Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires by Christine Church

Interview with Christine Church, Author of Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires

What made you decide to be an author?  I didn’t choose to be a writer, it chose me. I was born with an intense imagination that needed release. My big loves were in acting and music, even though I wrote a lot, it was for me. Due to being born with a severe chemical imbalance in my brain, traveling as I needed to fulfill acting and music dreams couldn’t happen. I was for the  most part home bound.

I actually started writing “seriously” when I was nine years old. I would sit down with several sheets of paper and pen a "picture book" with drawings and text, then tape them all together (I guess I was too young to be allowed staples) and give them a title. I even gave them a publishing company name. By middle school, my disability earned me the status of being one of "those kids" who was bullied, spat on, name-called and kicked around. To escape, I sat in the back of the class and wrote short stories about rock stars and horses. Most of my stories were paranormal or fantasy (one that I wrote when I was 15 years old, is now a full novel called Beyond Every Mirror, not yet published, but hopefully soon). In 10th grade, I quit school, got my GED and went to college.

The first novel I wrote (a romantic thriller) wasn't very good, but I didn't know that at the time. I was asked for the completed book by several editors and agents in NYC and their rejections made me start to really look at my writing and compare it to other (published) books!

I started writing non-fiction then, as I had heard "write what you know." I knew almost everything about cats, so I wrote a cat care book. In the meantime, I did have a few articles published, one in a world-renowned magazine (ironically, Dog Fancy). It took years of rejections and rewrites, but my cat care book finally made it into the realm of traditional publishing (which is a story in itself). For several years I was handed nonfiction book assignments by various publishers, but that eventually came to an end when others caught on and books under my topic became commonplace (but I was the first!! lol)

In the meantime, I found the right medication (after a lifetime of being misdiagnosed and put on meds that made me more of a zombie than the Walkers on the Walking Dead), and started to feel more like a real human being. I then did something I had only dreamt of my entire life... I bought a horse! My very own wonderful, gorgeous, perfect, life saving horse!! How I came about him is a magnificent story in itself, and one day I hope to write it into a book. He saved me! After a few years, I was able to get myself onto a train and travel to NYC...alone!

As a trained actress, I did little shows and stuff in NYC while still working to get a novel published and learning the craft. Unfortunately, by this time, well into my 40's and with a horse to care for, and not 100%, I could only do little things here and there. I have found since, that so many roads are now closed to me due to my age and certain limitations. I'll never be a rock star (or marry one, my other dream growing up lol), I'll never be a famous actress (though, I do still go down to NYC for seminars and classes). But my writing is still there. And it's something I work hard at every single day!

Two years ago, I had completely redone and "revamped" one of my old novels. I sent it out to an agent I had met at a local writer's conference. She wrote back about 2 months later saying she LOVED it, loved my writing, said, "oh my goodness, you are talented!" (her direct quote, to add a little brag in there ;-), BUT, she said the market is "over-saturated." I am still looking for an agent or publisher for that book.

In the meantime, I decided to tear apart another book I had written back in the '90's and make diary entries, (not like "Vampire Diaries," more adult with a plot that's fresh and new ideas, but enough traditional to appease all vampire fans). I gave each character their own book and I planned that this series I would SELF publish, which would be a first for me. And so, now there is "Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires," and this is only the beginning of a really cool series.

What do you like best about being a writer?
What I like best is the freedom. I like/NEED to be my own boss. I am on partial disability due to not being able to “work a regular job” but it pays squat and I have a horse to care for, who is my therapy, keeps me sane, and is my “son,” my entire world. I can write at night, then work all day at the stable in exchange for having to pay for my horse. So he lives at a magnificent place with all the best (that I built for him myself and give him every day) and I work caring for him and all the horses at the barn every day, and it’s a perfect arrangement. I can work there because HE is there! If he was not there, I could get to work every day. So, being a writer gives me the freedom to be able to care for my “son” the way he deserves. It also allows me to disappear from my disability, from my anxieties and be someone else, go anywhere, live my dreams in a sense.

What do you like the least? Writing!! I know, sounds strange, I hate writing. I LOVE creating, thinking, dreaming, but typing is tedious and I can’t think out loud, so I tend to write my first draft in long hand in a notebook I carry around and when I think of things, I jot it down. When I am able mentally, I sit down and put it all together. Second drafts are then transcribed to the computer, etc. But the thing I hate most is how darn HARD it is to get traditionally published in fiction (I’ve had little trouble in nonfiction, I am the head writer of a local magazine and have many books in nonfiction). I CHOSE to self publish my Fate of the True Vampires series simply because it is SO hard to get published in fiction, even when you are good. I go to writer’s conferences, I’ve talked to and submitted to numerous agents and editors. I have been told I’m super talented and a great writer. But, the market in paranormal is “over saturated” and so rejections abound and it takes years to get one book out! I’d never self published before, and marketing is OH MY GOD difficult, but I was able to format my book MY way, I did the cover myself AND I am an expert editor. So, I paid no one to do anything with my book and it’s ALL mine. But, the marketing is a nightmare and is taking up much of the time I would rather use writing. However, I have NO money, so I can only do a little and hope for the best.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? My LIFE has been writing. So, every experience I’ve had has taught me something that can always be used in a book.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?
Yes!! Every book, every character comes to life for me. Most tell me their stories. When I was writing my fantasy romance novel (not yet published), Beyond Every Mirror, someone fated to be a small minor character ended up being integral to the entire plot, and will be a main character in the second book. The main character of Beyond Every Mirror (Dane) is so much a part of me, he is with me all the time and I have to give him a bottle of wine and send him to bed to get him to shut up so I can write my other books! He has so much voice, he has his own blog!!

