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Interview with M.K. Theodoratus, author of ‘The Ghostcrow’

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M.K. TheodoratusHooked by comic books at an early age, M. K. Theodoratus’ fascination with fantasy solidified when she discovered the Oz books by L. Frank Baum with his strong female characters. She has traveled through many fantasy worlds since then. When she’s not reading about other writer’s worlds, she’s creating her own.

Most of her stories are set in the Far Isles where she explores the political effects of genetic drift on a mixed elf human population. Lately, Theodoratus has been setting her stories in an alternate world of Andor where demons stalk humankind.

A sixth grade English assignment started her writing. The teacher assigned a short story. Theodoratus gave her an incomplete, 25-page Nancy Drew pastiche which turned into a full novel by the next summer. She’s been writing happily ever after ever since…for four or five writing careers. Most recently she’s been concentrating of her Andor stories, set in an alternate world where demons and magic plague humans.

Her latest book is the supernatural fantasy novelette, The Ghostcrow: A Tale of Andor.

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About the Book:

Seeing ghosts has plagued Dumdie Swartz since early childhood.

The Ghostcrow 2Afraid that ghost guts might stick to her if she stepped through them, thirteen-year-old Dumdie Swartz still cringes when she encounters them.

Her strange attempts to avoid spirits create a lonely life.

Her sisters constantly mock her strange behavior, her parents are clueless, and her social life is zero. Dumdie finds solace working in a shared garden with her elderly neighbor, Mr. Carson. When teens from her high school steal pumpkins from his garden, Mr. Carson is hurt during the theft, and later, dies.

Dumdie’s life takes a dark turn.

She learns there are stranger things than ghosts, when she senses something evil living in Kyle, one of the boys who had raided the pumpkin patch. Kyle bullies Dumdie to scare her into silence. The more Kyle threatens her, the clearer she perceives the evil thing possessing him. Dumdie finds support in an unlikely group of girls who befriend her when she helps them with their costumes for the Pumpkin festival. During the festival, Dumdie’s fears explode when the thing possessing Kyle decides it wants to possess her.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kay. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

First, thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing.

Nothing like stumping me with your first question. Don’t think I fit into any of the molds. I’ve been writing since the sixth grade, and we won’t go into how long that is. I sold my first short stories to the kids’ section of Sunday newspapers. Not often, but often enough to keep me daydreaming in a coherent fashion. I’ve sold both fiction and non-fiction to other publications over the years.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I’ve enjoyed several writing “careers”. This time around, I sold some fantasy stuff to WolfSinger Press and Spectra, but the short story I wrote for Spectra, Night for the Gargoyles, really lit the fire in my imagination. I expanded it into a novel about the demon/gargoyle battles for the city of Trebridge and was offered a contract when I pitched it at a writer’s conference to a small indie publisher.

Being a responsible citizen, I started building a writer’s platform by self-publishing other short stories and novelettes set in my alternative world of Andor. The publisher folded for a variety of reasons, not all their fault, and I was left with a bunch of self-published stories I enjoy sharing.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

See above.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

The first time? Don’t think I remember. I was a sour pickle-puss as a teen. Not really a loner, but I definitely preferred writing my stories and reading books to people.

Do remember encountering the English lit guys of the college literary magazine, though. Since I thought of myself as a writer, I went to their recruitment meeting where these males strutted and spouted about literature. Turned out I was the only one who had been independently published…though my stuff was beneath their notice. Dylan Thomas or James Joyce I wasn’t. I’m still not and have no ambition to become “great”.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Ahh, memories of the past. I didn’t promote at all. My story appeared in the paper, and I basked in my nice letter from the editor. Probably put the check in the bank.

To promote my self-published stories now, I do the social media thing: GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook, etc. plus trying out blog tours.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Think I’m a little too old to grow. I just like to tell my stories and, thanks to the web, it’s easy to share them. Guess my craft skills have improved. I don’t have to eliminate nearly as many passive structures as I used to.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Nothing has surprised me, even though the industry turned rather strange with the corporate paradigm taking over. But who can say it’s worse than the old paradigm of being a gentleman’s hobby.

The web has made it much easier to get published, if you don’t mind becoming your own publisher. That means not only are you responsible for creating the story, you must get your book content edited, copy edited, put the print book together or format it as an ebook, and market it so people have a chance to notice it.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

*Shrug* I have made any best-seller lists, so I have made my fortune yet. I do get to share my writing if anyone cares to read it. Is that a reward?

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

I’ll join the ranks of Stephen King and a host of others. In one word: write. Even if someone says your stories are junk, write. Then, write some more.

People learn the craft of writing by writing. For some, it’s a natural born talent. For others, it’s a hard row to hoe.

Another little secret, find a writers group. You can learn to improve your writing both by critiquing others and listening to the comments of others about your writing. If you meet a troll along the way, ignore them even if they say hurtful things.

Read the blogs of your favorite writers. You may be surprised to learn they have “trunk novels” which will never see the light of day because they hadn’t yet learned their craft when they wrote them.

 

 

 

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