Today I want to introduce you to yet another fellow Magic Appreciation Tour member: fantasy author Elizabeth Baxter.  I’ve asked her a series of questions about her fantasy series and writing journey, so let’s see what she has to say.

MeWhen did you first start writing and how long did it take you to finish the writing your latest novel? Is this the first book you have finished?

I started writing when I was six or seven. My first book was a rip-roaring adventure tale called “The Golden Pheasant,” about, well, a golden pheasant. I wrote out three copies on bits of paper pulled from my school books, bound them in covers made from old cereal boxes, and gave them out to my teachers. And that’s it. I was a writer! The Last Priestess is about the sixth or seventh book I’ve finished and the fourth one I’ve published. My first three books were a collection of SF short stories called Circle Spinner and Other Tales and two books in another fantasy series, Summer Storm and Everwinter.

What was the biggest obstacle in getting your book published? As I understand it, you have self-published your work. Any advice you can offer to other indie authors?

With the digital revolution there aren’t as many obstacles to getting published as there used to be – if you’re prepared to go indie. I turned down a traditional publishing contract to go indie because I wanted to keep more control over my work and I’ve never regretted it. My advice to other indies? Make your book as good as it can be before you publish – remember that this is a business and you want to present your most polished and edited piece of work.

Tells us a bit more about your novel/series? Where is it set? Who are the main characters? What is the main conflict?

The Last Priestess is the first novel in my epic fantasy series, The Songmaker. This follows the lives of two main characters, Maegwin and Rovann. Meagwin is the heroine of the title. She’s lost everything she loves because of the Songmaker, a rebel mage, and has sworn revenge, even going so far as to reject her own goddess. Rovann is a mage loyal to the king but he has his own demons that cause him to doubt his own motives and whether he is the right man for the job. Maegwin and Rovann have to work together to stop the Songmaker from destroying the land. The problem is, they don’t like each other, let alone trust each other so the story is a quest about conquering their own fears and faults as much as it is about defeating the Songmaker.

Which character from your novel are you most attached to and why?

That’s an unfair question! If I name a favourite the others will only get jealous! Ok, I’ll go for Rovann. I have a thing for tragic heroes, especially handsome ones which Rovann certainly is!

Is your book a part of a series or a standalone book?

The Last Priestess is part of a series, The Songmaker. Book 2, The King’s Mage, should be out in Spring 2013.

Who are your main writing influences?

I’m not sure I can answer that question. It’s probably a hotch-potch of all the fantastic writers I’ve read over the years. Stephen King is my writing hero (as he is for most writers) but in terms of style and skill, I’d have to say Stephen Erikson. His Malazan series was just awesome.

What advice would you offer beginning indie writers?

Write quality. Make your work your best. When you’re sure it is, get it out there and write the next one. And never give up.

What types of promotion are doing and how successful are you finding it?

Ah, that old chestnut. Isn’t promotion fun? Hmmm. The type of promotion I tend to do is of the social kind. I enjoy blogging and connect with people that way. I love reading and have friends in the book blogging community. Does that count as promotion?

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

Oh, definitely the past. I have an MA in early medieval history so I’d love to go back and see what life was really like back then. I’ve heard it described as hard, brutish and short. Either that or into prehistory. I’m fascinated by the Neolithic and all the megalithic monuments they built. I’d love to go back and ask the builders of Stonehenge, “So what’s this really for then?”

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

JRR Tolkien

Stephen King

The Dalai Lama

Tori Amos

JK Rowling

If you were stranded on a deserted island what 3 things would you want with you?

My Kindle

A charger for my Kindle

A replicator from the Starship Enterprise

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Books by Elizabeth Baxter: