Author Spotlight-Vanna Smythe-Protector

by Ashlynmathews on October 23, 2012

Duty versus love is the one battle warrior Kae doesn’t know how to fight.

Kae has trained his entire life to become an elite Protector of the Realm. But when he earns that honor he finds himself protecting something far greater: the Veil separating two worlds. On one side of the Veil lie untold stores of magic. On the Realm’s side, magic is all but obliterated, and Kae is one of the few who can use it. The priests who secretly rule the Realm will do everything they can to control his growing magical abilities. He’s willing to pay the price, even though it comes between him and Issa, the princess he loves.

But the Veil has weakened over a thousand years and powers on both sides will stop at nothing to keep it intact. Strangers from the other side have kidnapped Issa to take her across the Veil and sacrifice her to strengthen it. Kae is the only one who can find her. If he goes after Issa, he loses everything he’s worked so hard for. But if he chooses duty over love, Issa will die.

Vanna, thank you for dropping by my blog today. Protector is  the first book in your Anniversary of the Veil series, and you’re currently writing the second book, Decision Maker. I have to say, I’ve read Protector and the world building and details in the pages are amazing.

Hi, Ashlyn, I’m glad to be here! I’m also glad you enjoyed Protector. It is also great to hear that you liked my world building and descriptive details, since those are two areas of writing that don’t come naturally to me. I had to work at them and to know I’ve succeeded is awesome news.  And, yes, I am almost done with part 2, Decision Maker. I’m hoping to release it by Christmas.

Very exciting! I’m looking forward to part 2 🙂. Tell us why you chose to write fantasy fiction?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy fiction, so when I decided to try my hand at writing a book it was a natural choice for me.

They say write what you know, which to authors, may be to read in the genre they write. Do you read fantasy? What other genres do you like to read?

I read a lot of fantasy, but I also like the classics, as well as modern mainstream fiction. I’m also very partial to spy thrillers.

Tell us more about the elements of romance in Protector for us readers who like a love story in our books?

Protector has a huge romantic element in it. The whole story basically revolves around Issa’s (the main heroine) desire to be with the man she loves. This man is, however, not Kae (the main hero) who feels a deep and unrequited love for Issa. Also, in the world of Protector, the energy that is released when two people who are basically soul mates come together is used towards some practical end (righting a wrong, controlling the weather). So love is at the heart of the story, though not in the strict romance novel sort of way.

You’ve traveled in Europe and have a love for the Middle Ages. When I think of the Middle Ages, I envision castles, knights and damsels in distress. Tell us about the main men and women in your books.

I’ve always loved the Middle Ages for some reason. The world of Protector is a medieval-like place, with castles, sword-wielding knights, kings and princesses (Ashlyn interrupting- oooh, I love sword-wielding men and women 🙂). Oppressive religion also plays a big part in the book, just as was the case in medieval Europe. The one thing that is missing, however, is the constant threat of war. There are no wars in this world I created, because the priests and the king see to it that the realm is never threatened. The fact that only the priests and the Protectors possess magic makes this easy to achieve.

I suppose the whole story is a damsel in distress kind of thing, though not quite in the sense that we’re used to reading about. Kae, the brave soldier, must rescue his love Princess Issa, but not from evil men so much as from herself.

The men in Protector are almost all strong alpha types, and the women are no shrinking violets either. I wanted to create a world where the differences between the sexes were not as oppressive as they are in our world’s history.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Kae is my favorite by far. In the first draft, he was supposed to be one of the side characters, but he just came to life as I wrote the book and finally became the main character. He’s the one that grows the most as the story progresses, and he’ll always be the first “real” character I created.

I have to say, I loved Kae and I did see him “grow” from beginning to end. You did a great job! That’s what we as authors want. Our characters shouldn’t be the same as they were in the beginning. Who is your least favorite or hardest character to bring to life on the pages of Protector?

Oddly enough, I had the most problems with Issa. And she was supposed to be the main heroine :). Though I think in book 2, I’ve finally managed to get her down on the page as she’s supposed to be.

Now, you’re an Indie author. Give us an idea of your publication journey and the pros and cons of calling your own shots.

I never tried the traditional route. I didn’t want to wait years before my book was in print. I’m loving every minute of my indie journey, though all the marketing and networking does steal a lot from my writing time. But the way I understand it, even trad published authors have to do a lot of their own marketing. (Ashlyn sticking her nose in again- I agree with you one hundred and ten percent!)

The one thing I do miss, however, is having a complete editing and book formatting team behind me though.

If you could write any other genre, what would it be?

Mainstream or literary. I already have a completed manuscript that I hope to revise and publish early next year.

What do you like to do away from your writing life?

In no particular order, I like to travel, read, play video games, watch movies and hang out with friends and family.

What advice would you give writers or traditionally published authors if they’re thinking of going Indie?

Going indie requires a lot of work outside of just writing your book. I strongly recommend hiring a good editor, cover designer and book formatter to make you final book as good as it can be.

Vanna, again, thank you for stopping by, and happy writing.

Thanks for having me!

Vanna Smythe – Fantasy Author
Twitter: @Vanna_Smythe

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VannaSmytheAuthor

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 1): http://amzn.to/xLusPP

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina McKnight October 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

So great to see Vanna in the spotlight again! She was the very first author I had on my blog while she was finishing the edits in book 1. Checking my email hourly for book 2!

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Ashlynmathews October 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

Soon, I’m thinking 🙂

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Vanna Smythe October 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hey Christy, thanks for stopping by! And I just emailed you book 2 😉

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Maggie Jaimeson October 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

Vanna, I love your confidence and how well you know your story. Fantasy world-building is one of the hardest things I think an author can take on. I wonder if you find it all difficult to transition between the requirements of genre fiction (i.e., fantasy) and the requirements of literary fiction. To me the reader expectations are quite different.

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Vanna Smythe October 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi Maggie, thanks for visiting! Honestly, I’m not much of a worldbuilder. I loved creating my characters and the world just kind of sprung up around them 😉 I’m still ironing out the details of it as I write book 2. I agree that literary and fantasy fiction reader expectations are a lot different, though quite a few reviewers commented that I could have even less detailed worldbuilding in Protector, go figure 😉

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