Author Interview: Elizabeth Lavender

Elizabeth Lavender

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I just released the third book of my sci-fi/fantasy Sunspear Series, Shadowed Bonds, on October 23, 2021. So now I’ve started writing the fourth book in the series.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I write a sci-fi/fantasy series, the Sunspear Series. I am told it has more of a YA adult feel. However, I have many readers enjoying the series who would not put themselves in the YA Adult group. There are currently three books in the series, which include The Spinning of Deception, Deception’s Hold, and Shadowed Bonds. The 3rd book, Shadowed Bonds, just released on October 23, 2021. The series starts with The Spinning of Deception. We meet our two main characters, our two spearbearers who will be the inspiration to stand against the Dark Lord’s army that means to crush countless galaxies, one colony at a time, in a bloodbath. Dante stands on one side, determined to stop the threat, even as his father commands the Dark Lord’s army. Across the galaxy, a young girl, trained in secret as a spearbearer, fights against the threat as well. Her gift of visions reveals the truth of a tragedy of the past, and it could be the key to stopping the Dark Lord and his Black Dragon forces. It’s also this past event that creates a deadly task for Dante to complete as it ties into the present terror that threatens the galaxies. A mysterious connection grows between the two spearbearers, but is it strong to defeat the battlefield that the Dark Lord has in store for them? And can they stop whatever the Dark Lord is creating to bear down on the colonies before he unleashes his destruction? This is the stage set as we move into Deception’s Hold. The Girl and her comrade race to discover the terror the Dark Lord is constructing to bring the colonies to their knees. Dante’s group lends their aid with a dangerous gamble to help their friends in their search before it’s too late. Dante’s personal nightmare looms over the horizon as his task nears, and The Girl’s fear for his fate becomes unbearable at times. Dante feels ill-prepared to confront his father and free him from the Dark Lord’s control. But when he comes face to face with the fiend’s petrifying ability to twist truth into deception, the embattled warrior may struggle to resist falling victim to the same power. Can Dante escape following the same descent into madness and bondage? Our journey continues with Shadowed Bonds. The unthinkable has happened. All around is destruction. An unforgettable sacrifice has already been given and what else will be asked? The Girl and Dante longed to finally meet and yet it’s overshadowed by the grief that threatens to imprison them. The battle with the Black Dragon isn’t over, so they can’t let their pain win further. Then there’s The Girl’s own battlefield. She is forced to keep her world hidden from Dante, and her tortured past threatens to overwhelm her. Those bindings entice her like never before, dragging her closer to the edge of a black abyss determined to make her its own. Dante, though, is equally relentless in his pursuit to keep his beautiful sunspear-bearer safe from the shadows that threaten to take her. In the end, will she succumb to the tendrils of Darkness coiling around her, or will Dante’s bond be the stronger claim? Or does it only mark the beginning of the Black Dragon’s galactic conquest turning from a mere shadow to a deadly certainty?

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

It’s the editing/revision process for me. I find it difficult and just plain disagreeable. I know it’s a necessary part of the process, but I end up finding distractions when I’m in the process because it’s that unpleasant for me. There’s a point where I go over it so much and scenes start losing the freshness/wonder of when I first wrote it. Then it’s impossible to tell how to make it better. That’s the point I know it’s time to stop and hand it over to fresh eyes.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

The writing itself. I love the writing. Some authors talk about getting writer’s block. That’s never been me. So much of the story is written inside of my head already. I’ve gotten to know my characters and their world so well now that they write the story. It’s always exciting to step back after a scene has unraveled on the page, seemingly on its own. Sometimes I’m as surprised how it emerged as the reader. I absolutely love that feeling!

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

It would probably be either Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. I enjoy their ability to create the unseen battlefields that test a person’s core and the way they bring reader into it with the characters.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

That could be either Dante or the Girl, but The Girl could have more of a grudge with me after what I put her through in the 3rd book. So we’ll go with her. I’m not sure that telling would work with her. I could end up with a sunspear through me before I finished trying to convince her, especially if she’s gone as far as kidnapping me. She gets visions, so maybe it’s time to give her a happier vision for a change. I think I would show her a glimpse of what could be if she can struggle through this part of the journey, that the future she longs for is being written if she’ll be patient through the rough parts. If she truly saw it, believed it, she’d fight for it with everything in her. There’s no doubt in my mind. I’d have to hope that worked because if not, that’s probably the abrupt end of the series. LOL.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So that would be me, Dante, The Girl, and Jerrol Haven (protagonist from The Sentinals Series by Helen Garraway) at this poker game. For me, I’m not putting anything of value on the table. I’m certain to go out first, because I don’t know the first thing about playing poker. Usually it’s all about saving galaxies and worlds, but the other three decide to take the night off from all that for once. Dante feels lucky and decides to put his sunspear in. Jerrol, not to be beaten, puts his special sword in. For The Girl, somehow they convince her to put her secrets on the bargaining table if she loses. Jerrol puts up a tough fight, but he can’t win this one. He’s always had trouble keeping up with that sword despite how important it is. Nobody blames him though with trying to escape being killed every second. Not to worry too much, he does seem to get it back when he really needs it. I’m betting someone gives him a chance to claim it back. Dante, on the other hand, hasn’t ever lost his sunpear… well until tonight. He’ll be enduring a nightmare training from his teacher for ages for losing his sunspear, especially like this. He didn’t have a chance though. He couldn’t stay concentrated on his cards, not with her distracting him every second. He didn’t regret it, at least right now as her fingertips teased his arm yet again tonight. She knew what she did to him too. It didn’t matter. She was the winner from the first moment. Her cover is the shipping dealer, which comprises a world of bars and taverns. She knows all the ways to win a game of poker and more. It comes with the territory. And one of the first rules of this game is know your competition and their weakness. Jerrol was more difficult. She had to use her skill of the game. For Dante though, she’s his weakness every time. She’s okay with that part, because it’s mutual. Tonight though she used that advantage fully and had to admit she enjoyed every moment of it, as she grinned back at him. She’d give him the chance to get his sunspear back. The how could be amusing. However, the biggest reason she won was the stakes. How they convinced her to put her secrets on the table is still beyond her. She couldn’t have let it happen, to have laid bare her world for them. She’d die before she ever tells. She’s already shown that. This was one gamble she wouldn’t lose, and she didn’t.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

The showing vs telling can be tricky. I have to be really conscious of it. It can be doubly hard sometimes with the way I structured the series, with Dante’s group and the Girl’s group having to go their separate ways a good portion of the time to accomplish one purpose. It’s hard when they come back together to share information for it not to bog down in places. Sometimes I feel like it then can become a pacing issue, but others that read it didn’t think so. Maybe that’s because I’ve become more aware of it. Also along with that, when you write a series, you have to be sure you keep your story straight across the stretch. With mine, I have reasons to keep a lot of details hidden about My Girl, so it’s a balancing act of hinting at things, but not giving too much. Certain characters know a whole lot more than others about her, so there’s the extra effort of keeping that part straight as well. The other thing I find I have to be conscious about is keeping my dialogue tags tight/to a minimum.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Here’s everywhere that you can find me: https://elizabethlavender.net https://twitter.com/Elavenderauthor https://facebook.com/elizabethlavender.author https://instagram.com/elizabethlavender.author https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Lavender/e/B07ZLS4G93 https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-lavender https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19685019.Elizabeth_Lavender Here are my book links: https://books2read.com/TheSpinningOfDeception https://books2read.com/Deceptions-Hold https://books2read.com/ShadowedBonds