Hey there everyone, so good to see you all here again raring for some action.
Tonight we have a special guest in the form of Sci-Fi/fantasy author Lela Markham, as she talks to us about her books and what fires up her engines to motivate her as a writer.
Enjoy the show as we kick off another cracking interview.
Hi there Lela, great to have you here with us today, we’re really looking forward to what you have to say.
Let’s start with your two different series of novels – “The Daermad Cycle” series and the “Transformation Project” series, both of which have sequels, the latter having a sequel due in October this year. The titles are very intriguing. Can you please tell us what the significance of the titles are, what sort of situations the lead protagonists are going to find themselves facing and what ultimately drew you to writing in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres?
Thanks for having me. “Daermad Cycle” is a fantasy series based in the mythical kingdom of Celdrya in a world the Celdryans call “Daermad”. Daermad comes from a Gaelic word that means “secret”. The Celdryans are descendents of Celts who somehow stumbled into an alternate universe 1,000 years ago. For a millennia they were a strong and prosperous people, but their royal family was massacred a century ago. The country has been torn by factions and manipulated by black mages ever since and now they’re being threatened by a stronger nation. They’re only hope is to ally with an old enemy, the Kin. I bring a whole cast of characters to tell the story. “The Willow Branch” started the tale, “Mirklin Wood” continued the quest and the third book, “Fount of Dreams”, due out sometime next year, will show what’s really at stake. There a clue to my overall theme in the series in the naming of the first book. Willows are used as a balm of healing. Padraig, the main character, is trying to heal the fractured kingdom and the animosity between his two peoples. There’s also a walking stick of diamond willow that plays a prominent role in the series. Mirklin Wood’s title is a nod to JRR Tolkein’s Murkwood because all fantasy writers should be grateful for him blazing this trail for us.
“Transformation Project” is an apocalyptic that will become a dystopian series with libertarian, anarchist themes. A nationwide terrorist attack in “Life As We Knew It” sets off the fundamental transformation of the United States. I focus on a small town coping in the aftermath. “Objects in View” which came out October 4 continues the story as the town begins to realize that actual help isn’t coming. “A Threatening Fragility” will show how the transformation of the larger culture is going to impact people who didn’t agree to it. The titles of the first two books are taken from character statements in the books. “A Threatening Fragility” is based on an Anias Nin phrase.
You also have contributed to two Anthology Collections – “Gateways” and “Echoes of Liberty: The Clarion Call, Vol 2: Volume 2”. What sort of stories did you contribute to these anthologies? Are they linked in any way to The Daermad Cycle and Transformation Project or are they stand-alone tales that are separate from those two universes?
“Pivot of Fate” in the Gateways anthology is part of the Daermad Cycle history. It tells of an incident that really set the whole present story line into motion and it includes three characters from The Willow Branch. The Gateways anthology is a product of my publisher, Breakwater Harbor Books, so showcased the talents of most of us working over there.
“Bridge at Adelphia” is a speculative historical fiction. The Agorist Writers Workshop put out a call for speculative historical fiction that would highlight agorist, libertarian, anarchist themes. I selected a historical era and then asked the question “What might have happened if the US Constitution had never been ratified?” And, yes, it has a sort of happy ending, although you have to leave stuff like that open-ended because it didn’t actually happen. I was pleased they accepted my entry. “Echoes of Liberty” came out September 27.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
I love to procrastinate. If there’s a difficult thing about writing it is buckling down to work on what I have deemed to be my primary project for that time period. There’s just so many things to distract me. I’m like a raven in a stainless steel factory.
