Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - , No comments

Author Interview: Clovia Shaw

Hello all! I’m super excited to bring you an interview with Ms. Clovia Shaw, author of Nogitsune. Clovia and I met via Twitter and I am thankful for having the opportunity to get to know her.

A little background on Clovia (GoodReads Bio):
Clovia Shaw is an ordained Dudeist Priest (who can resist an Ordain Me! button?), a collector of Urban Vinyl art toys, and once designed a line of elongated pennies for belly dancers. She has degrees in both Journalism and Interior Design, and is probably thinking really hard about putting actual pants on right now.

A big fan of Kissing Books in which things blow up, Clovia lives in Annapolis, with her very patient husband and the ghost of a very good dog.

Time for the interrogation.. I mean interview: 

1.    You're introducing yourself to someone new. What words do you use to describe yourself?

What, like, in person? I’m a hermit, so the very idea of telling someone about myself near paralyzes me. Most likely I’d shake their hand, say “Clovia” and then just smile too big and nod too much while trying to find some polite avenue of escape before I did something fatally embarrassing.
It’s hilarious how much we share in common. My roommates and I, have and inside joke about how we are hermits. Introductions are always an awkward situation, there’s the “ice breaking” phase, the small talk phase, and eventually the awkward silence phase.

2.    Lets narrow down the above. What one word best describes you?

            Haha love the word choice.

3.    I see that you have degrees in both journalism and design. How did you incorporate your education into writing Nogitsune?

The most obvious way is that Delia is an Interior Designer. I don’t go much into detail about her mundane job, but as a geomancer, it helps her get clients because of the way the house feels after she’s redone or rearranged it. I didn’t plan it that way, but it makes the most sense that a geomancer would be a decorator or designer.

4.    Becoming a published author sounds like no easy task. What, if any, were some of the obstacles you had to overcome? 

Well, I self-published, but I started out (many) years ago trying trade-publishing route. I queried this one to agents and pubs, too, but it just wasn’t what anyone was looking for at the time. And that’s okay. They have to make money, and some books just don’t fit what they’re acquiring for their lists, for many reasons. I’d still like to be trade published someday, but I felt like this was a story readers would enjoy.
I have no doubt you that you will succeed in becoming trade published.

5.    Nogitsune is based off of Japanese folklore; something I assume is uncommon to most readers. Where did you come across these stories?  

Growing up nerd, there was a strong thread of East Asian art and themes through my entertainment—anime, movies like Blade Runner, storylines in my favorite comic books, etc.—and I’ve always been interested in world mythologies and folklore. The kitsune is a living, evolving cultural icon in Japan, and I felt like fox people would feel just as natural in many UF worlds as European folk creatures like vampires and werewolves.
I absolutely love the concept behind Nogitsune. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should.

6.    I've studied the Japanese language, though I'm not fluent. Can you speak Japanese? Have you been to Japan? 

I have not been, but would love to go, if I ever have the means. In particular, I’d love to see the Inari Grand Shrine at Fushimi in person. I do not speak Japanese, though I have picked up some words and phrases over the years. I have several friends who do speak the language, and had them read through the manuscript to make sure I wasn’t misusing the words I do have throughout the book.
            For those who don’t know what the Inari Grand Shrine is:

Notice the kitsune???

7.    Is there a genre you like to stick to or is everything fair game? 

As a reader, everything is fair game, though mostly Spec Fic unless it’s Romance, in which I also read historical and contemporary. I read everything from Christopher Moore and Terry Pratchett to Jennie Crusie, which probably indicates that I look for a cockeyed sense of humor in the storytelling. As a writer, it all ends up being fantasy, either whole-cloth Sword-and-Planet, Portal, Urban Fantasy, or something unhelpfully genre-bending.
I applaude the diversity, I’m attempting to add some to my lineup haha.

8.    What are you reading now?

Mostly beta’ing for other writers lately, though I’ve been trying to get to a Gaiman joint on my tbr pile for awhile now.

9.    Are there any books on your TBR (to be read) list that you are super excited about?

If I’m super excited about something, I usually read it as soon as it’s downloaded or bought, haha, so nothing that jumps to mind.
I get excited about my TBR books too, but my list is growing faster than I can compensate for!

10. The cover is amazing. Nope, that's not a question, just thought I'd throw it out there.

Thank you! It’s by Ashley Neal, who’d never done a book cover before. I had a hard time finding an artist, and I’m so thrilled with how it came out.
            Wow, first time? She did a great job. 

11. Are you planning any future works? If so, care to drop a hint or two? 

I’m planning at least two more books in the same world as Nogitsune, with the same characters. Then I have a couple more projects set in completely different universes, that I’ll probably try the trade publishing route with again before deciding whether or not to self-publish them. I’m in it for the long haul. It may take some fine-tuning before I find an audience, but I’m good with that.

12. What advice would you give those reading Nogitsune? Likewise, what about those who are on the fence of reading it?

The biggest thing is: It’s Different. It’s not going to read like your average Urban Fantasy, but I think that’s a good thing. It’s an unfolder, a story I hope readers will sink into and enjoy taking their time reading, and a new twist on a very old folklore they might not be familiar with. Not a bad gamble for three bucks, right? 
            Nope, not at all. Seriously folks, give it a shot.

13. What advice would you give to future writers?

While it’s a scary time to be a writer now, it’s also a very exciting one. There’s a lot of anxiety about the state of trade publishing and brick-and-mortar stores, but I promise you, the book will survive. If you’re going to self-pub, be prepared to do the work, and put the best book you’re capable of writing out there. Write it, edit the absolute hell out of it, listen if your most trusted beta readers say something doesn’t work, then polish ‘til it shines. If you’re going the trade route, do all that before you query the manuscript, do your research before you submit, and don’t get discouraged by those rejections. Everyone gets rejections. Everyone.
For any of you who are considering this route, it would be wise to follow Clovias advice. Always put your best work forward, listen to your readers, and believe in your work. Great advice, thanks Clovia!

14. This is probably off topic, but it's been on my mind ever since I read your bio on GR and Amazon. You designed a line of elongated pennies for belly dancers? This is not something you hear of everyday. So, I'm curious as to how this came about. I'm sure it stems from your degree in design, but belly dancers?! Mind sharing a picture of your design?

Haha, sure! I took a lot of belly dancing classes back in the day, and noticed there weren’t a lot of copper costuming components for dancers. Just gold and silver. Elongated pennies seemed like a natural choice—great shape, fun and familiar to anyone who’s ever put a penny in a souvenir machine, and the possibility of unlimited designs. I thought it sounded like a good gamble for a well-targeted start-up business, and ended up doing five designs, and issuing three for purchase.
Clovia's elongated penny design, fancy huh?

Clovia's hand painted Hamsa earings. Wow, the design is awesome.

15. Anything you would like to add?

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

You are certainly welcome! I also want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions and for letting my readers get to know a little about yourself.

Well… since you now know how awesome Cloiva is, here are some links to help you keep in touch. 

Twitter: @CloviasLawn
GoodReads: Clovia Shaw 
Link to Nogitsune: Amazon / GoodReads 


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