I’m proud to present this interview with debut author, S.V. Farnsworth. She’s a local author who is active in our writing community. Her Epic Fantasy, Woman of the Stone, is now available from Always Buying Books and many fine online retailers.
Q. What made you decide to write about the subject or theme of your book?
A. I needed to sort out some of the illogical decisions generations before me made and why those loving women could have such a hair trigger at times. It’s not my place to tell their stories. That’s why I invented a fantasy world that I felt safe enough to explore the issues and find the impossible. I was searching for a happy ending.
Q. Why did you choose to write in the fantasy genre?
A. I started writing “Woman of the Stone” after a camping trip. My family traveled to Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Escalante Staircase in Utah the summer after 4th grade. If you subscribe to my Author Newsletter then you can read an essay about it. You may subscribe at svfarnsworthauthor.com.
Q. I know you write in more than one genre. How do you keep balance between them?
A. I write similar themed, though distinctly diverse novels with an appeal to readers who connect with #MeToo concerns and admire strong female characters. I write Epic Fantasy, Contemporary Sweet Romance, and Science Fiction. I’ve written “Woman of the Stone” and revised, edited, and researched it until I can be pleased to put my name on it. In addition to that, I’ve written 5 other books in various stages of revising and editing, including the sequel, “Monarch in the Flames”.
Q. To what or whom do your attribute your love of reading and writing stories?
My mother read to me. I give her all the credit.
Q. When did you start writing?
A. Since before I can remember, really. I’ve been telling my own stories since I could speak, drawing stories from the 1st time I picked up a crayon, and writing them ever since I learned how to string A, B, C’s together.
Q. What kinds of writing do you enjoy?
A. I wrote a lot of essays in my University days and never stopped. Only now, I write whatever moves me. I didn’t think it was more than a personal exercise until I took a Creative Nonfiction class in 2017 at Missouri Southern State University from Dr. Brad Modlin and learned that it was a thing. I write in genres I enjoy reading. I love reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I occasionally throw in a Sweet Romance for fun!
Q. What cultural impact do you see in storytelling?
A. Edward Bulwer-Lytton said it best, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” I’m always up for a book with a really great sword, like “The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley and Sting from “The Hobbit” and now I get to write a unique twist on swords in the Modutan Empire Series. Don’t spoil the surprise, Ms. Maven, I know you’ve read it!
Q. Does your book reflect your own spirituality or life path?
A. I write characters with a code of behavior. None of their codes are without flaws and neither do all of them stick to their ideals perfectly. Every character has a story to tell, including the rich secondary characters.
Q. Did you meet any interesting people while researching this book?
A. Research is a lonely, bereft process. However, I’m old school and love the library. I even scribble my prep work for www.NaNoWriMo.org in the library, whenever I can find a sunny corner.
Q. What are some of your best references used in researching this book?
A. I’m a little ashamed to say that I printed whole sections about Redheads and Castles from Wikipedia which is not a fully vetted encyclopedia, by the way. I still use it when in a bind, though!
Q. What word most characterizes your writing?
A. Sincere. You can trust me to tell you my truth.
Q. What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
A. Where do I start? I’ve been revising this version of “Woman of the Stone” for 10 years! It’s our passions that make people put in the work it requires to earn the worthy skills of a great writer. I hope I get closer with every word I write!
Q. What did you enjoy most about your writing process in creating this book?
A. Rereading it repeatedly during the editing process. So many times, I just stopped in awe. I’m not trying to be an idiot, I knew I’d written it, but I never get tired of the message and the triumph of small moments.
Q. Are there words or concepts in Woman of the Stone that may be new to some of your readers?
A. Short answer, yes. Get out your big, fat dictionaries off the shelf and learn a word or two. I promise, it’s worth it!
Q. Do you feature underrepresented groups or ideas in your book?
A. I could talk about this all day, but I have to tell you that every culture in the Modutan Empire is completely invented by me. Still, it’s relatable, understandable, and enjoyable to pull strings in the tapestry of society. What can I say, I’m a Star Trek fan!
