Friday, August 12, 2011

Introducing the UNHEWN STONE author... Wendy Laharnar

Wendy welcome to my blog. Great to have another Australian author as a guest. 
Not only are you a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author, you are the creator of Calamity’s Corner, a monthly ezine that has a particularly Aussie flavour.  
Thanks for being here today as our guest Wendy.
The Unhewn Stone is  released TODAY!!  Would you please whet our curiosity before we begin?
Hi Rosalie, thank you for having me on your stunning blog. It’s one of the most spectacular blogs on the Internet. I’m honoured to be here. 

About my Stefan’s story—it’s 93,000 words long.  So, where to begin? Stefan has a complex because of facial scars and a lame leg from birth. He wants to look perfect so he can win the popular Ursula, who has eyes only for herself.  He’d be better off taking notice of young Heidi who only has eyes for him.

He has another problem too. On his eighteenth birthday, he comes across a vagrant disintegrating in the snow. With his charred hand, the man offers Stefan half of a golden orb, which happens to be part of a key that keeps open a wormhole back to 1307AD. He begs Stefan to ‘Tell them I came.’ In an ancient manuscript, his grandfather gives him, Stefan discovers that this man was an alchemist who used the orb to transport him to our world. He was also the brother of the tyrant, Gessler, who made William Tell shoot an arrow through the apple on his son’s head, thus beginning the Tell legend which has haunted Stefan’s family down through the centuries because they bear the unpopular Gessler name.

So, Stefan’s grandfather, a magician, asks Stefan to use the orb and go back in time to change the course of history and prevent the legend from happening. If he does, he will restore the family honour and as a reward, his grandfather promises, he will lose his complex.  Oh yes, and Stefan has another problem. Me! Oh dear, how I make that poor boy suffer. Out of love . . . of course. Hehehe.

Thanks Wendy. I will add here, that Stefan’s adventures are compelling, your characters and writing kept me turning pages. I won’t ask where you get your magic pen from. That’s a secret you should keep. But don’t stop writing!! Or I will ask! The age old legend revamped with finesse makes for great reading.
That’s lovely of you to say, Rosalie. Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed Stefan’s story. I’ve come to care for Stefan, too. If I was writing his story today, I think I would have been a lot kinder to him, but I’m glad I wasn’t :). He made me suffer!

So Wendy, about yourself, other than ‘author’ what are three words you would use to describe ‘you’?
Haha! Should I sugarcoat this or be overtly humble? As a writer, Truth doesn’t come easily. In fact, sometimes I’m not really sure what ‘truth’ is.  So, three words.  Loving, Caring, Giving. Yeah, I wish. Haha. Umm . . . Curious, Worrywart, Friendly.

Do they influence you as a writer? Or the genre you write?
Oh! I wasn’t expecting that. Can I change my answer? :) Curiosity certainly influences me as a writer.  I love all aspects of research. The thing is: when I was writing The Unhewn Stone, over four years, I was trying to figure out what I actually believe in; if I had a philosophy at all. Stefan’s experiences in the medieval world with the monks, alchemy and magic opened my eyes. Now my beliefs are the same as his.

What is it about your chosen genre that fires up your muse?
That’s easy. Escapism! But then fiction of all genres allows that. My muse loves to escape back into history or into fairytales with real people who are shape shifters and tricksters.  She loves the tricksters. Problem is, she’s better at being one and not that good at conjuring them. She often leads me up the wrong path and has me bogged down for a long time. Often, I have to boot her out of the way and get on with my story, alone. 

Your first book is about to be released. Congratulations. It has been a long wait. Now you are about to be published, please tell us what inspired your story?
Thank you. A teacher, where I worked, asked me to give a talk on writing short stories to her junior high English class. Since she taught History, too, I thought I’d use a medieval setting for a short story which I planned to write specifically for her class. So, to entertain myself in the process, I chose the Wilhelm Tell Legend because I wanted to learn more about it and that would require some research. The short story and the talk didn’t happen, but the germ of the novel was born. However it stalled for five years until I was able to visit Switzerland and figure out exactly what it was I was trying to say.

Do you have a regime when writing? A special place, time, mood or do you snatch opportunities to pen ideas or write a few lines?
No regime, I’m sorry to say. First drafts are very difficult for me to get down. I sweat blood over the characters and conflicts. There is very little joy in my study and lengthy absences from my desk.  BUT, the story and my attitude change dramatically in the second draft. That’s when my characters seem to come alive for me. Then, when that magical thing happens and I’m ‘on a roll’ I write anywhere and everywhere, as passenger in the car, as an email if I’m on an outside computer, on note pads kept in different rooms and always with a smile because of the wicked things or amazing connections that just happen when you tap into the collective consciousness. Okay, when the muse is active and playful.  The third draft is the serious business of writing. I write at my desk, which is big and cluttered.

