Thank you!

My grateful thanks to Nadine and Patrick and everyone who participated! Nadine will be picking and announcing her own winners, so watch the comments on her threads. I will be doing the draws for Patrick and me in the next few minutes and getting the word out too. Please be patient, I'm a little worn out. ;o)  But if you subscribed to the comments, it should all turn up in your inboxes.

Janet Ursel takes your questions

Janet Ursel, whose Christian fantasy Disenchanted was released today, is here now to take your questions in the comments. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Disenchanted. Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Disenchanted links:   Amazon  Barnes & Noble   Goodreads

As usual, I've pulled up the comments into the main text here for easier reading. Some very light editing has happened.

Janet Ursel
Good evening, everyone. I hope we haven't worn you all out in the first two hours!
In case anyone is wondering, DISENCHANTED is NOT autobiographical, LOL! I actually made a very conscious effort to create a character very different from me, with a totally different life.

Faith Song
Hey, Janet. :-) I have a question. Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from a dream?

Janet Ursel     
Yes actually. I read recently that one of Tolkien's bits of writing advice was to write from your dreams. I've been dreaming of flying ever since I was a child, so I turned that into a serial short story that I give to people who sign up for my newsletter. But I want it very clear that Harvey Anderson is nothing like me, even if he got to do the flying... ;o)

Faith Song     
Oh, really? I've been dreaming of flying since I was little, as well.
I recently had a dream which helped me solve a plot issue in a story I'm writing. It was lovely.

Janet Ursel     
Tell me about it.

Katherine Coble
In an earlier interview you mentioned facing health challenges. Are these still ongoing or was an underlying issue rectified?

Janet Ursel     
It's improved. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At one point it was so bad I spent the entire day on the couch and started losing weight because the effort of making a sandwich was too great. (I was living mostly by myself at that time.) But I managed to find a couple of the causes and rectified them, so now I am much more functional. I still have to be very careful of my energy but I can write again. :o)

Amanda Gawthorpe
What are your writing habits like? Do you have any routines you follow? Do you write daily or when the mood strikes?

Janet Ursel
Habits... *sigh* I try to write daily but it's a struggle. Once all these launch activities are over, I am going to try to get back to daily writing. But whenever I am unsure of myself, I become incapable of writing, so I have to figure out where the problem is. Right now, I have concluded I need to know some of my characters better, so I am exploring their lives a bit before I continue the book. I got a short story out of that and I'm guessing another will be coming soon.

Janet Ursel     
DISENCHANTED has made Amazon's list of Hot New Releases in Christian Fantasy. :o) #14 of 88.

Faith Song     
I struggle with writing routines, as well.
Have you ever participated in a writing program, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), or Camp NanoWrimo?

Janet Ursel     
Yes, I credit NaNoWriMo with giving me the kick in the butt that I needed several years ago. I didn't win, but I did get over 30,000 words written that month, which was absolutely phenomenal for me! I am a slow writer. I didn't do too badly the year after, but by the third year I froze solid and couldn't do it any more. I've learned I need to stop writing sometimes and do the deep thinking about my characters or why things are happening the way they are and where they are going. If I just write for the numbers, I end up psyching myself out. But it was great while it lasted and I made some good friends. :o)

Faith Song
Great. I've found Nano useful because it helps me get words on the page. I like Camp NanoWrimo better, though, because you can pick your own word goal, and because there are writing groups which are very helpful for having writing friends to cheer you on.

Nadine Brandes
Yes, Camp NaNo is MUCH more fun and motivational for me, too! :)

Amanda Gawthorpe
How many books are planned for the Coventree series?

Janet Ursel     
I don't know. I have ideas for three or four so far, but who knows? I've been a little amused by reviewers who just assumed that a trilogy was planned. They didn't get it from me.
I don't have an overall plot in mind, like the Harry Potter books. But as each book ends I will be asking "Where does Coventree go from here?" and seeing what comes up.

Heather Huffman
Are you a plotter or a pantser? (As in, plan and outline your plot or fly by the seat of your pants when you write?) Do the characters ever surprise you?

Janet Ursel     
I outline until I run into a brick wall. Then I write the story until it passes that brick wall and I hit the next one. Then I outline again until I hit a brick wall. Then... I have a headache. And yes, my characters occasionally refuse to do what I tell them and take things in different directions. Stupid characters... They're usually right.

Faith Song      
So, a lot of authors have a certain character that they enjoy writing, connect well with, or just like quite a bit.
Out of your characters, is there a certain character that you would consider your "pet character?"

Janet Ursel
Wow, that is perhaps the hardest question I've been asked this evening! I'm not good at favourites. Of course, I'm fond of Blayn, I've spent so much time with him. But I also love Catherine, which is good because she will take center stage in the sequel. And believe it or not, I found Edgar Saville fun to write. I didn't love him, because he was a total, cold-blooded psycho, but somehow he was very easy to write. So scheming. I'm not a schemer, so I really don't know where that came from.

Heather Huffman
Too funny. You answered my question as I was posting it. Never mind. :0) And congrats on the ranking!

Mark     
I see I'm late.. :)

Janet Ursel     
ROFL! And your question is... ?

Mark
Glad to see the good listing on Amazon, Janet.

Janet Ursel     
Thanks, Mark. I'm glad to see that a total unknown can get a little traction. ;o)

Laura Blackman
So happy for you Janet. It's been a busy season here but I want you to know I've been thinking of you and enjoy reading your blogs and posts. I'm entering a children's book for my first writer's contest. You definitely have inspired me to keep writing! Thanks, my friend.

EJ Hanagan     
Hi Janet! Do you have any traditions while writing?

Janet Ursel     
EJ, not many. The only thing that is really consistent is that I prefer doing the very first draft on paper. Somehow a blank page is friendlier to me than a white screen. Go figure. Then I start the next day's writing by typing in what I did the day before, polishing a bit as I go, and that gets me in the flow to start again on paper.

Nadine Brandes interviews Patrick Carr

Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak, interviews Patrick W. Carr, the author of the Staff and the Sword series and the upcoming Darkwater Saga. The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

Patrick will be giving away a copy of The Shock of Night to one lucky commenter! Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Patrick W. Carr

Patrick W. Carr

Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes

Amazon links to Patrick's books:

Nadine's first question:

Why are you passionate about writing fantasy instead of some other genre?

