Kev’s Author Interviews Presents…
D. Wallace Peach
Vernonia, Oregon, USA
A Short Bio: Thanks, Kev, for giving me a bit of space to introduce myself to your readers. I’m a fantasy writer who found her calling later in life. Although I’ve always enjoyed a good book and long ago scribbled short stories in school, I never contemplated writing as a vocation until I turned 50. After years of raising a family and working in other professions, I found myself with some unexpected time on my hands. I started writing a book on a whim and, wow, was I hooked! I’m currently working on my ninth novel.
Kev: What is your latest book called and what is it about?
My latest is The Sorcerer’s Garden.
Recently fired from her corporate job, Madlyn takes a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer, Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day. Cody’s eccentric grandmother and older brother, Dustin, aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland Oregon’s royalty.
Uninspired by her stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters written, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat. Little does she realize, the story will take a strange turn, and by a twist of destiny, become her own.
Kev: What is the main genre of your book? This one is a collision of urban and medieval fantasy, and is much more light-hearted than my previous books.
Kev: Who is your target audience?
I wrote The Sorcerer’s Garden for the new adult/adult reader, but the content is fine for young adult readers as well. Any readers who enjoy tangled tales will get a kick out of figuring out what the heck is going on.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
I needed an emotional break after my last book, The Bone Wall, which was a grim, dystopic tale and stressful to write. This one is full of humor and ends well for most of the characters.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
Though I don’t delight in research, I believe it’s a key to creating credible stories. For this book, my research was primarily on the causes, nature, treatment, prognosis, and complications related to persistent vegetative states.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
Time, time, time. I became a granny not long ago, and the “overlord” has consumed a colossal chunk of my writing time. Of course, he’s cute and goofy and worth every minute.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
There are three main protagonists: Madlyn, and the brothers Dustin and Cody. Madlyn has a slight edge on the lead role, and this is definitely the closest I’ve come to self-insertion in a book.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
At 28, Madlyn is still getting her act together: she’s unemployed, recently dumped by her boyfriend, and living with her nutty mom. Her father abandoned the family when she was 13, which punched holes in her self-esteem. She wants life to be easy, and when she’s forced into a heroic role, it’s anything but easy.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
Interesting question. My main bad guy is smart, cool, and manipulative. He makes sure his partners are complicit and leaves much of the dirty work to others. He’s skilled at working the system.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
Sure. This isn’t the start of the book, but it will give you a glimpse of Madlyn and her best friend, Trudi. In this scene, Madlyn needs to purchase a formal dress for an event she doesn’t want to attend:
When she peeked at the gowns’ prices at the Silverwing Boutique, Madlyn nearly threw up. “This dress could pay off our combined student loans.” She showed Trudi the tag. “I can’t spend this much money on a dress. I could feed an African village for half a century. Who buys this stuff? How can they live with themselves?”
“Karl Marx would be so proud.” Trudi held up a deep plum, slinky number she’d need to grease her body to slip into.
“Just saying, wouldn’t you rather end world hunger?” Madlyn crossed her eyes at the ebony A-line gown their personal attendant displayed with a well-practiced flourish. The woman smiled as if Crash had just hacked up a hairball on her shoe.
“Besides, you’re not paying for it, the Loftons are,” Trudi reminded her. “So it doesn’t count.”
“Oh, I forgot; you work in finance. No wonder you lack any moral high ground.” Madlyn shook her head at the array of stunning apparel. “They’re nice, but I can’t stomach it. I’d be a hypocrite. I’d feel…dirty.”
“So what will you do?” Trudi returned the plum sheath to the attendant.
“Right…In a million years, Mady.”
“I told Dustin that his company fired me. It took him so long to translate you’d think I spoke Norwegian. And guess what? He didn’t care.”
“Then you’re off the hook.” Trudi propped her hands on her hips. “If it’s a disaster, he can’t blame you.”
“Oh, thank you. I feel so much better now.” Madlyn slung her purse to a shoulder. “He didn’t ask why. Didn’t ask about how I felt about it. He may not care that he fired me, but I do.”
“I don’t know why you bother with men, Madlyn.” Trudi added a layer of gloss to her lips. “They require so much training before they stop peeing on the carpet.”
“Oh, but they’re so adorable when they climb all over you and lick your face.” Madlyn headed for the door. “Come on. Let’s go to a used bridal shop. We’ll find a dress equally as nice for a thousand times less.”
