Tag Archive | historical novel

Meet Becca Fox, Author of Asta and the Barbarians

Today, I am joined by Becca Fox. She is an author with Tirgearr Publishing. I had hoped to get her on my show, as a guest. However, given her work schedule, that was not to be. Instead, I offered her the chance to do a character interview for me. I’m delighted to present, not only Becca, but her character Asta from her historical novel, Asta and the Barbarians

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On the day the Holgarians attack her town, twenty-year-old Asta is blessed by a warrior god and is empowered with the heightened senses and unnatural healing abilities these foreign invaders possess. Grief-stricken and paralyzed by terror, she’s hauled onto the conquering general’s ship and taken to the island of Holger across the sea.

One year later, Asta graduates from warrior academy with honors and is chosen as one of the king’s personal defenders. She will finally have the opportunity to kill the man who gave the general his orders, and avenge her family. She doesn’t expect the king to be young or kind, or completely oblivious of what his men are doing overseas. He has been told peaceful negotiations are going well, and the natural resources and ambassadors from the mainland seem to support this report. But Asta knows better.

Asta must find proof of the general’s treachery and bring it before the king so that she can save unconquered provinces from meeting the same fate as her hometown. But the king’s counselors suddenly start dying, and the king himself is hounded by foreign assassins. Revenge will have to wait if Asta’s going to keep the king, the mainland’s only hope, alive.

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Character Interview with Asta of Kenshore

What is your name?

I’m Asta of Kenshore, daughter of Canute and Aulin.

What do you want most?

I want to avenge the deaths of my family and friends.

Why is this so important to you?

A single man’s greed and lust for power resulted in the slaughtering of innocents, the deaths of everyone I held most dear. And I refuse to let him get away with it.

What makes you happy or sad?

Spending time with my new friends and seeing them happy is what makes me happy. Remembering my family and old friends makes me sad.

How do you treat the people in your life?

I respect those who respect me. My stubbornness and pride have often caused me to be short with others, especially those who have belittled me, but I strive to be compassionate and professional.

Can people count on you?

My employers can rest easy knowing I’m on the job and my friends know I’d do anything for them.

What makes you angry?

Seeing people in authority abusing their power or belittling others, when people make me feel inferior, and the thought of the man who killed my loved ones going free; all of these make me angry.

Do you stand up for your beliefs?

Absolutely. My beliefs define me.

What excites you?

The prospect of being free to choose my own path excites me. I don’t like people telling me what I can and can’t do.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Defender, one of the king’s personal bodyguards.

What kind of books do you like?

I don’t have much time for reading but if I did, I think I’d enjoy adventure stories or historical fiction.

What kind of music?

I enjoy any tune I can dance to.

What’s the one thing you’d most like to do before you die?

I’d like to see the world before I die. Before my village was destroyed, I had never traveled outside my own country.

If you could, what’s one thing you’d change about yourself?

Because of my past, I’m deathly afraid of losing the people closest to me. I wish I could somehow remove that irrational fear because I know in my heart that I can’t always keep my loved ones safe no matter how hard I try.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes and Becca Fox

Becca Fox

Becca Fox claims she was that strange girl in high school who always seemed to have her nose in a book. She didn’t talk much because, more often than not, she was daydreaming about the different worlds in her books. Instead of doodling on the corners of her notes, she wrote scenes for her works in progress while the teacher lectured. She preferred quiet weekends at home with family or with Netflix over parties and large crowds.

Becca talks a bit more now, but not much else has changed. She still enjoys reading, writing, daydreaming, and watching TV, although, she’s gotten a lot better at socializing…over Twitter. In addition to Asta and the Barbarians, she is the author of In the Dark and I Dare You to Love Me.

 

The Pigeonhole Effect

Like the makers of movies, authors play to an audience. Our action is on a page, not a screen, but it boils down to the same thing – audience appeal. As authors, we are only successful if our work appeals to a wide range of readers. Unfortunately, our business suffers from the pigeonhole effect.

The pigeonhole effect is the tendency to park a book in a category and leave it there. If that category has a wide range of appeal, the book does well. If not, it sits there gathering dust until it’s pulled from the shelf, or the end of time (whichever comes first). The pigeonhole effect is necessary for the purpose of marketing (at least that’s what I’m told). I’m more of a mind that it’s for the purpose of setting up a bookstore into nice, neat, orderly sections.

All that aside, we’re still stuck with the problem and have to find ways around it. My suggestion is cross-marketing. Like cross-training in sports, in cross-marketing the book is presented on a variety of levels, in different categories, seeing which audience it appeals to most and go from there.

For example, my book, “Indian Summer”. It is pigeonholed into the category of historical romance. I get a wide variety of reactions to that label – most of them negative. However, if I say it’s an historical adventure, more people perk up. Historical novel gets a better reaction too. It seems that if you tack “romance” on the end, you get a lot of negativism. People who don’t read romance novels have their own idea about what they are. Grant you, some authors fall into the typical romance category, but not all of us do. I get angry now if someone makes a salacious comment about romance novel or the authors of them.

There is much more adventure in my novel than there is romance. It’s a story of spies, intrigue, love and war. Given the nature of the story, it is fit for young adult (14+) and adult readers – both male and female. The heroine, Gabriella, is nobody’s fool. She is 15, embroiled in a situation she cannot control, but rises to the occasion, outsmarting the bad guy more than once. With her help, the spy is caught and brought to justice. Not sounding quite as much like a smarmy romance novel now, is it?

I’ve initiated my cross-marketing plan, hoping to appeal to a wider range of readers. It’s not been in place long enough to see if it’s going to help, but I’m hoping that it will work for me. It’s up to us as authors to break free from the pigeonholes and set our books free!

What every author needs to make this a success is knowledge of what our fans want. How do you search for a book in a store? What appeals to you? What kinds of books do you want to see more of? What do you wish to see less of? Are there too many of one “type” of book on the market? Has it been saturated with sub-genres you don’t like or can’t understand? If you walk into your favorite bookstore, which section to you automatically head for? Why? Are there sections you avoid? If so, why? I would appreciate your feedback to my questions, or pose those of your own. Everyone has an opinion, let’s discuss them.

 Dellani Oakes is an author with Second Wind Publishing. Her historical novel, “Indian Summer”, is available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com or at Amazon.com