I've pulled the comments up into the text again for easier reading. I left out a couple because they weren't entirely on-topic but you're free to scroll down to read them if you like. ;o)

Nadine Brandes
Hi Patrick! The above question has already been touched upon in some of the questions asked during your Q&A, but is there anything you’d like to add or go deeper about?

Patrick Carr
I think it's because it allows me the opportunity to really let my imagination fly. In school my teachers used to yell at me a lot for daydreaming. Ha! The joke's on them. I get paid to do it now.

Nadine Brandes
I'm assuming you don't tell that to all the daydreaming students you have in your math classes... ;-)

Patrick Carr
Actually, I have quite a few math students who really struggle. I remember one in particular who worked very hard and just barely passed. She came to me crying and apologizing. She credits me with giving her a very good piece of advice which was, "Find something you love and be really good at it."
Every now and then being a teacher has some amazing moments.

Nadine Brandes
That sounds very rewarding as well.

Nadine Brandes
You are a father, a high school math teacher, AND you were recently student, correct? I know you said in the Q&A that you write for an hour each morning (your commitment inspires me!), but do you ever have a chance to read and keep up on what’s happening in your genre? What do you tend to pick up if you have time to read?

Patrick Carr
I don't get to read nearly as much as I'd like. I'm so looking forward to retirement. Ha! When I do get the chance to read, I will read whatever's got a lot of buzz in the fantasy world. I want to see what the fuss is about and plus it's fun to see the masters at work. I've been meaning to read "The Way of Kings" forever and just haven't been able to block out the time. It's massive!

Nadine Brandes
Ah yes, Brandon Sanderson. I've heard his name over and over this past year so he's made it to my TBR list, but I haven't found the time to crack open one of his books yet. Do you have a favorite book he's written that you'd recommend?

Patrick Carr
He did a masterful job completing The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. A shorter work that won't dent your schedule too much would be "The Alloy of Law." I really enjoyed it. Flawless world-building.

Faith Song     
Brandon Sanderson did a very good job on Steelheart. I just read that, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Nadine Brandes
I've heard a lot about Steelheart. Haven't heard of "The Alloy of Law." Now I want to go read...

 Katie Grace
Ooh. My favorite book by Brandon Sanderson would have to be "The Rithmatist." I've also read "The Way of the Kings" (which was good, but became rather long and drawn out in parts) and "Steelheart." I just got Mistborn from the library and am excited to read it. I've heard SO many good things about it.

Nadine Brandes
Speaking of flawless world building...let's talk a bit about your writing and books. ;-)
I’ve heard you say a few times that The Hero’s Lot (book 2) is your favorite book from the Staff and Sword trilogy. Was it simply the plot that made it your favorite? Was it easier to write? Can you give us some insight on this?

Patrick Carr
That's is one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten. I think The Hero's Lot is my favorite because I had a lot of the world-building settled and I could just let my characters and story lines run wild. I still had the third book to rein everything in so the second book was mostly about going deeper with the characters. Plus, there were scenes i'd been planning ever since starting the first book and now I was finally getting to write them! The whole book was one long adrenaline rush during the first draft.

Nadine Brandes
That sounds awesome! Following this same vein of thinking: Which book has been the hardest for you to write? Not just out of the Staff and Sword series, but in general?

Patrick Carr
That's probably a toss-up between A Draw of Kings and the one I'm working on now, The Shattered Vigil. There are times, way more than I'd admit to, when my creativity well just dries up for a while. There's nothing to do for it, but keep writing. This summer I was 40,000 words into The Shattered Vigil and realized I was going to have to do a complete rewrite. The way I'd chosen to write about the plot line, was just NOT going to work. I think I moped around the house for 4 days doing nothing because I was so depressed by the prospect. But I'm feeling much better now. :-)

Nadine Brandes
Glad to hear you're doing better! I'm learning the pain of writing when uninspired, too. Ick.
Sometimes we need those four days of moping to recover and return further inspired. :-)

Do you ever notice a recurring theme or message throughout your writing, especially as you’re starting a new series? If so, what is it? What’s that one message/feeling/question you hope your reader takes away from the books?

Patrick Carr
It's something I keep coming back to because it's so important to me. Everybody's broken and our brokenness is often our greatest strength. A lot of times I have to rewrite scenes because I feel like I'm getting too heavy-handed with it, but there's no denying it's important to me. I'm not sure I can write a book without it in there.

Nadine Brandes
That's beautiful, and a great reminder for all of us. Watching Errol master his own struggles was very inspirational. I'm sure it resonates with every reader since we are all broken and have our own struggles to fight daily.

Kristine     
I loved your Staff and the Sword series, and am very much looking forward to this new series. This is the first I've heard about it, so can you give a brief synopsis of it? Does it tie in at all to the last series?

Patrick Carr
Kristine,
Thanks for dropping by. The new series is called "The Darkwater Saga." It has no connection to The Staff and the Sword. Think of Darkwater as a blend of Sherlock and The Screwtape Letters in a medieval setting. Along with that, my main character is suffering from PTSD. Tagline: "What if the clues to a crime that could destroy your world were hidden in your mind?"

Nadine Brandes
I'm SO excited for the Darkwater Saga!

Patrick Carr
Hopefully it won't stink up the joint. I'm in the middle of the final galleys now. Not my favorite part of the writing process.

Faith Song     
That sounds fascinating! I went to the page for The Shock of Night, and it sounds pretty epic.

Patrick Carr
Yes! Detective-suspense-epic-medieval-fantasy. Why write one genre when you can write them all?

Kristine den Boon
Thanks! Sounds intriguing!
Also, will By Divine Right be available in any other formats? Ie. book or from other ebook vendors such as Kobo?

Patrick Carr     
Kristine,
I don't know. I'm assuming it will be in other formats such as Nook. One thing I don know is that it's e-book only and perma-free. So that's a good thing.

Kristine den Boon
:-)

Nadine Brandes
Aside from Errol, who was your favorite character to write or get to know in your books? I’ve only read the first book so far (can’t wait to get to the next ones), but I really liked the side character Liam a lot.

Patrick Carr     
Hands down, Rokha is my favorite character. I hadn't really planned on using her for more than the first book, but she was too good not to. Aside from that I really enjoyed writing those scenes with Cruk and Waterson (3rd book). The cynical look at life makes them so much fun to write.
Liam was probably the toughest character to write: period. And I still try to figure out how I could have done him better. So far, I haven't come up with anything. I can't tell you why without giving away the rest of the story, but suffice to say, his characterization gave me a lot of trouble. I'm glad you like him; that makes me feel a little better.

