Posts Tagged ‘Carole McDonnell’

carolemcd300pixels Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Carole McDonnell. Carole McDonnell is a writer of Christian, supernatural, and ethnic stories. She writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and reviews. Her writings appear in various anthologies, including Griots, Steamfunk, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonialism in Science Fiction, Jigsaw Nation, and Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: Writings by Mature Women of Color among others. Her reviews appear at various online sites. Her story collections are Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction by Carole McDonnell and Turn Back O Time and other stories of the fae of Malku and her stand alone novels are: Wind Follower, My Life as an Onion, The Constant Tower, and Who Gave Sleep and Who Has Taken It Away?

Her novels also include books in the following series: The Brothers Worth Series: Black Girls Have Always Loved Cowboys, A Town for Timothy, A Year and A Day; The Nephilim Dystopia Series: The Daughters of Men, The Chimeran Queen; and Novels of the Malku Universe: The Charcoal Bride, SeaWalker, How Skall Dragonrider Won His Three Wives. Her Bible studies include: Seeds of Bible Study, Scapegoats and Sacred Cows of Bible Study, Blogging the Psalms, A Fool’s Journey Through Proverbs, Great Sufferers of the Bible, and The Christian Laws of Attraction. Her book of poetry is: The King’s Journal of Lost and Secret Things.

She lives in New York with her husband, two sons, and their pets.

Carole McDonnell’s latest book, The Charcoal Bride, is a fantasy story set in an unique world. A quick summary for my readers: The Malku universe, which is the setting for this novel, is a world where fae, merfolk, and humans live together in varying degrees of harmony. In some continents, the faes are honored. In other continents or worlds, the faes and their descendants are treated casually. But wherever they happen to be, they are feared because no one wants to get on the bad side of a fae. The merfolk live in streams, rivers, and oceans, and they have different species as do the humans and the faes. However, in some areas, they are treated badly.

charcoal b In The Charcoal Bride, the first book of this trilogy, a war is set in motion because a prince reneged on a vengeance oath he had made to the God of War. Because of this war, wars with the fae. The fae ally themselves with his son and conquer the prince, setting up his only son as king. This son, Skall, has no desire to be king. He is a stranger to Hanrisor and would rather be back home on his little island home. In addition, his being king doesn’t sit well with the aristocrats and peasants of Hanrisor. The fae determine that he must travel the kingdom in order to understand and love the nation he is to rule over.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, The Charcoal Bride?
Well, I’ve always liked quests stories and road movies so when I was thinking of what the second book of the Malku trilogy would be, I thought, “It would be great if the king and his friend had to tour this new country the king has begun to rule over.”

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?
Skall’s friend is Nohay. Nohay is the SeaWalker. Nohay was disabled as a child and lived alone under the care of a maid his sea-farer father hired for him. But when Nohay grew older, a fae–Prince Hark—took interest in him and mentored him. Nohay stayed with Prince Hark until Hark gave him as a friend to Skall. Nohay is about thirty years old and Skall is about seventeen. Neither of them are worldly but Skall is decidedly more “of the world” than Nohay is. They both have different things to learn and being among the common folk.

I’d say it’s Nohay. There is a sweetness about him. He is totally human but he has never lived with humans. He only knows how faes and merfolk behave, but is utterly lacking in any experiential knowledge of human culture and behavior. It’s the kind of character that makes a writer have to think about what such a person would be like.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?
It is self-published. My previous books, Wind Follower and The Constant Tower, were–are—both traditionally published. They were critically well-received, but they didn’t sell well. I think the advantage of traditional publishing has to do with one’s publisher having the finances to push your books. When you’re self-published, you have to market yourself more. The advantage of being self-published is that a writer can be more fully herself.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?
I’m definitely not an architect but I’m not much of a gardener either. I write notes to myself about what the next chapter should contain. Not much, just certain things that are necessary. When I write, I just sit down and write and let whatever comes comes. If I hear something in the news or hear a song, then that might end up in the story as well. I tend to write without caring how it all comes out and I totally trust that it will all come out perfectly in the end. This makes my books somewhat unpredictable because I didn’t know what was coming. Only my fingers, fate, and coincidence did. I often look at my stories and think, “Wow, this is amazing. How did I do that? Did I write this book? If I had planned this, I could never have written it.”

What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved poetry and the Bible, especially all the tragic princes like Shechem, Jonathon, Absalom, and of course, Jesus Christ. So all I did was read a lot of poetry. I also loved Shakespeare, and was madly in love with Hamlet, Edmond, and all those tragic princes as well. So those really had an effect on me. I’m a black woman, but so many of my main characters are young males, and several of them have been white. So I think they affected my consciousness. I also loved anthropology. I’d watch tons of programs on PBS and read my mother’s anthropology and archaeology books. So that is where I got my fascination with clans, tribes, rituals, and culture. My books and short stories are always about different clans living together with their cultures rubbing off on each other.

What writing project are you currently working on?
I’m going through the editing on SeaWalker now, and am currently writing The Chimeran Queen, which is the second part of the Nephilim Dystopian trilogy. The first book in the trilogy was Daughters of Men. This story is about yet another world with various kinds of humans. In this case, there are chimera, Nephilim, clones, and standard-issue humans. There are also different religious ideas. The Chimeran Queen is Medusa. She doesn’t have snakes for hair, but because she is chimeran she has worms in and around and through her body. She is horrendous to behold, but she is the queen of the chimeran world, Otaura.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
That was Will Horner. He was critiquing a story he had accepted for one of his anthologies – Black is the color of my true love’s hair– and he said two things which I often find myself repeating to other writers. The first was: “This sentence is doing too much work.” And the second was, “This is redundant. You already said that.”

Want to learn more about Carole McDonnell and The Charcoal Bride? Check out her :
Website & Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Twitter 2, and Amazon page. Still want more? Check out her YouTube channel and Wattpad page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of The Charcoal Bride.

Thanks to author Carole McDonnell for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Lana Hechtman Ayers on January 3, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie


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Carole McDonnell

Thanks to fantasy author Carole McDonnell for stopping by and sharing the genesis of her new spiritual fantasy novel, The Constant Tower.

Seeing the Constant Tower by Carole McDonnell

“I had had a dream of a world where each morning the inhabitants of a city woke to find the landmarks and geography of their city changed as if someone had moved around a jigsaw puzzle. Except that, a tower was always constant. I didn’t write that story but I started thinking. In the end, I wrote a story where the world stayed put but people were tossed around all over the planet.  

So what is the Constant Tower, anyway? Aside from the means whereby my characters steer their longhouses?

I generally write about religion and although The Constant Tower is not primarily a religious story, the tower does have a spiritual subtext.

The Constant Tower is a tower that all see but few recognize. To some it seems a mere accretion of men’s bones, a rickety structure that has no ability to hold itself up, let alone hold up any who would walk on its steps.

In many fantasy stories, the sought after McGuffin is far away, lost, forgotten. The ability to see it must be earned through great works (legalism), through much study (gnosis), or through some sudden enlightenment (nirvana). The Constant Tower is not like that. It is eternally present, waiting to be recognized. The journey to it is easy enough but for a hero who doesn’t see the importance of such a structure, the journey is difficult. The Constant Tower can be reached at anytime but it is unrecognized and belittled.

Carole McDonnell TheConstantTower front When I started writing The Constant Tower, I wondered how I could depict a search for something that is already there, that is close at hand. What keeps people away from the spiritual journey? In the case of Psal, my main character, he simply does not believe in the supernatural or God. He doesn’t believe in The Constant Tower, therefore, he doesn’t search for it. He’s a kind-hearted atheist who is not going to search for supernatural reasons about why nights on Odunao are as they are. The idea that it is a theological curse is laughable to him. He is patient and patronizing toward the belief of others, especially the beliefs of his friend and fellow studier, Ephan. He has studied the folklore and beliefs of the clans of the planet Odunao but he will not waste his time on them, The Constant Tower, or the Creator.

So, the idea of communicating to a far-off Creator is not important to him, and even if he encounters supernatural entities or happens upon a supernatural occurrence, he is well-armed against accepting them.

Therefore Psal has to see. He is unlike Ephan who is the traditional hero of The Constant Tower. On the planet Odunao, Ephan, is the historical hero of The Constant Tower. In my book, I didn’t write about Ephan’s journey. I wanted to write about his friend, Psal. Ephan sees, but doesn’t wish to see. To see the tower, to see the supernatural demands too much for him. So Ephan wills himself not to see.

Events occur and stasis happens. And even —almost to the end— Psal is unable to see. It is only at the end that both these characters will themselves to see and to capture what was always before their eyes.”

For more information about Carole McDonnell and her novels: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com ,

The Constant Towerhttp://www.amazon.com/The-Constant-Tower-Carole-McDonnell/dp/1434442063   and  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1434442063/ref=pe_309540_26725410_item ,

Spirit Fruit Kindle ebook - http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Fruit-Collected-Speculative-ebook/dp/B0069VMX22   and at LULU - http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/spirit-fruit-collected-speculative-fiction/18707980 ,

Wind Follower, a Christian multicultural fantasy – http://www.wildsidepress.com/Wind-Follower-by-Carole-McDonnell-PB_p_130.html

Thanks again to Carole McDonnell for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a spectacular day! – Vonnie

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