Sunday, October 18, 2009

Author Interview and Book Giveaway!!! K.M. Weiland's Behold the Dawn

It is my pleasure to welcome novelist K.M. Weiland to the Yodeling Dwarf. She has agreed to endure an interrogation--er, interview. And if that wasn't kind enough, she's giving away a signed copy of her new book, Behold the Dawn, to one of you lucky Yodeling Dwarf readers! I'm reading it right now and loving both the intriguing plot and the entrancing writing style

I met K.M. Weiland through a mutual friend who told me to add her on Facebook. In fact, this guy, Sterling Woomert, is mentioned in the acknowledgments of Behold the Dawn as a valued critique-er. Pretty cool, huh? And now the interview...

Jacob: First, why don’t you tell us a bit about your latest book. What’s the premise?

K.M.:Behold the Dawn is a medieval epic, set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century. It tells the story of Marcus Annan, a renowned competitor in the brutal tourneys—the huge mock battles that remained wildly despite being banned by more than one pope. Annan, haunted by the secrets of his past, is confronted by a mysterious monk who demands that Annan help him seek vengeance for a wrong committed sixteen years earlier. Against his will, Annan is drawn into the conflict, and he journeys to the Crusade in the Holy Land, where he rescues the widow of an old friend and attempts to deliver her to safety in Constantinople. But he soon discovers that the past he’s been running from is finally catching up, and if he hopes to survive, he has no chance but to face it.

Jacob: You live in the sand hills of western Nebraska. What drew your imagination all the way to the Third Crusade?

K.M.: That’s the magnificent thing about imagination: It knows no bounds! I’m really a pretty eclectic person. I’m interested in so many historical eras, and I want to explore them all. But the Middle Ages has always held a special allure for me. I grew up with stories of Robin Hood and William Wallace, Ivanhoe and King Arthur. I’ve always been fascinated by the dichotomy of brutality and romance that the era presents to the historical tableau. So when I read a snippet about William Marshal (“the greatest knight who ever lived”), his conquests on the tourney fields, and his eventual pilgrimage to the Holy Land, my imagination immediately grabbed hold of it.

Jacob:
How do you view your relationship with your characters? Are they real people that apparently only you can see, a collection of characteristics designed for you story's purposes, or something in between?

K.M.: Something in between, I suppose. They start out as a very wispy idea, with only a few concrete elements, and then slowly solidify as I get to know them better. The progression of the plot and the development of character is inextricable. You can’t have one without the other. So, in a sense, I design my characters specifically to fit my story’s purposes—but the story’s purposes also mold themselves to the characters.

Writing is a strange dance between characters and creator. Of course, my characters are all products of me, of my imagination, but they are also very real, very independent—even rebellious sometimes! However, I’m not one of those writers who complain about their characters not cooperating. It’s their story more than mine, so if they want to take it in a direction that I hadn’t intended, then I just let them fly! That’s what good characters do; they just take over.

Jacob: What’s the coolest bit of information you discovered in your research?

K.M.: The tourneys and the Crusades were, of course, what initially interested me. But I also found myself endlessly fascinated (and sometimes shocked) by the social mores. In many ways, the Middle Ages might just as well have been a different planet. For instance, the legal marriageable ages were ridiculously young, and even that legality was sometimes broken by ambitious noble families, who married their children off at ages as young as seven! The general corruption and ignorance of the church was also a bottomless well of interesting facts. I’d highly recommend the book The Age of Pilgrimage by Jonathan Sumption for hours of absorbing reading on the subject.

Jacob: Tell us about the novels you're cooking up for us next!

K.M.: My fantasy novel Dreamers Come (about a man who discovers that his dreams are really memories of another world) is taking a breather at the moment, waiting for me to revisit it for some more editing. In the meantime, I’m outlining another historical project, The Deepest Breath, this one set in London, Kenya, and France during World War I. And I’m also having fun with a co-writing venture that asks the question, “What if Robin Hood met Sleeping Beauty?”

Jacob: Very cool. Thanks for a great interview. Everyone, you can find out more about K.M. Weiland at her website, kmweiland.com. She also blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors, and AuthorCulture. Both Behold the Dawn and A Man Called Outlaw, her first book, are available on Amazon.

And now, the giveaway! Simply leave a comment in the comment section to be entered in the drawing for a signed copy of Behold the Dawn. Entries will stop being accepted at 12:00 Midnight PST on Sunday, October 25th. Lord willing, I will announce the winner here on Monday, October 26th.

45 comments:

Joraiem said...

I'll join!!

the book sounds cool!AKYork

Kat Heckenbach said...

I love the description of the "whispy" characters becoming solidified! That's exactly how it feels for me, too.

More power to ya, too, for tackling historical settings. I don't have the patience for that kind of research.

And, of course...please, oh, please pick me! :)

JT Norlander said...

I'm in!
JT

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for a very fun "interrogation,"Jacob!

