This post is part of ‘Terra Harmony as featured author for an entire week’. During the week we will be having a number of posts by Terra. You can find the details here. There will also be a giveaway happening for 10 copies of Terra Harmony’s novel Water, which is the first book in the Akasha series. You can enter the giveaway here.
For today’s post of the week, I have Terra Harmony answering all my questions in the great style of hers. Funny and spunky!
Without, babbling on, I’ll dive right in!
How would you describe your series? What genre would you classify it into?
The Akasha Series consists of four contemporary eco-fantasy novels. The first book, ‘Water’ is published as an e-book. The second book, ‘Air’ will be published in February 2012, to be followed by ‘Fire’ and ‘Earth’. Above all, the series is a fantasy, though it does carry a larger message, which is where the eco part comes in.
The main character, Kaitlyn, is drawn into an organization called ‘The Seven’ in order to use her newly discovered elemental powers. The Seven exists to balance the Earth, a job made exponentially more difficult with pollution. Furthermore, views on how The Seven should be run differ. The antagonist chooses to follow the much darker route of human depopulation.
How did you come up with the idea for the series?
There was no idea, at first. I just spent time writing down action scenes and admittedly, steamy romance daydreams that assaulted my brain – I did it for sanity’s sake. Once I decided to make a novel out of it, I knew there had to be something more than just the entertainment value. What else could come of this story? What would make people – think? And going one step further – what will make them act? It took an immense amount of effort to tie it all together into one, coherent story, but I think it turned out well. At least that is what the reviewers are saying! : )
When and why did you begin writing?
I was an adamant reader for the majority of my life. In fact, I got reprimanded for reading the explicit Sidney Sheldon novels in 5th grade. In high school, it got more difficult to hide the books I was reading during class – so instead I wrote. It always looked like I was just really into my note-taking. I’ve been writing ever since!
How has your journey from writing to getting published been?
A long one! Two years spent querying publishing companies and agents. There were plenty of rejections, a few full manuscript requests and lots of feedback. I finally put that feedback to good use and made a better novel. But I didn’t want to go through that whole process again. Instead, I chose the self-publishing route and found something I love doing just as much as writing. The marketing is hard work, but the community is more supportive than I’ve ever imagined – and the results? Well, one good review does wonders for my motivation and sense of accomplishment!
Who is you favourite character? Is there a character in the series you think the readers will hate?
I should say my favourite character is Kaitlyn (the MC), because I write from her point of view and I am always inside her head. But the one who truly fascinates me is Susan. I really put a lot of qualities and character traits into Susan that I admire in women – confidence, thoroughly knowledgeable in their field, and beauty – inside and out. I am so fascinated with Susan that several of my short stories delve into Susan’s past. At the conclusion of the four books, there is an unimaginable twist – of which Susan plays a huge role!
Which was your favourite scene in the book?
I think my favourite scene occurs near the beginning, when all at once Kaitlyn true powers are revealed to her. She loses control, but puts on a massive display of how powerful she really is – surprising everybody.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
The biggest challenge was time. As much as I want to be, I am not a full-time writer, although it feels as though I certainly put in the hours! I have a day job and I am a mother of three young children. Right now, bringing my books to life mean a lot of late nights and early mornings. But so far, it has been totally worth it!
What was the hardest part of writing the series?
The hardest part of writing the series is definitely the finishing touches. Once you write that final chapter, you just want to get it out there – share it with the world! But the sharing will be short lived if you haven’t put it through several editing rounds and run it past a critique group. I made that mistake with ‘Water’; I think I put it out there before it was truly ready. But it is all a learning experience and the novel is much better for it now!
How easy/difficult was it to write the sex scenes in the book?
Actually, *sheepish shrug*, those came first. And of all the material I’ve written, they are the closest to the original content. My editors and my critique group made very little suggestions on changes in those parts. Maybe because they were a little shy, or maybe the parts were just that good – I’m going to go with the latter.
Who designed the covers of the books?
Glad you asked! Another great indie author and talented graphic artist Keary Taylor designed the book cover for Water and also for Air. So far, I’ve received loads of compliments on the cover, and can probably attribute dozens of sales to the cover alone.
Did you learn anything from writing your series and what was it?
A lot of research went into the series. Between modern day environmentalism, nature-worship and Wiccan practices, my ‘googler’ went into overdrive! I’ve actually implemented several day to day eco-friendly practices since writing my series. A compost pile in our backyard is one. Buying wine with cork instead of plastic caps is another. From our trash habits to our drinking habits, making small changes can make a big difference!
Do you believe in the need for environmental conversation? What do you think can be done? What changes do you think would help most?
For sure! I think our biggest problems, as far as implementing a worldwide environmentally friendly attitude, are industrialization, money, and politics. All of which are sort of interrelated. I think the changes that would help most come from individuals. Once we each make the shift – things fall into place at higher levels. Sooner or later, big corporations and government will have to cater to the masses.
Do you believe nature looks after itself and corrects the things which are wrong/not sustainable?
I think, in a way, we all believe that. Whether you call it karma, divine intervention, the three-fold law or something else is just a matter of semantics.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
I go back and forth about the adult scenes in my books. Sometimes I think it may be too much – and sometimes I think my novel might do better in the YA crowd. It has after all, been described as a ‘YA novel for adults’. The problem is I’m not sure if I belong in a YA crowd; it may not be a sustainable target market for me. So onward I go – sex scenes and all!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Was there somewhere in the books you felt stuck?
