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XX Authors: Featuring C.L. Roman

XX Authors: Featuring C.L. Roman

XX Author Interview

I am starting a series of interviews with authors of the female persuasion. In some cases, this may be the only thing they have in common. As the instigator of this endeavor, I thought it only fair that I start with myself.

BRP: Give us the deets – genre(s), length of writing career, how long you’ve been writing – all the basics.

CLR: I’m an indie author. Been writing my whole life, but my first book came out in 2013. Several others are gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. Thank goodness.

BRP: What made you choose Sci-fi and Fantasy?

CLR: I’m not sure I chose them so much as those genres chose me. I love the world building aspect, especially constructing the rules for the magic in a fantasy world. And, with both SF and Fantasy, you have so much scope. Anything is possible, which makes for some wonderful story opportunities.

Coming soon to a platform near you.

BRP: How do you feel about female characters?

CLR: I am definitely pro-female characters. (Grins.) There is such a lot being said about how women are portrayed in books and movies. I think its important to simply let them be who they are. Strength or weakness should be an aspect of the character without regard to gender. The same is true for honest/dishonest, honorable/dishonorable and all the rest. I build my characters from the ground up starting with whether, at their base, they are a good person or a bad person, then progressing to how good/bad, how strong/weak, etc. Gender factors into that, but it does so as a separate issue.

BRP: What is the hardest thing about being a female author?

CLR: I think balancing work and home life continues to be a bit more difficult for women than it is for men. Maybe that’s a sexist view. I don’t know. I can only speak from my own experience. When I’m working, and something needs to be done (care for children, mess to clean up, meal to be made, whatever) I used to have to battle within myself the idea that I should automatically be the one to do it. Sometimes I still do.

Let me be clear. Neither my husband nor anyone else in my family “makes” me feel this way. It has a lot to do with the way I was brought up. The roles in family life were unspoken, but clearly defined nonetheless. So, when I’m working and something needs to be done, I am learning to ask myself, is this something I, specifically, need to take care of, and if not, I let someone else handle it. It doesn’t work that way all the time, of course. It’s a work in progress, like most of life.

BRP: What is the best thing about being a female author?

CLR: In some ways, being an author may be easier for women than being in the corporate world, because to a huge extent we are our own boss. We choose who we work with, which offers us a huge advantage that women in the corporate sector don’t have. When I was a secretary, for instance, I dealt with sexual harassment on a daily basis, and more than one instance of gender discrimination. Keeping my job meant putting up with it or finding a way around it. But as an indie author, if I have a bad experience with an editor or a cover artist, then I have a hundred others to choose from. (Luckily, the ones I’ve worked with have been awesome.) The competitiveness of the field tends to weed out those who make things difficult.

BRP: How does being female affect your writing – or does it?

CLR: Never having not been a female I don’t know how to answer that. I know that probably sounds like it was intended as a joke, but the truth is, I have nothing to compare it to. I think all of us wear these lenses through which we view the world but, most of the time, we aren’t aware of wearing them. So, it’s really hard to set them aside. It is only when we intentionally remove the lenses, or something happens that knocks them off, or at least sideways, that we can see things differently. And that isn’t just true for women. It’s true for all of us. All we have is our first-person perspective, unless we make the effort – and it is a large effort, make no mistake – to see things from someone else’s viewpoint.

BRP: What do you think about the “strong female character” or STF, trope in literature?

CLR: In as much as it suggests that the “strong female” is a distinct subset, somewhat unusual and rigidly defined, it worries me a little. Everyone has strength. Sometimes that strength comes from gender, but far more often it comes from the totality of who one is: personality and life experience. Some are stronger than others, or strong in different ways. Some don’t access it as often or as readily as they might, but that comes back to character and choices.

On the other hand, I do like the STF as an alternative to the submissive stereotype that used to be more common in literature. The funny thing is, those types of characters are forgettable. They have no staying power. Who do we remember from literature, and why? Do we remember Diana Barry or Anne-With-An-E? Hint: I had to Google Diana. I had no trouble remembering Anne.

BRP: How do you treat misogyny in your writing, or do you?

CLR: It would be foolish to ignore misogyny. As Elie Wiesel said, silence helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. There are people in the world who do bad things out of a warped worldview that sees women as less than.  But I try hard not to glorify or reward it in my writing. And I try not to lean on it as a trope either.

