Saturday, 20 October 2012

Vanessa Finaughty, author of the Legends of Origin series

Orion's Harvesters by Vanessa Finaughty
Orion’s Harvesters by Vanessa Finaughty

Two months after Liam MacAskill’s return to Earth from Tridor Monastery, a portal opens in Orion’s Nebula, and a continent-sized spaceship emerges. It heads for Earth, where it hovers over Africa. Shortly thereafter, a second alien species comes through the portal. Then impossibility becomes reality – the second species steals Earth’s sun.

The first species, the T’Acan – or Harvesters, as some call them – seem friendly enough, but Liam suspects they are omitting something about their reasons for visiting Earth, which seem lame to him. It doesn’t take Liam long to discover what… They have to be stopped, but how to stop an invincible enemy?

Air force and military attacks have no effect on the T’Acan spaceship, but Earth has a secret defence not even the military are aware of – a powerful weapon that harnesses ley line energy, kept hidden by warrior monks since humanity’s beginnings. It could save Earth when even nuclear weapons would fail… but will it be enough to drive the T’Acan harvesters away, and will the untested weapon work the way they hope?

As Liam races against time to warn Arthean that Tridor’s Earth may be in the same danger, even he isn’t sure he’ll make it in time.

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Author Quiz interviews Vanessa Finaughty...

What is it you love most about writing?
The way it frees me of this stress-filled, unjust world to put me in a more magical world in which justice and righteousness prevail.

When you first get the idea for a new story, do you find that the finished product tends to differ quite significantly from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
I usually start off with one scene that’s vivid in my head and it just flows from there. I tend to have a general overall idea of the story, but my characters lead it, so honestly, if I want to know what happens next in the story, I have to write it first.

Would you expect yourself to be most creative as a writer shut off on a desert island or immersing yourself in a busy social life?
Being shut off on a desert island is far more appealing to me, but living in ‘the real world’ gives one endless inspiration, whereas you may eventually run out of ideas if you’re shut away from everyone – imagination alone can only take you so far.

Would your series, Legends of Origin, work best as a movie adaptation or as a TV series?
Probably a TV series. I think it’s too complicated to make one movie without losing half of the story, and I think each book would work well as a TV series season.

If your series, Legends of Origin, was made into a movie and you were asked for input into the soundtrack, are there any songs that would work especially well for any particular scenes?
DJ Quick’s trance song, Alien Rush – that’s the song I wrote my fight scenes to, and, if my series is ever made into a movie or TV series, I’d insist on that being the soundtrack and music for all fight scenes, especially the big battles.

Are any of your characters based heavily on people you know or have met from real life and if so, would they regard it as a compliment or an insult to discover they were the inspiration for the character in question?
I wouldn’t say ‘heavily’, but Liam MacAskill from my Legends of Origin series is loosely based on a close friend who was killed in a motorbike accident a few years ago. He has a similar temperament and personality traits, and he’d have been in his element adventuring with Liam. I think he’d have found that a huge compliment. Liam and I share a few traits too. Another male character in my short story, Quitting Quitting, was based on someone I saw in a pub one night, though I had no contact with said person and he would probably be incredibly offended if he ever knew that character was based on him.

What do you think stimulates sales the most; positive reviews or advertising?
Positive reviews – obviously the author will say nice things about his or her book, but readers tend to be more honest. Then again, they do go hand in hand, because a positive review won’t do much good if the book is so invisible that no one gets to read said review.

Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
Be as prolific as possible, because more books make your author name more visible to random readers browsing for new authors. Also ensure that the product you put out there is as perfect as you’re able to make it by having it professionally edited and proofread, having a striking and suitable cover, and having it properly formatted. These things are vital and will make the difference between readers seeing you as ‘just another rubbish indie’, as is still the attitude of many today, or a fantastic new author they’re glad they discovered.

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Do you foresee more and more authors making a living from their writing?
I wish I could say yes, but I don’t believe that – the market is flooded, and increasingly more authors are publishing inferior products, which means that it’s harder than ever for readers to find decent new authors. Add that to the ever-increasing cost of living and price of print books, and the fact that indies who publish ebooks are forced to price their books lower and lower, there doesn’t seem to be much money to be made from it unless you’re one of the lucky few who has the money and/or time to properly promote your work. Hard work is vital to being a successful indie, but there’s a lot of luck involved too.

