Author Interview: Karin De Havin

Karin De Havin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as Paranormal stories from her timber frame lodge home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that help her write by jumping on keyboards, and her pianist husband who wears a tuxedo while he tinkers with the keyboard too. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Karin De Havin and I am an author, designer, and artist. I split my time between designing and putting pen to paper or rather fingers to the keyboard. I’ve always been creative and have expanded my mediums from paint, to fabric, to words.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had been working in the grueling fashion industry as a designer and needed a break. I took a creative writing course in college and have always enjoyed writing short stories but never had a chance to follow through on my passion for writing. So after over a decade in the fashion business working for several companies, I decided to go freelance so I could finally have the spare time to begin my first novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I sold several short stories and a few magazine articles. I thought if people are willing to pay for my stories then maybe I’m a writer after all.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’m almost done with the final book in my heaven fantasy series, The Katran Legacy. I will be sad to say good-bye to my characters after spending several years together, but I’m enjoying giving them the ending they deserve.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s a bit of a strange inspiration story. I was at a funeral of a friend of my husbands. It was very sad, as he was only thirty-five years old when he died from cancer and had so much life to live. But I was amazed at how his friends weren’t upset and were able to celebrate his life. They took turns telling stories about all the crazy adventures he had in his life as an extreme sports enthusiast. His friends said in his last days he was at peace with dying. He’d lived a full life and had no regrets. There were several high school age kids at the funeral and I thought what if one of them died? The conversations would be totally different because they haven’t had a chance to live their life yet. Then I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful when they arrived in heaven they were given an opportunity to earn a second chance at life? That’s what started the idea for Nine Lives, the first book in the series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I’m a very character driven writer. I come up with story ideas all the time, but before I can flesh them out, I need to visualize the key characters first. I have to hear their voices and see their faces before I can put the story to the page.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The story in the fourth book is about discovering a new path for the characters now that they have won back their lives. They will never be the same after what they experienced in heaven. Some of them reconsider going to college while others are certain they want to strike out on their own. I also picked the title because Heavenly Discovery worked well with the previous book, Heavenly Returns.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. Just when you think all hope is lost you have the power to turn things around. But things are never easy, so you need to hard work, have a little luck, and the help and support of good friends.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I think all writers base their books on experiences even though they may be writing fantasy fiction. I’ve never died and gone to heaven, but I’ve been given second chances in my life and I learned not to waste them.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love all types of authors so I have a broad base of influences. Authors I admire are Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, Tolkien, J.K. Rawlings, and George R R Martin. What drew me to their writing were their amazing characters and their world-building abilities. You might be thinking Jane Austen had world-building abilities? Yes, she did. She was a master of capturing the life she experienced in the Regency era. Her descriptions are so vivid readers for decades have traveled back in time through her books. My love of her books inspired my Victorian genie time travel series, Jin In Time.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I actually am lucky enough to have two writers I admire as mentors. My first mentor and I were represented by the same literary agency. Our agent matched up as critique partners. After being traditional published my mentor left the agency and went indie. She was quite successful so I followed her two years later. I had only been traditionally published so she’s been a lifesaver learning the ins and outs of the indie publishing world. The second is a new mentor who is a New York Times bestseller who is helping me grow my writing even more. I’m so excited to be working with her.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Kellie at Book Cover by Design did the cover. She has done many of my mentor’s covers and which are truly amazing. It was a no-brainer to use her too. As an artist, I can appreciate all the hard work Kellie puts into her covers and her wonderful sense of color and composition.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You need to study the craft and be passionate about your stories. Telling a good story is an art. It’s a very tough business. I’ve found it to be even harder to learn than the fashion business, which is notoriously difficult. You need to believe in yourself and never give up.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you so much for reading my stories and believing in my characters. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for my series and your willingness to jump right into the crazy worlds I create. You’re the best!

Karin De Havin
Pacific Northwest

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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This Monday, I strayed away from only general writing tips and included a few on research topics, marketing, and libraries.  I hope you enjoy the brief change of topic this week.  

Controlling Chapter Lengths in Your Novel

Animal Talk: The Emerging Science of Ethology

Book Clubs – The Human Touch in Marketing

Fizzle or Sizzle? How Genre is Fundamental for Story Success

Deepening Our Story: Theme It Like You Mean It

Why Patience Is A Virtue: Learning To Take Your Time As A New Writer

The Question You Need to Ask for Every Scene

The Disappearance of Books Threatens to Erode Fine Arts Libraries

The Novel Versus the Short Story: A Conversation with Matthew Lansburgh

STOP LOOKING FOR ONE WAR STORY TO MAKE SENSE OF ALL WARS

FlashFiction: Honor Bound by Wendy Van Camp

Honor Bound

Honor Bound
A fantasy short story by Wendy Van Camp
980 words

Marching through the misty twilight the noblewoman paused. Her hand reached under her stout woolen cloak as she examined the shadows. In a single fluid movement, she drew a narrow sword and held it before her as if it were an extension of her hand. “Come no further, Sers. Otherwise, you will know the taste of my blade.”

