#SPFBO7 Interview – D.L. Gardner

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

Rise of the Tobian Princess is the first book in the Sword of Cho Nisi series. Here’s the blurb:

Sword of Cho Nisi Book 1 of 3 Rise of the Tobian Princess is an epic fantasy that follows a young princess whose goal is to be a warrior until she makes a fatal mistake, costing her all she’s ever hoped to have…

​…and a young man who’s thrust upon a throne he never wanted, is pitted against an enemy he never asked for, and falls in love with a woman he is forced to exile. All the while their kingdoms fight a common enemy..an evil wizard who has gained enough power to rule the world but who seeks one last treasure that will cost them everything.

“A masterful painter of words, D.L. Gardner’s brushstrokes of prose bring to life a compelling fantasy tale that demonstrates the power of forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of tragedy.” – award-winning author Stephen Zimmer of the Fires In Eden Series and the Rayden Valkyrie and Ragnar Stormbringer Tales.

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes, it’s my first time. The timing was perfect. I just finished a Kickstarter for my series and had my launch date a few days before the contest begins. I’d really love to get more eyes on my epic fantasy and since so many authors and readers of SPFBO are interested in this genre, Sword of Cho Nisi|Rise of the Tobian Princess fits right in!

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
I have always loved fantasy ever since I was a child. To me it’s like living in a dream world where you have exciting drama, adventure, and romance, and you are in complete control of the outcome. 

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
Well, since I have queried agents with no response, I’m an artist with very particular tastes, and I’m in my golden years with extraordinarily little patience when it comes to waiting on others, I wanted to see my manuscripts be available to as many people who want to read them. I love to write and go on these adventures, but I also want to share these tales. You can’t be a story-teller without someone to tell them to! Self-publishing just makes so much more sense than twiddling thumbs and wondering for three years if your work will be read.

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Of course, there are advantages. You set the time for your launch, you write what you want whether it takes three months or ten years, you can use your creativity with no inhibitions, and you get to pick your cover design! The challenges are marketing because not everyone who is a good writer is a good marketer, nor wants to be. It’s hard to sell your own work without feeling a bit narcissist. 

5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
It seems to be coming to a crossroads and forking like a grand river unsure of where the ocean is. You have your epic fans who love the ten to fourteen-books series, fans of Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and Martin, who are devoted to the world the author builds. But there are little tributaries sprouting out from that foundation with fans of shorter novels, less intense, and maybe even less descriptive prose. Novels that are closer to home as far as time and space are concerned. Those seem to be becoming even more popular.

6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I dabble in romance and have some stories that are more romantic with historical mystery. It seems I almost always include a fantastical element in my work. I can’t seem to get away from it, I love the genre so much!

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 a character lover. If I don’t fall in love or at least majorly concerned for a character in your story (it doesn’t even have to be the main character) I’ll probably put your book down. I love the relationships between your people, even supporting characters need to have some kind of relationships going on.  You have to have a plot of course, or your book will fall dead but if you think about it, with no plot there’d be no reason to pull for the MC. Also, the more the world I see and the more I’m transported into the environment, the less the book will be sitting on the table but rather in my hands. I want to live there with these people you’ve introduced me to. 

By the way, I almost always purchase a print book.

8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m still editing books 2 and 3 of Cho Nisi. I want to offer my readers the best experience I can. All three books should be published in August sometime and then I’m either going to write a spin off story (plots brewing in my mind even as we speak) or a sequel to another book I’ve already written. Lots to do!

9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Work hard, stay with it, take workshops, glean from those writers whose work you love the most. Never stop learning!

You can find D.L. Gardner’s book here! https://books2read.com/u/3Gv1Ya