Along my reading journey, I’ve made a conscious decision to not only read the books on the shelves at my local Barnes & Nobles store, or online at Amazon, but to also try self-published, or indie, works as often as I can.
Now, I know several of you are snickering in the background or rolling your eyes at my idiot crusade to bring a few good indie works to light. And, believe me, I understand why you’d do that. Several years into this, I have to admit that I’ve probably stopped reading more indie stories than I’ve finished, but if I don’t share those triumphs and failure, then no one else will know whether these self-published stories are worth investing their time into or not.
This week I’m happy to introduce everyone to Suzanne Rogerson, who has been gracious enough to do a guest post introducing us all to her fantasy novel entitled Visions of Zarua.
THE EVOLUTION OF VISIONS OF ZARUA
I can pinpoint the very first idea I ever had for Visions of Zarua. It started with a young woman hunting something in the woods with her two hounds. Her prey had disappeared and she was nervous about something. As I worked backwards to discover what Varnia was hunting and why, her friend, Paddren, showed up and soon stolen the show in terms of plot. Out of these two characters, a novel was born.
I knew Paddren had been tormented with visions since his childhood, and these visions were responsible for setting him apart from his family. He was left in the care of the Royal Wizards, but he soon went to live with a wizard named Kalesh who bid him keep the visions a secret.
The meaning behind the visions would form the backdrop of the novel but it took a long time and a lot of redrafting for everything to finally fall into place.
Originally every chapter for the first half of the book started with a diary entry from an ancient journal written by Jago, a junior wizard who lived 350 years ago. These entries hinted at events from the past that had dire consequences for life in present day Paltria.
Around this point I fell in love with Jago’s story and knew I had to write a prequel to Visions.
But this left me with a dilemma – once people knew what happened in Visions, would they want to read the prequel? And if they read the prequel first, they would understand too much of what was going on in Visions.
It was a critique tutor that pointed out the diary entries made it hard to engage with Jago and suggested I merge the two books. The word count would increase what was already a long book, but I decided to try it anyway.
Expanding the small snippets of Jago’s life into fully formed scenes was so rewarding and I had moments where the story ran away with me. It felt natural to use first person viewpoint for Jago and live the past so vividly through his eyes.
Slotting Jago’s story into Paddren’s was a bit like putting together a puzzle. Towards the end all the pieces were in place and the full picture became clear.
I’m proud of the interlinking stories and hope they have given Visions of Zarua something a little different to other fantasy books out there.
About the Author:
Suzanne lives in Middlesex with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
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