LAUREN ALDER’S ELEVEN BOOK WRITING QUESTIONS, Answered By CM Fritzen
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a third-year public school teacher by day and writer whenever I get a chance. I have been married to my husband for 3.5 years and we have two wonderful dogs: Kiara and Koda. I even used Koda’s name in my debut novel, The Promise!
- What is the title of your current work (WIP or recently published). and what is its genre?
My most recently published book is called The Promise and it is a fantasy with allegorical themes. I am working on its sequel, Legacy, and am very excited to share that with my readers hopefully next summer!
- Is this book suitable for children, or is it adults-only? If there’s mature content, what type of mature content does the book contain?
I would recommend my book to readers 13 or older. My book doesn’t contain any X-rated material, but there is mention of sexual assault that may not be suitable for younger readers.
- What inspired you to write this work?
My friends and I had huge imaginations as children and we created a world and characters that I simply adored and loved to interact with. I was the only one who wanted to write it down, so I did! It took me over a decade, but I did it!
- What makes this book special, unique, or interesting? How does it “stand out”?
This book tries to tackle some large topics from discrimination to surviving assault and trauma. It does so in a world of dragons and werewolves and kingdoms so I get to explore these concepts in a lighter fashion than I believe I could writing realistic fiction.
- Tell us some key information about the main character(s), both protagonists and antagonists.
My main character is a half werewolf half Light Wolf naked Silver. His father is killed before the start of my book and sets him on a path of revenge. He is very tall and likes to read and draw, but has terrible luck.
My antagonist, Draconis known as Nis, is a dragon species and is the creature who killed Silver’s father. Dragons in my world have a human form as well as a dragon form. They can also use telepathy and telekinesis.
- What is your back cover blurb? Or if you don’t have one yet, how would you pitch your work in 200 words or less?
Also, here is a reworked book description: Silver White, half werewolf half Light Wolf, leaves home to avenge his father. Inexperienced and naive, he finds himself in the very clutches of the immortal he tried to kill. Sent on a mission that should spell his death, Silver instead discovers the destiny his creator made for him. Along the way, he will befriend allies and make enemies, growing from naïve teen to wise man. In this world of shapeshifters, elves, werewolves, dragons and more, you will experience a good versus evil tale unlike any hero’s quest you’ve read before.
- Share a tempting bit of the plot with us. Is there a particular scene that you’re really excited about? Why does it excite you?
I really enjoyed writing a scene where my main character, Silver, begins to experience extreme anxiety around the full moon. He is usually in control of himself, but his fears get a hold of him and he begins to see danger in every corner until he transforms in to a wolf and snarls, hackles raised, all night, oblivious to what he sees. This scene excited me because I was able to capture his emotion acutely from his point of view as well as from the other characters’.
- Share up to 800 words of your current work with us (with an intro of up to 200 words to establish context).
[[[Silver has just reached a town after leaving his childhood home for the first time. Here he experiences first-hand the prejudice his father had warned him of but also the kindness that can come from strangers.]]]
The town’s inn sat near the green and was the largest building around. Frankly, it was the largest building Zaiver had ever seen, but he had a feeling he would see larger in Lartnek. Zaiver made his way inside the Paxis Inn and was stopped by a thin man of middling height.
“Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?” The man’s eyes rested on Zaiver’s sword hilt that stuck up behind his shoulder.
“Um, yes, please. I was looking for a place to sleep and perhaps a small bowl of stew if you could spare it. I’m on my way to Lartnek and weary.” Zaiver saw no reason to lie, but he also saw no reason to overshare with the innkeeper.
“To Lartnek, eh? We don’t get many here headed that way…Can you pay?”
“I have some money, but not much. But I can do any sort of chore you need to make up for the cost of staying here!”
The innkeeper sighed and looked him up and down. “Well, I have space in the stable if you don’t mind hay. Joyce can see you fed. I imagine a youngling like yourself may need whatever coin he has if he’s going to the big city. Come, let’s get you outta sight then.”
