Thursday, April 5, 2012

Interview with Deborah Lightfoot author of Waterspell The Warlock

WATERSPELL BOOK 1: The Warlock by Deborah J. Lightfoot

Carin has no home to go to and nothing to rely on but the whispered advice of a village wisewoman. When she takes that advice and goes searching for her place in the world, she falls captive to a quick-tempered wizard named Verek.
Lord Verek subjects her to a series of tests—some mundane, some magical—to discover who and what she is. No natural creature of his world could defy his enchantments as Carin does. What gives her the power to resist him? Where is she from? Did somebody send her?
As the answers come to light, Carin discovers that Verek plans to use her as an expendable weapon in a battle to save his world from plagues and pestilence. If Verek's scheme fails, lethal epidemics will overrun his world. If his plan succeeds, the dangerous wysard who stole Carin from her childhood home will die.
So will Carin.
Giveaway: 2 copies, open Internationally. International gets ebook, and US gets choice of ebook or paperback.
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--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
A homeless teenager conjures the Jabberwock against two wizards. One's her kidnapper; the other is her rescuer—unless he kills her first.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
It’s been percolating since I was a teenager. Or earlier than that, probably. I’ve always loved fast-paced tales of adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. And I grew up close to nature. My dad was a farmer. Every chance I got, I was outdoors catching lizards, bottling ants, or pulling flowers apart to examine their inner workings. WATERSPELL is a feudal fantasy with a science-fictional, “save the planet(s) from ecological disaster” twist. Spending my girlhood communing with nature instilled a deep and abiding concern for ecological balance. If nature gets too far out of whack, we humans will pay with our lives. That’s what happens in WATERSPELL: My heroine, Carin, is shanghaied from her natural home by a wizard who doesn’t grasp the enormity of the ecological damage the magical kidnapping will inflict upon a medieval world. The kidnapping triggers a series of plagues that threaten to destroy civilization. Nature is badly out of whack, and it is up to my leading lady and her man—Carin and Lord Verek—to restore balance.

So (you may ask) how does the Jabberwock dragon from Through the Looking-Glass come into this? The Jabberwock, like Carin, is an alien invader. It demonstrates, lethally, the premise that things which are harmless or even benign in one setting may cause great harm and injury in an environment where they are alien.

Working Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwock into the larger story of WATERSPELL gave me remarkably little trouble. It fit like a glove. Readers have commented on my “ingenuity” but I never stressed-out over that particular aspect of the story. Many drafts were required, however, before I was ready to hand over my trilogy for publication. I make my living as an editor, and I doubt there’s another editor alive who would have demanded as much of me as I have required of myself.

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
That’s easy! I’d love for Lord Verek to take me to dinner. He’s moody, arrogant, hot-tempered, dark-eyed, sensitive, handsome, mysterious, and dangerous. He’s Heathcliff, Rochester, and Mr. Darcy rolled into one. He’s a strong man in pain. What woman could resist?

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
These days I mostly read the classics. I don’t want to be subconsciously influenced by reading contemporary authors. Recently I’ve reread Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Just finished Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Enjoyed them all, but without a doubt Charlotte was the best writer of the three Bronte sisters. She engages with her characters. Whereas both Emily and Anne tended to keep their characters at arm’s length. Though I suppose with a borderline sociopath like Heathcliff, keeping one’s distance might be wise.
One author who greatly influenced me was Andre Norton. She wrote fantasy and science fiction. Says Wikipedia: “Again and again in [Norton’s] works, alienated outsiders undertake a journey through which they realize their full potential.” That’s a good summary of Carin’s quest in WATERSPELL: She’s looking for the place where she belongs. She’s trying to carve a place for herself in a world where she doesn’t really fit.
I also admire Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books. And of course I was blown away by Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Wow! I think perhaps there’s nothing else like The Hunger Games, except maybe Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
WATERSPELL Book 3: The Wisewoman has just hit the shelves. With its release, the trilogy is complete: all three books are now available.
Since I’m not very good at super-short, Twitter-style summaries, I’d like to give fuller descriptions of each book in the WATERSPELL trilogy:

WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock
Drawn into the schemes of an angry wizard, Carin glimpses the place she once called home. It lies upon a shore that seems unreachable. To learn where she belongs and how to get there, the teenage traveler must decipher the words of an alien book, follow the clues in a bewitched poem, conjure a dragon from a pool of magic—and tread carefully around a seductive but volatile, emotionally scarred sorcerer who can’t seem to decide whether to love her or kill her.

WATERSPELL Book 2: The Wysard
After blundering into the last stronghold of magic, Carin discovers that she is right to fear the wizard Verek. He is using her to seal the ruptures in the void, and she may be nothing more to him than an expendable weapon. What will he do with her—or to her—when his world is again secure? Or has he erred in believing that the last bridge has been broken? The quest may not, in fact, be over … and Lord Verek may find himself not quite as willing to dispose of his fiery water-sylph, Carin, as he once believed himself to be.

WATERSPELL Book 3: The Wisewoman
Plague and pestilence have come into the world. With their worst fears realized, Carin and Verek set out to put right everything that has gone so badly wrong. On the final leg of their quest, they retrace Carin's journey north from the plains—accompanied this time by the village wisewoman, Megella. Along the way, Meg dredges up—from an increasingly unreliable memory—the oldest of the "old stories," revealing how the actions of the Ancients continue to menace every life on the Wizards' World, and beyond.

