A big welcome to Indie Gantz as part of her blog tour with RABT Book Tours for Passage.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Talking about yourself is one of those things they tell you never to do too much if you want people to like you, but I guess everyone needs to tap into their inner narcissist if they want to promote their work!
My pen name, Indie, is a play on my first and middle initials, N.D., and my independent author status. I thought the name was obnoxiously clever as soon as it was suggested to me.
I grew up in Northern Virginia where I received my psychology degree, and then proceeded to work as a behavior therapist to autistic children for a few years.
I’ve always written, but kept my writings to english papers and poetry at first. I fell in love with fanfiction about a decade ago, and developed quite a following. With the ego boost o having fans, I decided to try on creating original characters and stories.
I writer character-driven novels, as, for me and my psych degree, people are always going to be the most interest part of any story.
Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Passage is the first of an eight to ten book Sci-Fantasy series. There will also be five to seven novellas that will serve as character studies for certain characters throughout the series. The novellas do not continue Charlie and Tirigan’s (the main character’s) storyline, but significantly enrich the world I‘m creating and provide a lot of insight and context to side characters.
For me, when I’m reading a series, the plot is obviously super important and should be given careful thought and planning, but the characters are why I keep coming back. I wanted to create a story with characters that people can relate to. And for me, that means more diversity.
I want to bridge the gap between literature and “queer” literature. I want more women of color heroines. I want more representation of the asexual spectrum. I want realistic love triangles and family dynamics. I want to challenge the social status quo, and tell an exciting and mysterious story at the same time.
I was inspired by the world as it really is, and want more genre fiction that showcases that diversity in an incidental way.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing! I hired someone to professionally edit my book, but that did not get me off Scott free! I still had to read and re-read my book several times. Even then, when the first printed book was in my hands, I found several errors that needed fixing. The process of editing and formatting my book will go down as one of the most stressful experiences of my life.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
As cliche as it sounds, just keep writing. Even when I had people banging down my door, begging for new chapters of my newest fanfiction, I was not the best writer I could be. I’m not now either. I don’t think we ever stop learning or growing as writers. I’m constantly learning how to better my prose or shorten my ramblings.
Reading is also a great tool for writers. Not only does it motivate me to get back to work, because I find other’s work inspirational, reading from other writers really helps you understand your own voice better.
Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why? What book do you wish that you had written?
I really love writing anything with mystery in it. My book is technically Sci-Fantasy, but my series as a whole could fit into the mystery genre. I love setting up pieces of a puzzle and letting readers put them together. Of course, I always give hints here and there, because it’s no fun if the reader doesn’t have a chance to figure it out for themselves first. Even if they don’t figure it out, the ‘I should have known!’ moment is only sweet if they really should have known.
I wish I had written Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. That book, a cross between horror and psychological thriller, is a masterpiece.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
My favorite character to write for is definitely Avias, at least until Book II when that title must revert to a new character. Even so, Avias, while not one of the main protagonists, is incredibly fun to write for. He’s sassy, needlessly proper at times, intelligent, and a bit of a snob. He’s also loyal, loving, and incredibly kind when he chooses to let you see it. He’s based off of one of my favorite literary characters. Telling you who it is would be far too private a thing, and I’ll just have to let you draw your own conclusions.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
For the general overarching plot? Major plotter. Scene by scene? Panster. I like my characters to guide scenes for me. I feel like, too often, writers will direct their characters towards the plot, instead of letting their characters guide the story themselves. It’s an important distinction, and one that can make or break a book for me.
If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you’d go back and change? Either on a personal level or a historical event?
I think everyone and their mother says, “Kill Hitler,” don’t they? Besides that, maybe I’d go back and redo some of my teenage years, with the oodles of wisdom I’ve acquired since then. Then again, I may have had some serious bumps along the road, and made a lot of bad decisions, I’m living a pretty great life right now, and I’d be hesitant to change anything that would affect it.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2018 and beyond?
My writing goals are:
1.) Have Kindred, Book II of The Akasha Series professionally edited. My hope is to have it released at the beginning of next year.
2.) Finish the first draft of Book III, Salvage,
3.) Finish the second draft of Captive, the first companion novella of the series
1.) Try not to let the whole promotion side of publishing swallow me whole
2.) Spend less time scrolling the internet
3.) Read 25 books (I’m at 13)
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I’m currently editing the first novella in my character study companion pieces for The Akasha Series. The first one is devoted to Finn and is title Captive. It will be released after Kindred, Book II of The Akasha Series is released, which is finished and is in its last round of edits before being sent off for professional editing.
Here’s a little excerpt of Kindred, as I can’t share anything of Captive until the second book is released:
“A twin’s soul…” Vi trails off, obviously trying to find the right words to explain. “A mother can only house two souls, her own and the soul of her child. But when two or more children are created, a soul is split between them. You’re born as soulmates. That’s why you can enter each other’s minds.”
“Soulmates?” I balk. “Tirigan is my brother. That’s…that’s not right.”
Vi chuckles softly. “You’re confused by the term ‘soulmate.’ Most Aplos humans spoke of soulmates in a romantic way, but that isn’t the purpose of souls. True, many soulmates find romantic love in one another, but it’s not the standard. Souls are far more complex than that.”
“So…” I pause and try to make sense of what she’s telling me. “You’re saying that when Tirigan and I were conceived, a single soul was split in two?”
“Well, we aren’t sure when exactly the soul enters the child’s body. The question is a hot topic.”
I barely hear her answer. The idea of being only one half of a whole doesn’t sit well with me. It must be obvious, because Vi laughs again, and then goes back to work.
“Don’t let it mean something if you don’t want it to, Charlie. Your relationship with your brother is one of your own making. And whatever you two were arguing about will resolve with time.”
“Well,” I reply with a heavy sigh. “I don’t really know how much more time we have.” I say, melting back into the couch. “Once we get something more concrete, Tirigan and I are going to have to leave.”
“Mhmm” Vi hums back, intent on her work. It’s almost like she isn’t even listening anymore. It hurts to think she won’t miss us when we’re gone.
– Kindred, Chapter Thirty: A Meeting of Minds