Please welcome, Rani Divine, author, blogger, and editor extraordinaire at RAD Publishing!
Intro: What is your name, what do you write, and where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythical being or creature, who or what would you be?
Hi! I’m Rani Divine, science fiction and fantasy author from the sandy state of New Mexico. You can find me on social media at http://www.Facebook.com/RaniAmberDivine (I also have a group there, called Divine Reads), and on Instagram at Rani.Divine!
As for the mythical creature, you’ll laugh. I live in a desert. There’s no water anywhere. So I’d go with mermaid, primarily because I never learned how to swim (why bother, when there’s no water around?), and I think swimming sounds pretty cool.
- What got you interested in writing?
I’m not sure that it was any one thing, honestly. I’ve loved writing ever since I was a little girl. My best friend and I used to write (albeit horrible) detective fiction, in our tweens, but I was writing ridiculous short stories and making up bedtime stories for myself as long as I can remember. Writing was always something that I used to get away from the real world, which I often found very boring.
- What inspired your book?
Mynidd: People of the Hills is the fourth in a series of standalone novels. By the time I got to this one, I already had a fair idea of who the Mynidd were, and what story they had to tell. I had a glimpse of them when I wrote Cedwig: People in the Vines, which takes place nearby. As for the series, it was inspired in the middle of a Viking Mythology class, back in college. The professor was doing a discussion on the druids of England, and I thought to myself, “what if the druids weren’t people, but something else entirely?” I wrote about a third of the first druid novel in that class (don’t worry, I still passed with an A+).
- What is the book about?
Mynidd: People of the Hills focuses on a township in the hills, known as Jaiyrun. The people have lived there happily for many years, but the dark stories from the plains have finally come true. The druids have appeared, and war has begun. For the first time in the series, we meet a druid more than simply capable of war—and willing to carry it out to the fullest. It’s a story of striving for peace in the midst of hardship, and of discovering the many forms love takes in life.
Here’s the back cover text, for those who love a teaser:
Tales of the druids did not fall on deaf ears.
We expected them when the village of Jaiyrun was founded in the hills. For years, we kept alert, waiting for them to appear. They never did, and our people believed the stories no more.
Eighty long years, we lived in peace—until our attempt to expand into a second valley.
The druids came from the shadows, fierce and enraged, built for war.
And war they would have.
Five years, the battle waged.
Five years, my people have barely held them at bay.
Five years is long enough.
My name is Aeronwen, and I will bring an end to this war.
Whatever it takes.
- What are the characters like?
For the first time in the druid novels, most of the characters the story focuses on are human. Two families of siblings, in particular: that of Grigory, Maksim, Sasha, Isaak, Irina, and Katia, and that of Aeronwen, Feodor, and Luka. The main character, Aeronwen, is a warrior woman—something the druid novels haven’t seen before. She’s a stereotype breaker, in nearly every way. She’s the biggest powerhouse character I’ve ever written, and I really wish I’d gotten more time with her. But the brothers, I think, are my favorites. All of them. They each have their own dimension, and yet they’re very distinctly family. Grigory is a politician, Maksim and Isaak are warriors, and Sasha is the innocent of the family, who signed up for the militia only because he felt it was the right thing to do. The story tests every one of its characters, some to the point of no return. But that’s what makes for a good story, isn’t it?
- Who should pick up your book and why?
Anyone who reads (or has ever wanted to read) fantasy fiction. The Druid Novels are designed to be what I call starter fantasy, so they’re in-depth with characters and settings and details, but they’re not so high fantasy as to be difficult for a newbie to the genre to get into.
If you’re looking for a long read, something that will hold your attention every single time you pick it up—if you’re looking for a novel that will pull you into an intricate series—if you’re looking for a book that will set your heart racing—Mynidd is the book for you. Why? Because Mynidd begins in the middle of a war. There is no peace and peace is not believed possible. It’s a puzzle piece within a non-consecutive series, a tangling web of stories that will unite in one final story, in a way you’ll never see coming (TBR in 2020, by the way).
But really, even if you’re not looking to get pulled into a series, Mynidd is strong enough to stand on its own. That’s how I designed the whole series. Pick up one book or pick up all of them. It’s your choice. But I’m pretty sure once you read one, you’ll want to read the others.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
I’m going to be real honest with you right now. I don’t have one. I love my books, they’re my babies, my life’s work… but if I were to pick a quote as my favorite, it would be like singling one of my children out and declaring that this one is now my favorite, because it contains this amazing line. I couldn’t do it to the others.
- What is your favorite memory with a fan/fans who have read your work?
