Friday, July 13, 2018

Interview with R.J. Metcalf (Renegade Skyfarer Blog Tour)

We're thrilled to welcome R.J. Metcalf to Lands Uncharted today as part of her blog tour celebrating the release of her debut novel, Renegade Skyfarer! I'll share more about the book below, but first the author took the time to answer some interview questions for us! Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I married my high school sweetheart nearly ten years ago this autumn, and we now have two boys (6 and nearly 4). Prior to having children, I was an ASL interpreter at a local college, then I retired from that to be a stay-at-home mom. Throughout my entire life, I’ve enjoyed sewing, and had been a seamstress-for-hire until I switched hats to be a writer. Apparently writing and sewing take up the same creative space in my brain, and it’s one or the other!

We’re all quite active in our church, and I aspire to raise our sons to be Godly, nerdy gentlemen. But right now, I just want to survive the next family Nerf war.

We have a lot in common! What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?

More like who prompted me to start writing. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing–to the point that my homeschool teachers had to add extra creative writing classes, simply because I begged for them!

Mike had the rough ideas for this series for years, and we always talked about how we’d write it ‘someday’ and once we started our family, it became ‘in a few decades.’ And then I met Jamie Foley, author of the Sentinel Trilogy. She learned about our ideas for a someday story, and when I shared the premise and the world that we were dreaming of, she wouldn’t let the idea wait for a few decades. She insisted that if she could write a trilogy as a wife and mom, so could I.

And we believed her.

And she hasn’t led us astray.

Jamie’s been there every step of the way, offering guidance, harping on my prose when I’m slacking off, recommending writing conventions, and teaching me the in’s and out’s of indie publishing. We wouldn’t have made it this far without a faithful friend like her walking with us. And the best part? Through it all, she’s let us beta read her work and offer input and beg for specific happenings between characters. The best of both worlds. ^_^

Jamie is pretty amazing, as are her books :) Which fictional character (book or movie) do you most relate to, and why?

Oooh. This is a new question to me! I can easily say that my high school answer would’ve been Jaina Solo from the Star Wars: New Jedi Order book, Dark Journey. But now? Hmm.

I need to cogitate this.

Fair enough! What are your go-to foods or beverages while writing?

Am I aiming to be healthy, or am I past the point of caring? **laughs**

If I’m being ‘good’, then apple slices with roasted almonds (Not raw! Raw almonds will kill me. But roasted are totally fine. I live life on the edge.) and tofu dark chocolate. And a chai by day, or a non-caffeinated chai by night.

If I’m at the point of not caring…well. I love my carbs, and I love my chocolate. I’m a big fan of dark chocolate chip cookies. Or peanut butter dark chocolate chip cookies. Or brownies. Or Yum Yum Donuts super chocolate bar with chocolate chips and the chocolate filling of goodness. (notice a theme here?) I’ll either stick with my chai, or, if I’m working on a difficult scene, I may have an amaretto on the rocks. Or mix my ‘Dirty B’ concoction that I’ll nurse for the whole night.

Chocolate is a popular theme in my snacking habits, too... But before we all get hungry, please share one of your favorite writing tips with us.

I asked Kathy Tyers Gillian for advice when I was starting this career, and she told me something that has stuck with me, and I pray will never leave. Listen to your editor with humility. If they say chop something, yes, it’s going to hurt. Cry over it if you must. Then open a fresh document and try re-writing your manuscript all as the editor says. It may be something you look at and fall in love with, and you find yourself agreeing with everything they’d said, though it was hard to swallow at first. And if you decide you really want to keep that one scene in it after all, the good news is you still have your original draft that you can pull it from. At least you tried it like it was suggested.

I’m a horrible person who breaks rules. I’m sharing two tips.

This is something I have on my wall, just visible over my second monitor that I use while editing. “View drafts 2-5 not as work to fix draft 1, but as creative opportunities that increasingly focus more on the artwork of the prose.” –C.W. Briar

It really changes my view on editing. It’s not drudgery when I’m making my manuscript better.

Love it! We're all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted - if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

Tough question! I suppose my own world would be a cop-out choice, huh? I hope to someday visit Ireland or Europe or India or Japan. I’d love to study the architecture and more of the history and culture and how I can incorporate some of that into my worldbuilding.

