Week Long Author Event – Day 4 Carol Berg

The Daemon Prism: A Novel of the Collegia MagicaFive Things a Kind Author Would Never Do To a Fantasy Hero

Epic adventures like those I write deal with world-changing events in big settings. Heroes must deal with gritty villains, warring kingdoms, terrible secrets, treachery, kidnapping, slavery, imprisonment, general angst, feelings of inadequacy, and always, always bad guys in hot pursuit. They are required to share their bodies with other souls, sleep on the ground, give up their fundamental beliefs, and spend a great deal of time between rocks and hard places. I’ve had nightmares imagining what would happen if my own heroes unionized and came up with a list accusing me of excessive cruelty. It might look something like this.

A kind author would never

1. Keep a hero too busy to have any fun

Being a fantasy hero is a tough business (see above). You would think that at least a fellow would get a chance to meet someone nice and have a decent meal. Maybe get a night’s unbroken sleep without being drugged, slammed on the head, or enchanted into a stupor. Valen, hero of Flesh and Spirit, isn’t picky. He’s happy to get in a drink and a dance at a the local sop-house or a meal of stewed parsnips and pepper without being yammered at by the people who either want to take him
back to a life he ran away from or figure out a way to keep the world from slipping into an everlasting winter. Is that too much to ask?

2. Make him shy or socially awkward

OK, you throw a guy into prison (or enslave him!) while he’s still building his career, get him out only after many cruel and terrible years, scarcely give him time to get his feet on the ground, and then you
(A) throw him into a cabin in the wilderness with a ferocious woman who detests him. And yes, she’s passionate and loyal to her friends and moves in a way that makes a guy think about all the things he’s missed…and then you make him too shy to know what to do about it.
(B) Or you have the wife he has longed for through his exile decide he needs to be dead. It’s very hard to start over again, because you’ve embroiled him in yet another dreadful situation and he’s done some awful things (for very good reasons) that make it really difficult for the person he now cares for to warm up to him. Awkward.

3. Make him younger than the age of consent

This is a particularly terrible fate. As it is you leave the guys no time for rest and relaxation (see #1), but when he’s just a kid having to grow up a the desert fortress of the really awful bad guys, where the only things to learn are terrible and cruel… That’s just terrible and cruel. Well, OK, you give him two more books after that and let him grow to manhood. You even give him a love interest, and then she turns out to be– This is mean, author, just mean.

4. Make him an addict
A fellow has a tough family situation, a bad attitude, and a disease that comes on him every birthday that just about drives him wild. And then you let him run away and find a commonly available seed that, with a little bit of blood and enchantment, turns all that pain into pleasure. Yes, he has to keep using it every few weeks. But then you get him involved in an adventure where he has no access to the stuff – and make him realize that there are other things going on in the world that he needs to take care of. Rock. Hard place. How cruel is that?

5. Give him a destiny that includes being dead
You want a guy to give up a nice comfortable job to save someone else’s life, but you don’t tell him that there is someone out there just waiting for a good, self-sacrificing fellow like him to be used in a big power game – that gets him dead. And sometimes dying once isn’t even enough! Your hero suffers for you, travels through brutal winters or into other worlds, fights wars when he doesn’t want to, and this is how you pay him back?

Sigh. Yeah. Guilty.


The Daily trivia question for Thursday towards the grand prize of over $200.00 in gift certificates and goodies being given away on Friday is:

What was Carol’s profession before she became a full time writer?

EMAIL ALL of your answers at one time on FRIDAY to: luciennediver@gmail.com with the subject line  TRIVIA Answers in the subject line to be entered

Webpage:   http://www.carolberg.com
Blog:    http://textcrumbs.blogspot.com
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/carolberg



Prize: Four autographed books – one copy each of Flesh and Spirit, Song of the Beast, Son of Avonar, and The Spirit Lens. 4 winners!

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  1. These five reasons are precisely why I’m so happy to read all of your books!

    • Hi Janelle,

      Thanks for stopping by. It is so nice to know there are other cruel people like me out there. (I had a lot of people fooled for a lot of years.)


