Watch the Chapter 1 Reading of COURAGE UNDER FIRE (from PAGAN FLAMES):
Reading performed by actor Geoff Mays
Get to know writer Vanayssa Somers:
1. What is your novel about?
This is the logline I submitted to describe my novel, PAGAN FLAMES.
“Arch-Wizard Faery Prince recruits an under-confident young orphan
girl for training in Shapeshifting, Time Travel, Quantum Mastery, all
to turn her into a super-hero who travels through time, saving lives
and bringing evil to its knees.”
A young orphan girl in 1480’s Majorca is living in a convent. A good
Catholic girl, she is recruited by a Wizard who travels Time looking for
suitable students to mentor into the Bright Arts. She proves a remarkable
student. However, the Spanish Inquisition finds out about her activities.
Soldiers come to drag her before the Grand Inquisitor. Her adventures begin,
leading her to a great leap toward self confidence, mature practice of her
Craft of Wizardry, and heroic actions to save lives from The Burning Times.
2. Why should this novel be read by anyone?
It captures the historic events of the Spanish Inquisition in a personal, up
close way, underlining the courage of those who were unjustly killed and the
heroic acts of a young girl who drew upon every skill her mentor had taught
her to fly to the aid of victims. In those days, as in our own time, the
truth is, we will always need brave heroes and heroines to battle evil on
all its many fronts.
3. How would you describe this story in one sentence?
This story is but one of millions of stories about heroic acts on behalf of
the underdog in all times and all locations. We love heroes.
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Okay, I’ll admit it. “You’ve Got Mail.”
5. How long have you been working on this novel?
I wrote it over a period of eight months, and it was edited many times over,
of course, after that.
6. How many stories have you written?
Two novellas and two short stories.
7. What motivated you to write this novel?
Since I was a child, I have practiced as a psychic, using cards and tea
leaves mostly until my abilities developed further. When I became a Reiki
Master, a gift of Holographic reading arrived unexpectedly during a Reiki
healing. One of the readings channeled through me one day concerned a young
woman in ancient Europe who could shape-shift and move between matter and
energy with ease. The reading was vivid and unforgettable. Bearing in mind,
these movies are channeled to aid the sitter through a particular life event
they need help with. I claim no responsibility for explaining the content of
the movies, so I can’t claim certain knowledge of this ancient girl’s
ability to shape shift…it was given for a modern-day woman’s needs at that
time in her life.
The story gripped my imagination (of course), and for years I thought about
it and slowly a story emerged. One winter I had not a lot to do with the
rainy months, so I sat down and started writing this colorful dream onto
paper. When I submitted it to Solstice Publishing, they accepted it, sending
a contract by return mail. A thrill for me, to say the least.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this novel?
I fell in love with the lead character, a Wizard, and suffered awful
depression for weeks after the book was finally and fully finished. I’d lost
him forever, he was gone. For months I’d become immersed in this story and
almost lost contact with real life, buried in the events of The Burning
Times of 1483 Spain. Melchior, Arch Wizard, Prince of Faeries, honorable and
dedicated to his craft and his Faery people, had cast his spell and then
vanished, as Wizards are prone to do.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Animal rights, protection of the wilderness, great trees, flowers, angels
and divine justice. Also I like working out and staying healthy. Also love
romance. Love my friends.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? What were your
feelings on the initial feedback you received?
An email came into my Inbox one day about the festival, I was puzzled as to
what it was and went to look at the site. It seemed amazing, there was a
chance someone would read a chapter or even my logline out loud. I jump on
any chance for anyone to see my work, of course. The feedback was
encouraging and very kind, so what was the harm in trying?
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Well, it’s a good idea, if you submit a story and it doesn’t get snatched up
right away, after a few tries, put it up on the free e-book sites and see
how many thousands of downloads and how many five star ratings it gets.
Sometimes an editor might take note of a successful free e-book if it
garners enough attention. I’ve had some successes and some failures of
stories on the free sites, some are loved and some are ignored. But at
least…they get read. And that’s the main thing, right? For most of us.
Also, if you really believe in your book, don’t give up. The sun and moon
and planets all move on in their paths, and every now and then, you get
Jupiter lined up with Venus or something…never give up. Your turn comes
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WATCH the Recent Winning Short Story/1st Chapter Readings: