Saturday, 6 April 2013

Nephylim, author of Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel by Nephylim is available for Kindle and the Kindle app from Amazon:
US: Nephylim's Fallen Angel
UK: Nephylim's Fallen Angel
They searched for answers and found truth
they never expected in their wildest dreams
Nephylim's Fallen Angel

Isobel is a were panther. She believes she shares her body with the soul of a big cat. She belongs to a group who all believe themselves to be Otherkin, beings that are not entirely human. She absolutely believes it. At least she thinks she does until she meets Arran who turns out to be a ‘real’ vampire.

Arran mocks her, teases her and embarrasses her in front of her friends, and yet…

When she starts having flashbacks to another time, a time when she belonged in Arran’s arms, Isobel’s feelings for Arran change and for brief moments she believes he feels the same, but still he treats her coldly.

Against her better judgment, Isobel follows Arran on a dangerous quest for a mysterious object that holds a great truth about vampires.

When she discovers the reason Arran has been pushing her away Isobel gives herself to him completely and they re-forge a bond that was broken eons ago.

In a desperate race against time, Isobel and Arran search for the mythical object in the hope it might save Arran’s life. However, what they find at the end of their journey is something so huge, so unbelievable powerful, it must be destroyed. But where does that leave Arran?

As Isobel holds him and watches his life slip away, she has an idea. But will it work?

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Author Quiz interviews Nephylim...

Is there anything about you or your writing that makes you unique from other authors?
There are a lot of things about me that are unique. For one thing I'm a family lawyer with pink hair (at the moment. It was purple last week and I'm thinking of going green again.)

As far as my writing is concerned I have a very clear mission. I have had a lot to do with gay teenagers in one way or another and they are so under represented in literature. I have a vision of books with strong gay main characters sitting side by side with any other book of the same genre. I want there to be a time when a young gay person can walk into a mainstream bookshop and find books about people just like them on display right at the front alongside books about everyone else.

I hate labels of all kind and I'm very disappointed when I'm told I should 'warn' people that my books are 'gay'. My natural response is - Why? Do you warn people that yours aren't?

Apart from the above, I'm also an extremely dark person, in a bubbly kind of way, and my books all have darkness in them. When I write fairy tales they're Brothers Grimm and not Disney.

Have you ever had an idea which was inspired by a real life incident, but which you ultimately decided not to include in your story because readers would think it was too far fetched?
This brings to mind very much, the second book in my Enigma series, Enigma II - Fighting the Man. As I've already mentioned I'm a family lawyer and I work extensively within the care system. I attend Case Conferences, liaise with Children Services and act for parents whose children have been taken into care. I am very disillusioned with the whole system and deliberately wanted to write a story that explored the effects the involvement of Social Services has on, not only the parents but everyone else involved - children, family, friends.

The Enigma series presented me with an unique opportunity to do so because one of the lead characters, Silver who i am totally in love with, is someone who is the sweetest, purest, most adorable person I've ever created. He's childlike and curious and very, very loving, but he's a released sex slave and for seven years of his life, after he was snatched of the streets at twelve, he was 'trained' to be a mindless sex slave.

With the help of River, his wonderful partner he's slowly adapting to living in the outside world and is charming everyone around him with his sweetness and sunny nature. He loves freely and generously and is excited by everything. However, when River's parents are killed and his twelve year old brother comes to live with them a spiteful relative contact Social Services and the wheels begin to turn.

I took my characters through the process as I have professionally experienced it, examining the effect it had on everyone involved.

I've had so many comments saying, 'that would never really happen' and 'no way they would really do that'. People have found it difficult to believe that a system that is supposed to care for children and put their interests first would operate in a way that tears apart families, destroys relationships and leaves children and their families traumatized. Well... welcome to my world,

AND to answer your question, that isn't even the worst of it. I've left out a lot of the really unbelievable things Social Workers and their managers get up to.

If you were to write a fictional story based on a real-life celebrity, who would you feature and why?
I am going to take total liberties with this question because I have written a book that was inspired by (not based on as such) a real-life celebrity. My friend, who is an amazing artist, came up with a project to paint/draw/sketch the same face every day for a year, to see how her work developed, especially when she was working entirely from her mind. As an aside the results were mind blowing. If you're interested you can check out some of her work on my blog.
Interview with Maria on Nephylim-Author Blog

The person she chose as her 'muse' is supermodel Andrej Pejic (I can never spell that name). I took the journey with her, being bombarded with photographs, videos, interviews, and of course her art. I have to admit I could never quite 'get' him and I began to wonder if he was hiding. I certainly wouldn't like to suggest there is any truth in that but it sparked off an idea with me about an international superstar who hides.

Ciarrai (Kee-er-ee) is a supermodel who's just hit the big time as a Hollywood actor. The fame gets too much and he runs away. He meets Jack, who is recovering after a horrific car accident in which his parents died. Jack has no idea who Ciarrai is or what to make of his wildness. I mean, who cooks in a silk kimono or goes on a date in a leather skirt?

