About My Book

Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Twenty Questions With Mal Smith

This week's Twenty Questions session is with Mal Smith, whose young adult fantasy novel "Black Dawn" will be released through Clean Reads Feb. 14. Here's the details about the novel:

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life that is until two mysterious, and dare I say handsome soldiers show up at her apartment doorstep and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Coming from the magical and ravaged world of Kiero, Emory is brought back not realizing that both men are darkly woven in her past. Discovering she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line Emory is thrown into Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.  With both lives clashing Emory uncovers hidden secrets from her past, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows. 

You can follow Mal on Facebook here. If you are interested in doing a Twenty Questions sessions, you can learn more here.

Now let's hear from Mal about herself and her upcoming novel.

1. How did you get interested in writing?

My love for writing developed with my love of reading. As an avid reader since I was young, I really dove into writing when I was fourteen when I wrote the original manuscript for Black Dawn. I gifted it to my cousin for her sixteenth birthday, and then left writing alone for a long time. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got back into writing again after talking about it with my husband while we were walking our dogs and  after we had talked for hours about different possibilities, I started it up the next day. Looking back there are definite influences that flamed this story to life, my cousin Jess Kovacs (who is also a book blogger, check her out at https://regularlyreads.com/)  who listened and talked to me for countless hours and years about this story, the world and the characters. My highschool English teachers, Mr. Steffler who with a heavy heart I am saddened to say passed away last year, and Mrs. Verrier who still teaches English at Strathroy District Collegiate Institute. Without these two teachers, my appreciation and love for the written word wouldn’t be what is it today. My husband Matt, who pushed me to believe in this story again, and my amazing family who fueled my love for reading.
There was no looking back for me when I started writing, I love it!!

2. What inspired you to write 'Black Dawn'?

Black Dawn, came in many forms at first but the inspiration came from the characters I imagined in the world. The original story that I wrote at fourteen had two main characters that I kept, Emory Fae and Brokk Foster.  When I revisited the story, there were key elements that helped it take shape, I knew it would deal with modern day Earth, and a world connected to ours, Kiero, where magic is very much alive. I also knew that Black Dawn Rebellion and the story behind the Academy and how Emory Fae is connected to that would make up book one.
From there the world bloomed into life, and at the end of the day the story to me is one about human nature, about reactions to hard situations and how these characters would navigate a world that is ridden with war, to save their family, loved ones, and make choices they believe will earn a life of freedom.  The inspiration for the series is to stay true to telling all sides of the character’s story, because like everything there is always two sides.

3. Tell me about Emory Fae and what inspired you to create her.

Emory Fae has always been a character that is very vivid to me. My imagination created her first above any other character, because even in the original manuscript she was a relatable heroine, that is flawed. Black Dawn, follows her story and without giving too much away, when I write her chapters I am always asking myself what would I do in her shoes? How would I feel, where would my loyalties lay? Because even though it is a Fantasy, and I deal with humans with supernatural abilities, they are still human and especially with her character I feel like her journey is one close to my heart. So it’s hard to say what the exact inspiration for her was, but her story was one that was waiting in me to be told.

4. What other characters did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?

Oh I love this question!! I absolutely adore writing my villain!!! Adair Stratton, The Mad King is one character I am in love with. His story is a complicated one, but again without giving to much away, his character deals with being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the consequences of his choice. Adair as a villain also battles with his inner demons, between man and King, between wanting to be good and being the villain. Between waging wars for power and to conquer and wars for love. His character at first I hated, then sympathized and even wanted to root for him at some points as I write the series, and I hope the reader will have the same rollercoaster with him as the books continue. I have a super soft spot for villains in general and wanting to learn their journey and story. (I realized that this probably developed at a young age and my obsession with the Phantom! I was never a Raoul girl lol.)

5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?

The major theme in Black Dawn, is the fight between “good” and “evil.” The main premise of book one is the fight between Black Dawn Rebellion and their fight against Adair as King to try to free Kiero of his madness, and to earn their freedoms. Emory is the spark to that, but also is the person who makes this theme quite a grey matter as the story develops. 

