Please help me welcome author Rebecca Gomez Farrell to PNR and More! Read on below for more info about her book and our interview. Also, don't miss the GIVEAWAY below!
Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: My name is Rebecca Gomez Farrell, and you can call me Becca now that we’ve been introduced. 😉 I write speculative fiction, so pretty much anything that fits under the umbrella of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I write all styles of it: humorous, epic, flash, silly, traumatic…the list goes on. Did I mention I’ve also had a contemporary sweet romance novella published? And that I blog about food, drink, and travel and used to write entertainment articles? I like to sum this all up by saying I’m a writer of fictions and strong leisure-time opinions.
I live in Oakland, CA, with my wonderfully supportive husband and two cats as co-workers.
Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: I have readers?! Thank you for existing! It is an honor when people tell me they enjoy my writing, because it’s ego-boosting, yes, but also because it means I’ve done something right in terms of connecting with my fellow human. For me, that’s the purpose of writing: effectively conveying an experience to someone else.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Wings Unseen is my first novel-length publication, and I’ve been working on it since college, which was a decade and a half ago. For many years, I mainly daydreamed about what I wanted Wings Unseen to explore: a fantasy with bitterly divided cultures that must learn to work together for the good of all. I started writing it in drabbles around 2007 and then dedicated myself to writing in 2009. I finished my final draft and began submitting it out in late 2013.
But that’s process! What’s the book about? It’s about a self-assured young woman who hopes to inherit her father’s lands in a culture in which women are oppressed. It’s also about the prince of a neighboring land who hopes he can someday measure up to his own father and do right by his people. Oh, and also a near-princess who discovers that the trappings of royalty may be downright suffocating in the midst of deep grief. Don’t forget the plague of invisible creatures that eat people from the inside out, a silver flame that burns with power and menace, and mythical creatures that may or may not be real at all! It’s about those, too!
Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Characters are the building blocks of a story for me. I may start writing with a vague outline in my head of where I’d like the plot to begin and end, but the characters’ emotional journeys are the ones that are clearest to me. Through writing initial drafts, I work out how the plot needs to go to make those emotional journeys the most resonant.
You’re out demon hunting (because you’re that kind of awesome) and you come across one about to kill a young couple. He has not seen you yet; what is your first course of action?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Well, I was raised Pentecostal, so I’d instinctually start yelling out some prayers to protect myself and the couple. Because this is fiction, those prayers would take form as a dark cloud lined with sparking yellow light. It, and me, would speed over, placing ourselves between the couple and the demon, and the cloud would send lightning bolts straight into the demon, causing it to sizzle and scream an unearthly sound. The couple would also scream and clutch at each other. “I’ve got this!” I’d yell while pulling out a handy collapsible sword from my messenger bag. With a deep, ground-shaking yell, I’d slice right through the burning demon and the rest of it would turn to ash, dissipating into the night air. The cloud would send a localized storm to wash away all traces of the battle, and the couple would take me out for dinner, where I’d try not to scare them too much with the other things they’ve never seen before.
Where can we purchase your novel?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Hopefully, at a bookstore near you! But for sure at Amazon.com here or at Barnes and Noble. You can check your local library and request it, too, if it’s not available yet.
Can we expect more novels from you in 2017/2018?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: It would be amazing if I have another novel out by the end of 2018, but that depends on how fast I can get my second book, a post-apocalyptic romance, into shape. I’m done with the first draft, but I’ve been on a long pause getting into the second one. I am also in the very early stages of a Wings Unseen sequel.
Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Right now, I’m reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s a long-form essay written to his son about coming to terms with his place in America as a black man, the forces that he’s had to reckon with to protect his body, and his eternal quest for understanding why. It’s about as American a story as you can get, and I think it’s essential reading.
