Gate of Air
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.
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1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was 8 years old.
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I typically spend several years thinking about each book before I write it. I won’t write a book unless I’d want to read it myself. I’ll often be thinking about several different books at once. I spent 8 years thinking about my first novel (The Dragonslayer’s Sword, which is currently free on Amazon and other sites). I then spent a couple of years doing research and planning the book. Once I sat down to write it, I knew the book pretty well, and it took me 9 months to write it. All in all, it took about 10 to 11 years to write that book. Because I’ve been writing novels for several years now, I write faster because I’ve learned how to work more efficiently. But I still spend years thinking about each book before I write it.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Themes are usually either based on things I feel passionate about or things that are happening in my life at the time I’m writing the book. Right now, I’m concerned about the extent to which women are treated with disrespect and disdain in the United States. Sometimes I think about moving to another country. Writing Gate of Air and the other books in the Dragon Gods series let me dig into those feelings.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
Yes. I walk 4 miles every day at dawn, and that’s the most important part of my “writing” time, because that’s when I think about where I am in the novel and what comes next. Once I finish my walk, I sit down at the keyboard and write, based on what I spent those 4 miles thinking about. Most of the time I write Monday through Friday. But sometimes when I get close to the end of a novel I’ll write on weekends, too, just to take advantage of the momentum.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
My writing stays in my computer. In other words, I don’t talk about my writing, except when I’m with other authors. Because I keep my writing so separate from the rest of my life, it’s pretty easy to balance everything.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
The kinds of stories I like to read, regardless of genre, are about being human. In real life, many people are terrible at communicating, so lots of misunderstandings happen all the time and feelings get hurt. Everyone wants to love and be loved, and when people don’t feel loved, and especially when they feel rejected, terrible things can happen. So the kind of story line I like involves misunderstandings and hurt feelings and some people lying when they think the only way to get what they want is to manipulate others.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
I love the process of writing, from the very beginning when the book is just a simple idea to finishing the first draft. Once I finish the first draft, I’d like to start the next book – but I can’t. Getting the book edited in terms of making sure everything hangs together has to happen. The hardest part for me is the final phase of editing, meaning, making sure all the “i”s are dotted and the “t”s are crossed. It’s hard for me to be patient with that final stage because I’d rather be writing the next book.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I have 14 books in print right now. Twelve of those books are part of my “Dragon Cycle,” which is a group of series that take place in the same world. Series 1 is the Dragonslayer series, and Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) is currently free on Amazon and other sites. Series 2 is the Dragonfly series, and Series 3 is the Dragon Gods series – Gate of Air is Book 1 in Series 3. My intent is that you should be able to pick up any series and enjoy it, but you’ll get the richest experience by reading these series in order. In the fantasy genre, my favorite book is Book 2 in Series 1, called The Iron Maiden – but it’s hard to understand if you don’t read Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) first.
I also have a couple of mystery/thrillers. My favorite mystery is called Our Lady of the Absolute, which is about a country whose culture is like ancient Egypt, but it’s set in today’s world. In that book, there are four important characters, and their journeys weave together throughout the book.
9. Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character usually depends on what book I’m writing or have just written. Right now, my favorite character is Frayka, the main character in the Dragon Gods series.
10. Where do you write?
At my dining room table.
11.When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I began as a short story writer. I sold my first stories to small press magazines in the 1980s. By 1988, I made my first professional sale. Because I’m a graduate of the Clarion Workshop, my goal was traditional publishing. My first six novels were published by a traditional publishing house, but the more I heard about self-publishing, the more intrigued I was. Because I sold most of my short stories in ancient times (meaning, at the dawn of personal computers, the internet, and the world wide web), that means I hold the electronic rights to most of those stories. So I decided to dip my toes in self-publishing one short story at a time. (Many of my short stories are now collected in two anthologies.) I then decided to publish my first Dragonfly novel (Series 2) myself. After that, I requested the publishing rights for all my already-published books, and my publisher gave those rights back to me. Other than five traditionally-published audio books (the Dragonslayer series and one of my mysteries), I now self-publish everything I write.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I’m a big fan of Broadway musicals, stage plays, ballet, and museums. I live close to Boston, so I’m really lucky to see great local and touring performances, and I’m a member of some wonderful museums. I’m also a huge fan of travel, and one of my favorite things to do is visit ruins of ancient civilizations. When I feel like staying at home, I love watching movies and TV. My favorite series is The Walking Dead.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Learn your craft and never stop working at it.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
My favorite book is a mainstream novel called Bang the Drum Slowly. I’ve read and re-read it at different times in my life, and each time I learn something new from it. My favorite authors are all mystery writers: Harlan Coben, Gillian Flynn, and Dennis Lehane.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
My story lines have to be my own. If I allowed anyone to comment on my story lines before I write a book, it would be like inviting someone to tell me how to live my life. Not going to happen. The best advice I ever received came from a writer friend who also spent many years working as a fiction editor. He said, “Can you say that you’ve done what you wanted to accomplish with your story? If so, that’s all that matters.” But when it comes to editing and getting a novel ready for publication, I have an amazing team. I’m in a critique group with other Clarion graduates who are professionally published, and they’re wonderful. I learn so much from them all the time. If any part of a novel has gone off track, they point it out, and then we brainstorm about how I can fix the problem.
17. Are you working on anything now?
Yes! I’m working on the fourth and final series in my Dragon Cycle, which I expect to publish about a year from now. For people who like to be surprised, I recommend reading the entire cycle of series in order. But for people who like spoilers, I recommend reading the final series first because it actually happens before any of the other series take place.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Baby animals, flowers, a wide and open sky, the sight of the Boston skyline through an airplane window when I’m flying home, and hearing the theme song of The Walking Dead.
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
Bigotry, hatred, arrogance, crime, and war.
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Greece. It’s been at the top of my travel wish list for a long time.
Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon's Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
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