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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jackie Gamber Author of Redheart, An Interview

Cover by Matthew Perry
Redheart is due out this month.   I am always fond of books featuring dragons and I look forward to reading this one.  I have been fortunate to have an opportunity to interview Jackie Gamber the author of Redheart.    The interview follows the brief synopsis of the book. 

Kallon Redheart lives with his back turned on his fellow dragons, on humans, and on everything he once understood. Riza Diantus is a young woman with dreams too wide to fit inside her village fence. Their unexpected friendship is risky in Leland Province, where drought has stripped the land and superstition has cowed its people. And the danger only grows. Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, resents Leland's time-worn venur system. He has inflamed tensions between dragons and humans to the brink of war. He wants to trample humans into utter submission, or wipe them off the face of the land. Anger erupts, scorching innocent lives in its path. When Riza is threatened, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. But first, he must confront his past and the future he stopped believing in. He must claim his destiny.

Author Jackie Gamber
Thank you Jackie for taking the time to being interviewed.  

1.) Why did you write this book?  What initiated this particular burst of creativity?
 I wrote this book as a sort of promise to myself. I’d dabbled at the storyline, fiddling at chapters, rearranging things and calling it “writing” for several years before I realized that if I really wanted to give this writing thing a shot, I was going to have to finish something. Redheart was a story that never left me; in fact it kept growing and evolving as I studied the craft of writing and worked to improve my skills. The burst of creativity came first, and the resolve came later, when I set my mind to “the end”.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
With every project, I have a concept of where I want to go, and sometimes even a scene where I know something pivotal will happen. And I write toward that moment, very organically, and very much discovering how to get there as I go along. I’ve tried to plan outlines, but my stories tend to skew off and develop instinctively anyway! So I’ve learned to go with it, instead of fighting against my own brain waves.

3.) Do you have a particular affixation with dragons?
 I have a particular affixation with characters; Kallon Redheart just happens to be one. He’s got a story that couldn’t be told any other way, in any other world than the one he’s living in. I was told by a reputable agent once that “people don’t read stories about talking animals”, but I don’t really see Kallon as an animal in that sense. He’s as deeply conflicted and afflicted as any human I’ve ever known.

Dragon by Matthew Perry
4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?
 I’m infatuated with all my characters, for different reasons, but I will confess that I have a character named Layce Phelcher, a female wizard, who I wrote as a sort of homage to Lily Tomlin – one of my favorite actress/comediennes of all time. I adore Layce! She’s fun to write.

5.) What do you like the most about writing?
 I think what I like most about writing is having the canvas of my own mind to work with. I don’t need a big movie budget with special effects, or producers, or actors to deliver the lines. I don’t need a stage or lighting or costumes. I involve all that a terrific performance can convey—the wild emotional ride—but I use only words. I love that challenge.

6.)  Where do your new story ideas come from? 

 My story ideas come from everywhere, because people are everywhere! I tend toward character-driven fiction, which draws on the “why”. Why does a person feel the way they do? Why do they act a certain way? What about their life could create their fears, their hopes? In my attempts to fill in the blanks, stories emerge.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
Plow forward. Every sentence doesn’t have to be the best one the first time through. Work the words until they are close enough, and then keep going. Get to the end. Then, go back and polish things up. Only those stories that are finished are the ones that will ever be read.

8.) This seems to be your first book, do you have something new in the works?
 I have several short stories appearing in science fiction and dark fiction venues, but I’ve recently finished a Historical/Time Travel novel based on two real historical figures: Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, and Adam Worth (the gentleman thief who was the inspiration for Doyle’s “Moriarty”). The novel took over two years for me to write! Since it’s based on two real timelines, I was careful to keep my facts straight, while at the same time filling in the blanks of “what really happened” between these lovers born 100 years apart.

9.) Who is your favorite author and why?
It’s so hard to choose just one. Mary Shelley—because she was so ahead of her time, tying dark themes to emotional issues. And I have to mention Ray Bradbury, who is my hero for the way he tells a fantastic story with such conviction that it simply must be true!

10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
 Study, study, study. Learn the craft. Practice. Read. Drench yourself in words so you can know your medium as intimately as you know your own mind. And write for reasons only you can understand, and hang on to that. It’s enough.

Thank you so much for taking your time to respond to these interview questions.  I look forward to reading and reviewing Redheart and to seeing a guest post from you, here on my blog.  Best of luck with the new book!

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