Coryan flattened herself against a nearby stone wall. Had anyone seen her? Master Jacob had tasked her with following the woman. No stable duties along with the promise of a hot meal were enough to send her into the cool night. Yet, facing thugs was not part of the bargain. She shivered as she inched away from the scene.

The largest of the three men laughed. He drew a short sword, the curved type used by the soldiers of the southern guard. “Perhaps you will taste mine. Unless you have the coin to stay my sword?”

“You would do well to retreat, Ser. I am Raven Ewen, perhaps you have heard of me?” Coryan felt her jaw drop as she froze in wonder. Who had not heard of the famous warrior mage? She was an adviser to the king and on the wizard’s council. Yet, this woman was smaller than the legend she had idolized during nights lying in the stable hay. How could this be the former savior of the kingdom?

“As you will.” The rogue said to the noblewoman. The curved blade whistled through the dank air. Coryan winced as the blade bit into the woman’s stomach. There was a metallic clank as blade met chainmail and a blue glow. The woman leaped back to her feet, with no wound showing.

The leader of the thugs roared and came at her again, his two henchmen joining close behind. The three grabbed the noblewoman by both arms and pulled her into a nearby alley, away from the safer main street. A few moments later there was another scuffle and a cry of pain. From who, the girl did not know.

“No. This can’t be.” Coryan whispered into the night. She trembled as she leaned against the stone wall. Before her mother died, she had recited many tales about Raven Ewen. Coryan used to brandish a wooden sword and pretend she was the mighty heroine. Before she lost everything and became the orphan stable girl at the inn’s stable. She should run but she had to know the heroine’s fate.

Coryan looked down the dim alley, but the men were gone. Deep in the ally, she spotted the fine wool of the woman’s cape. Within her body lay prone on the cobblestones. Coryan stole forward until she was at the noblewoman’s side. “I am here, Sera. It is Coryan, from the Hen and Bull.”

“Coryan?” Raven’s brown eyes looked at a point distant and ethereal her voice a whisper.

“Sera, you must stay with me. I will bring help!”

“It is too late.” Her narrow hand took Coryan’s wrist. “The honor of my House…must be preserved.” From her pocket, the mage removed a glittering blue gem that glowed with inner light. She pressed it into the girl’s hand.

Coryan’s world vibrated, filling with a myriad of colors. Then it was gone. She was once more bent over the body of the woman. But wait, it was not the mage that laid there on the street. It was herself! Horrified, Coryan looked at her hands. They were not the thin fingers and pale skin of a street urchin, instead they were narrow and wrinkled. What has the mage done to me?

“You must go to the Green Dragon Inn. You must help Lourna Mernal find my young cousin. I am honor bound to be of aid.” The woman closed her eyes and added, “You are young to place such faith. But the spirits must have brought you for a reason….” she whispered, “Promise me. You will do this.”

Coryan bowed her head. “Will I ever see myself in the mirror again?”

The noblewoman’s grip lessened as her strength faded. “Promise me!”

Coryan nodded. The woman was dying. It made no difference what she said to her. “I promise, Sera.” The mage closed her eyes and her breathing slowed, then stilled. The hand that kept the girl at her side fell to the road.

Putting the silver chain over her head, Coryan settled the blue gem under her clothing. It felt warm and seemed to vibrate. Was it alive? She took the mage’s narrow sword and scabbard, belting it around her strange new waist. The body in the alley was hers. She could not leave it. Coryan wrapped the child body in the wool cloak and placed it against the wall where no one would step. She would inform the constables once the sun rose into the sky.

She stood and made her way out of the alley. She turned toward the Hen and Bull intending to return to her Master and the stable. Then she stopped. How could she return to her old life looking like this? No one would believe she was just Coryan, the ten-year-old stable girl.

Am I free? The thought was a heady one. I could see the world. Live as I choose. Coryan frowned. I could starve. Who would take care of me? The fear grew in her.

“Promise me.” The whisper of the mage’s voice came to her ear. She blinked in surprise. She was alone on the street.

The Green Dragon Inn was on the other side of the city. Perhaps this Lourna Mernal could help her discover a way to transform herself back into her youthful form.

Coryan did her best imitation of the confident stride that the Sera mage had shown the world. If she must be Raven Ewen, she would do her best to play the part. In this manner, Coryan entered the doorway of the Green Dragon Inn.


Honor Bound is a story from a fantasy novel I’ve been working on for the past few years.  This is a little preview of the world and main characters in the story.  I don’t have a due date for this novel since there are a few projects ahead of it, but as time goes on, I’ll likely post more stories based on this world here on the blog if there is interest.  Let me know in the comments.

