Interviewing author Deryn Pittar

deryn-croppedI asked Deryn Pittar, author of this week’s featured new release Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South, to share her thoughts on her writing with us.

 

Deryn, tell us about the first book you had published.
Love’s Bright Star was published by Secret Cravings in 2012. It was a huge thrill and from that experience I learned about the editing process, prior to publication.  They also published the following four books in the Future Movers series; but unfortunately Secret Cravings closed down in 2015. These futuristic romances are being republished over a six weeks’ time span in June/July this year with Junction Publishing. I am reading through them again (yet another editing process) and I’m delighted that I don’t have the desire to change anything. Because they are set in the future, luckily, nothing has dated!

Six years later, with their republishing, I will have had published a total of eight novels, with a ninth one coming out in October. But I have had many short stories and poems published in between times, in a variety of genre.

Was ‘Love’s Bright Star’ the first novel you’d written?
I’d love to be able to say ‘yes’ but in truth it was about the fourth. One of them I rewrote five times and it still sits in my files. (I can’t bear to delete 70 thousand words. I might need a bit of it one day.) I tried to write for Mills and Boon to begin with, but my mind refuses to stick to a formula; this is probably why I often set my stories in the future, where there are no restrictions on my imagination. However, I consider all those original unpublished manuscripts as a learning curve I had to travel, and not one word was a wasted effort.

Do you write today in the same genre as your first published novel?
Sometimes, but I jump about. I’ve written and had published a few contemporary romance novellas and lots of short stories, some sci.fi., some a comment on a serious subject and a few light romances. I tried to write horror (with a friend) and we ended up with a black comedy. I like to put a twist at the end of my short fiction. I’ve also dabbled in haiku and other forms of poetry, plus I love a writing challenge. Often a contest’s premise is a good reason to try another genre.

What authors have  influenced your choice of genre?
Asimov’s science fiction novels gripped my imagination as a teenager, opening up the possibilities available to a writer. Then Anne MacCaffrey came along with her Dragons of Pern series, which introduced dragons instead of robots.

LutapoliiHow long did it take from when you began Lutapolii’s manuscript to launch date?
I wrote Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South quite quickly, over a few months, about two years ago. He grew from a short story, which became chapter one. He took on a personality and had a life plan I simply had to follow. Once told, his story lurked in my files for a year as I searched for a cover, then Junction Publishing said they’d like to take him and they found his picture. I had to change one scene to fit in with his final appearance, but he’s such a magnificent fellow I didn’t mind at all. I’m thrilled with the response to his story. It’s not often you get to read a story written by the dragon himself. It’s written for adults, but it fits just as well into the Young Adult classification. There is a mating scene in it, but that’s all noise, smoke and frightened sea birds. I don’t know how dragons mate and Lutapolii refused to tell me.

What is your latest project – or projects?
I recently co-wrote a novella with Meg Buchanan, about an angel who falls in love with a soldier. It centres on Halloween, her brother’s plans for that night and the soldier’s decision to prevent her being harmed. Angelfire is a quirky love story and was fun to write. I had a short story which became the premise for the story. We shared further plot lines and wrote the scenes we each had ideas for; then shuttled the manuscript back and forth to be read, changed and added to until it all hung together. This will be released in October this year, with promotion beginning in September. Perhaps when Meg has time in her busy publishing schedule we will write a sequel.

I have just finished a novella for a winter anthology submission call for Roane Publishing. I called it Thunder Makes Me Cry and I’m hoping it will get accepted. I wrote it with a winter theme, just for their submission call. Heaven knows what I’ll do with it if they don’t want it. They are releasing another novella of mine, Escorts for Hire….Heartaches Free, in their summer anthology in August.

What question do you always wish an interview would ask you?
You often hear writers moan about ‘writer’s block’ (no ideas) or the editing process and how they hate cutting out words and scenes; and how dreadful it all is. Yet no one actually asks them if they enjoy it!

I‘m asking you now. Do you enjoy being an author?
Yes, I love it. Sometimes I run out of ideas, but I never panic. Eventually something will pop into my mind; a kernel that grows into a scene, which might develop into a novel. I love the craft of tightening a story, getting rid of extra words, paring it down to say as much as possible with as few words as you can. Of being able to give the readers a time, place and setting that will drag them into the story and, best of all, hold them there.