  2. I am really hoping that when I have the funds to purchase the newest one, I won’t have to deal with the hassle that accompanied the LAST time I searched for your books.

    I know you said that your current project is in its infant stages, but will we be returning to any familiar characters?

    Have you ever considered writing a character with autism?

    • Hope you don’t have any hassles!

      The project I am diddling with – not even a proposal in my agent’s eye as yet – returns to one of my existing worlds, but would be an entirely new set of characters. BUT, as events would be parallel to the other series, it is entirely possible we could run into some familiar faces.

      I love exploring characters with differing traits, and I like to think I can do the thinking and research required to do it right, so I won’t rule it out. But it is more likely that I would take some of the traits and build them in rather than going full blown for an autistic protagonist. That has been done so very well by other authors like Elizabeth Moon.

  3. Elaine G-Canada

    Carol you are a new author to me.I will have to check out this series.

    In one sentence describe this series?

    +25 RSVPed
    +1 question
    +1 tweet https://twitter.com/#!/elaing8/status/157527198566326273
    +1 RSVPed for day 5 of the week long author event

    • Hi Elaine!

      One sentence – I hope it can be a long sentence! You couldn’t have asked an easy one, could you??

      Here goes: The novels of the Collegia Magica begin as a double-agent murder mystery, set in a late Renaissance type world where science is marginalizing magic, but take its four protagonists – a librarian/failed student of magic, a brooding, brilliant necromancer with a penchant for violence, a foppish courtier with a handy sword, and a reserved, scholarly young woman – on a journey through the boundaries between magic, nature, and the divine. Or something like that.


  4. Hi Carol,
    I’m glad to see that you don’t have to be a ‘kind’ author in order to be a good one. 🙂

    In the current trilogy, did the entire story arc across the three come to you all at once?


    • Hi Emily,

      So glad you’re here! Of course, all this meanness is just PART of the stories. I do test my heroes (and heroines!)

      In some ways the Collegia Magica story arc came to me more complete than many of my series’ arcs do. I knew who was going to tell each story. I knew where we were going to end up after The Spirit Lens, approximately where The Soul Mirror would end up (though fewer details), and what challenges would face Dante in The Daemon Prism. But as to the details of how we got to each climax…not at all! Those have to unfold as I write.

  5. When getting ready to write a book, how do you decide what gender your main character will be?

    • Hi Rini!

      My main characters tend to “appear” to me as the incarnation of the story. Thus I don’t have much say over their gender. For example, in Transformation, I envisioned a young man riding his horse across the desert, good-looking, arrogant, and as confident as if he owned the world. But I knew that if this was a fantasy hero, he was going to have to be taken down a peg. And I needed someone to tell his story (because he was an arrogant ___) and I decided the narrator should be a slave – someone who was around him all the time and yet, had every reason to dislike him. When I started writing about their meeting, the whole possibility of the story shifted around. That is so much FUN!

      • Hi Carol,

        Thanks for the response! Transformation was the first of your books I read and I was hooked ever since 🙂

        Another question: How do you come up with the different ways to torture and make your heros suffer? I can see where the thing that was most wanted/valued is taken away, but there are other (lesser) sufferings that are piled on. In other words, where do you find inspiration? Some of the things that happened to the characters in the books were completely surprising.


  6. You’re a new author to me, and your series sounds great! I’m looking forward to reading it!

    My question is, do you have any new years resolutions?

    +1 question
    +1 twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vanpham88/status/157527876994990081
    +1 rsvped for Diana Francis’s event
    +1 tally= 4

    • Hi Van! Welcome. And I hope you enjoy the Collegia Magica books.

      I am awful at keeping New Year’s resolutions, but I really, really mean to keep a better work-life balance this year, including working out more. Check back with me next year to see how THAT works out. Somehow when I get going on a new book…

    • Forgot to mention my country: USA

  7. Your books are getting somewhat more difficult for me to find. DP was no where within 100km of my house and that included all of the major stores in Toronto! I wound up having to order it online. Is it getting harder to bring your books up to Canada with the publishing industry issues?