Nadine Brandes
I think tonight might be a reading night for me when we're done. I've been aching to continue reading your series for months! And yes, Rokha was fantastic. She was one of those characters that became instantly in-depth the moment we met her. I love where you took her in book one.
This might be a trivial question but…what made you choose to have Errol master the staff? I can’t BEGIN to express how refreshing it was not to have to trudge through pages and pages of sword fight training!

Patrick Carr
Theology. The series is called The Staff and the Sword. Read the rest of the series with this in mind. When Jesus came the first time, he came as the shepherd. When he comes next, he comes as the conqueror. I always laugh when people say they like the series because it's not preachy. Beneath the surface, it's one of the most preachy things I've ever read.

Nadine Brandes
I love that your answer goes deeper than "I just like staffs more than swords." Very intentional...and eye opening. :-)

Athelas Hale
I really, really loved Waterson. Something about his quiet cynicism about everything, and yet he was also brave - even loyal, though it could take a little digging from what you first see to know that. I enjoyed having him in your books.

Julie Dick     
What was the last book you read that surprised you?

Patrick Carr
Unfortunately, the more I write, the less I'm surprised by other people's writing. It's really annoying not being able to just turn off the analyst and the editor. I read "The Lies of Locke Lamora" this summer and really enjoyed it (Language alert - if it was a movie it would be "R"). I really enjoyed the author's style and thee were some interesting plot twists. The most surprising fantasy book I ever read was "Tigana" by Guy Kay. The ending totally hit me between the eyes like a 2 by 4.

Nadine Brandes
I hope you have time to get to this question, simply to satisfy my curiosity...
How do your story ideas come to you? Character-first? Plot-first? Question-first? Storyworld-First?

Patrick Carr
Character-driven plot first. With my new series, Willet, my detective, came to me first with all his flaws and problems. The plot flowed from there.

Patrick Carr
Thanks for coming, everybody. I had fun! :-)

Nadine Brandes
Thanks for the interview, Patrick! it was fun and inspiring.

Janet Ursel interviews Nadine Brandes

Janet Ursel, whose Christian fantasy Disenchanted just released today, interviews Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak . The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

Nadine will be giving away a paperback copy of A Time to Die to one lucky commenter! Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes

Janet Ursel

Janet Ursel

A Time to Die links:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads 

Janet's first question:

Please don't hate me for this... Although I haven't seen the movie, I did see the trailer for In Time in theaters, and so when I saw the premise for A Time to Die, I just had to know: Were you already working on your book when the movie came out, or did you get inspired to do something different with life clocks because of the movie?

I've moved the comments up into the main post, again for easier reading. The original comments are still below, for the purists.

Nadine Brandes
Ooh, I'm actually really glad you asked this question, Janet! Pulls out soap box
Yes, I was already working on my book when IN TIME came out. The first time I saw the trailer I had a full-out meltdown. Poor hubby had to figure out how to console. This was the first time I tackled the "Someone stole my idea!" syndrome. I think every writer goes through it at some point.
It was very growing and I soon realized that, though "time" was a main concept in the movie and my book, they were completely different stories. I went to watch the movie and actually left grouchy because I felt like they could have done so much more with the concept. Ha!
It didn't change my story at all, but it did grow me a lot as an author. Besides, now the people who liked the movie can turn to my books and find something similar (but not the same) to enjoy! :D

Janet Ursel
I think it illustrates really well how two different authors will do two entirely different things with the same idea. :o)
“They” say a first novel is autobiographical. To what extent is this true of yours?

Nadine Brandes
This is definitely true of mine. Parvin is a bit of a reflection of "teenage Nadine." We obviously have our differences, but I wanted her to ask all the same questions I asked when I was young -- "How do I communicate with God?" "What's the purpose of life?" "IS there a purpose to life?" etc. I figured, if I was asking those as a young 'un, then others probably were too.
This made the book much easier to write because it felt like a giant extension of my teenage journal.

Janet Ursel
So what about the other characters then? Are any of them pulled from your life?

Nadine Brandes
Not really. I can't think of any, actually, that reflect relationships in my life. I never had an older brother, my mom is the kindest most tender and sweetly emotional human on earth (unlike Parvin's mother) and I never dealt with bullies. LOL
I suppose that goes to show that people can have the same deep-rooted life questions even while in completely difference life circumstances.

Faith Song
This has always been a writerly fear for me... Or, worse, that after I finish a book, I'll find out that there's been something similar out for some time!

Janet Ursel
When you were writing A TIME TO DIE, did you intend all along for there to be a sequel? There are so many things I am still wondering...

Nadine Brandes
Another great question. NO! It was intended to be a standalone novel! And it was going to end completely differently. (No, you're not allowed to ask. Hehe.) But when I was about halfway through writing it, the story continued to blossom. It was like God was telling me, "This story is much bigger than you, Nadine." And bigger than Parvin expected, too. I think He kept this revelation from me in order to make Parvin more realistic (i.e. not expecting bigger things to happen.)
So, I grudgingly agreed to make it a two book series. Well...you can see where that's gotten me.... ;-) I'm currently writing the third (and confirmed LAST) book. :)

Janet Ursel
LOL! Well, I'm glad, because there were so many teases in the first one. Will we ever find out what was in Reid's journal?

Nadine Brandes
That is the question I get the most often. While there's not much more in the continuing books, I'll be writing up a short book of clips from his journal as a goodie for readers. :) Keep an eye out for it!

Janet Ursel
Hey, we HAVE to find out why he was so sure... Won't say more, for fear of spoilers.

Nadine Brandes
Oh, well THAT is revealed in book two. :P

Donna Garman
So grateful for your participation here this evening, it is exciting to read about your books, I certainly intend to pick up copies! You have wonderful reviews on Amazon for your In Time - inspiring on so many levels. I assume we can look forward to more in this series?

Nadine Brandes
Thank you Donna!
I hope you do pick up copies. I'd love to hear what you think of the book. :) And it's such a blessing to see God use it to affect the lives of others. There's power in fiction!
Yes, there are two more books to the series. A Time to Speak (book 2) releases this fall. Book three is in the works. :)

Janet Ursel
This is perhaps a trivial question, but is there any particular reason the Big City was named Ivanhoe?

Nadine Brandes
I read the book IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott when I was a child and both my sister and I decided that "Ivanhoe" was the epitome of awesomeness (to my shame, I don't even remember half the story. Must re-read that sometime soon.) So it seemed to fit when giving a new enchanting city a name. I "borrowed" it and never looked back. ;)

Janet Ursel
Do you outline? Improvise? Bit of both?

Nadine Brandes
I outline in my head until I have a good idea of where the story is going. In my mind, once it's written down it's harder to change, so I rarely put plots on paper. Weird, I know. But recently I've been trying my hand at more plotting -- arranging it all in a graph of sorts. I like how it's been working with book three. I plan to try it with my net planned novel and, if it works, it might become the new normal.
So, in short: a bit of both. ;) (The phrase "bit o' both" makes me want to go re-watch Guardians of the Galaxy.)

Janet Ursel
I keep flip-flopping back between the two myself. And now for something completely different:
If you had to reduce your library to just a few books, which ones would you choose?

Nadine Brandes
I'm assuming the Bible is a given. ;-)
I hate these sorts of questions but...I'd want a dictionary because my vocabulary needs a LOT of work. (This is almost always my answer to the question, "If you were on a desert island with ONE book aside from the Bible...")
Next is the Harry Potter series. (Can we call a one-volume version as just one book?) I get seriously geeky over it.
The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers.
Ooh, ooh, and probably some giant theology book (dictionary-length.) I figure that, if I'm only allowed to read a few books, I might as well be educating myself instead of just entertaining. ;)

Janet Ursel
Now you're making me feel guilty. I always have mostly fun things. At least I didn't force you to stick to one!

Nadine Brandes
LOL! Yes, I really appreciated that you let me pick more than one. :)

Janet Ursel
I can never do just one. That is pure torture.
Who are your writing heroes? And why?

Nadine Brandes
J. K. Rowling is one for many reasons. I think her Harry Potter series is one of the most perfectly wrapped up stories I've ever read. Also, her approach to being "famous" was very inspirational to me in my younger days.
Francine Rivers -- because she's not afraid to tackle the tough questions or the tough situations. While her books are gritty, they greatly inspired me to live more seriously for Christ.
Jeff Gerke is my writing hero when it comes to writing craft books. He isn't afraid to break or challenge the "writing rules" and he sees deeper into the art of writing speculative fiction than anyone else I know. Since that's my genre, I eat up any craft book he writes. :)

Janet Ursel
Worthy heroes! I've only read REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers. It is probably the only romance I've ever read that I actually enjoyed. And passed on! That takes some skill!
I can't even begin to imagine how JK plotted that whole story out ahead of time. Oy!
I've got a book or two of Jeff's too...
And a question that is perhaps a bit bigger. Would you like to tell us the story of how A TIME TO DIE came to print? Did you have to knock on a lot of doors?

Nadine Brandes
Actually...I tell people that my "author story" was served on a golden platter. The hardest part of my journey was writing a quality book. But once God gave me the idea for A TIME TO DIE, he just lit up the next steps. The moment I heard about Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press) I knew that was the publisher for me. I felt as though God made me a promise that I'd be published through them. I just had to wait.
So I waited and perfected my writing. I never submitted to agents, I didn't submit to any other publishers. I established a relationship with Jeff Gerke (former owner) at a writing conference and after four years of writing conferences, he requested to see A TIME TO DIE. I hadn't even pitched it! And it wasn't even fully written! He said he'd wait.
So, almost two years later, I sent him the full manuscript. He read about 1/3 of it and then offered me a full series contract. The only rejection letter I received came from a different publisher on the same day I received Jeff's acceptance letter.
There's SO much more to my story, but it all revolves around praying and trusting in God's timing. And that's what I would encourage every author to do! Trust in Him and commit your writing to Him. :-)

Faith Song
This is amazing! I've always seen authors saying they got many, many rejection letters before being accepted. It would be nice to be published like this. :-P

Emerald Barnes
I hope it's okay to post a comment here. I'm not seeing a comment box on the reader questions. Seriously, my internet is AWFUL tonight.
Nadine, I saw that you were 28. Yay. Me too!
Who did your amazing covers! Every time I see them, I fall in love all over again! My friend, J.L. Mbewe posts about your books all the time, so I've been itching to get a hold of them. I love the premise of them, and I just love fantasies. How do you feel about creating a new world as opposed to a well known one. (Throwing the same question at you as I did Patrick.) :)

Nadine Brandes
I think the comment box disappeared once the hour for questions ended.
My covers were done by Kirk DouPonce at http://dogeareddesign.com He's amazing!!!! And I'd love for you to read my books! Then tell me what you think about them! :D
Well, my world is dystopian so it's a stretched futuristic version of the current world. I LOVED writing it!

 

Patrick Carr takes questions

Patrick W. Carr

Patrick W. Carr

Patrick W. Carr, the author of the Staff and the Sword series, and the upcoming Darkwater Saga is now taking your questions in the comments. Please check out his website and get to know him and his work. Newbie questions are fine!

Patrick will be giving away a copy of A Cast of Stones to one lucky commenter. Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Amazon links to Patrick's books:

I've moved the comments up here for easier reading, again, very lightly edited. The originals remain below.

Janet Ursel:
I've got to know: how on earth do you teach and still find time and energy to write? I am in awe.

Patrick Carr:
I get up every morning at 5:30 and write for an hour or so before school. It's the only way, because after class my brain is like a bowl of tapioca. Strong coffee and dark chocolate help quite a bit as well.

Amanda Gawthorpe:
I second Janet's question. As someone who also has four kids and a job, time management is a big issue for me. How do you do it?

Patrick Carr:
Well, the kid part has gotten easier of late. My youngest just turned 18 and so they're all off at college this fall. I just have to make sure that I'm still being the husband I'm supposed to be. The really hard part was the last couple of years when grad school was in the mix as well. Definitely don't want to do that again...ever.

Lydia Thomas:
What drew you to writing fantasy?

Patrick Carr:
The idea that I could write absolutely anything! Of course, the freedom to write anything, means the requirement that you figure out a way to make it work, world building and all that, but the fun remains. It's the ultimate mind experiment of "what if?"

Janet Ursel:
I'm going to turn your own question back at you: do you take people you know and put them in your stories?

Patrick Carr:
All the time. I'm a terrible cheat plus when the cast of characters gets to a certain point having pictures on file of what everyone looks like helps me to keep the descriptions consistent. In every series I will have one character that is my sister, Ramona. She's my alpha reader and gets a kick out of looking for herself because I always mix up the letters of her name and use it that way. Example: Anomar in A Cast of Stones, is Ramona backwards. I kill myself sometimes.

