In honor of Science Fantasy month, we are pleased to have Kelly Blanchard, author of the Chronicles of Lorrek, join us for an awesome interview!
Kayla Perisho-Denley: So, first I want to thank you for joining me today.
Kelly Blanchard: Thank you. It’s an honor. 🙂
Perisho-Denley: November is our Science Fantasy month, and you write quite a bit in this genre. Can you tell us about your current/most recent books?
Blanchard: I just published the second book of my ‘Chronicles of Lorrek series‘. The series starts with sorcerer Prince Lorrek suddenly returning after being missing for ten years. He finds that in his absence his reputation has been marred, and he has been accused of terrible crimes, so he sets out to clear his name. However, sometimes favors are asked and deals are demanded, so it’s not a simple task. And everyone is wondering what EXACTLY happened ten years ago right before he disappeared. He’s the only one who knows the truth, and he isn’t very forthcoming. Book 2 begins after he struck a bargain, and it has dire consequences. He’s sent from his medieval kingdom into the highly advanced land of Jechorm to hunt down a specific person, but at that time he finds himself swept up in a much bigger war between advanced technology, medieval warfare, and ancient magic.
Perisho-Denley: That sounds so exciting! Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to mix magic and technology like that?
Blanchard: I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars, and I used to write Star Wars fan-fiction, so I was used to highly advanced technology in stories and such. However, I also like the idea of magic, spells, and sword fighting, so I combined the two genres. It worked out really well, and it allows me to expand beyond a single world.
Perisho-Denley: That’s really cool. Do you still write fan fiction? Do you find that it helped your personal writing a lot?
Blanchard: It certainly helped me craft my writing abilities. I call fan-fiction the training arena for writing. There are no expectations there, and it’s just a huge playground, playing in the world someone else created. It’s easier to focus on things such as character development, plot, description, and such when you don’t have to create a whole new world on top of that. Unfortunately, I don’t write fan-fiction anymore only because I’m too busy writing original fiction. If I ever had the time, I’d love to write some, but I’m too busy.
Perisho-Denley: Understandable. Where do you draw your inspiration from to write Science Fantasy? Are there any Sci-Fan books or movies that have been really influential on you?
Blanchard: Inspiration comes from everywhere. Sometimes it’s watching TV Shows like Intelligence. I love how the computer images looked to the main character when he was viewing the data, and it’s an idea I can use later if I ever need it. Other times it’s a song or line someone says. Sometimes I like to go to YouTube and watch crossover fanmade videos like Loki meeting Daenerys. Makes for an interesting story. I pull on so much that it’s hard to know *exactly* what I use because I use a little bit of this, a little bit of that, so by the time I’m done, it’s unrecognizable from what it was originally.
Perisho-Denley: That makes sense. How long have you been writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Blanchard: Before I knew how to use quotation marks or write proper paragraphs, I was creating stories by drawing very pathetic stick people to show the story. I can’t draw for the life of me, so you can imagine how relieved I was to finally grasp the concept of writing at such a young age. I became serious about writing when I was twelve after a horse accident dashed my dreams about riding horses in championships. Around that time I discovered fan-fiction, and I’ve been writing ever since.
Perisho-Denley: That is pretty neat that you started at such a young age. Do you find that you are just as or more passionate about it now that you are published?
Blanchard: Honestly, the fact that I’m a published author hasn’t changed my passion about writing. I absolutely LOVE writing, and the publishing and promoting is simply another aspect of it. I hope to eventually do workshops about writing and self-publishing because that’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, but my passion for writing is the same. It’s just very exciting to get feedback from people who love my book and those readers who claim my series is now their favorite series ever. That’s high praise, and I’m always amazed by it.
Perisho-Denley: That is high praise, congratulations on that!
Blanchard: Thank you!
Perisho-Denley: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Is there a specific time and place you prefer to write, or can you write anywhere?
