Meet my guest, fantasy author, Sandra Hults. In the comments below, tell me what you think.
- Tell us a little about yourself:
I am from Toledo, Ohio. [Jamie’s note: When I hear Toledo, my mind immediately jumps to Clinger on MASH. Does that date me?] I enjoy reading, cooking and playing video games in addition to writing. I am a sucker for a good story—regardless of genre. I love music. I sing a little. In addition to writing, I work a 9-5. I’ve been writing since my youth but only seriously considered putting the work in mid 2000s. In 2012, after much encouragement and support from my spouse, I published Birth of Light. From there it’s been a crazy whirlwind of creativity, self-publishing, and a crash course in marketing.
2. What are you reading at the moment? Would you recommend it to readers of this blog? Why?
I am currently reading book one of the Chartile series by Cassandra Morgan. She’s a great friend of mine and, let’s be honest, how often do we in our line of work get to talk to the author? I would recommend it because the concept is unique and the way she addresses her characters and development is subtle but impactful. Go check her out. (https://authorcassandramorgan.com/)
3. Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or tuals?
I am a pantser, tried and true. Some folks tell me I’m somewhere in the middle because I know what major story points need to happen and just pants in between the points. I have never, nor will I ever, do a full outline for my books. I applaud anyone that can outline a full novel’s storyline, but it’s just not my bag.
Weird habits. Well, I don’t know that they’re weird, but they’re part of my writing ritual so to speak. My hair always gets put up in a pony or a clip or something that gets it out of my way. There’s always music or some kind of ambient show in the background that helps me focus. Sometimes, headphones are required for me get into what I’m working on. If I am revising, I have to start with a print copy and go page by page hand editing and rewriting then keying the edits into my laptop. For harder to write scenes, if I don’t feel it, I don’t think my readers do.
4. Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?
I am actually in the middle of revisions for my fifth book, Maeseloria: Shadow’s Journey. I have one other project I’m in the middle of titled The Guardian’s Fall. I write it exclusively for my newsletter. For the moment, the story has taken a back seat to the book being written.
5. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
That is a difficult question because my favorite depends on how difficult that particular character is being. For the moment, though, if I were to pick one favorite Maeselorian, I think it would be a toss between Nicholas Taltos and Alexandra Jade. The disparity in their ages amuses me. Nicholas and Alexandra come from what seems like opposite ends of the spectrum at the beginning of the series. I love them both because they are both survivors. Whatever life dishes at them, they work through it. At times, they work together, and at other they work against one another. Their humanity makes me laugh and cry. Their fallacies frustrate me. They both engage and challenge me.
6. What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
It’s not a writing quote, per se, but it sums up me and my approach to life. I came across this quote years ago. For me, there are two messages in her words. Keep pushing. Don’t forget to laugh.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”
― Maya Angelou
As far as writing tips go, keep going. If you struggle, if you get stuck, just keep going. Be relentless about your art. You’ll get there.
7. Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Do you have any other books in the works?
For the future, I am currently wrapping up the first round of revisions for Shadow’s Journey. I’m shooting for an October release date. Stay tuned to my website for more info on the release date and cover reveal.
Where can we find you online?
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Sandra+Hults?_requestid=1050532
Maeseloria: Birth of Light
Ages old…light forgotten. Journey with Alexandra and Marcus Jade in their quest for the truth of their heritage and restoration of a long-forgotten kingdom. Maeseloria once thrived and blossomed beneath Fate’s watchful eye. Shadows drew the realm into the darkness. Have a care, shadow-spawn, the Light always calls her children home.
“Come on wench, the master has come to dispose of ye.”
There was an odd complacency to her movements as she stepped out into the hall and even let them bind her hands. Master indeed. Terrorist would perhaps be more appropriate. At any rate they led her away. How could they have known she’d been slowly drawing for nearly the last hour? Flagging weariness tugged at her consciousness. Lack of food and rest dampened her enthusiasm a little.
When the body is weak the mind is strong. How many damned times during the last few days had Tanya drilled that into her? Gods only knew. Up the stairs and through the keep she stumbled, knocking her chin hard on the stone floor since her hands were bound and she could not break her fall. They laughed. The little fledglings laughed. A pity they would never see the next night. At least, not if she had anything to say about it. Thankfully, none had discovered she carried the dagger with her. That would have been interesting though, to see one of them try to touch it. According to Tanya, they couldn’t.
Eventually the little ones tugged and pulled her through the palace, mocking her as the last of the Jade Sorceress’. Giddeon had bred his hate in them. More’s the pity she supposed. Life was so much more than this. With all her heart she knew that now. When they led her into the snow littered clearing roughly half a mile from the keep she saw what she surmised to be a funeral pyre. Oh goody, they were going to try and burn a pyrokinetic Sorceress. So, she let them tie her up like a good little girl. Anything they could throw at her, she could throw right back. A pity none were aware of that but her teachers. And, finally, she did what any sorceress worth her salt would do. She drew.
A voice that would haunt her dreams for years to come whispered into the clearing. “I see the bitchling has been bound…” When one of the fledglings went to gag her, the demon waved them away. “I want to hear her scream.” From the shadows another figure watched as Giddeon ordered his men to light the sticks and wood that lay dried at her feet. The flames would catch fast, Nicholas suspected. Her instincts would remove the threat. This would test her mettle and his teaching. As the fire flickered and spread quickly, he saw as she looked through the flames and growled at Giddeon.
“The knees of Darkness shall bend beneath the will of the Light.” The creature growled as his glorious fire was snuffed like a candle, leaving Alex with nothing more than scorched skirts. Was that Maeselorian she was speaking? When the hell had Tanya taught her that? I didn’t. Her surprised mutter wandered through his mind as he watched.
As the fledglings drew close and attempted to grasp her, that dagger of hers lifted from its hidden sheathe in her boot. Five more seconds and all hell would break loose, he knew. As soon as the spell was whispered he’d get her out of there. Soon enough a blue haze surrounded her, repelling whatever shadow Giddeon may toss in her direction. May hell, the demon was already drawing against her.
Shadowfire, oh goody, Nicholas thought dryly as he stepped into view. He did nothing, no, not yet. In truth he wanted to see if her ward would hold. “Come on Alex, you can do it….” He whispered when her eyes, as though she sensed him, flicked towards him. The only reply he gave was a nod of affirmation. She nodded in return and the ward somehow strengthened. He was amazed that in her current state of mind that it did hold. Okay, Taltos, time to put a stop to this. He moved forward, his voice taunting the creature who stood in the center of the clearing. “Picking on creatures half your size again Giddeon?”