Featured Fantasy Indie Author: Vonnie Winslow Crist

Welcome to the Fantasy Indie Author Interview series, where I feature interviews with independent author-publishers in the fantasy/speculative fiction realm. This week I interview the lovely and magical Fantasy author & illustrator, Vonnie Winslow Crist. Enjoy!

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What got you into writing this book in the first place?

Actually, I’ve been writing short stories for years without much thought about publishing a collection. Then, a woman in my critique group said to me at one of our sessions, “You ought to put together an anthology of your fantasy tales. You know, the ones with Faerie creatures in them.” I laughed — but when I got home I started to consider if there was a common image in my stories. And there was: Trees. That’s when I began to puzzle a manuscript together. Here’s a link to “Angels,” one of the stories in the book: http://tinyurl.com/vonnie-angels

What was the most fun thing to do during the writing, producing or marketing of your book?

The most fun thing I did was to write a couple of transitional poems to link the stories, then draw some of the Faerie creatures mentioned in the book. I used sepia ink and sketched away. In particular, I love the way the gremlers, spriggans, troll, ningyo, garden gnome, and pillywiggan turned out. Here’s a link to the book’s intro poem: http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2011/03/poetry-friday-make-believe.html   and to a FREE Greener Forest maze: http://coldmoonpress.com/forreaders.html

What are readers saying about your book?

I’ve had 3 reviews:

“…a great anthology of short stories about the Fae folk.” — BoomTron
http://www.boomtron.com/2011/04/the-greener-forest-by-vonnie-winslow-crist-review

“All of the stories in the collection leave the reader with a sense of ‘what if’ and the willingness to suspend (for a little while, at least) our modern logical viewpoint. Crist has created believable characters, including some who are not-quite-human.” — Harford’s Heart Magazine.

“Crist is a master of metaphor. In The Greener Forest, her modern fairy tales stand out. These stories use traditional fairy tale tropes, artfully layered with modern concerns.” —  Little Patuxent Review
http://littlepatuxentreview.org/2011/06/01/make-believe-as-metaphor

Plus lots of comments from readers — which I love reading:

K Masters: “I finished it in one sitting — I couldn’t put it down.”

M. Kruger: “I especially liked the way you intertwined the themes of magic and imaginary heroes of folk and fairy tales with the reality of every day characters going about their ‘every dayness’.”

Why did you decide to Indie publish?

I’ve Indie published before, and enjoyed the more personal interaction with the publishing house. I heard the editor-publisher of Cold Moon Press, a woman I respected as a writer & editor, was looking at manuscripts. After I added a few poems to the 13 stories, I knew a major publisher wouldn’t be interested in my book.

What advice do you have to authors just starting out?

1- Write every day.

2- Study the craft of writing.

3- Read the genres you’re interested in writing.

4- Research markets.

5- Submit your work following guidelines carefully.

6- Celebrate acceptances.

7- Learn from rejections.

8- Repeat steps 1 thru 7.

9- Remember: Overnight success takes years of hard work to achieve.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I found the back cover blurb was one of the hardest things to write (and in Indie publishing, usually the responsibility of the author). You need to come up with a brief, quotable description of your book. Reviewers & bloggers use it. Readers check it out. Here’s mine if you’d like to see what I did (and you’ll notice I stressed my tree & Faerie themes in title, blurb, bio, & illustrations):

“In The Greener Forest anything is possible. Silver maples sing in angel-song. Spriggans skulk about cypress knees and wreak havoc at an amusement part. The Applehead Lady’s true identity is revealed by moonlight filtering through the branches of an ancient tree. A scarecrow finds true love in an ash grove. And a wayward beech tree root sends a woman into the arms of a kindhearted giant. These stories and more lead the reader into the depths of The Greener Forest, where Faerie and the everyday world collide. There is dark and light, evil and good, and uncertain dusky gray lurking between the pages of this book. Discover that all is not what it seems at first glance, and wondrous things still happen in The Greener Forest.

If you loved the blurb, you can find all the buy links here: http://coldmoonpress.com/vonniewinslowcrist.html

Vonnie, Thank you for stopping by and enchanting us!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in the Year of the Dragon, Vonnie Winslow Crist is a firm believer that the world around us is filled with miracles & magic. She still sees angels in the trees, trolls under bridges, pillywiggins in her garden, and goblins in the shadows. And wishes others would look, listen, & believe that wondrous things are still possible. Read more at: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com or http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com Like her at: http://tinyurl.com/Fb-Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Author Follow her: http://twitter.com/VonnieWCrist.

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