Q. What is the most significant thing that people think they know about your genre that they won’t find in your book?
A. There are no sorcerers or mages and it’s still Epic Fantasy. I do miss having a dragon, though.
Q. What do people need to know about your genre that they probably don’t?
A. Readers need to know that we read to learn. Seriously, story is the way we interpret our own lives through exploring new worlds from the safety of an armchair or laying in the sun swept grass under a vast, blue sky.
Q. What inspires you?
A. That’s easy, nature’s inspiring beauty. All my book ideas start when I discover an unforgettable setting. I love to travel!
Q. How did you get to where you are in life today?
A. Give me a few years and I’ll tell you! I have 25,000 words toward a memoir. I’m sure only my 5 children will read it.
Q. Who are some of your favorite authors and what influence have they had on your work?
A. I’m convinced that the books you read as a child are the ones that form you in so many ways. Perhaps, my list would sound foolish to an adult but I assure you that I continue to read new authors and none of them are treasured as much as the books I grew up reading over and over and the librarian smiled every time I did.
Q. What writing advice did you find most useful when you were honing your craft? What was least useful advice you received?
A. I learned the hard way that no advice is absolute. One example is “Show don’t Tell”, it’s not a 100% thing. Often, you must skillfully tell parts of the story, especially the transitions. However, you must master the rules before you can artfully break them.
Q. Do you write full-time or part-time? How does your schedule affect your writing?
A. I have a large family. I work part-time as an ESL Instructor at Crowder College. I write part-time. The difficulty with that is the break in momentum and even worse, focus. Some good advice I’ve received is to reread a bit of what you wrote the day before and at least jot in some notes/ideas/or feelings about where you think the characters will take you tomorrow. Five minutes is enough. Just stay in the story until it’s done. Do that every day but Sunday. You need a set time to think about someone else and do something for someone other than your own family and friends. Serve. It’s a powerful way to experience new things, people, and places. Get uncomfortable. It’s a jetpack to adventure.
Q. What are some day jobs that you have held? How have your past experiences impacted your writing?
A. I worked as a mechanic’s assistant, at RadioShack, in a parts lab, in many libraries, in movie theaters, at Food 4 Less, I’ve conducted thousands of market research surveys, including the one that helped the powers that be name a Star Trek series, Enterprise. I’ve delivered flowers. That’s a fun job. People are always delighted to receive a stunning floral arrangement. Well, the list goes on. It even includes the Mc… that shall not be named. I like hard work and have come to realize that the health and strength to be a diligent employee and independent author are a gift.
Q. How do you feel about e-books vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
A. “I want is my two dollars.” That’s a quote from Better Off Dead, a movie that dates me, but the line has stuck with me. I price my books, paperback or e-book, so that I make $2. Its enough for me and well deserved, I assure you.
About the Author
S.V. Farnsworth is a linguist librarian who has spent time in Asia. Issues with grit give her multicultural novels the traction to move you.
Her debut novel “Woman of the Stone”, book 1 in the Modutan Empire Series is available for purchase in paperback and e-book everywhere including public libraries as of October 10th, 2019.
She is writing book two in the Modutan Empire Series, “Monarch in the Flames”. It’s an epic fantasy with an appeal to readers who connect with #MeToo concerns and admire strong female characters.
She graduated with a B.S. from SUU in 2002. She currently works at Crowder College as an ESL Instructor. You will frequently find her at workshops on writing and book signings in SE Missouri.
She has been elected as the 2020 Secretary of the Board for the Ozarks Writers League. She is serving a second year as President of the Board for the Joplin Writers’ Guild, successfully coordinated the July 2019 conference, and is editing the guild’s 2019 anthology.
Subscribe to her newsletter for exclusive content and updates on her books at svfarnsworthauthor.com.
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