Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, Steven. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!
Kingdom of Aces: Ruby Edition is an alternate version of the Ebony Edition. Here’s the blurb:
The Jewel Islands were not always this way. Once upon a time, peace and tranquillity existed amongst the lands for many decades. But, when King Alshercort Trezmakt, ruler of the four realms died after his fifteen-year reign, so did all of the age-old laws. His wife, Maylin Loradove was granted the rule of the entire kingdom, and that was the exact point when things began to turn sour within the Jewel Islands. Maylin’s father was the king of Curillia before Alshercort, unfortunately for her, her father died during the celebrations of his 60th birthday. At this point, Maylin was just sixteen years old, yet, a new ruler would need to be appointed. Maylin was a controversial replacement given her gender and age, therefore the crown soon found itself upon the head of another regal family, the Trezmakt’s had a son who was a few years older than sweet Maylin. But, less than two years later she was married to this new ruler. It soon became apparent that Alshercort Trezmakt was more brutal than Maylin’s father had ever been, yet, the queen at his side began to also show glimmers of harsh treatment of the people her husband ruled over. So, it was only inevitable that if she ever took the throne, she would be a much fiercer monarch than any of her predecessors.
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 consecutive entry to the ever-growing competition. The book I have chosen this year has been the longest I’ve ever worked on a project, it took almost three years on and off to complete the first draft. I feel Kingdom of Aces is unique, whilst I have put forward the Ruby Edition, this book has an alternative version in the Ebony Edition. Both editions have the same set of characters, yet each tells a different tale, you could say a parallel universe.
2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
It’s easy to see why this genre is so popular, a fantasy world can be just that, there are no rules. If you tell a tale of a three headed dragon with spectacles and a pet cat, who can tell you that’s wrong? No one can, that’s the beauty of it.
Magic and monsters are wonderful concepts, and in a fantasy world all sorts of amazing creatures and scenarios can be created, making the Fantasy genre easily the most appealing and exciting one around.
3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
Five years ago I began drafting up ideas for an entire epic tale, having worked to create the first of a possible four book series I decided to look into ways of publishing. It seemed that a few companies offered this self-publishing service, something that was very new and intriguing to me. So, I took the plunge and have not looked back.
4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
It is wonderful to have full control over every aspect of any book that I decide to launch head first into the world, but that also means you have to reel in the help of kind friends and family to lighten the load. You basically have to employ a group of unpaid staff. You have to find beta-readers/editors, designers (I’m half decent at art, but don’t have the time or technology to create book covers)
And let’s not forget your end audience, you have to be your own promoter and agent. Flooding social media to promote your work, and using some of the paid promotion services. (They haven’t worked for me, I have a very low budget so it can be tricky to get the right reach for your money.)
5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
There are some amazing authors out there both past and present, I’d say the creativity and abundance of fantasy novels is just getting better every year, which is wonderful news for readers. It is without a doubt an endless world of possibilities when it comes to fantasy, and I imagine we will continue to see a number of books turn into amazing TV shows or movies.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Well, considering my next few WIP’s involve vampires, zombies, werewolves and medieval scenario’s, I’d say I’ll be knee deep in the fantasy genre for a good few years. I do however plan to write some Crime novels, and have even considered children’s books.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
I’m all about strong female leads, and I find character development appealing. If a character can dust themselves off and rise up, then they quickly get my respect.
I like to feel a connection to the characters also, it can feel a bit wooden if you have very little love for any of the subjects in any book.
I’m halfway through my Dragon’s Reclaim series, so that remains a constant. Yet, I plan to write/release a possible 3 more books before the end of 2020.
Not forgetting my regular participation in NaNoWriMo, and I have already laid out plans for what I will write during that Month of solid writing.
Build your social media platform first, gain some followers and get your friends and family involved. Don’t be afraid to show your work to the people you hold dear, they may be your greatest challenge in regards to feedback, even if they don’t prefer the fantasy genre. You may even be surprised who will be willing to help or offer great advice, you’ll never know unless you ask.
You can find Steven Smith’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Aces-Ruby-Steven-Smith-ebook/dp/B088PCR4QW