    • I have no idea why they should be getting harder to find in Canada. I’ve always had good response from Canada. Of course the whole publishing industry is shaking and trembling and trying to figure out the balance of print and ebooks and how that affects distribution. I certainly don’t have any answers. Wish I did. I hope the situation resolves quickly!

  8. Thought of another one re: cover art…do you get any say in what your cover art is? Do you agree with how your characters have been portrayed? (I have no complaints about the Dante cover but that’s never how I pictured him!)


    • I’ve gotta say that I never pictured Dante that way either. Dante should be a lot more dangerous in appearance. Thus the answer is “for the most part, no.”

      As I’m working on the book, my editor solicits ideas for the cover, mostly who should be depicted, what distinguishes that person, and perhaps some scene-setting information. She has no contractual obligation to do so, so I really appreciate having some input. The first time I see the cover, it is done.

      Most of my covers have been great. I learned early on that it doesn’t really matter if the characters fit my view – because every reader is going to have a personal view of them anyway – but that they look good and that the cover as a whole is attractive and interesting.

      But yes, I would like Dante to have looked…broodier.

  9. Hi Carol! It is so great to see you thriving here! I love your work!!!


    • Hi Jim!

      Thanks for the visit and the support! Word of mouth is the way I get to keep doing this.

      You’re one who’ll have no trouble with the trivia question! (And no, I would not go back…)

    • Oh, and you can vouch that I am not really as cruel in person as I sound!

  10. I just realized that I wasn’t putting in my country, so I’m just doing so here to get at least one contest entry.

    Thanks for answering my questions Carol!


  11. Hello Mrs. Carol

    First of all: I love your work, your writing style and of course, your books/ short stories/ novellas!
    I can

    • I totally share the no black hole wish, Maria. Thanks for joining me here. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the stories.

  12. Wait, wait, wait….short stories? Novellas? And I get my hands on these how?

    • Really only one novella. “Unmasking” was published in a Berkley anthology called Elemental Magic, which is likely around in used copies. I’ve actually only written one short story, “At Fenwick Faire”, which was published in a regional writers group anthology, called Broken Links, Mended Lives. I also have one novelette – currently titled “The Heart’s Coda” which has not yet been published. (It’ a long sad story – the publishing, not the novelette) which is a follow-on to Song of the Beast. I fully intend to get this out within the year.

  13. Kristina P, USA
    +25 RSVP
    +1 Tweet https://twitter.com/#!/harley_chick883/status/157551451726548992
    +1 RSVP to Diana’s event
    +1 ASk a question:
    ** If you absolutely had to choose 1 type of paranormal creature to have in your life what would it be?

    +1 tally

    • Hi Kristina,

      Mmmm…I think it might be a shapeshifter. He would be useful for so many things (depending on how he managed the “bulk” problem.) When one needed a knife or had lost a key or one’s reading glasses. When one wanted to cuddle or to bypass the airport. And I always loved the hints Sheri Tepper gave us in Jinian Stareye, about the enjoyments of a shifterish “companion.” (Not that I’m complaining!!!) And you wouldn’t have all those dietary complications or moon-howling or sleeping in the daylight things. Yep, shapeshifter it is.

  14. Kristina P, USA
    +1 Question:

    When deciding on your location for the books what is your process?

    Running total=30

    • Sometimes it evolves from the characters. Such as in the Rai-kirah books when my original vision of Aleksander was riding his horse across the desert. When I decided to open the story in a slave market, when Aleksander buys the narrator Seyonne, I wanted (see blog post above) to make Seyonne miserable, and so I made it cold and windy. (He was naked at the time.) Thus I started thinking about why a desert prince would be in a cold place and I decided this was the summer capital of a desert empire… And so forth.

      Other times it evolves from the story idea. In Flesh and Spirit, I wanted a more lush kingdom, where the mythic was only a few steps away from the real world. But I didn’t want it to be England, so the geography is very different.

      In the Collegia Magica books, I wanted the post Renaissance kind of world – the era of Isaac Newton and Galileo, where science is threatening, not a religion, but magic. So I decided on a blending of 17th century France and Italy.

