Today, lovely people, I have the great honor of hosting an authoress in our midst! Miss Jessica Greyson, author of the newly-released Annabeth's War and writer of the delightful blog Safirewriter, has consented to an interview here at Yet Another Period Drama Blog in celebration of her new book. I started reading Jessica's blog about six months ago at my sister's recommendation and I've been hooked ever since... so will you be, too, once you get a taste of this girl's writing!
You have no idea how insanely excited I am that you're releasing Annabeth's War... what was the prompt to launch your own self-publishing project?
I've dreamed of being published ever since I started my first little stories. My plans were to go through a traditional publisher and become rich and famous…er…something like that. Maybe not the rich and famous part, but at least published. I've had a few mentors along the way and shortly after I finished my first real novel (I Am Louisa) I happened to attend a seminar given by Denis Hensley. After that first seminar I was positive I was ready to meet the world and be published (please forgive my ignorance - this was about five years ago I KNEW NOTHING). However as I began editing I became discouraged, and after sharing the first chapter with someone whose opinion I highly valued, I was crushed and just went back to scribbling.
Through the years of my scribbling I kept secretly stuffing and waiting for that single moment and opportunity in time where the light would simply burst open and shower me with a dream come true. Anyone who knows what makes dreams come true knows it's a four letter word, called work. So I started working on my own dreams, researching hours on the internet different publishing companies and agents, but things kept turning me off to one thing or another. I couldn't find someone or someplace that I liked or I didn't have to write that nasty horrid cover letter too. (Which I totally understand, it makes perfect sense - but the amount of unfinished ones on my lap top is simply horrifying). During this time I stumbled across the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild which was just shy of promising that by the time you finished their course you'd know everything you wanted to know about the publishing world and most likely be published. I jumped at the opportunity. To say the least I was disappointed. I came away from my lessons disappointed and nigh penniless and further from realizing my dreams than I thought possible. Long ago I had avowed I would never ever ever ever self-publish. But you know what they say…don't ever say never. (Okay it's "Never say never" but I like it that way better).
Through winning NaNoWriMo in 2010 I received a delightful ability to publish one of my own books. The delight of holding my own copy was far more gratifying and delightful then I thought it could be. I wanted more but… I didn't want to pay for it. However the lovely Katherine Sophia found out a special deal going down at Lulu. You could publish any book for free and just pay the shipping. Needless to say the two of us went nigh crazy with publishing our works for our personal libraries. Through the writers group I attended sporadically I started noticing groups and tendencies. There were the published, the unpublished, and the self-published. The unpublished was my personal boat at which helm I sat mutely watching those around me. Most people wanted to be published traditionally…(who doesn't), yet the whole procedure daunted them (okay it daunted me). Then the published…their publisher wasn't doing anything, had put it under a different title than they originally planned and now the book didn't sound like it made sense, changed the text to their dissatisfaction, the cover was all wrong or boring, problem after problem. I glanced at the self-published ship, in it were the kind of people who give self publishing well…a bad rap? Then I glanced back down my ship…in it were well, people running in circles, who rewrote their work over and over again and sought perfection constantly only to find it really was yet beyond the horizon. I jumped ship, and boarded self-publishing full steam ahead. Because self-publishing doesn’t have to have a bad rap, and done right it can be very effective in the publishing world. So that is how I landed in self-publishing my works. I get to retain my rights, and have full control of what happens to my little darlings.
Love what you said about self-publishing not having to have a bad rap! I concur. Wholeheartedly. :D Can you remember where the idea for Annabeth's War first came from? I know for some novels this is like asking "can you remember your first thought when you were a baby?'...
Annabeth's War is a story that lay in the back of my mind for quite some time and under several disguises. The Mask of Margurite was the original idea I had written in a note book and three of the characters defiantly stemmed from there, however Ransom certainly had his own ideas of how the book should go, and it morphed accordingly.
Having not yet read Annabeth's War (though I'm dying to) I'm a bit ignorant... Can you give a really quick summary of the plot?
