Today I’m super excited to be part of the tour for Changed, book 2 in the romantic science fantasy series The Made Ones Saga. Vicki stopped by for an amazing interview, where she talks about her writing process, reveals she’s a pantser, how she approaches her worldbuilding, talks bout the writing of Changed and some surprises, and has some awesome advice for new writers. There’s also an amazing giveaway with tons of prizes including a Kindle Fire, so don’t forget to scroll down and enter..
(The Made Ones Saga, #2)
Publication date: August 13th 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
What if you could be young again? Would it be a dream come true or truly a nightmare?
That’s the startling reality retired circus trapeze artist Breena Balážová awakens to on the world of Eleutia in her own re-engineered younger body. For a woman whose death on Earth was inches away, it seems like a second chance at life. But in this parallel world, where horses fly and animals and humans are symbionts, Bree is intended as breeding stock to balance the plummeting female birthrate.
As she searches for her missing sisters, who were pulled to Eleutia with her, Bree also must survive assassination attempts, the growing threat of war, and her unexpected attraction to the arrogant animal Clan Alpha, Gato, a man with terrible burdens and secrets.
The animal Clans join forces to combat a dark conspiracy that will shake the foundations of their world, even as Bree’s search for her sisters grows more desperate and dangerous.
If Bree has any hope of finding her sisters and fulfilling her own destiny, she and Gato must carry out a perilous deception, their success or failure deciding not only their own fate, but that of all Eleutia.
Interview with Vicki Stiefel, author of Changed
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Any tips on that area?
I am a pantster, and while I’ve tried to do outlines, scene cards, and other methods, I’m a pantser all the way. My only tip would be if any ideas to come to you, especially those when you’re just falling asleep, always write them down. Without those, I would be lost.
How do you approach worldbuilding? My worldbuilding methods are different for each book, but for the Made Ones Saga, I leaned into what I love best for creating the world of Eleutia. I adore animals, both domestic and wild, and I wanted them to be a part of the series. A vital part. Once I begin to create the world, it feels sort of like playing with Legos. One element builds upon another. I make an effort to logic, as well. And I always try to delight my readers with quirks and surprises.
What did you like most about writing Changed? I’d have to say dealing with two characters that fascinated me. They’re twisty characters with many secrets and numerous changes. Gato appears to be a bad guy, but he’s not. Bree is brash and smart- mouthed, but she’s really insecure and very kind. Putting those two together was like igniting dynamite and barrels of fun. I also love my research, including learning more about cougarss. They can’t roar, but they can scream.
Who’s your favorite character in this novel? And why? That’s so hard because they’re all my babies, even my villains. I’d have to say Breena. She’s such a bundle of insecurities, and yet at the same time she’s confident and accomplished in so many things. That dichotomy intrigued me, and evolving her into the person she would become was an utter challenge and pleasure.
Did anything unforeseen or unusual happen when writing Changed? Always. I’m endlessly surprised as I’m writing. I love when I have a character backed into a corner, and as I’m writing a solution arrives that’s completely unexpected. Breena bonding with the two cubs is an example.
Which books do you think have had the biggest influence on your writing? I’d have to say all of the classical science fiction and fantasy books I read growing up— Tolkien, Heinlein, Asimov, T.H. White. That would include books like The Odyssey, and even Shakespeare. Georgette Heyer, as well as many other romance writers. And Dickens, who wrote for the people.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting to write? My baseline is write every day. Even if it’s garbage. The craft of writing, as opposed to the art, is learned. And I see the craft having elements of sports as muscle memory comes into play. Writing every day reinforces those “writerly” muscles to the point where technique become an indelible part of you. That is when creativity and artistry can breakthrough and produce magical things.
What kind of reader do you think will enjoy Changed? The Made Ones series, including Changed, is what I call romantic science fantasy. So I’d say lovers of science fiction, fantasy, and romance. Readers who love assertive women and men who respect them. But also readers who love Mother Earth, because the book is metaphorical to a certain extent. How about I say anyone with a pulse?
Vicki’s fantasy romantic suspense series, The Afterworld Chronicles, launched with Chest of Bone, followed by Chest of Stone and Chest of Time. She is currently pounding the keys on her series’ fourth novel, Chest of Fire, and the first in a new series, The Made Ones Sags: Altered.
Her mystery/thrillers include Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Bone Man, and The Grief Shop, a Daphne du Maurier prize winner. All feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte. All are available as ebooks.
She co-wrote (with Lisa Souza) and photographed the 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. With her late husband, William G. Tapply, she ran The Writers Studio workshops in creative fiction.
Vicki taught fiction writing and modern media writing at Clark University.
She loves both a well-crafted sentence and unlocking the doors of a student’s imagination.
She grew up in professional theater and planned to become an actress, with a bent for song and dance. She didn’t. Instead, she’s been a professional photographer, a high-school teacher, a hamburger slinger, a scuba-shop manager, and an editor.
She’s Blake’s and Ben’s mom, her favorite role of all.
Her passions include scuba diving and fly fishing and knitting; photography and movies; vinho verde and bourbon (not together!); Maine lobster and chocolate (also not together!); and musical comedy scores, which she sing in the shower, unfortunately not an Equity venue; and a fascination with people in all walks of life.
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