Tuesday, 28 June 2016

For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations. 

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.

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About the Book

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn't live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn't mean safety. 

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn't matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom. 

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary's exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected. 

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that place Cayra?

Get it today on Less Than Three Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, iTunes, and BookStrand!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Between my imagination and the deep need to create, I think the stories decided it for me! Or my subconscious did. One of these things. It's a case of being compelled to do it and just making it happen. 

Though on the more conscious level, I was a kid when the actual decision came around (the exact age is still a bit foggy). I remember writing my first real story when I was 6 and feeling proud of it. After that, writing stories felt like a natural thing to do, no different than reading, which I did with such voracity, you'd think I needed it like air. After a couple years, I was bitten by the "but I want to be published!" bug and that was it. My fate was sealed. It took a few years in university for me to realize that if I don't write, there's something missing in life. Kind of a "write or your soul dies" situation. (The muses are *so* dramatic.)

What genres do you write?

Romance of the speculative fiction variety, mostly fantasy and science fiction. While I anticipate paranormal romance and contemporary to show up in the future, fantasy romance will always be my favourite.

What inspires you to write?

Short answer: anything and everything! 

Long answer: There are a few repeat culprits that hit me with the inspiration stick. Music is at the top of the list, followed closely by behaviour and psychology, with a strong chaser of random thoughts. I've had a thing for behaviour all my life, whether it be human or non-human animals, and psychology fascinates me -- I love getting at why people do what they do, how far they'll go, and what it does to them. In a way, writing allows me to process a lot of what I see out in the world. 

But I'm inspired by so many things, it's hard to keep track. Sometimes it's in something someone said or an experience they had. Sometimes I'm watching or listening to something and I'm hit with emotions, ideas, and visuals. Other times, characters show up in my thoughts and I just *have* to get their story down. Or there's an object that's caught my attention and made me think. In the end, anything or anyone is fair game.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I was 12, working on my first "novel" (it was a novella, really, that came off as a darker version of Nancy Drew). I felt like a legit author, working hard on it in my free time, taking it incredibly seriously. It wasn't for school, it wasn't for marks. It was a special project I wanted to put out into the world. One of my classmates even drew a cover for it -- I was just *that* serious. Though the real measure of considering myself an author came around when I sent the work to publishers when I was 14. Considering I got rejections in return, it felt pretty official!

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Currently, my goals are to build a catalog, build my brand, and build an audience (so terribly corporate sounding, I know). I started writing under this name in 2013, so things are still new, still in the throes of literary childhood. I'm working on building all of these things and trying to find a comfy place in the literary world where I can sit back with readers and kick out stories people enjoy reading. I aspire to achieve some of the things my colleagues have, which I count as measures of success. 

In five years, I'm not sure where I'll be, but I'm on a good trajectory for having more books available and giving readers new worlds to enjoy. I suspect I'll be in a position similar to now, just juggling more projects, doing more promotion, and probably tearing my hair out about 5x more.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

Oh, is there ever a lot of support! Boatloads worth. We're talking Titantic proportions. I've been incredibly blessed with a family that's encouraged me since I first started writing. My parents were always understanding, always there to support. My mom was my first cheerleader and helped me send my first novella to publishers, while my dad was my first editor, red pen and all. Writing is actually a "thing" on my dad's side of the family: it's come down to me from my grandmother and my father. My partner is equally supportive, giving me the soundboard I need.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

That I inspired another author with something I've written. That's always a warm fuzzy, right up there with a reader who absolutely loves a book I've written, they want everyone to read it.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

I've been there a couple times, and I treated it like other critiques: I stewed over it for a few days at home, in silence with the occasional venting session with my partner, then I moved on. With critiques, if there's something that can be fixed or should be fixed, I fix it. If it's a matter of opinion or something that can't be changed, I let it go and things fall where they may. I don't bother with confrontation -- that takes too much energy I'd rather use elsewhere.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

"Master of Murder" by Christopher Pike -- I've read that so much, the jacket's come off. The League series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, because I love assassins in science fiction/fantasy literature. I'm also in love with the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

What is your writing process?

Since I love lists, here's a glimpse of my general process (subject to change based on what I'm writing and how long it is!): 

Step 1. Initial idea and that aha! moment. I spend a lot of time scribbling down notes and random thoughts about characters and plot, most of them illegible on Post-its and lined paper or chaotically assembled with wacky messages to self in a Notepad file. Usually this stuff comes up in the middle of the night, in the shower where I obsess over stories, and at any moment that's terribly inconvenient to have a creative thought. 

Step 2. I take all those notes and make some sense of them in an outline file, nice and neat, maybe even with character photos or other files to keep everything sorted. (Often there's an outline, but not always.) 

Step 3. I write at night and sometimes during the day when the spouse is at work or asleep and pound out whatever words come up. I'm always equipped with a fully-loaded mp3 player, with songs for every occasion and emotion since I can't write in silence. During this step, I often follow the outline for scene progression and some details, but there are a more things that come out organically. Sometimes I don't know what a character looks or sounds like until I'm in that writing phase. A lot of times, I'm surprised by what ends up on the page: secrets the characters are keeping, experiences they've had, details about them that only come out when I'm telling the story in the first draft. It's one of my favourite parts of the process -- that moment of "huh, really? Didn't see that coming!", especially when it pulls together other things I hadn't realized. (It's enough to convince me my subconscious is the doing all the storytelling.) 

Step 4. Once the first draft is done, I take a literary chainsaw to the whole thing. My editing process is bonkers and so A-type personality, it could make other writers weep. Sometimes I let the manuscript sit for a little while; other times I hack at it right away. I have a folder with all of the things I have to look for, and I concentrate on each editing item at a time, going through the whole manuscript 50+ times. Yep. I might be *a little* on this side of crazy.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

Neither, both, and other. It's a restrictive classification that I don’t fit so easily, especially since I shift. Sometimes I'm an pantser within an outliner's playground, but other times I'm one or the other or completely outside of them. My process changes depending on the length and complexity of the work. When I write poetry and short stories, they're often free-form with little to no planning, but when I write novellas, novels, and less complicated series, though, I slip into a mix of pantser and outliner. Except when it’s an overly complicated series, then I’m a straight-up outliner in order to keep everything together.

What are you working on now?

Soulbound, book #4 in my fantasy romance series, The Republic. I just started cleaning up the outline, though I practically have the scenes written in my head. The book features a couple of characters that I love and wrote about in book 2... and when I say "love", I meant they've basically held my imagination for ransom and demanded I write more of their story.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Wrapping my head around the full concept in the very beginning. The way For the Clan turned out was not the way I originally envisioned it. Originally, the story was going to have more of a historical feel, among other things. The ideas weren't really flowing that well, though. When I hit on a new idea and the book turned into a science fiction/dystopian-fantasy mix, that's when the ideas flew off the page.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Keep doing it. Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Then send it to a publisher. Always strive to learn more, write even better than the last time to the best of your ability, and keep putting yourself out there. And if you come up against rejection, move on and keep going for what you want.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

From the deepest, squishiest corners of my heart, thank you for reading! And thank you to those who let me know how much you enjoy the stories. You make writing worth it. <3

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