Kiah:
That's hilarious. :) So, was Errol inspired by anyone you know?

Patrick Carr:
Errol was modeled, looks anyway, after my oldest son Patrick. Thankfully, my son's not an alcoholic. I'm very proud of him.

Janet Ursel:
That is hilarious! I don't think I would dare, personally.

Patrick Carr:
While I'm waiting for the next question, I will begin telling the famous (to those who know me) eyeball story.
So when Patrick Jr. was little we used to play this game where I would lie on the floor and he would stand on my hands. I would then push him up toward the ceiling like he was in a miniature elevator. I think he was probably 4 or 5 at the time.

Kiah:
I just finished reading the Staff and the Sword Series a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it! How long did it take you to write the entire series?

Patrick Carr:
I started on A Cast of Stones years before it got published. I got about 3 chapters in and just couldn't get the story to gel in my head so I put it aside for 2 or 3 years. While I was visiting my sister one evening, I got this idea for a different approach to the story. I worked it for about a year and then took it to a couple of publishers. About a year after that they picked it up, by which time I was over halfway through the sequel. Then I wrote A Draw of Kings in about 8 months. That was the deadline that was the hardest. So all together it took about 5 years of writing, but it was stretched out a bit.

Patrick Carr:
(Eyeball story continued)
Anyway, one evening we were playing our game and Patrick's feet slipped. Down he falls and lands, no kidding, right on my face. It didn't hurt that much, but my head had no place to go and when he landed on me I heard this sound that went...qqqwwwiiiicckkkk.

Amanda Gawthorpe:
I'm truly terrified to hear the rest of this story!!

Ashley M. Holbrook:
Who's your favorite niece? Hehe. Just kidding. Ok, serious question this time. What's your favorite aspect of creating a new character for one of your stories?

Patrick Carr:
Ashley!! Thanks for dropping by! Okay, here's the answer: Figuring out what their past and their secrets are going to be. I think that defines so much of us and once I get that straight in my head, it's a lot easier to get that character to react realistically.

Patrick Carr:
(More eyeball)
So I sit up and my nose and face feel funny, like I'm all stopped up. Then a small trickle of blood comes out the right side of my nose. Not much, not even as much as a little nose bleed. But my ears started to feel stopped up to, like I've been in an airplane and just landed.

Nadine Brandes:
I'm refreshing this page every four seconds....must. know. what. happened. [grin]

Athelas Hale:
Okay, I must think of some very good questions... I read your "The Staff and the Sword" series, and LOVED it. What made you first decide to write fantasy?

Patrick Carr:
A lot of that decision was probably because that's what I read. I cut my teeth on Lewis, Tolkien, Eddings, Donaldson, Feist, Kay. You name it, I probably read it. I really enjoy the world-building process even though it can be difficult at times to come up with a set of rules that feels genuine.

Athelas Hale:
World building is a lot of fun. Do you ever develop entire languages for your worlds? Do you have a favorite part of the world building process?

Patrick Carr:
I experiment a lot with other languages such as Latin (The Staff and the Sword) or Old English (The Darkwater Saga). I think my favorite and most challenging part of world-building is coming up with a workable and intriguing system of magic. I tend to lean toward Sanderson's definition which means it has to have rules, limitations, and consequences.

Patrick Carr:
(Still more eyeball)
So, I pinch my nose shut and blow to clear my ears.
And my right eyeball starts to come out of the socket!!
I'm sitting next to the laundry basket so I grab a clean diaper (we used cloth for our kids at that point) and push my eyeball back in. And, clever man that I am, I yell "Mary, we need to get to the hospital now!"

Amanda Gawthorpe:
Oh. My. Goodness.

Patrick Carr:
Seriously, right? Talk about getting a different perspective.

Janet Ursel:
I shouldn't. I really shouldn't. But I'm laughing.

Athelas Hale:
Oooww. Do you still have trouble because of this, or did they get it fixed. (Also, I can see why going to the hospital would be a good idea. xD)

Patrick Carr:
No, no trouble at all. It's cool the way we heal and I've had lots of opportunities to do that.

Athelas Hale: coughs So, you seem to have a lot of experience with the emergency room and healing... Just curious, but how do you usually research your novels?

Amanda Gawthorpe:
There is no book that is universally loved by all people. All authors will face negative reviews. How do you deal with them?

Patrick Carr:
It depends on how I'm feeling that day. I read every review no matter how bad it is. A few of them have actually contained some insight that I've used to try and be a better writer. Some of them come across as pretty mean-spirited. I had one reviewer that said she wrote the (very bad) review while she was under spiritual attack. Then she wrote for 11 paragraphs about why my book was garbage. I thought, "that wasn't much of an attack." When you get those reviews, you just have to roll your eyes, chuckle, and move on.

Patrick Carr:
(Eyeball saga)
So we get to the emergency room and by now the skin around my eyeball has these funny lumps around it and when I push on them they make this rice krispy kind of sound. So the nurse takes all my information and tells me to wait. So I wait, and wait, and wait. And now I'm thinking "I've got an eyeball trying to come out of the socket. What does it take to get seen around here?"

Emerald Barnes:
Sorry I'm late to the party! (Hate I missed Nadine's interview. Was wanting to get my hand on her book for a long time now!) I just read the eyeball story. Wow. I couldn't imagine that!
Fantasy novels fascinate me because I love new worlds! How do you find describing new worlds? Do you feel like it's easier or harder than writing about a well-known place?

Janet Ursel:
It's still going on, Emerald. Jump threads and come join us! You have 15 more minutes!
And you can do both at once. I am living proof...

Patrick Carr:
I find it harder, actually. Making up something out of whole cloth is always a challenge because I'm such a stickler for realistic magic systems. That's probably my engineering background at work. I was educated and trained to look for flaws. It makes me a terrible nit-picker when I'm putting together a story. I would love to write some urban fantasy sometime just so I can rely on a ready-made world. We'll see. So many books to write, so little time.

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Emerald! There are still 15 minutes left to my interview: https://janetursel.squarespace.com/disenchanted-launch-party/2015/7/7/janet-ursel-interviews-nadine-brandes
And you can also read some of the Q&A questions here: https://janetursel.squarespace.com/disenchanted-launch-party/2015/7/7/nadine-brandes-takes-your-questions
Glad to have you here! :)

Emerald Barnes:
Fantastic! I'll pop over there right now. My internet has been out until now and it's spotty. :/ Anyway, heading over there now! thanks!