The easiest parts are writing dialogue and finding inspiration. Especially for “Transformation Project”, I can find things in today’s headlines that powerfully inform the work. There is some new disturbance on the horizon every day. Writers who wonder where to get the inspiration for writing puzzle me. It’s choosing among the many competing inspirations that can sometimes be a challenge. Dialogue is definitely my strong suit and that is because my stories always begin with a character telling me their story. When you start with characters who could be real, things like dialogue just naturally flows.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
Wow. I have so many favorite authors. Katharine Kerr, Kate Elliott and Brandon Sanderson are certainly contemporary favorites in the speculative fiction realm. My very first speculative fiction author was Zenna Henderson of the People series of short stories. Still love those stories. I also love Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein, even though I am not a hard-science fiction writer. Madeleine L’Engle, Charles Dickens, CS Lewis, obviously Tolkein. I’m really enjoying some of my fellow Breakwater Harbor Books authors these days. And I recently read William Fortschen’s two apocalyptics and Becky Ackers “Abducting Arnold” which is a bit of a speculative historical fiction.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
Believe it or not, fantasies require research. If you’re going to poison someone, it’s a good idea to know something about poisons. What sort of foods did Celts eat in Europe? As an American, I might take potatoes for granted, but my Celts never saw one, so they wouldn’t be eating them in Daermad.
“Transformation Project” requires a lot of research. It is set in contemporary America in a state I have driven through, not lived in. So, I have spent a lot of time on Street View envisioning the community of Emmaus, “driving” down the backroads, learning about corn. I’m a gun culture girl. I grew up in Alaska, but I have spent quite a bit of time with a good friend who is really a gun culture guy, learning about guns in a much more personal way than I really had thought about before. And, ultimately, apocalyptics are driven by conspiracy theories. If the NSA ever looks at my search history, I’m going to end up at a black site as a terrorist.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
According to my Mom, I told stories from the time I could talk. I seemed to notice things other kids didn’t notice. I was bothered by plot holes in Walt Disney shows. At some point, one of my teachers made me write a story. I hated the process. It was too confining. But she gave me an A and read it in front of the entire class. That lit a spark that I could never put out and I have been writing ever since. I trained as a journalist (writing) and worked as a reporter (writing). I became frustrated with the manipulation of information as I saw it in the newsroom, so I went into administration in the mental health field, where they used my skills as an editor often, and now I work in administration in the transportation field. But writing has always been my avocation. I write because I can’t not write. It’s always going on in my head anyway. Might as well write it down and put it out there for people to read.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I think writer’s block is really a myth. I have never stared at a piece of paper or computer screen for longer than about 15 minutes trying to get something out. Right around the time I hit the 15-minute mark, I start typing nonsense sentences and pretty soon I’m writing a story. To me, writer’s block is a function of boredom. Sometimes, I just have no interest in working on my current project. I’m not generally frustrated that I can’t think of what comes next. I just don’t care right now. So, I switch to my secondary project and work on that for a few days or weeks until I feel like I’m ready to go back to my primary project. That’s how I ended up writing two series, because I would have been switching between the two anyway. Might as well plan for that. Next year, I will publish a literary fiction that is outside of both series. Why do I have a literary fiction? That’s what I’ve been working on when the other two projects go into creative slump. I also give myself permission to occasionally binge watch a series on Netflix or go hiking in the Alaska wilderness. Because I am always working on something and I’m not freaking myself out over any one project, I just don’t get writer’s block because I don’t get bored.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Well, we live in Alaska and I have a full-time job, so that keeps me busy. We heat with wood, so there’s always a lot going on with that. We harvest fish and blueberries and sometimes we get lucky to shoot a moose or caribou. We also do a lot of hiking in the summer, which includes camping and photography. This time of year, the weather starts to get cold, so we’re buttoning up the outdoor projects, remodeling a sauna/shed into a tiny-home for our teenage son and getting the dog’s house full of straw. Once winter falls, I love to curl up with a good book by the fire, but I also enjoy cooking and quilting. We’re involved in our church and we love to go to the local coffee shops to listen to the free entertainment offered on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I think I might have too many projects, but I’m trying to focus on just three right now. The third book in Daermad Cycle is mostly plotted, which is a sort of new experience for me because I am really a discovery writer, but when you write a series, you have got to hit some milestones or you just start chasing your tail. But I got bored with “Fount of Dreams” about three weeks ago and could not settle down to “A Threatening Fragility” as an alternative, so I turned to a tertiary project and realized that it’s mostly written. I’ve spent the last three weeks killing about 25,000-words worth of darlings, deciding on an ending, and getting it to what I consider to be a rough-draft stage. I have maybe a week more to go. At that point, I’ll take my traditional break of a month or so from it. I hope to come out with all three within the next 18 months.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Read everything. And, by that, I mean — EVERYTHING. You never know where you’ll find inspiration. Sit down in a park and watch people. Listen to the conversation behind you at the coffee shop or Denny’s. Write often. Write stupid stuff. Don’t worry about the quality. Don’t throw it out. You never know when something you were playing around with will decide to be a novel worthy of publication. Don’t let yourself get bored. Learn when to turn off when needed – to switch to another project, watch television, go hiking, stare at the stars. If you want to create, don’t wait for the “best time” because there will never be a perfect time. Just do it and see what happens.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you Lela, you have been a terrific guest and we can’t wait to check out your books 🙂
Lela Markham is an Alaska novelist who told tales as soon as she could talk. She lives the adventure of a lifetime on the Last Frontier where the midnight sun encourages wandering the wilderness and the long winter nights favor reading, writing and staring at the northern lights. It’s all about the aurora watching!