Through writing I’ve met a wide group of people I can correspond with, and share work and ideas with. To know there are like-minded people out there, tapping away, feeding their mind-pictures onto the page is a comfort because writing can be a solitary hobby – if you let it. I don’t.

What are you currently reading?
I belong to two book clubs, so often have to read a book that is not of my choice. This doesn’t do me any harm and often leads me to discover new authors. I’ve just read The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, with beautiful language. At page 30, I decided I was reading too fast, so I began again and took my time to savour every page.

Daniel O’Malley has written two fabulous science fiction/fantasy novels: The Rook and Silhouette. I’m waiting for his next novel. I also enjoy Robert Galbraith’s series (JK Rowling) and I’m waiting for Lethal White to be released. I think the lady at the library is tired of me asking if they have it yet.

Thanks, Deryn, for giving us this time. I’ve learned more about you than I knew!

 

“Lutapolii – white dragon of the south”, by Deryn Pittar

LutapoliiA credible fantasy for adult and YA readers, featuring dragons in a new light. Don’t expect knights on a mission. The story’s lead is a dragon on a mission – to live a life of peace and lead his own Flight.

Lutapolii has fled his northern matriarchal flight’s malicious bullying and teasing – even from his mother.

 

Living alone deep in the south, he discovers a haven in which to shelter and feed through the winter as he develops new skills for life on, above, and in the island’s seas.cave_Lutapolii
Strengthened by the island’s environment, he returns home to find he has been declared officially dead.

 

“What absolute madness. He might be officially dead but he wasn’t stupid enough to become really dead. In the winner-takes-all stakes of the mating game, truly dead is what happened to the challengers that lost.”

With nothing to lose, Lutapolii goes about his plan despite being pursued and battled, eventually building a new Flight in the richly resourced southern part of the world. Not easy, given the cold, new creatures, and the ongoing drive of the old matriarch and his mother.

deryn-cropped

Author introduction:
I write futuristic and fantasy fiction, spiced with romance and adventure. This allows my imagination to run free, to create interesting characters caught in unusual circumstances and events. Sometimes I have the pleasure of watching science and technology catch up with my imagination.

I also write Young Adult, short stories and flash fiction; articles on writing and I am published in these genre. I self-published a children’s rhyming book and once won a prize for a short screen script.
I’m a published poet and I endeavour to put my poetry skills into my fiction writing to enhance the word pictures I create.
I live in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand which lives up to its name. I belong to the Romance Writers of N.Z., Tauranga Writers, and Spec.Fic.NZ (speculative fiction NZ).

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Published in ebook and print by Junction Publishing, Lutapolii is available at Amazon

 

Reviewing “Scaredy Book” by Devon SILLETT & Cara KING

cover_Exisle_Scaredy BookThis story’s premise is that, to make a change and find new experiences one must have courage. Even though it may seem scary, it is worth it in the end. It is amusingly related through the adventures of ‘Book’ who reaches out at last to take its first step to meet a reader, Emma. Emma’s life is full of adventures she has found in other books. But up to now, Book has seen other books return damaged by readers, which is why he is scared. However, when he does take that first step, he gets to have his own wonderful adventures as Emma takes him to different places.

SILLETT could have done the ordinary – she could have written about a timid child (‘Timid Tabatha’?), but by using a normally inanimate object she has created a comforting distance between a nervous reader and his fears. It is a delightfully unusual approach to writing to help children.

Words such as potential, gumption, or pizzazz may not be in the independent vocabulary of many child readers younger than eleven or so, so an adult reading to a child will have opportunities to explain these, and extend the child’s vocabulary.

KING’s illustrations give delightful character to each book in Library, and to the imagery of Book’s and Emma’s adventures.

spread_Exisle_Scaredy Book

Exisle saysScaredy Book contains the perfect message for kids afraid of leaving their comfort zone (and hand-wringing helicopter parents too!).

It is written by Devon Sillett, a former radio producer who is now doing her PhD in Australian Children’s literature. Devon is passionate about the capacity for books to inspire the imagination, and about libraries as jumping off places for exciting voyages into the unknown.