Patrick Carr:
(Eyeball-ness)
So the doctor finally sees me and decides to take an x-ray of the funkiness that is happening in my skull. The doctor says "You've broken the occipital orbit bone under your right eye and air went up through your sinus behind the eye."
And what happens next? The same thing that always happens when I go to the emergency room. The doctor looks at me and says, "Yeah, we really can't do much since the bones not displaced. Here, take these antibiotics and don't blow your nose for 6 weeks."

Nadine Brandes:
LOL

Janet Ursel:
If it weren't for the fact that doctors saved my life once, I would have a similar grumble. They always seem to say they can't do anything...

Kiah:
Wow. Just wow.

Janet Ursel:
I have a terrible confession to make: I had to read Nadine's book first because she was the one I was going to be interviewing. But I really loved that you started out A CAST OF STONES with a drunk as the protagonist. :o) Any particular reason for that? (And seriously, you had my heart pounding with that chase scene! So well done!)

Patrick Carr:
I wanted a flawed hero and for Errol, I wanted that flaw to be visible so that readers could 'see' his flaw. I wasn't confident in my ability at that point in time to depict a more hidden character flaw, plus I had that scripture running through my head from Isaiah (I think) that says "He had no form or comeliness that we should admire him.


Sydney Anderson:
I got the free kindle version of A Cast of Stones not to long ago and read it while on a vacation that had a lot of drive time. You can check out my review here: http://singinglibrarianbooks.weebly.com/teens/a-cast-of-stones-the-staff-and-the-sword-1-by-patrick-w-carr I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now reading the second book in the series. How did you come up with the idea for this series? I look forward to reading your other novels. :)

Patrick Carr:
I was daydreaming in church and got the principal idea from casting lots in the old testament. My brain went "what if?" and the story kind of progressed from there. Thanks for reading!

Janet Ursel:
The winner of A CAST OF STONES is Kiah. Please contact Patrick or me with your address.

Patrick Carr interviews Janet Ursel

Patrick W. Carr, the author of the Staff and the Sword series, and the upcoming Darkwater Saga interviews Janet Ursel, whose Christian fantasy Disenchanted just released today. Follow along in the comments and feel free to chime in. One copy of Disenchanted will be awarded to a commenter drawn at random. Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Janet Ursel

Janet Ursel

Patrick W. Carr

Patrick W. Carr

Disenchanted links:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads

Note: I've edited this post to move the comments into the body of the post for easier reading. Some very light editing happened, but the originals are still in the comment trail.

Patrick's first question:
When interviewed about the success of “The Lord of the Rings,” Tolkien said the smartest thing he did was to begin with a map. The map for your work “Disenchanted” appears to have more than just casual thought behind it. How did you arrive at your place names and did your map dictate your story or vice-versa?

Janet Ursel:
Hi Patrick! You're right, I did have a map going very soon. I had decided to put my story in an alternate Earth, so I got to borrow real geography. Next, I needed a nice, dry cave where a book would not rot. Dead Sea scrolls anyone? So that made the action take place in the Levant. I let my settlers move north to a nicer climate, and pored over a map of England to find suitable place names when I didn't have one in mind already. The actual original map was a messy printout with a bunch of skinny, red, almost illegible lines on it. There's a reason I thanked Cristina for her miraculous skills in the Acknowledgments. ;o)

Patrick Carr:
We talked a bit on facebook about our favorite authors and I have to admit to being a little giddy when I saw you mention Guy Gavriel Kay. What kind of influence has his style (I would call it literary) had on your writing? Is there anyone out there you try to emulate?

Janet Ursel:
I would call it literary too. ;o) I don't know that he's influenced me directly, but when I'm in active writing mode, I try to read really, really good authors in the hope that I will catch something by osmosis. As for GGK, I like his clarity of style and elegance of expression, and I do aim for those things as much as I can. I also try to emulate Ursula Le Guin, and a good number of non-fantasy authors.

Earl Blacklock:
I know you are planning a subsequent work(s) drawing from these characters. The parts of this book I most enjoyed were the parts where we saw the story from the perspective of other characters, especially the parts that were seen from Peter's perspective. I hope that we will hear Catherine's story, then Peter's, since you've given us a taste of how much depth belongs to those characters.

Janet Ursel:
Catherine will be the central character in the sequel. Peter will probably get to shine in #3, if I ever get that far! LOL!

Amanda Gawthorpe:
You'll get that far ;) I want more Owen!

Janet Ursel:
LOL! Okay Amanda, tell me. What is it about Owen that you love so much?

Janet Ursel:
Amanda is my fabulous, psychopathic editor, in case anyone is wondering.

Amanda Gawthorpe:
The beard. And his snarky streak. And his loyalty.

Nadine Brandes:
Ooh, I want more Owen, too! He was wonderful. Even though we saw just a little of him, we saw a lot of his character. I think I'd want to be his friend in real life.

Janet Ursel:
This is true. It's hard to imagine a better friend than Owen. I had fun letting the guys hang out together. Sometimes having had four sons comes in handy... Amanda, you'll be happy to know that ALL FOUR have beards.

Patrick Carr:
I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to our shared admiration for Guy Kay’s writing, you and have both come to the world of publishing a bit later in life. How do you think your greater experience has influenced your story? Notice that I automatically assume our greater age is an advantage?

Janet Ursel:
As well you should! LOL! I have lived more, read more, suffered more, made a fool of myself more, learned how much I don't know... I think all of that helps, to be quite honest. I wanted to write even before I was 20, but had a deep feeling that I didn't know enough to do it. And then life got very, very busy for a long time. Once the youngest was through high school, and it was clear my health wasn't going to allow me to return to teaching, I threw myself into writing.

Earl Blacklock:
Well, if you're ever looking for a final proof editor, I'd be happy to get an early look-see.  Now how do I get 10 personally autographed copies?

Janet Ursel:
You wait until I get my copies and ask again... LOL! And I'll put you on my list of beta readers if you like. If you would like to get involved with proofreading for Vox Dei or Booktrope, go to the Booktrope site and apply. They are looking for people.

Patrick Carr:
Ha! Chalk up something else we have in common; teaching. The little scamps can be quite a handful. I also noticed that you have 5 children. Wow. I usually win that contest with 4. Do you find yourself using your children's likeness or personality for your characters?

Janet Ursel:
No, not really. I do sometimes use real people to inspire me for a character, but the character always stubbornly insists on becoming someone else. Besides, I would prefer to let all the autobiographical elements come out subconsciously so I can deny them. So far, I don't think I've even tried shoe-horning any of my kids (no longer kids) into a story. But never say never.