@Joreim: Good luck!

@Kat: I wouldn't tackle the historical research either if I didn't love it. It's a lot of work, but very rewarding!

@JT: Have at it! :)

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Neat book KM...I'd heard about it somewhere...now I may get a chance to read it lol

Lynnae said...

Wow!! That sure looks cool. Count me in.
In Christ,
Lynnae

K.M. Weiland said...

@Nathan: Hope you enjoy it!

@Lynnae: Thanks for stopping by!

adin_22 said...

wow...gotta check out this book......

K.M. Weiland said...

Please, check away! :p

Alicia said...

Hope this is as good as your horse tails newsletter!

K.M. Weiland said...

Wow, somebody from my Horse Tails days! I'm always surprised to find my old readers from those days lurking about. ;)

Rachel said...

Loved the "Interrogation"! :D Great job!

K.M. Weiland said...

Yeah, Jacob can interrogate me anytime he wants to. :P

Lorna G. Poston said...

Most successful interrogation, Jacob. Pleased you were successful extracting valuable information. :)

K.M. Weiland said...

Believe me, I was a tough nut to crack! ;)

Brianna said...

Awesome! "Behold the Dawn" is high on my list of books to read. Count me in!

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Brianna! Being "high" on anyone's list is enough to make my day. Good luck in the drawing!

Jacob R Parker said...

Thanks for stopping by and entering everyone! For the record, she withstood the interrogation much longer than most. In fact, even now, with the information gathered, I feel psychologically defeated, as though somehow this was what she wanted all along... ;)

~Prism~ said...

Please enter me. :)

And wow, this book sounds so cool!

God Bless,

~Prism~

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Prism. :)

Jare and Lib said...

I would like to enter in too!

!!!!

-L

K.M. Weiland said...

Four exclamation points! :D

Chris said...

Sounds like a cool book! I loooove medieval fiction, especially around the crusades.
Oh, and you can enter me, Jacob. lol

K.M. Weiland said...

Any story's better with swords in it, I must say! ;)

R.P.H said...

Count me in please :) Behold the Dawn, looks and sounds pretty cool! And thanks for sharing a wonderful interview with us :-)

Melissa Rose said...

Sounds cool! I always liked reading about William Marshal.

K.M. Weiland said...

@R.P.H.: Glad you enjoyed it!

@Melissa: A William Marshall fan! I don't run across many people who are familiar with him!

Brandon said...

I like How K.M. mentions the church in that time period as being...confused in many ways. As a Christian, it's important we don't romanticize bad spots of our own history.

The truth always sets us free. Sounds like an interesting novel!

K.M. Weiland said...

This time period truly was the Dark Ages. So much of the world claimed Christianity, and yet they were so far from Christ!

Brianna said...

J. R. Parker: Sorry, this is a sort of off-topic question... but I've visited the Flaming Pen Press website and I see that they're closed to all unsolicited submissions at this time. The website also says to "check back as this will change in the future". Any clue how soon that will be? If you do know and you're not allowed to tell me, that's okay. Just wondering, if you are allowed to share that information. =)

Scott Appleton said...

Sounds interesting. Count me in, Jacob!

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks for reading the interview, Scott!

Doug P. Baker said...

Intriguing interview Jacob.

KM: in terms of style is this more closer to an Ivanhoe or to Kristin Lavransdatter? Is this more of a historical fiction story or a religious fiction story? How would you describe yourself religion-wise, and to what degree does that color your fiction?

K.M. Weiland said...

Probably Ivanhoe. I'm a devout Christian, and the book carries evidence of that, but only insomuch as the story demands. One of the interesting challenges in writing it was balancing my own world view with the distinctly different world view of the Middle Ages.

Reesha said...

Wow. I'm going to love reading this book. Congrats for writing what I'm sure will be a great story.

I'm in the middle of writing my own Medieval storyline, so I'm doubly interested to read your book.

Ivanhoe rocks. :D

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Reesha. I love hearing that others are trying to revive this sadly under-appreciated historical period! Blessings with your book!

Dawn said...

The book sounds awesome!

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dawn!

Scott Appleton said...

K.M. Weiland,
If you haven't checked out my sites I'd recommend you do. From your comments I think you'd enjoy reading my blog posts, short stories, and the first novel.

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Scott. I'll check it out! I'm already familiar with the cover art for your book. Great stuff!

Tahlia said...

Sounds like a cool book.

K.M. Weiland said...

Thanks, Tahlia!

Millardthemk said...

Wahh!! YD lol i almost missed this!~

Jacob R Parker said...

Yes you did, Millard. You squeezed in with just a couple of hours to spare. :P

Kelly said...

wow I guess I am late for the drawing hugh. Oh well I will find the book in the book store or at the libray. Hey can you e-mail me the next time you are going to give away book in a drawing. Here is my e-mail. kellydavon27@yahoo.com. Can you give your e-mail please so I can e-mail you back please.