Does your Muse follow rules and plot lines or does she offer ideas on a whim?
My muse and I clash. I follow rules and plotlines. She offers ideas on a whim. I love her for that, but I wish she’d do it more often. For the most part she tends to criticize my characters and situations. That’s when I shut her out. There is nothing worse than a muse who assumes the role of internal editor, especially in the first draft.

What are the most dramatic changes you have made to a story you have written? What prompted the change?
Burglen in winter, showing the snow clad mountains.
The most dramatic change I made was in The Unhewn Stone. In the beginning, I created Stefan as a farmer’s son who loved the land, because I knew about farming. But he fell foul of those fallow fields and the novel stalled. When we took our granddaughter to Switzerland with us, on my research trip, I discovered that tourism rather than farming was more obvious in the foothills of the William Tell birthplace so one of the hotel or guest house was a more likely home for Stefan. Also, my granddaughter felt intimidated by the high snow clad mountains. She worried about an avalanche and wanted to get away. I realized young Stefan, the innkeeper’s son, would feel trapped here and would want to escape the pressure of life, symbolized by the solid ring of sharp peaked mountains. He might want to travel like the tourists who stayed at his inn.
In this case it was Sara, and not my muse, who put me on the right path and the story began again.

Has there been one event in your life that changed/inspired your writing career? For example, meeting an author, finding a publisher, joining a critique group?
Mirella Patzer owner of the Historical Writer’s critique group pushed me to complete The Unhewn Stone when I had five chapters to go. She had become an editor with a now defunct publisher and wanted me to submit my manuscript. I’m forever grateful to her for believing in my story more than I did, at the time.

Having given us a hint about Stefan’s adventure, would you like to tell us more about the main character of your book and/or the villain? Would you please share an excerpt? Either or both… we are keen to learn more about this fascinating story.
Stefan can be exasperating at times, especially when he thinks his modern day knowledge is enough to help him survive in the Middle Ages. Almost everything he does meets with disapproval or worse. It isn’t long before he comes to rely on his ‘distant cousin/ Vetter’ Rolf for help and companionship in this very dangerous age. When Stefan is on his own, well . . . I shudder at the memories.

There are two villains, an evil knight and the shape shifting sibyl. Stefan is drawn to the sibyl because she has Ursula’s face, but he is repelled by her too, especially when she morphs into the old crone and the bat.

Museitup Publishing is releasing The Unhewn Stone as an ebook TODAY… Where can we get the ebook?
The Unhewn Stone will be available from the MuseItUp Bookstore, on Amazon and probably at the Australian on-line bookstores Fishpond and Booktopia.

Do you have any idea yet, when it will be in print? Will it be available here in Australia?
I understand the print book will be available in a few months, but I don’t have a date for that yet. It should be available in Australian bookstores, but this is still a dream for the future.

Wendy, how can we follow your career?
I have an author page at MuseItUp Publishing Wendy Laharnar
How can we sign up for Calamity’s Corner?
There is a contact form Calamity's Corner e-zine   on my website.         
Calamity’s Corner is for everyone: writers, readers, movie buffs, travellers, pet owners etc., and anyone is welcome to contribute.

Wendy, it’s been great having you drop by. Thanks again and congratulations on the release of The Unhewn Stone.
Thank you for the pleasure of spending time with you and your readers, Rosalie. Oh boy, all that talk has stirred up my muse.  Now she’s pushing me to open our fantasy wip, but I already opened my urban mystery. :)

Please come back soon!
Leave a comment and have a chance to win a copy of The Unhewn Stone. Winner will be chosen on 20th August. 
Best leave an email address or check back on the 20th. :)

Now here's the book trailer...


LJ Roberts said...

Wendy, "Unhewn Stone" sound wonderful and the trailer captivated me completely. I should love to read it. Good for you, dear friend. I'm proud of you.


gail roughton branan said...

Great interview, great book, great trailer. Can't do better than that. Happy release day, Wendy

Emily Pikkasso said...

Wonderful interview ladies. Wendy, anyone who reads this should be inspired to rush right out and get a copy of The Unhewn Stone. The trailer is perfect


Wendy said...