What are some of your favourite quotes from reviews that you've received?
“Mrs. Finaughty created a romance novel unlike any before it, one worthy of sharing a bookshelf with any Stephen King classic.” - Frank Dutkiewicz: reviewer for Diabolical Plots about Ashes to Ashes

“This author is a master story teller and she uses words that blaze across the screen and into your soul.” – Sasha Gabriels about Ashes to Ashes

“A cunning blend of horror and romance, Dance with Evil will beguile and creep you out at the same time.” – T.C. Southwell

I read a book review on Amazon once where the reviewer described the book as a page-turner and had clearly enjoyed the book, yet only gave it three stars out of five.  Have you had any similar experiences with reviews yourself and if so did you take pleasure in the positive comments or frustration from the unduly ungenerous rating?
I’ve had similar experiences, as have many of my author friends. It’s frustrating and a little annoying, and it removes any value from that review, in my opinion – generally, when someone raves about something, they’re saying ‘this is the best or amongst the best’, so a rave review should have five stars by default, or it’s contradictory. If there’s something those readers didn’t like about the book that earned it less than five stars, it should be mentioned in the review itself. I don’t think that type of review is at all helpful to potential readers either, as it gives conflicting messages – three stars is an average book, perhaps good, but not worthy of a rave review. I don’t think readers realise just how important those ratings are – one three-star review can plunge your book into obscurity. Then again, I think some do this deliberately just to sabotage other authors, and those probably haven’t even read the book in question.

What other book would you regard it the biggest compliment to have your own work compared to and why?
Anything written by John Connolly or Dean Koontz. I grew up reading Koontz, who always has me hooked by the end of Page 1, and he’s one of the authors whose work inspired me to instil that same feeling of wonder in others with my work. He’s also quite hilarious when he wants to be, and he’s the reason I favour fast-paced stories over slower ones. I discovered Connolly when the editor of Something Wicked horror magazine asked if I’m a fan, because, according to him, I write like Connolly. It seemed a compliment, but I had to find a Connolly book and read it to be sure, and I became an instant fan. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person too, and his personality is as appealing as his books. My writing has since been favourably compared to both my favourite authors, and no other compliment could ever beat that.

What would you say is your biggest strength as a writer?
I’d say I have two equal strengths – my passion for the story and characters, and my attention to detail bordering on obsessive compulsive behaviour when it comes to editing my completed work.

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Thanks for your comments, Vanessa, and good luck with your writing.

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A short sample from Legends of Origin, Book 1, Sanctuary for the Devil: 

    Above, dark clouds that hadn’t been there moments before threatened to unleash a torrent.
    Behind them, soldiers screamed as continuous streaks of white lightning shot from the clouds, hitting one soldier after the next.
    Jolither stood staring at the sky, his brow creased in concentration. Earth Magic…
    Liam dodged another sword strike, tripped over a soldier’s corpse and fell, ducked into a side roll, then smashed the next soldier’s kneecap with the dagger’s hilt as he came up. The man fell with a shout. Liam dived into another roll as a new soldier took a swipe at him. The monk’s sword sliced through his foe’s abdomen, and he pulled it out and sank it into another in one fluid motion, then attacked the last soldier standing. The man whose kneecap Liam had displaced sat in the sand, sword at his side, clutching his knee; he was no threat for the moment.
    The blood-stained black dragon lay unmoving near the garden’s edge, its rider half pinned under it. Shalise and her ryokin were nowhere to be seen. Liam scanned the garden and skies. She must be beyond the flames, trying to make them stronger, Liam tried to convince himself.
    Liam turned to the monastery. Many soldiers’ lightning-blackened corpses littered the grass and monastery steps, but even more soldiers entered the building.

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Vanessa Finaughty, author of the Legends of Origin series
Vanessa is on facebook and twitter:
Twitter: @VanessaFin

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Find out more about Vanessa and her writing at her website:

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Vanessa’s books are available from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Sony:

The first Legends of Origin book is free at any of the above distributors, and you can also find some free samples of Vanessa's other books on her forum:

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