AUTHOR INTERVIEW: CM Fritzen!

LAUREN ALDER’S ELEVEN BOOK WRITING QUESTIONS, Answered By CM Fritzen

CM Fritzen portrait

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

  1. 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’.

 

  1. 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.”

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!
BONUS INFORMATION
Your FB page: https://www.facebook.com/cmfritzen
Your WordPress (or other) blog: cmfritzenbooks.com
Your online book purchasing link(s): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G2YKM2R

CM Fritzen Cover

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Zarina Macha!

Kicking off what I hope will be a series of many author interviews…
LAUREN ALDER’S ELEVEN BOOK WRITING QUESTIONS, Answered By Zarina Macha
Zarina Macha author portrait
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a musician and author from London, United Kingdom, and have published two books – one is a YA compilation of two novellas, and the other is a book of poetry. I recently graduated from Music College having studied Songwriting and Creative Artistry, and front my own funk-rock trio band.
2. What is the title of your current work (WIP or recently published). and what is its genre?
My novel ‘Every Last Psycho: A Collection of Two Novellas’ contains two Young Adult books called ‘Every Last Thought’ and ‘Psycho Girl.’ Both are dark social realist dramas dealing with mental illness. The first features a schizophrenic girl called Tess, and the second a psychopathic girl named Evelyn.
3. 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 have it rated for those aged fifteen and onwards. I have it classed as YA as the writing style is quite simple and both protagonists are in their teens (Tess is sixteen and Evelyn is eighteen) and deal with adolescent coming-of-age issues. There are mature themes in both; the first includes rape, drug abuse and self-harm, and the second has a few brief and explicit sexual scenes and one violent scene.
I have a content warning in the copyright section saying ‘Contains graphic depictions of violence, sexual assault and drug abuse. Minors are advised to read with caution.’ Young people nowadays are able to easily access mature content and I think mature teenage readers (such as my fifteen year old niece) will be perfectly fine to read it. I’ve read some YA stories that deal with mature content such as Thirteen Reasons Why (J. Asher), Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (L. Weingarten), Just Listen (S. Dessen), and Asking for It (L. O’Neill).
4. What inspired you to write this work?
The second novella was inspired by the movie ‘American Psycho’. I wanted to write about the most evil young woman I could craft. The first was more complex and partly inspired by a few instances from my own life; I wanted to delve into the mindset of a schizophrenic struggling with adolescent issues such as friendship, relationships, school work and transitioning from a teenager into a young adult.
5. What makes this book special, unique, or interesting? How does it “stand out”?
I like to think it brings a young person’s perspective onto mental illness, as both story ideas were executed when I was aged seventeen-to-nineteen and I’m twenty one now. I wanted to directly get into the heads of both protagonists in the stories; neither are super likeable, especially the second one, but both are fascinating girls with perceptions on life that are not necessarily frequently portrayed. (Both are also in first person so I could really write through their eyes and pull the reader in to their worlds).
The first novella is written with very short, fragmented sentences to symbolise Tess’ disoriented mental state. She goes through a lot within a short space of time and I wanted to really highlight how hard teenage life can be, especially for someone in her situation. I also wanted to showcase the importance of friendship but also the dangers of becoming too dependent on someone.
Regarding the second novella, I feel like it’s not often we see stories entirely from the perspective of the villain; we’re often expected to root for the ‘good guy’ and to see the happy or hopeful elements of life, but a lot of times life isn’t like that and there are awful people lurking out there. I was mainly having fun with the second story – it’s meant to be read as a bit of a dark comedy; not to be taken too seriously.
6. Tell us some key information about the main character(s), both protagonists and antagonists.
Tess is a sixteen year old lower middle-class girl living in London. She is in love with her best friend (Ed) but he has a girlfriend. I think a lot of times we expect the main girl and guy to get together, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen and friendship can be a beautiful thing too, but it can also be complicated. Ed is probably my favourite character; he’s the older brother figure in Tess’ life after her twin brother passed away several years ago which she has struggled to get over. Ed and Tess have a pretty co-dependent friendship and I felt that she expected too much from him and needed to learn to stand on her own feet and come to terms with herself. I didn’t particularly adore her but I wanted the reader to sympathise deeply with her.
Evelyn is an eighteen year old upper middle-class girl living in the fictitious town of Bletchfield, a small town outside of London. She is a narcissistic psychopath from the get go who only cares about herself and dislikes everyone else. No one else seems to realise it; her friends, teachers and boyfriend all think she’s this perfect person. I found her pretty hilarious to write and eerily charming. She is determined to study Law at the University of Cambridge, and will do anything to get what she wants. She is a fiercely entitled girl who expects the world to bow down to her, and her story is about appearances being deceiving, and that selfish actions don’t usually end well.
7. 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?
‘Every Last Psycho’ contains two tales of two girls; ‘Every Last Thought’ and ‘Psycho Girl.’
One girl hears voices screaming in the shadows; the other burns with self-absorbed hunger.
Every Last Thought:
‘Rocking backwards and forwards; deep breaths in and out’
Sixteen year old Tess Davis suffers from schizophrenia, triggered six years ago by the onset of her twin brother’s death. She’s felt broken ever since. But when new guy Ed moved to her school two years ago, life gave her a reason to live joyously. Ed made her happy, becoming the friend she needed. But she didn’t plan to fall in love with him, and love isn’t always requited.
Distraught by Ed’s new girlfriend and a horrific trauma Tess endures, she finds herself spiraling out of control and into cocaine-fueled delusions. Will she be able to regain a grip on life?
Psycho Girl:
‘Deep inside, I feel nothing. I am nothing.’
Eighteen year old Evelyn Baxter is beautiful, confident, popular and well off. Everyone loves her; her friends, her family, her boyfriend. She is all set to apply to the University of Cambridge to study Law.
But when another girl in her year gets accepted into Cambridge and she doesn’t, Evelyn’s perfect mask starts to peel away. Murder, deceit and manipulation show Evelyn to be the monster she truly is. But will those around her realize it?
One is the victim of cruelty, the other creates it. One lives in the concrete jungle of London, the other in the suburban town of Bletchfield. Both novellas are in one binding, echoing the dark horrors within.
8. 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 don’t want to give too much away so I’m going to pass on this question.
9. Share up to 800 words of your current work with us (with an intro of up to 200 words to establish context).
Again, I don’t want to give too much away but in brief: the story I am currently working on is a dystopian speculative satire. It is set in Britain a few decades from now and is meant to mock the current extreme left-right political discourse.
10. What is the easiest part of writing for you? And what is the hardest?
The easy part is coming up with the ideas; they just appear, constantly, often nicely formed and unexpected. The hard part is the execution, haha. Writer’s Block is a bitch. I spend a lot of time forcing myself to ‘shovel shit from a sitting position’ to quote Stephen King. But then that’s what editing is for; to clean up the crap.
11. Finally, if you could offer some advice to up-and-coming
writers, what would that advice be?
If you really want to be a writer, you will do it because you love it. No one will need to ‘push’ you; it will flow from you because it makes you happy. After that, work really hard on one story (no doubt you’ll probably have several ideas) that you think will be the quickest/easiest to write and finish; something that really grips and excites you and you can’t stop thinking about. The stories are what matter more than anything; a writer is a vessel in which the story pours through.
BONUS INFORMATION