For today I interviewed Mary R. Woldering, the author of the Children of Stone fantasy series.
Mary, what cool and exciting things have been happening in your life recently?
Greeting a new granddaughter soon, and being included in the Dreamtime Dragons Anthology with a short Story “Ana’s Dream of Flying,” an almost modern-day spinoff of my series.
Congratulations on becoming a grandmother! Can you tell us about what you're currently working on?
Book 4 of the Children of Stone Series Heart of the Lotus.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
Never. I love all of them, even the wicked ones.
I get that. In many ways, your characters are like your kids.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I was born to write. I, unfortunately didn’t begin to publish until I retired.
Hey, better late than never.
Where did the idea of your story come from?
The story came from conversations about childhood spiritual experiences and dreams with a good friend in college, and later from past-life regressions. Not certain if they really were past lives any more. They were pretty wild.
Past-life regressions: a supposed therapy technique to get a person to "re-experience" their past life. You actually did that? Cool.
If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?
My autobiography, but no one would believe it was non-fiction.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I am an early bird, and coffee is a must.
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
I’d say they control me. I have gone rounds with a few of them.
That's how you know you've made good characters!
What kind of impact do you want your books to have on readers?
I want it to make them think about life and our place in the universe.
What, in your opinion, is the worst mistake an author can make?
Expecting love, a bestseller and a movie deal.
So...don't sit by the phone all day expecting a phone call from Hollywood when your book comes out? Aw, man...
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Publish early, publish often.
Thank you, Mary, for taking the time to do an interview on my blog! I look forward to reading your work.
You can reach Mary Woldering on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, and you can purchase her books on Amazon.
Just a quick reminder: there is less than two weeks left in the crowdfund campaign to raise money for the initial funds for my graphic novel Sovadron. There are new perks available, so if you're willing to invest in a great new series--even if it's just five or ten dollars--click here to do so!
Archangel’s book description contains a major spoiler for the first book of the series, Nova. So if you haven’t read that yet, I urge you to hop over to my review of Nova right now. Otherwise, you’ll run into all the spoilers for book one.
(No spoilers for Archangel, though. Promise!)
An enemy you can’t kill. A soldier who can’t fight. An interstellar war that can’t be won...until now.
As a soldier of the Celestial Expanse, Guardian First Class Michael Sorenson knows better than anyone that when the Spectres invade, there are only two options: run or die. However, his defensive war takes on a whole new spin when he’s recruited into Division 7, a Research & Development facility with the ultimate mission: to create a large-scale weapon that can kill Spectres en masse.
Here Michael joins a team of military elite who have the daring—and dangerous—task of taking new weapons prototypes out into the field for testing on enemy troops. Yet the closer they come to developing a working WMD, the more it becomes clear: there’s a saboteur in R&D.
With all signs pointing to a massive Spectre attack brewing on the horizon, the creation of a new weapons system yields an opportunity to end the threat once and for all. As the days count down toward its launch, Michael must hunt down the saboteur...before the saboteur hunts down him.
Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUH.
Spectres, if you’ll recall, are ghost-like aliens who invade people’s minds and slowly kill them over the course of three years, then hop over to the next person. Rinse, wash, repeat.
After Lia, the love of his life, went nova, blowing herself and several hundred spectres to kingdom come, Michael joins the military. It’s your classic I’m-going-to-enlist-to-run-from-my-problems scenario, with varying levels of success. He’s also pissed at his sister Teal, because she let Lia go nova, so she doesn’t appear in the story at all.
That is the only negative thing I have to say about this book, though Margaret Fortune did tell me (via Twitter) that the next installment of this five-book series will be from Teal’s point of view. Everything else about Archangel is just as good as Nova, and it is fascinating to see humanity’s reaction to the first alien species we’ve run into.
I was skeptical as to whether or not Archangel could live up to its predecessor, now that the mystery behind Lia’s purpose and the spectres’ existence are out in the open. But Fortune still manages to create a heart-pounding mystery and plenty of questions. There are very few things in this book that I was able to foresee. (The entire R&D division is in a sky station floating over a planet full of spectres. What could possibly go wrong?)
And since she killed the main character in the last book, that makes Michael one of the rare main characters in fiction who is absolutely not safe. It makes things interesting, to say the least.
We also get to learn more about the history of Fortune’s intergalactic world and how humans got there, which is always fun.
One of the biggest things I appreciate about this book are the ethical questions Fortune poses. One of Michael’s fellow soldiers points out that what they’re trying to do--wipe spectres from the universe--is genocide. Granted, it’s technically in self-defense, as the spectres, left unchecked, would annihilate the human race completely. Whether or not that’s a justifiable excuse is primarily left to the reader.
Fortune also introduces us to a brand new human villain--whose name I cannot mention because of spoilers--who is absolutely terrifying.
Needless to say, Archangel was a joy to read, with a shocking ending that rivals Nova’s explosive one.
Characters done well have a life of their own. We know them, often better than we know the real people in our lives! If we were to drop Hermione Granger on the U.S.S. Enterprise, or give Arya Stark a job at Starbucks, we have a pretty good idea of how they would react.
That’s what you need for your characters. Not just the main character, but all the major players in your book: the villain, the main character’s best friend, their parents... everyone who has any sort of significance to the plot needs to be fully fleshed out.
Every author is different, but generally speaking we all ask our characters some questions, from the doozies to the frivolous little details. This is how I go about creating my characters. Usually I have a notebook dedicated to the book/world, and six pages for each character. Each page covers a specific aspect of the character: their core, their personality, likes and dislikes, abilities and disabilities, background, and physical description.
And these are the questions I ask:
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!