Friday, November 1, 2013


C.N. Lesley, author of the fantasy novel Shadow Over Avalon, stops by for an interview.

 Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author? What kinds of books do you write?

Hi Mary. I started writing twenty years back, when my kids were little. I suppose it was a form of adult escapism at the time. I joined the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. As for what I write, it seems to be cross genre. ‘Darkspire Reaches’ is a dark, romantic fantasy while ‘Shadow Over Avalon’ is science fantasy. In progress, I have urban fantasy, high fantasy, another dark, romantic fantasy and science fiction.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

I think my all time favorite would have to be Uther, from ‘Shadow Over Avalon’. He is very strong in a rake’s hell kind of way and will do things his own way. He also has a more sensitive side.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

There is a scene of a man and a woman riding along a deserted beach, racing against the surf. Ironically, this is their one time to be themselves before everything starts to go wrong.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

Those things all come together at once for me. Sometimes I research settings if I think the character might be headed in that direction. It comes from being a pantzer and not an outliner.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

About seven or eight months and that takes in various editing passes by myself before it is ready for other eyes. I write when I get inspired and generally have three books going at once so I can skip from one to the other, as the muse dictates.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

Mmm, what started me off? In the beginning, it was Frank Herbert and his books ‘Dune’ and ‘Dune Messiah’, along with J.R.R. Tolkien and ‘Lord of the Rings’. Add to that mix generous helpings of Michael Moorcock and his various series, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, then there is a fair mix of favorites from the early times.

There are all kinds of "rules" out there about writing - show don't tell, no dialogue tags, etc. What's your opinion on them? Do you heed them? Bend them? Ignore them?

Rules are to make reading easier. If a certain standard is norm, then it is more acceptable to stay within that standard. Rules can be broken at times, but only by those who have total understanding of them, and for a specific event/scene. Yes, I have seen some experimental work and it is difficult to follow the story over the cleverness that is trying to happen.

What was the first idea you had for Shadow Over Avalon, and how did the story grow from there?

All my books start out as dreams and this was no different. The book originally started with just the fantasy segments. It was a fairly simple story and then I got bits added one until I got an intricate weave between science fiction and fantasy.

Are any of the characters in Shadow Over Avalon based on yourself or people you know?

Absolutely not. The characters come with the story and do not evolve outside. The only exception to that is from ‘Darkspire Reaches’ when the little firedrake was based on an amalgam of my various cats.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing Shadow Over Avalon? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

Oh yes. As I didn’t know what was going to happen next until it occurred, then sometimes it was a big surprise. Something I had thought would go in one direction charged off in the opposite. Some minor characters I hadn’t intended to elevate suddenly became very important and so had to have proper lives. The general theme behaved itself, though.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks very much for the tour!

Shadow Over Avalon, published by Kristell Ink, is available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon.

Book Description:

Beyond the mists of time, a dying warrior binds his soul to his sword with an oath to protect his people. His shade rides with the Wild Hunt while he waits for the call of greatest need, but when it comes, he doesn't know it is a lie.

In the undersea city of Avalon, Arthur nears the end of his acolyte training. But he doesn't want to spend his life serving the Archive, he wants to fight side by side with the air-breathing people to defeat the predators who are determined to ensure their own survival no matter the cost.

Ashira, War Maid princess of the surface-world, is ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but when she is betrayed she must choose whether to die with honor or become one of the creatures her kinsmen fear and loathe.

Fortune twists in the strongest hands. This is no repeat; this is what happens next.

Following two threads of time, CN Lesley's fresh take on the Arthurian tales of old delivers the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy.


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