Zaiver frowned, but he followed the innkeeper down the hall to the kitchens where a rather plump woman—sporting a large, floured apron—stood over a cook fire.
“Pardon, Joyce. I know you’re busy. We have a young patron a few coins short for a stay. Can he help you with dinner prep for a bowl of stew, dear?”
The woman turned and gasped softly as she beheld Zaiver. “Oh. Why yes, Frank, I suppose he can. Is he staying in the inn?”
“No. Stable for him tonight, I think,” Frank replied before turning to Zaiver. “Okay. You see me before you leave, and I’ll point you in the right direction. You sure Lartnek’s the goal, son? Nailan’s Meadow is the same distance, and the folk there are kinder.”
“I’m sure. Thank you.”
“Okay. Stay out of sight. Okay, young’un? I’ve nothing against your kind, I should say not. We are all Nailan’s children, right? But many of the folk here don’t take to creatures like you. Scared, I think. Ignorant for sure. They might try and hurt you if they recognize the werewolf in you.” Frank shook his head at Zaiver’s expression. “Nothing to do about it, son. Not your fault either.”
The innkeeper patted Zaiver’s shoulder as he walked back to the main dining room. Zaiver sank onto a stool near the fire. His hands rested limply on his knees.
Joyce came over to him and offered him a hot mug of tea. “There, there, sweets. Frank’s right. It’s not your fault you being a werewolf. None of them’s fault neither. They’s either born or bit.”
“I…” Zaiver inhaled sharply, overwhelmed. “I didn’t know we were so hated…”
“Eh.” Joyce shrugged, wiping her hands on her apron, managing to find a piece unsoiled by flour, “I wouldn’t say hated. Here in smaller towns, people are set in their ways. Lartnek has more than enough elves and werecats and other creatures that none’ll think twice about you. No, don’t worry.”
Zaiver took a small sip from his mug and sighed, feeling small, terrible, and unwanted. “Father was right all along…I wonder if he had been right about everything.”
“Frank’s telling truth about Nailan’s Meadow, though,” Joyce said as she resumed stirring a large pot hanging over the fire. “Queen Myra says that all peoples are welcome, no matter their origin. The Meadow follows Nailan’s laws well, I’d say.”
Zaiver shook his head. “I have to go to Lartnek.”
He left it at that, and though Joyce opened her mouth as if to ask more questions, but instead shook her head and went back to work.
Zaiver stayed in the stable loft that night, glad for the roof above his head, before heading out toward Lartnek early the next morning.
“Now if you stay on this road, it should only take you a day of fast walking, more if you stop for meals. Joyce made you a parcel of bread and cheese. Should keep you until Lartnek, at least.” Frank gently pressed a cloth sack into Zaiver’s hands. “Stay safe, young’un.”
Zaiver looked down at the innkeeper. His yellow eyes stung as if he might cry. This man had helped him for no reason, none at all. “Why? Why did you help me?”
Frank studied him, speaking slowly and carefully as if each word carried weight, “I know Nailan, son. He tells us to help all in need. A lonely young’un like yourself fits that description, I think.”
“Thank you.” Zaiver sniffed and swallowed. A lump had formed in his throat. “I won’t forget your kindness.”
- What is the easiest part of writing for you? And what is the hardest?
I think the easiest part of writing is writing when I have inspiration and the hardest is either when I don’t have inspiration or when I am editing. One of the benefits of having an editor work with my story was that I was able to look at her comments rather than at the larger work. This allowed me to focus in on problems rather than get overwhelmed with the thousands of words pusling on my computer screen.
- Finally, if you could offer some advice to up-and-coming writers, what would that advice be?
Finish your work and edit it. Give it to someone who doesn’t know the story and thoughtfully consider what they say. Additionally, do not fear cutting whole scenes or characters if they don’t add to your main story line. Keep everything you cut though!
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