Author Interview: Ray East on "Voluspa"

Ana: Today we have Ray East introducing their book, Voluspa. I haven't read this book myself, but Ray was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Ray, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Ray: ‘VOLUSPA - A NEW WORLD’, a YA fantasy, is a crossover between urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a mythological and dystopian twist-- think HARRY POTTER meets DIVERGENT. This book showcases a unique coming of age story of a fifteen year old girl who struggles with the ramifications of forbidden love, obscure parentage and in essence endeavors to find her place in a world that is threatened by her very existence.

Amy had never thought that she would attend school on a magical mountain with wild animals as her classmates, that she would go to a prom on a flying carpet and that she would fall in love with Drake-a Shape shifter. Little did she know that Drake’s father is the tyrannical leader who has always wanted Amy and her kind dead. In her struggle to challenge the supremacy in the magical world, she realizes her powers, confronts aspects about herself that she may not be comfortable with, makes lasting friends while excelling in her school - something which she had not been able to do in her human world. Duels, challenges, intrigues run rife as Amy and her friends embark upon an epic adventure that not only tests bonds of love and friendship but also tests the mettle of each character as they fight for existence.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Ray: This is a story of two star crossed lovers, set against a magical backdrop of an enchanted land. Amy has a hard childhood, feeling unwanted and unloved whereas Drake’s childhood is shadowed by impossibly high expectations imposed on him by his father.

However, the world of Voluspa in not a Utopic one; like most known civilizations, it has its own problems. One of the questions that this book subtly puts forward is whether individual freedom is sacrosanct or should it take a backseat when it comes to greater good of the land and people. Circumstances force both Amy and Drake to do certain things which one could consider a touch shy of evil. But at no time does their love for each other diminish and whatever they do is born out of a need to protect or help the other.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Ray: Why write a book like ‘Voluspa – A Magical World’? Like countless other teenage girls, I had a difficult time during my pre-teen and early teen years. I had major body issues and even suffered with eating disorders. During those years, I often fantasized about escaping to an alternate universe where I could start life afresh or find acceptance. My imagination was further fuelled by the countless number of books I devoured growing up, especially since they were my only constant companions. Thus when the time came to put words down to paper, I found myself creating a fantasy world – a place so magical that it had the power to heal even the most troubled souls.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Ray: If you liked Harry Potter and Divergent (by Veronica Roth), you will love my book.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Ray: This is my first book. I am currently working on the next book in the Voluspa series – Amy and Drake’s adventure continues.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Ray: The book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available at certain Local Atlanta Bookstores. The ebook is priced at 99 cents.

Anyone interested in contacting me should contact me at my site. My twitter is @Voluspia.

I am giving free books giveaways and some gift certificates and also a Kindle fire for a limited amount of time.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Ray: You can find the first two chapters free at Smashwords. You can also find it free on Amazon.

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18 comments:

Lonespark said...

Why that title?

BaseDeltaZero said...

All I can say is... that cover art is... kinda... not so great. It's not bad for amateur art, but for profession cover art?

Lonespark said...

Agreed, BDZ. It def. doesn't help sell the book.

Rakka said...

There's plenty of good amateur art. That... isn't.

Cupcakedoll said...

There's a topic for a future post Ana-- cover art and where to get it. What options are there for making your book not look self-published even when it is?

If I were self-publishing, my first instinct would be to get on DeviantArt and throw money at someone to make pretty art for me. But are there legalities involved? Would the artist get a cut of the profits of the book and how would that work? And if it were going to be a free ebook would I have to somehow give the artist profits even though there aren't any? ...and stuff.

Ana Mardoll said...

It's on the list 'o' things to do, but yes, I use the Deviant Art job offers forum:

http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/

The work for Pulchritude was commissioned at a one-time fee, and included a "signed" (electronically, by email) stating out who had what rights. Loosely:

This contract is between Ana Mardoll (hereafter “Author”) and [[Artist Name]] (hereafter “Artist”), and concerns image(s) created by the Artist at the request of the Author for a set fee to be paid on completion.

The Author gains the following rights and agrees to the following responsibilities:
1. The right to use and distribute the image(s) in the Author's commercial and personal work(s), regardless of format.
2. The right to use and distribute the image(s) in the Author's promotional materials.

The Artist retains the following rights and agrees to the following responsibilities:
3. The right to use and distribute the image(s) in the Artist's portfolio and promotional materials.
4. The right to resell art prints of the image(s) for non-commercial end use (i.e., posters, framed prints, coffee mugs, etc.).

The Author and Artist will sign electronically below and may retain copies of this agreement for their personal records.

#4 was included so the artist could monetize the work further via CafePress without being resold for use in, say, another novel. To my knowledge, neither of my authors have actually done that, but I suggested it at the time as a way to defray some pop-up costs in the process that I couldn't cover myself.

depizan said...

Getting a decent cover is a challenge even in traditional publishing. I've seen some pretty self-published looking covers on non-self-published books. And there's a high chance, especially if you're a starting writer, of running into problems with white washing, sexification, or even just random cover art syndrome. It's only a guess, but I'd say that - if you've got the money - you may have a better shot at getting a good cover through self-publishing. Especially if you're writing certain types of books or have main characters who are persons of color.

There are some damn good artists on DeviantArt - some professionals, some trying to get into the business - who are easily as good as the artists traditional publishers use. Or better.

Amarie said...

Hey now! Come guys, don't judge a book by its cover!!! I thought we Ramblites were deeper than that! Hell is wrong with all of ya?! D:

...Instead, why don't you just judge it by its Young Adult designation? Ever since Twilight, I have completely discriminated and disregarded all Young Adult; in truth, I have lost faith. I know it's terrible and I know it's shallow...and I don't care who knows it, either.

Twilight, you have tainted my love for YA. Curse you. Curse you forever.

v.v

Ana Mardoll said...

LOL! Maybe you'll feel differently when you hear my work in progress right now is YA.

Amarie said...

*has already set aside money to buy Pulcritrude (sp?) after tuition/books* @____@

You, Mrs. Ana Mardoll, are my heroine. Do you hear me? Do you hear that? You are my HERIONE. *glomps you in a snugglehuggleluvvlefest*

And I may be on here late on night with a happy present for you; my Muse is making me speed through my "Fifty Shades of Grey" post. ^ ^

Ana Mardoll said...

There's a free e-Book version here. ;)

http://www.anamardoll.com/2012/07/self-promotion-distributing-for-free.html

Amarie said...

*squeals like an idiot and hugs da living lemon bars out of you* OH MY GODDESS!! OH MY GODDESS!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

THIS IS AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!! NO, A CHRISTMAS PRESENT! BETTER YET, THE PRESENT OF MY LIIIIIIIIIIFE!! THANK YOU, ANA! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THAAAAAAAAAAANK YOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

*throws my textbooks carelessly over the couch and begins downloading the PDF version and reading* I looooooooove yooooooooou!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D

Ana Mardoll said...

Speaking of covers, here's an interesting site that someone sent me today:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/monthly-e-book-cover-design-awards/

Smilodon said...

Noooooooooooooooo! I love YA so much.Think of Patricia C Wrede - she always gets filed in YA, but her fantasy novels fill me with delight. Or Hunger Games. Or Harry Potter or ... I could think of more if I wasn't distracted by the Olympics. But - don't let Twilight ruin anything for you. Except Twilight itself. :)

Ana Mardoll said...

You're very welcome! LOL. I hope it lives up to your expectations.

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