Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Interview: Farloft the Dragon

Interview with Farloft

Well, I never thought I’d be interviewing such an unusual guest, but this particular one caught my attention (he's impossible to ignore). When I heard he was visiting my friend, Theresa, I just had to grab the opportunity, pull him aside and ask things I’m dying to know on the subject of his life with dragons. How is he such an expert on the subject? Short answer, he is one.
Meet Farloft the Dragon.

Farloft Blowing Heart Shaped Smoke Rings
(Artwork: Bluekite-Falls)

Hello, Farloft. Before we start, I have to say, thank you for allowing me some of your valuable time here (Ehm...might I ask you to please face away from me when you talk. Your breath is still hot from that last outburst.)
Farloft: There are many misconceptions about dragon, Milady. Let me illuminate you right now with one. First off we do not breathe fire unless we want to. *huffs over Annelisa’s head making her hair drift* And, my breath smells a bit like cinnamon, don’t you think?

<sniffs deeply> Actually, now you mention it, Farloft, mmmm...one of my favourite spicy smells, cinnamon. Breath this way as much as you want, just no fire please.
So, let's start with how you first met our mutual friend, Theresa Snyder, your biographer and scribe. She tells me you met in a different time and place. Can you tell me something about this other dimension? And how do you find her each time she is reborn?
Farloft: We originally met in Kerth. She was the daughter of the Captain of the King’s Guard. Her older brother was my best friend and he introduced us when she was about five years of age. I tell about our lives together at that time in my chronicle Dragon Memories, Dreams &Reflections.

Dragon Memories, Dreams & Reflections
(Cover Art: Sarah Hyndshaw)

Theresa insisted we have tea and I wear her bonnet. I have loved her ever since.
As to how I find her each time she reincarnates; I feel her soul when it is reborn. *ruffles wings and shakes wedged head* It is as if we are ‘heartbound’. My clan can fold time and space, so I zone in on her and ‘jump’. That is also how I come each month to visit her and Tweet.

Farloft drinking tea wearing
Theresa's bonnet
(Artwork: Bluekite-Falls)

I did wonder how you did that. Another thing, you seem to have an affinity with humans. Tell me about James, and why you adopted him rather than returning him to the humans he came from?
Farloft: At first it was a matter of necessity to keep him safe and free from harm. Later, we became so attached to one another that I wanted to have him around permanently. He had no family and, since there had been a change in his circumstance (which I cannot go into here without revealing what you humans call ‘a spoiler’), it was inevitable that I should adopt him. *grins*

As he seems to have adopted you. I understand you don’t get on so well with all humans and some cause you and the kingdom a heck of a lot of trouble. You don’t get a peaceful time, do you! Perhaps you’d like to tell me something about the people who make your life so difficult. And, then, how about sharing some of the ways you like to grab yourself some peace in between battling these wizards, kings and dragon hunters?
Farloft: There is good and bad among all clans of humans. I guess you don’t call them clans, do you? In any case, I have met good and bad wizards, good and bad kings, and even, though it might seem impossible, I have met bad and good dragon hunters. And, for good or bad, you humans all have short lives, so we dragons mostly outlive the bad that arrive and we mourn the good that depart.

Peaceful times for me are spent with my family, sunning on the rock ledge above our cave entrance. I love watching the younglings fly and passing on my wisdom to them with regard to life and its pursuits.

Farloft above his cave at sunset
(Artwork: Bluekite-Falls)

I know what you mean about the good and the bad... there is always a mix of both; it's something we have to accept. Thinking of the good, I know from Theresa, you’re not the only dragon who pops in and out of our dimension and visits her.  Would you like to introduce some of your friends? Where do they hang out when they’re not visiting here?
Farloft: Theresa has met an inordinate amount of dragons on Twitter. They all seem to hang out there. That is why I chose to come visit her once a month to chat with the friends I have made and meet the new dragons she has met while I was gone. We do a Dragon Selfie each year. This is the one from 2016. *chuckles* As you can see we have loads of fun.

Dragon Selfie
(Artwork: Kitsooki)

Wow, so many of you. And what splendorous creatures you all are. I would give anything to be at one of your conventions and see you all together like this! But, I gather not all dragons are as friendly as your friends of The Last Kingdom. Thinking of 'the bad', didn’t I hear something about how one of your old companions turned up and caused havoc? That must’ve been quite upsetting for you. What happened?
Farloft: Thrax was always a bit impulsive. We were young when we were friends. I was fresh out of the nest and we adventured together. It was our misfortune that a dragoness came between us. Dragons are long lived and therefore often hold grudges for a very long time. That was the case with Thrax. I wish we could have resolved the issue without violence, but when he involved my family I had to put an end to it. *deep frown furrows brow* I tell our story in vol. 4 of my Chronicles, Too Many Dragons.

