Author of: The Weeping Empress
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m in my mid-thirties and doing all of the things that women in their mid-thirties do- raising my family, changing my career, letting my imagination run wild. Though I’m from the US, I’m currently living in the UK. The cultural differences keep life interesting.
What inspires you to write?
Before I was a writer I was a prolific reader. I love getting swept away in a good story. I’ve wanted to have the same affect on people for as long as I can remember. This is at the core of my inspiration. But in a more immediate sense each individual story is an inspiration in itself. I tend to get a storyline stuck in my head, much like you would a song. It’s all I can think about until I finally commit it to paper.
Tell us about The Weeping Empress.
The Weeping Empress is my first full-length novel. It’s an epic fantasy featuring a strong sword-swinging protagonist named Chiyo. The book follows her as she finds a way to survive in an unknown land, grapples with an immense loss and tries to avoid a preordained fate. It also asks some important questions about the proper place and authority of religion in society.
Do you have any upcoming works for us to look forward to?
I’m working on a sequel to The Weeping Empress, but it’s still in its infancy. I expect it to be finished late next year. I’ve also got an interesting vampire tale rolling around in the back of my head that might get some attention at some point.
What was your first writing experience?
I can hardly remember. I always seemed to be telling myself stories. I think the first time I wrote something of any length was on a road trip when I was a teenager. It was about a concubine turned warrior. I don’t have it anymore, which might be a mercy for all involved.
What was the hardest thing about writing your first book?
The hardest thing about writing it was editing. It takes a lot of time, is less than thrilling, and by the end you are so sick of your own words you want to scream. But the hardest thing about the whole process was presenting it to the public and waiting for their response. The reviews have been trickling in and most have been really good. I can’t tell you what a relief that is.
What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?
Every time a stranger tells me that they enjoyed some aspect of The Weeping Empress I get a little jolt of joy. I love hearing from my readers. Emails, reviews, blog post and comments are all very rewarding.
I see you are a fan of Japanese culture, what aspect of Japanese culture most inspires you and do you show this in your writing?
I appreciate the way a lot of Japanese literature promotes dedicating your life and energies to something greater than yourself. I think it counters the self-centeredness the modern world seems to promote. But such dedications can come dangerously close to sacrifice and in the case of The Weeping Empress that line is especially blurred.
The world Chiyo finds herself in also feels reminiscent of early Japan. She, Muhjah and Senka swing katana instead of broadswords and wear silk instead of chain mail. So, I think it is safe to say Japanese culture has influenced my writing in very real ways.
If you were on a desert island and you could choose one book to take with you, what would it be?
Couldn’t I just have my Kindle and the thousands of book stored on it? I guess not. I think I would take the Sci-fi classic Dune. It is one of my favorites, but I would also like the opportunity to really contemplate the teachings of the Bene Gesserit in it.
Do you have any other talents or hobbies that you would like to share? Please feel free to show off.
I bead when I have the time, which isn’t often. I’m especially fond of seed beads (the tinyones). I didn’t make this example, but it is the sort of thing I make when I have the time. In fact, I made almost the exact same necklace in blue for my sister wedding a few years ago.
Where can we find you?
All the normal places:
When Chiyo Alglaeca opens her eyes in the middle of a killing field it is the start to a bad day, and it gets no better when she is forced to grip the slick, unfamiliar hilt of a sword to survive. Thrown from one battle to the next she seeks safety with Muhjah and Senka, two mysterious men known for their exceptional skill with a blade and vitriolic hatred of the emperor, Kenichi. Angry at her own helplessness in the face of her inexplicable situation she pursues revenge against those responsible, leaving carnage in her wake. The land of Dashkalil has never seen anything like her.
Forced into notoriety, stalked by a mysterious cult, hunted by the emperor, and facing betrayal at every turn; can one woman’s hatred really be enough to challenge the divine and change the course of history? The Weeping Empress explores the devastating effects of loss, the hunt for redemption, and the price of destiny. It questions the true meaning of evil and asks what monster is not also an innocent?
This is a story of loss, sacrifice, and hidden altruism. The characters are each damaged in their own way, but together they form a fated whole that schemes, loves, hunts, and runs; keenly aware that they carry both heavy burdens and sharp swords.