  15. +1 Question:
    If you had to pick one place to live anywhere in the world(other than where you currently are) where would it be?
    Running Total==31

    • That’s tough, Kristina. It would be really hard to leave the Colorado Rockies. But I have a ton of friends in the Northwest and I love the combination of ocean, mountains, and greenery, so it might up there somewhere. But then again, I’ve found something to enjoy every place I’ve lived so far.

  16. Hi Carol!

    My copy of the new book should be winging its way to me as we speak–yay! I’m loving this series. (As I’ve loved them all.)

    I have new year intentions much like yours. We’ll have to check in on FB and keep eachother honest 🙂

    Do you have any authors whose writing inspires you?

    • Hi Deborah!

      Yes, we must keep each other honest this year. Good intentions need support.

      As to writers that inspire me… Yes, there are many. But when I want to remember what I’m trying to do with fantasy – a mythic story that feels like it really could have happened – a story I find new things in every time I read it – I will go dip back into Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer. When I want to remember what I’m trying to do with relationships – subtle, meaningful, real – I go back to Pride and Prejudice.

  17. I started reading this thinking you would never do any of these things, until I read #1 and said, “But she’s done that….” Then I read the rest. Check…check….check…

    I like reading about them, but I wouldn’t want to be one of your heros!

  18. Hi Carol
    It’s always hard to think of a new question 😉

    But ok, which fantasy book do you wish you had written yourself?

    Blodeuedd A

    • This is a tough one. I would love to have touched so many readers with such charm, humor, delight, and tears as Harry Potter has. I would love my work to be so beloved as The Lord of the Rings. I would love to have invented Harry Dresden – what a fabulous character with a wonderfully engrossing milieu. I would love to have brought myth and wonder to life with the humanity and realism of Ellen Kushner in Thomas the Rhymer or Mary Stewart with Merlin and Arthur (The Crystal Cave, et al). I love all these books as well as admire them. Of course the problem with the question is that I would have done each of those differently than the original author and likely not as well.

      Thanks for making me think about it, because I say “Wish I’d written that” all the time.

  19. Wow, when you put it all together like that I have to admit the kindness meter starts to lean towards the other end. I mean it’s not so much that the characters are stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s more like the rock is ssmashing them against the hard place with increasing intensity.

    So I’m curious now, what spawned this post? Was it sort of a realization of the overall journey in the world with the release of this book or were readers asking “Why oh why does this keep happening to them?!” in emails?

    Thanks! And I swear I completely believe that you’re not always that cruel 🙂

    Rae M. , USA

    RSVP +25
    Ask Question +1
    RSVP for Diana Pharaoh Francis

    • It’s all my readers’ fault, Rae! People do keep asking. And I frequently get put on the cruelty to characters panels at conventions. (And I hope those of you who haven’t read my books don’t get the wrong impression!!! There ARE 13 of them, and a lot more happens in the stories than Carol’s cruelty.)

      The bottom line is that my stories deal with world changing events. My heroes and heroines are strong, often stubborn or wrong-headed people who are forced to deal with these great changes – or prevent them – and in the process they must change as well. It often takes a great deal to convince them to do what they have to do or to prepare them for the challenges they’re going to face. That’s the epic part of very personal stories. Really. That’ my story and I’m sticking to it.

  20. Another question. Just out of curiosity, do you ever get nervous at appearances or is it a more excited feeling?

    Rae M. , USA

    Question +1
    New Total = 29

    • I used to get really nervous before convention panels or workshop talks. I almost ran away the first time I was set to read the opening of one of my stories in front of a Real New York Editor. But fortunately, in my past lives, I’ve had to get up in front of people to talk, so it got easier pretty quick. Readings are the easiest, because I’ve always loved to read aloud, and I get lost in words I love. It is Valen or Anne or Portier speaking, not me at all.