Fictional: Alani. I want to be a Serran. (The Sentinel Trilogy. It’s absolutely one of my favorite book series right now.)

Ooh, I want to come! Now, let’s talk about your new release! What inspired you to write Renegade Skyfarer?

All Mike. He’s the one that dreamed up the world of Terrene and many of the characters, as well as the over-arcing plot. He would share bits of it with me while we’d walk from our condo to the movie theater or local grocery store, and I fell in love with the world and story. Once we decided we would actually follow Jamie’s encouragement and start writing, he gave me the rough outline and let me at it. So I wrote the heart, the soul, the characters and their motives. It’s been quite the journey!

One of the characters deals with betrayal, and it let me work through some bits in my life that I’ve felt that pain. Another works through loss. Another has to put off her dreams for the good of others. All those are things that I, or others, have dealt with. The idea that maybe someone in the future will read Renegade Skyfarer and be dealing with their own issues, and find solace in characters that are walking through those same trials, that’s all the motive I need to keep writing.

Your cover is amazing! Tell us a bit about the design process.

LoriAnn Wheldon of Magpie Designs, Ltd is amazing! She took my really badly sketched ideas and brought them to life. And we wouldn’t have been able to do it without C.W. Briar and his team, who provided us the model and photographer for the cover, as well as some of my friends out here who had all the steampunk gear that we needed. That cover? That’s the beautiful results of an amazing team effort.

As I said, C.W. found us our model and played proxy for me for the photoshoots, then his photographer sent the photos to LoriAnn and I. I sent her several different favorite shots, as well as some of my half-baked ideas, and she performed magic, as far as I’m concerned.

Wow, I love all the collaboration! Can you share anything about future books in the Stones of Terrene Chronicles?

Well, Renegade Skyfarer is book one of four in the series. Book two, Void Born, will be releasing this autumn, and the prequel, Betrayal by Blood, will be coming out early 2019. There’s also going to be an anthology (Scars of Time), as well as a stand-alone book that I can’t name yet, for fear of spoilers. ^_^

The only other thing I really say is this: I like happy endings. So, don’t fear. Much. Things may seem bleak at times, but I’m not done with this series until I’m smiling from genuine happiness–which is different than my maniacal smile when I have a beta reader tell me that I made them cry.

Yay for happy endings! No visit to Lands Uncharted is complete without Top 3s! Give us a Top 3 list, in the category of your choice.

I want to do top 3 favorite couples, but I’m afraid that gives away spoilers for those who haven’t read those books!

Oh well. I’m doing it anyway. Because it makes my heart happy thinking of my favorite OTP’s.

1) Zekk Sorrowsong and Tera Aetherswift from the Sentinel Trilogy

2) Killian Jones and Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time

3) Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Thank you so much for sharing with us, R.J., and congratulations on your new release! Doesn't this series sound fabulous? You can purchase Renegade Skyfarer at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here's the back cover blurb:

The airship crew saved Ben’s life from a dragon, of all things.

When Ben wakes up, he has no memory of his family, his home, or how he got to this strange world. All he knows is what his new crew members tell him: the magical Barrier that protects their land is weakening. Unless they find the artifact that can repair it, all of Terrene will be destroyed and enslaved by the enemies beyond.

But when Ben suspects that danger may lurk closer than dragons or sky pirates, he has to decide: stay and fight with the airship crew, or focus on regaining his lost memory? If he leaves, he risks losing his newfound friends–but if he stays, he might never return home.

Welcome to Terrene–where dragons exist, the past haunts, and magic is no myth.

Welcome aboard the Sapphire.

Want to know more? You can connect with the author on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You also can fill out the form below to enter a giveaway for a signed print copy of Renegade Skyfarer, a Stones of Terrene notepad and pen, Notebook of Writing, and bracelet! (US only.) And make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 2nd
Tuesday, July 3rd
Wednesday, July 4th
Thursday, July 5th
Friday, July 6th
Saturday, July 7th
Monday, July 9th
Tuesday, July 10th
Wednesday, July 11th
Thursday, July 12th
Friday, July 13th
Saturday, July 14th
Monday, July 16th

1 comment:

  1. I’m so excited to see this book in print! *happy dance for Becky* I wish I was going to Realm makers this year, so I could get it signed. So many congratulations to you!!!


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