Rosalie, you are so kind to have me on your lovely blog. It feels as if you have provided the party venue where I can mingle with true and trusted friends and family.
I really enjoy chatting about 'me'! hehehe

LJ Thank you for visiting and leaving such warm encouragement. I really appreciate your support. It's special to count you among my friends. :)

Hey Gail, my Muse sister, thanks for your good wishes. It is a happy day. Feels like all my Birthdays and Christmases have come at once, thanks to Lea and Muse; my son Mark who created my book trailer and to the guests who come and join in the party.

Laurel said...

wonderful interview, Rosalie and wendy. Really enjoyed the trailer. Looking forward to reading the Kindle edition. best of luck with the book and all your future books. Laurel

Wendy said...

Hi Nancy, one of my lovely editors. Come in. There's cheesecake here, not hidden like at Muse. And lamingtons. Try one, they are typically Aussie delights. Thanks for your comment. I hope you are right. hehehe. Tea, coffee or something stronger?

Wendy said...

Oh Laurel,
There you are! All the way from WA. Take a seat over here, by me. Thank you for your continual support. I don't know what I'd do with out you. Yes, Rosalie did a great job with her questions. She must interview you about your successful books, especially your regency Substitute Bride. You don't drink tea do you? Then here iced water with lemon. :)

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Congratulations on your book, Wendy.
I can't wait to read it! I've heard so much about it. I know it'll be great!

Tricia McGill said...

Congratulations on the release of your book, Wendy. Great interview and trailer. I love time-travels and yours sounds very different and intriguing. Wishing you many sales.

Tricia McGill said...

Wendy, forgot to mention in my last comment. I just went out and bought a new Ereader. At last they are becoming easier to buy here in OZ. Unhewn Stone will be one of the first new books loaded onto it once it is charged.

Diana DeCameron said...

What a wonderful interview and trailer. Kudos to you, Wendy!

Wendy said...

Hi Anne. Hugs. Let me take your coat. There's a fire burning over here. Red or white or coffee? Thanks for the congrats. Yes it sure has been a long time coming. :) but we'll put that behind us now. Having found a genuine publisher in Lea we all have much to celebrate. Cucumber sandwich?

Wendy said...

Hi Tricia,
What can I get you. Chocolate cream sponge? - better not the choc cream is laced with Baileys.:)Have a glass of red.
I like your wishes. Many sales. That would be great. Thanks. Let me have a look at that ereader. Hmm. seems a bit complicated to me. Will be interested to see how it works when it's charged. I'm so glad you could come. How is your hip in this cold weather?

Wendy said...

It's lovely to have my Muse sisters here from Oz and now Diana from Pennsylvania. Thank you for coming Diana. Want some of Lea's cheescake? She doesn't know I took it. Thanks for your good wishes. You all have me singing and I have had only one glass of red.

Rosalie you sure have put on a wonderful party and your venue is so beautiful it's a pleasure to stay around. Thank you.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Congratulations, Wendy. I'd like to thank you for having faith in us as a new publishing house, and wish you nothing but success. The Unhewn Stone is truly a remarkable young adult read.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi everyone, glad you have found the wine and lamingtions. I have had to do the dr's visit with Mum. So, what have I missed? I am opening some cider if anyone would like some.
Ahh.. and there are hot muffins coming out of the oven.
Not the day for a diet.
Congratulations Wendy!!

Wendy said...

Excuse me, 'cuse me, make way for the publisher! Welcome Lea,so glad you came. Would you like some cheese c -- ah oh oops. (I hope she hasn't noticed I pinched some of hers from the Muse kitchen).
Here have some Aussie pavlova. Tons of cream and strawberries. Of course I had faith in you!! But you had faith in my book, that is such a blessing, and you made it happen. I have the isbn I always wanted. Here a glass of oozo, is that your preference? :) What a happy day this is.

Wendy said...

I'll have a muffin, thanks Rosalie. Just smell the hot baked cake. Yum. My mouth is watering. Maybe you should take one to your Mum. I hope she's feeling a bit better.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

It's spelled 'ouzo' but I'll have it anyway you want to spell it. LOL

Enjoy your launch party, and go ahead, eat my cheesecake. A few pounds off my waistline and unto yours isn't a bad idea. hehe

Rosalie Skinner said...

LOL.. right.. cheesecake it is.. :) Thanks Lea, I will count the calories as I consume. Goes well with cider!!

Wendy said...

'Ouzo' I knew that :) just didn't want to appear to be an experienced drinker. hehehe. Time for some music. Will listen to that lovely book trailer soundtrack again.

Jacquie Rogers said...

