Welcome to Anna Erishkigal, this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest. Anna is an attorney who writes fantasy fiction under a pen name so her colleagues don’t question whether her legal pleadings are fantasy fiction as well. Much of law, it turns out, -is- fantasy fiction. Lawyers just prefer to call it ‘zealously representing your client.’
Seeing the dark underbelly of life makes for some interesting fictional characters. The kind you either want to incarcerate, or run home and write about. In fiction, you can fudge facts without worrying too much about the truth. In legal pleadings, if your client lies to you, you look stupid in front of the judge.
At least in fiction, if a character becomes troublesome, you can always kill them off.
Part 1 @ Sandra – Monday, November 25
Part 2 @ Vicki – Tuesday, November 26
Part 3 @ Terri – Wednesday, November 27
Part 5 @ Emily – Friday, November 29
PART 4: ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORK
Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it? I am currently editing up Book 3 of the Sword of the Gods saga, Agents of Ki. It will hopefully be out by the end of November or early December. It was ready, but then I decided I didn’t like the way a few of the moving parts flowed into one another and decided to shuffle things around. You ever try to shuffle things around in a 300,000 word epic fantasy novel? Yeah … it’s like that. That guy you kill in Chapter 74 is now still alive in Chapter 83, so now you’ve got to read through and iron out all the bugaboos. But the story is the boss, not me, so I hope my readers will forgive my tardiness!
Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject? Angels … space battles … evil gods … and a song which can create or destroy the universe. My book is a very old story, the legend of fallen angels, told with a hefty amount of blasphemy and a sci-fi twist.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? Writing it was a blast. Every single night I sat down and amused myself for hours writing about whatever caught my fancy. I wanted a superhero, and then the greatest superhero to ever walk the Earth started talking to me. Over 4,000 pages of feathery, evil-god defeating spacefaring angels, sword fights, and politically conniving, back-stabbing adversaries [which I subsequently broke into 5 books]. Its lots of fun walking around talking to imaginary angels. Editing it afterwards? That’s a whole other story. Editing. Not. Fun.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? Book 3 of the series deals with the dark night of the soul. Our hero has fallen, the Evil One is winning, and all it looks really bad for the humans, but then there’s this scene where they pull something unexpected and, well, it’s kind of funny. Don’t want to give spoilers, but let’s just say it was inspired by a big, hairy wolf spider that dropped onto my head from the ceiling while I was writing.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? I wield a pair of Okinawan sais (those little pitchfork things) and had previously worked out the mechanics of all the battle scenes using bophers, which only weigh a few ounces. During the first edit of Agents of Ki, I decided to add a scene where the hero’s 13-year-old protégé tries to teach the other humans how to use a sword without him there to teach her. Since I recently acquired a real sword, I decided to reality-test the swordplay in the newest scene using that instead of the bophers. Urg! Within two minutes it felt as though my wrist would snap off! A 48″ steel blade weighs a lot more than a pair of sais or a bopher, especially when you haven’t built up the wrist muscles to wield it the way my hero has. Ain’t no way some 13-year-old girl is going to pick up a sword for the very first time and wield the weapon the way I’d described!
The funniest thing was one of the times I was jumping around the room, awkwardly slashing at imaginary villains using this real sword, and my kid came home from school and I didn’t hear her. She stepped into the room and there was this awkward pause. Then she asked, ‘is it alright if I have a cookie,‘ and I said ‘yes, but first you have to finish your homework.’ She shrugged and walked away as if it was the most normal thing in the world to have a swordfight in the living room.
