Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BEHOLD THE DAWN - K.M. Weiland - Free Book

Welcome, Katie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Inevitably, I suppose, I’m in all of my characters. They come from me; they are me—and I am them. But I’ve never consciously created a character that was based off myself or anything I could identify as one of my prominent characteristics. I write because I want to experience other lives and other mindsets. I live my own life all the time, so I hardly need to write about it. But, of course, my characters are always influenced by own core beliefs and worldview.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Oh, I’m just generally a pretty quirky person. I’m very organized—to the point of obsessiveness, or so my friends like to tease me. I quizzed my family once about what they thought my quirkiest habit was, and every one of them mentioned my listening to my music albums in alphabetical order. Oh, and I talk to myself. But I’ve been told that’s okay—so long as I don’t say “huh?”

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I don’t know that it was ever something I “discovered” per se. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made up stories. In fact, my earliest memory is of myself dreaming up some wild story about saving my family from some unknown catastrophe. I started writing my stories down when I was eleven or twelve, and throughout high school, I wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for horse-crazy girls. Moving on to novels was a natural progression. I guess you could say I’ve always been a storyteller; it’s just inborn; it’s who I am. But the writing—the learning of the craft, the studying to show myself approved—that was something I became.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I’m very eclectic. I love trying new things and broadening my horizon. So I don’t confine myself to reading (or not reading) any particular genres. That said, many of the books on my list of favorites fall into the categories of historical, literary, and speculative. I love Patrick O’Brian and Orson Scott Card. Can’t get enough of them. For the last several years, I’ve also been making a concentrated effort to consistently read the classics. I’m determined to read them all before I die! Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, and Pearl Buck have all become dear friends.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve written seven novels—two of which are published, one which will be published in another year or two, and four which, God willing, will never be seen by anyone but me! I started out writing a story about the rodeo world, followed that up with two westerns and a story about football—before writing my first published book, the historical western A Man Called Outlaw (http://www.kmweiland.com/books.php#outlaw ) about the land wars in 19th-century Wyoming. I followed that with my new release Behold the Dawn (http://www.kmweiland.com/books.php#behold ), a medieval tale set during the Third Crusade.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’m still trying to figure that one out! Truth be told, I thrive on the busyness. I love accomplishing things; I love waking up each morning with a sense of purpose; and I love scratching things off my to-do list in my dayplanner! However, I do get overwhelmed occasionally. This past year, in particular, has been beyond hectic. Now, that Behold is out, I’m looking forward to taking it just a little bit easier—for a month or two anyway.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Like so many authors, I agonize over names. If they’re not just right, if something feels less than fitting about a name, it acts as a brake on character development. I have three or four name manuals all marked up with highlighter pens and stuffed full of notes and lists. I drive people crazy with my demands to “help me think of name.” I’m sure they’re sick of spouting off a litany of names, while I sit there, shaking my head, and saying, “Nope, can’t use that one. No, that’s not quite right either.” I always know when I hit upon the right name. It’s almost as if the characters have always known what their names should be, and when I finally come across the right one, they just quietly claim it.

I had a minor character in the novel that comes out in May, who didn't like his name. I gave him another one, but that one didn't stick either. At the very end of the book, I finally pleased him. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Every book is a huge accomplishment—even if it never goes any farther than my own hands. Finishing a 100,000-word story is a marathon, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. But I have to say I am extremely proud of my most recent novel Behold the Dawn. It was a hugely special story to me—one of those lucky projects that just flow. I still look back at it and find myself wondering, Did I really write those words?

I've experienced that, too. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Oh, my black Lab, definitely. If there’s a critter on this earth that’s more expressively happy, I think that would probably be too much happiness to bear!

What is your favorite food?

I have this huge weakness for macaroni and cheese. I love the instant kind in the box, with the gooey cheese. It’s terribly unhealthy, of course, but soooo good. It’s my comfort food du jour.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I don’t know that I’ve had a problem so large I would consider it a roadblock. I did struggle for a while, a few years back, wondering if writing was really something the Lord wanted me to pursue. Much as I loved it, much as I thought I needed it, I worried that it wasn’t an effective and responsible use of my time. I surrendered it to Him, knowing it was a gift from Him to begin with. After much prayer and seeking, He gave it back to me, and now I’m just trying to use my gift as responsibly as possible for His glory.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Write! It’s so easy to get tangled up in all the so-called rules and the fuss over how to find an agent and get published. But none of that matters when you’re starting out. The biggest challenge you face is simply finishing that first draft. Sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard, and let your imagination fly. Embrace the joy of writing, and avoid the crippling effect of inhibitions. All that other stuff will come later, but it’s not what’s important right now.

Tell us about the featured book?