The king is away at war and Annabeth, daughter of a master swordsman, is fighting for the life of her father, Prince Alfred and her country. Will she save them, or will she fall beneath the power of Lord Raburn and his men?
Which character in AW are you the most apathetic about? (The favorite character question is soooo hard to answer so I'm skipping it.)
I love this question. Hmm, most apathetic about. There are about three characters that have taken that seat but the one who steals it best would probably be Lady Christina.
What was the most stressful part of the story to write?
Probably the dungeon scenes, let's just say lots of tears were shed.
How long did it take you to write AW from beginning to end? Like, from first inspiration to final dying gasp---er, last edit?
A little less than a month to write from when I settled down to write it to when I wrote the last word. From start of story to last edit…it's been 21 months.
I know you're a voracious writer... how long have you been scribbling like this, would you say?
I've been writing seriously for about five years now and have slowly picked up and dropped speed to about a book a year overall. My peak was before I was doing a lot of working, and I pulled off 3 books in 4 months (which felt supremely epic). However it has dropped considerably and I write a few thousand words a month when I get the chance.
What's one book you would recommend to everyone reading this post (other than AW and the Bible? :P)
I am going to go on my old fallback for this one - there are SOOO MANY WONDERFUL Authors to recommend, however one author I always feel safe saying to just anyone is Lois Walfrid Johnson. She spins some pretty amazing and lovable characters and stories.
Is there a particular piece of music that you listened to obsessively during AW's creation?
There were several pieces of music that defined Annabeth's War but the one that I listened to the most would be Hero by Heather Dale, which happened to be forwarded by Katherine Sophia to me shortly after I started Annabeth's War.
Are any portions of AW drawn from real life? Would you care to share an example (or two)?
Annabeth is purely a work of fiction; the only thing from my life that I placed in this story was the truth I learned that all things really do work together for good, no matter what it is.
The book's cover is fascinating! Did you design/draw the cover?
The cover was created by Louie Roybal. He did such an amazing job with it I am floored and tickled beyond pink. Working with creating a cover for Annabeth's War was very difficult for me. So often when people tell me about their novels I catch an INSTANT image of several ideas and the creation comes about, however with my own works it can be hard at times to come up with something because I see so many images at once. So after briefly sketching out what I imagined my ideal cover to look like and taking a few pictures of my little sister (she is the silhouette on the banners). Louie and I did some chatting, and took his creative bent to work and created a gorgeous cover.
Annabeth is a lovely name! Did she just sort of choose her own name and you had no say in the matter, or was it a name you'd always liked and wanted to give to a character? Or none of the above?
Coming up with a name for her was difficult. Ransom knew he wanted his name instantly but coming up with hers' took more time. I actually wrote the first chapter just referring to her as she and her, before we came up with it. We were wavering between Anne or Anna and Elizabeth neither which really seemed to fit her exactly. Ransom said he wanted to call her Beth for short so after a little bit of thinking the inspiration to combine the names struck and name Annabeth was created and fit her perfectly.
Thank you, Jessica, for consenting to be interviewed today!
And now I have a special surprise for all of you (okay, if you read the title of this post it's not really a surprise...). In addition to the interview, Jessica has kindly agreed to give away one free, autographed copy of Annabeth's War! How cool is that? If you're as anxious to read it as I am, here's your chance-- and if you've already read it, I might add that a lovely signed copy of this splendid book would make a delightful Christmas present for a friend.
To enter, you must be a follower of both Safirewriter and Yet Another Period Drama Blog (insert little star thingy that says You Are Here). In order to earn entries, you can...
- Follow both our blogs [Mandatory entry - 2 points]
- Share about this giveaway via whatever social media you use: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog button, etc. [2 points for each of these, and be sure to leave a comment with a link]
- Write a blog post to promote this giveaway [5 points]
- Write a review of Annabeth's War (only if you've read it already...) and post it to Amazon.com or Goodreads [10 points]
The giveaway will close Friday, December 21st-- so get crackin'! Oh, and here is the button you can use for the second entry option:
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P.S. Jessica is hosting me at her blog for an interview/giveaway today as well, so hop over and take a peek!