Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Special Challenge Participant Feature - Author Cherie Reich!

Today’s Special Challenge Participant is author, Cherie Reich! She is the author of the Gravity and Foxwick series, and one of the sweetest people I know. Her theme for the Challenge this year was twenty-six flash fiction pieces from the Foxwick Kingdom. The result was her book, A to Z Flashes of Foxwick.

What made you decide to do flash fiction for the Challenge?

I’ve participated in #fridayflash off and on since July 2010, so I decided flash fiction would be the way to go. It’s generally short (I think my longest pieces was 600+ words, but most were in the 200-300 word range), and I thought it was a great way to showcase my writing.

Did you write it all in advance or as the Challenge progressed?

If I remember correctly, I wrote them all in March, but I had my critique partners look over them, so I didn’t get them all scheduled in advance until after the first week of April. I like to plan ahead.

Which one was the most challenging?

It’s a tossup between “Merrilea’s Music” and “Tyre and Thay.” For “Merrilea’s Music,” the piece wanted to be much longer than a flash fiction piece, so it was a hard idea to translate into flash fiction form. For “Tyre and Thay,” I wanted at least one drabble (100-word exactly flash piece), and I kept going under and lower before hitting it just right.

Which was your favorite piece and why?

Such a hard decision. Hmm, I’ll have to go with “Yonder Yew” because I amused myself with the pun on “Yew” and “you.”

What are the Shadowlands? (And what is a Foxwick?)

The Shadowlands is where souls go to live after they part from their bodies (i.e. die). I came up with the name of Shadowlands from my favorite quote from Sophocles’s Ajax, “For I see the true state of all us that live – We are dim shapes, no more, and weightless shadow.” Thus, we end up in the Shadowlands. As for what is a Foxwick, I’m not sure. I can’t even really remember how I came up with the name. It was either a Fantasy Place Name Generator or something else. I first used Foxwick as a setting in October 2010 for “Lady Death.” I thought perhaps it might be the founder’s name, but the more I play in Foxwick’s realm, I don’t think that’s true. So far, it hasn’t given up that secret, but I will keep searching.

Where do you get the names for your fantasy characters and places?

Various places. I’ve used a fantasy name generator. I think that’s how I got the names for Lochhollow and Merrilea Sea. I studied a lot of history in college since I majored in Classics, so some of the names come from there, like Vesta. I also do baby name searches. That’s how I came up with Eirwyn, Attor, and Kona. And the A to Z Challenge gave me a few names, such as Quaylin.

Now that the Challenge has ended, how can people read A to Z Flashes of Foxwick?

I self-published A to Z Flashes of Foxwick on April 16, and it’s a free read on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes. Of course, people can read it on my blog for free or purchase a copy for $0.99 on Nook and various Amazon affiliates who would not price-match to free.

What are your plans for the Challenge next year? More Foxwick?

My original plan was to write a YA Fantasy Foxwick story featuring Eirwyn (Princess of Wintermill at the time) called The Loveless Princess, but I soon realized my idea was too large for the A to Z Challenge, although I still plan to write it in 2013. Now I plan to find 26 random prompts HERE and try to craft a short story from them for 26 blog posts. I’m not yet sure what genre the story will be in, but I’ll figure it out once I find the prompts. I plan to collect the prompts in December and begin working on the story then. Yes, I really do like to plan ahead.

Thanks, Cherie - you rock!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE


Unknown said...

Great Interview Cherie and Alex. I loved following the A to Z Flashes of Foxwick during this years challenge and I am enjoying reading the Gravity Trilogy at present.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks again for doing this, Cherie!

Leigh Caron said...

You're very creative, Cherie. I did the Challenge, but missed your Foxwick flashes posts.I'll have to go back.

Unknown said...

Great interview, very interesting. I'll love to 'meet' people up here who love the writing as much as I do. I'll definitely download and read it!!!


Christine Rains said...

Wonderful interview. I can't wait to read next year's story.

Lauren said...

I'm not too much "up" on shorter fiction. That's a very interesting challenge. I'll have to go and check out the posts.

Marta Szemik said...

I find it very interesting how you find your character names. I never thought about a fantasy name generator.
Doing flash fiction is definitely a challenge!

Karen Lange said...

Nice to see Cherie here. Thanks for the interview! :)

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Carolyn! I hope you're enjoying the Gravity Trilogy!

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, Alex!

Em-Musing and Lauren, you can get a free copy of the posts on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes. Sometimes that's easier than going back and searching the posts.

Thanks, Sanny! Hope you enjoy it!