Behold the Dawn is a gritty medieval saga, with a love story at its core. It’s the tale of Marcus Annan, a renowned fighter in the tourneys (the huge mock battles, condemned by the church, that preceded the more familiar jousting tournaments). He’s been on the run for sixteen years, trying to bury his sins in the gore and glory of the battlefield. But when a mysterious monk surfaces from the dark haze of the past, he is compelled to travel to the Third Crusade in the Holy Land in an attempt to rescue an old friend. He arrives too late and is forced to take responsibility for delivering the man’s widow to safety in France. But long-hidden secrets are rising all around him, enemies are stalking him, and, if he hopes to survive, he’s going to have to face his past once and for all.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Marcus Anan had killed before. He had killed so many times he could no longer remember them all… so many times he had become inured to the ache of sorrow as he stared into the faces of the dead.

Some had deserved to die; some hadn’t. It mattered not. They were all dead, and he could not bring them back. Unlike himself, they would never have to wonder if the end would ever come, if life would go on and on forever, taunting in its gaiety, tormenting in its bleakness.

As he reined his horse back amidst the chaos of a southern tourney and watched his allies crash into the opposing line of horsemen, he wondered if perhaps he had traveled this dark path beyond his ability to return. He watched through the barred vision of his great helm, concentrating on the steady rhythm of his breathing, forcing down the fire of battle that coursed through his veins as he waited for his quarry to extricate himself from the clangor of battle.

Today, Marcus Annan—tourneyer, soldier, and wanderer—would bring the tally of deaths yet a little higher as he played one more round in this bloody, accursed game of mock battle that had become the only pursuit of his shattered life. The legend of his name would grow, and the burning flash of battle fire would once more blind the sorrows of his heart. He would end one more life, even as his own hurtled onward, unable to escape the demons that wailed as loud on this day as they had upon their birth almost a score of years past.

Wow! Such a wonderful hook. How can readers find you on the Internet?

They can find me on my website (kmweiland.com) or my blogs Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors (wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com) and AuthorCulture (authorculture.com).

Thank you, Katie, for this interesting glimpse into your life.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book.


collettakay said...

Thanks for the interview. The book sounds great!


gahome2mom said...

Thanks. gahome2mom/at/gmail/dot/com

Abi said...

Looks good. count me in. Thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

rubynreba said...

I'd like to be entered for this book. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good!!! Please enter me.

Anonymous said...

Great interview. This book sounds and cover is great. Please enter me. tarenn98[at]yahoo[dot]com

Mark said...

Sounds good, I'd like to enter

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone! Good luck in the drawing!

Mackenzie said...

Such a great interview! Nice to see that the complications of naming characters are a universal problem. :)

Joanna Marie said...

Wow, so cool! :-D I definitely agree with you on character names!! I once had a conversation several hours long with a friend discussing names... :-P o.O Definitely in the drawing!!

K.M. Weiland said...

@Mackensie: I liken naming characters to the trauma of naming children - except writers have significantly more "children" to name than most parents!

@Joanna: I congratulate you on your friends. Most of mine would have given up on me long before the hour was up! ;)

bminor said...

A wonderful interview! I hope the exposure here helps many copies of Behold the Dawn fly of the "shelves."


April W said...

I liked the first page. Now, I want more. *pouts*

Edna said...

Great interview, she is a new author to me but she sounds really interesting. Please enter me into the drawing


K.M. Weiland said...

@Becky: Thanks! Fly, little books, fly. ;)

@April: The entire first chapter is available on my website, if you want to take a peek.

@Edna: Thanks! Good luck in the drawing.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Fabulous interview, KM! I loved getting to know you so much better. I think all of your books look like fun reads. :-)

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for reading, Shannon!

strokeofliving said...

I am fascinated with the fact that this work is a period piece. The research, the immersion, I mean K.M. has created characters in a time that other than research she would not know. However her revelation of her love for Jane Autsen among other authors brings light to the choice of a period piece. Fascinating.

Grace said...

Great interview,I really enjoyed it!!
I would love to be entered! I have never read any of your books yet, but they sound really interesting from just that little bit, And from what I have read from your blog, and also from what everyone has said about your writing, they seem really great!! :)


K.M. Weiland said...

I adore history. Almost all of my stories - even the speculative ones - are deeply influenced by my interest in various periods.

K.M. Weiland said...

@Grace: Thanks! Good luck in the drawing. :)

Anonymous said...

win it or buy it, i will read it and be transformed.
twitter: hicktwit

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for stopping by, hicktwit. I hope you enjoy the book however you get a copy!

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you1

Amelia said...

What an intriuging interview...definitely count me in! :)

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for commenting, ladies!

dirtywhitecandy said...

I laughed out loud at your comment on names. I do that to my friends too. And many times I have made them brainstorm titles for stories or books they know very little about!

K.M. Weiland said...

If we think being a writer is crazy, what must it be like for our poor friends?

Tura Lura said...

This book sounds awesome. I would love to read it. Going to go check out the first chapter now. ^_^


K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy the sample chapter.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Great interview! As I'm in the midst of my own first draft of a first novel, I must confess it was a tad bit depressing to hear that Katie hopes her first four novels never see the light of day. ;o)

I love what she had to say about her characters and choosing their names. I have a character right now that I just keep referring to as AG (Annoying Guy) because I simply cannot come up with the perfect name for him yet!

