Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview Feature: Gillian Bronte Adams!

Dear Imps, today I have the pleasure of featuring a talented new voice in the realm of Christian Fantasy! Many of you may have already encountered her charming blog, Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant, which is a wonderful refuge of all things fantasy and magical. Now her debut novel has released, and you have the prime opportunity to delve into the wonderful worlds of her imagination. I give you . . .

GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. Her love of epic stories and a desire to present truth in a new way drew her to the realm of fantasy.

And here is the description of lovely new novel:

Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

  Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one. When Birdie's song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power. Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.

Grab your copy of Orphan's Song today!

 Gillian is here today for an interview, and she is also offering a print copy of Orphan's Song for one lucky winner! So enjoy learning more about this exciting new voice in Spec fiction, and be certain to enter your name in the drawing.


Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Gillian! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Gillian: What to tell … well, I’m a sword-wielding, horse-riding, adventure-loving speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas. Coffee is my life line when work gets busy. I brew a pot whenever I’m facing a long to do list—it’s my signal that now is the time to focus on work and distractions everywhere should flee in terror. That’s the general idea at least. 

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing? 

Gillian: I started inventing stories at a young age just for fun. A lot of them I ended up playacting out in the backyard with my siblings, resulting in all sorts of hilarious scrapes. But I didn’t take writing seriously until I participated in a NaNo-like challenge at the age of sixteen. After managing to whip out 50,000 words in thirteen days, I realized that I really liked this writing business and started researching ways to make a go of it.

I’m a bit of a dreamer, but publishing wasn’t even on my radar in the beginning. The more I researched and the more I learned about the writing craft, the more I realized that being published wasn’t completely impossible—unlike my other dreams of captaining a pirate ship, becoming an actress, or fighting with the knights of the Round Table.

So I spent the next several years studying both writing and publishing, making mistakes and learning from them, and writing … writing … writing … until I signed with a literary agent and then a publisher! 

Tell us a little about your work! Orphan's Song is your debut novel, right? How did this story come about? 

Gillian: Yes, Orphan’s Song is my debut novel. I started writing it four years ago with little more than a few character names, a thin plot thread, and my love for fantasy and the written word. By the time I finished the first draft, I knew the story needed a major overhaul, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that it had potential, unlike so many of the manuscripts I’d relegated to the “forsaken and forgotten” pile in the past. Four hefty re-writes later, Orphan’s Song in its final form was born. 

Is Orphan's Song part of a series? How many more tales do you hope to set in this exciting world? 

Gillian: Orphan’s Song is the first book in a fantasy trilogy called the Songkeeper Chronicles. I’m currently working on book two, while book three is simmering somewhere in the back of my brain.

Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel? 

Gillian: I always have a hard time with this question because my favorite character generally happens to be whichever point-of-view I’m writing at the time. Orphan’s Song is written from the POV of three main characters—Birdie, Amos, and Ky. When you boil it all down, I guess you could say I love Birdie’s depth, Ky’s heart, and Amos’s strength of will.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 

Gillian: I gather inspiration from a lot of things: a beautiful turn of phrase in a book, an image from a movie, a word of truth in a sermon or a verse that sticks in my head and won’t let go, or epic adventure-inspiring music. But there are times when inspiration feels like a well that’s run completely dry, and when that happens, I nearly always saddle my horse and go for a ride. There’s nothing like the rhythmic drumming of hooves, the breeze in your face, and the glory of movement and speed to clear your head. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 

Gillian: My favorite part of the writing process is brainstorming, character development, and story breathing at the beginning. I love when a story just flows from my soul onto the page. Not that there aren’t tough times, but you can’t beat writing when the story has so seeped into your consciousness that it just spills out your fingers into the keyboard.

I’m not sure what my least favorite part of the writing process is. I enjoy editing but waiting for edits to come back from an editor always makes me extremely nervous!

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be? 

Gillian: You mean forced … like at gunpoint? Otherwise, it’s a little hard to narrow it down. But if there was a gun pointing at me, I might blurt out “Tolkien” as a distraction before employing my mad Dunedain ranger skills and taking down my assailant with an epically heroic-looking move that would make any fantasy character jealous!

What are you actively writing right now? 

Gillian: I’m actively writing the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles … soon to be followed by the third book. At least, that’s what I’m writing on my laptop. But there is a completely different fantasy series that’s writing itself in the back of my head, making it very difficult to focus. Currently the ideas span a total of at least six different books, complete with characters and major plot points, and they won’t stop badgering me.

