Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sky Daughter by Rain Trueax: Interview

Romance with Paranormal elements (for Mature Readers)

A pinch of mysticism, a generous handful of love, mixed into a bowl of dangerous, power-driven men and threatening spirits, with help from wise aged ones, two witches, one Book of Shadows, and you have Sky Daughter.

Maggie Gard is trying to find healing for a series of losses in the high country of Idaho but finds instead a dangerous man in Reuben Delgado. Maggie thought she knew her grandmother but the clues left behind for her of a practicing wiccan make her know she never did. She will need those clues if she is to defeat a very dangerous enemy.

Reuben has come to mountains for a quiet time of fishing and solitude, but it isn't what he finds as he is kidnapped by a group he doesn't know or understand. After escaping, being shot and then saved by Maggie, he must find the answer before worse befalls.

Sky Daughter is set in the high country of Idaho and centers around how militia groups can take hold in a community, how spirituality can be misused, and what love really means.

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Today I am pleased to welcome Rain Trueax as my guest.  Hello Rain.  Thanks so much for taking a bit of time to chat.  How did you start your writing career?

Possibly writing began for me as a little girl when I drew a lot of elaborate paper dolls who acted out my stories. Maybe it was when my younger cousin and I would go for walks and tell stories to each other. I began putting them to paper with an old-fashioned typewriter (still have it) where when you made a mistake, it took white-out to correct.

In terms of writing as a career, I would guess I sent my first manuscripts to publishers in the 70’s with assorted rejections from don’t bother to we like it but. Finally I felt it was time to write but not send out manuscripts.

Last year in the spring as I learned more about eBooks, I began working on my manuscripts, editing and reediting, creating covers and finally had the first, Desert Inferno, ready to go December 2011. By June, there will be ten contemporaries on Kindle with the possibility of four more if I decide to also ePub the historic novels.

Tell us about your current release.

Writing a paranormal is a first for me. When I began Sky Daughter, I was unsure how far I would take the supernatural aspect. For my characters, the first thing they needed to overcome was their reluctance to even believe this was real.

The research, for making it appear real to the reader and myself, was a combination of friends’ experiences, nonfiction books, and fiction by writers like Neil Gaiman.

It took a lot of letting go of my own suppositions and research to make this supernatural being a character with its own set of goals and motivations. As a writer, I tried to respect the subject matter while not going too deeply into the spirit world. The dominant, paranormal message is we don’t know all that we think we do. It was an exciting story to write.

Where do you research for your books?

Mostly I go anywhere to for research which means non-fiction books, Internet, interviews with people who know what I need to know, and travel to the regions. For Sky Daughter, I remembered all the stories I have been told by those who are more into the supernatural world than I am. For quite a few years I have been interested in Wicca, which although it’s not the dominant supernatural aspect, is an important part of the story. I read some very scary books that described people’s descriptions of things they experienced—people who hadn’t believed such until then. I let the story open up to me as to what likely happened to my characters as they had to deal with what they had never imagined was possible.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

My significant other is a real partner in these books. He is the publisher but also the one I turn to for advice or often ask that he read a section or sometimes a book to see how it comes across to him as a male. I could not do this without him. I would still be writing. I always did that, but getting them out as eBooks, that takes his help, encouragement and advice.

What do you think makes a good story?

Energy. The best books, for me, are roller coaster rides. A ‘W’ says it best. Tension, excitement, release, building again to another high. My stories whether western, suspense, or paranormals, are first of all love stories but set in situations that interest and intrigue me.  There has to be a challenge, a believable one. Will or won’t this couple, with their significant differences, break through those barriers? And how will they overcome the obstacles that are also part of their world.

I think of my stories like a weaving. The warp is the characters, the foundation on which everything else will be built. The weft comes in from the side, sometimes in unexpected colors and together they tie together a new creation.

If one of my books succeeds, the characters will have felt real, the reader, who is a partner in this venture, will take away a good feeling, a new insight, and be glad for the time they spent with the story.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

Yes, I do but it is also my real name. Trueax is my maiden name. Rain I took for myself as I came online and had to come up with a nickname. I chose it because I love nature and live in the Pacific Northwest. It was a natural name when I began to put out the eBooks.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

It varies for me but when I do use music, it’s always soundtracks. Quite frequently those to western movies, like Red River or Tombstone. I like the energy and how they have that WW in their music. I can write of a man riding a horse across the hills far better if I am listening to something that gives me the feel of it.

Because we raise cattle and sheep, I can’t always have music playing as I need to listen for outside trouble. Silence is golden in those cases.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Write, write and write more. Try different genres to see where you have the touch. I have tried to write chick lit and absolutely never get beyond some boring sections. I don’t have the touch even as I often am living the life. Romances though, they come to me and they build on themselves. So I think write what comes naturally.

To add to that, it’s helpful to work with a consulting writer to develop your craft, the vehicle that will carry your story. It ideally should be someone who has had a lot of experience, who is good at editing. They will help you cut down the extraneous phrases, stick to your plot, build your characters; but I think wait to do that until you’ve been writing awhile.

Finally trust yourself with your own voice. I know that sounds contradictory but when you have the craft down, you may find something excitingly unique in your voice. Don’t assume it won’t work. Give it some time to develop it. There is always the new thing and it could go against everything before it.

Today I am high on eBooks because it enables a writer to not fit a genre, to get a book out when the big publishers would reject it. When I decided to do this, I didn’t try again with publishing houses. I wanted to write my own stories, stories that didn’t have to fit what had just made money for them. I would encourage writers to work hard on the craft and then put their stories out there. If they don’t work, resize and start again.

The biggest problem is getting the work seen. A site like Laurie’s can help that happen.

It's been fun talking to you. I love finding about new books and getting these little glimpse of the authors I admire so much. 

As a little girl, I made elaborate paper dolls, which I used to create stories that these characters acted out-- romantic stories, I might add. Which basically says I have not come a long way because writing fiction is a lot like that except the words are written, the paper dolls have become stock photos where they play out the roles in trailers.

Growing up next door to the Cascade Mountain wilderness, where Sasquatch wandered, today I live on a small ranch in the Oregon Coast Range where my husband and I raise cattle and sheep. I don't see my life mapped out or where it might be next year. I have always liked living with changes possible.

My life and interests are reflected in my stories which are of love, of men and women finding relationships, working, trying to better their world, and struggling with all the things humans do. My stories do explore sexuality but always from a healthy perspective which includes responsible choices.

For humans, without a breeding cycle like so many animals, something powerful brings two people together to form a family, to choose one person out of so many possible. That something is at the heart of the romantic novel. It is not lust but a far deeper connection and that is what each of my characters will move toward.

A romantic novel is about an emotional roller coaster ride for the main protagonists who take along the reader as they form a temporary partnership as the reader is pulled into the story. When a romantic novel doesn't build that bridge between story and reader, it hasn't fulfilled its highest purpose. When someone finishes one of my novels, I want them to be sorry it's over and remember it as enriching use of their time. Lofty goals? Maybe but without them, what would writing be about?

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1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks so much for doing this, Laurie. You are contributing so much to indie authors who have to find places just to get their books seen. I really appreciate what you did for me here. It looks great :)