  21. Hi Carol – Your a new author to me :). I was wondering how you got the strength to leave your career and take the plunge into writing? It would scare the you know what out of me. My hubs would have to be very supportive and put up with A LOT from me. +1
    Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/Jovial_1/status/157576089324109824 +1
    RSVP for day 5 of the week long author event

    • Hi Viki,

      I wasn’t courageous at all! For one thing, I wrote just for myself for about 8-9 years. I had never believed I could write anything anyone else would like to read. And definitely no one would have enjoyed my first efforts; even though they were pretty decent stories, the writing was awful and the characters very thin. But I kept learning. When I finally took the plunge into submitting my work, I was picked up pretty fast. But I didn’t quit the day job until three years later. Not because the writing was so lucrative, but because my company was offering paid buyouts for people to leave! (See, not courageous!) I jumped on it. Both before and after that decision, my exceptional spouse has been fabulously supportive – not only in the financial realm but in every other way. Couldn’t do what I do without him.

  22. Hi Carol,
    I haven’t read your stories yet but am looking forward to some hero action. Shapeshifters are my favorite, too. Here is my question for you: If you were a shapeshifter what type of animals would you want to be? I would love to be a bird, dog, big cat etc., and sometimes would like to be a fly on the wall for espionage purposes but it would probably be too dangerous if there was a fly swatter handy.

    • Hi Beth,

      You are right that there are dangers inherent in any form a shapeshifter chooses. Having powerful magic that one can work alongside would be helpful (though a writer has to be sure not to give a hero too much help. Invincible is no fun.) I don’t think I could choose just one beastie. Maybe what I really want is to be myself, but just better!

      BTW, I do have some shapeshifter action in the Rai-kirah books, Transformation, Revelation, and Restoration. Along with many other things:-)

  23. 1. Beth M.-USA RSVP’d +25 points
    2. Asked the author a question, + 1 points
    3. Tweeted this event + 2 Points
    5. RSVP’d for Diana Pharaoh Francis

  24. Hi Carol! Good to see you again, even if it’s only virtually.

    First off, congrats on completing another series! As usual I tore through DP and felt myself at loose ends when I didn’t have another Carol Berg book on my schedule 😉

    I would really like to know if you’ve ever drawn up maps for your worlds. I once got myself tangled in the geography of one of my (sadly unfinished) novels, and I had to literally draw a map to keep things straight. It had a legend and everything, because I’m a nerd that way. You always have such precise locations in your novels, so I’m just curious if you can keep those in your head; also, it would be lovely to see the places laid out someday like Jim Butcher did in the last Codex Alera novel.

    (ooh, bonus question: do you have soundtracks for writing your novel? I wonder if someone could look at my scribblings someday and say, “She was listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack when she wrote that!”)

    Thanks for the words. Keep torturing those characters!

    • Hi Jen,

      Yes, I always have to sketch maps to keep myself straight, but they are pretty…sketchy! I’ve never had one good enough to submit with my books, so I don’t even know if my publisher would do it. (I seem to use up more than my allotted share of pages as it is…) But, thanks to one of my sons, I have a map of the Rai-kirah world on my website. But he is now off talking to Mars. Like really. But I do have ambitions to get up maps for the other books. Just need to find the time.

      Soundtracks, sometimes. The Lighthouse books, Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone definitely have a sound track of medieval music including a lot of plainsong. One of my readers sings with the Seattle Medieval Women’s Choir – and I have a couple of their CDs – beautiful. For the Collegia Magica books, I listened to some late Renaissance music. I can’t listen to symphonic music – as it is too demanding – or anything with English words – too distracting – or movie soundtracks – as they bring images of the movie into my head, and I don’t want anyone else’s visuals inside there!

      Thanks for coming by!

      • Thanks for sharing about the music. I have several songs that are on my “end credits for a Berg book” list, everything from Medieval Babes to Sting. I’ve wondered about music influences considering music is a part of a number of your novels.

        Okay Questions:

        Which do you find easier to write a male or female lead? Do you have a preference and why?

        I recently reread “Song of the Beast” and came to understand why I “didn’t like” the book when I first read it (opin has changed)…Nothing good happens to that poor guy. Have you ever written something that after thinking about it you just couldn’t let happen to a character?