BRP: Do you think the market treats authors, and/or protagonists, differently based on gender?

CLR: I have heard it said that in certain genres, readers accept authors of one gender more readily than they do authors of another gender. I have no idea whether this is accurate, and no interest in testing the theory. True or not, I can only write the best stuff I can write, and let the pages turn as they may.

I think readers are looking for someone they can identify with. Gender is part of that equation. To that extent, maybe the market, or rather the reader, wants or expects different things from a protagonist. Whether or not that is based on gender? In part, yes, I think. But there are other components as well that are just as important.

BRP: What outside influences, if any, do you see having an impact on your writing?

CLR: The nightly news has a significant impact on my writing. Things that are happening in the world today – climate change, the #metoo movement, political weirdness – it all shows up one way or another.

BRP: Favorite author? Why?

CLR: As a young girl I loved Anne McCaffery. Her Dragon-Riders were everything I aspired to. Brave, tenacious. Then, as I grew older, I discovered Bradbury and Atwood. Now I don’t try to pick favorites. I just read what appeals to me.

BRP: Do you make a conscious effort to include feminist themes in your writing?              

CLR: Not really, but I’m finding they show up more and more. Probably due to the question above about outside influences.

BRP: What advice would you offer to new women authors coming up?

CLR: Don’t give up and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should. Regardless of what field you’ve chosen to rest your passion in, pursue it with everything you’ve got. Even if you don’t meet the world’s definition of success, you may find it better to write your own anyway.

BRP: What are you working on now?

CLR: I am working on the third novel in my Earth Prime series, Gaia’s Revenge. Humans have been evacuated from Earth and are trying to find a new home, or regain the one they lost.

C.L. Roman

Author Bio: C.L. (aka Cheri) Roman, writes fantasy and sci-fi with a paranormal edge. You can find her at www.clroman.com and on Facebook. Cheri and her ever-patient husband live in the not-so-wilds of Northeast Florida with Jack E. Boy, the super Chihuahua, and Pye, the invisible cat.


Angels in Paranormal Romance Novels: Guest Post by T.K. Lawyer

My genre, paranormal romance, is very popular; however, I find that most of the characters in these novels revolve around vampires, shifters, or dragons.  One of my author friends ran a survey asking her readers which supernatural characters were their favorites.  I was shocked to find that only 33% of her readers liked angels.  I can’t understand why when angels are so fascinating.  They are loving, multi-dimensional, powerful creatures and you can do all kinds of things with them in books.  I like to put my angels into normal, human situations to discover how they handle it.   

            Angels are so versatile; you can carve a scene around an angel or place one directly in the middle of a completed scene and the book changes in front of your eyes, adding dimension and depth you never considered.  Angels are as powerful and creative as you make them.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to these radiant characters.

            My angels have a variety of abilities. Pascalis can create music out of words — helping to soothe human beings with soft, warm lullabies they feel directly in their heart.  Pascalis acts as an open channel to impart love and strength to humans in need. 

            Another ability my angels have is that of selective amnesia. They can command humans to forget an experience for their own benefit and well-being.  Other angel characters are able to create a sound barrier for protection or privacy, or freeze a human to prevent them from engaging in something harmful.  All these acts are done out of love, and with the best intention for the human, because angels are all about love and  have the best interest for their charges and the general human population.

            For instance, in my Guardian League series, the angels who volunteer their time in the League are all Guardians by trade.  As part of the voluntary sub-set group, they proactively assist other angels in their missions, and with tragedies all around the world. 

            Angels are the most loving, fun, and generous population to write about.  They exist, unseen, all around us, so to write about their intimate worlds is an honor.  I try to use a bit of realism with this population based on general knowledge regarding angels but my books have an unexpected twist. All of my angels come to Earth and find human mates.  This aspect of my books has been controversial but, since angels are all about love and the books are purely fantasy, I figured why not?  If given the opportunity to be in a loving, committed relationship with an angel, I think most of us would jump at the chance.  I know I would.

            Another great thing about angels is they pair for life. These beings are dedicated and committed to everything they do.  Plus, in my books, angels can create anything out of nothing, so if you’re hungry they can create a meal, or money, out of air.  Orion, the main character in my latest and final book in the Guardian League series, takes his love traveling around the world.  For an angel, being in another location can be done as quickly as the blink of an eye so he takes Zoe, the woman he loves more than life, to locations she can only dream about solely to bring her joy because he desires her happiness. 

