What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?
Find a good beta reader - keeping in mind that a "good" beta is not universal for all authors, or even for the same author at different stages in writing. For example, if you are showing an initial draft, then a beta who focuses on typos may not be helpful; whereas if you are in the final stages, this person is golden. Similarly, if your beta is telling you that all is great all the time, or phrasing criticism in such a way that you dread writing, or does not get the market you are writing for (ie. you want to publish commercially, while your beta has not interest in the process) - that may not be the right person.
What's your favorite book and why?
I feel obliged to say ALANNA by Tamora Pierce, because that was the first "for fun" book in English that I read and it got me into fantasy. But I just might like Pierce's LADY KNIGHT better :)
Where did you get the idea for The Cadet of Tildor?
I wanted to write a fantasy military academy training story with a bunch of ethical dilemmas. The rest spun from the characters.
Did you hit any snags while writing The Cadet of Tildor? What were they and how did you fix them?
Are you kidding me? Snags galore! One biggie was that in the original version half the story was in Savoy's POV but we had to change that in editing, to make more of it from Renee's perspective. The challenge was to communicate what's going on with Savoy without being in his head. I did a lot of asking myself "What did I need to communicate both plot wise and character wise in this scene? ... How can these two points be communicated either from Renee's view point here, or else somewhere else in the novel?".
Which one of the characters in The Cadet of Tildor is your favorite and why?
Korish Savoy is my fav because he's darker and more brooding than Renee. He's fun to write. I started with his character first, and then Renee came along.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?
Step 1: write in secret
Step 2: find an internet crit group and not tell anyone in the "real" world my secret.
Step 3: Start talking online and realize there are LOTS of people who enjoy writing and are working on books.
Step 4: learn to write. And revise. Repeat the latter. A lot.
Step 5: Make the leap into making real world writing buddies
Step 6: Show CADET to the pros (query, contests etc)
Step 7: Sign with agent
Step 8: contract... and revisions.
Step 9: revision. Repeat. A lot. A LOT.
Step 10: get blue as my pub date gets delayed
Step 11: Freak out about upcoming launch
Step 12: Watch CADET appear at B&N and online and hope it does well ... while being powerless to influence things anymore.
What are you working on now? Sequel? Something new?
I am very addicted to Tildor and my characters, so I am working on a sequel.
You're a very exciting person! You're Russian and you speak at least three different languages. Plus, you're a paramedic, a horseback rider, and you have an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. We don't really have anything else to ask...Except: Which of the three Musketeers is your favorite and why?
Oh, Athos, totally Athos!!! He's the cool level headed one.
If you could meet Tamora Pierce, one of the authors who influenced you, what would you say to her and why?
"What's the secret to writing such clean, concise prose that you can SHOW a ton of things happening in just a few pages and have it seem natural and effortless?"
The Cadet of Tildor was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition. Can you tell us what was going through your mind when you first found out you'd made it to the final round?
"Really, I can't tell anyone about this for a whole week?!"
Alex has sent along an awesome SWAG pack for THE CADET OF TILDOR!
The Cadet of Tildor: Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.
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