INTRO: Charlotte Boyett-Compo is the author of novels in thegenres of dark fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, and suspensethriller. We have talked to her about The WindLegends Saga aswell as other aspects of being a writer.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea forThe WindLegends Saga?
A: As a lot of writers do, I suffer from migraine headaches.My physicians have experimented over the years with differentcombinations of drugs to prevent the headaches or lessen theirseverity. While I was taking one of these new drugs, I beganto experience very vivid dreaming episodes that were in living,blazing color. During one of these dreams-in which I found myselfwalking along the banks of a beautiful, sparkling river-Iencountered Prince TheÁion Acet, Regent of Serenia. We sat andtalked for quite some time and from that interlude, the tales ofthe Court of the Winds and TheÁionís ancestors were told to me.The next morning, I wrote down what I had dreamt and from therethe WindLegends Saga was born. Iíve often wondered if thathandsome prince from some galaxy far from our own came to me tohave me tell the tale. My mystical side insists it is quitefeasible!
Q: Which authors would you say have been your greatestinspiration sources?
A: I have always enjoyed the supernatural and other wordly.My fascination with horror movies as a child led me to a studyof the paranormal while in high school. I devoured anythingdealing with the occult, mythology, and legend. The fantasyrealms created by such authors as Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinleinfired my imagination and instilled in me a desire to createworlds of my own. I began keeping notebooks filled withcharacters and places and plot scenarios for tales I wanted totell. By the time I graduated high school, I had ninecomposition books filled with ideas, snippets of dialogue andoutlines for several novels.
Q: What has been the major challenges in becoming a writer?
A: Finding the time to write. When I was younger, I was raisinga family and it was difficult to find the peace and quietnecessary to create. Once my sons were in high school and moreor less self-sufficient, my husband overseas on assignment, Icould write Ďtil I grew too exhausted to type another letter. Myfirst novel was written on an electric typewriter, but the fourthdraft was done on an old Apple 2C. By the time I graduated to myfirst PC, I had revised THE KEEPER OF THE WIND six times and themanuscript was three feet tall!! Realizing there were definitedisadvantages to having so large a book, I began to whittle itdown to three, then four, then finally six novels. My biggestchallenge was knowing where to cut each book so that the storystood on its own. Each of my novels end on a cliffhanger anyway,so partitioning them in such a way to make the reader want toread the next one in the nine volume series (ah, yes, I wrote aFEW more pages after that sixth novel!), became a real challenge.
Q: Do you have a routine for writing?
A: At the present time, I am working as our parish secretaryso my weekdays are taken from 8-5. I can only write in theevenings and on the weekends. I am an extraordinarily lucky womanin that I have a very supportive, wonderfully understandinghusband who is more than willing to take on the household choresin order for me to pursue my dream. He has always encouraged mywriting and prodded me when I was ready to give up as I struggledto find a publisher for my work. He refused to let me quit andhas often worked an extra job so I could sit and write. On mydays off, I am usually at the computer in my office which hasno windows to distract me, no phone, and is somewhat soundproof,by ten a.m. I work until around one, eat at my desk, then writeuntil I feel Iíve finished for the day. That may be five orit may be nine; it depends on how well the creative juices areflowing.
Q: E-Publishing seems to be very "hot" these days, what has beenyour experience with this new way of getting published?
A: I have nothing but good things to say about epublishing.I believe this is the wave of the future. It might take awhile,but eventually, there is going to have to be a change in theway books are presented. The growing ecological impact ofwasting paper and natural resources will make epublishing moreenticing. Already the bigger publishing companies are delvinginto getting their big name stars into the market. As forwriters, the royalties are so much better with epublishing. Itis common for 35-55% royalties as opposed to the meager 10-15%with print publishers. Ebooks donít ever go out of print. Thereis no warehouse problems and weight shipping problems withebooks. A reader can go to an ebook publishing site and downloada book in a matter of moments or order the disk or cd rom sent tothem. Storage problems with ebooks as opposed to a bulkyhardcover or paperback is another consideration for some people.
On a professional level, I prefer ebooks because the turnaroundtime from writing the novel, submitting it and actually gettingit to the reader is about 1/3 the time it takes for a traditionalpublisher to get the galley proofs to the author! Eighteenmonths is the usual time for a print publisher. To me, sixmonths is a much better deal.
One of the drawbacks with ebooks deals with the misconceptionthat you have to have special equipment in order to read thenovels. You donít. You can read it on your monitor or you canprint it out and read it as a manuscript. Most people like theconvenience of taking a book with them and reading it anywhere.Unless you have a hand-held reader, you canít do that with ebooksso that is another drawback, but you can take forty books withyou in the same space as two paperbacks if you have a hand-heldreader! The expense of the ebook readers is another issue.Right now, you can find some for as low as $200. With theincrease in epublishing companies, youíll see that go down justas VCRís and CD players went down.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I have three books coming out between now and the end ofthe year: WINDFALL, a dark fantasy prequel to THE KEEPER OF THEWIND and the premier novel in The WindTales Trilogy, is comingout in September; IN THE TEETH OF THE WIND, a psychologicalthriller, will be out in October; IN THE HEART OF THE WIND, athriller, will be coming out in November. In January,WINDCHANCE, Book Two of the WindTales Trilogy, is due out. Ihave fans clamoring for sequels to both BLOODWIND, thesci-fi/futuristic romance, and NIGHTWIND, my erotic horrorromance, the number one and number two bestsellers at Dark StarPublications (formerly Twilight Times Books). I hope to start onthe sequel to BLOODWIND this coming weekend. I also have avampire western and another horror novel planned for late nextyear. There are also the other eight novels in the WindLegendsSaga which are written and ready for publication. I am receivingfan mail every day begging for these novels.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
A: It has made me as an author! I have spent countless hoursin front of the monitor visiting speculative fiction and romancesites, introducing myself and getting to know the webmastersof these wonderful sites. I have visited message boards andleft my name in guestbooks all over the world. I have joinedemail lists and done chats, interviews and articles for numerouswebsites. I have developed my own webpage that has receivedmany, many wonderful compliments. At the present time, Iívehad over 2500 hits since I put my new counter on the websiteMay 1. Before that, I had nearly 3000. Just from beingconnected to the WWW, I have been introduced to readers who wouldnot have known of me otherwise. One of my novels was serializedbefore being sold to DLSIJ Press and I had hundreds of readersemail me begging for the continuation of the series and a sequel.All in all, the Internet was a godsend without which I would notbe speaking to you now. I can only encourage other writers tomake use of this wonderful medium to get their voice out therefor others to hear.