VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR OF
CHERYL ALLEWAYToday I'm excited to welcome an author from Canada, Cheryl Alleway, to my blog on her wonderful virtual Book Tour.
*First let's meet Cheryl and find a little about her background.
*Then I'll give you a brief on her latest book plus show you her fantastic cover..
* We'll have a chat with Cheryl and find out some of her secrets.
*Finally you can have a peek at Cheryl's book trailer.
Cheryl Alleway was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. She is a lover of the outdoors, which provides her with the inspiration to create her stories and bring her characters to life. Her desire is to bring some insight to her readers, to open them up so they feel the depth of her thoughts and in turn heals her within. Ms. Alleway's first love is medieval fiction, but beware: many different adventures lurk within her portfolio.
In the midst of war torn Scotland, a baby girl is born to Jacob Douglas and his young wife. The conflict between the English and the Scots breeds trials of loyalty that tarnish the landscape, while Jacob teaches his strong-willed child the skills she will need to face her uncertain future. Behind the veil of war, villains pillage their land, pilfer what is not theirs and do not fear retribution for their deeds. There is none strong enough to make a stand; no one, until Deb Douglas. Keeping her father close to her always, he radiates a courage that motivates her fight for freedom, for love, and for her land. Deb rallies those she meets to join her cause, which frees the secrets from her past that have been buried for many years. While destiny is all-knowing, Deb never backs down and faces it all with the courage of a man and the heart of a Scot!
INTERVIEW WITH A CHERYL
Are you a full time author or do you have another job as well and if so how do either of these fit in with writing time?
I write in the evenings and weekends and any other time I can find! It is my favourite part of the day, but I also work within the public school system here in Ontario. Currently, I am in the elementary system and work in one of the offices at one of our schools. It fits in fine because the time away from a story makes me long to get back to it. It’s like a good relationship. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! This is what helps me to stay fresh and excited when I grab the keyboard. There will be a day however, that I hope I am writing full time. At present, things are working for me as well, but I think as life changes, my writing schedule will change.
Do you write on your novel daily or do you try to have days off?
It depends on what is happening that day. I usually try to spend time writing every week. I find if I get away from an idea for too long, I may lose the adrenalin. I do take days to spend with family and take care of life in general, but my lap top is never very far from me. I often write things down from my dreams or from something that sparked an idea from the day. Living where I live, we have big open bodies of water, mountains and forests. I can’t help but be inspired by the world around me. There are many times where I am writing for hours without realizing it and then there are times where I must take care of other business. No matter what, each writer finds a balance. It is different for everyone.
What are your best tips of how to create a fighting scene?
I believe that fight scenes have to have movement. Because the reader cannot see it as on a movie screen, there must be description, content and exciting use of words. I close my eyes when I write them. I have studied martial arts and I use my own experience of adrenalin, contact, pain, physical power and fear to help me. I have sparred at tournaments and then watched others as they took on their opponents. This is a big part of where it comes from for me. I know what it feels like to face someone one on one, but for battle scenes where there are many involved, I like to have more than one scene going at a time. It is my impression of the confusion of an actual battle. They seemed to have been an ironic mix of organization, chaos and horrible visuals. Many victories and losses occurred all at once and then thepain of loss would set in. It was a cruel time and I try to mix my own tangible experience with my impression of what it would have been like. For anyone no matter what they draw from, I would say keep it moving and keep it real, but make sure there is emotion included. Real people feel when they fight, no matter who they are; whether it is pain, power, remorse, victory or devastation. Fight scenes are done over and over again. Try to make yours individual to you and what you want the reader to feel.
Do you feel the sadness if you have to write a sad scene?
Absolutely, I will be very honest when I say I cried many tears writing Of Blade and Valor. Even before I sent it for publishing, I cried as if I was seeing a child go off to school. When the character hurts, it is me hurting and putting it on the page. There is a lot of my own life within the pages that even I did not see until reading them back. It truly does become a part of you and emotion is a great fuel for any writer.
Did you write as a child or did you come into your talent as an adult?