The Farloft Chronicles Vol 4
Too Many Dragons
(Cover art: Sarah Hyndshaw)

Such a shame, to hold a grudge that long. Talk about constantly blowing on embers that should've long died out! Oh, that reminds me, when my daughter heard I was interviewing you for Script Alchemy, she insisted I ask you:
'Does breathing fire ever give you a sore throat?'
Farloft: On the contrary, breathing fire clears the throat of a dragon. I tell the story of how my clan members learn to breathe fire in my Farloft’s Storybook. It is quite a sight to see the younglings practice. *grins toothily*

Little Dragon
(Artwork: Bluekite-Falls)

Aw, cute. 
Well, health was something I hadn’t thought of before. It has me thinking, what other health hazards does a dragon have to deal with?
Farloft: As to other ailments, my clan is not susceptible. Being around humans, I have on occasion caught a cold, but I have very intense healing powers and I'm over it in no time.

Looking at that youngling above, I don't think he's going to be blowing his own trumpet for quite a while yet, not when he's still struggling to blow a smoke ring. What about you, though - I hear you might want to toot your horn? You don’t have to answer this if it isn't true, but I’ve heard rumours you might be visiting Hollywood in the near future. Can you give us a hint - is it true? If it’s all hush-hush, please feel free to say so, but... are you planning on breaking into the film industry?
Farloft: *tilts wedged head and winks* I am not at liberty to speak about it at this time. However, if you have my autograph in one of my books, you should keep it safe in your hoard. It might be worth something in the future. *grins toothily*

Ooo...that sounds very intriguing. I'll be keeping an eye on your Facebook page to make sure I don't miss anything.
Before you fly off, I have to tell you, Farloft, we’re all very proud of your friend, Theresa. It’s great that she’s chronicled some of your exciting stories. Will you be sharing any more with her? If so, when might the next story of The Farloft Chronicles be available? Also, can you tell me why you asked her to write them for middle school children, when the stories would be a delight for adults as well? Certainly, I know of a couple of young’un who’ve loved them, but I believe their parents did too.

The Farloft Chronicles
Farloft: My original Chronicle was written for Theresa’s nephew, who was nine years old at the time. That is why the books were initially written for middle school children. But dragons are loved by everyone, so when Theresa published my Chronicles they found an audience with the adults who read them. As time has passed I have even dictated a hatchling book for the little tots you humans have. It contains coloring pages. I like to think Theresa and I have built a collection of Dragon Stories for All Ages. *sticks out chest with pride*

Thank you so much for sparing some of your precious time, Farloft, and apologies to our friend Theresa for hijacking you the moment you came to visit. 
Before you go, would you mind sharing some details where people can find your excellent stories, or where they can chat with you personally (I know you appear regularly on Twitter… it would be great if you tell us something about this and anywhere else people can find you.)

Theresa Snyder and Farloft the Dragon
Friends across time
Twitter: I will be here on Twitter with Theresa Snyder the last Friday of each month
Facebook: Keep track of my progress in show business on my Farloft the Dragon page (Hollywood Here I Come)
Website: All my books are on Theresa’s Website: Theresa Snyder: Farloft Chronicles 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Interview: Jill Corley (Editor and Beta Reader)

I’ve read many interviews of authors and writers, and even done a few on Script Alchemy, but it occurred to me that there’s a group of people more important, or at least as important, as the authors in the book industry. There’s a group of people the industry can’t survive without, and that’s the readers. Today, I’m interviewing Jill Corley, an avid reader, reviewer and editor.

Jill Corley: Editor and Beta Reader

Hi Jill, How are you doing?

I’m doing well, thank you.
I've been following your reviews on Facebook for a while, and I know you on Twitter, so it's good to see you here.
Before we get into talking about your reading and editing, how about we get to know a little about you first. What’s your favourite way to pass an hour or two on your own? Apart from reading, reviewing and editing, do you have any other pastimes or hobbies?

Jill's dog, Shadow, playing
with a sinker ball
Shadow gets the better of the ball
I love spending time with my dog, Shadow.  He is my best friend and go-to guy for all things silly.  Several times a day we play with his big sinker-ball until we are both exhausted.  Then I sit on the porch swing with a cup of coffee while he chases the squirrels out of our yard.  He still doesn’t quite get why he can’t climb a tree!

Pocono Mountains
Decorating and DIY projects interest me. Watching Property Brothers and Fixer Upper to get ideas is one of the things that can get me into trouble because it adds to the honey-do list. 
We take rides to the Pocono Mountains and I love to take pictures of the scenery.  With digital the bad ones are gone so easily; no more developing film only to find they were not well done.  I’m not bad, but I’d like to take classes in the future. We also enjoy visiting historic sites that are within a day trip of our home.  
Also, sitting on my patio enjoying my rose garden and the parsley plant that grew over 100 swallowtail butterflies this year
...and spending a few moments on social media trying to catch up with family and friends.  Meeting friends for lunch or dinner is always fun, too.

Black Beauty by
Anna Sewell
Shadow's so cute! and the colours in your pic of the Pocono Mountains are so amazing, it makes me want to pick up my camera and come and join you! I have to admit, I had to look up what a 'honey-do' list is... now I know (list of chores to get done made by your partner). So, now we know a bit about what helps you relax, let's talk about your other life - reading. What's the earliest book you can remember reading?
I read a lot of books when I was young, but the most memorable was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell,
which I read the summer between fourth and fifth grade.