Janet Ursel:
I mostly taught adults or at Cegeps in Quebec, which is a level of schooling that exists nowhere else between high school (which ends earlier) and university (which starts later). So late teens, early twenties. Loved teaching that age group, but just didn't have the physical stamina for it.

Patrick Carr:
Do you keep an electronic scrapbook with images for your main characters? If so, could we get a peek at a couple? I'm curious to see what Blayn and Edgar look like. And speaking of Edgar, it's a lot of fun when you get to hate the bad guy. From the first, you did a great job of making him smarmy.

Janet Ursel:
I'm not very faithful in keeping pictures like that, Patrick. I did try for a while and I think they're still on my hard drive. Blayn looks, in my mind, like Ioan Gruffud (the star of the movie Amazing Grace). I've never tried pasting links in the comments, let's see how that goes: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0344435/
Edgar I've never found a picture for. I should probably make an effort...

Patrick Carr:
Okay, Janet. We're a bit over halfway through our interview and there are some questions I really want to ask. Brace yourself. :-)
Now that “Disenchanted” is released and on the shelves, what did you enjoy most and least about your path to publication?

Janet Ursel:
Oh my. What did I enjoy most? I think getting to know my team at Vox Dei. Writing is so solitary, and having a group of people who were excited about my writing and who were actively encouraging me was absolutely wonderful. It was so strange to have people (other than family) publicly cheering for me I sometimes got a little moist in the eyes. Getting the acceptance email wasn't bad either, although I was so shocked I'm not sure I felt much LOL!
The worst thing? Well, in my case, my health took a nosedive for a number of years and I was too exhausted to even write. That was no fun. Then when I was back on my feet, I decided Christian fantasy was too hard to sell, so I started on something entirely different. And then DISENCHANTED got accepted after all, so I had to pick up the sequel which was only half-written and try to get back into it after several years. That's also been tough. Next week I guess I will really throw myself into that again and try to make faster progress. Now that my head's been in Coventree for several months, it should be easier.

Patrick Carr:
Wow. I can't imagine what it must be like to struggle with health issues while you're trying to write. I have enough trouble just making myself show up every day when I'm feeling well. Is there a particular line in your book that you wish you could highlight for your readers and say “Hey! Read this, this line right here, because it’s that important to me!”?

Janet Ursel:
Oh man, you ask tough questions! Perhaps this paragraph, from Blayn's experience on the beach at Denham:
And yet he felt with a sudden thrill deep in his gut that the vastness was not empty at all. It was full, full of a wild, exultant joy that swept him up and rolled him through the air, singing wordlessly to him of sun and stars and sea, of birds and storms and mountains, till his whole being vibrated with the majesty of the music and his body collapsed on the sand below, weeping with a pain sweeter than any joy he had ever known.

Patrick Carr:
Seriously, I can see why you chose that. Awesome stuff. I think the most wonderful and humbling thing about getting published is the realization that people are going to have an incredible array of unique experiences from your book. However, what common theme or message do you want your readers to share from "Disenchanted?"

Janet Ursel:
To push through to find the truth and to remain faithful to it no matter what the cost. Truth is not cheap, it is not easy, it is not a formula. And it has a face...

Patrick Carr:
Well put! Thanks for a great interview, Janet and congratulations again on your success!!
Hopefully you have time to get to this one, Janet. When can we expect the sequel to "Disenchanted" and what will it be called?

Janet Ursel:
I don't know and I don't know! Next year some time, hopefully in the spring. The title is making me tear my hair out. I don't have one yet, and the three or four working titles I've come up with are pathetic!
Thank you so much for your wonderful questions, Patrick! Now it will be your turn to be in the hot seat!

Nadine Brandes takes your questions

Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak, is here now to answer your questions. Please check out her website and get to know her work. Newbie questions are welcome! The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

One lucky commenter will win an eBook of A Time to Die! Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes

A Time to Die links:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads 

Edited to pull the comments up into the body of the post for easier reading. Lightly edited to remove comments that didn't fit in the conversation. They're still below if you absolutely want to read them... ;o)

Janet Ursel:
Hi Nadine! Thank you so much for joining us tonight!

Nadine Brandes:
It's my pleasure! :) Thank you for having me! :D

Guy L. Pace:
We'll try this again. How is everyone?

Nadine Brandes:
I'm doing great, how are you Guy? :)

Guy L. Pace:
Doing well, thanks! Just got Janet's book from Amazon (ebook). Looking forward to reading it. Glad she got you to participate in this party.

Nadine Brandes:
Ooh yay! Tell me what you think when you finish it! :D

Janet Ursel:
I know I'm going to be interviewing you later, but I want to ask a really dumb question: How old are you? And am I allowed to be jealous that you are starting your writing career so much younger than me?

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, that's not a dumb question! :D I'm 28 and honored that I get to start my writing career so young! And blessed to have a hubby who supports that. :D

Guy L. Pace:
Yeah, she's young, but very talented and wise. She also lives where she can see the Grand Tetons in all their glory all the time. Lucky lady. That's why she has that big smile all the time. ;-)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, this is very true Guy. [grin] I often ask myself why God decided to give me such a unique and blessed life. That's God for you... :-)

Lydia Thomas:
Nadine, I know you get this question all of the time, but what was your inspiration for A Time to Die?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Lydia!
The inspiration for A Time to Die actually came from the death of an acquaintance of mine. He was the same age as me and yet lived a very full and God-serving life before passing. It got me thinking about my own life at the time, and I asked myself "Would I live any differently if I knew when I'd die?" The answer was...YES. I'd live differently! So I started re-evaluating my life and that turned into the story behind A Time to Die to get other people thinking along the same lines. :D
Now, I'm happy to say I wouldn't change a thing on how I'm living. :)

Athelas Hale:
Hello, Nadine! Your book looks fantastic, though I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Thank you for taking the time to do this, and thank you, Janet! I do have a question. Where did the idea for your book first come from?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Athelas! :D
I can't WAIT for you to read my book and tell me what you think of it! :D In answer to your question, I shared a little bit of that story above, but you can read the full story behind my inspiration for A Time to Die at this link: http://nadinebrandes.com/2014/07/15/my-author-story-part-3-a-time-to-die/
Overall, it was inspired by the death of an acquaintance who got me thinking about my own life. How would I live if I knew the day I'd die? How would YOU live? It was too intriguing of a question to leave alone. [grin]

