Fifer is many things: a thief and caravan guide, a step daughter, an apprentice, and a half breed — part giftless and part Fay, the legendary and mysterious creatures as old as the desert. Her glowing green eyes set her apart, spark frightened glances and mutterings, cause the crowd to part as she passes; but Fifer has learned long ago that she does not need the approval of strangers. She is aloof, stubborn and daring-until her partner goes missing, and she is offered a job that may prove beyond her skills.
Arkadius is the Master in training, and he can feel in his gut that his time is coming. How will he lead the Aestus, the brotherhood of power-gifted and secretive warriors? Would the Aestus chieftains accept him, or will the brotherhood fall apart in Arkadius’s hands? The young man must take great risks to ensure his people’s survival.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Fay Storms is set to be released on 19 December 2016. (Just in time for the holidays!)
Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the author of Fay Storms, A.A. Frascati.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a chemist, but my lifelong passion has been writing, so I have taken a break from working in the lab and am focusing on my writing and on self-publishing my first book.
I currently live in supernatural British Columbia, although I have lived across Canada and in Europe. When I am not reading, writing or cooking up a storm (and making a mess), I can be found outside; I love to travel, hike, rock climb and run. On days where I need to be cheered up, I go to the local dog park and watch the dogs run around and play, that never fails to put a smile on my face.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a kid. I would sometimes visit my dad’s work when I was no older than ten and sit at his computer and write (I remember working on a book about twin animals, go figure!). It was before Windows, and I remember how exciting it was to see the green letters on the black background as I typed! I always excelled at creative writing and I used to write poems when I was younger. I entered a contest in high school just to get a free T-shirt, instead ended up winning an electric guitar with a poem about why girls rock. My best friend and I met because we discovered that we both loved to read and write, and we have been writing books and being each other’s editors ever since. Fay Storms is a book I originally wrote for her birthday, but it’s been a long time in the making.
3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
The original idea for Fay Storms came to me in (gasp) high school, and (thankfully) has morphed into something as unlike the original idea as possible. The only elements that were kept were the names of the characters, the setting, and Arkadius’s sword, and that is only because he is based on a picture I saw online. Twelve years after its conception, I decided that I would take the bare bones of the story and rewrite it so that I could gift it to my friend on her birthday. It was going to be a Christmas present at first, but that plan did not work out, and since her birthday is in July that gave me an extra six months to finish. I wrote the last scene two days before her birthday and I remember the adrenaline rush as I sat at my laptop with a finished novel in front of me. The only downer was that I couldn’t call my best friend and steadfast writing buddy to share in my excitement because I wanted the book to be a surprise.
4. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
Fay Storms was a working title for a long time, because it summarizes the book pretty accurately: there are Fay and they destroy the Empire with some pretty nasty magical storms (don’t worry, there is more to the story). I tried to change it in one of those this-isn’t-good-enough moments that all writers get, but everyone I asked said they liked Fay Storms and so it stuck. The name for the trilogy, however, came to me as I getting ready to publish: I wanted something clean, catchy and easy to remember and everything I had thought of previously was too contrived. The Storms Trilogy just seems to carry the right kind of weight.
5. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
In Fay Storms, I enjoyed writing Arkadius’s POV because he came more easily than Fifer, but that is only because Fifer’s inner struggle hit very close to home. Writing about Fifer felt very revealing and I kept on wondering what that said about me to my reader (silly me!). I am proud of her and the journey that she takes in this book and that makes her my favorite character. In the second book (due to be released in the spring of 2017), I introduce new characters, one of which I have truly fallen for because he is the underdog that we can all remember being at least once in our lives and you just can’t help rooting for him (you’ll have to wait for my second book to know who I am talking about).
6. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Fay Storms.
Fifer is: loyal, a half-breed, stubborn, lonely, and quick-witted.
7. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I write whenever I have time (while I eat breakfast, as soon as I get back from work, etc.), although I try not to write right before bed because I can’t fall asleep afterwards. I like to write in silence, because my mind has a tendency to wander, so at home is the best location. My method is to write the story sequentially because I find that writing scenes that I have perfected in my mind and then stitching them together later does not work for me. I do keep notes of all the scenes that I dream up in a notebook that I usually have handy, and if not, I write on scrap paper or napkins until I can jot it down in my journal or on my computer. Ultimately, all notes go on my laptop in organized folders.
I have tried different ways to keep track of my story (or not), and an outline made in Excel is my favorite method for planning. I have a general synopsis for each chapter, whose POV I am writing in and the word count. If I know what the next chapter will be about I make a note in the spreadsheet. Especially with a series organization is crucial. I also find that if I make my notes on the computer then I can re-read all them and then rearrange their order to make a chronologically accurate plan.
8. What is your favorite book genre?
I read a lot and the genre varies on my mood, but I love fantasy, travel books, chick lit, science fiction and humor. I write predominantly fantasy books because I love how adventurous my characters can be.
9. What are you currently reading?
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
10. What is your favorite book?
This question is too hard to answer! There are many books I truly love for very different reasons.
11. Any project in the works?
I am working on finishing the series, and I also have a YA urban fantasy novel in the works as well as some ideas for a dystopian series.
12. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
It depends on other factors, but if I set myself down to the task with great focus and I have a good strategy in place I could have the first (very rough) draft ready in about two to three months.
13. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
The characters are a huge part of the story. If they are honest representations of human beings with motives and beliefs that drive them and at least a few flaws, then you will want to get to know them and learn what happens to them. I also think that you can feel an author’s commitment to the story when you read a book: when you write, there is a certain point when the story and characters will get away from you and start doing things you never expected them to. When the writer’s priority is to tell the story right and not just stick to his/her plan, they will let them take their meandering way to wherever they have to go.
14. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up when things are getting hard: writing through the tough scene is what creates the challenge and tension in your stories and even though it’s not as juicy as that scene you’ve been planning in your head for weeks, it’ll surprise and amaze you. Don’t be afraid to edit your work, but don’t overdo it either: doubt is part of the process, but you shouldn’t let it stop you from achieving what you want to achieve with your writing.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
3. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Being able to travel to the future
4. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Making a phone call
5. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Travelling by car
6. Working in a group or working alone?
7. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing all of my money
8. To find true love or to win the lottery?
To find true love
9. Reading or writing?
It’s a tie!!!!
10. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
To find the love of my life
11. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
To speak using only quotes from Austen’s books
12. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without internet access for a week
13. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Walking for twenty-four hours
14. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
To never watch another film
15. Finding yourself caught in the middle of a hurricane or finding yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm? (Note: in both scenarios, you’d be outdoors and have no access to shelter.)
Caught in the middle of a snowstorm
16. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
To never again eat a piece of chocolate