Blanchard: If I have my earbuds and music to drown out the sound, I can write anywhere. When I was in college, I had 15 minutes between class, so I would go to my classroom, sit in the hallway because the door was locked, and I’d put my earbuds in and start writing. This is how I taught myself not to get distracted. However, I prefer to be at home in my room writing if possible, and I like writing in the morning. This way I can get my writing done for the day and get on with whatever real life throws my way. I like to have a bit of an outline for my story, so I know what I’m writing next, and I always try to write 2,000 words each day. Sometimes I’ll go over that, and sometimes I have bad days and I can’t reach that goal, but I’m pretty stubborn and tend to reach it. It helps having a clear mental image in my head of how I want the scene to play out.
Perisho-Denley: Is there any specific method you swear by for keeping track of your outline and notes, or do you prefer napkin notes?
Blanchard: Sometimes I organize in Scrivener, but usually what tends to happen is that I just open a document in Word and just start outlining. If organization gets much bigger, involving pictures and such, I’ll switch to Scrivener to keep it all contained.
Perisho-Denley: I know this is a dreaded questions for writers, but I have to ask. Which authors or books have inspired you the most?
Blanchard: The writer who inspired me most is actually a Star Wars fan-fiction author by the name of Red_Rose_Knight. I don’t even know her real name. But when I was reading her stories online, I could SEE it clearly in my mind, and I paused and asked myself how she did that. I went back through her stories and really studied her writing technique. That experience alone taught me more than actual published books or creative writing class has ever taught me.
Perisho-Denley: That is awesome! Inspiration can come from the least expected places, sometimes. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to write Science Fantasy? Or just writing in general?
Blanchard: Well, for writing in general, when you’re writing the book, don’t worry about publishing it. A lot of people are determined to publish the first book they ever write, but there is so much more to writing than simply writing, and that takes work. The best thing to do is to focus honing your craft. Once you’ve mastered that and have a good handle on it, then focus on building your platform and publishing your work. As for writing Science Fantasy, anything’s a possibility, but be careful. Try to make it realistic and blend the two genres together.
Perisho-Denley: That is excellent advice. What about advice for surviving NaNoWriMo?
Blanchard: The common word of advice is to write 1,667 words a day, but I say 2,000 words. It’s an easier number to remember, and you don’t have to do a lot of math to figure it out. Also, if you write 2,000 words a day, you will automatically be ahead of the game. This gives you breathing room in case you have a day when you just can’t get any writing done. Also, know how quickly you can type. For instance, in 15 minutes, I can write 500 words. That means in a half an hour I can write 1,000, and in an hour I will write 2,000 words. Knowing this means that I can plan to have just an hour every day to write in order to reach my goal. Sometimes I can’t have a solid hour block to write, so I have to break the 2,000 words into four segments of 500 words each. That’s easier to manage, and it just takes a few minutes. That is why it is important to know how quickly you type.
Perisho-Denley: Very good point. One last question, before I let you go. Do you have anything coming up that readers can look forward to? And where is the best place they can find your current books?
Blanchard: I have book 3 and the prequel of my series are already written. Book 3 has been revised and is ready to be sent to the editor, but i literally just published book 2, so I’m not publishing that book just yet. I’m going to write another book of the series before releasing book 3. I’m always writing and publishing! Soon I hope to have a newsletter people can sign up for to get one-shot stories and behind the scenes glimpses into my world, but I haven’t had the time to set that up yet. Right now, you can find my books on Amazon, Kindle, iBook, Nook, and Kobo.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKellyBlanchard/
Barnes and Noble: Book 1 ‘Someday I’ll Be Redeemed’ — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/someday-ill-be-redeemed-kelly-blanchard/1123600995
Barnes and Noble: Book 2 ‘I Still Have a Soul’ — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-still-have-a-soul-kelly-blanchard/1124842686
iTunes: Book 1: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1097600040
iTunes: Book 2: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1166017446