Ah, I wonder how many hearts that book captured! It's funny how particular books stand out like that for the rest of your life. I understand you read a lot now. How many books do you read? Do you review all of them?
When Jill isn't reading, she enjoys sitting
in the garden watching butterflies
I’ve read as few as three and as many as ten in a month.  It depends on my family commitments, the size of the book and my beta reading schedule. In this past year, I have concentrated strictly on beta reading my promised books.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t the time to include the ARC reviews.  I hope to be able to read them sometime soon. 
Yes, I do post reviews. All art is subjective and is based on an opinion that is influenced by the reader’s own life experiences.  I do reviews when I can give three to five stars.  I am a tough critic, but I feel I am fair.  I will always list, with reasons, what I like and don’t like about a book.  I also find reviews helpful when deciding whether to buy a book; however, a bad review won’t stop me if I have an interest to see what the writer has to say.

Daffodils in Jill's garden
That's something I like to hear. It bugs me when people don't take a chance on a book or film just because other people say it isn't great. I've often found that my opinion isn't the same as others', and I've thoroughly enjoyed stuff that hasn't been given a top rating (and thoroughly hated stuff that has!) So, what kind of books do you most enjoy? Do you have a favourite genre?
I like things that are hard to place in a specific genre.  I love mythology of all types, paranormal, romance/erotica, suspense/thrillers, sci-fi, realistic fiction, magical realism, historical fiction and non-fiction, mystery, legend/folklore, and humor.  A perfect book for me has all that and a few surprises.
The only types I don’t read are full on horror or occult.

Image by Jill Corley
Is it hard to live your everyday life when you spend so much of your day in fictional worlds and in different periods?
Not at all.  I have a great life and I love living it, but without books it would be…less.  Reading relaxes me.  What could be better than daily travel without ever leaving your chair?  I also learn something new with every book I devour.  Reading enhances my life and is as necessary for me as breathing.

I understand what you mean about everything being 'less' without books. I think every reader and writer would. What about your editing... when did reading turn to editing, and why?
From the very beginning.  I didn’t really know what a beta reader’s job was, so I guess I didn’t conform to the expected version of a standard beta; I always gave more.  I have an eye for spotting problems because I truly love to read; it is my passion. Why not help someone when you have the opportunity? 
If I am spotting things that have been missed by spellcheck and/or problems with plots and character development, then it would surely be a disservice to the writer if I don’t bring it to their attention. 
I also do it because I enjoy the creative aspect of helping someone else reach their dream.

A rose from Jill's garden
Well, it's not surprising you've become so popular with your regular authors then. What a gem you are. Some little birdies (and many excellent testimonials) tell me your useful feedback and solid advice have made you really popular with writers. So much so, that you are turning a full time ‘hobby’ into a full-time business. What encouraged you to make this transition? And when is it going to happen?
Initial credit goes to my husband because he suggested that I was doing much more than reading and maybe I could turn it into a career.  I let the idea twirl around in the back of my mind and I did some research, but wasn’t ready to take the leap on just my husband’s advice.
It was quite a surprise when several writers I worked with encouraged me to begin charging for my services.  After much more research and the blessings of my husband and my very supportive (and returning) writers, I decided it was time to make my dream a reality.
I am set to officially launch my business Jill C CorleyServices, LLC  on Thursday, December 1, 2016.  Services under my business will be broken down into three distinct types and my website will explain what will be done and how much it will cost.  I will also consider any combination of services, including query letters and book cover selections.

I'm sure you're going to be well sought after, from what I've heard.
A tree growing around a
sign in Pocono Mountains
Image: Jill Corley

Just to clarify something, most authors realise the importance of the many levels of editing for such things as plot, charactes, pace, through to a 'search and destroy' on spelling mistakes, bad grammar etc before a book's ready for publication. When you're editing, what sort of things do you particularly look out for?
My writers have always received the full scope of my abilities, unless they have specified otherwise.  I prefer doing a deep edit, which is where I catch everything I possibly can on the first run-through.  I don’t search for issues, I let them reveal themselves as I read the text.  It’s sometimes a concentrated effort if it’s a very complicated plot and the writer has specific concerns.  Usually, I untether my brain and thinking process so I can simply immerse myself into the pages of the story.  Since I didn’t write the story and I’m reading it for the first time, it’s easier for me to spot the issues than it is for the writer.

Spending so much time with books, have you ever thought of writing yourself?
Yes.   I’ve done some ghost-writing during my time as a beta reader, which I found enjoyable and rewarding.  I am sure I will put fingers to keyboard sometime in the future; or maybe pen to paper.

If you every write a book, I'd love to read it, Jill. Thanks very much for coming along today. Would you like to tell people where they can find you?
Email: jillccorleyservicesllc@gmail.com
Twitter: @JillCCorley
Facebook: Jill C. Corley

'Backyard at Daybreak'
Image: Jill Corley