Guest post-- A.F.E Smith Darkhaven Release Tour

July 11, 2015 maddoctorartist 1 Comments

Finally, a weekend off for me (anyone who's ever worked an A+E rota will tell you how painful it is...)

And what better way to enjoy this hard-earned rest than to host A.F.E Smith, author of the newly-released Darkhaven, published by Harper Voyager! Plus there's even a giveaway for you to enter to win a copy of said book, too...

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A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

So, as A.F.E has toured the exotic locales of the interwebs, her stop with me will tell us more about her as a writer, and what Darkhaven is all about.

My writing life

This may be the last day of my blog tour, but it occurred to me (belatedly) that I should introduce myself as a writer. Yes, this post should have gone at the very beginning, but what can I say? Read through the set of tour posts backwards and it may all make sense :-)

So without further ado, here I am, answering some fundamental questions about my writing life.

What do you write?

Fantasy. Usually with death, destruction and darkness in it, but also a bit of romance and other soppy things. Because I’m contradictory that way.

Who is it for?

Adults, officially. I dunno. I’d have read the sort of stuff I write when I was eleven or twelve, but I’m not sure if I’m actually meant to recommend it to that age group, given the occasional bouts of sex, swearwords and bloody violence.

Why do you write?

I write because I have always written. That isn’t an exaggeration. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old and wrote my first ‘book’. I keep coming back to it because if I don’t, it makes me grumpy.

Less flippantly, I write because I have always read. And because books have always been my greatest source of entertainment and solace, I would like nothing more than to provide the same for other people.

When do you write?

Around the edges. In my lunch break, during my children’s nap times, after everyone else has gone to bed. But of course there’s also lots of time when I’m not actually writing, but thinking about writing – which can be just as useful. I often plot things out in my head when I’m doing some tedious task and my mind is free to wander. So I write-without-writing when I’m walking to work. In the shower. Chopping vegetables. In a boring meeting … er, better scratch that last one.

Where do you write?

I would love an actual dedicated writing space. A little table, a couple of bookcases, a pinboard for all my reference notes and illustrations … But the truth is, I write wherever I find a space. At the dining table. On the sofa. In bed.

How do you write?

By typing the words into a computer ;-)

Of course, this may be a deeper question than I’m giving it credit for, and it’s really about how to go about the process of writing. In which case, the best writing advice I can offer is simply to write. Keep writing and never look back, as if you are Orpheus and every word you put on the page takes you one step further out of the underworld.

I’m terrible for this, myself. I have a tendency to want to polish as I go along. And then the flow stops and I end up with one perfectly crafted, lifeless paragraph instead of a fluid page of action.

The only way I can get round it is to force myself not to read back over what I’ve written. Just keep going. If there are joining sentences or less interesting events for which I don’t immediately have the words, skip over them and keep going.

And yes, when I read back over it there’ll be word repetition all over the place, and sentences that don’t make sense, and comments in square brackets that say things like “he crosses the room” or “she fights off three men”. And little notes reminding me to cross-check Chapter X with Chapter Y, because I’m writing it as it comes and that isn’t necessarily chronologically, and the bits don’t necessarily join up yet. It’s a mess. Yet it has a shape and a feel to it that it wouldn’t have had if I’d done it one perfect paragraph at a time.

It’s like that thing about sculpting, how you gradually take away a bit at a time from a block of wood until its true essence is revealed. Rather than take away all the bits around the hand until you have a perfect hand sticking out of the shapeless block that is the rest of the wood, you chip away at the whole thing, but in stages. Rough outline of a figure. More detailed outline of a figure. Until finally you end up with The Thinker, and everyone admires your artistic skill for the rest of eternity.

Well. One can only hope.

I'm sure everyone will appreciate your efforts, A.F.E. Now then, let's take a look at Darkhaven:

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: 2 July 2015 (ebook), 14 January 2016 (paperback)
Price: £1.99/$3.99 (ebook)

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.
When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

Buy links
Amazon (global link)
Barnes & Noble
Google play

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1 comment:

  1. Great post! Terrific book tour and scavenger hunt! Thank you for sharing!