Actually I think I was quite young when it all started. My father worked in local television when I was a baby. He was always a very creative person and even though he is retired, I believe I picked up on that. I later on became a graphic artist and have participated in local plays. My time is divided differently now, but I have written two small plays as fundraisers for local museums. They were both set in the 1800’s and we had a great cast of volunteers to bring them alive; great fun. As well, we have fine artists in our family (my grandfather in particular whom I never met) and so writing, art and acting have always been a part of my life. I started writing little poems and stories when I was quite young. There are many small bits, poems, songs and full length stories in my portfolio. I remember making up stories in my room to entertain myself. My toys were the characters and I had a ball entertaining myself. In high-school my friends and I wrote and illustrated cartoons to sell to our friends and so this has been a big part of my life. College came and my classmates were always amazing, eclectic people who inspired me to continue with the creative path. I took a turn from graphic arts and made my way more into writing. It is only as an adult that I found a need to bring the larger stories to life and finally put imagination to the page to bring Of Blade and Valor to life. I started it nine years ago and although I have others in production, Deb stood out and she captured my heart. Thus, my first published piece was born. Writing itself has been with me for as long as I can remember, but serious work has been in my life for about fifteen years now.
What is the time period setting of your latest book?
I have set the story in the 1300’s. It is one of my favourite periods in Scottish history. Its rawness and its tumultuous political story intrigue me. I have tried to create the story of Deb around actual events during this period. Much of it is my impression from personal study of the times. I love history in general. It fascinates me when I see what life has become and what it was like for our ancestors. The world is a grand and amazing place. How could we not be curious of the past as writers? It is the driving force for many of us as we try to recreate a time and place that could have been. We attempt to bring it to life for others to discover.
Do you prefer to write as a series or one off books?
Without giving too much away, I do have book two started to finish the story and answer more questions as to what happens with Deb’s life. I do have others though that are one offs as well. One in particular I have discussed with my publisher. I hope to keep the readers interested whatever I do, but they will be the ones who help me decide in the end. I do write what is within me, but if there are readers who desire more of one character, how could I disappoint? I shall await the signs that tell me what adventure to take everyone on next! I can say that there is plenty more where Of Blade and Valor came from! For now, I would like the readers to meet Deb and take the journey she has taken me on.
Do you like to use lots of subplots or do you think this just confuses?
Well, to tell you the truth, I do like subplots and flashbacks for that matter even though many do not. I believe it fills in many blanks for some readers, but it has to be done in a way that is not convoluted or that pulls the reader away from the actual story too much. That can be annoying. If done well, it can really add colour to the story that is going on in the present. It also helps to remind the reader that there is more to the character’s life than just that moment in time. To me, I think it gives their life and story more validity. Some may argue this with me, but I stand my ground on the idea that subplots including flashbacks can create a full picture. They just can’t be overdone or you do risk confusion.
Can you tell us a little about one of your sub plots in your latest book?
What is the relationship of the protagonist and the antagonist in your latest book? Being the protagonist in Of Blade and Valor, Deb is faced with many challenges, but the main antagonist at the beginning of her story is that of Gully MacDonell. It is truly good versus evil. He takes much from her including her dignity and her young husband. He is pure evil and her contempt for him grows as time goes on. Gully is an overbearing, spoiled, violent man but he ironically pushes Deb to find who she truly is. It is a true irony that I believe happens in our real lives constantly. The negative influence by the dark characters in our lives seems to eventually lose out to our survival instincts. We find our strengths through hardship they push us through and this is the intent with Deb’s character versus Gully’s. I needed to show that she was a survivor; someone who took on those who would attempt to bring her down. It is the bane of her character and thus Gully needed to be someone who was totally out of control; someone extreme to prove to us that she had what it would take to bring us through the rest of the story. Otherwise, she would not have been valid to the reader. She may have come across as a ‘superwoman’. I needed her to be real; to hurt; to fear, but then to conquer it to create someone whom the reader would believe could take on the rest of the challenges in the story. I suppose I was trying to have her earn her strength and courage so that the readers would trust her as a real person.
Do you find reviews useful?
In time, I will know I am sure, but for now, my intent with this first book is to share my adventure with the readers. Reviews can be given from any number on the scale and every writer faces them. I believe they will be useful, but they will not sway me from being the writer I am. True creativity must be subjective on some level; it is the quality of that creativity that will then be judged by some. I believe a book is like a fine piece of artwork. You finish it, you hang it or present it for the world to see and then you hope that others find enjoyment and inspiration from it. This is the dream of every artist whatever their artistic tool may be. To be an artist is to be judged. It is the nature of the process, but it is not pleasant to have someone disembowel your work. The creative process requires a part of you to be within it. Thus; artists of all kinds are faced with that vulnerability each time they present their work. Useful or not, I believe we all must be who we are and never allow others to sway us from our creative path. It is the very reason for being a writer or an artist; to show others who you are and what you have to offer. The rest comes as it does and we hope it is kind or at the very least, respectful.
Cheryl's Address: http://allewaybooks.com
Of Blade and Valor trailer www.youtube.com/embed/
ISBN: 978-1-304-12182-0 (Paperback)