Friday, February 3, 2012

Author Interview: Resa Nelson (+Giveaway)

Resa has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was Recommended for the Nebula Award, the highest honor in science fiction and fantasy. It was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in a 4-book series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, is scheduled for publication on December 13, 2011. Book 3 is scheduled for publication in 2012.

Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star reivew.


-Try to describe your book in one sentence.

The Dragonslayer’s Sword is about a female blacksmith who lives in a world of ghosts, shapeshifters, and dragons and who makes swords for dragonslayers.

-Your genre in The Dragonslayer Series is Fantasy right?. You did that on purpose, or you just start writing?

Yes, I’d say it’s epic fantasy with a female hero. I’ve been selling short stories for many years, and The Dragonslayer’s Sword started out as a short story that was published in Science Fiction Age magazine. The reader response to the short story was so strong that I decided to turn it into a novel. (My short story ranked 2nd in the magazine’s Top Ten Readers Poll, coming ahead of stories by Ben Bova, Lawrence Watt-Evans, and Tom Disch. Also, the magazine editor got a letter from a bookstore manager saying that people kept asking to buy the novel – and I’d only written the short story!) Once I started writing the novel, I realized there was so much going on that I couldn’t fit it all in one book, so it turned into a series. I ended up writing a second Dragonslayer short story (also published in Science Fiction Age magazine), and I’ve put together a free “mini” ebook containing the two short stories that inspired my book series. Anyone who would like to read these short stories can download a PDF file called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at (There’s no cost or obligation, and I don’t collect email addresses or any other type of information. I like giving away free samples so readers can decide for themselves whether they like my work or not.)

-What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?

My ideas come from my life experience and how I see the world. For example, I wrote the short story version of The Dragonslayer’s Sword after I had a bad experience when I was working at a company where a high-ranking executive (a married man with young children) propositioned me. This hurt my feelings deeply because I thought we were good colleagues. I work really hard to be as original as possible. In fact, I read outside my genre because I don’t want to be influenced by other fantasy books. However, I do watch reality TV for inspiration about the different ways people make assumptions and jump to conclusions, especially with regard to how they perceive other people.

-Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the books?

Yes! I’m a huge fan of research. For example, for my Dragonslayer series, I started out doing lots of library research. But because my main character is a woman who becomes a blacksmith, I decided to take a course in blacksmithing. I was the only woman in the course, and all my classmates were twice my size so everything was much easier for them. I had to learn how to keep up with the men, and that went a long way toward influencing the development of my main character. Also, because my female blacksmith makes weapons for dragonslayers, I wanted to learn how to use medieval weapons. I discovered that a museum not too far from where I live gives courses in historically accurate ways to use medieval and Renaissance weapons. I took several courses and learned how to use the German long sword, Italian rapier and dagger, and some techniques for using daggers, halberd, and sword and buckler. I’ve also had a little exposure to using Viking sword and shield. I joined the museum’s sword guild, and I became a weapons demonstrator at the museum for several years! All of this experience has had a huge impact on my Dragonslayer series.

-Which scenes were the hardest to write?

Probably the scenes where I tap into difficult or painful memories. As a writer, I feel it’s my responsibility to give my absolute best to readers at all times, and sometimes that means making myself very vulnerable. Taking that kind of risk is the hardest thing.

-How long has it taken you to write a book ?

I spend lots of time (often several years) thinking before I start writing. I tell people it’s as if I’ve gone on vacation and when I start writing it’s like I’m telling friends what happened when I went on vacation. For some peculiar reason, once I start writing it typically takes about 9 months to write a novel!

-What’s the best part of writing for you?

I love writing the first draft. It’s like going on an amazing adventure. It feels like sitting in a dark movie theater and watching a movie and sinking into that world, except I’m creating everything.

-Are you reading or writing something else at the moment?

I’m reading a little bit. I’m writing the final section of the last novel in the Dragonslayer series, which I’m both happy and sad about. Sad because I’ve spent a lot of years with these characters and I hate to say goodby to them. Happy because I’m really looking forward to starting something new. I’m in the thinking stage for my next series and am working to figure out how it’s going to work.

-Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I’ve been lucky to always have at least one friend who believes in me. I’m very fortunate that I’m at a point in my career where I’m in an excellent critique group and get a lot of support from my fellow writers, who are brilliant and extremely talented.

-Did you always had in mind to be a writer or it just happened?

I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was 8 years old. I tried giving up writing many times because I knew it would be a challenging life, but my writing is like a best friend who refuses to give up on me. So I’ve learned not to give up on my writing.

-How important you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Communication with my readers is critically important. My readers have solved huge problems for me. They give me invaluable feedback and information. They tell me things that spark ideas. The name of Book 2 came about because a friend who reads my books said, “Hey, you should call your next book The Iron Maiden,” and I loved the title even though I had no idea what it would mean. I’ve created characters inspired by readers I’ve met. When I meet people with interesting names that I especially like, I ask if I can name a character after them. I’ve created scenes based on feedback readers have given to me. I absolutely read all reviews, and to the best of my knowledge I’ve replied to all email from my readers.

-Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?

I really enjoy creating my own book trailers and putting them on YouTube. I’ve also done author readings (reading the first chapter of a book), which are on YouTube. In the past, I’ve worked with actors to create character interviews, but I recently created my first traditional book trailer, which I really enjoyed.

-Something special you want to share with us?

My favorite TV series of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have the series on DVD and will probably remain obsessed with it for the rest of my life.

Now some simple questions and more fun^^

-Your favourite books and author?

Right now my favorite authors are Harlan Coben and Dennis Lahane, and I love the Millennium books by Steig Larrson. When I was a child, my favorite authors were Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I still read their work from time to time.

-Your favourite band/singer?

I miss Amy Winehouse.

-Twitter or Facebook?

Both, although I’m beginning to lean more toward Twitter.

-Favourite place in the world?

What a difficult question! I love Cairo and the pyramids of Giza – Egypt feels like home. For sheer beauty and a feeling of other-worldliness, Machu Picchu in Peru. I’d love to live in Copenhagen, London, or Barcelona. Or anywhere in Hawaii. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but after watching Lost (which was shot in Hawaii) I’m convinced I need to live there.

-Last movie you watched at the cinemas?

We Bought A Zoo – loved it.

-The last book you’ve read?

I’m currently reading A Celtic Darkness: Supernatural Tales of Ireland by Eoghain Hamilton. It’s a collection of literary ghost stories set in Ireland.

-Have you ever googled yourself?

I have Google set up to notify me automatically whenever it finds my name or the title of any of my novels. It’s a great way to find out when someone reviews my books.

-Writing, reading or hanging out with friends?

I’m split pretty evenly among all three options.

-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?

Maybe an editor at a publishing house. Or a travel agent. Or someone who raises abandoned baby polar bears.

-And last one....printed or ebooks?

Currently, printed. Although I do have Kindle for PC and love that I now have a way to buy and read books that are available only in ebook format.

Thanks so much for answering our questions! :D

For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover-the dragonslayer-disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

A mini e-book for everyone with short stories from The Dragonslayers Series! I don't know about you but i'm totally downloading XD

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There is lot of spam lately at the posts, so for a while i will put up the comment moderation. Sorry for that, i really don't like it but i thought it might stop the spamming. It will be down soon enough! Thanks a lot :)

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