Kiah:
Hi Nadine! I really want to ask you when "A Time to Speak" will be released, but I know that you will only be able to evade that question, so I'll have to settle for a less exciting one: What was your favorite part of your recent trip to Europe?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Kiah!
I know, I know, the torment! Actually....I'll be sharing the release date in my August newsletter! If you're not signed up for the newsletter, you can sign up here: nadinebrandes.com/my-newsletter
My favorite part of my recent trip to Europe was seeing the different cultures. Even though all the countries I visited were in the same continent, each one had its own feel, its own architecture, and its own history. It was a delightful amount of inspiration for future novels!
As for the countries themselves, driving through the entire country of France is pretty hard to beat. I really enjoyed that part of the trip. :)

Kiah:
I am signed up for your newsletter already, so I'll be looking forward to seeing that in my inbox! EEK! Can't wait to read "A Time to Die."
Thanks for answering my question! I've never had a chance to leave the United States, but I'm sure all the different cultures are really amazing to be able to experience.

Kiah:
Woops... Meant to say that I can't wait to read "A Time to Speak." Those similar titles can get confusing. :)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, I slip up with them too sometimes! Maybe that was a mistake... O.o
I look forward to you reading it, too! :D SO excited to hear what you think of the continued plot! EEE!

Athelas Hale:
Jumping in on your conversation here... I hope you don't mind!
I was actually thinking that I love the way your titles fit together so perfectly. I've seen some books in a series that seem disjointed because of their drastic difference in titles. This makes it flow nicely, and I would immediately know which series you meant.

Kiah:
Don't mind at all! :) I actually agree with you, Athelas. I think the similar titles are pretty clever and will make the series feel more cohesive. It's just that they can be a little hard to keep straight, as I've already demonstrated. :) But it's worth it, I think.

Nadine Brandes:
Thanks you two! I'm usually awful at coming up with titles, so these have been fun to see how they fit with the story. I'm glad you like them...even if we do mix them up here and there. ;)

Faith Song:
Hey, Nadine! Your book looks awesome. I know some authors who are opposed to using present tense in novels. What's your opinion on this?

Nadine Brandes:
When I started writing A Time to Die, present tense wasn't "the big thing" yet. I chose to write it because the book simply demanded to be written in present tense (rather, Parvin demanded it. :P ) I had actually started the first draft in first person past tense and it just didn't work. It was like I was fighting against Parvin's shouts to be heard. (Dorky author-ness coming out now.) It was tough for me to learn and I certainly had slip ups, but in the end past tense just felt too draggy. It made it feel like I wasn't in the story in that moment.
In my mind, past tense makes it feel like the character is telling a story that has already happened. Present tense makes the reader feel like they're living the story WITH the character. It's hard to do right, but I think it's worth trying.

Faith Song:
Thanks. :-) I know the feeling. A few of my characters have demanded to be written in first person, but not yet present tense. Present tense has always had a dream-like feeling in my head.

Nadine Brandes:
Dream-like is a good way to put it. First person always feels very immersive to me. And that's my favorite way to read. :)

Kiah:
How long ago did you first have the idea for the Out of Time Series?
Also, what is your favorite season/time of year?

Nadine Brandes:
I started writing A Time to Die in October 2010. I was in the middle of grad school and had NO time to write, but it built up in my brain like a demanding flood until I finally just HAD to let it out. Then it gushed out on paper and voila! The series began. [grin]

Athelas Hale:
Okay, important questions...
What is your necessary writing environment? Any music that you listen to when you write? Drinks that you have whenever you're working on a project (TEA, right? xD)? What's your least favorite part of the writing process? (Bonus: Do you enjoy having questions thrown at you so quickly?)

Nadine Brandes:
LOL, I'm totally up for all these questions. I'm quite good in a batting cage, actually. [wink]
My necessary writing environment changes daily depending on if my writing room is clean or not. :P When it IS clean (a must) then I spend time there. I HAVE to be by a window, whether I'm writing in my work room or at a coffee shop or in an airplane. The outside is a gush of inspiration for me. I need to be able to see it...and stare off into space for hours without accidentally staring at someONE. :P
Now, as for the atmosphere, tea (Yorkshire, if you please) is a requirement. I put together a playlist for every book I write, so I'll usually put that on. I even have a special lotion and perfume I use ONLY when writing, so that the smell will inspire me. (Dorky? Cool? Not sure yet. Hehe)
My least favorite part of the writing process is deadlines, because that means I have to write even if I'm not in the mood. My writing comes out very shabby when I do that, making editing all the more difficult.
Any other question? ;-)

Amanda Gawthorpe:
What are your writing habits/routines? Do you write daily?

Nadine Brandes:
Hi Amanda!
sigh This is an ongoing struggle for me. When I'm not traveling, I'm able to maintain a routine. I try to write 1,000 words a day Mon-Fri. This is a new habit for me and I've managed to maintain it for a few weeks. I'm optimistic. I have a few friends with whom I will word war with a couple times a week. That helps a lot, too.
Time management is my current dragon to slay. I also work as a freelance editor, so I tend to try and get writing in before I do any editing, otherwise my brain doesn't separate the two very well.

Amanda Gawthorpe:
I have the same struggle. I also edit and find NO time to do my own writing. I like the idea of getting my own writing done before doing any editing! I have been doing things the other way around and my writing never gets done. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Nadine Brandes:
You're welcome! May it serve you well! :) Randy Ingermanson inspired me to try writing one day and only editing on another day. That worked for a time, too, but I didn't test it out long enough. Just another thing you could try. ;) If you find the magic answer to time-juggling, tell me! LOL

You're invited to the Disenchanted launch party

On July 14th, from 7:00-10:00 pm EDT, we will be holding a launch party right here for Disenchanted. Christian fantasy authors Patrick W. Carr and Nadine Brandes will be joining me with interviews, question sessions, and prizes. There will be something going on the whole time and here's what you can expect:

7:00 Patrick interviews Janet. Nadine takes reader questions.
8:00 Janet interviews Nadine. Patrick takes reader questions.
9:00 Nadine interviews Patrick. Janet takes reader questions.

Those links will not go live until they're scheduled and comments will be closed 10 minutes after the event.

Disenchanted Launch Party

All prizes will be awarded randomly to one commenter on the appropriate threads. Immediate family members or people directly involved in the publication of any particular book are not eligible. Sorry, but we know that you will love us anyway.

Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments on the appropriate post by email, just above the comment box to the right.