#SPFBO6 Interview – Anthea Sharp

Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, Anthea. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!

Star Compass is part of the Victoria Eternal series.  Here’s the blurb:

Steampunk meets Space Opera in this charming tale of adventure and romance from USA Today bestseller Anthea Sharp.

Diana Smythe was a child of the nobility… once. Now the streetrat known as Diver, she spends her days picking pockets, and her nights gazing at the galaxy overhead, dreaming of the day she’ll escape Earth for a brighter future among the stars.

Derek Byrne polices the grimy streets around the Southampton Spaceport, trying to keep the gangs in line and the gutters clear of riffraff. When his path crosses Diana’s, he sees beyond her masculine disguise and catches a glimpse of the remarkable young lady hiding beneath the rags and bravado.

But Derek has his own dark secrets, and when Diana averts a near-disaster at the Spaceport, fate flings them along a trajectory that will lead them to adventure, romance – and peril beyond their wildest imaginings.

Perfect for fans of Firefly, Gail Carriger, Naomi Novik, the Lunar Chronicles, and Lois McMaster Bujold!
NOTE: A version of this story first appeared in the Dominion Rising collection.

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
This is my third entry! Back in 2017 I entered, but have been writing in series since then and haven’t had a first book to offer until now. My current entry, STAR COMPASS, is Steampunk, which is a little on the genre edges, so I don’t expect to go far, but I think SPFBO is an amazing endeavor and I’m thrilled to be a part of it once more!

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
I grew up reading fantasy, and for me there’s no better way to deal with the issues real life throws at us than by framing them within the context of a heroic narrative. Add magic and fabulous creatures, and swords, and I’m all in! (Caveat – my current entry has none of those, lol – but does feature a mathematically gifted heroine and an alternate-history British Empire…)

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
After being dropped by my traditional publisher in 2009, I’ve been a happily self-published author since 2011.

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I love having complete control over my story, my blurbs, my cover and marketing. Having been chewed up and spit out of the tradpub machine after two novels, it’s great to be in charge of my books. But that’s the challenge, as well – there are so many hats to wear when publishing yourself. Art director, publicist, managing editor, copy writer, etc. etc.

5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
I think self-publishing has opened a lot of doors, and made so many stories possible that would have been ignored by traditional publishing. Own Voices is a big thing now, but when tradpub was ignoring diverse authors and characters (or whitewashing the covers) indie authors were bringing those books successfully to market, and knocking it out of the park.

The genre has stayed the same in terms of the heroic elements and exciting world building you’d expect from any great fantasy novel.

6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I genre-bend all over the place, actually! Cyberpunk faeries (before LitRPG was a thing), steampunk space opera, weird little speculative tales… As long as it’s SFF I’m happy.

Oh, I also have a pen name writing historical romance! No speculative elements there, except for the proliferation of English Dukes and magical HEAs. (grin)

7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
I love unique worldbuilding and being swept up into a story where I discover new cultures and magic systems. I am a particular fan of YA, and the classic heroic coming-of-age story, in any setting. Give me an underdog to root for, who discovers their power along the way, and I’m happy. And always, my favorite books have a touch (or more) of romance.

8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m working on the second book in a Snow White, Rose Red retelling, featuring Dark Elves, hidden magic, and, you guessed it, a strong romantic arc. 🙂

9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Write the best book you can, get some solid first readers (beta readers or an editor) in your corner, and do not skimp on an awesome cover. There are artists doing amazing cover work these days. (I might have a dozen covers I’ve bought still waiting for me to write the books…)

Then get your book out there, don’t stress about sales or reviews, and write the next one. And for sure enter the SPFBO!

You can find Anthea Sharp’s book on Books2Read!  https://books2read.com/StarCompass