I think one of the best parts of jumping into a fantasy world is learning about the brains behind the book. And not just any fantasy world, but a Young Adult fairy tale one filled with dark magic and adventure. My guest today is Vanessa Eccles, author of FABLED (May 2015, Bound and Brewed).
Vanessa K. Eccles graduated Troy University with a degree in English. She currently serves as executive editor of Belle Rêve Literary Journal and is founder of the book blog YA-NA Sisterhood. When she’s not writing or devouring books, she enjoys the lake life with her Prince Charming and their four dogs.
Me: Now it’s interview time. Since we’re both Vanessa, I’ll let our spotlighted author keep the name 😉 So tell us a little about the book.
Vanessa: Rowena thinks the Grimm’s infamous podcasts are simply another teen fad until she finds herself trapped in a land of nightmarish storybook characters. She tries desperately to flee Mezzanine and return home, but Dresdem, Mezzanine’s wicked monarch, plans to use Rowena’s access to her world to bring dark magic and absolute rule into Georgia and beyond.
But when Rowena’s dear friend Madeline falls into Dresdem’s grasp, her battle with him becomes war, and all hopes of home are temporarily thwarted. With the help of an invisible hero, a beast, and an owl, she sets out to free Madeline from a deadening sleep. But Rowena must become her own hero when she finds herself bound by the kingdom’s darkest family. She must make the ultimate choice – align herself with her enemies or live on the run forever.
Me: Oh, I love the fairy tale element and having to pick the lesser of two evils. How long did it take you to write this book?
V: I first started writing Fabled in October of 2012, and I’ve been working on it off and on until a few months ago.
Me: It must be wonderful to finally finish the journey. What Genre do you write and why?
V: I mostly write fantasy because I enjoy the escape from reality.
Me: I totally agree. Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work and tell us why this is your favorite?
V: “I was his moon, and I planned to orbit his planet forever.” I think this line accurately describes how most of us felt about our teen boyfriend. Young love is a strong and beautiful thing.
Me: Definitely, among a whole lot of other overwhelming feelings. What can you share with other writers were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
V: Everything takes a lot longer than you expect, and you’ll never feel 100% ready to release the book. Even after hiring a few editors, months of tweaking, and MANY rereads, there’s always going to be a slight element of uncertainty. It’s just part of the process.
Me: Do you have a favorite author(s)?
V: I don’t have a favorite author, but I have lots of favorite books. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs are two of my top picks in young adult, but Little Women is my all time favorite book.
Me: I’ll have to add some of those to my reading list. What are a few things about yourself most people would expect?
V: I’m your typical functioning introvert who lives in a home made of books. (Well… maybe not made entirely by books, but they at least provide insulation. 🙂 But I also love to be outdoors and enjoy DIY projects.
Me: I would live in a house made of books 🙂 Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
V: This might be a very common answer, but social media is a must these days. You as an author need to be found by your readers. So I have a website, FB-Author page, Twitter and Goodreads accounts. I do keep a personal FB page separately though as I try to keep my professional/personal life separate from my writing life. Brand yourself! You need to sell yourself and be a believable and legit author before readers will take you seriously. There are many free websites and places to help you, just make sure that it looks professional. And when in doubt? Ask other writers. At some point we’ve all been there.
Me: Great advice! If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
V: My pick for Rowena would be Adelaide Kane. If she could pull off a slight southern accent, she’d be perfect.
Me: Something fun. Chocolate or Wine (or any other adult beverage)?
V: I’m going to be weird and say neither, but I can seriously drink coffee all day. There’s just something about the warmth in my hands and the burst of caffeine on my tongue that is invigorating.
Me: Yes, coffee! I don’t blame you. What is your favorite meal?
V: My husband’s veggie pizza. Yum.
Me: Favorite Color?
Me: If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What would you wear?
V: I’d wear an armor of books and go by The Word Slinger.
Me: I can see the WS fashioned across your chest. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers? (For ex: What specifically has worked for you? What’s the best advice you’ve received?)
V: The most important thing is to live a life worth writing. As writers, we can become absorbed in the aspect of writing and get lost in a sea of social media, but we need to resist this. Living a great big full life will add to your experiences and to your writing. Create the life and career you want. Be your best and trust the rest.
Me: What’s next in your future?
V: I’m currently working on book two of Fabled and a southern gothic.
Me: Sounds amazing…and busy! Thanks for joining us today, Vanessa. And for our readers, check out all of Vanessa’s links and an excerpt from her book below. And be sure to check out her Giveaway for a chance to win an ebook!
Click on Author Interviews on my homepage if you’d like to be featured on an upcoming post of Behind the Scenes, an author spotlight series.
Excerpt from Fabled:
“Heads or tails?” Lil asked as she opened the door and stood in front of me.
“When are you going to learn that heads always wins?” She snickered and rolled her eyes in amazement of my apparent naivety.
“Not always. Besides, tales are more interesting.”
Not understanding my word play, she shrugged and searched her pockets for a coin.
I leaned into the porch swing, coffee and book in hand, and watched as autumn’s first leaves sunsetted the deadening grass. I rested the mug on my knee and let the cool breeze sway me back and forth while I waited.
Trying to ignore my little sister’s attempts to aggravate me, I looked down at the fantastical book in my hands and realized how beloved, yet unrealistic it seemed. Most of us lead relatively dull lives and are content but never satisfied. The “happily ever afters” they crammed in our minds as children were merely lies, but I couldn’t help but dream of an adventure like the one I was holding. I wanted my life to be epic. Who was I kidding? Only characters in our favorite stories experienced magical lives. Mine had already been planned out for me − go to college, land a mediocre job, get married, and have 1.8 perfectly groomed, smiling children. That was it. The end.