BookHive tested Leisl Kabbery’s second book in her YA series Titanian Chronicles, and I’ve since been super impressed by her ability to promote and connect with other authors, especially on social media. The book we tested Ormnhi Moon, is being released this month. Leisl was one of BookHive’s authors-of-the-month and a favorite of our beta readers! Check out her interview and where you can purchase her latest book.
Jennifer Bowen: What’s one of your favorite books and why?
Leisl Kaberry: That’s a toughy… so many to choose from, and then there is the varying array of genres to choose from, each with a fave story of mine. See how hard it is?! So I will have to go with a recent fave of mine. I read Joshua Grasso’s The Astrologer’s Portrait earlier this year and just loved it. He is a self-published fantasy author. I love the way he writes, the words lure you into the story and infuse your soul to the adventure. It was hard to leave and I did not want it to end. His characters are not only interesting but entertaining and three dimensional.
JB: How did you come about writing this YA series? Can you tell us about it?
LK: Years ago, when my first son was just a baby, I felt a bit of a creative mood take hold and would not let go until it was released. I tried to write a song… but was not to good at making it sound like something I would actually want to sing. (like Queen’s classic Don’t Stop Me Now… I always want to sing that… bring on the karaoke!). Frustrated, I found myself at the computer, staring at a screensaver image of a large green moon illuminating a beach with palm trees. I envisioned a scene at this very location and began to write. By the end of that scene I was inspired to write a chapter and by the time I had written the chapter, the whole of the Titanian Chronicles trilogy had formed in my head. I loved it so much I decided there and then, there would be no stopping me, I would write it.
Titanian Chronicles follows the adventures of Afeclin, (a human man), Wolflang, (an elf) and Lenna, (an elf maiden) as they journey into an unknown world beyond the Elvin borders of Tebelligan. Afeclin who was brought up in an all elf kingdom by the king himself desires to go beyond the borders to seek out his destiny. He has wizardry powers and hopes to be trained in the art. Wolflang and Lenna are practically engaged (or at least in Lenna’s mind) however, Wolflang has a longing for adventure, rarely seen in elves which is something Lenna can not understand. He chooses to accompany his human friend into the unknown and leave his childhood love behind, though strong spirited Lenna won’t be told to stay. What ensues is a journey that would for the three strangers to the land test their limits and push them to do and to be far more than they could ever imagine. A great force for evil overshadows the three adventurerers as Moorlan (former heir to the throne on the mainland Marrapassa before he was banished to a faraway island) seeks to claim back far more than the title with the use of a mysterious Dark Mage.
In Book 2 the journey moves ahead several years after the three have settled into their new roles. While it appears that peace abounds across Titania, the Dark Mage makes a furious search for ancient shells that will make him a force to be reckoned with while the armies of Moorlan begin to gather. The three friends are tested and heroes are created as they form unlikely allies and discover their gifts.
JB: You self-published your first book in this series. Tell us about your decision to do that and how you went about it.
LK: It was not the direction I initially planned. For years I had my mind set on certain fantasy publishing companies in which to send my manuscript when it was ready. When I was close to that point my husband had been reading about Createspace and urged me to take a look. The idea of publishing myself seemed like a whole lot of work (and really was) but gave me a lot of control over it. Createspace makes publishing reasonably easy and with books accessible quickly through Amazon, they are available globally. What it did mean was that I had to be diligent in making sure my book went through a lot of editing and proofing. On top of that I had to take care of the cover art, in which, I got a friend to do a large piece of art which now hangs in our local library and had to format the book myself for publishing. Not being greatly computer savvy, the formatting was hard work. I don’t like to make things easy either. I included art work throughout the book and added a piece of art from my map at the start of each chapter. All these extras made formatting even more tricky. One thing that did help was the use of the writing program Scrivener, which has a great formatting feature. Still I had to figure out how to use it and had lots of bumps along the way. With my second book my artist who had done the first cover and art inside could sadly not manage the cover of the second. So I had to find someone else and to keep consistency between the two covers had the first one redone. So many things to think about when you publish yourself but with an eye on the importance of details, beautiful books can be produced by those self publishing.
JB: How was testing your second book in this series through BookHive? Did you make any changes based on the feedback?
LK: I loved having my book tested through BookHive. What a great extra tool for self publishers. An important part of the process is having the book read and critiqued. This is something ALL authors need, feedback. BookHive was easy, I received good, honest information in a timely manner. The report I received was thorough and gave answers to the questions I personally had. It was super interesting reading the thoughts from the teens involved and I was impressed by how much they engaged with the story. I did use that feedback to make small changes. Most of the feedback was really positive which was fantastic to hear but there were definitely some little problems that needed addressing. Its important for authors to be able to listen to their readers and by doing that I feel I have improved the story greatly.
JB: Tell us about your writing process. How often and when do you write? Are you in a writers group?
LK: This really depends on what other things are going on in my life. For the first book I had little children in the house and was having babies… so I wrote when I felt inspired, had the time or could be bothered. Took me ten years. The second book all my kids were at school and I was doing university. I took a few months (a study period) off uni and focused on my book. Writing my book 4-5 times a week, getting 1-2 chapters finished. It was written in a total of six months. My next book I have been writing a minimum of 100 words a day since early spring this year… I have only missed one day since I started. The book is coming along well. This was due to a club I am apart of on the internet called Fantasy Sci-Fi Network… we have an 100 words a day challenge. They would be my writing group. I have made some good friends through it and we all tend to help each other out.
JB: I see you on social media a lot supporting other authors, and then they in turn support you. Can you talk to us about your marketing approach for your series?
LK: I must say, marketing is not my strong point. I try to focus on supporting others and their support back is really helpful… more so then me trying to sell my book myself. I find my book sells far better from other people selling it for me. The old word of mouth philosophy. I will attempt to get some reviewers to read and review my book on Amazon which is always useful (there’s that word of mouth thing again.) I also use my Facebook page, twitter and blog to try and advertise myself.
JB: Do you ever get writers block? If so, how do you break out of it?
LK: I don’t know that I really have ever had writers block or if I did, it didn’t last long. I have had times where I have had a problem in the story to solve and needed time just to sit and brainstorm ways out of it. Brainstorming is really helpful and I have managed to solve the most troubling of problems that way. Other days I may have a hard time to get the flow of writing going and when this happens I tend to – write – through it. I may only accomplish a few sentences in an hour but those sentences have been key to getting past it. Once it’s past it’s full steam ahead and therefore completely worth the slowed progress.
JB: Why do you find working with beta readers through BookHive a valuable part of the process?
LK: In the past I had a bunch of trusted friends read and give me constructive feedback on the storyline, writing, plot etc. For the second book I used BookHive for that process and found it useful to gain an understanding of how young people felt about the story, what they cared about, what they hated, what worked and what didn’t. It helped me to figure out what needed work and what was really working.
To buy Ormnhi Moon and get the latest on Leisl, please check out:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Ormnhi-moon-Book-Titanian-Chronicles/dp/1502483467
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TitanianChronicles/
Blog – https://www.facebook.com/TitanianChronicles/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260568.Leisl_Kaberry
Twitter – @lawfabex
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Jennifer Bowen, QueenBee (more fun than CEO) of BookHive Corp.