You can connect with Lela on the following Social Media channels:-
Amazon Author Page:- Lela Markham (Amazon Author Page)
Blog/Website:- Aurorawatcher Alaska – The Website of Author Lela Markham
Breakwater Harbor Books:- Breakwater Harbor Books
Facebook:- Lela Markham – Author (FB)
Goodreads:- Lela Markham (Goodreads Author)
Twitter:- Lela Markham – Author (Twitter)
You can buy her books here:-
Still want more? Well, Lela has books where the situations and themes are fragile in the extreme, thanks to the conflicts brought about by her well written characters. She also has a book coming out in 2017 called “A Threatening Fragility”. This leads me to believe that the ‘Fragile’ prompt at The Daily Post seems a relevant fit. For more articles based on the theme of fragile then click on the links below:-
1. Theresa Barker – Lab Notes – are you so easily broken?
2. Summer Reflection – byindiablue
3. Underestimating at its best – NeatSuites
4. Leggo My Ego – The Mass Diet
5. Mr. Robot season 2 – jessicasblog45
6. shame – To the little Southern girl on the beach: Part two
7. Falling in Love – mum’s going nuts
8. America Gun Ban – Must Read For Anyone Interested in Growing Their Own Food
9. Flowing Like Milk and Honey – All the World
10. artifiswords – FRAGILE
11. Le Drake Noir – Naked truth
12. cahla’s tawkin’ – Fragile
13. Copper Cranes – Trone’s Inamorata
14. the15thday – it wasn’t exactly a warm fuzzy moment for self!
15. Travel Much? – Fish in lemon sauce
16. Greetings from Niceville! – St. Jude: The Patron Saint of Lost Causes
17. Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman – Parabatai Reviews
18. My Wellbeing and Learning Journey – Fragile
19. Press the Pause Button. – Vickie’s Corner
20. La Tour Abolie – Sailing
21. This Side Up – StrangeLander2015
22. Fragility Rules! – TallTales
23. Fragility’s strong metaphors – Fictionalism
24. Qua Madrigal’s Creative Bend – A Bit Of “Fragile Together” Fiction
25. Knowledge and Wisdom: Distilling Godly Faith Into Our Lives – Lance Price Blog 2016
26. Samantha Linda – Fragile piece
27. Michael’s Monologue – Finally, Time to Take Stock
28. Chasing Destino – Fragile: Daily Post
29. Buhay Nanay – A Child’s Spirit
30. Success Inspirers’ World – Fragile
31. Truth-and-Love#11 – LIVING AND LEARNING
32. The Lazy Wanderer – Stop Torturing Me
33. Petra Omoregie Caroline – Pancakes and fragile moments of happiness. Day 24 Caroline’s sunrise photo and health challenge
34. Light Motifs – The Luxury of Being Fragile
35. Out of Entropy – My Second Act, Scene One
36. haiku 9/17 – Nes Felicio Photography
37. Backyard Edible Gardening – Must Read For Anyone Interested in Growing Their Own Food
38. Fragile – LAW OF THE LETTER
39. Twisted Roads of Madness – Day 128 Daily Prompt – Hurt – 50 Word Story Expanded
40. Too Soon – The Chaos Within
41. Between letters – LuPo_san
42. Cynthia Goes Online – Fragile Love
43. logicaldreams – Drabble: One Prank Too Many
44. SHATTERED CREATURES – Wanderlust
45. Fragile.. Is it me? – Letters to life
46. Theo Herbots TV Blogging University – Theo Herbots TV
47. huntprayerpoems – Glass