I have trouble with transitions; something my editor loves to point out. How do we get from one point to the next without jumping too much, or being incredibly boring? It is definitely a skill that can only get better with practice. I think it turned out ok; lots of reviews came back saying the novel is a page-turner.
What are your current projects? When is the next book in the series coming out?
Glad you asked that, too! ‘Air: Book Two of the Akasha Series’ releases at the end of February. ‘Fire’ should be out by the end of the year (I am a third of the way through), and the final book, ‘Earth’ – will be an arduous 16 month wait away. By the end of February, I also plan to have my vampire short story anthology complete. The first book, Gleaming White, can be downloaded for free at Smashwords. The rest of the short stories will combine to make ‘The Kindred Curse Anthology Complete Set’. There really isn’t anything ‘eco’ about The Kindred Curse Series, but it was such a great story idea – I couldn’t not write it!
Could you describe what happens in the next book in the series? Can we get an excerpt?
It’s hard to describe what happens in ‘Air’ without giving away the twist in the first book. But I can say readers have more of a chance to connect with Kaitlyn. The second book also goes dark – in a different way than the first book. The theory of depopulation in order to balance Earth is explored a little more in depth, and even though this is the path of the antagonist, I think Kaitlyn struggles with what is really right and wrong.
What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?
Right now I’m into anything ‘mermaid’. Let’s just say it is research for my next project, after I complete The Akasha Series. So far, I’m not too impressed with what’s out there – but maybe I can change that! Also, any suggestions would be much appreciated!
My favourite all time author has to be Diana Gabaldon (sorry Sidney – you’ve been replaced), but Suzanne Collins with the Hunger Games is in the running. Can’t wait for the movie!
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.
Fact 1: I’ve managed to ‘clumsy’ my way into being quite the coordinated person. Does that happen? I really think since I’ve tripped over everything under the sun, I became really good at catching myself – or whatever it is I happen to drop.
Fact 2: I love being creative – I’ve tried my hand at drawing, poetry, and photography. All of which I love, and all of which I wished I had more time for.
Fact 3: I’m the type that doesn’t prioritize my ‘to-do’ list, because everything gets done – one way or another. Yes, sometimes that can be more stress than it’s worth, but that is just me. I can do everything and I can do it right now.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
No matter what genre you are into, join Goodreads! Best thing to happen to readers since the alphabet.
ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Ah, now the fun begins. E-books! I don’t want to be cheating on my Nook…
Cats or dogs?
Allergic to cats – not crazy about dogs although I have two. Can I just go with fish? “My fish just did the cutest thing.” I guess that doesn’t work for twitter updates.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morn’, tea in the noon.
Steak and potatoes!
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
Neither – it’s cookies and cupcakes for me!
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Child one, child two, child three, and husband. We do everything together *forced smile*. Hopefully child one has the car keys, child two has my purse, child three has my cell phone and husband remembered the snacks!
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Wherever and whenever my muse hits me over the head. I try to bring my laptop everywhere, because you never know when that cheeky monkey will strike. I’ve been known to write on napkins, my arm, and on the back of my kid’s school projects.
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you any why?
Johnny Depp (need the back hair for roping sea turtles), Magellan (need a navigator – plus his name is cool), and Chuck Norris to fight off the sharks as we make our way home. I’d provide the entertainment value; read my book aloud or something. I would just stay on the island with Johnny Depp because he is a hottie, but I burn too easily.
List 3 of your all-time favourite movies?
The Sound of Music, Rat Race and Christmas Vacation, because I can watch them every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of them. Also, can I throw in some of my fav music? Mumford and Sons, Gogol Bordello, and The Avett Brothers. There – thanks for letting me get it off my chest.
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
Mobbed!!! Best. Show. Ever. Seriously – if you haven’t watched it yet, make it a priority.
ABOUT TERRA HARMONY
Terra Harmony is an author of contemporary eco-fantasy novels. The first book, ‘Water’, of the Akasha Series is currently available as an e-book on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. The second novel to the series, Air, will be available as an e-book at the end of February 2012. Terra also has several vampire short stories published as part of the Kindred Curse Anthology. The first short story, ’Gleaming White’, is available as a free e-book on Smashwords.
Terra was born and raised in Colorado but has since lived in California, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, and Virginia. She has served a 5½ year enlistment in the Marine Corp, has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and master’s degree in Linguistics. Terra lives in a suburb of Washington, DC with her husband of 13 years and three children.
And, if you’d really like to get to know her, you can go here, where Terra talks about her life, her books and the awesome powers that are part of her books!
BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
WATER (BOOK 1 IN THE AKASHA SERIES)
All of the elemental powers are in the palm of her hand…and it won’t be enough to save her. When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Just as her new-found life holds promises of purpose, romance, and friendship, the organization divides and a rogue member holds Kaitlyn hostage. Now one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between her and Earth’s survival.
AIR (BOOK 2 IN THE AKASHA SERIES)
Releasing on February 18th, 2012
She carries more than just elemental powers. In ‘Air’, the sequel to ‘Water’, Kaitlyn has a secret. One she won’t be able to hide much longer. As the strongest Gaia the planet has ever seen, she must face mankind’s greatest enemy as he campaigns for ‘One Less: Depopulation’. Everything depends on Kaitlyn fully embracing her role as Gaia. Her family. The Seven. The Earth. Something has to give, and it won’t be Kaitlyn.
FIRE (BOOK 3 IN THE AKASHA SERIES)
Releasing October – ish this year
EARTH (BOOK 4 IN THE AKASHA SERIES)
Releasing in 2013