Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi, my name is Selah, and I love to write and read epic fantasy (among many other things, but epic is my very favorite)! I have published one book, Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, am about to release my second book, Dream of a City of Ruin, and last fall I drafted my third book, Shattered Dreams (notice a pattern?). All three books are in the Dreams of QaiMaj series.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest is Dream of a City of Ruin, set to launch March 20th, 2015. As it fits in the larger series of Dreams of QaiMaj, it’s hard to say exactly what inspired it other than the continuation of the adventure. One big theme in DCR is the need for people to set aside their differences and help each other solve the world’s problems, which is largely inspired by all the strife I see in the world today.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
What is a usual writing habit? I figure the habit of writing itself is a little crazy : ) One thing I do that may be different is that I like to walk while I write. We have a treadmill desk which makes this actually practical. Walking increases circulation to my brain, which might improve my writing. My next book, Shattered Dreams, was largely drafted on the treadmill and I think it might be some of my best writing ever, but only time will tell!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many! When I was younger, it was CS Lewis who largely introduced me to fantasy with Narnia. As a teenager, authors Robert Jordan and Stephan R. Donaldson were huge influences. As an adult, I’ve branched out into George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Brandon Sanderson, and so many more. Right now I’m reading Kushiel’s Dart for the first time and loving it. Probably the biggest influence on my writing has been Robin Hobb. I think she was my first introduction to how deeply character driven epic fantasy can be and still be thrilling. I also like to read poetry and literary fiction to improve my facility with language.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m sewing up loose ends in Shattered Dreams, drafted last fall during Nanowrimo. It was a blast to draft a book in a month, and I got to my personal goal of 100K words, but now I have to fill in the holes; there are a few scenes that need to be added and continuity issues. And since I have over six different viewpoints and multiple plotlines, I’m having to integrate those plotlines together now. It’s a lot like french-braiding hair. So many strands to weave together, but that’s what I love about both reading and writing epic fantasy, the complexity of it!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
So far doing giveaways through Goodreads has given me the best overall results. It’s relatively inexpensive, and the cost gets the book into reader’s hands. You can give away one copy or several. I’ve gotten lots of reviews from giveaways, and made new fans. Twitter is also a great tool for authors.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write first, promote second. Marketing is important but don’t let it dominate your writing time. The art is sacred. And don’t compromise your ethics or ideals for what might seem like a fast track to success.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This applies every single time.
What are you reading now?
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Dreams of QaiMaj will be a 4 book series, so after I finish up book three, I will draft and complete book four. Then it will be on to other worlds for me! I love QaiMaj deeply and I will probably return to this story world in the future, but I’m ready explore other ideas that have been kicking around in my head for some time.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This is a really hard question for me! I have so many books that I love. It’s like asking someone which of their children is their favorite! Instead I’m going to say that the book that probably impacted me the very most was The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It’s not fantasy, but it’s written in a surreal style, with a mystery and a twist, a complex story-line, and the most lush language ever. Reading that book when I was in my early twenties completely reaffirmed my desire to be a writer.