Today we have an interview with L. Blankenship, a self-described mild-mannered graphic artist who says she’s not romantic at all. She has no faith in the powers of flowers, chocolate, or surging violins. But she needs our help to get her new novel, Disciple Part 1: For Want of a Piglet published. Here’s a little mini-interview about today’s featured author and her upcoming work! You can check also check out her Kickstarter campaign , which expires on Sunday July 29.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Freelance graphic artist by day, obsessive writer by night, Cup of Porn lurker 24/7… I am going to start publishing my six-part gritty fantasy romance this year. Disciple Part I: For Want of a Piglet will be out before Christmas and Parts II through VI will follow.
Is this your first novel? What have you written before?
No, it’s not my first novel. Like a lot of writers, I’ve been learning how to write for a long time and I have a huge stack of stories that didn’t work. Almost all of it was fantasy and science fiction – those have always been my first loves. I’ve dabbled in other genres, including fantasy and sci-fi erotica.
You say you write hard science fiction and gritty fantasy romance. What does that mean to you?
Hard science fiction is a well-known genre. Gritty fantasy is a term that has only recently cropped up and I think of it as the fantasy equivalent of hard sci-fi – a genre devoted to as much accuracy as possible in the details. Tough, even grim, stories seem to meld well with that level of realism. George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones novels are what created the gritty fantasy label, IMO.
To me, they both mean challenge. Lots of research, lots of care taken on the background details of a story. But since I’m a huge nerd, I love that sort of thing.
Why romance if you don’t consider yourself a romantic person?
The short answer is: the story made me. Sometimes the story chooses you – though I did make it the sort of romance I would like to read, where the characters have a solid foundation for a relationship and try to pursue it for honest reasons.
Tell us more about the main characters. Where do you see the series going?
Kate Carpenter is a peasant-born girl whose talent and hard work won her an apprenticeship to the kingdom’s master healer. Kiefan Weissberg is the crown prince, saddled with heavy duties and responsibilities. They come from different worlds, but they share a love of books and ideas. It’s over a book that they start talking and falling in love.
War is coming to their small kingdom; the armies of the Empire are expected in the spring. The six parts of Disciple follow Kate and Kiefan through the victories and defeats of the war and the wounds they deal each other as they fight to be together.
Tell us more about your Kickstarter campaign.
I’m raising money to professionally edit and proof-read Disciple, Part I, hire a professional cover artist, and promote its release online. To do that, I’m offering e-books, paperbacks, promotional bookmarks, and more as rewards for various pledge levels (ranging from $1 – $50). Check out the project page for my book trailer, budget, and production schedule.
Have you used Kickstarter before? How does it work?
Kickstarter.com is a fundraising platform for all sorts of creative projects. Artists post a profile of their project and offer rewards in exchange for pledged money. The pledges are not collected unless the artist’s funding goal is reached within a set period of time. If the goal is reached, the artist receives the money, carries out the project and distributes the rewards promised. It’s a fascinating site and easy to lose time in!
I haven’t used it before myself, but I’ve supported projects and seen what other companies have done with their campaigns.
What do you think the biggest challenge to getting people to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign is?
Finding the right people. Like any sales pitch, a Kickstarter project needs to be interesting and clear on what it’s promising – but also like any sales pitch, it isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea (or porn, lol). So you need to both target your audience and get your pitch in front of as many eyeballs as possible so you can find those right people. Without turning into a spammer, because everyone hates spammers. No pressure.
What’s your favourite part of Cup of Porn?
The man candy. I’m a fan of the aesthetics of the male body in all its shapes and forms – twinks, bears, muscle-bound or cuddly. Beards. Love beards. Stubble. Goatees. And glasses. I’ll be in my bunk…
One way or another, L. will be publishing Part I this year. Keep an eye on the book’s blog, Disciples of the Fount, for updates and availability!
Disciple Part 1: For Want of a Piglet
The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.
Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.
She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.
And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.
She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.
L. Blankenship is the alternate identity of a mild-mannered graphic designer. She writes hard science fiction and gritty fantasy adventures, and blogs at Notes from the Jovian Frontier. She also contributes to Unicorn Bell and Science in My Fiction.