"When it comes to authors,we may hide ourselves from others but within our pages, our true souls emerge." - Nicole Hill
"I want a Vampite of my very own. Until I find him, I'll just keep writing him into existence." -Nicole Hill
" I write like people talk. It may not be perfect but it's damn entertaining." - Nicole Hill

Saturday, August 3, 2013

#AuthorSpotlight of TC Southwell @TCSouthwell Author of The Demon Lord Series

TC Southwell

The Title of Your Work or Group: 
The Queen’s Blade, The Cyber Chronicles, Demon Lord, Slave Empire and The Broken World.

Where are you from? 
I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but grew up mostly in the Seychelles. I also lived in England for a year and spent two years sailing through France and Spain aboard my father’s yacht when I was 11 or 12, so I’ve been around a bit. Nowadays, I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

In what genre do you write?
I write epic high fantasy, science fiction, and a combination of the two, along with one space opera series.

In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it? 
The Queen’s Blade is about a master assassin who helps his queen to fulfill a prophecy and end a centuries-old war. He slays her enemies to save her and becomes legendary for his deadly skills. The books will take you on a roller-coaster ride of laughter and tears, adventures and tragedies, but I must warn you that you won’t get much sleep while reading this series as it’s impossible to put down! It’s best to read this series while on holiday, and once you’ve finished it, you’ll want to read it again and again.

What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens? 
I’m a channeller. The story appears in my mind as I write, like an internal film I watch and listen to, and includes sensations and emotions. It makes for a totally engrossing experience, which I’ve tried to interpret in my telling of it. 

Have you ever written anything and thought, “The world has got to see this!"? 
The closest I’ve come to that was The Broken World series, which is the story of a world where humans have ravaged the land for their own benefit, as we’ve done in our world. That world, however, fights back. It’s a story I hope encourages people to take care of our world.

Do you have an editor and cover designer or do you do this yourself? 
All my books have been edited numerous times – I’ve lost count of how many – by myself and various editor and writer friends. I do all my own cover art and designs.

Who is your favorite author? Not just someone that you read a lot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy. 
That would be Stephen R. Donaldson. I only read his The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series once, but it drew me entirely into his world and made me want to write about worlds of my own that would be as engrossing as his, or more so.

 Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not really. Channeling is easy. My biggest problem is typing fast enough to keep up with the story in my mind, when I’m in ‘full flow’. Other times, finding a channel can be a bit of a challenge, because if there isn’t one, I can’t write at all, which can be frustrating. I’ve gone for several years, in the past, without writing anything, because there was no channel. Then one will appear, and I’ll write five or six books in a few months.

Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you? 
My characters come from wherever the stories come from, fully formed and not at all created by me. I can’t take credit for them any more than the stories. I don’t always approve of the things they do or how they behave, but I have no control over it.

Do you ever write yourself into the characters? 
No. I can’t, since they’re their own people, totally independent of me, and even if I could, I don’t think I’d want to. They’re far more interesting!

 Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
Writing is now my full time vocation. I wouldn’t call it a job, since it’s so much fun, and I’ve been doing it for twenty-odd years, purely because I enjoy it so much.

If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? 
That’s a bit of a poser! I admire many famous or legendary people but, not being a ‘people person’, I don’t really have a yen to meet any of them. While their deeds were remarkable, I’m not so sure they’d be all that interesting as people. However, if you hold my toes to the fire for an answer to that, I’d have to pick Nostradamus. 

There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre? 
First of all, they’re all series, and I find that, once I’m invested in a world and its characters, I like to read more about them. Single books are like a flash in the pan. Just as you’re starting to really get to know the characters, it’s over, and they’re gone forever. Secondly, I mix genres. I don’t see why a story has to be exclusively fantasy or science fiction, so some of my sci-fi books have magic, and some of my fantasy books have technology. Lastly, all my books have a powerful, but subtle, thread of romance, which I’ve always found lacking in fantasy and sci-fi books. That’s a shame, because romance is so fundamental, and everyone enjoys a good love story. In fact, it always seemed strange to me that the heroes and heroines in the fantasy books I’ve read never fell in love. The authors seemed to skip over any emotional entanglements as if they were objectionable, and when there was a bit of romance, it was glossed over and summed up. I believe love is the greatest instigator of heroic deeds. It certainly is in my books!

 In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from? 
Yes. When I started publishing, I made all the first books in my series free. People who enjoy the first books will happily buy the rest, knowing they’ll enjoy them. It’s a ‘try before you buy’ strategy that works very well. Not only does it sell the sequels, it ensures only people who enjoy the books buy them, so no one ever feels they wasted their money buying a book they didn’t enjoy.

Character Interview with Mirra from TC Southwell’s Demon Lord Series
Interview by Vanessa Finaughty
Mirra is the sixteen-year-old healer born to turn Bane from his path of destruction and prevent him from destroying the Overworld by unleashing Arkonen, the dark god trapped in the Underworld for aeons, upon it. 

1. Tell us about how you first met Bane, the Demon Lord.
I was taken to his camp by the gnomes who found me at my home in the forest, just outside the village where I lived at the time. Elder Mother had left me there a few days earlier, to start my work as a healer. The gnomes told me that he was ill, but I do not think they were being altogether truthful. He was ill, but that was not the real reason they took me to him. I am glad they did, though, or I might not have met him.

2. What were your first impressions of Bane? Did he scare you?
No. Not in the least. I did not know who he was at the time, and I just thought he was beautiful and rather confused. I was immediately drawn to him, and felt like I had known him before. He needed my help, but he did not accept it.

3. Most women would never be able to love a man like Bane, especially considering the circumstances in which you met and the fact that he’s a dark god. How did you find it within yourself to love him, and do you think it’s because you’re a healer?
I do not agree that most women would not be able to love him. As a dark god, he has an irresistible allure. He can make any woman fall in love with him the moment they meet him. Only a dark goddess could resist him. Tallis hated him before she met him, it is true, but afterwards, she too, fell under his spell, even though she was afraid of him. I fell in love with him the moment I saw him, and that was partly because we are soul mates, because he did not try to charm me. Quite the opposite! It had nothing to do with my being a healer, no.

4. Has there been a time when you regretted your love for Bane?
No. Although he was a difficult person at first, due to the dark power’s influence, my love for him uplifted me, and I just wanted him to love me back.

5. What’s it like travelling with a dark god?
It is strange, but exciting. He can do anything he wishes, even change the world to suit him, but he does not, usually, since this would cause destruction. He summons demon steeds to carry me, because being close to him when he uses his power sickens me. He does his best to take care of me, and ensure I do not suffer any hardships.

6. What would give you ultimate peace and happiness?
If Bane could cast out the dark power forever and live with me in a small house in a forest somewhere, so we could just be together and raise our children. Without the shadows’ influence, he is a good and gentle man.

7. If someone met you for the first time and spent only five minutes with you, what are they most likely to remember about you?
I would hope, my inner peace, and perhaps that I am a gentle and forgiving person. 

8. In three or less sentences, describe the world you live in. What do you like the most and least about it?
Myrthran is a wonderful world inhabited by many good people and lots of beautiful animals. The healers tend to the sick and injured, and all good people worship our goddess, Lyriasharin. She is the daughter of the Grey God, Kayos, who created our world millennia ago. I like the gentle animals and people the best, and the fact that there is a dark god, Arkonen, in it, the least.

9. Do you believe in reincarnation? Why?
Yes. Most people in Myrthran know that spirits are reborn many times, and dwell in the Eternal City while they are dead. It was one of my lessons at the abbey where I learnt to become a healer.

10. What three words best describe you?
Gentle, forgiving and helpful.

11. In Book 1 of the Demon Lord series, what’s your main goal?
It was to prevent Bane from destroying the world by unleashing Arkonen upon it, although I did not know it at the time. Lyriasharin sent me back to save Bane because he and I are soul mates.

12. What’s the main barrier to achieving this goal?
The dark power’s influence on Bane makes him angry, hateful and sadistic, and the fact that he was raised in the Underworld by demons and droges, so he had no notion of what love is. 

13. What are your religious beliefs, if any?
I worship the light goddess, Lyriasharin, ruler of Myrthran in Kayos’ absence, although I worship him too. 

14. In your opinion, what’s Bane’s most redeeming quality?
It is his ability to overcome the dark power’s influence in order to love me, and change the course of his fate and that of Myrthran. That is due to his being tar’merin – incorruptible – so perhaps that is his best quality.

15. If you could change one thing in the world that didn’t personally affect you, what would you change and why?
I would do away with sickness, so people would not suffer and die. Kayos allowed sickness, though, so I am sure he had a reason for it; perhaps so people would appreciate their health and treasure it.

Stay tuned on August 12th. 
In celebration of her new book release, T.C. will be doing a guest post. She will be listing all the literary characters she would date and why. Sounds like a fun time. LOL And there are great deals and freebies during the whole Blog Tour so check it out.
Demon Lord II, Dark God, for only 99c for 5 days, 1 – 5 August
A 40% discount on The Queen’s Blade II, Sacrifice for 3 days, 10 – 12 August

Sites to find and follow T.C.'s work: