Today, I'm interviewing award-winning author, M. V. Freeman. Don't miss your chance to win an Amazon gift card, or a copy of her debut Urban Fantasy: Incandescent!
Author Bio: M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. She is a member of RWA, and the chapters: Georgia Romance Writers, Southern Magic, and Heart of Dixie. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories. Her award winning current story INCANDESCENT is the first in a series. She is currently working on the second book in the series while plotting another set of stories. When she is not writing, she's reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee. She is represented by the Aponte Literary Agency.
Blurb: Some gifts are unwanted, and Laurie Hudson's affinity for fire is one she hates. It has destroyed her relationship with her family and she has few friends. She's fought hard to keep the fire inside suppressed, living a low key life as a bartender, until a brutal and charming man blows into her life.
Around Mikhail Petrov, her careful control disintegrates. She is at once drawn to his urbane, cool demeanor and irritated by his overbearing manner. Her options are taken away when he kidnaps her, forcing her into a fight she wants nothing to do with. As she learns to survive, Laurie faces the hardest choice of all, her freedom or the destruction of the frustrating man she's come to care for.
A formidable Tri-elemental, Mikhail Petrov commands earth, air, and water. He will use anyone or anything to free himself from the oppressive rule of the Mages, including the untrained fire element he discovers, Laurie. Most of his family has been wiped out in an effort to manipulate him. He thinks he has nothing left to lose. To him, Laurie is a tool, a rare and powerful elemental that is his to use. He fights his feelings for the fire elemental because with caring comes weakness, another opening for destruction. Rarely are emotions as easy to control as his elements.
As he trains Laurie to work with him, he doesn't expect his growing attachment to her. With the Mages closing in, Mikhail faces a choice: destroy the fledgling relationship with Laurie to gain his coveted freedom, or sacrifice himself for hers.
To start out, could you tell us a little bit about your journey toward publication?
"My journey to publication involves lots of coffee, tenacity, and blind faith. I learned quickly that publishing is not like anything I’ve ever encountered—it’s very subjective. The only thing I could control was learning to hone my writing craft and surround myself with writers who are serious about continuously improving themselves.
The next step was developing the thickest skin possible—because being told in varying forms of language—NO is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with. It is demoralizing. I have a file full of rejections. Everyone gets them. But…oh, they were tough.
I am one of those sorts that when I am told “No”, I tend to get a bit—grumpy. Instead of quitting, I revised my story again and again. I decided I was going to go for broke—I continue to send out my manuscript. It’s like throwing mud against the wall—I kept waiting for something to stick. It finally did with the current publisher, Crimson Romance. They decided to take a chance on me."
Coffee: check. Tenacity: check. Blind faith:...double check. ;) I love talking to someone who's determined to improve their craft. Just as a reader, it's good to know that an author I'm interested in isn't settling for mediocrity.
What does your writing process look like?
"There is a theme here—It involves, Coffee, Tea, and daydreaming. Chocolate is always a plus. I am a mix of Pantser and plotter. I get an idea—figure out the main characters (and this is extensive). I know the midpoint and the black moment. I brainstorm with varied hapless souls. Then I begin to write. Although, for the first book this caused me to rewrite the blasted thing five times. Yes. Five.
So, I’ve changed things this time around. I took a class by Urban Fantasy author Suzanne Johnson, called quilting for pantsers—totally saved my second book. This gives you a pattern you “weave” without over plotting. (If you break out the spread sheets I will weep). It involves the relationships in the story fueled by the plot. Works for my brain.
I still spend way too much time staring at the computer screen and thinking 'Now what?'"
Ah, daydreaming...the most underrated of all the writing tools. What do you think has drawn you to Urban Fantasy as your genre of choice?
"To me this is the best of both worlds—I’ve always adored fantasy, but I like the familiarity of modern day. In this genre the rules for characters aren’t so constrained. I can explore situations and happenings that are impossible in reality. This appeals to me, because my goal as a writer is to bring people outside of their world for a little awhile. Best part? I can write dastardly anti-heroes. I find it easier to justify them in Urban Fantasy than contemporary."
Whatever you need to justify those antiheroes, it's working for you. ^_^ As much as I love fantasy, I do appreciate how much quicker I can get my head around an Urban Fantasy. I like to think of it as fantasy-lite--all of the flavor with less mental caloric commitment. ;) Looking back at all you've undergone up to this point in your career as an author, what would you have done differently?
"There are a few:
I wish I started getting serious writing a lot earlier than I did. Perhaps I would be farther along—but my path has made me what I am as a writer. So, I am not going to live with regret.
I’d also know more about contracts. (Seriously, this can’t be stressed enough).
But you know what?—there is no perfect path. I’ve learned that if you’re going to walk this publishing path, one is going to make mistakes. Everyone does. The thing is, I am not going to let it stop me."
On behalf of all newbies to the publishing industry, I thank you for your hard earned wisdom. Would you tell us a little about your current Work In Progress, and what you have in mind for your next project?
"My current work in progress is tentatively called Illumination. It’s a stand alone, but set in the world of the first book, Incandescent. It brings together a quirky heroine--Mina who tries to help others and just mucks things up, and an uptight hero--Xander who must face his own prejudices and understand he can’t control everything.
Here is my current blurb: In an effort to stop a war darkling Mina started one. Fleeing her own kind who want her dead, she turns to Xander, her people’s mortal enemy for help, who faces a choice—help her and lose everything, betray her and regain it all.
I have two ideas for the next project, another book in the same world, Iridescence, dealing with an angry heroine, and equally damaged hero.
Or I may do a YA set in Birmingham.
Choices, choices…. "
Well, considering our introduction to the delightfully eccentric Mina in your first book, I know I'm not the only one looking forward to getting her story in Illumination.
Irrelevant, nonsensical questions:
If you could have any Disney sidekick creature as a manifestation of your muse, which one would you pick and why?
"This is hard, because my muse happens to be a suave Russian, since that is not on the list---I choose Mushu, from Mulan. A small dragon that starts fires. Sorta my style."
A smart-mouthed mythical beast with pyromaniac tendencies. I won't argue with that one. >.> Paper, plastic, or BYOB (bring your own bag)?
"Funny you should ask this. Plastic. Let me explain why—for those with queasy stomachs, just move on…..
I was stuck on a bus shuttle going to the airport. I guy was going to be sick. I am not fond of this. So much so—I snagged the plastic bag the driver had next to his seat (I pray it didn’t have his lunch in it—may explain the stink-eye I was given) and gave it to the man who proceeded to do his business.
So. From that time on, I carry at least two plastic bags—JUST IN CASE.
What if that were me? One has to be prepared."
Emergency emesis containment...that's a new one. If you were left stranded on an island infested by zombies, what two items would you want to have with you?
"A fully loaded Sherman Tank, and Wolverine. (Hey, I have my priorities). I figure if I can’t survive it with those two, I probably deserve to have my brains eaten."
Congratulations...that has to be the best answer I've yet received for that question--hands down. XD You didn't just answer it, you OWNED it.
Many thanks for devoting your time to this interview!