This story is also available to members of Medium.  If you would like to support me as an author, please go to Medium and give my story claps.  Clapping lets the Medium system know that my story is popular and it will gain more visibility.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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Here we are on another Monday, so it is time for another batch of writers links here on No Wasted Ink.  Most of the links this week are general writing tips, along with an article about feminism in publishing and one about turning your how-to book into a workbook that I found to be useful.  Enjoy!

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing

How to Write a Flashback

How to Handle Critiques

How to Write Unforgettable Settings Readers Never Want to Leave

Garlic Breath For Writers (aka, Bad First Pages)

How To Turn Your Non-Fiction Book Into A Workbook

Analyzing Your Novel for Market Value

Publish and Be Damned

Using Third Person vs First Person Novel Narratives

Feminist Presses Are Seizing the Moment

Author Interview: Richard Fierce

Richard Fierce is a fantasy author best known for his novella The Last Page. He’s also one of the creative brains behind the Allatoona Book Festival, a literary event in Acworth, Georgia. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Richard FierceMy name is Richard Fierce and I write fantasy. My day job is in the tech industry, but my passion is writing. I hope to be a full-time writer by the end of 2018! I have 4 dogs (three huskies), three cats, two birds and a dwarf hamster. My wife and three step-daughters are animal fanatics and “No” apparently means “Yes” in my house. My daily commute is 4 hours round trip. The office I work at is 82 miles from my house, and I drive through Atlanta traffic. People in Georgia drive like they aren’t afraid to die if that tells you anything.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I really got serious about it in 2007/2008. I self-published a novella that had been collecting dust and began my publishing career. I began writing because I love telling stories. The creative side of my brain is constantly coming up with ideas, so I always joke that I have more unfinished story ideas than I do friends.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always considered myself a writer, even before I was published, but I didn’t consider myself an “author” until my first book went out into the world. I think a lot of writers have that backward, though. They don’t think they are writers until they have something published. I disagree with that view. Regardless of whether or not you are published, if you write, you are a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My book is titled Dragonsphere. It’s the first in a completed four book series and sets the stage for the events that happen across two kingdoms. These kingdoms have been at war for as long that no one really remembers why they’re even still fighting. When a dragon starts ravaging cities of both kingdoms, they have to put their differences aside to stop it. The top of each chapter has a quote from someone, either a historical figure in that world or a current character, and gives insight into the history of the world that isn’t in the main narrative.

The Kingdom of Talvaard had a great persecution break out against wizards, and so they do not have wizards to help them against their enemies. The Kingdom of Oakvalor has wizards but no weapon smiths because Talvaard has assassinated all of them. Both kingdoms have an advantage over the other, and this is what forces them into a truce, however temporary, to stop the dragon.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea for Dragonsphere came to me as I was helping my wife in the nursery of a church. She was watching the younger kids and one of them was playing with a toy ball that had buttons all over it. When you pushed the buttons, it played music. I thought to myself, “What if there was something inside that ball, and if the music didn’t get played so often, it would escape?” That idea slowly turned into this book.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m always working on my craft, but I can’t think of any “style” that I have aside from being a “narrative” writer. I aim to entertain readers, but not with the beauty of language or anything. I use descriptive language so that readers can envision or imagine the scenery and characters.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title came about as a play on words. It’s Dragonsphere, which is an item in the story, but the play on words is dragon(s) fear. Classic fantasy always shows people being overcome with an intense fear when dragons show up, and I thought it was rather fitting to play into the classic trope.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

When I write, I try to weave things that people can relate to into the story. One of the main characters in the book is a monk, and he struggles with faith. I think that’s something many people can relate to. I know I do. The character poses questions, both philosophical and honest, and learns about different beliefs as the story progresses. While not direct events, I have experienced this in my own life.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Good questions! My idols are R.A. Salvatore and Margaret Weis. I find Margaret’s storytelling to be so in depth and well thought out. Salvatore is a master of storytelling as well, and I love how he keeps you engaged with the characters and shows you their inner thoughts.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Yes, actually. Pdmac is a sci-fi writer I met at a convention a few years ago. He lives in the same area as I do and we talk at least once a week. We share each other’s WIPs with one another for feedback. He’s a mentor in that he makes me think of things I hadn’t considered before and poses questions that make me re-think why I’m writing a scene a certain way or points out passive voice. He’s a mentor and an editor, I suppose.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Saeed Ramez did the art. I chose him because his style fits what I was looking for (and he let me use the art for free!) Sapphire Designs did the formatting and typography. I posted my original cover in the 20Coversto50K Facebook group and she had some pointers on how to make it better. I’m not a designer, so when she offered to fix it up for me, I was more than welcome for the help. She charged me a very fair amount, too.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Even the most prolific writers suffer from self-doubt. I find the way to fight through that doubt is to keep writing and working on my craft. Don’t let your work die in the hands of the critics. As I see the sales starting to increase, it adds to the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. My worst critic is self, but I always remind myself that no one lies to me more than I lie to myself.

Richard Fierce Dragonsphere EbookRichard Fierce
Rockmart, Georgia

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