The Broken Sword, won best first chapter from UP Authors, a collaborative effort, founded by marketing expert Melissa Powely and author Ron Knight. This advisor program was developed to give authors a way to share resources and provide economically priced opportunities.
Liane Moonraven spoke to me about fantasy writing and her journey to be published. Full disclosure, we've known each other for years and I'm so excited for her!
Congratulations on the publication of your first novel! Where did you find the inspiration to do a retelling of King Arthur?
Thank you Cheris and thank you for inviting me! I’ve been a huge fan of yours for a long time so being here is my pleasure! For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. My childhood fantasies included Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain and other chivalrous knights. When I was in high school, I read Le Morte d’ Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. I later went on to read Once and Future King, The Mists of Avalon and other Arthurian books. I watched movies about Arthur, including First Knight with Richard Gere but In 2005, after watching the movie King Arthur (which, by the way was helmed by black director Antoine Fuqua and I thank him in my author’s notes), I joined an RP group dedicated to the movie version. That is what began my interest in actually writing the genre.
There aren’t a lot of women of color writing fantasy, why did you chose this genre?
I think it really chose me to be honest. I’ve always written romance but when I started writing medieval historical fiction, I was in the zone. I had to reconcile with myself that it was “okay” to write outside the box. I had a conversation with African American horror writer Brandon Massey and he helped a lot with me becoming comfortable with the genre. I was really concerned with the black community AND the white community accepting me writing this genre. I created Arthur’s love interest with Berber (Black Moors) blood. Book 2, the Shields of Blood contains a lot more black characters including the ancient medjai. I did quite a bit of research for Shields. Think of the black medjai character in The Mummy Returns ;) and you’ll have a pretty good idea!
What has your publishing experience been like?
Fortunately I have a great publisher who is very hands-on. I still do a lot of research but there is so much to this industry it’s almost impossible to keep up. There’s a lot of information to digest and everyone has an opinion or horror story it seems! I’m doing okay though because I have surrounded myself with seasoned authors, like you, whom I trust and feel comfortable going to with questions. Writing the novel seems to have been the easy part! It’s what needs to be done after publishing that’s the hard part!
What has been the most exciting part about being published?
Well, I really, really believed in my story. I knew it was a good story if I could just get people to read it. There were some nay-sayers in the beginning who tried to deter me and convince me there is no market for the story, but my heart made me believe I could do it. So having people actually read the words I’ve put on paper and enjoy the story is so humbling and so rewarding. I feel vindicated and pleasing the readers is what makes me happy! I was absolutely floored when The Broken Sword won first place for Best Chapter (the most difficult category) in the UPAuthors competition. It was then I realized I was making my mark.
What's next on the horizon for you?
I am two-thirds finished with the sequel to The Broken Sword, which is titled, Shields of Blood. The Broken Sword was about characterization, familiarizing the readers with the players while telling a story. Shields of Blood is ALL about the action! Both books are full of suspense, chivalry, steamy romance and of course Arthur and his knights! The release date is scheduled for October 2012.After I finish Shields, I will finish up my untitled-as-of-yet horror story that is based on the Salem Witch Trials. There was a black slave named Tituba and one of her ancestors is being haunted by the women Tituba caused to be hanged for witchcraft. The story takes place modern day but what happened during the trials is reason why weird things start happening to the lead character.