48. let’s meet when the rain stops – and the rain left off
49. Rosevoc2’s Blog – Fragile
50. Purposive Writer – Take Care: Fragile
51. The Poetic Syndrome – Daily Prompt – Fragile
52. My bi-reality – Visitation No 4 – Afterlife Love Story
53. a cooking pot and twistedtales – Bursted!…
54. eclations – Purple Wedding: Journaling Card 01
55. Meet Me in Nevada – My Fragile State
56. Whole30, Day 5. Oh Yea, I’m on the Edge. – Pursuing Balance in All Things
57. manvsloneliness – Day 73 Supplemental: The Lover’s Guide to Swedish Furniture Making; ‘Fragile’
58. Annette’s place – Daily prompt/fragile/9/16/2016
59. Galen911 – “Feeding Curiosity In Fragile Places”
60. Impromptu Promptlings – in between
61. Lost Property Repository – Blooging Don’ts: Walls Of Text
62. Shopping Day 3 – writemebad
63. The Showers of Blessing – Vulnerable
64. Nit Bits of life – Matters of the heart
65. TammiTime – The Rise of Fragile Egos
66. a bliss of birds – Journal Entry: Fragile as….
67. Sonder Stories – Margin of Fragility
68. Fragile: Teen Family Life – Shelby’s Starlit Crossing
69. Fragile – the conversationalist
70. Introverted Blahs and Hurrahs – Glasses are fragile
71. Be Gentle – Leigha Robbins
72. This Above All… – Making Sense of Complications
73. kindergartenknowledge.com – Fragile Dishes. Non-Fragile Dishes.
74. Unbreakable – Veil Willow
75. Darkness Falls – Confessions of a Bookaholic
76. inspiration in progress – Fragile, Haiku
77. Fragile – Asleep At The Wheel
78. Life in a Few Words – Handle With Care
79. Leanne Murphy – Dog’s response to snow
80. Fragile – calliemm
81. Passion is Fragile – findingenvirons
82. drdavidbrookspsychoanalyst – Fragile (Trump’s placebo disavowal of ‘Birtherism’ and Fragile Self-Esteem, A Psychoanalytic Perspective)
83. Hello Life – What is in your Marriage Box?
84. Mainline_Matter – Fragile Plastic
85. Razan Masri – The Fragile Dance
86. The search – aYoKa
87. Today’s Prompt: FRAGILE. Fear of heights, tow trucks, and stigma – Come in, sit down
88. I, a powerful & glorious mess – serenitynay
89. God’s Fragile Hearts Stutter-Stepping Heart – Asad Akhtar
90. String puppetry – seequoyah
91. Writing Prompt: Fragile- My Gosh I feel Fragile Today!#amwriting – KimKnight_Author
92. Autism in Our Nest – Trigger Words
93. Stutter-Stepping Heart – God’s Fragile Hearts
94. Fragile Flight – If Moms Could Write
95. On Bended Knee – English Lit Geek
96. Twisted Roads of Madness – Day 128 Daily Prompt – Hurt – 50 Word Story
97. Jottings and Writings – Daily Promt: Fragile
98. Is your mentality FragileÂ like glass? – Cooking with the DeGroffs
99. Mirth and Motivation – Haiku: A Fragile Ego
100. The Fragile Rose – THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
101. Whispers My Ghost – MY ENDURING BONES
102. Appearances – A lot from Lydia
103. Fluffy Pool – 5-7-5
104. Fragile! Who me? – Mr.Brb_blog
105. one foot in another world – themanbehindtheglass
106. The Morning of My Journal Entry – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
107. Getting Ready for the Next Phase – April’s Perspective
108. lemonadeletter – we are only strangers.
