Saturday, October 27, 2012

Memory's Wake - an Illustrated Novel

Being a curious creature, I asked author/artst Selina Fenech about the experience of creating her first full length illustrated novel, "Memory's Wake". I was lucky enough to read "Memory's Wake" in manuscript form, and found it both enchanting and exciting to find a "new" author to enjoy. I have found three or four new, or new-to-me, authors in the indie publishing world over the last couple of years, and hope to interview others soon as well.
Now, over to Selina, to tell us how "Memory's Wake" came to be...

My illustrated young adult novel Memory’s Wake has been through many incarnations before it was completed. It started life as a comic book script, then I had plans to turn it into a story with illustrations, much like the illustrated Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Then finally I decided that it should be a proper full length novel.

 When I started writing it as a full novel, at first I was adamant that I wouldn’t illustrate it. I knew while I was writing that I didn’t want to create a book that relied on illustrations, or that was thought to be relying on the illustrations. I’d also read that a lot of people didn’t like pictures with their novels, since they liked to imagine what the characters looked like on their own. So right to the very final draft, I wrote the book as though it wasn’t going to be illustrated. Of course, when I reached that point, I changed my mind.

There were a few reasons why I chose to illustrate the novel after all-
1. Because I’m an artist. Illustrating is my “day job”, so I wanted to have a go at illustrating my characters and story world. I enjoyed painting them so much I’ve done over 45 illustrations for the book. It also meant I didn’t have to pay an outside illustrator, and I knew that the illustrations would appeal to people who were already fans of my artwork style. This has been a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve had a lot of fans of my art mention that they didn’t think the story would be very good and only bought the book for the art. Fortunately, they had said they were pleasantly surprised and loved the story too!

2. Because the story is a fairytale of sorts and has lots of fairytale references. Memory’s Wake suits being illustrated because of its genre. I also have another story which I didn’t illustrate because the other story (about super-powered teens) just didn’t suit being illustrated in my opinion.

3. Because why should teens miss out? Lots of kids books are illustrated. Even a lot of adult books, particularly in the fantasy genre are illustrated. But there’s a gap between them where books just don’t have pictures. I don’t see why teenagers have to miss out. As a teen I loved illustrations and stories, and had to turn to comic books to get my fix of both together. I’d love to see more illustrated books of all genres become available for all ages!

Of course, Memory’s Wake is going to be a trilogy, and having illustrated the first book I’m committed now to illustrating all three books! It’s a lot of work, but luckily it’s a labour of love.

Thanks so much, Selina, for taking the time to enlighten me (and other readers). Below are some links for anyone interested in finding out more about Selina and her work.
Selina Fenech - Portfolio Website

Fairies and Fantasy Pty Ltd - Selina's Online Art Store

Memory's Wake - Illustrated Fantasy Novel by Selina Fenech


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meet Cynthianna - author of The Fixer-Uppers

Today I have some curly questions for Cynthianna about her new romance The Fixer-Uppers.

Hi, Cynthianna, and welcome to Spinning Pearls. I have some curly questions about your writing, and especially your new release The Fixer-uppers.

Q.“The Fixer-Uppers” is an enticing title. Which came first, the title or the storyline?

A. That's a good question! I remember I was watching the baggage handlers at an airport when we were coming home from a trip several years ago. I thought, "A hardworking guy like these guys would make a good hero for a romance story." So from there, I developed the character of Mike, the baggage handler, and then Cassie, the single mom bakery manager, sort of came to me as the perfect heroine for Mike. After that point, I had to come up with a place for Cassie and Mike to live in, and the idea of a house that's a "fixer-upper" seemed the most logical. Characters led to the storyline that led to the title. :)

Q. In your sig file you suggest Unique and original handmade gifts for that hard to please nerd in your life: Could you tell us a little about this?

A. Smiling Assassin Productions is our creative workshop. My husband is a talented author in his own right, A J Matthews. He's also a wonderful miniature sculptor/painter who makes all kinds of original science-fiction/fantasy and steampunk inspired artworks. He takes on commissions and has made all sorts of fun items like bookends and figurines for fans of Doctor Who and other sci-fi shows/fandoms. Be sure to check out some photos of his work at the web site.

Q. I noted your characters thought of themselves “in like” rather than “in love”. That’s a wonderful concept for a romance; much nicer than the more common “instant dislike” thing. Did you intentionally write a feel-good romance in reaction to reading one too many at-one-another’s-throats stories or do you go on a case-by-case basis?

A. I always let the characters tell me what their relationship is going to be like. Cassie and Mike are strong characters and have definite opinions about themselves and each other. Both of them are nice, ordinary people--the type of people you meet every day at work and play. They find that they share similar experiences with members of the opposite sex (their exes treated them poorly) but at the first, they're not sure they're ready for a new relationship, so they tell themselves they're "in like" and promise to be friends. Of course, the physical attraction can't be denied and sparks fly sooner not later... but I don't want to give away all the plot here, so please buy the book and find out for yourself! ;)

Q. How do you find sweet romance faring with so many lines tilting towards the spicier alternative?

A. It is sort of in the background, but I don't think it's totally out of the picture, yet. Lots of readers enjoy a good ol'-fashioned romance without graphic sex, so I hope in The Fixer-Uppers I've given them some sympathetic characters and a storyline they can relate to and really enjoy without the fear of being overwhelmed with situations they may find personally not to their tastes.

Q. OK – you’re the casting director in your dream movie. Who gets to play Mike? Who do you cast as Cassie?

A. For Mike, I've always thought Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame would be perfect. He's sort of tall and blond. For Cassie, I'm not sure. She's a redhead, so she needs an actress with spirit and vivaciousness. Who would you suggest? ;)
Hmmm - Anne Hathaway maybe? Thanks so much for visiting Spinning Pearls…

Thanks for having me here as your guest, Sally!
Here are some links from Cynthianna, including a link to the book in question!

Like my author page on Facebook:
Join me at Twitter:
LOVING WHO now on Kindle and in print:
When you least expect it, love happens!
Check out a novel by Cynthianna:

Unique and original handmade gifts for that hard to please nerd in your life:

Defeating the Slushpile Monster, a funny writer's how-NOT-to!