Saturday, 21 June 2014

Spear Mother: A Tale of the Fourth World by Brandon Lindsay: Interview + Giveaway

Spear Mother: A Tale of the Fourth World
by Brandon Lindsay

Sandrena of the Mist Clan has been chosen for an impossible task: to kill an ancient god bent on consuming the Fourth World. Failure leads to the destruction of mankind. Yet even success could end in true death for Sandrena and her five companions.

Armed only with a magical spear whose power she can't unlock and plagued by memories of a life she never lived, Sandrena must bind her group together if any of them hope to survive.

She must become Spear Mother.

Ebook, 77 pages

Published January 25th 2014 by Smashwords Edition

AVAILABLE AT: Smashwords

Author of the Fourth World fantasy series. The stories Dark Tree and Spear Mother, as well as the story collection The Clans, are now available as ebooks.

Social Links for Brandon Lindsay:

Q & A with Brandon Lindsay

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main character is named Sandrena, and she comes from the Mist Clan, and has the innate ability to disperse into mist and reform at will. However, in her dreams she receives a call from a demigoddess called the Lady to travel far from home to the lands of another clan, where her powers no longer work. Along the way, she meets up with women, all of whom are strangers to each other, from the other five clans, which are constantly at war with each other. They have to overcome the tension that is natural in such a gathering if they want to have any hope to succeed in their quest. Sandrena, chosen by the Lady as leader and Spear Mother of the group, is the key to ensuring they come together and fulfill their duty, which is to kill a rival god.

Sandrena, however, has no idea how to do so. All she has is a magical spear, one whose power is unknown to her, and memories that seem impossible to her, memories of a life she never lived in a world that can't exist. Yet these, and her companions, are all she has to kill the enemy god.

Q:  In your opinion, what makes a good, strong female lead?
The same things that makes any lead good and strong apply to female leads. She needs to be someone the reader can sympathize with and relate to, so in some way she needs to be vulnerable. Related to that is her cause: what is she fighting for? What is she working towards? It has to be a just cause, but that doesn't mean it has to be a grand, world-saving quest. Just causes come in all sizes. It could be as simple as getting a job she deserves, or expressing her feelings to someone who should know about them.

The other main aspect of a successful female lead is that she needs to believe she can achieve her goal, at least part of the time. If she doesn't believe she can do it, she will never take that first step. If that first step doesn't happen, we likely won't have a story, but rather just a character that mopes about. No one will root for her, and no one will care about her goals.

And, unless you're writing a tragedy, she has to be capable of achieving her goal. One way to do this is to give her the tools she needs to succeed during the climax. A better way, I believe, is to give her the tools she needs early on, but only reveal their usefulness when the need to use them arises. This is what my favorite authors do in their stories, and it is what I aim to do in mine.

I wrote Sandrena with the intention of presenting exactly the kind of female character I like to read about, one who is vulnerable yet strong and ultimately prevails.

Q:  How long have you been writing, and when did you first consider yourself an author?
I tried writing BattleTech fanfic when I was in elementary school, but it was pretty bad. I didn't consider myself to be a serious writer until high school when, inspired by Final Fantasy VII and thinking I could do better, I set out to write the script of a Final Fantasy-killing (J)RPG called Paradigm. At the time, I was very much into sci-fi and thought the primary weakness of Final Fantasy was the emphasis on the "fantasy" part, so I wrote it as purely science fiction. It was a multiple world-line spanning time travel yarn, and the world mechanics were rather similar to the more recent video game Radiant Historia. I finished the first draft and, coasting on the resulting waves of euphoria, I set out to find a way to write video games for a living.

After a few years, I realized that breaking into the video game industry as a writer usually required some sort of writing credit, so I explored writing for more traditional media as a stepping stone. I found that this stepping stone was more fulfilling for me than my original destination, and I decided that I would devote myself to writing short stories, novels, and everything in between.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
When it comes to writing, don't chase the market. This applied more before the e-publishing revolution, when it took years for a book to be released, since trends usually died before anyone could cash in on them. But I believe this is true for other reasons. The first is that readers can tell when your heart is not in the story. Your characters are flat, and their goals are irrelevant. I imagine some authors can convincingly tell a story they don't believe in, but I think that's a tremendous waste of effort and a real tragedy.

Writing, like any creative work, is an awesome job, and writers should be proud of what they create. But first, they must create. They must forge ahead, show their readers places and people and stories they would have never otherwise experienced. They must fuel the dreams of the readers... but that requires them to have dreams of their own. And once they have achieved their dreams, they should bask in the reward that is pride in a job well done. I think this reason is just as important, if not more so, than the first.

Q:  Hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Recently, I moved from Seattle to Tokyo, so I had to purge everything I couldn't fit into a few suitcases. Sadly, this meant most of my books. The few physical books I kept were art books that I keep for inspiration and my e-readers. However, I had already been whittling away at my stock of paper books in favor of ebooks over the past couple years, so I had a head start in weaning myself off of paper books. The only one I really miss is my hardcover copy of The Way of Kings.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ah, the question I would ask is what didn't I want to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a scientist, an astronaut, a businessman, a comic artist, a ninja (though I couldn't find much career advice about this occupation), an architect... the list continues. The great tragedy of my youth was realizing I had but one life to live and only a limited time to do all the things I wanted to do. Perhaps one of the reasons I became a writer was to have the opportunity, at least in some small way, to live all the lives I had wanted to growing up.

Q:  If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
I would definitely want to be a creature with the ability to fly. That's the most important consideration. And I would want to be able to swim without needing to come up for breath, as well as defend myself from whatever I find in the sea and sky. But no matter what, I would want to be able to keep my free will.

I guess that would make me a dragon with gills. Yeah, that sounds pretty good.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I just finished Shawn Speakman's Unfettered anthology, featuring several of my favorite authors. Now I'm deciding what I want to read next. Among my choices are Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood, Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, or The Tyranny of the Night by Glen Cook.

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