109. FaithWalkingHebrews11:1 – Unbreakable Faith
110. By Reason Of Sanity – Fragile
111. Fragile – A Joy To Write
112. Po’ Girl Shines – Fragile
113. The Kitchen Floor – Even Burnt Wood Floats
114. ~Time Out with Ju~ – Shadow
115. Explore with Mafaza – Baklava
116. Hope in the Fragile – A Place to Remember
117. Fragility: Nothing to Hide – k a i t
118. Occasional Dreams – Set Free
119. Wishing Away the Days (A Poem) – stephentotheplate
120. Common Pursuit – The World of Yesterday
121. Theo Herbots TV Lightning part 2 – Theo Herbots TV
122. B_ up to date – That sweet festival
123. wordsareallihavesite – Fragile
124. Fragile – disue
125. Fragile – Covert Novelist
126. crystal is fragile…(DUH) ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
127. Fragile – Live, Laugh, Love Writing.
128. A Little Braver – Eurydice Howell
129. Chris Thilk – Daily Post – Fragile
130. How fragile is our Financial System? – The Mono-Economy of the New Millennium
131. The View From My Window – f.r.a.g.i.l.e.
132. Fragile – Micks Blog
133. Beats – From Within The Mind
134. Not me – Leaking Ink
135. Fragile: vulnerable, morally-weak deplorables – findingbreathless
136. Light & life – Tithing
137. Cuando hay que mudarse… consejos prÃ¡cticos. POST PATROCINADO – perlesartblog
138. Fear Mine – LazyHaze
139. Latitude 2016 – Festival of Fairytales (and my fragile neck) – Wheelescapades
140. What to write tonight? – ARJUN SHIVARAM
141. Lori’s Life and Other Stuff – Fragile
142. LiteYourSoul – Fragile
143. Love her – Justus Creek
144. kStan(ly) kSays – the bull was in the china shop
145. Travel Much? – Dublin much? Howth
146. Relax – What’s that song.. Time Passages, maybe
147. SERENDIPITY – EPHEMERAL AND FRAGILE – WORLD ON THE EDGE
148. domestic diva – How to Pack when moving
149. Life can be very fragile. – susiesopinions
150. Writer Sanctuary – Is Your Skin Thick Enough to Be an Author?
151. Fragile – Life&Beth
152. Heart Shaped Hole. – TheTattooedBookGeek
153. The brewery of a fragile mind! – WazirNama
154. The Syllabub Sea – fragile memories
155. Sandmanjazz – Sting’s Maximus Opus
156. Flowers and Breezes – Fragile
157. This flaw – Melancholy Doll
158. Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – Onto My Next 40 Years
159. Fragile – Daily Prompt – ladyleemanila
160. ilinias – Fragile.
