I’m interviewing Marva Dasef today, whose MG fantasy, MIDNIGHT OIL, launches this month through Muse It Up Publishing.
Marva, you write in an astounding variety of genres. Tell us about them – and if you have a favorite, which is it?
I seem to be settling on MG/YA fantasy, although you’re correct about my wayward genre hopping. I’ve published memoir, mystery, science fiction, and bits of romance and horror. I started my serious fiction career with short stories. That allowed me to try out a lot before finding the best fit. And by best fit, I mean two ways. First, that the style feels comfortable and natural to me, and second, publishers are more likely to accept a particular genre.
Beginning from Tales of a Texas Boy, the nostalgic semi-memoir stories about my father’s boyhood in West Texas during the Depression, I preferred humor to pathos. Even in my adult scifi, I wanted some Star Wars-like comic relief. Essentially, I can’t take anything too seriously.
I like my halfway between Tween and YA fantasies. I couldn’t write a contemporary YA if someone held a gun to my head. I don’t have enough contact with modern teens to write with authority. With fantasy, anything goes, so I can make up wild solutions to the problems my characters are facing. Trapped on an invisible island? No problem. Kat can ask a bird to carry a message. Attacked by a polar bear? No problem. A killer whale can come to the rescue. In real situations, a writer is restricted to real solutions. How boring is that?
You’ve also worked with a few publishing companies, as well as published on your own. Can you tell us about the ups and downs?
My first two books were put out by a small publisher. I found the support severely lacking. Being new to the game, I didn’t know how much they were letting me down. I’m not talking about the post-publishing process, but when I should have had editing, it wasn’t provided. When the cover was selected, it didn’t fit the story.
I found that my latest publisher is really great on the production side. I got many editing rounds with both a content editor and a line editor. My cover was produced from scratch by great cover artists. Also, MuseItUp authors are like family with lots of help publicizing each others’ works, and generally supporting every author’s efforts.
The downside to having a publisher is that the retail price has to be higher than a self-published book. I offer most of my self-pub material for 99 cents. The price on my professionally published work is higher, but there are more people who need to be paid.
The market for children’s e-books is up and coming. I saw several e-readers come into my 5th grade classroom after Christmas. How do you market to catch the young e-book reader’s eye?
I’m trying to take advantage of groups that support YA writers (and by YA, I include everything from grade school and up) such as the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I try to associate with other YA writers. Much of that is done through the mutual support system like this blog tour for Midnight Oil. I will be hosting my hosts as their books are published, as I have in the past.
Besides your Witches of Galdorheim series, what else do you have cooking right now?
I am sneakily reworking some of my self-pubbed work and submitting it for publication. For example, I have expanded one of my middle-eastern fantasies, which started life with the micro-press that published my first two books, and it will be released under a new title by my current publisher, MuseItUp.
Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your newest book, Midnight Oil?
How about the promo info? But before that, I want to tell your readers to leave a comment to win a free ebook copy of either Bad Spelling (book 1) or Midnight Oil (book 2).
MIDNIGHT OIL – Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Kat discovers that an evil forest spirit has kidnapped her brand-new boyfriend. She sets out with her brother, Rune, from her Arctic island home on a mission to rescue the boy. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding that the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.
Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.
My websites: http://marvadasef.com/ http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/
MuseItUp Buy Page: http://tinyurl.com/6wswbsf
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdfNTVeMS1s
NOTE: The Midnight Oil trailer is featured on this month’s You Gotta Read Videos http://yougottareadvideos.blogspot.com/. Voting is open from January 21st-26th, so please vote for #20.
This sounds like fun. I absolutely adore that cover 🙂
I didn’t realize this one was MG. Sweet! Thanks for sharing your insight with us, Marva, and thanks for having her, Dianne.
Thanks for sharing this. I love a good MG fantasy!
Great interview! MIDNIGHT OIL sounds like a fantastic read. Wish I could have found something like it when I was in my middle-grade years. It would have been a welcome break from all those horse books, not to mention all those dying dogs.
Best of luck with your career, Marva. 🙂
Thanks to Dianne and all the commenters. I’ll be selecting an ebook winner next week. If you win from Dianne’s blog, you’ll have the choice of Bad Spelling (Book 1) or Midnight Oil.
Check the other bloggers on my virtual tour. Leave comments on other blogs to multiply your chances of winning.
I’ll have to keep an eye out for your books since I have a 4th grader who might be interested in reading them!
Sounds like a fun book! Thanks Marva and Dianne!
Wow. Sounds like a lot of fun stories here. And I love the reason for writing YA fantasy. lol
A terrific interview, and it sounds like an interesting book. I didn’t read YA when I WAS YA, and I’m not exactly part of the proper demographics now, but so many interesting bloggers are YA authors, I may have to give the genre a second (um, make that FIRST)look. (Wait! Is “We Talk to the Dead” considered YA? If so, I reckon I’ve already given YA a look, and I LIKE it. Who’d a thunk it?)
Sounds like a really fun read.
Hi to Dianne 🙂
I love the anime styling of the cover. The premise sounds like there’s lots of conflict and adventure to keep a reader paralyzed in their favorite chair for a fun and enjoyful read (yeah, I know, just made that up lol@@@)
Great interview. I was wondering how writer can grab the attention of the MG market when it comes to ebooks (not that I write MG). It’s a lot harder to let them know about the books than it is for the older markets. My sons play computer games. They don’t read book reviews.
Good luck with the book, Marva.
Witches of Galdorheim (the series) is a bit higher than MG, but not a mature YA. I think the definition of YA falls more into the Hunger Games/Twilight level, which are more violent, more romantic. But my characters are put into real danger and have to work hard to save themselves.
At my dentist’s office, the front desk lady said her teen daughter has a Kindle and is an avid reader. My own grand-ds got their Kindles this Christmas. I think the kids will be taking to ebooks duck -> water. Also, new ebook formats are allowing more graphics and even interactive stories. Our kids and grand kids will be leaving us in the dust.
Enjoyed the interview!
I have followed all of your books, you are a very versatile author.
You did find a comfortable niche now and I’m glad you did. I enjoyed the first two in the series. Keep them coming. They are a great read for all ages. And so much fun.