K.M. Weiland said...

Oh, just because my own early novels were a mess doesn't mean it has to be that way for everyone. Lots of authors polish their first novel to perfection and hit the bestseller lists with it!

The Bookworm said...

I'd love a copy of this book! Thanks! :)

Julia said...

Sounds like a fun book that my husband and I would both enjoy.


Jenn said...

One of my poor friends is a sounding board for everything - especially naming characters. Glad to know I'm not the only one who struggles with it!

And I will definitely have to check out Behold!

Anonymous said...

My brother and I were just talking last night, trying to discern just the right name for some characters of mine... the odd thing is, though, for me I find that no matter how unsatisfied I am with a name when I first find it, if I just go ahead and use it long enough the character grows to fit it. I'm unsure whether that's a good thing or not; it's just my personal experience.

Also, please enter me into the drawing!


Wendy said...

I LOVE medieval books. Thanks for this review. If I don't win this copy, I am running out to get it!

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Trinity Rose said...

Would love to be entered in the giveaway. Love these kind of books.
Have a blessed day,
Trinity Rose aka Wanda

wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for the stopping by, everyone!

@Jenn: Yes, we writers are a strange bunch - and we demand strange things from our friends!

@Whisper: I agree. Characters inevitably grow to fit their names, which is why I'm always so picky in choosing them.

@Wendy: Yay! Another medieval fan! :D

Anna W. said...

Ooh, good interview... I'm intrigued!

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Anna!

kristen said...

Oh, sounds great! Thanks for the interview!

Buukluvr81 said...

The book sounds great and so was the interview! Please enter me in this giveaway! Thank you!

Blessings and hugs,

Megan said...

Sounds like a fun book - I don't see medieval lit too often!


Carla said...

Thanks for entering me:)

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, gals!

@Megan: Yes, the medieval period doesn't have a huge amount of representation in fiction - which is a pity for all of us Middle Ages nuts!

Brianna said...

Great interview! I'm looking even more forward to reading Behold the Dawn. :-) Count me in for the drawing!

Esther said...

This book sounds awesome, please enter me!! Thanks! Esther

Anonymous said...

If I may continue this discussion, do you ever find, as you're writing a story, that one character is standing on the brink of two personalities? As in, you originally planned the character to be a certain way but as you write with him/her, you discover that, due to name or other forces, he/she is on the brink of having a different twist on their character?

This has happened to me a few times and I wonder if it is a foreign experience.


K.M. Weiland said...

@Brianna & Esther: Best of luck in the drawing!

@Whisper: I'm actually facing that right now in a rewrite of my next book. My character has suddenly decided he wants to be a reckless swashbuckler instead of a serious grump. I'm liking the change very much! ;)

Sarah H said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I really like K. M. Weiland

Robyn said...

Please enter me to win a copy of Behold the Dawn.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

K.M. Weiland said...

@Sarah: Aww, thanks. :) Good luck to both you and Robyn.

A J Hawke said...

What a good first page.
Put my name in the pot to win a copy.

A J Hawke

Anonymous said...

So, Miss Weiland, in general do you suggest going with your character's insists to change his/her personality? Do you ever find that your character is the better for resisting his pleas?

By the way, thank you for answering my questions, I very much appreciate it.


K.M. Weiland said...

@A.J.: Thank you! Always makes my day to hear that. :)

@Whisper: It depends. Ultimately, I'm the boss, and I have to direct the characters in the way that's going to have the best affect on the story. Discovering what's "right" for a story is very much a gut instinct thing for me. When I hit upon the right angle, it just *feels* right. But I'm always open to letting my characters take the reins and seeing where they want to go. Their ideas are often much more original than mine!

Anonymous said...

Hm... that makes sense. Thank you, I will be thinking on what you have said.


K.M. Weiland said...

My pleasure!

Sarah R said...

I enjoyed the interview. I haven't read any of her books yet but I want to. Please enter me in the drawing.

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for commenting, Sarah! I hope you enjoy the books if you get a chance to read them.

Cindy W. said...

Oh, I love Mac & Cheese too. Cooked 'fresh' out of the box with salt and lots of pepper! Yummo!

Loved the interview and the cover of your book is awesome!

Please enter me into your drawing for a free copy of Behold the Dawn.

Thank you,
God bless you,
Cindy W.


K.M. Weiland said...

Yay! Another mac and cheese lover. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! ;)

Emailman said...

This is a great interview :) A very interesting read. It's always great to get a little closer the the author behind the book, Well done both of you.

K.M. Weiland said...

It's always fun talking about the process. So much of this stuff is second nature now that it's interesting to have to think about *why* I do certain things.

Donald Lee said...

Please throw my name in the virtual hat! Thanks!


Nancye said...

I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance,

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Cíntia Mara said...

Wow, the book starts very interesting.

Please, enter me in your draw.
God bless you!