Christina Daley, author of Seranfyll, has been extremely gracious to stop by the blog for an interview AND to offer a SIGNED PAPERBACK of her novel, which is too kind! So, without further ado, I give you Christina!
Thank you for having me, and I’m glad that you liked it! I can’t rightly recall from where I got the idea. I had a slave girl who was just bought and freed by a handsome, but very drunk, nobleman. I didn’t know anything about these two, so I tried to find out by writing about 20 pages in early 2009. I then ran out of ideas and put it aside to write a different book.
Sometime later, I happened across a biography on William Wilberforce, the 18th century MP who spearheaded the movement to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. He was such a fascinating and eccentric individual, and he ended up being a great base model for the nobleman in my story (but I decided to make Domrey Seranfyll younger, a bit more handsome, and much more immature). I returned to the 20 pages in early 2010 and completed the first draft in about three months.
Yes, which was strange because writing is not normally hard for me. Having a first draft in three months wasn’t so bad, but to give you an idea, the book I had written in between was 75,000 words, and it took about three weeks (and I do have a full time job and family and friends whom take precedence over writing). Others that I’ve written at about the same length have taken about a month or two, although one that I wrote in my first year of college took nearly year. With Seranfyll, I think it was mostly the editing with which I struggled, and that took about six months.
It’s hard to chose one, because each have a little of me. I think like Rain does, in the sense that she tends to make mental connections quickly. But I’m pretty impatient like Coal, and I like shoes like Domrey. Each character also has qualities I desire, like Rain’s nearly endless capacity for compassion, Coal’s noble sense of loyalty, Domrey’s carefree nature, Lady Sophia’s wisdom, Spirit’s energy, Quill’s fondness for housework, Snow’s beauty, and even Morgrav’s ambition. The ones that I bare no resemblance or sympathy to are Snevil and his brutes.
While I was editing Seranfyll, I was going through some things (I think I might have had a small quarter-life crisis), and I had a lot of questions. And sometimes, when moments like that happen, I’ll write out a story and hand the situation over to some characters and let them hash it out on the page until a satisfactory answer percolates to the top.
I did that a lot with Seranfyll–maybe not the same experiences, but certainly similar emotions. Of course, I did jazz much of it up with the magic and other fun stuff, because I was personally getting bored without it.
In a word: hope.
I wrote Seranfyll to be entertaining, but I have a note in the back of the book asking readers to be hope for someone else and take some sort of action against slavery and human trafficking. Both are revolting modern practices that stem from the greed of a few, the indifference of many, and the ignorance of nearly everyone else. I didn’t even know that slavery was still around until a couple years ago.
I don’t say what to do (because people can be so amazingly creative!), nor do I endorse any particular organization. But there are some good troops on the ground in the form of law enforcement and humanitarian aid workers, and they need our support and some of our talents to help free our brothers and sisters in bondage. No effort is too small. After all, Wilberforce had the help of a lot of influential friends and the hopes of many slaves backing him. An army by definition is not made of one person.
I don’t read many adult books myself, and I like the adventure of discovery that children go through. Being an adult certainly has its own adventures, but approaching them with that child-like sense of wonder makes them more fascinating, in my opinion. So, that’s how I like to write, and I think the most receptive audience would be younger readers.
Not really. I don’t write everyday, and when I do, it’s mostly at home in the late evenings. I start with a hand written rough synopsis of the story and some notes, along with maybe the first few chapters. I wrote almost half of Seranfyll by hand before I took it to the computer.
Not really. I don’t always listen to music when I write because I’m usually so into that I don’t hear much else. I currently have some Lifehouse, OneRepublic (I fantasize that if Seranfyll were ever made into a movie, “Secrets” would be Domrey’s theme song), Switchfoot, and a few others on my playlist. But those are what I listen to regardless of writing.
I’ll occasionally listen to classical music. In fact, I’ll let you in on something. If you get the chance, listen to the majestic flowing melody about three minutes into Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter.” Then you’ll know what the song that Rain sings in Chapter 27 sounds like.
My favorite book is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, but I’m pretty sure every avid reader has read that at one point or another. I’m a slow reader, and my taste in books is rather narrow, so I’m sure whatever I recommend has already been read and re-read.
At the moment, I’m reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I plan on going through the rest of the trilogy in time for the movie next year. And I have a lot of ebooks that I picked up during the Smashwords sale in July, so I’ll be going through those as well.
I wonder that, too, actually. Lol!
I have an idea of how things are supposed to go, but everything in the middle and bits of the end are up in the air. I don’t have it all in my head, which I know sounds odd. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know anything about Rain or Domrey, not even their names, until I started writing about them. This is an adventure for me as much as it is for the reader.
But I can say that in the second book, Rain is fifteen. She’s not a child anymore, but she’s not yet an adult, and there are a lot of things she’s having to figure out. Domrey, Coal, and many others are back as well. But we’ll also get to meet some fun new characters–like Domrey’s business partners in the spice trade (one of whom has an even more obnoxious wardrobe than he does), a small and loud mage from another country (who thinks that Domrey’s her destined husband), a doctor with an interesting physical trait, and a mysterious people with some very cool talents. There may or may not be a voyage across the sea involved.
For the rest of the books, we’ll all just have to wait and see. :)
I’ve glanced at some of my previous writings, and I may or may not publish them. I have three and a half books in a sci-fi series that I wrote when I was in college, and they will need some epic re-vamping before I’m confident enough to put them out. They would actually make some pretty cool graphic novels, but unfortunately, I’m not much of an artist.
The book I wrote in between the start and finish of Seranfyll could be cataloged as a paranormal romance, though it has no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, fairies, goblins, trolls, mermaids, ghosts, etc. It does have series potential (I think I may have part of the sequel to it somewhere). But I’ve only ever read two or three romances, and I’m not very good at them. That one did receive some interest from agents and editors back in 2009, but no one picked it up. I question whether it’s good enough, and I’m unsure if I want to add it to that heavily saturated genre.
Thank you, Christina, for stopping by the blog and answering some questions about your novel and writing process!
Synopsis of Seranfyll
From Goodreads: For the first time in her life, Rain has a choice to make. The thirteen-year-old slave girl lives in the country of Yoan, where slaves aren’t allowed proper names, let alone anything else. After being sold by a gambler and bought by a thief, she’s freed by an eccentric young noble, about whom many rumors abound. Some say his manor is haunted, his horse can fly, and that he’s actually a devil.
Now that she’s free, Rain must decide what she will do with that new freedom. Her choices will lead her to new friends and many adventures, none of which she could have possibly expected.
Fans of Harry Potter and Howl’s Moving Castle will enjoy this magical tale about choices, consequences, and what it really means to be free.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
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This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY (as long as USPS can send to you), and will end September 20th at 11:59 EST. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced on this page on September 21st, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave a comment!
Winner: TBA on 9/21