Greetings Free Folk of Middle-Earth. It is another week and so we have another featured website. This time, we bring you Epistle Publishing, run by member Victoria.
Viking: The name of your site is Epistle Publishing. Tell us a bit about that.
Victoria: Well thanks for the interview first of all. Epistle Publishing is brand new and there will be an actual website in a few weeks. It’s my new publishing imprint. I created it as a business for publishing my books. Since I aim to write for a living at some point it made sense to treat my writing not just as a craft or a passion but also as a business. In my opinion, when you open a business instead of simply doing something on your free time it’s less of a passionate hobby and something that you and others can look at and take seriously. I came up with the name ”Epistle” because of my love for the Bible, writing letters and stories that are inspirational. Epistle sounded like a wonderful name, so, Epistle Publishing. I do plan to link the blog to this website when it is finally up and running.
Viking: You’ve been working on a children’s fantasy series for a while now. What are some of the themes you are exploring? And how is the project coming?
Victoria: In this series I explore themes of showing courage in the face of danger and the unknown, stewardship of nature and having a sense of wonder and adventure in your life. The protaganist is named Anne Greene, an eight year old girl who happens upon a doorway to a place called Other Land, the land of fairies and other fairy tale creatures. Because of her love for natural things, her curiosity and her courage she makes friends with not only some of the denizens of Other Land but with the trees as well. This comes in handy throughout the series when she faces dangerous beings who wish to do her and others harm. The idea for the series started out years ago as a short story with only a title at the time: The Pumpkin Princess. I knew that I wanted to write a story about a little girl who goes on adventures but the story didn’t really take shape until last year. I wasn’t sure what to do with the idea so it knocked around in the back of my mind for some years. I had to find a way to introduce readers to the girl protaganist and so eventually the novelette, The Green Door was born. After that, it seemed as if like magic the series just came alive in my mind. After having written the first story I had so many other ideas for this child and what she would encounter. The Pumpkin Princess easily became the second book in the series. I am now working on the fifth book in the series, The Mountain King.
Viking: You’ve spoken on the site about your love of music. Does this find it’s way into your books at all?
Victoria: It does, in small ways. I have written a few fairy songs into the books. In the thrid book she travles with a pack of fairy wolves and she learns how to sing in Wolftongue. In the fourth book The Lady Moons music is key to solving an major problem and the importance of music in the world of Other Land will surface in the fifth book as well. I even briefly touch on the concept of The Music of the Spheres, at least in a way that a child might understand it.
Viking: One of your early posts was about the influence of Tolkien on your life and work. What are some of the other authors that have influenced you and how have they?
Victoria: Frank Herbert, next to Tolkien has greatly influenced my writing. There’s Shakespeare and Dostoevsky but I want to focus on my second favorite author. It doesn’t look like it right now since I’m writing middle grade fiction, but Herbert has a huge influence on me. When I think of serious writing fantasy or science fiction I think of him and Tolkien. His Dune chronicles was so starkly original to me and yet sweeping and grand that it made a deep impression. He took hard science fiction and complex issues like drug use, charismatic leadership, religion, human survival under harsh conditions, politics and science and ecology and wrote a messianic story that kept me riveted. I’ve always found hard sci-fi intimidating to read and to write. In my opinion, he’s one of the few writers that could make hard sci-fi readable to someone who normally prefers soft sci-fi or fantasy. He made it fantastic! I first read Dune when I was a teenager and I never forgot it. I went on to read Herbert’s other works and became a lifelong fan. I knew after having read the first book in the Dune chronicles that I wanted to write stories like that. Even though his style is radically different from Tolkien, like Tolkien he had the power and the skill to draw you in and keep you immersed in a complex and fascinating world. It isn’t easy to do and Tolkien and Herbert left some mighty big shoes to fill. can I fill them? I’m planning to start writing a science fantasy trilogy this summer. We’ll see. I’m excited.
Viking: What are some of your future plans for the blog?
Victoria: At this point I just plan to write whatever comes to mind that is Tolkien related or anything I feel might be valuable or interesting to the Middle Earth Network community. Every now and then when I have a new book out I’ll put put out some information on it and especially to display my book covers. I’ve hired this amazing photo artist to create the last two book covers in my fantasy series and she’ll be doing the rest of them. Her name is Claudia McKinney or Phatpuppy Art. You can find her at her website here.
She does beautiful work and I’m proud to show them off because they are pieces of digital art. Whenever I have a new book cover to display I’ll post it, and stuff Tolkien or fantasy/science fiction related gems, bits and oddities.