Woohoo! Congratulations on the release of The Unhewn Stone! I came to the party with some Hennessy and a peach cobbler. Enjoy. :) I think I'll sneak a piece of that cheesecake and throw back a few shots of cognac. In your honor, of course.

Very well done interview, Wendy and Rosalie. And Wendy, kudos to your son for the music on the book video.


Wendy said...

Hi Jacquie,
Come on in. Grab a seat or do you plan to mingle. :) I'll take those goodies. Thank you. Here's your cognac and cheese cake. Thanks for coming. Did you bring your 'marshal' with you? I've heard there has been Much Ado About Marshals' hehehe hic. Thanks for the lovely compliments. I'll pass Mark's on to him.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Jacquie, you can bring your marshal, I've seen the cover ;)...and leave him. :) We'll make him welcome. ;)

Jacquie Rogers said...

Hahaha! I'll let him know he's invited to the party, and tell him to practice saying, "Howdy, darlin'."

Meantime, if anyone's interested in cover art (and seeing said drool-worthy hero), Wendy wrote a really cool article at 1st Turning Point using our two books as examples: The Book Cover: Vanguard of Promotion.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Wendy,
Great blog. I know that Unhewn Stone had an unfortunate start in life, but it is full steam ahead now. Best of luck with it, and I am just so thrilled for you that Stefan's story is now published. You worked very hard over a long time and overcome shocking disappointment. Marvelous trailer too.
Best of luck with Stefan's story, sounds fascinating. Can't wait to read it.



Wendy said...

Welcome Margaret,
Great to see you. Come over by the fire. We're just loading the barbie with kangaroo sausages and lamb chops. Grab a plate, here's some king prawns for you. :)
You know, if it wasn't for that little 'set back' you mentioned, my book wouldn't have reach the standard I really wanted it to be. So I'm thankful now. Hey, sit here and tell me about your next writing venture.

History and Women said...

My heartfelt congratulations Wendy. I had the pleasure of critiquing many chapters of this novel several years ago. I fell in love with the story and the beautiful writing then. I'm so excited about seeing it in print. I'll be purchasing a copy right away. May it sell a million!

Pat McDermott said...

What a great party! Gorgeous blog, Rosalie. And Wendy, you sure know how to throw a book launch. Congratulations on the release of Unhewn Stone. Love the premise,and so glad I got to view the video. Wishing you many sales!

Wendy said...

Ah, Mirella,
Big hug. Hello my friend. You're the beautiful writer! You did more than critique my book. You pushed me to finish it. If it weren't for you I'd still be writing chapter thirty-five. lol. You already know most people here but I'll introduce you around. I'm surprised you haven't joined the Muse family yet. :) Let's go get some of Lea's ouzo or would you rather Jacquie's Hennessy. Anne's waving to you. See. :)

Wendy said...

Pat. Lovely to see you here. Thank you for coming. You know everyone? Try the lamb. It's juicy. Glass of red? Thanks for the congratulations. I wanted you to see the trailer. After the lovely travel feature you did for CC about your Alaskan cruise, I knew you'd like to see Switzerland. I'm thrilled that you are here dear Muse sister.

Annie said...

What a party. Everything perfect: the interview, the book and that trailer which suits it perfectly.

This is a delight of a book--a YA for young and young-at-heart adults of all ages.

Rosalie, Wendy and guests--thanks for the invitation to the celebrations

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Annie, you are welcome. Can I offer some lamington, if you are lucky there should be some of Lea's cheesecake left.
Wine, ouzo or a good cuppa?
Wendy is around, practising signing ebooks. ;)

FireMummy said...

Happy release day for yesterday Wendy! I will have to get a copy of your book. I might only get to read it one page at a time though(the kids won't let me have too many Mummy minutes to myself! ;)).
It looks like you are all having a wonderful launch party here. :) I'll have a glass of red.
I can be the entertainment if you like? ** lights up her fire poi and starts spinning **

Rosalie Skinner said...

Sweet... Fire Mummy, that will warm us up.
Love the sound of fire twirling!!
I will try to keep the kids out of the fuel. ;)
I will mind the kids while you read sometime, in return for all the work you have done on my website. :)

Wendy said...

Hi Annie, my other lovely editor. Did you get the kanga banga off the barbie I promised you? You won't need sauce; the sausages are marinated in red wine. I see Rosalie fixed you up with a drink.
Thanks for saying everything is perfect. hehehe. It'd true I've been cyber-signing...with an air brush.:) You know everyone from Muse and Calamity's Corner.Look, Nancy's calling you. I'll understand if you don't stay too long. I know you are expected at Bianca's birthday 'bash', hehehe. Thank you for being here.

