Monday, September 9, 2013

Grace Awards Showcase: DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt

About DawnSinger 

A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender? Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams. Fantasy readers who enjoyed Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, or The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien are sure to like DawnSinger.

About the author Janalyn Voigt

The story that became Tales of Faeraven, Janalyn Voigt’s epic fantasy trilogy, began as a fairytale she made up for her bored young daughter while on a car trip. Long after her daughter had forgotten the people and places of Elderland, they lived on in Janalyn’s imagination.  Any writer might hope for such deep inspiration, but there was a problem:  after a series of disappointments (including a book contract that fell through), Janalyn had given up writing. 
Years passed, during which Janalyn attempted a hodgepodge of careers that were far removed from her calling to write. She delivered mail, studied music and performed in operas, worked in a real estate office, and even spent several years on the top floor of a Seattle skyscraper as an assistant underwriter for an insurance company. Although she was successful in every endeavor, nothing stuck and she always moved on. 

Meanwhile, the world of Elderland evolved along with Janalyn. The story simply would not let her go. It took a recommitment to her Christian faith to make her see that nothing could substitute for what she had been called to do. She needed to return to writing. More specifically, she had to write DawnSinger, book one of the Tales of Faeraven. Her manuscript might never see publication, but that didn’t matter as much as taking this step of faith and releasing the story that had haunted her thoughts for so long.
DawnSinger’s journey to publication was almost as rocky as its inception, but it released with Harbourlight Books (Pelican Book Group) in 2012. WayFarer, book two of the Tales of Faeraven, will release January 3, 2014. Janalyn is currently writing DawnKing, book three in the series.

Interview with the Janalyn

What is the world of Elderland like?

Immersing myself in the world of Elderland is like returning to a childhood dream, the one where you can fly. It is a place that should be, where wild wingabeasts roam the farthest mountain reaches, long-tailed birds of fantasy roost in strongwood trees, and fish in rainbow hues swim the streams. Curtain walls shelter castle keeps, guardians man the barbican, and honor carries the day.
Of course, there’s another side to Elderland. This is also the place where goblin-like monsters hunt fresh kill, giant birds of prey spread their wings against the sky, and spider-waevens inject poison into their victim’s souls.

Elderland’s beauty and its beastliness both come from me, its author.

That sounds enchanting. Was writing DawnSinger easy or difficult?

It takes sacrifice and what old-timers called “sheer cussedness” to write a book.  You have to be bull-headed enough to believe in yourself as a writer when no one else does. Your family may support you, and that’s nice, but often they don’t understand your writing as a career until after you sign your first contract. 

Writing a novel without a contract does give you the freedom to take your time. That’s a plus and a minus. It can mean good writing from time spent unleashing your creativity or self-editing. It can also mean procrastination. Which it will be is up to the writer.

Boy, can I relate to that! And you ventured into recently expanding territory when you decided to write the story too. When you wrote DawnSinger, speculative fiction was accepted less than it is now. Did you find that daunting?

I did, especially since I didn’t know if I’d left the story waiting too long and missed my opportunity to bring it to readers. This all took place at the advent of the e-book revolution, and very few writers understood self-publishing as a viable option. This put stress on me to find a publisher at a time when speculative fiction was more of a hard sell than it is now. If I had it all to do today, I might have self-published instead. That can be a good option for a speculative fiction author when done well, but I’d have missed out on the benefits of working with my publisher.

With such a lyrical writing style, did you find it hard to avoid purple prose?

I learned through the editing process that I tend to wordiness. Edits were invaluable for teaching me how to let fewer words do more work. Having editors help you identify and overcome your particular writing flaws is a huge benefit of traditional publishing. It can be a painful process but well worth the costs. I’m always grateful for anyone willing to save me from myself.

How does the heroine of DawnSinger’s journey echo your own?

Shae has to accept her true identity if she is to embrace her calling. This, in a nutshell, was what I had to do in order to write DawnSinger. I accepted myself as I am and stopped trying to become something I’m not. This gave me the freedom to pursue my calling to write. Only then could I sing my song.

DawnSinger is an eloquent, exciting story. Grab your copy today at Amazon!
Read an EXCERPT of DawnSinger!

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