I suppose you could say I’m suffering from an acute case of multiple novels disorder. But at least I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be writing once I’m done with the Songkeeper Chronicles!

 Would you share a short snippet from Orphan’s Song?  

Gillian Sure! Here’s a little bit from inside the first chapter…


Birdie ran. Past the barn, across the dusty inn yard, and out over the hills surrounding the Sylvan Swan Inn. Autumn grass crinkled beneath her feet. Blazing orange fire flowers burst as she brushed past, exploding into wild puffs of floating petals that drifted away on the wind. She ran until she gasped for breath and stumbled to her knees in a wide open space. Sobs rose in her throat, smothering her anger, and she flung herself flat against the cool brown earth and cried into her arms.
Deep below, a sepulchral rumbling from the depths of the earth, a distant melody rose to greet her. Warm as a summer sunrise, the song caught her up in its embrace. The tears dried on her face. Her sorrow eased. The song was familiar—she had known it all her life—and yet new and wondrous, something too great to be fully known or understood. It spiraled upward, carrying her soul to reach for the sky. Then, it stopped abruptly and the melody faded away.
She sat alone on the hillside; the only noise the ordinary sounds of an autumn afternoon: whispering of windswept grasses, trilling whistles of the Karnoth birds winging northward to the ice and snow ere Winter Turning, and the peaceful munching of herds of sheep grazing in the troughs between one hill and the next.
Disappointment settled over Birdie. Always it was the same. Every time she heard the song. Five notes without resolution. A beginning, constantly repeating, without an end. And yet the five notes were so beautiful that her heart ached at the sound and every fiber of her being yearned to hear more.


Thank you, Gillian, for a fun peak into your mind and creative process! Orphan's Song looks really beautiful, and I know readers are going to love stepping into the world you have created.

Speaking of . . .

Take a moment to enter your name in this giveaway, dear Imps! And, while you're at it, feel free to leave a comment for Gillian. Do you have a question for her? Are you already a fan of her work eager for another story? Are you curious to pick up Orphan's Song? Go ahead and tell us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...

Yay, Gillian! Could you tell us a little about your horses? My family owns four and a goat, but I've never been big on riding, so it's cool that you love it. : )

Meredith said...

Congratulations, Ms. Gillian. I loved the beautiful excerpt for this novel and am very intrigued. I've also read your beautiful short story about the dancer and fiddler online. Are you a musician? If so, what instrument do you play? Your descriptions of music are very vivid. Also, I understand that you wrote an allegory? Do you think that either of these books might be released in an audio format?
Keep up the excellent work and God bless you.

Tracey Dyck said...

Oh, this is exciting! Your writing journey sounds similar to mine, in the fact that your novel has undergone several "hefty rewrites." :)
A couple questions: What were some of the things you learned during those rewrites? And, for fun, what's your favorite kind of coffee?

Unknown said...

@Allison: When I was growing up, my family had several horses over the years. I had taken riding lessons since I was seven, but I really learned to ride on an old, bomb-proof quarter horse named Sylvester - he was so dignified that we called him the "old English gentleman." As he got older and slowed down a bit, I started using him to learn stunt falls!

My horse now is named Ariat and I've had him for six years. He's definitely a one-person horse, and I guess I've become a one-horse person. I've grown so used to riding him that sometimes it feels like he can read my mind even before I cue him. :)

Liv Hammonds said...

Ms. Gillian Bronte Adams what's your favorite fairytale?

Unknown said...

@Meredith: I'm glad you enjoyed my short story! That one definitely came from somewhere deep inside of me. :) Yes, the allegory will be releasing in February. I would love to see them come out in audio form someday. For Orphan's Song, the audio rights belong to the publisher so its up to them to decide if they want to do it!

@Michele: I like to think of hefty rewrites as the beating process blacksmiths use to work the impurities out of the metal. It's a lot of hard, sweaty work. But it pays off in the end!

During my rewrites, I learned that I really can't afford the time it takes to be a seat-of-the-pants writer. :) I need to have at least somewhat of an outline before I begin so I can make sure that I am somewhat on track in the first draft. Writing under deadline rules out the possibility of four hefty rewrites.

And as for coffee, I like it strong with a deep flavor, but I'm not too picky otherwise. I've been on a couple mission trips to Haiti where we drank coffee that was freshly roasted and ground from beans grown on the site, and it was pretty much amazing!

Unknown said...

