Tuesday, August 11, 2015

L.L. Crane's From the Mountain ⋞Interview⋟

From the Mountain
Author: L.L. Crane
Series: Mark of Powers (Book 1)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 14 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

What would you do if you were one of the last of your kind on earth? Sixteen year old Teak’s Mark of Power has kept her alive, but will it last?  Although she is a trained killing machine, it isn’t by choice. Slated to be one of Siv Gareth's elite soldiers, her life seems to be on course, but she has a decision to make.  Does she follow her father’s wishes and become a soldier, or chase after her own dreams of training dragons?  Persecuted, shunned, and tortured because of her skin color, Teak is mad, and somebody is going to pay for it.  Siv Gareth’s race war has just begun, and now that the Purity Law has passed, the Destroyers are out in hordes to kill her and any others with light skin.  When she shoots an arrow at Siv Gareth, a chain of events unwinds that ultimately threatens her very existence.  Accustomed to going it alone, Teak finds herself on a long journey with a group of inept teens, and she must learn to depend on them…or die.  When two boys enter the scene, one irritating and the other mesmerizing, Teak wonders if she has a shot at a normal life. But will her lack of Power and skin color ruin it? This dystopian society novel, Book 1 in the Mark of Power Series, is riveting with suspense, action, betrayal, and the brimming hope of romance.

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 The man-made mountain was situated next to the ocean, waves crashing violently against it as if they knew it didn’t belong there.  At the very top of the mountain perched a mansion, formed of smooth purple rock, so rare that it glistened against the occasional sunlight.  It was built like a castle, with turrets and windows, even a moat of salty brine water bleeding in from the ocean. 

A prison was nestled at the base of the mountain, sections of it actually winding into the packed earth of its lowest parts.  Soldiers, dressed in red uniforms stood at attention before its doors, long swords swinging from their belts.  Further out from the mountain, was an area they once called Presidio, housing the privileged…in mansions as glorious as the one on top of the mountain…made of stone or rock, precious metal, the highest quality of wood. The government officials lived there, although they were few now.  The healer.  The Elite Army.  Those with Power.  And of course, the Destroyers.

What is your favorite thing about writing YA Dystopia with a hint of romance? Do you enjoy writing other genres?
I love relating to teens and young adults.  They are so imaginative and full of energy!  I am fascinated with not only writing YA Dystopian fiction but in reading it as well.  I write in other genres, too.  Since we have horses, I am writing a book about a young child and a herd of wild horses.  I am also writing a children’s series aimed at the adventures of two boys, Elbinian Fracture and Johnny Arcade. 

How do you decide on your cover?
After I finish a book I let it set for a while and then go back and read it again, checking for errors, etc.  While I read it again, I imagine what the book cover and the name of the book should be.  I love symbolism.  In “Forbidden Rain”, the last book I wrote, the main character’s name is Rain, and any teen romances are forbidden.  I thought of raindrops slowly turning to blood, and when I got the cover, it was perfect.  In the second book of the series, “Vanishing Rain”, she gets the same tattoos on her arms, so I will have the cover artist put the same bloody raindrops on a girl’s arms. 

Do your main characters have a real life inspiration?  
Some do, some don’t.  They often come to life as I write.  For the character of Thann, in the Mark of Power Series, I used my own son’s personality, which is quite gregarious.  He is also 6’4” tall with a barrel chest like Thann.  The protagonist usually develops and evolves as I write.  Sometimes I’m surprised, like by the character Orion in the Blue Spectrum Chronicles.  He started out as just a big, beefy hunk, but by the end of the second book, he transpired into a deep, smart character who I actually learned to love. 

What author do you admire most?
I have so many favorite authors that I admire.  Right now I think it would be Lauren Nicolle Taylor.  Her Woodlands Series was well- written, but that isn’t why I admire her.  I absolutely love her use of metaphors.  She paints a picture while she writes, and I am striving to do more of that.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I am finishing the Mark of Power Series, the Blue Spectrum Chronicles, and the Fracture/Arcade Adventures.  When those are finished, I will start on the horse book.  I have several other books I’ve started that I haven’t had time to get to, but ideas are always coming to me, which is so much fun.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I haven’t yet found anything that is too taboo.  It depends on the audience.  For right now I have focused on Young Adult Fiction, and children’s books, so I want to be a little bit careful about things like sex and swearing, although my new release, “Forbidden Rain”, will have some swearing in it and one scene that is sexually suggestive.  In the second book, “Vanishing Rain”, she meets some seamy characters along the way who, of course would swear, so to make the book real, there should be swearing.   I think the imagination is a wonderful thing, and that if the context is correctly, anything can be written about.  The audience is key.

Have you ever had writer's block? What is your best cure if you have? Or how do you keep it at bay?
I don’t really get writer’s block.  I love the writing process.  It’s great to have more than one book to work on, because sometimes I feel like just writing a lot and other times I feel like editing and revising.  I just make it my habit to write every day first thing in the morning.

Do you have a movie you love to watch over and over? Which one scares you so much you can't sleep?
I’m not much of a movie watcher.  I have watched The Upside of Anger several times because it closely mirrored my life when I was raising my kids on my own.  I never watch scary movies at all because I have  nightmares if I do. 

How much research do you usually do for a book? What is your biggest research gathering tool?
I research as I go.  I hate to research so I try to stick with fantasy or make-believe or subjects that I know, like horses.  Still, there is always something to look up to make sure that your facts are correct.  One of my favorite books, “Gone with the Wind”, is mentioned in “Vanishing Rain”.  Even though I’ve read it over and over, I had to double check the spellings of names, etc.  Google makes it so easy.  In a matter of seconds whatever you need is right before you!

Do you read your reviews? Do you ever respond to them if you do? And if you do read them do you take anything away from the readers praise and criticism?
Yes, I read my reviews.  I am fairly new at this publishing part, so I haven’t had any bad ones yet.  I read every review and take away a lot.  Somebody spent their time to write about one of my books.  Who wouldn’t appreciate that, even if it wasn’t all positive?  Of course, I’ve been an entrepreneur for 15 years, so I have tough skin.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism has been on typos.  Even though I have a degree in English and spent most of my life grading essays as a teacher, for some reason I am missing some in my own work.  That’s what the brain does - it glosses right over those errors because it knows what you want to say, not what’s there.  I guess I need to hire an editor for that now.  Sigh.  The best compliment came in one of my reviews and in some emails from people who have read my books saying how much they liked my books and couldn’t wait for the next one to come out.  That makes me feel really good!  Connecting with the reader is so exciting!

Author Information

L.L. Crane lives in a remote area of Northern California with her two horses, six goats, three dogs and two cats.  When she was a child, L.L. Crane dreamed of being a writer. She used the name, “Katie Bush” as a pen name for the famous writer she hoped to become, cranking out book after book on her mom’s old blue typewriter.
 As life often has twists and turns, L.L. Crane found herself becoming anything but a writer.  She graduated with a B.A. in Education, even though she was honored to begin her college career with the aid of writing scholarships.
After becoming a teacher, raising three children primarily on her own, as well as owning and operating a business, L.L. Crane finally pursued her dreams and began writing novels.  She brings her own experiences from teaching and her love of animals to her stories.
L.L. Crane is an avid reader and writer and loves children, animals, reading, riding horses, and gnomes.
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