Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Raine Thomas Interview
10/23/2011 6:57:45 AM
Author, Raine Thomas discusses her fanatasy trilogy and the writing life!
Are you looking for a unique and exciting YA series to dive into? Then youíre in luck! Iíd like to introduce you to the talented Raine Thomas. She is the author of the YA fantasy/romance Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Raine. What do you enjoy doing when youíre not writing?
RT: Thanks so much for the introduction, Lorna! Itís a pleasure to be a part of your wonderful blog. In regards to my life outside of writing, itís largely filled with my family and my other full-time career (wedding planning). In those odd moments when I actually have time to myself, I love reading, swimming, going on day-trips to places like the beach and exploring local festivals and events here in Orlando.
Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a lifelong dream?
RT: Writing, in general, has definitely been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Where my three brothers engaged in sports while we were growing up, for example, I was the sports editor on the yearbook staff. My friends all brought their school papers to me for editing so they had a chance of earning higher grades, and I loved being helpful that way. That trend continued throughout my various career paths, but the idea of becoming a published author wasnít a concrete goal of mine until about five years ago, when my daughter was born.
Ancient gods, avenging angels and beings of myths and legends live on the pages of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. What was the inspiration behind these stories and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Amber Hopkins?
RT: I was raised Catholic, and the idea of guardian angels has always fascinated me. Similarly, I loved studying the myths and legends of various cultures throughout my education. The inspiration behind the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy took shape a couple of years before angels became the latest craze in fantasy (on the heels of vampires and werewolves). What I decided was that I wanted to craft stories that stepped outside of any existing trend and allowed me to incorporate those myths and biblical stories. Thus, the Estilorians were born.
Amber Hopkins, the protagonist of Becoming, is loosely based upon one of the teens I met while working for a nonprofit organization serving youth with severe emotional disturbances and their families. Many of those youth were in foster care, and I wanted to create a heroine who experienced that sort of childhood. Although Amberís path was a challenging one, she becomes all the stronger for it.
Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the readers when they crack open Becoming, Book One of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy?
RT: Amberís life in foster care has been difficult due to mysterious surges of energy she experiences every three years. After bouncing from foster home to foster home throughout the first twelve years of her life, she ends up in the home of Mrs. B, a caregiver whose love and support provides Amber the stability sheís been missing. Also residing in Mrs. Bís home is Gabriel Reid, the boy who becomes Amberís best (and only) friend. He stands by her through everything she experiences...and sheíll find out why as her eighteenth birthday approaches. Sheíll also discover just why sheís having the surges, and sheíll face a life-altering choice that will impact a group she never even knew existed.
What made you decide to forego traditional publishing to publish this trilogy on your own? What were some of the benefits of self-publishing?
RT: The ultimate decision to self-publish came after more than six months of querying literary agents with the hope of them expressing an interest in the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. I felt I took the right steps on the quest toward traditional publication. I wrote the entire trilogy first to demonstrate I wasnít a ďone hit wonder.Ē I made sure it had been thoroughly edited and reviewed by a number of beta readers to gauge interest. I invested time and money into learning how to write a crisp synopsis and effective query letter. And I carefully researched agents and publishers to ensure I wasnít wasting anyoneís time.
After those six months had passed, it occurred to me that the only personís time I was wasting was mine. I could have had my books available for purchase for more than six months instead of them sitting and waiting for someone in the overtaxed publishing industry to take notice. After reading up on indie publishing, it just made sense. Iíve got full control over my work and can pace myself in a way that works for me. Most importantly, my books can be available in a matter of weeks rather than the many months traditionally published books take to hit the shelves. It was the best decision I could have made.
What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?
RT: No oneóabsolutely no oneówill believe in your work as much as you do. Thus, youíre always going to be your best advocate. Donít give up on yourself or your dreams. As long as you believe in yourself and your work, youíll be successful.
Iím curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
RT: Iím a sort of curious mix between the two. I make a point of writing every night, but thatís because I work full-time during the day and spend late afternoons/evenings with my husband and daughter. Thus, my dedicated writing time is a matter of circumstance. That said, my brain really never shuts down. Some of my best ďwritingĒ occurs in my head while in the car or doing household chores (at times when Iím more relaxed and not in front of a computer).
Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
RT: Again, Iím both. I always begin a story with a formal outline because I like to know that I have a logical beginning, middle and end before I start writing. Once I get rolling, however, I let the story and characters take me wherever theyíd like. Not once have I ever stuck to the outline, but I think that makes the story stronger.
Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
RT: If only I had the luxury of time for such things! Because my writing time is typically between 10:00 p.m. and whenever I canít keep my eyes open anymore, I have to dive right in to take advantage of every minute available to me. If I was a full-time writer, however, I would like to think that my ritual would involve a massage, some kind of frothy bath and a glass of wine. (Hey, I live in the world of fantasy).
At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
RT: There are several ways I overcome a block. One is to brainstorm with my husband or someone else who knows about the project Iím working on (this often proves to be the most successful method). Another is to skip to a different scene and revisit the troublesome one later. A third exercise involves doing something creative that doesnít relate to the project, such as reading or even coloring/sketching. As a last resort, thereís always the baseball bat to the computer approach (but I donít recommend this)!
Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
RT: My favorite author is Nora Roberts. Iíve read many authors across many genres, and her writing is what has proven most inspirational to me. She writes believable characters, engaging dialogue and romance that makes a reader sigh with envy. While she didnít inspire the genre in which Iíve chosen to write, she did influence my overall writing style.
What is the most profound discovery youíve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
RT: GoshÖI hate to say it, but I canít say that Iíve yet made any profound discoveries regarding my writing. I can say that Iím constantly humbled by the support of my readers and that I never knew how much joy a career could bring a person until now. This is definitely my path.
What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
RT: I just finished Elements: The Beginning by Kate Fuentes (really enjoyed it) and Iím about to begin A Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson. Both books were recommended to me on GoodReads.com, one of my favorite sites connecting readers to writers.
What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? With the growing popularity of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy, is there a chance the series will be expanded to allow for more adventures featuring Amber Hopkins?
RT: I think most writers hope to see their books on bestseller lists and their characters on the big screen. Iíd be lying if I didnít say those achievements would make me giddy with delight! On the more realistic side, within the next year or two, I hope to be able to support my family with my writing. While Iíll still work in the wedding industry, my hope is to do so as a writer (I also coauthor nonfiction books for wedding vendors under my real name). Thus, I already write in more than one genre. Will I write as Raine Thomas in another genre? Perhaps! And Amber and her sisters (Olivia and Skye, the heroines from Central and Foretold of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy) will definitely make future appearances in novels about the Estilorian plane.
Thank you so much for taking time from your schedule to discuss your trilogy and to share in your writing process, Raine! Catch you on Twitter!
For more information about Raine Thomas and her novels, check out:
Follow Raine on Twitter: .Raine_Thomas
Follow Raine on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas
Where to buy the books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBookstore, and pretty much anywhere eBooks are sold.
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