161. Seeing through a crutch – Nickey Dubstep
162. speaking up for myself – BEE PEE
163. The Things You Didn’t Do – The DADgum Blog
164. Fragile – november child
165. Writings from the Meadow – Fragile
166. Handle With Care – atrangizindagieksafar
167. Fragile – Vermont Book Works
168. Insach – Fragile
169. The Green Dog Chronicles. My Life in Navia – Should I Forget…
170. The happy Quitter! – Glass Woman
171. Daily Post Prompt: Fragile – The Happy Wordcrafter
172. Healthy Living – Workplace Bullying
173. J9’s Next Chapter – Fragile
174. hoosiersunshine13 – Words of a baffling father
175. Preciousness of Life – Meg’s Magical Musings
176. Fragile – The Examined Life
177. Sensitive Bull – Postcard from a Pigeon
178. Try Again – Ms Skyfall
179. Daily Post Prompt: Out, Out Damn Spot! – Sumyanna Writes
180. the.way.i.bee – Fraa-G-lay. Must be Italian
181. Meander Marquee – Fragile
182. Does Love Make You Fragile? – passiondesignerblog
183. Breathing Lessons – A Different State of Mind
184. The fragile child… – clumsyandsilly
185. Fragility – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
186. I am Fragile – eddaz
187. JadeOutLoud – Fragile, Futile.
188. Martha L Shaw – STRENGTH IN FRAGILITY
189. Scribblings for you – Reach The Stars
190. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 YNN – Upgrading these lights for safety
191. DinamicDynasty – Fragile
192. Daily Post Prompt: Fragile – Lillith’s Landing
193. The Beauty of Youth – Journey of a Happy Girl
194. Moving Closer: City Life
195. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – Back-to-school and apple pie
196. Belief Grounded In Truth Can Still Be Fragile – A Devious Mind
197. rawtortellinisforlunch – Imagination
198. Fragile – Caillen James –Author
199. Mindlessness & Denial – Things That We Do to Protect the Fragile Self-Esteem – Jacki Kellum
200. Michael J. Fite – How Does Dealing With What Makes You Fragile Makes You Stronger?
201. Fragile: The Art of A Child – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
202. Fragile Human Theories. – Neil James.
203. fragile – Introverted n’ Proud
204. Do you ever think of me? – Rhea Khaira
205. Incredible Pie – The kid and the squirrel!
206. Spreading the Dark at the Speed of Light – mySestina
207. Writer’s Block Reflections – What Doesn’t Kill You…
208. Science Traveler – Edinburgh Scotland – Have Fun Storming the Castle
209. Fog and Rain – Don’t hold your breath
210. Fragile: Haiku 9/16/16 – Redhead Reflections
211. Fragile Jelly – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
212. Fragile as Steel – poorhaiku
213. Full-Time – Gone
214. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Fragile Feline?
215. Marcel Duchamp’s bride, their lovers and admirers: The Large Glass – Vin de Vie Wine of Life
216. Don’t Let Hurt Feelings Kill Creativity – thepathtocreativity
217. Prayers and Piazzas – The Importance of Dewdrops
218. kStan(ly) kSays – web slinger
219. Fragile Little Soul. – Her Mental Health Adventures
220. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Fragile
221. Making it write – Feather
222. The Poetry Channel – Art Like Whispers
223. Strength – indisputably inconclusive
224. Recovering Losses – Insidious Temptation
225. Devil Doll Musings – Bad Medicine
226. Our Son’s Arrival is Upon Us – Jerome Danner
227. For Our Own – Tales & Trails
228. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – The fragile things of life
229. Lee Aspland – Fragile
230. Hanging by a thread – Jane Dougherty Writes
231. HANDLE WITH CARE….FRAGILE – breathingpark
232. A Fragile State – bdwoodswrites
233. The hand I take – lovelyricism
234. Games – Second Time Blogger
235. Turn That Radio Up – Stronger
236. The Fragile Ego of a Narcissist – Confetti of the Day
237. Zombie Flamingos – Thursday night
238. It was once Fragile… – Writcrit
239. Chip on Shoulder – wordsonwings
240. Think About It – Little Boxes
241. Rainbow Pieces – cmshuckstories
242. theblackwallblog – 52 Weeks of Thankfulness #4
243. fragile and lost – Love it Now
244. Have a nice trip! – Elaine’s Bloggers Paradise
245. Lost Property Repository – Mindnight Cowboy rides again
246. Fragile… – Random Thoughts and Musings
247. Designer Sophisticate – I break sometimes.
248. A Vibrant Palette – A Bold Challenge
249. Prompt: Fragile – LMTP Journey
250. Fragile – Asleep At The Wheel
251. Kate Murray – Fragile life
252. Southern By Design – Time For What’s Important
253. Frank Prem – male nude
254. Leaving – Just Writing!
255. Fragile – iamdeltapositivenegative
256. I wrote a book. Now what? – Look at the source
257. heart broken – writemebad
258. In One Piece – Pete Gardner Psalms
259. My fragile heart – Awordseeker
260. The Wandering Poet – By the water
261. The Injured Butterfly – Bits of Poems
262. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: fragile
263. Passion through Poetry – Fragile
264. Lost Property Repository – Blogging Don’ts: Open New Window
265. Fragile: Butterfly Haiku – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
266. Lantern Words – Fragile Life