Wendy said...

Hi Ya, FireMummy,
Loved your fire dance. Everyone is still applauding. Take another bow.
You've done a marvellous job with Rosalie's websites. She's very proud of you. What are you eating? Savoury or sweet? I just gave Cailyn and Liam a hug each. Your lovely littlies seem to be enjoying themselves in this crowd. Just like I am. I hope you enjoy Stefan's story. I think Cailyn will when she's a little older. Thanks for your warm wishes. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Very nice launch party, Rosalie and Wendy - I'm sorry I'm late...but I enjoyed the interview and your awesome trailer Wendy.

Carole said...

Hi Folks,
I know I'm coming in late - I hope you still have a glass of champers for me!I had a bad day yesterday - don't ask. I had practically no computer time. Well, congratulations Wendy on getting Stefan launched. I remember the early drafts and look forward to reading the final. Great interview Rosalie - Happy days, Wendy.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Kay Dee, Carole, there is no 'late' here. The champers is still bubbling, the steaks are still sizzling. There is even a little of Lea's cheesecake left. I kept the kids out of it!!
Take the weight off your feet and make yourselves at home.
If we ask nicely Fire Mummy might do another spin!
Thanks for dropping by.

Wendy said...

Hey Kay Dee,
It's never too late. The party never ends (my husband complains)and why should it, I say. Lovely you could come. Glad you enjoyed the video and the interview. Rosalie sure packs a punch with her questions. :) I see you have a full plate and glass. Come and I'll introduce you to LJ. Do you write mysteries? LJ reviews for The Strand Magazine. She's superb.

Wendy said...

Carole! Hugs. Sorry about your computer problems but so glad they didn't stop you from coming to the party. The best part about cyberspace, it's timeless. :)You want some more bubbly - just a top up and a strawberry, Good. You like apple pie, no cream. :) hehehe. Hey, you're the mystery writer. I'll introduce you to LJ too. You know how good her reviews are from CC, but then she's a professional reviewer -it's her job. How is 'Flash Harry' coming along. You could chat with Jacquie and see how he compares to her marshal. I see Laurel waving. Thanks for coming.

NobleYA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika Galpin said...

Thank you for inviting me to the party, Wendy! The trailer for Unhewn Stone is very inspiring. It sounds like an imaginative tale. Congrats!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Erika, Congratulations on the release of 'Summoning Darkness'. Your cover is stunning. Come in, have a drink, some champus perhaps? What's your poison? Try the pavlova... lamington? Thanks for dropping in.

Wendy said...

Hi Erika. Come forward. Hey everyone. This is Erika, my fellow MUSE AUTHOR WITH A NEW RELEASE TODAY! (Canadian time) Happy dance. We are both YA writers. Your 'Summoning Darkness' sounds scary and very much in vogue. Congratulations. I wish you great success. I'm sure you won't want the lamb off the barbie, but have you tried the kangaroo. I see Trish is offering prawns, or you can have the last of the cheese cake I pinched from the Muse kitchen. So thrilled to be sharing this release day with you. hehehe.

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Hi Wendy, what a great way to introduce and release your book "Unhewn Stone." I'll have to add it to my book list.

I've also released my ebook on August 12th through MuseItUp Publishing, a contemporary romance, Love Delivery. My tour schedule is posted on my blog.

Good luck with your book.

Wendy said...

Hi Penny,
Shhh everyone, say Hi to Penny. Like Erika, Lin and me this is her big day too. Penny has her 'Love Delivery' out today. It's exciting, isn't it? We can celebrate together.
Penny grab a glass. I see Rosalie has the champers flowing. Try our Aussie pavlova or peach melba. Glad you could make it, here, with your busy book tour schedule. You have more stamina than I have. :)
Good luck to you too.

LJ Roberts said...

It's wonderful to meet everyone and what a fabulous spread. I definitely want to try the Kangaroo sausage. Now that's something we don't have in California. ...and shrimp, and cucumber sandwiches, and cheese cake -- oh my! Wendy, you throw a great party with super people.

Rosalie Skinner said...

It has been great to meet and greet everyone. :) So many great releases on the one day. Hope everyone still has their glasses filled and their plates loaded. There is plenty to go around and the sun never sets on the internet!!
Party on!!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Congratulations go to Mirella Patzer

Our winner of a copy of The Unhewn Stone!!!
Thanks everyone for coming and sharing Wendy's launch party food and festivities!!!
I am happy to open a new bottle of champus to toast Mirella's win. :)