6. What were some of the things you learned along the way as you wrote and edited the book?

Oh man, I have learned lots of things! Writing is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done. I have learned to be persistent with writing, to not get discouraged and above anything else do it because I love it, and do it because I have a story in me that needs to get to page. I have learned to be patient through all the drafting stages, because they are important!!! (I was at first not very patient lol ) As a writer you will rewrite your book many times, and at the end be sick of reading it so many times but it’s worth it!!! Trust your editor!!! The team at Clean Reads Publishing is amazing, from the first edit to the final proof read, they are supportive and I trust them whole heartedly. It’s amazing to me to see the first draft of Black Dawn, to the finished product and I feel grateful to be part of an amazing company and industry!

7. How would you compare this writing experience to other books or stories you have written? 

This is the first book I have ever gotten professionally published and written, but as a first experience it has been phenomenal! I love the book community!

8. What do you find is the right environment for you to write?

My favorite spot to write is in my room, I face the window right beside my bookshelves, my dachshunds cuddle me and I have a never-ending supply of coffee!! But honestly anywhere I can plug into my music is a great spot for me to write.

9. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?

Hmm, my most used is the online thesaurus to search for different words to use in my books. Other than that, depending on what I’m writing, it would be Google to get all the research I need for my story, and above all else music!!!

10. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing?

 My cousin, Jess Kovacs helped me understand the different social media tools last year (I’m terrible with technology) and from that my favorites are now Twitter and Instagram!! I find I can really connect to people on these platforms, and Instagram is especially my favorite because I can share more about me as a person and what I do on a day to day basis, and it’s a great way to connect with the book community!

11. Which authors do you enjoy reading or have inspired your writing?

This is a tough question, but some of my top favorites include JK Rowling, Laini Taylor, Sara Raasch, Pierce Brown, Sarah J Maas and Tamora Pierce. Some recent author discoveries that I can’t get enough of are AG Howard, Alexandra Bracken, Sabaa Tahir and V.E Schwab.

12. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?

I’m currently reading The Time Thief  by Natalia Schellhaas, and it’s amazing!! Seriously any Outlander fans out there go check it out you won’t be disappointed!

13. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?

Never give up on your dream, and if you feel in your heart you want to get the story out and onto page then do it, and don’t let anyone else tell you differently!!! Also, you can do it!!! I never thought I would be here now ;)

14. You're a dog groomer, I see. I take it that's your line of work... what's it like to do that job and what makes it so enjoyable?

I am J So I have been grooming for five years now, it’s my day job! I’m currently working at Companions Pet Resort, in London Ontario and it’s amazing, seriously check them out!!  It is a very fun line of work, I love getting to spend my days with dogs, also it is super rewarding making dogs feel better and spruced up with a new do J It’s my passion and honestly other than writing I can’t imagine doing anything else J

15. And let's talk about dachshunds... are they your favorite breed of dog? Any particular reason if so?

I’m so glad you asked me this!!!!!!!! I LOVE dachshunds, and even though I am dog groomer and love all breeds of dogs, I am totally biased when it comes to dachshunds, they are my favorite!!!! My husband and I currently own two, Link and Lola. Lola we rescued from Canadian Dachshund Rescue, and she is the sweetest senior girl ever, and Link we got as a puppy right after Lola, he is three now. Honestly they are the quirkiest, spunkiest, loving and loyal breed, and I can’t imagine my days without my little guys! (Even though they can be very stubborn… lol )

16. You enjoy hiking... are there particular trails you like or do you just enjoy finding whatever places you can to explore?

I do! I love hiking in Pinery Provincial Park, Komoka and in East London there are many awesome trails that my husband and I go to J

17. What are your favorite places to get coffee?

As a Canadian, my heart lies with Timmies!!!! I regular the one by my place way too many times in one day! But also in London Ontario, there is a new coffee shop, 10eighteen, which has quickly become one of my favorites! They are holding a book signing for me as well there!

18.  What are your favorite dessert shops that you have visited?

Annie’s Chocolates is my number one!!!! <3 

19. Looking at your author page on Facebook, I can tell you like Benedict Cumberbatch. What are some of your favorite characters that he has portrayed?

Hahah oh do I ever! (sorry Matt!) Absolutely Sherlock Holmes, he nails that role!!!! Actually, funny story, I actually have a Benedict Cumberbatch portrait tattooed on my leg (him as Sherlock), my tattoo artist Will Smink does an amazing job! Check out his work

20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?

This is a tough question! I have thought about this one ever since I got your questions, and I have concluded, that in my opinion Batman would win. With his various gadgets and weapons, Batmobile, anger to rid Gotham of any threat in respect of his parent’s memory, also he has Robin and Alfred! Taking all of this into account, I do believe he would win ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment