Another round of 20 Questions is upon us! This week the hotseat is being warmed by another awesome Indie Author, Sue Owen. She’s the author of fantasy time travel books and a fun person to chat with. So read on and join in on getting to know her better!
1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m a transplanted native Oregonian. I have three grown kids and multiple grand kids that keep me pretty busy. I enjoy writing and am working on several new novels.
2.) How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pencil. I kept a journal when I was younger then started writing short stories I would just throw away. I’d never let anyone read what I wrote. I’ve gotten over that J
3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?
Actually, no. I prefer SciFi or Mystery when I read and I write YA Fantasy and Romance. I used to read only Romance then went through a phase of only Mystery. Truly, though, with my review site I pretty much read anything. I’ve really enjoyed reading other Indie writers’ works. We have some pretty talented people out there.
4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?
Wizard of Time. Can be found in all the usual places. Amazon seems to be the most popular (http://amzn.to/jCYQw3)
5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.
The Wizard of Time snatches 3 kids from their timeline to return King Arthur’s sword before subsequent timelines break. (Bit more than 15, but I’m a writer!)
*LOL Yes we are! Don’t worry about it, You’re forgiven! 🙂
6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?
A dream. Long ago and far away I dreamed of three kids fulfilling a three part quest. I loved the King Arthur era so decided that would be a great place to start. The timeline stuff came along almost as I was writing it. Just insinuated itself in the story line.
7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?
About 5 years. It was probably 2 years it just rattled around in my head. I took a year and wrote out the store line and the first half then had to set it aside. I picked it up again about a year ago and finished in May.
8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?
I’ve done both. Wizard pretty much evolved on its own. The second in the series, which is done, Defender of Time required a story line and a bit more thinking to make sure it fit in with what had already been revealed by Wizard. The story line for the third book, Controller of Time is almost done just filling in all the pieces Wizard and Defender needed. Don’t get me wrong, Controller has its own story line too, so you won’t be disappointed!
9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?
I have a tendency to want to develop setting, characters and details way more than they need. I’ve written full books just on location. Look for companion books for all three of my Chasing History series.
10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?
Character interactions and scene setting seem to come pretty easy. Once I get them talking to each other I can easily visualize what that has to look like and their reactions and I can then put that on paper.
11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
It doesn’t have a single vampire, warewolf or shape changer! Kidding aside, it takes an aspect that young adults are used to, time travel, and adds a new twist causing them, I hope, to think about what are the consequences to the future if we did this action now?
12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?
I couldn’t pass up the romance and mystery surrounding King Arthur and his round table. Merlin, Mordred, Lancelot, Queen Gwinevere have always been heroes of mine. I loved being able to bring that period to life for my readers and let them see how great a time it was through my eyes.
13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?
Oh I can’t do that! I tend to over write my characters. When writing Wizard I wrote a full book on the three main characters, Josh, Meri and Digger. I’m publishing them as companions to their own Chasing History book. Look for Josh to come out September 1st.
14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.
Wizard of Time is about restoring items that were lost out of time back to their timeline before it messes up the future timelines. The Wizard of Time needs help stealing and returning Excalibur to King Arthur. There are only a handful of people that have the ability to travel time lines so he has to search across all of time to find the perfect three. Josh, Meri and Digger join the Wizard of Time to steal Excalibur from the Bards and return it. However, when they do, something happens to the Wizard’s lady love and her timeline is erased. Was returning the sword the catalyst for that disaster or were there other elements interfering with time?
15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?
I just want people to think about the consequences of their actions. Be brave, take a stand, make a choice and pay attention to what is happening around you. It does affect the future.
16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?
Two more as stated above. Book Two will be out middle September.
18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.
I play World of Warcraft. I love my X-Box and I make a mean lasagna.
19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.
Downtime? Fun? I live in Oregon. I’m about fifteen minutes from the mountains or the ocean. I love to swim so I split my time between lakes and sea. Kind of a cool life right now!
Chapter One – Introductions
Josh blinked, trying to clear his eyesight. Where the heck was he? He registered that the room was dark with a musty smell, like old socks. He could barely make out shapes but saw what could have been a desk with a big, stuffed chair behind it. It appeared that books covered all the walls. The room was large and Josh was at one end of it. There was a table with chairs in the middle of the room, with the desk at the far end. He rubbed his hands over his face again, trying to clear his eyesight.
“It doesn’t really help. That blurriness will go away in a little bit. Just don’t make any sudden movements and you won’t feel your head.” Josh spun around and looked to his right where the voice was coming from. So much for not making sudden movements. As he turned, his head exploded with pain and he staggered against the wall and promptly sat on the floor. He moaned.
“I told you not to make any sudden movements,” came the voice again in a softer tone. Josh could tell it was a girl but couldn’t really make out her features.
He held his head in his hands. “Are you sure my head won’t explode?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Here.” She handed him a cool, wet cloth. “It will pass in a couple of minutes,” she assured him.
“Thanks,” Josh said. “Where am I?” he asked between his fingers, afraid to take his hands down for fear his head would explode despite her assurance.
“I’m not sure,” she said cheerily. “I think this is the Wizard’s house but he’s not been back to tell us. We’ve had the full run of the house but the windows and doors won’t open. This is the library, in case you didn’t see that before you moved. There’s a small kitchen, couple bedrooms and a bathchamber, but that’s it,” she continued in the same cheerful voice. “There isn’t a food synthesizer but there’s some kind of metal box next to the sink that has food in it. Kinda gross to see food uncooked, but at least its eatable. Well some of it is, anyway.”
Well that’s just weird, Josh thought to himself. How can she not know what food is? Before he could think about it anymore, what just happened to him came flooding back in one, big, honking memory.
He had been heading home from the late shift at the diner where he ran the grill. Burgers, fries, that kind of thing. Nothing fancy. He had rounded a corner after getting off the bus and a little man completely covered in a long, dark coat told him to “step through the portal.” Not being one to do what he’s told, Josh tried to run the other way but the little guy simply pushed him and he went tumbling into the shimmering ring Josh now took to have been a portal, whatever that was.
“I’m Meri.” Meri was holding out her hand to Josh expecting him to shake it, he supposed, still kind of groggy and wondering what a synthesizer was, he grabbed her hand and pulled himself up, almost knocking her over. She recovered nicely and smiled. “The Wizard must be the little guy in black” he commented, not really needing an answer. “You said ‘we’ earlier,” Josh said. “Who’s ‘we’?” Meri pointed to a corner.
“He doesn’t say much. His name’s Digger but that’s about all I’ve gotten out of him. He’s been here for a day; I came last night and now you.” Meri told him. Josh could barely make out another person in the corner. He seemed to melt into the heavy curtains that were covering the window. If it wasn’t for his blonde hair he probably wouldn’t have been visible at all.
Josh could see he had some kind of backpack or bag in his hand but couldn’t really make out what it was. Digger sat the bag on the floor in the corner and raised his hand slightly in way of a greeting to Josh. Josh did the same and turned back to Meri.
Meri took the cloth Josh handed to her and set it on the table. She picked up a glass that was there and handed it to him. “Water. Drink.” Josh took a tentative sip and found it was pretty good so drank it and handed Meri back the empty glass. His eyesight was beginning to return to normal like she had said.
“Feeling better?” she asked after a little bit.
“Yup.” Josh tried a smile. That didn’t hurt too bad. “I’m Josh. So what’s going on? Do you know?”
She grinned at him. “Not really. All I know is that the Wizard will explain everything when he gets here.”
Since he had to wait, Josh figured he’d take a look around. After a bit of exploring he too found doors locked and windows that wouldn’t open. He even found the kitchen like Meri said.
Waiting wasn’t something Josh did well and he was going to have a few words to say to the Wizard when he returned but for now he figured he was stuck and would take the time to appraise the situation a bit and see what the others had to say. Maybe there was something they knew that could get him out of there. He returned to the study thinking he could talk to the other two to find out what else they knew. After all, they appeared to be in the same boat as he was.
Meri was standing with Digger by the window trying to get a look outside. He headed over to see, too. From the corner by the door a noise like a whisper drew their attention. Digger stepped back into the shadows. “Looks like the Wizard has arrived,” Josh said as they saw a little man materialize in the corner. The Wizard was holding a long stick with some kind of glowing gem on the end of it. He tapped it sharply on the floor and the room was flooded with lights. The three by the window all exclaimed and put their hands over their eyes. The little Wizard saw the gesture and giggled. “Lights” he said rather mischievously.
“Yeah, we got that,” said Josh, not bothering to hide his sarcasm. “What is going on old man? We need some answers. Where are we and why are you keeping us here?” Josh got out as he was holding his hand in front of his face, protecting his eyes against the light. “All in good time, all in good time.” The Wizard said almost in a whisper. Josh snorted. He didn’t like being dismissed out of hand. Before he could start up again, he felt a hand on his arm. Meri. She whispered, “give it a minute, okay?” Josh subsided reluctantly hoping she knew what she was doing.
Once Josh’s eyes adjusted to the light, he peered around the room. The light was coming from eight sconces set in the wall about three quarters of the way up; four on each side. They flickered like candles. Josh fleetingly wondered how the wizard had lit them all but was distracted by the wizard himself.