Without being too specific and without revealing too much about the plot, have you ever killed off a character who you felt particularly attached to and if so was it an emotional experience writing the relevant scene?
Taking liberties again, there is a character I very nearly killed off. I'm writing a series of books with a co author and the characters really took on lives of their own. One of my characters got completely out of control. He's so like me in so many ways I just gave him his head to see what happened. He was extremely entertaining but after a number of suicide attempts, a year at a psychiatric clinic and a load of crazy shit including having a baby (through a surrogate I hasten to add) he was getting somewhat frayed around the edges.

True, he had settled down a lot and was now a married man with a new baby but he'd been through ten lifetimes in the course of 8 books and I thought it was time to let him go.

We set up the whole thing, started writing the build up, while planning the funeral and aftermath and I was enjoying myself enormously torturing him and the other characters who were treating him like shit not knowing what was about to happen. The cards were stacking nicely...then my co writer had a nervous breakdown and we had to save him. What can I say? She's obviously much less twisted than i am and wasn't having so much fun. Personally, I LIKE to write through streaming tears, with a soggy pile of tissues next to me. My workmates are used to coming into my office and finding me in tears because I've thought of a particularly poignant scene or line of dialogue. (If my boss is reading OF COURSE I never write in work).

If you could go back to the moment when you completed your first book and were at the stage where you were ready to release it to the world, is there anything you would do differently this time with regard to promotion?
I have been writing all my life and I was fist 'published' on a free write story site, Gay Authors. I was blessed to have found this site and I wrote stories for them for a number of years. I think my style grew a lot through the criticism and reviews i received there. The members know exactly what they like and what they don't like and they're not afraid to say so. It was through GA, and in particular one of the members who has an indie publishing company, that I first got published.

I was totally naive. I believed that publishing a book was just like publishing a story on the site, only more exciting and getting read by many many more people. I had no idea about publicity and promotion.  I was wildly excited when the book was published, incredibly proud and overjoyed to see my wonderful boys out there in the world. That was absolutely enough for me. A dream achieved.

Then I found the courage to submit to a publisher and suddenly i had to think about publicity and promotion. I, a dye in the wool technophobe, who still likes to write by hand in a notebook, had to engage in social media and make a *gulp* blog. The evening I first started by blog will live in my mind forever as a nightmare. I was terrified of the process. I accidentally wiped my work too many times to be healthy for my sanity and deliberately wiped it too many times to be healthy for my self confidence. In the end I got it up and started, rough as it was.

Then I created a page on facebook and joined twitter and tumblr.

The Runaway by Nephylim
Then I spend most of the following year having no life outside these things as I worked feverishly to make a name for myself. I have an unfortunately habit of taking things way too seriously and I get totally absorbed into everything I do. At one time I was on the verge of insanity because I couldn't cope with trying to interact with and respond to everyone who was following me on twitter. That was fine when I had 100 followers - just - but when it reached 1000 it became insane and so did I. I've had to cut back on that.

I've learned a lot as I've gone along. I've found the little buttons at the bottom of blog posts where I can share it with the world. I've found the little buttons on amazon where I can 'like' things. I've found an amazing graphic design company who have been supplying me with banners, logos etc and have really helped me to build a brand. It's all still in the early days but I'm hopeful.

With The Runaway I dipped my toe into the world of book trailers but I've yet to see whether that's made an impact on sales.

So, back to the point and the initial question. If I could do something different I would wind on time to after I'd learned all the lessons I'd learned so far and apply them to Enigma, which was the first.

No doubt I will learn much more in the years to come, I'm learning new things every day and in a year's time I will be saying, I wish i had applied all the things I learned to the book I released this weekend, Fallen Angel.

If you worked for a publishing house, what sort of books would you be looking to publish?
Books with strong gay characters, especially Young Adult. Having written for Gay Authors for four years now, I know there is a vast untapped market of young gay people who are desperate for books that relate to them and they can relate to (OMG I know, a short answer that sticks to the point)

What are some of your favourite quotes from reviews that you've received?
The first two reviews are for Enigma and they just totally stuck in my mind because they are so astute.

Your characters are always have such unique character. No one is ever quite "normal," everyone has their insightful little quirks. The worlds you build are bordering on surreality and its very intriguing.

The info about how a care home is run felt very stark, real, and well researched. As the story went on everything outside of Silver and River just kind of melted away... but that's a reflection of River's head a life becoming consumed with Silver.

One of my favourite reviews of all times, and I am a saddo who keeps a file of my favourites, was given on a story I've posted on GA, not a published one. It's called 'To Have and To Hold', if anyone's interested. I was just blown away by the fact that someone would take so much time and get into the story so far.

I completely agree about needing criticisms to grow as a writer. The problem is, a lot of people can't take them or don't bother to give them any real consideration. I'm really glad you spend so much time engaging with your reviews and take advantage of what the process is really meant for. I always feel a little insulted if the author doesn't comment or at least say thanks for a review.

Thinking about the dream again, when the subconscious is trying to tell us something it does often take a few times for the message to get through. Especially when we don't want to or are afraid to accept what it is trying to tell us.