        What are your plotting methods? (hand written notes vs big white board)

        And lastly – would you ever consider writing a “how to write a novel” book?

  25. Lisa R smalltown, USA

    New author for me and one I’m off to add to my wishlist as we speak.
    If you could have a super power, what would it be?

    +1 https://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/157601694077829120
    +25 RSVPed #1
    +1 RSVP for Diana Pharaoh Francis

    • Hi Lisa,

      Superpower… Does influencing politicians count? Well, OK, maybe, super strength. Or perhaps running really fast. I need to get more exercise, but I am just so slow! It takes far too much time when I’m working on a book.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the books!

  26. Lisa R smalltown, USA

    +1 https://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/157606841835204608
    +1 If you could pick any author to co-write a book, who would it be?
    total= 31

    • Ooh, another tough one. I’ve got to say I don’t know that I COULD collaborate on one of my own stories. I get these ideas about how the characters should develop and what the world is like. It’s hard enough to get these things down on paper. Getting someone else’s pieces worked in would be really tough.

      There are certainly some books out there where I love the story and/or characters and I would love to help out with the writing part…but that’s another story.

  27. hi there! I haven’t read your books yet, but I checked them out on amazon and they look good, will def be checking them out. I saw only 3 books available in audio format. Do you know if the rest will be out in audio?

    Joani S from USA
    rsvp’d for francis
    tally points=28

    • Hi Joani,

      I hope to see more of my backlist come out on audio, but I can’t say if that will happen. These have only been out a short time. Fingers crossed.

  28. Do you listen to audiobooks?

    Joani S

    • I am a visual person when it comes to reading, I’ve got to say. I love listening to author readings, but I know I don’t comprehend as much as when my eyes are on the page. My S.O. on the other hand, can listen to books and pick out incredible details. I actually read all of my work aloud to him. He can grasp the story and all, while I listen for things like pacing,rhythm, and repetition. Maybe that’s it. I hear the language, not the story.

  29. I am thinking that it might be a good thing in a way that your characters suffer in the books, readers read to escape, (well I do) and some people’s lives are hard enough, at least our lives are never as hard as the characters, and we can say at least my life isn’t that bad!! 🙂

    • I totally agree. These are stories of events I would NEVER want to deal with, and yet, if I get it down right, there is still truth in there. I like readers to say, “Yes, that makes sense he would act that way when confronted with having to share his body with someone else’s soul.” And I just can’t worry about hard days at work when I’m thinking about such!

  30. Hi Carol,

    Love your books.

    Do you generally set one large or many small goals?

    • Hi Koren,

      If you mean goals “in life” then I’m usually a one goal at a time person. I mean other than being a good person and taking care of family, etc. I’m either painting the hallway or writing, generally not both at the same time.

      When I’m writing, it is one goal at a time as well. It is “make this conversation work” or “make this scene work” or “figure out why Dante was so angry” and so forth. Though, of course, one has to juggle all sorts of things like characters and plot and description and magic, etc. I spiral through the work, smoothing things out in earlier chapters as I move on toward the end. But I can’t squeeze the writing in between other things – which is why I have to take some time at the end of a book to clean house and rake leaves!

    • Oh, yes, and I am delighted to hear that you enjoy the books! Thanks for that!

  31. What do you do to reward yourself when you reach your goals?

    • Read. Get something organized. Do something mindless like play solitaire. Watch a good movie – with popcorn.

  32. Do you keep track of random plot bunnies as they pop up or do you let them run free and grow until you need them?

    • The subconscious is my biggest ally. Lots of things just flow out of my fingers as the story unfolds (that’s on a good writing day). And then when I’m searching for the right thing to make the door open or the magic work, there they are. I keep track of my conscious ideas as they pop up, but not every single thing I write down.

  33. other contest stuff…

    1.Koren C USA
    2.asked 3 +1
    5.rsvp’d for Diana +1
    6.tally own points +1

    I RSVP’d +25

    total 28

  34. Hi Carol,

  35. Computer’s – just highly sophisticated idiots…they do just what you tell them. (didn’t realize it went under reply to an earlier post so I’ll re-post as a new post for organizational sake).

