I'm thrilled to feature Searching For Arthur
, the debut young adult urban fantasy novel, self published by my dear friend, Donna Hosie
. First, about the book and then an interview with Donna below:
Legend tells of King Arthur, mortally wounded at the hand of the traitorous Mordred in the final battle of Camlann. Before he was taken to the magical Vale of Avalon, Arthur declared that one day he would return, when the kingdom of Logres was once more in need of his leadership.
That day has now come.
It is hard to make friends when you’re constantly on the move. Seventeen-year-old Natasha Roth’s father is a diplomat, and so her mother – who is paranoid about terrorists – has moved Natasha and her brother, Arthur, to their eighteenth house in seventeen years: Avalon Cottage, deep in the heart of a Welsh forest.
Yet the terrorists are closer than they realize.
While out running, Natasha falls into a hidden tomb and awakens the legendary knights of Camelot: young warriors who have been in an enchanted sleep for a thousand years. All have been waiting patiently for the return of Arthur from the mysterious land of Avalon.
And now the knights are awake, they intend to reclaim their king.
When Arthur goes missing, Natasha joins forces with his girlfriend, “Slurpy” Samantha, in order to look for him. Natasha believes Samantha has fewer brain cells than an amoeba; Samantha believes Natasha is a freak. Retracing Natasha’s original steps to the hidden tomb, they bicker their way into a Welsh mountain and beyond, to the realm of Logres where the Knights of the Round Table are rallying once more.
Natasha falls in love with Sir Bedivere, the most loyal of knights to Arthur. He may be in dire need of a 21st Century razor, but he still possesses a set of lime-green eyes that can melt the soul. Yet just as Natasha starts to find confidence in this mystical land, Samantha deserts her. People who play by the rules are of no use to “Slurpy”. Samantha will take her own path to Arthur, aided and abetted by the dark arts which she willingly absorbs from a hot young stranger called Mordred.
A race across magical yet deadly lands is on. Natasha battles dwarf-riders, dragons, and eventually “Slurpy” to reach Camelot, where Arthur is held captive by the barbarian Saxon, Balvidore.
Natasha’s woes become numerous. What will happen to her and Arthur when the knights realise the eighteen-year-old boy they thought was their king, is in fact a math student with appalling taste in girls? Can two people with a one thousand year age gap really have a relationship? And for the love of all things holy, how is a girl supposed to ride bareback in a pair of skinny jeans?
First things first, Donna. I'm so freaking proud of you, girl! Okay, now on to the questions.
1. You're a married mom with three children and a puppy, plus you work full time...how do you juggle writing with the responsibilities of a very busy everyday life? I am über organised. I have to be. My family comes first, but I am lucky that my children are all of an age where they are pretty self-sufficient. I really enjoy my job, (I am the Executive Assistant to a Government Director-General), and I work long hours. So my writing takes place in the early morning, and I am talking 5am, and I try to grab an hour in the evening as well. My husband doesn't even realise 5am exists! It can be done and I am very driven so I make it work. However I don't beat myself up if circumstances mean I have to miss a day of writing. It fits around me, not the other way around.
2. While writing Searching for Arthur, what part of the writing process did you find the most difficult? Oh other writers are going to hate me for this, but I don't find the writing process difficult. I've never had writer's block; I've never hit a mid-novel slump. I rarely write more than two pages a day, so I think about a particular scene, write it, and then save and close. I don't think about writing then until the next day when I am fresh. I enjoy editing because my view is you are always making the ms better. If there was one stressful aspect in the creative process of Searching for Arthur, I would say it was turning down representation. I really battled with everything you learn about "making it", but once the decision was made, it was a weight off my shoulders.
3. What makes you keep writing on the days that you feel like giving up? I never feel like giving up. I love it too much. And I have always had this self-belief that I could do this. There are a million things I can't do - I can't cook, I am hopeless at sport - but I can think of a good story and put in down on a page.
4. How long did you consider self publishing before you took the plunge? It was in the back of my mind for about 6 months. Then I spent a month seriously considering it and learning about the process before deciding to withdraw from the agency model. I published Searching for Arthur 5 months after that, so I certainly didn't rush into it. It isn't right for everyone, but I decided it was right for this series.
5. What advice would you give to those who are considering self publishing? Become informed and take your time. I see too many writers finish a book on the Monday and upload it by the Friday. This is your career so you cannot cut corners. I formatted no more than a chapter a day because I wanted it to be perfect. I would also recommend a professional cover designer. I have had so many wonderful comments about the cover of Searching for Arthur. It was done by Design for Writers and it was a truly collaborative experience. It is perfect. Taking control over every aspect of my release has been very empowering but I am all too aware of the responsibility. DO NOT RUSH INTO IT!
6. What authors have inspired you? J.K. Rowling has been a huge influence and I get pissed off when I see industry professionals say you should never mention her. Why the hell not?! She created a world that was fantastical and yet believable and, as a writer of urban fantasy, this is exactly what I want to emulate. I love Stephanie Perkins, Philip Pullman, Victoria Hislop, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon is my God! Too many to mention. Oh, and Tolkien, and Kate Morton, and...
7. Snack of choice? Chocolate. Or cheese. I love cheese. My heaven is going to be made of cheese. Then I will eat it all and end up fat in Hell! Which will probably be made of asparagus which I hate!
8. What are you working on now? Now Searching for Arthur is published I am working on getting the sequel ready for release by the end of the year. I've spent over a year on it already and it is in the final editing stages. It will be called The Fire of Merlin and I really love it - (the character of Slurpy Sammy has a really fun/evil story arc in this one.) I also have an entirely different series ready to roll; the first book is called The Devil's Intern. It is about four time-travelling devils and that is currently going through the revise and resubmit process with five literary agents. I haven't decided 100% what I am going to do with that one in terms of publishing. Wait and see I guess!
And now for the part where I blush and get all squirmy and embarrassed. But because she's my friend and it's her moment to shine, I'll give her free reign to share some additional comments.
I would just like to be indulgent for a second and grab this moment to thank Suzie again - she is also in the credits of
Searching for Arthur but sometimes things need to be repeated! Suzie has been my dear friend for a number of years now and every writer needs a Suzie! She has supported me through tough times and championed me through great times. She gave me her time, which often proves to be the most generous gift of all.
Thank you so much, Donna. It goes both ways, my friend. I wish you much success!
You can visit Donna Hosie at her blog, Musings of A Penniless Writer
and purchase her e-book, Searching for Arthur through Amazon