Today, I’m delighted to have Roxanne Bland, author of “The Moreva of Astoreth” on my blog. Welcome, Roxanne!
Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.
Roxanne: I’m a fugitive from reality, and always have been. When I was a child, I could usually be found with my nose stuck in a book, or at the piano, playing my little heart out. As a teen, I went to a fine arts high school, and was totally immersed in music—piano, the school band, and a city-wide orchestra. Books and music have always been my “go to” when I want or need to escape everyday life. In truth, I find reality to be highly overrated.
Leigh: How did you come up with the idea for “The Moreva of Astoreth”?
Roxanne: A friend and I, while in college, came up with this story about a princess exiled from her homeland because she would not marry a man her father picked out for her. I won’t go into the details (much of which I don’t remember, anyway), but after much traveling and many adventures, she ends up at this village in the far north and later marries the chieftain. Her father comes looking for her, and she refuses to go back. Her father declares war, and she and the chieftain are killed in the fighting. I know, not a very happy ending.
Years later, I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles. Whatever anyone says about it, and whether you believe it or not, you have to admit it’s a fantastic tale. So, years after that, I got to thinking maybe I could meld the story my friend and I made up with Earth Chronicles. So that’s what I did.
Leigh: Which writers inspire you? What are you reading now?
Roxanne: Every writer I read, actually. They all have something to say, something I can take with me. I think the writers that inspire me the most, though, are Edgar Allan Poe and Tim Powers. I know Edgar Allan Poe writes in a 19th century style that is no longer fashionable, but every time I read him, I get so drawn into the stories and poems, even though I’ve read them a hundred times. As for Tim Powers, the disparate elements he is able to weave together into a story just makes my jaw drop. And he writes beautifully. I remember I had a hardback Tim Powers book stolen from my suitcase while traveling. It was the only one of six that had been taken. I was upset—I wanted to read it again—but I can only hope that whoever stole it was a Tim Powers fan.
What am I reading now? Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis, a fine writer, indeed. I highly recommend it.
Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?
Roxanne: I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since I learned to write. But it wasn’t until 2001 that I decided to become a writer. It was then that I discovered that I truly love to write. I don’t write because I “have” to; I write because I love creating worlds I can get lost in. I love creating characters who inevitably become my friends.
Leigh: Tell us about the book covers and who designed them?
Roxanne: Well, The Moreva of Astoreth is getting a makeover. In most places, it’s the version with the woman standing in a laboratory. Vyrdolak of Bysightunseen media designed it. But there was no conflict in the cover, nothing to tell the reader what it was about. That’s my fault, because Vyrdolak simply gave me what I wanted. Maybe I should stay out of the book cover design game! The new cover has the heroine and hero embracing, but she’s in her uniform and he’s in his normal garb. So there’s a conflict there—she’s military, and possibly violating military protocol. Which, if you’ve read the book, is exactly what she’s doing.
Leigh: Do you have a set time to write? What’s a typical writing day like for you?
Roxanne: I usually get up at about 2 or 3 in the morning, and write until it’s time for me to go to work. My day job is pretty demanding, so that’s the only time I can write. Of course, I write on the weekends, too.
Leigh: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their book? How much of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?
Roxanne: Do your homework. There are lots of free and inexpensive advertising sites, but you have to find them. Google, Bing, whatever, is your friend. The Fussy Librarian comes to mind. So does eSoda, an advertising site in the UK. Also in the UK is iAuthor. They’re out there. As for marketing and writing, I still have yet to learn how to balance my time. I’m either marketing, or I’m writing. Not good.
Leigh: What do you do to relax? What are your hobbies?
Roxanne: I really don’t have any hobbies, because I’m too busy writing. Yes, I enjoy writing that much. As for relaxing, I like to go for long drives along the back roads in my sports car. Of course, I don’t do that as much anymore, because traffic is terrible where I live, even on the back roads. And getting to the back roads further out is even worse—the only way to get there is from the main highways, and those are a nightmare.
Leigh: What movies and TV shows do you like?
Roxanne: I don’t watch much TV—haven’t owned one in almost 15 years. I’ve just never been interested, even in childhood. Of course, there were certain shows I never missed, like the original Dark Shadows. I like the older shows, such as Barney Miller and All in the Family. And I liked The X Files and Fringe. Not long ago, I was at a friend’s house watching Big Bang Theory. I enjoyed it, but not enough to run out and buy a television. It’s funny—I have a subscription to Netflix, have had one for years, because I wanted to become more familiar with pop culture. You know, so as not to have a blank face when someone starts talking about a TV show and such. I think I’ve watched it maybe five times, and that was when I first subscribed. These days, I understand Netflix has its own original shows, so maybe I’ll start watching it again.
I’m not much of a movie-goer, either, but I tend toward popcorn movies—the ones where you don’t have to think, just watch the explosions. So, of course I liked the Avengers movies (the ones I’ve seen, anyway). The only must-see movie I’ve been to in recent years was Dark Shadows.
Leigh: Who could you see playing Tehi and Teger in a movie version of “The Moreva of Astoreth”?
Roxanne: As for Teger, definitely Chris Hemsworth. The first time I saw him, I was startled by the close likeness. I’m not sure about Tehi, mainly because I’m not up with the actors of today, but maybe Scarlett Johansson.
Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/roxannebland
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/589767 (The Moreva of Astoreth)
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/721781 (The Underground: Second Edition)
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!
Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries. Agatha Christie and P.D. James were my favorites. Then I discovered horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and authors like them–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy, like Lord of the Rings.
From childhood on, I was making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would tell me I was wasting my time, that I should be concentrating on my musical studies, and later, my college studies. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school. That was my first clue, but it sailed right over my head.
So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.
Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I loved writing it, and it was then that I discovered my true avocation (maybe one day, my vocation). Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.