Christine, I can't wait to read next year's story either (i.e. I still need to create it). Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Marta, yes, a fantasy name generator is a really brilliant idea to create lots of names. I highly recommend it.

Karen, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

PK HREZO said...

Wow that's amazing, Cherie! You're a super-writer!

Crystal Collier said...

Ooh! Very cool. Now I need to go download it on my kindle. Yippee!

Unknown said...

I really liked your stories last April and I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next year. I'm still debating whether to do it again or not. I'll see.

Unknown said...

So envious of Cherie's creativity and work ethic! A-Z is a challenge for any blogger, but building it around flash fiction is amazing.

Cherie Reich said...

Aww, thanks, PK!

I hope you enjoy the collection, Crystal!

Thank you, Clarissa! I really do hope you'll do the challenge again. I enjoyed your death by posts!

Sherry Ellis said...

Great interview! Wow, you really do plan ahead. I'm impressed!

Cherie Reich said...

Aww, thanks, E.J.!

Sherry, I have my next 2-3 years planned out when it comes to writing. Of course, things are subject to change, though. ;)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome interview! Cherie is amazing.

Rusty Carl said...

Great interview! Names are hard for me. I should use a name generator.

Arlee Bird said...

It's so good to have a quality blogger like you, Cherie, doing the A to Z Challenge. I look forward to your upcoming effort.

I've read the Gravity trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Short novels are my speed!

Thanks, Alex, for this entertaining interview.

Tossing It Out

Cherie Reich said...

Aww, thanks, Nicole! *blushes*

Rusty, name generators are very handy. A lot of times a name will come to me, but when you're stuck, they're a lot of fun to use to find new names.

Aww, thanks, Arlee! And I'm glad you enjoyed the Gravity trilogy! :)

D.G. Hudson said...

I like it, a future planner. I did the same as you and planned my posts (to see if I could come up with 26 posts).

Enjoyed learning about your choices in the A to Z Challenge.

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, D.G.! I don't know how those people who blog on a whim do it for the A to Z Challenge. I'm all about the planning. :)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

wonderful, period!

Morgan said...

Amazing. It'd be so hard to take on the challenge you did. Phew!

Cherie Reich said...

Aww, thanks, Retro-Zombie!

Morgan, it wasn't always easy, but it was completely worth it. Doing the 26 flash fiction pieces in my Foxwick world has opened up many other stories I can write in it too. :)

M Pax said...

I don't know if I could do what you did. They're great stories, Cherie.

Ella said...

I loved learning more about Cherie and her process~
I enJOYed the interview!
You both rock :D

Romance Reader said...

Great interview Cherie and Alex. Very interesting. It was lovely to read Cherie's processes. Thanks.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I'm still impressed by what you achieved over the A-Z challenge! So brilliant, Cherie!!

moondustwriter said...

I like this ...
that you are a talented writer and you offer your work for others to enjoy - free
thank you!
my faith in mankind has been restored

Tina said...

Love the names! Didn't even know that there was a fantasy name generator...Great interview. I'll definitely be acquiring your A-Z Flashes of Foxwick.
Tina @ Life is Good

Damyanti Biswas said...

Cool interview! I did the same for my AZ stories, but you already know that :)

Cherie Reich said...

M Pax, the key is planning ahead. I never could have done it if I had to write a flash fiction piece the day of or day before I had to post it.

Ella, thank you!

Nas, thank you!

Lynda, aww, thank you!

Moondust, aww, thanks! I figure if it's free on my blog, then it should be as free as retail sites will let me make it.

Tina, thank you! I stumbled upon the fantasy name generator when I used to role-play. It's quite useful.

Damyanti, thanks! And your collection was fantastic. :)

Samantha May said...

I've been following Cherie for a while now! I was so impressed with her A-Z posts that it's made me want to participate next year.

Great interview!!

Cherie Reich said...

Yay! I'm glad to hear you want to participate next year, Samantha! It's a lot of fun. :)

Kittie Howard said...

Great interview, Cherie and Alex. I'm in awe of your organizational skills, Cherie. Hmm, maybe you could write a self-help book on how all that comes together. I bet I'm not the only one who'd learn from the read.

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Kittie! And that self-help book might be a bit on the short side. The answer I have is make lists, lots and lots of lists. Oh, and cross things off when you finish them on the list.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cherie, you rock - thanks again for doing the interview!

Unknown said...

Yay for getting to know Cherie a bit more. Nice interview, girl!

Cherie Reich said...

Aww, thanks, Alex!

And, Julie, thank you!