Saturday, January 10, 2015

E. Kaiser Writes and THAW

Good day all. How appropriate is it to host E. Kaiser Writes and Thaw on a morning where temperatures were a frigid -39 C? I wish I was in Florida LOL...but since I am not, I will post this wonderful interview and trilogy that ties in so well to the Disney, Frozen craze.

First, allow me to introduce E. Kaiser.

A Little About E. Kaiser Writes: 

Born in the Midwest,  I have had a unique childhood of many moves, giving me the opportunity to experience an array of locales and characters all over the nation. We always had three things; faith, family and animals... and I always had dreams.
 I have a burning desire to put words to paper in way that uplifts and encourages readers. I also hope that they might learn something real, while they're at it... so I try to be very meticulous in all my research to ensure that the "facts" presented in my fiction hold true to reality.

 I wear many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondance & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and... authoress!

  I also garden moderately; dairy maid excellently; sew tolerably; cook decently; water-bath can under duress; house-clean when necessary; listen quietly; & lend a hand to my fellow creatures where I am able.
(Taken from her website)

Shall we see what she had to say during our interview? OK, here goes!

Could you tell us a little about your Thaw Series? Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow QueenWinter's Child introduces a new series: THAW

 Thaw : Winter’s Child

 A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way. 
          Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don't know what to do with it. 

 Thaw: Winter Queen

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world... and it's only when she takes the final step that she realizes the wall she's built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever... unless she discovers how to destroy it.
            The only one who can break a neurosis... is the one who has it.

Thaw: Prince of Demargen

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?
 Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?
              The only person who can help him... is the one he most deeply wronged.

 I’d wanted to do a Winter Queen piece for some time, but couldn't find the right angle. When the Snow Queen tale got new popularity with Disney’s film version, (which I enjoyed, it was a fun movie.) But there were so many things that got left out, including a ton of from the Anderson original.
 Though the Disney film has a much stronger through-line than the somewhat meandering original, the Snow Queen has a lot more Christian themes in it.
  Which were a shame to lose… so we really dived in and majored in that, and then brought that out to sort of be a running theme all throughout this series as it takes off for over a dozen fairytales, both well-known and more obscure.
They’ll all be connected, and the setting is a super fun , quasi-Victorian  not-actually-Europe, with portals to fairyland. (We’re even going to bring in Hy-Brasil or Celtic myth, the disappearing island where some say Arthur was raised from babe to youth.)
  Anyway, there are just a ton of fun things this sets up, and I think Ilise is really one of my favorite characters ever… she’s both so many things I’ve been afraid of turning into, and at the same time she triumphs to become everything I want to be.
 I love her story arc, and the fact that she gets to appear in all four books, with two being sort of “hers alone” for the most part. J

 So, before you ask: is this a Frozen retelling? The answer could really be yes and no. Most
people don’t even know what the Snow Queen is, so the only version they’ll recognize is Disney’s. If you loved Frozen, I’ll bet you’ll love Winter’s Child, Winter Queen, and Prince of Demargen.

If you didn’t like any of the underlying themes that may or may not have been in Disney’s version, you’ll love the Thaw: series! These books are highly Christian founded, with the Winter Angel playing a pivotal role, and the themes of accepting our own place where the King of All Kings has put us. The themes of self-responsibility and facing our own mistakes runs strongly through them, and the undeserved gift of grace is very present as well.
 We each have our duties, for He has a plan for all His followers and we must be responsible to follow!
Would you take us on a brief tour of  the world you’ve created?

Wow! That would take too long! I’ve already waxed eloquent on the other answers, I think! It really is a very detailed world, which I used a lot of research into European countries and cultures to give it depth and richness. I really think the fastest way would be to read the books! I can go on and on, but what the reader feels from the novel is really the litmus test! J

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?

Princess Ilise is a lot like me, her problems are kind of mine, but exaggerated for effect in
fairytale form. When you practice avoidance behaviour, and shut down when faced with a problem, than you’re basically running away inside of yourself. That can’t go on, or you’ll run out of room to run to. A person can actually induce varying levels of insanity in themselves by refusing to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for themselves… but a lot of us don’t want to do that because being responsible hurts. We’d rather tell ourselves there was nothing we could do, and just hide somewhere in our minds.
 Whether we react by shutting down and “going cold”, or flinging forward “hotheadedly”, the problem is still the same. By refusing to exercise control over ourselves and our impulses, we give up control over the circumstances, and things we love will be damaged. And once that is done, it can’t be undone.
So, by learning to make wise choices even when they’re uncomfortable, we become masters of ourselves, and from there can influence circumstances for the better. We can make things safer, and make those we love stronger; and that’s a strength every one of us needs.
Sound advice. 

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?

 The message was kind of there all along, but I’m a big one to try to “write it under” so to speak. I hate books that get preachy, so that’s a cardinal sin in writing for me. But as I loosened up and let the story flow it really just kept coming up and then the interplay between past and present, the things we lose and the things we gain… it became very obvious; at least to my eye. I still made sure that the tale came first, and if someone sees the theme that’s great. If not, that’s fine.
 I want them to enjoy the ride. If they remember that, then the message can come out whenever it’s time for them. J
 So, what’s the message? Face your actions, don’t let emotions act for you and then say “it’s not my fault! I couldn’t help it!” We must rule our hearts and our impulses, not the other way around… acknowledge them, but “do wisely”, or else things will get hurt that we can’t make better. You might want to offer these in the "self-help" section as well ;o)
 Basically, it’s one of the underlying tenants of maturity, but often gets ignored in fiction. But in the end, that’s what growing up is for; not only saying “I dropped it” instead of “it fell.” But saying, “Next time, I’ll hang on, and it won’t break. It’ll be safe because I’ll make the decision to put forth the effort to make it so.”
 Which sounds like a really dull theme… so I guess it’s good I focused on a fun story, and let the theme take care of itself! You should consider making a study guide, so that these themes can be reflected upon.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?

I write scene by scene, and they’re rarely in chronological order. By the time I start working seriously on an idea it has percolated in my brain long enough so I basically know what’s going to happen… but there are just little surprises in how. So I just start writing down what I know, and then about 3/4ths through I call in my brainstorming partner/sister and she helps straighten out any tangles that may be looming. She is a genius with timelines, and figuring out exactly where things need to be for everything to fit.
Then, armed with the final blueprint, I can go back to work and nail in those scenes I’d been avoiding because they were too inflexible. But this time around I know exactly what needs to happen, so I write them once and they’re correct.
 Working this way avoids burnout, since I don’t have to go through rewrites to fix crucial points…
I love it! That's the beauty in meeting so many authors, each one has their own system, and it offers a great conglomeration of ideas and tips that can help others out of a writing bind.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?

The time span in this set of three novels that begin the Thaw: series is about two years. As for writing time-span; for the first time ever I was actually able to write them within a twelve month period… I sort of wrote all three of these simultaneously, so that they really flow together a lot.

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?

I don’t catalogue anything; which is way it’s really important for me to do the research that I need at the time that I need it. This also has the side effect of not allowing for wallowing in research as a procrastination excuse, because I have to go write that scene immediately after I figure out the thing I was researching. It works pretty well, but I do hate the forgetting part that happens if something interrupts between the two… cause I have no idea how I even found it, some times! But it always works out, I just figure out a different path to similar information. Interesting. I tend to open a file for each of my books and collect my research (down to character details) so I can make sure there are no errors down the line in the novel or any subsequent ones.

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?

 My first two finished works were completely original coming-of-age set in a “light fantasy” world that had very little to do with anything fantastical. It was particularly trope-less, and begun as a present for my sister who hates clich├ęs and has studied over my shoulder enough to spot them a mile away.
I initially intended only one book, but when I released it people asked for a sequel. I was out of ideas, so in the course of discussing the situation with my sister she came up with some good ones, and then we sort of snow balled from there. That was the first major project that we “worked together” on, and now there are a planned 3 more in the series.
(But they’re on hold for the moment as Thaw: gets written!)
  For the Thaw: series it’s all about retelling fairytales with a twist, making the MCs proactive and always having something that can be done about any situation they are in. And then they do it.
 I love fairytales, but the “oh, we’re helpless!” thread that runs through them always grated on me. Also the “Somebody told me not to do this, so of course I’m doing it first chance I get!” trope that is inevitable… that just doesn’t make sense.
 So taking the familiar “stock elements” and then finding a way to get a different “lighting angle” for lack of a better word… it’s been a lot of fun. We’re making them fresh because although we use the core elements, we string them on a whole new necklace, which has been a lot of fun for us, and we hope will be equally fun for readers. It does sound like a lot of fun...and you might consider sharing your sister's contact info in case other authors need sound advice or someone to bounce ideas off of!

Have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?

No. I tried really hard to quit writing as a teen because “there was no way I was going to be published.” There were a lot of reasons: I had no connections, my style was literary-ish, my faith was non-negotiable, and my subjects could be best described as “wholesome but edgy.”
  Yeah, try thinking of one publisher that loves that kind of stuff…! J
  It was very discouraging, and I went through a lot of depression that writing was actually my best therapy for… but at the same time I felt like I was throwing time down a black hole from which nothing would ever come of it.
 With the advent of indie publishing, I actually have a chance to have books in print and kindle… I’ve made fans and online connections that have really meant the world to me.
 As a result I am much more confidant in my possibilities of a future as an author, and it’s because of the shift in the publishing world. The Lord makes a way; I guess!
That he does.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?

Marketing is my biggest weak spot, and I’ve often tearfully considered submitting to publishers/agents hoping they’d do that part for me!
 The ones I queried early on said “thanks but it’s not the right fit”, and the ones later were interested, but by then I’d learned enough about pay scales and contracts and I just couldn’t go there with my brand. It’s a slim enough ledge, there’s not room to split it in half! J
 People will either like it or they won’t! If they do, great! I may make a little money! That’d be terrific. If they don’t, why should I split nothing?
  I am able to do my own cover design, and have go-to people to help with editing/etc. It is very important to build a team that supports the vision, and I’m getting to the point where I feel we kind of have that.
 And I super appreciate everyone in it! This is where groups like CIR can come in handy, sharing experiences, expertise, horror stories and contacts when it comes to marketing and such.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

 Live. If you can live and not write, do that. If you can’t, than do that! The odds of making a living at this is so low, you’d do better turning some other interest into your livelihood… but if you have ink in your veins, than just sit down and write it out periodically. Save your drafts, and don’t worry over it. Que sera, sera!
 Just live. That’s the most important thing… the book we write with our days is the one we’ll have to answer for in the end.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?

 I’m working on the 4th in the Thaw: series, Reindeer King, which will really wrap up several characters arcs fairly permanently. Then we get to go back in time about twenty years and delve into a whole new set of characters and tales, and I can’t wait! It’s going to be a blast! J

I want to thank you for stopping by, and to our readers interested in getting in touch with E. Kaiser Writes, you can find her contact links below.

From her website:

Linky stuff:
Check out my blog, E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog
My author website
And the usual stuff... which I'd love to connect on! (I'm not super techie, and most everyone I know on any of these I met online... so I'd love to meet more!!! )
Amazon author page, (with links to all my books!)

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