What is the hardest part of being an author?
By far carving out the time you need to write. I love working on my stories, but I have to fit the time I spend on that in between the time I spend on my day job (which is also writing), on my music (I play French horn in the symphony), and on everything else we need to do in life, like eating, sleeping, and exercising! Balancing my schedule is a constant challenge.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Rise of the Sidenah?
Rise of the Sidenah is a magical fantasy about a young sculptress forbidden from practicing her art, until a powerful man offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse. He draws her into a world of deceit, murder, and betrayal, leaving her no choice but to engage him in battle to save the ones she loves.
What inspired you to write this book?
The initial spark of the story came from a coffee table book by Stephen King (who wrote the text) and f-stop Fitzgerald (who took the photos) called Nightmares in the Sky. Despite the scary title (part of King’s contribution, no doubt), I found the book fascinating.
Fitzgerald had taken a number of pictures of gargoyles throughout Europe and the United States. To me, the sculptures seemed magical instead of scary, the endless variety of artwork in stone beyond what I had imagined was ever accomplished in Gothic architecture or during any other period.
As I looked through that book, I got really curious. Each gargoyle was so different, unique, and amazing in its own way.
Who were the artists behind these magnificent stone carvings? I discovered they were called “stonecutters,” and back then, they were just as common as painters and musicians and writers. These were the artists who carved the statues, shaped the columns, and formed the cornices. They used chisels and mallets to fashion the stone as they wished, each putting his own unique stamp on his creations.
What must it have been like to be one of these individuals? My musings resulted in my heroine, Adrienna Vedica, who is drawn to sculpting, and has the ability to make the magical white stone come to life.
How many hours per day do you spend on writing?
A lot! (ha) Time on my fiction writing is limited, though, by the time I must spend on my business writing, or freelance writing. I run my own business full-time out of my home, supporting myself by writing magazine articles, blog posts, fact sheets, research papers, books, and more for my clients. Then I write fiction “on the side,” usually for 1-2 hours in the morning, and again for about the same amount of time at night. My challenge is to be sure to spend some time during the day doing something else so I don’t ruin my health by sitting and typing too much!
Name your top five favourite books.
I’ve been a fan of Margaret Atwood’s since I was quite young, and my favorite book of hers is The Blind Assassin, because it’s essentially two stories in one, and she writes it so masterfully. Next on the list is Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III. It was the first book I read of his and I was astounded at how well he was able to slip into his characters’ skins, particularly when those characters were women. I found the same in his House of Sand and Fog, another favorite.
After that, it’s more difficult to choose. Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane comes to mind because it had so much heart. It was one of those books I just wanted to wrap up in my arms after I finished reading it, I felt so attached to it.
Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day took me back in time to the end of the First World War, and the 1919 police strike in Boston. After reading it I felt I had a much better feel for what things must have been like at that time. I can’t even begin to imagine how he was able to accomplish the sweeping nature of the story.
There are many, many others I’ve read over the years and loved, from a diverse range of genres and authors, but I’ll name as my fifth choice The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain. I read it when I was very young—a yard sale find my mom brought to me—and it made a deep impression on me, not so much because of the Christian theme, but because of the riveting storytelling. I was with the author from page one all the way to 800-some!
What are you working on now?
My first literary novel, Loreena’s Gift, is forthcoming with Dzanc Books in April 2016, and right now, I’m working on the final edits. Waiting in the wings is my work in progress, another literary novel titled The Beached Ones. I’ve completed a first draft on that and am working on the second.
I also have a sequel drafted to Rise of the Sidenah that I hope to return to, should I find that readers respond to the original.
Thank you, Elise, for hosting me on your lovely blog!
For more information, please see cmstorybook.com.
Title: Rise of the Sidenah
Author: C.M. Story
Genre: YA Fantasy
Adrienna Vedica longs to build the creatures living in her imagination. One day, she hopes to sculpt them out of stone, creating great statues like those that guard the Celany village.
She doesn’t understand why everyone seems to disapprove.
It’s only when Tishaan, a powerful man in the high council, agrees to help her sculpt that Adrienna is finally able to pursue her passion. She dives into her work, but creates with such energy she collapses from exhaustion before seeing the final results, giving Tishaan time to hide her masterpieces away.
Her mentor, Sreng—the man she secretly loves—tries to convince her that Tishaan is using her, but she can’t abandon her art. Only when people start showing up dead does she think again. There’s something off about Tishaan…and then Sreng shows her one of her early works.
But something is wrong.
It’s alive. And it’s digging a grave.
C.M. Story has always been a fan of fantasy in all its many forms, including the kind she frequently indulged in during boring lectures in school. She didn’t try her hand at penning her own stories, however, until long after she’d gotten her Bachelor’s degree in music.
Once she sold her first short story, she got a writing job and never looked back. Today she runs a successful freelance writing and editing business out of her home in Idaho, and frequently travels to other inspiring places with her trusty laptop in tow. And yes, despite rumors to the contrary, “Story” is her real last name.
“Rise of the Sidenah” was inspired by gothic architecture, a tune by “The Calling,” and the idea that following the heart may cause pain, but is the only way to truly fulfill one’s purpose in life.
Find more at cmstorybook.com.
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