I finally solved the ‘reality’ problem by enticing my karate instructor to include swordplay using weighted practice swords in karate class. Cool, huh? Now I really know how to use a sword, not just a bopher or a pair of sais. So pretty… So shiny… It’s up there on the shelf behind my desk right now, waiting for the zombie apocalypse to start.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book? Plant in the winter. Harvest in the spring. Yeah … got that wrong. Though in 3,500 BC, nobody really knows what they did as they hadn’t started building the massive levies they do now to hold back the floods along the two great rivers. But by 2,500 BC, the crop cycles were opposite of what we plant here in the Northern hemisphere, so in retrospect I wish I’d skipped forward a little further in time to do my research when I’d first written the series.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Evil prevails when both sides are too busy fighting each other about who is right to pay attention to the Big Bad Guy who’s coming to devour you for dinner.
Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like? All three book covers in the Sword series were designed by Rochelle Green aka Caelicorn out of Wellington, New Zealand. The first book she was kind enough to let me borrow her Archangel Michael picture. By Book 2, I had made enough money to commission her to design the artwork for Prince of Tyre, which is inspired by the real-life Vladimir Putin as Lucifer. Do you realize there’s an entire ‘Putin is Sexy’ movement inside Russia? The third cover of the series, Agents of Ki, which I haven’t officially revealed yet, is inspired by the painting Fall of Icarus. Rochelle has an unbelievable eye for detail. You can view some of her other artwork at https://www.facebook.com/Caelicorn
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
AGENTS OF KI won’t be out until the Archangel Mikhail stops whispering to me in my sleep about last-minute edits, but why not download and read Book 1 of the series, The Chosen One, for FREE on most distribution platforms and, if you like it, move onto Prince of Tyre? By the time you read through those two, Agents of Ki should be out. [*Come closer, said the spider to the fly. Just a taste … and then you’ll become addicted to my series.*]
SWORD OF THE GODS: THE CHOSEN ONE (Epic Fantasy/Space Opera): At the dawn of time, two ancient adversaries battled for control of Earth. One man rose to stand at humanity’s side. A soldier whose name we still remember today.
“A creative alternative to the history of what we call angels. It feels like…Star Trek meets creation mythos.” — reader review
*FREE* for a limited time at:
Barnes & Noble:
Print Edition*: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1469949059
*Print edition qualifies for the Amazon Matchbook program.
“Erishkigal excels at painting complex characters, with believable flaws and lovable quirks.” — reader review
“This book leaves me without words. For three days I read a story so unbelievably beautiful it stole the very breath from my lungs. If there is a true fantasy book in existence, it is this.” — reader review
“Much better than 90% of current science fiction ….would be epic as a cable series or movie trilogy.” — reader review
First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which
I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested
to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting
my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like
the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out
how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Many thanks!
Fifteen minutes? Perhaps I should be asking YOU what you do to get back into writing so quickly, LOL!!!
Coffee is my offering to the writing-gods. Preferably a quality brew such as Melitta, with real cream. I’m not legally human, much less a writer, until I have at least TWO cups in me.
Once the fuzzies clear (and the kids get shuttled off to school), I like to listen to inspirational music that captures the general mood of the character or emotion of the scene I am about to write. I love epic movie-trailer music such as Two Steps From Hell, Brand X Music, Hans Zimmer and the Transformers Orchestral Score by Alan Silvestri. Sometimes the scene will come to me right away and it’s as if somebody opened up the top of my head and poured in the words my fingers will type onto the keyboard, other times I have to work at it, poking away one sentence at a time until my characters give up their sulking and finally begin to speak to me. If I am writing in a different point-of-view character from the day before, I will often re-read the last scene I wrote from that character’s viewpoint so I can nail the voice.
I find it helps to review my outline and bullet-list of things I wish to cover at night just before bed. My mind gets to work while I sleep and often I will wake up with bits of dialogue in my head or humming a song that will become the soundtrack for that day’s scene.
Hope this helps! Good luck with your writing … just keep pecking away at the keyboard those first few minutes and after a while your characters will learn you will hold their little imaginary feet to the fire 🙂
Good morning T.W. and Happy Thanksgiving! It’s an honor to be here at the Blog Ring of Fire and I’m available to answer questions .