Local writer, Rosalie Skinner, weaves sorcerers and magic, ghosts and dragons together in a series of science fiction/fantasy novels that stir the imagination. Find out how the Chronicles of Caleath will transport youto another world …
Tell us a bit about your background as a writer.
For most of my life I have been an avid reader. So much so, that when I moved to a regional town, the library couldn’t keep up with my appetite for books. The solution, I decided, was to write one of my own … something I would choose to read and enjoy. So I began writing and as the novel grew, so began my education on ‘how to write’.
Most bookworms would say that there is one book that they just couldn’t put down, which really made them fall in love with reading (or writing). For me it was To Kill A Mockingbird. What was your ‘one book’, and why was it so special?
I couldn’t name one book. From an early age, back in the days before television and videos, I was reading everything I could beg, borrow or hmm … beg or borrow. When I worked in a library, it was bliss! Being surrounded by books was my ideal environment.
Still, asked to name one author whose work I have found most inspiring, I would have to say Douglas Adams. My favourite book of his is Last Chance to See. His sense of humour, intelligence, outlook on life and his writing style inspired me. My first attempt at a travel journal was trying to follow his style of humour. He’s much easier to read than to emulate. I returned to dabbling in fantasy.
What makes a good book, do you think?
A good book is one that captivates the reader on page one and doesn’t release them, even when the story ends. Good writing, tight prose, a plot that moves forward, characters you believe, and, most important, a story you enjoy. Not a lot to ask, is it?
You’ve been contracted by a Canadian publisher to write an 8 book series, The Chronicles of Caleath. Tell us about Exiled.
Exiled: Autumn’s Peril, Winter’s Curse, The Legacy of Lathraine’s Pledge and The Battle for Enderseer Hold are the first four books in the Fantasy/Science Fiction series, The Chronicles of Caleath. They begin the adventure as Caleath, adept in virtual reality games, survives in exile. Driven by guilt and vengeance, he finds himself on a world where magic rules. Assassins hunt him, ghosts haunt his nights, a sorcerer covets his knowledge and a beautiful hostage complicates his escape. His quest is to avenge his abduction. His arch enemy remains off world, watching.
Why science fiction/fantasy?
Fantasy writing is limitless. Science fiction too, allows the imagination scope. Imagine being able to travel to any time and place in your imagination, with no restrictions on world size, character numbers or physical laws. Take your pick of character traits, cultures, hierarchy and villains, throw in a heroine or two … add a hero worth following to the ends of a dozen worlds.
Bring to life with your imagination a set of circumstances that gives your troupe of heroes a little grief, a chance to shine, grow, fail, succeed, discover, teach, learn, and love.
For me, that is the definition of fun!
What can we expect from the Exiled installments due for release in 2012?
There are three eBooks in the series that are available now online:
Book One Exiled: Autumn’s Peril,
Book Two Exiled: Winter’s Curse and
Book Three Exiled: The Legacy of Lathraine’s Pledge.
The Chinese Year of the Dragon, 2012, is the perfect time for the series to hit the eBook stores. So 2012 seems like a fortunate time to be releasing a series of fantasy novels that include sentient dragons. I hope some of the dragons’ good luck rubs off. Maybe they have helped already! Exiled: Autumn’s Peril has just been voted second in the global reader’s choice poll at Preditors and Editors’ Best Science Fiction Fantasy book of 2011. It’s great to be an Aussie author in the top three!
The first adventure due for release in February 2012 is Book Four Exiled: The Battle for Enderseer Hold. This chapter will see Caleath face the sorceress Azriel and her forces ensconced in Enderseer Hold. Being the year of the Dragon, it is fitting to add that a dragon is pivotal to the outcome!
Book Five Invaded: The Darkest Day returns us to Caleath’s adventures.
Five years later, Caleath again faces challenges that threaten more than survival. Prophecies are coming to fruition. Dragons and dread lords clash, the Deathbringer could change the course of battle, but there are doubts about whose side is he on.
Book Six Underground: The Day of The Sun, continues this new adventure.
Caleath searches for those souls lost in the final battle of Invaded. His journey takes him to an underground world where magic is scorned. While suffering the effects of artificial sunlight, Caleath strives to rescue his friends from space pirates able to manipulate a race of enslaved sorcerers.
Book Seven Adrift: In Search of Memory Begins the final adventure in the Chronicles, when Tag Seawell needs to find out who he is, before the black fits he suffers get worse. When a vessel carrying wizards and powerful warriors come looking for a backwater sailor, Tag makes a life-altering decision.
Book Eight Adrift: The Fragile Sun completes the journey.
Caleath must resolve the Legacy of Lathraine’s Pledge. Now it is up to him to save a world from darkness and resolve one more dilemma between humans and dragons.
Again, the Year of the Dragon seems to be an appropriate time for this book’s release.
You’ve published both paperbacks AND eBooks. What has the publishing experience been like for both mediums?
This is my fourth adventure in publishing. Twice I took the risk of self publishing. The first Australian POD publisher went out of business a few weeks after Exiled came out in 2004. Urged by readers not to give up, I chose to go with a larger POD publisher, who still has my paperback versions of Exiled for sale.
The downside is they are in the USA, and postage is prohibitive. Still, this exercise gave me a following. Copies of these unedited, self published books have proved popular through Coffs Harbour Library.
From the response to these books, an eBook publisher offered me a contract in 2005. After a disappointing experience, I cancelled my contract and put my writing on hold.
The good thing to come out of the experience was meeting my editor, Lea Schizas. Lea began Museitup Publishing in 2010 and knowing Exiled, offered me an eight book contract.
Another thing I learnt was the importance of cover art. Thankfully through our local writers’ group, Nitewriters, I discovered at a local mediæval re-enactment faire, Matt Bryant, from Rognvald’s Lith. Matt became the character Caleath for the covers.
Another godsend, and talented artist, Rachel Lewis Photography Coffs Harbour took the photos for all eight covers. With a portfolio to offer, the cover artist at Museit Up produced the series’ covers.
Who inspires your writing and ideas?
The inspiration for Caleath’s story comes from watching the struggle of a young adult with a chronic illness. Seeing how a promising life, friendships and career can suddenly become out of reach while the future becomes a full time struggle gave me enough material and more to work with.
Fascinating things inspire me, like the development of virtual reality games and nanobots, tall ships, watching humpback whales, global warming, magnetic reversal … the list is endless.
The scope for incorporating scientific discovery and mixing in dragons and magic is too much fun.
Where can readers obtain your books?
Three eBooks are now available through Museitup Publishing, Amazon, or my website: Rosalieskinner.com
Coffs Harbour library still carries the unedited paperback version of Exiled in two parts. Exiled: Winter’s Plight and Exiled: Summer’s Peril.
For information about release dates and more on the Chronicles, you are welcome to follow my blog at Ramblings from Lady Rosalie.