Now that Josh was seeing the little man again, he remembered that he had seen him several times in the week before the portal incident. Once outside his trailer park at the little bakery, once just outside his friend Charlie’s house in southeast Portland and again on the bus last week as he was heading to work.
The old guy had apparently been following Josh. He was clueless as to why. He was just an ordinary teenager; almost 6 feet tall with wavy brown hair that fell over his eyes a bit. Girls considered him good looking and he didn’t see any reason to doubt them. He wasn’t vane about his looks but made sure to take care of himself and wore things that were stylish rather than shabby. However, none of that, in Josh’s mind would be any reason to single him out for a little jaunt in a portal. And he still didn’t know where he was. As he was opening his mouth to give the Wizard a piece of his mind and get some questions answered, the Wizard had other plans.
“Wait here. Back shortly,” said the Wizard as he went out the door. Josh and Meri went to follow him but by the time they got to the door it was closed. Josh opened it and started out into the corridor beyond but there was no sign of the Wizard. “Well that’s just grand,” he exclaimed, stepping back inside and closing the door. “Guess we just wait,” he said as he sat down at the table. His head was still spinning and he picked up the glass, hoping for some more water.
“I’ll get you more water,” Meri said, taking the glass from him and heading out the door. When she got back, the Wizard was behind her. She handed the glass to Josh who set it on the table without taking any.
“Sit” the Wizard told Meri and Digger, pointing to the chairs around the table. “I need to tell you the rules before you leave,” he continued. Digger reluctantly left the corner to join the others at the table. Now that there was light, Josh was able to see his companions much better.
Meri was pretty. Her face was oval with high cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin. Her deep blue eyes shone with laughter. Her blonde hair was caught at the base of her neck and hung straight down her back in a braid. He saw she almost sat on it when she sat down. Earlier he noticed she smelled like wildflowers. She had on a blue blouse and dark skirt that was made of some shiny material Josh didn’t recognize.
Digger was tanned, blonde and looked skinny. He had narrow shoulders and was about the same height as Josh. Where Josh was muscular from working out, Digger was slight and sinewy. Digger’s cloths were slightly the worse for wear with a hole in the shoulder of his shirt and a ragged hem on his pants. A slight musty smell was coming from him Josh realized trying not to hold his nose. When he looked up, Josh noticed his sharp, blue eyes. Very distinctive.
“Where are we, where are we going, what are we doing here and what exactly is going on?” Josh asked, turning to the Wizard. The Wizard had flipped back the hood to his robe and Josh could see that he was younger than he expected him to be. His face was smooth with about three inches of beard on his chin. His hair was white, not blonde but white as if with age. Josh figured he was in his early to late 50s. The Wizard ignored Josh’s questions.
“This land is ruled by science, however, all patrols have a wizard for protection and they cast spells. Some rather nasty ones, too,” he paused for a second, looking down the table. “There is nothing you can use to defend yourself against them. Meri’s amulet will allow her to hide from them and then she can let me know when you get in trouble. You mustn’t be caught, though, with the item. Josh’s talent will help with that to some extent. Don’t talk to anyone. Digger will lead you through the shadows so follow him closely. Digger’s talents will get you into the area you need to be and back out. Meri will defend you, if necessary. Don’t leave witnesses. It is imperative that you act quickly.” The Wizard stood as if to go.
“Now hold on a sec, old man,” from Josh. “A question,” from Meri. The Wizard turned to Meri. “What item, what am I defending against, and what amulet?” she asked before Josh could catch his breath and ask his questions. Digger sat in silence.
“The amulet your mother gave you has the power to make you invisible and defend you against dark magic without being detected as magic. It is old world power so the Bard’s cannot detect it and you won’t be discovered by their squads,” the Wizard stated with a puzzled look. “Didn’t your father tell you about it?”
“No. He just told me it was my mother’s,” Meri said. “If it has some power I’ve never tried to use it and not sure it even works anymore. It’s very old, according to my father,” she went on, fingering the amulet around her neck.
“It is passive magic so it will work when it works. You shouldn’t have to do anything special to it as long as you are wearing it but holding it in your hand while activated should make the magic stronger. I’ve not had one to experiment with but that’s what I’ve researched,” said the Wizard. “As for your other questions, the defending will come in time. You are trained and prepared for battle. I need to go check on something. The item we will discuss after you’ve rested. I’ll have gifts for each of you, then, too.” He abruptly turned to the door, stomped his stick on the floor putting out the lights and walked out, closing the door behind him. Oh great, thought Josh. The old guy doesn’t know how the amulet works because he didn’t experiment with one. He doesn’t even know what he’s doing. Great.