These themes are explored in her latest picture book, Scaredy Book, in which Book lives at the library and desperately wants to go outside, but is intimidated by all the things that might happen ‘out there’. A page might get torn. Book’s cover might get dirty. Book might never be returned to the library! Meanwhile, Emma loves visiting the library and delights in the many adventures to be had in the stories she finds there. When Emma meets Book, they find they are just what each other needs. Together, Book and Emma move out of their comfort zone to try new things, meet new people, and enjoy a few quiet adventures — climbing trees, laughing in the rain, and even cheering along at a soccer match. Along the way, they discover that ‘out there’ needn’t be scary if you just take it one step at a time.

Children and parents alike will enjoy this story about being brave, taking risks, and living to tell the tale!

The Author: Devon Sillett is a former radio producer, turned writer and reviewer. She has loved books as long as she can remember — so much so that she even married her husband Matthew in a library! Currently, she teaches in the writing department at the University of Canberra, where she is also a PhD student, researching Australian children’s picture books. Her first picture book, The Leaky Story, was published by EK in 2017.

The Illustrator: Cara King is a designer and illustrator, who runs her own design business, Caratoons.

“Scaredy Book” (published 2018) by King & Sillett is available from E K Books as a hard-cover and teacher notes are available. Recommended age group: 4 to 8 years.

EKBooks NZ
E K Books is an imprint of Exisle Publishing, NZExisle Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925335-68-2
RRP (NZ) $24-99

TAKA KIRO WAI –He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho by Keri KAA


TAKA KIRO WAI –
He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho

Author Keri KAA

Artist Martin D PAGE
 
This Māori language, 59 page picture book is an amazing compilation of story, artwork and photography, decorated and enhanced with examples of Māori weaving and carving patterns.
Publisher Tania was kind enough to relate the story to me in English (I am not bilingual) which I can summarise for you. As a Māori reader, you will get more out of the book than I can, so bear with me.
It is the true story of a rural home, surrounded by farmland, in the area of Ngati Porou, on which after an extremely rainy stormy night, the woman of the house looking out her window realises her mare is in difficulties. On closer investigation, she sees the mare has foaled overnight. The foal is still trapped in the birth sac, and in such deep water the mare cannot assist it to break free.
Friends come to help; they drag the foal onto higher ground, wrap it in a blanket with the hopes of saving the exhausted foal, who is very cold after being submerged in water. The mare is incapable of anything, so exhausted is she after birthing in the night and struggling in the flooded paddock. 
The mare has shared her paddock with a pig, and is used to its smell. The pig comes to the foal, and tears open the birth sac. It licks then rubs against the foal, for so long it tires and drops to rest in exhaustion. It returns to the foal and now starts treading with its forelegs on its back, until finally the foal comes alive. The mare returns, and coaxes the foal to stand and feed.
This book is a strong mixture of the expertise of the story teller and of the illustrator. Every page has its own significance to te tikanga Māori, to rural communities, and to – especially – spell-bound children.
The publishers have assured me there is a solid intention to produce an English language version in the future. I will happily announce that here when it happens.

Translations of the front cover (thanks to publisher Tania)…
Main Title – Taka Kiro Wai = Fell in the water
Sub-title – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho = A story about a horse

(Yellow circle sub-subtitle – He Kōrero Pūrākau Tūturu Tēnei = This is a true story

ISBN  978-0-473-18406-3 paperback
Publication 2013 by Tania&Martin, Rotorua NZ.
Book is to be launched 22nd November,
and can be purchased via 
www.taniaandmartin.com/shop

Illustrations here are photographs I took of the review copy I read,
and in no way do justice to the book’s Real art.

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Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book. If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank you

"The Love Between a Mother and Daughter Is Forever"

“The Love Between a
Mother and Daughter Is Forever”

A Blue Mountain Arts Collection
About the Special Bond
Mothers and Daughters Share
.

This book is a slim paperback published  and (c) in 2003, by the Blue Mountain Press, Boulder, Colorado.
Given to me a few years ago by my daughter when I was seriously ill – too ill to concentrate enough to actually read it – it has been rediscoverred while unpacking household removal cartons.
Of course I’ve now sat and read it through.
She had marked (with drawn flowers) titles in the Contents list of some poems she wanted me to read.
And she had also  marked up selected stanzas, lines or phrases from some poems, which are particualraly relevant to our relationship.
Normally I’d pass such a book by as being ‘corny’, but my daughter’s added touches have made me read it through her eyes.
A terrific book for that special relationship.

Trade-paper edition ISBN 0-888396-764-2
Hardcover edition ISBN 0-88396-686-7