Please join me in welcoming Susan Leigh Noble on her virtual blog tour for her new book "Summoned, Book 1 of the Elemental". Susan was kind enough to answer my questions. Please make sure to leave a comment or question for her below as she will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour.
Me: According to your website, you are a mother, wife and now an author. Please tell us about your average day.
Susan: That’s tough because when you’re a mom of young kids, there is no typical or average day. During the school year, my day starts with getting my son up and ready for school. After walking him to school, it is time to get my daughter up and ready for school. She only goes three mornings a week but will start going five mornings a week in September. On my drive home after dropping her off, I usually began thinking about the next scene I am working on. Then I get about two hours of writing done. The rest of the day is spent taking care of the house and kids. Usually at night or maybe when I have taken my son to one of his activities, I get some time to jot down story lines or scenes in my notebook. Frankly, I am usually too tired to write after they are in bed so if I want to squeeze in any extra writing time I do it by getting up early in the morning while everyone else is still asleep.
Me: Are you a plotter or more of a panster (fly by the seat of your pants)?
Susan: In regard to writing, I guess it is a little of both. I usually have an idea of a few major scenes and most likely know what I think the climactic scene will be, but I don’t outline the whole novel. I like to write and let things develop and change as the story progresses. Of course, in my daily life, I am the exact opposite. I am very much a planner.
Me: Why “fantasy” instead of another genre?
Susan: I love to read mysteries and romances in additions to fantasy novels but haven’t had any inclination to write one of those. I am not sure why that is. I guess I choose fantasy because I have always loved magic and mythical creatures such as unicorns and dragons. It is much easier to write about something you love.
Me: What does “fantasy” allow you to do with your story and characters that another genre would not allow you to do?
Susan: Writing fantasy allows you to create a whole new world. You can imagine just about any place (on Earth or another world) and set your story there. You get to develop the rules on religion and society. You can create creatures that have never existed. Of course, world building becomes complex since you still have to make things believable to your reader. This is especially true with magic. You have to define some rules for the magic in your story otherwise magic would be used to solve everything. You can make it where using magic is “heard” by others with that talent or that the amount of magic someone can use is dependent on how strong they are.
Me: “Summoned ” is your first published work, can you tell us what you’ve learned since you published your first book?
Susan: I have learned that there is a lot more marketing that has to be done then I realized. And since I did this as an independent, there isn’t anyone to guide me into what are the best marketing strategies. A lot of what I have done has been trial and error, but I sometimes feel I spend a lot of time marketing and have little to show for it.
Me: Things you’ll definitely do again and things you won’t?
Susan: I am definitely glad that I decided to self-publish, but I think next time I will work on having a marketing plan set up BEFORE my novel is released. I think there are a lot of great free marketing opportunities out there, but I have paid for a few and next time I will at least have an idea of which ones worked and are worth doing again.
Me: What kind of research did you do for “Summoned”?
Susan: Since “Summoned” is a fantasy, and I created the world where it takes place, there wasn’t much research to be done. But as things come up such as when one of the characters gets poisoned, I did research on poisons and symptoms that he could exhibit and how he could be cured. I of course was at liberty to mix the information I discovered and create my own unique poison and antidote. While I use the internet for some of my research, I do have two books that I have found helpful - Deadly Doses: a writer’s guide to poisons and Body Trauma: a writer’s guide to wounds and injuries.
Me: Are any of the characters in “Summoned” based on family/friends or yourself?
Susan: No. I am sure bits of myself and people I know are woven into my characters, but I didn’t do any of that on purpose. I did base two minor characters in the second book, “Quietus," off my brother and his best friend, but I don’t even think they would recognize themselves.
Me: I know the second book in “The Elemental” series was recently published (Quietus). Can you tell us how many books you are planning for this series?
Susan: “The Elemental” is a trilogy. I am currently about half way through writing book 3.
Me: I noticed that you are a member of The Independent Author Network, can you tell us a little bit about that and why you are a member?
Susan: Independent Author Network is a group of self-published authors that support and promote each other online through Facebook and Twitter (hash tag #IAN1). The website lets each author have their own author page with links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other online vendors. They also feature a bookstore on Amazon and the Avid Reader’s Café to help promote your novel. I found it a great value. It is a nominal fee to join, but you get a huge amount of support.
Me: Are you currently working on a new project? Can you tell us a little bit about it or share a small sneak peek?
Susan: I am currently working on Book 3 of “The Elemental” trilogy. I still haven’t named this novel, but it will conclude Lina and Val’s story. Here is a sneak peak of a scene where Lina and Val (the main characters) find the renegade dragon (Kset), and a dragon battle ensues as well as an attack from a Cognovot (a creature the size of a dragon). Zoot, Gre and Tre are all dragons and communicate telepathically.
A loud roar sounded below them. Kset rose up on his haunches. The blood from the horse covered his jaws and chest. He roared again, issuing a challenge. He leapt into the air, flying straight at Zoot.
Out of the corner of her eye, Lina caught the sight of another streaking red dragon and turned her head. Tre flew after Kset, sinking his teeth into Kset’s tail. Kset screamed in pain as he whirled around. Lina momentarily lost sight of both dragons as Zoot landed. She quickly slid to the ground, landing beside Val. The instant her feet hit the ground Zoot was back in the air. Kset had freed himself from Tre and now flew straight toward the black dragon. Zoot dove suddenly for the ground with the red dragon only a length behind him. Tre barreled into Kset, and the two red dragons became intertwined. They spun through the air. Lina couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended.