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
I’m a devotee of outlines. Otherwise, I’m apt to head off on tangents that I later have to delete with copious amounts of whining and drama. My outlines leave plenty of wiggle room, and I collaborate with the characters regarding changes. That way the story always feels organic to me.
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block?
I can write 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and never run dry. On those rare occasions when I get stuck, I don’t think of it as writer’s block because I don’t stop writing. I force myself to press through it, even if it means I write two pages in a whole day. I’m disciplined when it comes to writing. Everything else? Forget it.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
Early, early morning. I get up at 4:00 and start writing by 4:30. That way by lunchtime, I’ve got 8 hours in. If other tasks require my attention, I’ve got all afternoon and evening to get them done. If they don’t…well, more writing.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
That discipline thing pops up again when it comes to editing. I follow a seven-step methodology that I adhere to like a zealot. Each sweep of the manuscript has specific tasks, which fall into three basic categories:
1) Rewrites to smooth out the myriad kinks in scenes, characters, dialog, pacing, pov, etc.
2) Sentence by sentence analysis of technicals: word choice, sentence variables, punctuation, etc.
3) Reading aloud to address flow. My ear is sensitive to word sounds and the cadence of prose. I’ll rewrite and reread passages once a day for weeks to get the sound just right.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
For my traditionally published books, my publisher has control over the covers, and I’ll admit to liking some better than others. I recently switched to self-publishing for greater control over my literary destiny. I’ve completed two covers myself, which I loved doing. That said, I recognize the importance of professional covers, and it’s hard to be objective about my own work. I’ve been collecting info on cover designers, and I’ll soon hand over the reins, not only for new books, but for a redesign of some of the older ones.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
Absolutely! I’ve purchased books based on the cover alone a number of times.
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
Traditional publishing taught me some valuable lessons about writing, particularly as I went through the editing process. My last traditionally published books, The Dragon Soul Trilogy, is set for release this summer.
After that, I intend to switch to indie publishing going forward. I have two indie books out now: The Bone Wall and The Sorcerer’s Garden. I love the control over timing and marketing that I didn’t have before. I’m responsible for my own success, and that’s liberating.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
Not really. I use Jutoh for ebook conversion. It’s reliable and easy to use – that’s high kudos from someone who’s a technical moron. I publish through both Kindle and Createspace for now.
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
I’m still learning, and I’m better at some promotions than others. Besides social media, I arrange book signings and rent space at book festivals and seasonal fairs. I’ve experimented with radio and newspaper advertising, and have visited libraries for author talks.
Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to posts about web advertising and promotion sites. I’ll be experimenting more with my indie books. One challenge with traditional publishing is that I have no control over pricing so the opportunity to engage in free and discount promotions doesn’t exist for most of my books.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Foremost, write because you love it and can’t imagine doing anything else. Producing a quality book is painstaking work, and the business of promotion is even harder. Most authors won’t make a living at it and some will never cover their costs. It has to be a labor of love.
If I haven’t scared you off, here’s the rest: Read in your genre but also in other genres. Learn everything you can about the craft and join a critique group to learn more. Don your thick skin and become a lover of constructive criticism; listen carefully, weigh all comments, and then choose your own path. Establish a social media presence early and learn from other writers and bloggers. The writing community is wonderfully supportive and generous. Little in this business happens overnight; so if you’re in for a long haul, enjoy it.
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
I put most of my effort into my blog content, but I have a growing presence on a number of platforms. None of this social media stuff is particularly intuitive to me, but every month I attempt to learn something new. Here’s where I hang out:
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only that this is a crazy summer for me. In addition to The Sorcerer’s Garden, The Dragon Soul Trilogy is finally making an appearance. It’s the long-awaited continuation of Myths of the Mirror. The world expands to the archipelago of the Western Sea where the stakes rise for the dragons. Three disparate groups join forces to protect the winged creatures, jeopardize all they hold dear, and ultimately change the future of the islands.
And finally, thank you, Kev, for hosting this interview! You get my vote as part of the supportive community of writers, authors, and bloggers.
Here are my books with links:
Myths of the Mirror http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Mirror-D-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B00VTX39SC
The Melding of Aeris http://www.amazon.com/Melding-Aeris-D-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B00G05BKZS
The Sorcerer’s Garden (release July 2015)
Myths of the Mirror sequels (release summer 2015):
Dragon Soul Trilogy: Eye of Fire
Dragon Soul Trilogy: Eye of Blind
Dragon Soul Trilogy: Eye of Sun