            That’s another thing about writing about this population — they are a positive and uplifting subject.  Everything the angel does is solely for the purpose of joy and comfort for their humans.  They love us so much, they will do just about anything to see us happy and that is one of the reasons why I love writing about these remarkable beings. 

About the Author:

Passionate * Playful * Paranormal

Award Winning Paranormal Romance Author, TK Lawyer has been writing since high school but it was sometime in 2011 when her writing blossomed into a career.  Craving excitement and adventure, she jotted down a few notes and never looked back.

She writes what she loves with a realistic twist:  fiery paranormal romance with curvy girls and alpha, protective, possessive males.  Each unique tale is standalone with a guaranteed HEA.  She loves to hear from her fans and invites them to contact her.  New readers are encouraged to open one of her books and dive in, enjoying the fantasy worlds she builds solely from her imagination.   

You can connect with T.K. here:

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google | Goodreads | Smashwords | BookBub | YouTube


The #1 Most Important Question for World Building: Guest post from E.J. Wenstrom

From Hogwarts to Middle Earth, the most compelling speculative fiction worlds are not just believable, but make readers want to envelope themselves between the pages and inhabit that world.

…A new story almost always starts not with the world, but with the character.

The devil, as always, is in the details. When it comes to developing a world that comes to life in full color for my novels, I always find myself coming back to a single question:

Why?

For me, a new story almost always starts not with the world, but with the character. Everything else fills out as an extension of that initial voice.

The beginnings of the world, therefore, are filled out to help me understand who the character is and how they became that way. The why behind it all.

When I started writing my first novel, Mud, I started with little more than a mood and voice from the golem who became the story’s antihero.

Why is this character on the streets?

Why is he hiding from everyone in a shuttered building?

Why does his soul feel so desperate?

These are all questions I asked myself at the earliest stages of the story’s development, and the answers heavily influenced the shape of the world that I built around him from those small nuggets.

Incredibly, before I knew it, I had not only a voice but a complicated character rich in history and shrouded in mysteries driven by the nature of the world he inhabited and its terrible history of wars between the gods and rebel demigods determined to overthrow them.

Why does the why method work? It is a flexible approach that you can put to work from any starting point for any project. The open-ended approach prompts your creativity to reach for the answers and encourages deeper thinking automatically.

Most importantly, it inherently encourages logical cause-and-effect worldbuilding that builds an internal logic to your world as organically as a sapling grows from a seed.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in your worldbuilding, keep this simple word in your pocket and give it a try! I hope it stretches your creativity as much as it has mine.

E. J. Wenstrom believes in complicated heroes, horrifying monsters, purple hair dye and standing to the right on escalators so the left side can walk. Her award-winning fantasy series Chronicles of the Third Realm War (City Owl Press) includes Florida Writers Association’s 2016 Book of the Year MUD (#1), RAIN (#0), TIDES (#2), and more books to come.


A New Start

Hi there.

Remember me? That author you signed up to see posts from about a million years ago?

The sci-fi and fantasy writer?

The one with the cat?

Yeah, that’s me. Can’t blame you if you didn’t remember right away. It’s been a minute since I posted. The official reboot began last week when I put up a guest post by the awesome Leslie Halpern. Her post was the first one in a new posting schedule that I hope you will enjoy. It’s going to work like this:

Every Thursday a new post will go up. Because there are so many stellar authors out there, and I thought you’d like to hear from a few of them, I’ve offered guest spots to a wide range of sci-fi and fantasy authors. So I’ll be posting at least once a month, on the second Thursday, but the rest of the month it will be a guest author.

At least, that’s the plan.

I have the schedule mostly filled through November, but there are a lot of open slots after that. If you have an author you’d like to hear from, drop me a line in the comments. Come to that, if there’s a topic you’re dying to know more on, let me know. I’m always open to suggestions.

This represents a sort of reboot for this blog. I started it a while back when I set up the website. With it, I’m hoping to connect to readers and spread the word about my books and the indie world in general.

I hope you’ll join me.


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Current WIP

Gaia's Rebellion
88% Complete
70,000 of 80,000 words