A loud roar from nearby caused her to turn. She saw the golden dragon, Gre, battling the Cognovot. The creature had swelled in size until it was as large as the dragon it fought. Two long horns curved away from its broad face. It snarled at the golden dragon, kicking its feet toward her. Gre snapped her massive jaws and caught one of the beast’s front legs. The Cognovot shrieked. It butted at the golden dragon with its horns and then rose up to sink its teeth into her exposed back. Gre cried out.
“Lina, do something,” Taylor shouted as he and Ty came running toward her.
Lina snapped out of her momentary trance from watching the battle. She ran forward. She raised one hand and unleashed a fire ball at the Cognovot. The beast reared back, releasing Gre.
Tre, help Gre, Zoot called as he made a quick turn with Kset right behind him. I will try to get Kset closer to Val, so he can perform the magic.
Tre veered off from following Kset and Lina watched as he flew straight for the Cognovot. She blasted the creature with another fireball but as with many of the Learner’s creations, the fire had no effect except to distract the beast. Gre leapt forward, her claw digging into the beast’s side. Her sharp claws dug into the Cognovot’s back leaving streaks of red on its white hide. The Cognovot turned, smashing its tail into her. Gre roared in pain.
Tre barreled into the white creature, knocking it to the ground. The red dragon rolled to his feet as the Cognovot scrambled to right itself. Lina quickly shot off a series of fireballs directly at the creature’s face. The beast reared back. Tre leapt forward and his teeth sunk into the beast’s exposed neck. The Cognovot struggled to break free but Tre’s jaws remained locked on the creature’s neck. Blood poured out of the wound staining the white hide.
A screech from above caused Lina to turn. Kset’s claws tore into Zoot’s flank. The black dragon turned to snap at him. Then he folded his wings and dove for the ground, increasing his speed faster than Lina had ever seen him do before. Kset folded his wings and followed. Just before he reached the ground, Zoot pulled up sharply. His underside skimmed over the grass. As Kset neared the ground, he didn’t see Tre coming toward him. The red dragon barreled into Kset. Entwined, the two dragons hit the ground, rolling over and over. When they stopped, one dragon had pinned the other to the ground. Lina couldn’t tell who was who. And then Zoot was there, helping to hold down Kset to the ground.
Val, now, Zoot cried.
But before Val could even move, Kset threw his weight backward, hitting Tre hard enough to cause him to stumble. Kset twisted his body until he was on his back. He lashed out with his hind feet, knocking Zoot off of him. He rolled to his feet and before either Tre or Zoot could move, Kset rocketed into the sky.
5 Quick Get To Know You Questions:
1. Coffee or Tea? Neither
2. Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream? Vanilla
3. Kindle, Nook or IPad? Kindle
4. Walking on the beach or hiking in the mountains? Beach
5. Movies: Action, Thriller or Romance? Action
by Susan Leigh Noble
Lina wants an ordinary life in the Grasslands of Zena. But she isn’t ordinary at all. At the age of four, she discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - an ability believed to have died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she keeps this Elemental power a secret in fear of how the outside world would react. There is something else different about Lina - she feels a strange force compelling her to go north.
Before she can decide whether to give into this mysterious urge, she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. When a strange raging fire prevents her return home, Lina realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.
On her journey, she befriends an odd assortment of allies including the son of a High Council member, a thief, a former guardsman and a large sarcastic black dragon. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces, although such magic had ceased to exist over 800 years ago. During each battle, Lina must use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.
Excerpt # 1 - Stern Prison
The cold surrounded her, chilling her bones. She woke slowly, rubbing the sand from her eyes. Only a thin sliver of light from the narrow window barely illuminated the small room. Lina sat up, her boots scraping across the stone floor. Where was she? She glanced around; her fingers reaching out to brush the damp stonewall. She wrinkled her nose at the musty odor. A scratching sound came from the far corner of the small room. She thought of rats and quickly pulled her feet back onto the narrow cot.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, she saw the door on the other side of the cell. She pushed the thoughts of rats out of her mind and stood up. The room spun. She grasped the wall. Her body felt weird as if it was not fully hers. She vaguely remembered a man knocking her to the ground and the sweet smell of the cloth over her face. She had a faint memory of being thrown on the back of a horse and being forced to drink something with a strange aftertaste.
She leaned against the wall until the room stopped moving and then hesitantly, Lina shuffled toward the door, her arms outstretched until she felt the cold metal door. She pushed and pulled at the handle but the door did not budge.
“Tosh?” she called. Her voice echoed in the stone cell. She pounded on the door. “Val? Anyone?” She pounded on the door again but no sounds came from the other side. “Tosh? Tosh where are you?”
There was no answer. She glanced around the tiny room. It was bare save the cot. She edged away from the dark corner where she had heard the scratching. The lone window was too high for her to reach, and even if she could, it was barely a slit. Her only exit was the door. But even as she turned to consider it, she knew that her Elemental powers couldn’t help her. Maybe if the door had been wood, then she could burn her way out, but not metal. She would incinerate herself before the door would begin to melt. The walls were made of thick stone. There was nothing she could do. Wearily, she climbed back onto the cot. Cold and hungry, she curled into a ball. She wondered where her friends were and if they had survived the battle.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also threw a telepathic cat into the mix for her The Elemental Series. The first two books, Summoned and Quietus, have already been released in e-book format. She is currently working on the third and final chapter of the trilogy.
When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas.
She loves to hear from readers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Leigh-Noble/200225396700412
Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLeighNoble
Author website: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/susan-leigh-noble.html
I want to thank Susan for answering my questions and making a stop on my blog today. Please remember to leave a comment or question below as Susan will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC to one random commenter during her tour.
You can follow all of her tour stops here. The more you comment the better your chances.