Wednesday 24 September 2014

The Emissary Blog Tour: Interview with Kristal Shaff

Today we're taking part in the blog tour for THE EMISSARY by chatting with author Kristal Shaff. Let's get to know more about Kristal and her book!
Hi, Kristal! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mom of 3 amazing kids, 16, 14, and 11. We live on a farm in Iowa with an embarrassing number of pets. When I’m not being a taxi mom, I’m a writer of fantasy fiction and a professional face painter on weekends.  We are also waiting for our 4th child through the journey of adoption.
Wow, that's wonderful! Tell our readers a bit about THE EMISSARY.
For hundreds of years, dark clouds covered the skies of Adamah, and an ageless king ruled. Those who emerged with one of six extraordinary Shay powers were forced into the king's army, an unmatched force with inhuman Strength, Speed, Accuracy, Perception, Empathy, and Healing. With the army behind him, the king—a man who wields all six abilities—was invincible and unquestioned in his rule. To most, serving the king was an honor. But for others, it was a fate worse than death. 
When seventeen-year-old Nolan Trividar witnesses the transformation of his brother from kind to cruel after entering the king’s army, he vows never to follow the same path. 
So when his own power—the Shay of Accuracy—comes upon him at the Tournament of Awakening, Nolan conceals his emergence instead of joining the king’s ranks. For years, he traitorously hides his power, pretending to be only a gifted scribe. But when Nolan comes face -to-face with a deserter, the man discovers his secret. 
To evade detection and a death sentence, Nolan escapes with the deserter and flees into a night filled with dark creatures who steal both powers and souls. He joins a resistance, a village hidden deep in the forest, filled with others who secretly wield a Shay. But his peace is short-lived when they discover that the dark clouds, undead creatures, their own decreasing powers, and even the king, are all connected.

Sounds intense. How did the idea of the story come to you?
I’ve been an avid lover of superheroes, even as a child I remember standing in line for hours to see Christopher Reeve in Superman. (Superman has always been my favorite). I’ve also been fascinated with knights and chivalry, and I made yearly trips to our local Renaissance Faire in my teen years. I decided to stick my love of superpowers and knights together into one concept, and that was how THE EMISSARY was born.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Um, a little of both. I tend to have a broad idea of what I want and then fill in the holes as I go along. I find some of my best ideas come when the story completes it for me. My most recent WIP has been almost completely pantsing. In some ways, I find it very fun, but when you reach a point where you don’t know what is going to happen, it makes things more complicated. I was required to write a detailed synopsis to the Emissary’s sequel, then ended up completely changing it by the time I finished the book. So I am a combination of a plotter and a pantser.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
The draft. I much prefer editing and reshaping. Getting the framework down I find challenging.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
I typically have a mug of coffee—usually cold by the time I’m done with it. Also, I need quiet and solitude. Even someone sitting in the room will get an evil glare.
Those are requirements and guidelines I can totally associate with. What are you reading right now?
I’ve recently started THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothruss.   
Ooh, I heard that's good. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
When I played City of Heroes (it was an online Multi-player game years ago), my favorite combination of powers was flying and healing. I loved soaring over battles and randomly healing people when they were close to death.
If I had to choose only one, I guess some sort of super speed would by handiest with housework and writing.  Wonder what my WPM would be with that power. :)
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
Oh geeze. Probably things like “How long does it take a corpse to smell?” Or when I’ve researched poisons.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...  
... procrastinating.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, especially my husband. He’s had to put up with my writing angst for a long time. Also a shout out to my writing friends Michelle McLean, Michelle Gregory, and my local critique partners Joan Mauch and Wayne Sapp. Writing is lonely business without friends.

Thanks so much for stopping by our blog, Kristal. Can't wait to read your book. Enjoy the rest of your tour!

And now for our readers, here's a giveaway for you to enter!

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Michelle Gregory said...

nice interview. and i was happy to help. :)

Kristal Shaff said...

Thanks for having me on your blog!

bn100 said...

Nice interview