When a book is released, we hear all about the story, so with Pen2Publish, we’d like to find out more about the process, and the people who helped it along the way.
Why are we featuring this book?
Because Rick is a great guy and I thought it would be beneficial to learn about one of his books.
Hi Rick, welcome to Norns Triad Publications, please tell me the name of your book and a little about the story.
Hi Karen! The book I wanted to talk about is called ULAN (U-lan). The story is actually a prequel to my PATCH MAN series and focuses on the backstory of one of the characters from that series—Ulan, the assassin. As a teenager, Ulan signs up with the underground in order to train to fight in the next war with Imperiana, but it is dominated by a group of young boys belonging to Clan Hemite, a very conservative Summian clan. When the boys chase Ulan outside of the compound, they are met by Imperial Panthers who murder everyone, but Ulan. Shamed that she could do nothing but watch this tragedy, she returns with the boys’ ID tags only to discover Clan Hemite blames her for their deaths and she is now targeted in a blood reckoning. With the help of Bas, a former underground fighter, she flees the village and travels to Sum-Est, the home of the Lore Master, Ja, where she trains to become a Lore Mistress.
Roughly, how long did it take to write, and what was the process after the first draft?
The character of Ulan always intrigued me, but I wanted to know more about her—her background and the reason she became an assassin, so I took some time away from the original PATCH MAN series and delved into her character. The story itself took less than six months to write largely because I needed to edit my other books before they were published. My writing style is simple: I write a few chapters, then go back and edit. I do that continuously for maybe a quarter of the book then I go back and edit all of the chapters again. Once I finish the book, I reread and re-edit the entire story. Then it is sent to my publisher who has an editor look at the piece. She edits and sends me her suggestions. I edit and send her the corrections. When she finishes the entire book, she sends it to me one last time for a final reading to catch any other mistakes. The process for editing probably takes as much time as writing the initial story.
Did you have to do any research? Tell us a little about that.
Because this is a science fiction/fantasy novel, I didn’t have to do any research. However, the mind-body connection that the Lore Mistresses achieve is from my brain research I did for my classes at Mount San Antonio College.
Who are your main characters? Tell us about them.
Ulan, of course, is the main character. She is stubborn but strong. She is a survivor who discovers she has an amazing power—the ability to see something done and duplicate it.
Bas, the man who rescues Ulan, is himself a conflicted character. He attempts to atone for past deeds by making it his personal mission to watch over Ulan and see that no harm becomes her.
Ja is the Lore Master and mystical teacher of Lore training.
Tara, a Lore novice, is first the adversary, then the ally, then the love of Ulan.
Once your story is complete, did you send it to an editor? If so, tell me about them and how they enhanced your story.
I think I explained my editing process in the above question, but let me explain a little more about how my editor and I worked as a team. Once my book is ready next in line for publication, my editor will read a few chapters and indicate any recommendations on the side. What she is largely looking for are errors in POV or plot structure and inconsistencies in character. There will always be typos or misspellings, but those are minor compared to the larger issues. Since my editor and I have worked together for a number of novels, we know what to expect and how to speed things along. After she has done a few beginning chapters, she tells me she will just finish editing the remainder of the book. After my corrections, she does a final reading and sends me anything we might have missed along with the edited version. I read it one more time and then she sends it to the copy editor for anything the two of us might have missed. I would say that whole process might take as long as three or four weeks to complete.
Now tell me about the formatting, who does that? And how did you decide on your book cover?
I believe either my editor or my publisher does the formatting. Crimson Cloak Publishing is a small press, so the number of workers is limited. My covers, once done by an employee of CCP, are now done by Carly, my publisher.
How long did it take from conception until the publication of Ulan?
That’s a little difficult to judge because when I finished writing ULAN, I still had two other books in the PATCH MAN series in line to be published. Then, of course, ULAN had to go into the queue of other books being published by CCP. If there were no other books in the publication process, the time from conception to publication probably would have been a little less than a year, but, of course, that never occurs.
Why do you think readers will like this book?
I like to think I create interesting characters continually being challenged by the worlds they live in. In the case of Ulan, she is a strong character who is faced with life-and-death decisions, and the decisions she makes change who she becomes. I also believe I have created a future world unlike any that has been created before, so the reader will always be surprised by the elements of this new environment.
Thank you for allowing us to learn more about Ulan, and about you. Lastly, please tell us about your hometown or city. Apart from being famous for having such a talented author living there, 🙂 what else is it famous for?
I live in Ramona, California, a city in North San Diego County. It is a city of agriculture, horses, and artists that is comprised of as many churches as it has bars.
A young Summian woman witnesses the murder of five Clan Hemite boys by Imperial Panthers. Shamed that she could do nothing but watch this tragedy, she returns the boys’ ID tags only to discover Clan Hemite blames her for their deaths and she is now targeted in a blood reckoning. With the help of Bas, a former underground fighter, she flees her village.
Bas travels with Ulan to Sum-Est, home of the Lore Master, Ja, in hopes the young woman will benefit from the mystical training to become a Lore Mistress. But the Red Ward from Clan Hemite has vowed to fulfill the blood reckoning and follows Ulan’s trail to Sum-Est. Ulan undertakes the rigorous Lore training so she will be strong enough when she again meets the Imperial Panthers, but becomes sidetracked by the beautiful novice, Tara.
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