Today I have with me L. Blankenship, one of my partners in crime from Unicorn Bell who has self-published her book, DISCIPLE - PART 1. She has graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions...
Where did the idea for the story come from and how did you decide upon the title?
I've talked about where the romance aspect came from in other interviews, so here's where the war came from. I wanted Kate sent on a mission for something important. Briefly, I ran through a list of your standard fantasy quests -- swords, magic, blah blah blah -- but all those horses have been beaten to death. I wanted fantasy without the glamorous trappings and the high-minded ideals. I wanted something human and gritty. Kate was on a mission to find allies for a war that couldn't be avoided, not some magic band-aid to make the bad guys go away.
A "disciple" is the lowest and most common level of magic-user. At the beginning of the story, Kate is just another disciple of her saint.
Plotster or pantster?
Plotter, definitely. But I do let my characters handle the fine details and go larking off on tangents -- if it helps the story. So there's some pants-ing in there.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
This is a great question, so I'm only going to explain one and save the others for later. :D
Kate's name was picked because it fits her. Certain names have generic personalities associated with them because of how they've been used in entertainment over the years. For example, a guy named "Jack" is going to be adventurous and action-oriented. "Kate" tends to be a tough, down-to-earth woman, in general portrayals. I wanted my heroine to be tough and down-to-earth, and the name Kate plugged right into that. At the same time, it gave me a chance to cast her in an ethnic minority (a British name surrounded by German ones) -- which will come into play in Part II.
What author(s), if any, have influenced you and who do hope to emulate?
I don't emulate any authors consciously, though I will gladly blame Edith Wharton for any last-minute monkey wrenches that get tossed into my stories. My fantasy genre influences include: Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories, Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea novels, Michael Moorcock's Elric saga, and Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth.
If humans had tails, do you think you would you hide yours, or display it proudly?
It would depend on whether tails are allowed in polite company, wouldn't it?
Speaking of tails, do you prefer dogs or cats or neither?
Cats. Though I do have a dog too. She's a good dog, but I'm still not a dog person.
Last three books you read and enjoyed?
Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
And finally, what is one of your most favorite meals and can you make it yourself?
I like to cook and I've got lots of good recipes… gee, only one? I guess I'll go with my spinach lasagna, then. I love spinach and when it comes to comfort food lasagna is high on everybody's list. (isn't it?)