Can you tell us a little about your first publishing experience?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: It’s hard to remember what qualifies as my first publishing experience! I think the answer is a third-place contest win with the WOW! Women on Writing’s flash fiction contests. I was delighted they chose my “Last Complaint” as a finalist in the summer of 2009, just after I began writing as a career. The awards are small cash prizes, story publication online, and an interview—those all felt quite fancy my first time out! I recommend contests as a great way to get a confidence boost, but I probably wouldn’t enter one that cost more than $10.
How much of you or people you know do you think make it into the characters in your novel(s)?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: I don’t subscribe to the advice to “write what you know,” especially as a writer of imaginary worlds! But aspects of my personality and worldview make it into my characters, as do aspects of friends, family, and random people I pass on the street. Including such details are necessary as a way to make characters relatable; the reader needs something that feels tangible for them to grasp onto. But I can’t point at any one character I’ve written and say, “Yes, that’s me.” Rather, from Wings Unseen, I can say Vesperi has my flirtation skills; Janto, my ability to nudge conversation where I want it to go; and Serra, my honey-colored hair.
Can you tell us some of your latest news?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: In addition to the launch of Wings Unseen, I have three new short stories available this year. “What Scattered in the Wind” appears in the Little Letters on the Skin anthology chapbook from Cleave: Bay Area Women Writers and the Liminal Center. It’s a horror story told with poetic prose that evokes a landscape of eternal torment for past mistakes. “Garbage” is a humorous story of alien invasion and the complicated feelings that arise from multiple waves of immigration; it appears in Through a Scanner Farkly: The 2017 Fark Fiction Collection, which benefits a children’s charity. “Treasure” is a fantasy fable that will appear this fall in the Dark Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing. Additionally, my short story “Thlush-A-Lum,” which first appeared in PULP Literature Issue #5, has been picked up by the Centropic Oracle for audio production.
What are some of the pros and cons of self-publishing verses being published by a publisher in your opinion?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: This is a question I get all the time, in part because going the traditional publication route is unusual at this point in the game! I chose to go with a traditional small press, Meerkat Press, because I didn’t want to be the sole person promoting Wings Unseen. Marketing is not my forte, and to successfully get a work to as many readers as possible, marketing is essential! Meerkat Press has done a wonderful job thus far. It’s also hard to overestimate the importance of having a publisher cover the costs of the editing process…and to give you that confidence of an advance and their willingness to invest in your work.
The primary pro of self-publishing is how much faster the process can go. I finished Wings Unseen in 2013 and began sending it out to publishing houses then. Over the next three years, I sent it to many publishers and agents and waited the interminably long periods of time to hear back on if they wanted to proceed to the full manuscript reading or they weren’t interested. Meerkat Press picked up the book in August 2016, and it’s been a year from then to publication…which is actually pretty speedy for most presses. So if an author wants their work out in the world as soon as possible, self-publishing is definitely the way to go. I just wouldn’t feel confident handling all aspects of publication myself, and let’s be honest, I love the validation of someone else believing in my work enough to take it through the publication process.
When do you prefer to read?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: When I’m on a blanket or hammock in the sunshine. A breeze is helpful, as is a way to stop my cats from jumping on me.
Supernatural or Psych? (TV Shows)
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Psych. I love that Supernatural has lasted this long, and I love aspects of its storytelling, but the humor and bond between Psych’s leads makes me happy to watch.
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Electric blue—this is the color of the sky at the end of twilight on a day spent thoroughly enjoying oneself outdoors.
Night or day?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Day. That said, I don’t rise for the early part of it! I am a night owl, through and through.
Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Dark chocolate, no question! We’re living in a golden age of chocolate with so much access to so many quality bean-to-bar products. To dilute that glory with milk is to squander a fortune.
Rebecca Gomez Farrell
Published by: Meerkat Press
Publication date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancèe of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.
Readers of all ages will enjoy Wings Unseen, Rebecca Gomez Farrell’s first full-length novel. It is a fully-imagined epic fantasy with an unforgettable cast of characters.
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.
Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.
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