@Olivia: Oh, that's a great question! I tend to like more obscure fairy tales so my favorite would probably have to be Princess Finola and the dwarf. It may seem strange because it's a tad grim in places, but it ends of course with a "happily ever after."

Shantelle Mary said...

The Songkeeper sounds fascinating!! And I just love the cover! :) Unique and lovely.
So excited to have found another fantasy!! :)


Shantelle Mary said...

Is The Songkeeper a stand-alone novel, or part of a series?

Georgina said...

Congratulations on your debut novel, Gillian! It sounds fantastic and I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy sometime soon.

Your stories seem to deal a lot with music. Do you sing or play any instruments?
(I know that this was already asked but I didn't see an answer.)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway!! Always love new Christian Fantasy!! When you were younger did you want to be a writer?

Anonymous said...

My question is have you ever heard of the Ranger's Apprentice series? It's not Christian, but it is one of my favorite fantasy series.

Rachel said...

I'm thrilled to welcome a new voice to the world of Christian fantasy! Congratulations! I look forward to discovering your stories. Also, I now want coffee...

Hannah said...

Ah, Gillian. "Favorite author under gun-point." Have I ever mentioned how much I love your humor? And I love your blog. I know you're very busy and have several other blogging things going on, but do you ever plan to pick up your Villainy 101 posts? Cause I never get tired of those.

Unknown said...

@Shantelle: Orphan's Song is the first book in a trilogy called the Songkeeper Chronicles. I'm in the middle of working on book two right now.

@Georgina: Thank you! Let me know what you think once you read it. Oh yes, I forgot to answer that question. I love singing and helping lead worship, but I hate using a microphone - which is kinda strange, I'll admit.

I played the piano for many years, but I've kinda gotten away from it in the past several years just because I always seem to be short on time. But I do love music and I always listen to music while I write!

Unknown said...

@Sierra: I always enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until I was in my late teens that I considered it as a legitimate option for when I "grew up." That was just always something that brilliant, famous people did. Not a kid from a little town in Texas.

@Anonymous: Yes, that is a great series! I think I read through the ninth or tenth book. Definitely a fan of Halt. He's so cool!

@Rachel: Thank you! Me too, but I've already had two cups this morning so a third might be pushing it at this point...

@Hannah: I'm glad you enjoy the Villainy 101 posts! They're some of my favorites, so yes, I would love to get back to writing those. Hopefully after things settle down after the New Year...

Emily Chapman said...

Wow! This book looks incredible!

Question: How do you go about world building? :)

Anonymous said...

I think I want to pick up a copy of this book sit down somewhere and forget that I am supposed to be doing schoolwork(homeschooling has a lot of benefits-such as reading good books)
Is Orphan's Song available on kindle?

(ps I love Halt to)

Caryl Kane said...

Anne, thanks for the wonderful interview with Gillian. Gillian, how did you become involved with the equestrian program at the youth camp? I also love horses and live in Texas. I am looking forward to reading Orphan's Song.


Unknown said...

@Jemma: Yes it available on Kindle! Hey reading counts as schoolwork right? I may have made that excuse about a thousand times over the years...

@Caryl: I grew up attending the youth camp as a camper, then started working on summer staff as a wrangler as soon as I was old enough. I worked as a wrangler for seven summers - four of them as the Head Wrangler - before joining the full time staff to manage the horse program! I love my job!

Tracey Dyck said...

@Gillian: That's a good analogy, and one I can identify with. ;)

Mm, that Haitian coffee sounds delicious!

Thanks for answering everyone's questions, by the way!

Unknown said...

@Emily Chapman: Great question! Worldbuilding is one of my favorite things. I love history and studying other cultures, so getting to invent my own is so much fun.

I usually draw maps to help me keep everything straight in my head, and I create a file on my computer where I organize all of the unique elements I'm adding to the world.

Stuff like religion, culture, values, and keywords for each people group that help me develop the different aspects of their daily lives, clothes, weapons, behavior, etc. This is also where I put notes on the setting, landscape, climate, and any flora and fauna I'm inventing.

For another fantasy series I'm developing, this file quickly grew to over thirty pages ... and there's still a lot more to add to that one. :)

Anna said...

I'm a kid from Texas, too! I have lots of your same interests (except that I don't own any horses. :( I spend the majority of my spare time writing. :)

Do you have any advice for someone a little younger, with a few less years of experience in writing/publishing, like me? :)

Also, who are you published with? How did that work out?

