints for a little while. And finally, I was able to start writing freely, and the book took shape.
Amber: Again, what can I say but "wow"?!
So, can new readers pick up Dragonwitch and understand it on a basic level as a stand-alone? Or do you recommend readers start with Heartless and work their way up to Dragonwitch?
Anne: I wrote Dragonwitch to serve as a standalone novel, but I do think readers will enjoy it best in the context of the entire series. Only Veiled Rose and Moonblood need to be read back-to-back, but all of the stories are intricately connected.
Amber: So enjoy having you visit, and appreciate your thoughtful responses! Congrats on the release of Book 5!!
Are you intrigued now, my friends?? Read on for a chance to win Anne's books and catch up with Anne on other blogs during this tour! (And stay tuned for my review of Draongwitch, coming soon-ish!)
Not only is Anne hosting a giveaway across all blogs in the tour for all five of her books, but she's also offering a copy of Dragonwitch for one of my readers! Here are the rules:
~ Leave a comment - whatever sort of comment you'd like to share. *smile* Suggestions: If you're a writer, what's your weapon of choice for facing the dragon of writer's block? If you're a reader, what are your thoughts on Anne's latest cover? What sort of covers attract you the most?
~ You must have a U.S. mailing address, and you must leave your e-mail address in a comment below so I can contact you if you win!
~ Giveaway is open through Saturday, July 20, with the winner announced on Sunday, July 21. Winner will be chosen randomly from qualifying comments via Random.org.
And if you'd like a chance to win all 5 of Anne's books (not Shadow Hand, as that releases next spring)...
...just enter via the Rafflecopter form below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog Tour Schedule
Check out all the other cool spots on the tour! Visit with Anne and her loyal fans:
July 14 - Day 1
Seasons of Humility - Interview ← You are here!
July 15 - Day 2Crafty Booksheeps - Interview
Young Adult Books - Sneak Peek
Darling Diaries - Interview
Blooming with Books - Interview/Sneak Peek
July 16 - Day 3
Blog Tour Finale and Prize Awarded back at the Tales of Goldstone Wood!