How would you describe Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure in a tweet (140 characters)?
Shiewo Morose is the captain of a flying ship. With a song and a quest, this young woman is about to discover an adventure without limits...
I thought Shiewo was such an original story, where did the idea for the book come from?
I've always wanted to write a book about a flying ship powered by music. It's an idea that combines several of my favorite things: clouds, colors, music, and fantasy...
I love your cast of varied and original characters and Shiewo makes a great hero. How do these characters come to you?
When I assembled the crew, I thought it was important that they each had a different core trait (i.e. tenacity in Shiewo; shyness in Theo), but I also wanted to create characters that were unusual and unexpected. I think that coming up with characters is sort of like inventing imaginary friends...
How did you go about creating Shiewo’s colourful and fantastical world? Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from some of my favourite subjects: meteorology, horology, nature, and music. For example, while musical flight is obviously impossible, each level of Shiewo's flying ship, the Odyssey, has a basis in real-world musical science.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of writing high fantasy and setting a story in a world where anything can happen?
The most challenging aspect would be finding a way to present something fresh and original. The most rewarding aspect would be bringing readers into a world of your own creation--letting them see, hear, and experience things that don't exist.
When and why did you decide to take the plunge and self publish your book? Did you always plan to publish it?
I decided to self-publish a few months before the completion of "Fantasy Flight." I thought it would an exciting challenge that would allow me to expand my project creatively on my own terms.
What kind of writer are you? Do you have any rituals? Do you plan a story from start to finish or just see what happens?
"Fantasy Flight" evolved quite a bit over the course of writing... so I don't know if I really focused too hard on absolute planning. As for rituals, I like to draw cross-sections of every world I work on. I obsess over details, and I've probably sketched out every last gizmo and machine within the Odyssey.
What’s the story behind the cover art?
The cover showcases each character's personality and look. For example, Theo is shown with his perennial expression of worry, while Erduu is seen looking mighty zen-nish. As for Shiewo, if you look carefully you'll see that she's not really smiling or frowning; she's a complex character and I think the central image of her captures that well.
If you had room on your shelf for only 3 books, what would they be?
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, James and Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Do you have any hints for what we can expect from the next book?
Book two of Shiewo's Odyssey will see the intrepid captain face off against Horologo's time serpent. Beyond that, you can expect time travel, action, oddball antics, and a bit of romance.