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Monday, December 17, 2012

Blog Tour: AMBRIL'S TALE by Wendy D. Walter - Q&A + Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome author Wendy Walter to the blog for an interview. Wendy is not only going to spill some secrets about her book and how it came to be but you will also get a glimpse of a couple illustrations that are in the book. Wendy is also offering several different giveaways.  

Ambril's Tale, The Return of the Dullaith

Fourteen-year-old, Ambril struggles with the mystery surrounding her father’s death when she moves back to the mysterious town where she was born. When she accidentally uncovers a secret which threatens to destroy her entire family, she continues her quest, against all odds, to clear her father’s name. But will she be able to claim her magic and and heal the rifts in her family?

Ambril’s Tale, The Return of the Dullaith has received great 4-5-star reviews.
Readers are impatiently demanding Book Two, which will be out early Spring 2013.               

            Amazon * Facebook * Website * Goodreads *Smashwords

1. Can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?

I have always loved writing, but I thought that I could make more money as an interior architect, so I started there first (that roar that you hear are all the interior architects in the world laughing). I loved the creative aspects of the job. But it wasn’t long before all the meetings, schedules and fussy clients made it hard to remember what I liked about interior architecture in the first place.
I began my search for the perfect career.

After decades spent trying on jobs like sunglasses at the drugstore, I came back around to writing and illustrating. It’s wondrously fun. It allows me to do what I do best, to use my highly developed day dreaming skills to create twisty tangled stories. I call it frolicking because that’s how it feels when I sit down to write a story.

2. How long did it take you to write Ambril’s Tale, The Return of Dullaith?

It took five years to write Ambril’s Tale. Poor Ambril spent most of that time stuffed in a drawer, because, when I got stuck, or felt discouraged, I simply put her away. Fortunately, I am blessed with a terrible memory. After a few months, I would forget what my issues had been, drag her back into the light, and coach her through more harrowing scenes. Thankfully, she’s forgiven me. The silver lining in all this is that each time that I started up again, I found that my writing had improved.
Then one day, I made it to the end!

3. What inspired you to write this particular book?

Ambril’s Tale grew out of a snowy move to Utah when I was ten years old. It was quite a shock to a California girl like me. My sunny California friends were relaxed, and smiled a lot. In Utah, I found myself wedged into snow boots and lady like behavior.

I wanted to magic my way back to my California roots in the worst way, but settled for the magic I found in books instead. I started to write stories about escaping into other worlds and doing battle with dark demons. It helped me battle the demons of adolescence. Though I have to admit I haven’t tamed them yet, I continue to try. I wrote and sketched for most of my life. But it took finishing Ambril’s Tale to finally muster the courage to publish.

4. Do you have any special or unique rituals? Do you write in the day or night?

I generally write my new stuff in coffee shops, then edit in my closet. There is something about the burble of conversation and the smell of coffee which helps me focus on my inner worlds. But when it comes to wordsmithing, I need complete silence. So I barricade myself in my closet when I need to finesse my prose. Plus, the clothes in my closet act as a great sound buffer and spares my family overhearing me swear like a sailor whenever a perfect phrase eludes me!

5.  Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

I have to say that Hendoeth and Betula take the top spots. They simply write themselves. They show up for their scenes, knowing exactly what to say and how to say it. Most of the time I have a hard time keeping up with them, as it comes so quickly. We argue a lot...I usually let them win as the scenes turn out much better their way. I told my daughter this once. She cocked her head at me and smirked. “Of course, Mom, because you are Hendoeth.” I took that as a huge compliment! Except for the fact that Hendoeth is a million years old…

Sigh, I guess I need a better moisturizer.

6. What was your favorite scene to write and what was the most difficult?

My favorite scene is when Ambril wakes up inside Fowlclun and meets the household goods, as well as Hendoeth. It wasn’t easy, I went through many different characters (a grandfather clock, a tricycle, a feather duster, among others.), but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as there is nothing more fun to visualize than the inner world of a chicken legged house.

The scene which I struggled most with would have to be the first Dullaith battle. As Ambril is so new to magic, at that point, there isn’t a lot that I could use to save her. It’s also a very, very important scene.

Doing action sequences can also be tricky. You can’t just let two characters slug it out, there’s an art to throwing punches, or in Ambril’s case, avoiding jaggle toothed jaws. When I finally realized that action is more ballet than fight, it changed the way I thought of near-death experiences, and made me a much better writer.

7.  Do you have a favorite story to tell about being interviewed about your book?

I love my book group, but it felt as if I was standing in the middle of a crowded mall in my underwear...and not the pretty kind either, when I fielded their questions. We have been arguing about books together for years. They know me a little too well, poor things. It was interesting to hear them talk about the bits and pieces of me that they found hidden away in my story. Interesting...but it made me wriggle inside too.

8. What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

I would like to discuss the bigger archetypal themes in Ambril’s Tale. Themes of what closed, dysfunctional societies can do to an individual. And the strong, environmental themes which run through the series. Unfortunately, Ambril’s world is several books big, and I’d like to flesh them out a bit more before discussing them.

There are also questions that I would love to discuss but can’t without embarrassing my crazy relatives. Like most families, mine is a bit dysfunctional. Thanksgiving dinner is tough enough as it is. So, I camouflaged my family issues in Ambril’s Tale. I’m hoping no one recognizes themselves. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

9. Which (if any) authors have been most influential to your own writing?

Diana Wynne Jones, JK Rowling, Frank Baum, Eva Ibbotson, and all writers who set out to write vivid, intricate worlds for us to all frolic in. It is what I strive to do as well. Diana Wynne Jones is my all time favorite fantasy writer. Her stories come across as fresh, funny and irreverent each and every time.

10. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?

I love to make stuff up. My industrial strength day dreams define me. When I finally figured out how to craft Ambril’s world with them, I cheered. But, if I had to shift away from the writing world, I’d probably go back to teaching art. I love watching a student’s face light up when he/she finally gets how powerful a paint brush can be and learns how to wield one.

11. If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?

Jane Austen’s Emma. What a fine book! I still find it mesmerizing, and it’s several hundred years old...amazing.

12. Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.

Sticking with it and not letting the editing process get me down. It’s tough to endlessly redo, restate, and reorganize. It’s loads more fun to build out the backend of a fantasy kingdom. But as Mark Twain said, “Writing is wrongly named, it really should be called Re-Writing.” Beating your head against the page while finessing sentences is brutal and tedious the thirty fifth time around. But in the end, you get a better story. Headaches are easy to overlook when the final read through makes you proud.

13. Please list seven random likes; then do the same for dislikes, go way random.

My favorite sneakers, the ones with the holes
Rescued dogs
A rush of fog coming through the Golden Gate
Early Christmas morning
The slant of the sun in autumn
Friday evening through to Sunday morning
Laughing with friends

Too many rules
When the bag of dog poop that I’m carrying leaks
A middle seat between two large people
Cold toes
A false sense of entitlement
Discovering there’s no chocolate in the house

14. Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for?

Ambril’s Tale, Riding the Cursed Shoots, Book Two in the series will be coming out in March. Hurray! It completes the arc of Book One and will make my readers less grumpy about the ending of “Return of the Dullaith”. Book Three, still unnamed, has been written but I feel I have to write the ending to the series before I let that one out without a chaperone. Keep Reading!

Thanks everyone, It’s been such a pleasure!
Wendy D. Walter

Writing was an early passion for Wendy. As a kid, she wrote lots of stories, but being shy, they usually ended up under the mattress. When she finally set out to tell Ambril’s Tale, she decided not to write a story but a world, full with her own marvelous illustrations.

She considers The Return of the Dullaith as just the curly tip of the fairy boot. 

Wendy lives near San Francisco with her husband, daughters, cat and border collie. More information about Wendy's book and art, check her site:

Thank you very much for your time Wendy and

thank you for visiting with us!

At each blog stop on her tour, Wendy is giving away a prize, a copy of one of her books (paperback or e-book). You can also enter her Grand Prize Giveaway of a gnome, hand-painted by Wendy herself! There will also be some surprise giveaways along the way! Stay tuned!

Sterling Silver Pendant Tree of Life

1)      To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post about what you think should be done to prevent bullying to be entered to win a copy of Ambril's Tale: The Return of the Dullaith in paperback or e-book format. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2)     To win one of the Grand Prizes: Enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. 

Don't miss the rest of the stops on the tour. You can find the schedule here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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