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
The Golden Compass. I’d be curious to see what form my daemon would take. If I could choose, it would be a creature near the top of the heap: a mountain lion maybe, or an eagle owl.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
I can’t listen to music while I write. I find it distracting. Mostly I hear the hum of the air conditioner. My computer is upstairs, in a room that stays warmer than the ground floor. The monitor and other electronics put out so much heat of their own, I had to install a window A/C to keep it goose-bumpy chilly in here. I don’t think well in the heat. I love coolth.
Except when it comes to coffee. Every day I drink four or five cups of hot coffee with cream and sugar. Couldn’t live, or write, without coffee.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The power of flight. I live in the country, miles from anywhere. Being able to don my cape and wing away into the city or up to the mountains would be wonderful. Second best thing: a Star Trek transporter.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Hiking—or more accurately, rambling in the woods. I don’t backpack or go primitive camping, but I do love to peel myself off the computer and go for a ramble in a pine forest or under the oaks. I also enjoy traveling. England is as far away as I’ve been. Next time, I’d like to explore the Scottish Highlands.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
“The soul that has no fixed goal loses itself; for as they say, to be everywhere is to be nowhere,” wrote Michel de Montaigne, a French essayist of the 1500s.
These days it’s SO easy to get distracted. We all have many different forces that compete for our time and attention—it’s easy to lose sight of our goals. We can end up dashing here and there, working hard on something for a while, then abandoning it in favor of some new interest.
Having finally finished WATERSPELL, a trilogy I’ve been working on for more than 10 years, I’m now enjoying a deep glow of satisfaction. I set a goal: to write the kind of complex, detailed fantasy that I enjoy reading. Then I stuck with it through many ups and downs: contest wins that didn’t get me a book contract; favorable critiques from editors at writers conferences that subsequently went nowhere; literary agents who started out by saying, “I’m having a great time reading your work. It’s fabulous! … I’ve been specifically looking for a talent like yours … I would love to represent you …” but then watching as those agents seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.
Sometimes I got discouraged, but I never gave up. I didn’t take my eyes off my goal of publishing an intricate, multilayered fantasy that would do me proud. Now it’s done, and I feel happy. :-)
So what I’d say to others is: Decide what you want, then go get it. Have a fixed goal in life. It does wonders for organizing your time—you will be too busy getting “somewhere” to ever end up languishing “nowhere.”

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla
Edward or Jacob? Jacob
Hockey or soccer? Hockey
Ebook or paper? Ebook
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Mountains
Phone call or email? Email
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Dog or cat? Cat
Messy or neat? Messy
Ninjas or pirates? Pirates—very definitely pirates!

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  1. I find it interesting that she has to stay chilly. My hands would be too cold to write or type anything. I would not be able to think well unless it was warm :)

  2. I always love to hear a modern day author say they enjoy reading the classics. The likes of Bronte and Thoreau have stood the test of time for a reason.
    Tracy Awalt Juliano

  3. I don't think I could write freezing. I just started to write a book. I am not good at it but I have one of the best editors in the land. My sister. It's more of a "let's see if I can do this" type of thing. When I was younger and in high school I used to write short stories all the time.


  4. Staying cold to write? Strange...Not certain I could do that.

  5. I would love to read this series. It sounds very good.

  6. What an interesting interview. I enjoyed finding out that the idea for the book started brewing when she was a teen or younger. I also liked finding out about her favorite books. I love Jane Eyre and The Hunger Games. I would love to read this series. I would love to win. Thanks for the chance.

    My blog is participating in the hop, too. Swing on by to enter for a chance to win a gift card and 2 books. :)

  7. Given the chance to make your life like any book you know, why would you pick one to find out about your daemon? That is such an interesting answer because most people would pick a book that would make their lives as perfect as possible. I would avoid my demon at any cost. almost!

  8. I am with you on having to be "cool" to think but ewwww no thank you on the coffee! Hate coffee gimme a mt dew! lol If I am hot I cant do nothing though seriously!

  9. If I stay cold I stay awake better. The book sounds really interesting I had not heard about it before.

    rachel at thejeepdiva dot com

  10. Very nice interview. Very interesting that you were able to work in Jabberwock into the book.

  11. This sounds like a great series!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Thank you for this giveaway:)

  13. The interview gives us a great sense of what the book will be like. It sounds very interesting. Thanks

  14. I definitely think Charlotte Bronte is very talented...not many female writers I loved as much as her (not to mention there's a shortage of them.) I'm a big fan of Wuthering Heights!

    Many thanks for the giveaway~

  15. Congratulations to Mary A. and Kim R., winners of the WATERSPELL Book 1 giveaway! Thanks, everybody, for entering. I appreciate your interest in my fantasy trilogy and enjoyed reading your comments.

    Thank you, Brandi, for interviewing me and hosting the giveaway. Your questions intrigued me. I appreciate your help in getting the word out about my new WATERSPELL trilogy.

    For any other questions anybody might have, you can reach me at or Thanks!


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