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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interview with L Blankenship, author of 'Disciple, Part 1'



ABOUT L BLANKENSHIP

L. Blankenship is the alternate identity of a mild-mannered graphic designer. She started writing animal stories as a kid and it’s just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she’s setting out to publish her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.

Disciple
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, L.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and started writing at a young age. I remember asking my parents if I could use the typewriter – to give you an idea of how long ago this was – and I remember sitting there listening to the crickety hum of it, looking at the blank sheet of paper. I typed up a little animal story, no more than a couple hundred words. But I'm not sure exactly when that happened. Before I turned ten, certainly.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: Here's the back cover text for Disciple, Part I:

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.
She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.
And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.
She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

I had a lot of reasons to write Kate's long, challenging quest to help defend her homeland from an invading empire. There are several very personal questions built into the understructure of the story. Those gave me the driving need to write all six parts of Disciple – the need to answer those questions.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: I could say that the research was challenging, but honestly it was too much fun. The biggest challenge was working with Kate and the other major characters to keep the emotional heart of the story beating at a strong pace. I love long fantasy stories as much as the next fan, but burning out is a real danger for both the writer and the reader.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: I have an online press kit here. It includes the back cover text, the cover art, links to a sample of Chapter 1, some of my reviews from Goodreads, and availability information. Since I'm a self-publisher and this is an electronic world, I haven't put together a physical press kit.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: I don't have any plans to appear on radio or TV, though I'm open to suggestions. I'm very much interested in speaking at convention panels and sharing my self-publishing experince with other writers. It's a fast-moving and confusing field.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: I do not have an agent. Given my previous experience with small press, graphic design, and prepress – over 15 years' worth – I felt confident enough to tackle self-publishing rather than trying to storm the castles of the major publishing houses. I may need an agent in the future, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Media blitzes have no proven impact on the sales of self-published books. The two things that do are: author backlist, and word-of-mouth recommendations. I will be working on the first as I release the remaining five parts of Disciple. The second I am pursuing at Goodreads and through book bloggers. Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm in this for the long haul.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes! Disciple, Part II, will be available by April 1, 2013. I intend to publish Part III later in 2013. I have finished writing all six parts of Disciple, so there's no worry that readers will be left hanging.

Q: Thank you for your interview, L.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: I am a regular blogger: Disciple of the Fount is my blog for the novel, and Notes from the Jovian Frontier is my writing blog. I can be found on Twitter @Lblankenship_sf, charting my progress under #amwriting, #amediting and #ampublishing.

Disciple, Part I is available in ebook and trade paperback, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online retailers. See this page for full availability.

ABOUT DISCIPLE, PART 1

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.
Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.
She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.
And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.
She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

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