I'm happy to welcome another Elevenzie to the blog today, Alex Epstein, whose debut novel, THE CIRCLE CAST: THE LOST YEARS OF MORGAN LE FAY, was just released from Tradewind. It is Historical Fantasy for ages 14 and up.
It's currently out in Canada and the UK and will soon be out in the U.S., however it's available through Amazon.com.
Welcome Alex! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?
Revenge, magical coming of age, Morgan le Fay
Sounds interesting! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in
your debut novel and why?
Morgan is a girl who's driven by vengeance for her father's murder. But after years in slavery in Ireland, she escapes to an early Christian settlement run by a woman, Béfind, who's unlike anyone she's ever met before. Béfind is about grace and forgiveness. She tests Morgan in an unexpected way, trying to turn the lies Morgan tells into truth (Morgan's pretending to be Christian). But Béfind isn't sure of her own faith, and the two of them have to grapple with doubt. Ultimately Morgan has to choose between what Béfind is offering and the vengeance that's been keeping her alive; she has to turn her back on grace.
Can you tell my readers a little bit more about yourself?
In my day job, I'm a successful screenwriter. I've written a hit action comedy and co-created a comedy TV series. This book is a passion project straight from the depths of my childhood. I've always wanted to tell this story.
What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?
How impossibly long it takes to publish a book! In TV, you write a script and a month later they're shooting it, and a month after that they're airing it. It took two years from selling my book to seeing it. That's just crazy.
Yes, it is! What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Outline first. You can write yourself into a mess if you don't have an outline. With an outline, you never have to write a whole book, you just have to write a little section. Then another section. Then another section...
Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?
I'm a working screenwriter, so I'm working on a slew of movie scripts. One of them is KIKI WILDER, a comedy about a 28 year old Montreal girl who just found out that "party girl" is not a career.
Sounds fun! What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I wrote a great deal of poetry. Writing poetry taught me to fuss with the rhythm of sentences. When I'm writing, particularly writing dialogue, I try to be very sensitive to how words flow. I'm not trying for a "poetic" effect now, I'm trying to give a sense of how thoughts come out of someone's head. Anybody can write a well-constructed sentence -- well, any writer -- but to write a badly constructed sentence that sounds truer and is more revealing than a grammatical one -- that's the trick.
What's the last book you read that you really loved?
DECLARE by Tim Powers. It's a spy novel set in our world, except that the djinni exist, and the great powers are trying to use them against each other. The main character is a bastard of surprising ancestry ... and it's all based on some true mysteries about Kim Philby, the famous English double agent and traitor.
If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where should they look?
I've got a website for the book, http://thecirclecast.com, and a blog, too: http://morganslostyears.blogspot.com. I also blog extensively about screenwriting at http://complicationsensue.blogspot.com.
Great! Thanks so much for visiting, Alex, and all the very best with your debut!