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.

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!