You’ve written 10 novels and are working on a Compendium to Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires.
What’s your favorite time management tip? Write when and where you can! They say “don’t wait for the muse” and that is true for the most part. Sometimes just getting started works… other times you have to MAKE the muse come… for me it’s a bottle of wine, no lights (I have an illuminated keyboard), late night, window open, music playing softly, and my wine!

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?
Depends on the book. For Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires, it was a whole other book. I took each character away and started from the beginning. Kesi’s story is key to all of it, so I started with her.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? P
LEASE learn the actually craft of writing well before self publishing. There are so many books published that I feel were just tossed together, barely edited, with no care to really getting into the character’s head. They’re more like book summaries than actually books. When writing, YOU know what you’re character is thinking, but we the readers need to see, feel, smell, hear and taste everything they do (to an extent, don’t go overboard). Go to writer’s conferences, talk to agents and editors, find out what they sell… even if you self pub, this will help you write a better book.

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? 
This is tough, because this book is a small piece of a previous novel I wrote in the ‘90’s… THAT book was written based on the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. But Sands of Time is not based on any music.

Book Description: The main character in this first installment is Kesi (later known as Kesi Akhede, as in ancient Egypt they really had no last names). Kesi is a hybrid; half human and half "Pet Mer," a term used for her father's people who are from another place after theirs was destroyed.

She appears a delusive Goddess. She is ageless. But what she wants most is family. Unable to bear children through her own body, and after the death of her husband, she travels the world searching for a way to "create" a child (later known as “Vampyr”). She offers aid to those who need her. But, her deep desire to have a family of her own is never met until she comes across an alchemist by the name of Yin.

Taking what she needs and leaving behind chaos, Kesi continues to run, to search, and to hope. Her everlasting quest takes her through history, from one continent to the next; from her home in Egypt, to China, Scotland, Rome, and finally France.
Read the journals to hear her story, learn about the truth behind the "myth" of what humans call the vampire, read about her unique take on her species and those they create, and discover the chaos and bloodshed caused by a man determined to put an end to vampires forever.

Book Trailer:

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“Queen of the Nile”
Entries found on Papyrus sealed and preserved within a tomb in Egypt
Circa 20th Dynasty
English Translation, 1958
Believed to be written by Kesi, who lived in a village near Giza, and is later known as Kesi Akhede.

Wind over the desert creates a sandstorm that has left all in ruin. The days of old. Eras long past. Will he believe that I existed long ago and was dubbed "The Nile’s Graceful Queen" by pharaohs and kings? Will he believe that, to Amenhotep I in the eighteenth dynasty, I was viewed as an "exquisite work of art?"

I pray now. Not to the gods the desert people bow to, but to my ancestors and my family. I pray that he will understand what it is I must tell him. Who I am. Where I come from. And where I must go.
I think about the time that has passed so quickly. My heart swells with love for my family, for the desert so cruel yet forgiving, the people, and most of all for Jabari.

Life was once simple yet elegant and my people worshiped. When I was young, I heard say that all of the gods had blessed me with a part of themselves. The grace of Bast, the eyes of Horus, the wisdom of Thoth, and even the cruelties of Seth made me who I am. Perhaps this is true still. And yet I remain as I always have and life around me continues to weave its gradual yet inevitable web anew.
Now, the sands of the Sahara have drifted, propelling the destiny of the Pet Mer in a new direction, forcing me to choose, to make the most difficult decision of my life. A decision on which I have procrastinated for too long. A decision, I know, I must make on this night.  And so, I prepare my journey with a questionable destination.
Christine Church began writing at the age of nine, penning and illustrating picture books, taping them together, and even creating a publishing company. In school, she could be found sitting in the back of the class, writing short stories (she aced English and literature). By 1992 she was professionally published in both nonfiction and short stories. In 1998 her book was traditionally published, which led to many more book deals (nonfiction).

Her books and articles have won many awards. She lives for the paranormal, writes in the deep dark night and has a closet full of Goth clothing rarely worn any longer. By day she works at a horse barn caring for 7 horses, including her own noble steed--her best friend, her “son.” She is a professional photographer, actress, and voiceover artist as well. In rare spare time, she loves riding, archery, swimming, singing and auditioning for “Survivor.”

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gold and crystal ankh bracelet and necklace

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