After what Marc went through, it does make sense that he either went completely calm or completely insane. Completely calm was the better choice :)

Writing the characters' speech as you speak… I noticed you reflected your own views about coffee into Marc's opinion of it too. All authors put bits of themselves into their characters - I think it's impossible not to - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. It's probably what makes good characters feel real. Just be careful of restricting your characters within the boundaries of what you as a person think, do, feel, or say.

I had a bad experience with boot sandwiches one time. Egg salad, forgot it was there… :S I've always loved the concept of having a hidden blade in the toe of your boot, pop it out and give your enemy a good roundhouse kick to the temple… only problem is then you have some guy's head impaled on your foot :P

It would be bad if they were seen flying, but then again, they're vampires. How are the men in black suits going to find them? And if they do, Marc and Kai could kick their asses ;) I do get the reasoning that it's a little scary and overwhelming for them to indulge in it too much and they don't need to make themselves any more of a target to other supernaturals than they already are. And yes, it's very rare for me to say detail should be added to a scene. I usually feel everything should be as concise as possible so that the plot moves forward and narrative tension keeps up. It certainly doesn't need hundreds of words added. If you did rewrite it and you did get any reviews about the scene being too long, I will hunt down those reviewers and attack them with my mouldy boot sandwiches for you :D

Onto the actual review for this chapter:

It's good to see that Marc has learned that running away doesn't help.

I was wondering how you would deal with people seeing the wings. That they're always there but hidden from sight is a good compromise between wearing a trenchcoat to hide them and having them magically disappear when not needed.

In the section back at sanctuary, there were a few lines of speech where at first it was hard to tell who was speaking. I didn't like having to read a few lines and then puzzle out who must have said what. Especially when a big group of people are in the conversation, it would read a little easier if you indicated in some way who was speaking more often (certainly adding "X said" after every line would get a little dull).

Poor Marc, first his body is raped and then his soul… Will he ever get a day of peace?

There's something I love about angels being menacing and acting like big, self involved pricks. They're immortal and practically omnipotent, of course they would have giant egos and think everyone should just do what they say! This is a quality that like so much among the angels in Supernatural. It's fun to hate them!

Would you rather sell 1000 books at $10/£10 each or 2000 books at $1/£1, i.e. what gives you the greater sense of satisfaction; overall earnings or overall sales?
Although I am hopeful that one day I will be able to make my living as a writer, I write primarily for love. The really big kick for me is that there are people out there reading about my characters and entering the worlds I've made. I love the idea that I am making people 'feel' things and I get ridiculously excited when i sell books.

When I get my sales reports my eyes go first to the number of sales. It the report doesn't show number of sales I figure it out from the royalties. Not that I have many of either at the moment. I'm still at the stage where every single sale counts.

So, the answer to the question is easy. 2000 at $1.

What other book would you regard it the biggest compliment to have your own work compared to and why?  Is there a book out there which you feel is underrated and deserves a bigger audience? 
There are two writers that I think are TOTALLY underrated and deserve much wider recognition.  They are Angel Martinez and Zathyn Priest.

I would die and go to heaven to be compared to either of them.

'Vassily the Beautiful' by Angel Martinez is a wonderful book in every way. It's haunted me since I read it and I think everyone should read it. It deserves uber exposure and it's one of those books I can imagine being enjoyed by all kinds of different people. I think it should be made available in libraries and read in High Schools.

I've only recently been introduced to the work of Zathyn Priest and it totally blew me away. I've not yet read anything I didn't like and he deals with issues such as mental illness in a totally effortless way. 'The Statue' is an indescribably important book. It asks a very important question and one i think most writers will identify with - Is love for someone who exists only inside your head any less real than love for anyone else, and do we have the right to judge and try to destroy it? I can't get over how amazing this story is and why people haven't been jumping all over it.

So, I think I've answered the questions.

Why should people buy your books?
Because they're fabulous of course.

Seriously, books with strong gay characters are rare outside the world of erotica. That isn't to say at all that there aren't any good books in that genre, the criticism is leveled at the label not the quality of the work. Gay books need a higher exposure, the support they need to get out of the niche and into the mainstream and I think it's really important they do get into the mainstream because there are generations of gay people who have been marginalized and who deserve to be brought to the front of the bookstore.

And, of course, they're fabulous :)

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

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About Nephylim:

Nephylim was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Nephylim has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Nephylim became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Nephylim lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.

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Discover more about Nephylim at her blog:
Nephylim-Author Blog

Follow Nephylim on facebook, twitter and Goodreads:
Facebook: Nephylim
Twitter: @SevenPointStar
Goodreads: Nephylim

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Check out the book trailer for The Runaway:
The Runaway by Nephylim

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Fallen Angel by Nephylim is available for Kindle and the Kindle app from Amazon:
US: Nephylim's Fallen Angel
UK: Nephylim's Fallen Angel

The Runaway is available from Smashwords:
The Runaway by Nephylim

Other books by Nephylim on Smashwords:

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