Finally, how did you know it was the "right" time to get published?

Merenwen Inglorion said...

I concur with Jemma; lots of reading time is one great benefit of homeschooling!

Thank you, Mrs. Stengl, for hosting Ms. Adams!
Always love getting a hold of/hearing of new ones :). For whatever reason, non-Christian fantasy tends to go downhill most of the time at any/every point between the first chapter and the second book least, in the ones I try to read.
Do you have any reading suggestions, Ms. Adams? (Besides Rangers Apprentice: read and loved it!!)

I'm looking forward to reading Orphan's Song!
And Villainy 101, huh? That sounds interesting...

This might seem like a random question, but I have to ask:
Have you ever had a really awesome idea for a character but just had to have a picture of him/her first and then couldn't find/draw one?

Thanks and God bless!

Sarah Pennington said...

ORPHAN'S SONG is high on my TBR list- I just have to get my hands on a copy!

Question: Do your characters have "theme songs"? Your novel? If so, what are they?

Anna said...

I'm a kid from Texas, too! I have lots of your same interests (except that I don't own any horses. :( I spend the majority of my spare time writing. :)

Do you have any advice for someone a little younger, with a few less years of experience in writing/publishing, like me? :)

Also, who are you published with? How did that work out?

Finally, how did you know it was the "right" time to get published?

Unknown said...

@Anna: Keep at it! Writing, getting critiqued, and rewriting is one of the best ways to perfect your craft. Read good books too. That's where you'll learn what works and what doesn't.

I'm published with Enclave Publishing. I started attending writing conferences three years, which is where I met and signed with my agent, Amanda Luedeke. When I signed with her, she gave me some feedback on my book and I gave it one more major revision before she started sending it out to publishing houses. About a year later, we heard back the Enclave Publishing was interested in offering a contract.

I don't know if I really knew it was the right time, to be honest. But I had spent a lot of time writing, attending classes, and doing my research, and there comes a point in time where you have to just declare it done and take the chance. Still I was happy with how Orphan's Song had turned out when I sent it off.

Unknown said...

@Merenwen Inglorien: Ooh, reading suggestions? I could give you a mile long list. But for starters: Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books of course--gorgeous fantasy, Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga, Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, Jill Williamson's Blood of Kings Trilogy, and Wayne Thomas Batson's Door Within Series.

As far as character pictures go, I generally don't need one before I can start writing. But I do enjoy making Pinterest boards for my stories and I have the hardest time finding pictures that look like my characters. Guess I'm just really picky.

@Sarah: Great question! I listened to a lot of music while writing Orphan's Song, but most of it was soundtrack music. Still I would have to say Birdie's theme song would be Home sung by Philip Philips. Still working on figuring out the others!

Nicole said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway, Gillian! Your book looks really good and I can't wait to read it! :) As for a question, I actually have a few (I hope that's okay!). Besides Tolkien, who are some of your other favourite authors? Have you been riding horses your whole life, or is it something that came later in your childhood? Also, was the story of Orphan's Song in your head for a long time before you started writing it, or did you start writing as soon as you came up with the story?
Thanks again! :)

P.S. Even though the name this comment is under is Lady Bilbo, the name I used in the Rafflecopter is Nicole, which is my real name.

Jenelle Leanne said...

Congratulations on your first novel! Do you listen to any particular music during the writing process?

Anonymous said...

Yup, being home-schooled is great!
I'd better check out the kindle store then!

Unknown said...

@Nichole (aka Lady Bilbo): Those are all great questions! Some of my favorite authors, aside from Tolkien, include Brandon Sanderson, Andrew Peterson, Maggie Stievfater, A.S. Peterson, C.S. Lewis ... and I should probably stop there!

I started taking riding lessons when I was about seven, but my family didn't own horses until I was twelve, and it was another year before I got my own first horse.

I started writing Orphan's Song with just a snippet of an idea ... which is why I then went back and rewrote the story many times. Now I let stories grow in my head and in my ideas file for a good long while before I actually start writing them.

@Jenelle Leanne: Thank you! I listen to a lot of soundtrack and epic-style music while I'm writing. I do love music with words, and sometimes I'll put that on too, but I tend to get distracted by the lyrics and I have a hard time focusing on writing.

Nicole said...

Thanks so much for answering my questions, Gillian! :)

Galadriel said...

Random question: Coffee, tea, or cocoa?

Lauren F said...

Your story sounds so intriguing! I am very excited to read it:)