    Okay Questions:

    Which do you find easier to write a male or female lead? Do you have a preference and why?

    I recently reread

  36. Hi Carol
    Whoops -Sorry I hit enter on the last post. I am not sure if you are still monitoring the posts. I just got home from work. What was it about the Renaissance that attracted you when creating your world.

  37. Rachel flesher / Raonaid Luckwell

  38. Lisa R smalltown, USA

    +1 https://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/157639652185096193
    +1 You woke up this morning and had been reincarnated as one of those T-shirts with silly sayings on them. What do YOU say?
    total= 33

  39. Which do you find easier to write a male or female lead? Do you have a preference and why?

    Male. Perhaps because I’ve spent a lot of time observing men in my life??? Maybe because I have trouble separating myself from the female characters I want to create. I can do them, but it’s just a lot more thinking, analysis, and rewriting involved.

    I recently reread

  40. Hi Carol!

    I’ve got to be honest, this kind of Q&A looks like fun to me! I have to say, I’m starting to think I’m not mean enough to my own characters, from your list (and reading the books as well). Something to ponder.

    How much editing do you do on your own manuscript before sending off to your editor? How and where does it fit in with your writing process?

    • Hi Julie,

      This has been very fun. Lots of great questions. I do believe that if you’re writing action adventure with big stakes you have to push your heroes and heroines. What makes a person change lifelong convictions or do things that he would never do? What makes a peaceful person able to kill? I think TV and movies make that kind of enormous decision too easy.

      As to the editing question: I revise my manuscript as much as I possibly can before the due date. And even then, I always have a long list of things I need to work on. By the time I get to the end of the story, I have learned so many things I didn’t know at the beginning – true motivations, the details of character and plot that sort of evolved through the writing. Not only do I want to go back (yet again) and roll these things in, I want to smooth out awkward transitions and make the rhythm and nuance of the language just right. Because of the way I write – spiraling from beginning to end – the opening chapters are much more finished than the last ones.

      While I wait for my editor to get her comments back to me, I try not to even look at the manuscript. My brain needs a vacation, so that when I start reading it again, keeping my own list of pieces to work on and my editor’s list, I’ll be looking with fresh eyes to find all the holes and rough spots. I also use this official revision time to trim words, get the ordering of sentences right in paragraphs, every thing I can get to, large and small. Of course, I don’t hit everything. I always wish I had enough time for yet another pass.

      So the answer in summary is – a lot.

  41. HI, Carol. Welcome to BBB! I have read the first two books in the Collegia Magica series (I am your reviewer here) and love them!

    I have two questions for you. First, what fantasy writers did you grow up reading?

    What kinds of things do you enjoy doing for relaxation?

    (I did RSP and share on FB)

    • Hi Carol,

      I do read reviews. Thanks so much for your kind words.

      I grew up reading everything – mysteries, classics, historical fiction, adventure stories, swashbucklers, science fiction, and romantic suspense. My fantasy reading pre-Tolkien was mostly King Arthur, Alice in Wonderland, mythology, and such like. But Ray Bradbury became a favorite, and I loved the Robert Heinlein juveniles. Tolkien changed everything, of course. I loved the idea of a mythological world written as a a real history and went looking for more. Mary Renault had done it with her Theseus books. Some of my other early favorites were Sheri Tepper, Roger Zelazny, and Poul Andersen. And then Mary Stewart did for Merlin and Arthur what Mary Renault had done for Theseus – made them real people.

  42. Great list. Thanks for sharing!!


    • Hi Donna,

      My hero will win. I can throw something horrible at any of them and figure out a way to defeat them.

    • Hmmm…city. Maybe Alexandria. But since I make up my own cities, I would likely call it something else and merge it with Athens or Constantinople.

    • Wow this is a huge question. So many! Of course, the answer might change if I had to actually LIVE in the time I was observing. (See Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book or Blackout/All Clear for the dangers inherent in that!)

