Friday, February 15, 2013

World Traveler Elizabeth Baxter talks fantasy novels

The Last Priestess - One among the many novels recently published by the increasingly prolific "Small Blonde Hippy" Elizabeth Baxter

What places have you visited as you pursue your professed passion for world travel?
Traveling is one of those things that makes me feel truly alive. There's something magical about seeing a new place, new culture, new people for the first time. I love the feeling of not knowing where you'll be sleeping tomorrow and wondering what new experiences lie beyond the bend in the road. I've been to lots of places: most of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Nepal, but my favourite place has to be East Africa. I traveled up through a number of countries, and whilst I saw some appalling poverty, I met some wonderfully warm people and saw landscapes and animals that took my breath away. The trouble with travelling is that its like a bug - once you're bitten it just gets worse. The more I see the more I want to see. Borneo and Madagascar are next on my list.

Your blog says you like cricket. Could you explain it for your American audience? Wait a minute. Don't bother. All the eyes in North America just glazed over.
Lol! Quite a lot of British eyes would glaze over too! Cricket is an acquired taste. You have to have quite a lot of patience - especially as games last five days! England play Australia in the ashes in the summer (a very old rivalry that can get quite heated). Can't wait!

Explain your online identity "Small Blonde Hippy".
This stems from my days as a student. Back when email first started becoming popular I wanted to set myself up with an account but couldn't think of a username. Well, I'm quite short, blonde, and have always been into environmentalism, animal rights, that sort of thing. So one of my friends said, "Why don't you use Small Blonde Hippy?" and it's stuck ever since. However, a username that seems quite cool when you're a student suddenly becomes a little embarrassing when you have to tell it to your bank manager or accountant!

It looks like you just started publishing your fiction in 2012. How has your inaugural year as a published writer been going?
It's been lots of fun but very hard work! There has been so much to learn. I feel I'm a better writer now than I was then but the learning never stops. This is my first blog tour so I'm learning something right now! I hope to have lots more publications out in 2013 and hope this will be a great year!

Your Wrath of the Northmen series has a first book and a prequel out. When do you expect to complete the rest of the planned trilogy?
Book 2 of The Wrath of the Northmen should be out in Summer 2013 and book 3 in Autum 2013. However, right now I'm concentrating on my new series, The Songmaker. Book 1, The Last Priestess, is out now and the second book, The King's Mage, should (hopefully) be out in April 2013.

Wrath of the Northmen mixes science and magic. Give an example of challenge faced by your hero Bramwell as he juggles these incompatible forces.
Thanderly, the land Bram lives in is a land divided. Whilst his own city is one of science and reason, other areas are deeply religious and see Bram's kind as heathens. There is a lot of tension bubbling beneath the surface. However, when a terrible winter envelops the land the followers of science and the followers of ritual have to work together. Bram finds himself in the centre of this struggle. Whilst he's a man of science by training and upbringing, he soon finds that by birth, he is much more than that.

What do you find most satisfying about reaching readers with your fiction?
Telling a good story. When I read a review or get a comment from a reader saying they enjoyed the story, that's satisfying. Knowing that they enjoyed visiting the land I created and following the lives of my characters if what writing is all about.

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