      But I might like to share the astonishment of Zebulon Pike when he first saw the Rocky Mountains.

  43. Where did you go to college/major?
    I tweeted at https://twitter.com/#!/purplepoodle55/status/157670843177115648
    I RSVPed for this event and Diana Pharaoh Francis

    • Hi Lisa,

      I have a degree in Mathematics from Rice University and a degree in computer science from the University of Colorado. And yes, I really write fantasy and not hard science fiction :-)))

  44. I’m signing off for tonight, friends! I’ll check in again on Friday morning before Diana Francis takes over the reins. Stick around for her shift. She is a cool gal and is not nice to her characters either.

    Thank for all the good questions.

  45. Hi Carol
    * I RSVPed to be here with Carol +25
    * I Spread the new and here is the link https://twitter.com/#!/sasluvbooks/status/157691612636528640 +1
    * I RSVPed for Diana Pharaoh +1
    * I Tallyed my Points +1=28
    * Stacey S USA
    sasluvbooks at yahoo dot com

  46. Hi,

    what was your favorite childhood book? Thanks!

    Dovile P., Lithuania
    +25 RSVPed for this event
    +1 for the question
    +1 tally
    Total: 27

    • Hi Dovile,

      Right around 6th grade I read a series of books about the US Civil War. Half were told from the point of view of a brother fighting for the north, half from the pov of a brother fighting for the south. Sort of personal adventures set against a historical background I read them about 12 times. Learned a lot of Civil War history, and a lot about point of view, I guess. And then there was my King Arthur, that I read over and over.

  47. Do you think that your writing is influenced by the local where you grew up?
    Tweeted at https://twitter.com/#!/purplepoodle55/status/157851614626058240
    Lisa D. USA
    Total points=732

    • Hi Lisa,

      I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, which does not appear in any of my books 🙂 But there are a couple of ways it influenced my writing. For one, it was so hot in the summers, I spent hours and hours reading. The other is that I went to a couple of schools that had really excellent English teachers. They made us read hard stuff, and hammered on our grammar studies. Really good training for writing!

  48. Lisa R smalltown, USA

    +1 https://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/157852016754954240
    +1 If you could be any character, in any book, who would you want to be?
    total= 35

    • I’m pretty happy with who and where I am and who I’m with. But if I had to choose, I might pick Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. I do so love Mr Darcy (especially if he looks like Colin Firth). Then again, I might pick Anne de Vernase, the heroine of The Soul Mirror and The Daemon Prism – but I’d want to switch only at the end of the series. I wouldn’t want to go through all that she endured. Elizabeth had NO problems in comparison.

  49. What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?

    Tweeted at https://twitter.com/#!/purplepoodle55/status/157890924138070016

    Lisa D. USA
    Total points= 734

  50. Cherry Mischievous

    I hope I am not yet too late 🙂

    Question: Is there any possibility at all that there would be more books in the Lighthouse doulogy? (Please! Pretty please!!)

    Cherry M
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

    • Hi Cherry,

      Thanks for asking. The duology is, of course, done. But I would love to return to the world of Navronne sometime – perhaps with new characters. We’ll see how that fits in with other projects.

    • Hi there!

      Just checking in before midnight, so it is nice to find someone has been here. I hope you enjoy some of my books.

      My wishlist? More time to read. More time to write. More time to chat with readers. More time to get my yard in shape when spring comes. All the good things are out there. Just want more time to enjoy them all!

      Happy New Year all!

  51. Will keep my fingers crossed that there would be more Lighthouse series books 🙂

    (+1) Question
    (+1) Twitted: https://twitter.com/#!/cherrymischivus/status/158169197170528257
    (+1) Tallied = 3

    Cherry M
    cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

  52. Damn. I’ve done almost all of these. Except my characters have fun. Less about torture and angst and more about character including dissection of Lost Boys (the movie) and how to rebel into or out of their destinies. I never do anything to rabidly awful to my characters. PTSD is not fun to write or read and I feel guilty for fly by night reactions to the death of a close friend, rape (NEVER use it) etc. It is irresponsible even in fantasy, for me anyway.