I do an event in Gallup, NM, a couple times a year, which routinely turns into my favorite memory over and over again. It’s called the ArtsCrawl. I started going there early on in my career to promote my first book, Telekinetic, and I saw a massive amount of support from the city. I think my favorite though is this special needs kid (I’ll refrain from stating his name) who routinely seeks me out to ask if I have a new book out because he read the last one in a week. My books are 200,000 words, so reading them in a week isn’t an easy feat. This sweet boy constantly reminds me how much he loves my writing, and to me, he’s a consistent reminder of why I do what I do. I love how quickly he came out of his shell with me, and I’m amazed that it happened because of my writing.
- In addition to being an author, you work as a secondary editor, blogger, and marketer with RAD publishing. What do you enjoy most about the job?
Nearly everything, if I’m being honest! I get to work with authors most of the time, which is where my passion lies. I’m not just a writer; I’m an editor who loves to work with writers to make their work amazing. I get to work behind the scenes with a lot of RAD’s authors to help jumpstart their social media and market their books across the nation, and I have so much fun with every bit of it. If I had to pick one aspect to be my favorite, I’d say it’s Mavguard Magazine. I’m the lead editor there, where we publish everything from short stories to poetry to indie art, and I’m always amazed by the quality of work that’s submitted. Everyone who works or volunteers within Mavguard is a massive amount of fun, and we all love what we’re doing: helping indie authors and artists get a publication under their belts.
- You are one of the three main staff of RAD Publishing. How has working behind the scenes influenced your understanding of the industry?
It’s influenced it a lot, definitely. I did self-publish my first book, Telekinetic, and it was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had. I’m not saying self-publishing is awful, but it’s certainly not for everyone—which is where RAD Writing comes in. Having worked with and for them for a few years now, I’ve gotten to see every step of the traditional publication process, from contracting to editing to marketing, from interior formatting to cover design to shelf placement, most of which I never would’ve known if I’d stayed self-published.
- What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned as a part of RAD Publishing?
Interestingly, I’d say the most interesting thing is how many authors honestly don’t want to be backed by a publisher anymore. For me, that was always something I wanted. I didn’t want to be indie all my life, I didn’t want to have to do everything myself all the time. But while working at RAD, I’ve gotten to meet a whole mess of authors who have zero interest at all in publishing anywhere other than Amazon—which to me, is a dangerous sign for writers everywhere. Amazon already controls too much of the publishing industry, in my opinion.
- You were the first author to be published by RAD. Why did you choose them and what can you say about the process?
I would almost say that RAD chose me, if I’m being honest. I was part of the process while RAD was created in a coffee shop one afternoon, and I’ve been along for the ride ever since. But even if I hadn’t been, RAD would’ve been high up on my list of publishing houses. I love the heart behind the ladies of RAD, I love their mission, and I love working with them. They’re the kindest editors I’ve ever worked with, they’re knowledgeable and brilliant, and every single one of us has a passion for writing, which simply cannot be quenched. From what I’ve seen, knowing others who have traditionally published, RAD is one of the easiest companies to work with. We’re very transparent about everything we do, and we’re more than happy to show our authors a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes. I love it.
- Who should submit to RAD?
Authors who have a hard time figuring out what to do by themselves. The fact of the matter is, self-publishing is hard. RAD Writing was designed specifically to be a publishing house that would help authors and work with them to build their books up to the highest potential. Yeah, it’s not for everyone. If you’re happy being self-published, don’t submit to RAD. If you’re adamant on signing with one of the big five, don’t submit to RAD. But if you want to be published, you want someone to back you, all while maintaining as much creative control as possible, then please, submit to RAD. I might even get to be your secondary editor—and I’m a lot of fun to work with, I promise.
- What is unique about RAD at a publishing house?
We’re personable. I’m on a first-name basis with every single one of our authors (as well as most of the artists who submit to Mavguard). We get to know each other, we work with each other, and we have a lot of fun along the way. RAD is comprised of a great group of ladies (lads are welcome too, of course) who just want to see authors get the help they need to get their book on the shelf without having to do everything themselves. Actually, we also offer a lot of author services now as well, for authors who need some help but want to go the self-published route. There aren’t a lot of publishing houses that offer those kinds of services.
- Which aspect of your work at RAD do you enjoy the most and why?
Working with authors and artists every single day. It’s been my passion since college, and I absolutely love it. I love the times that I get to chat with clients and discuss their projects. I love being the middleman between the authors and the designers (I have something of a background in design as well). Basically, I get to spend my days in the company of creative people who share the same vision of the world as me, and in this day and age, that’s hard to find. I count myself very blessed by the opportunity to work where I do, doing what I do.
Thanks for the awesome interview, Rani! And don’t forget to check out RAD Publishing as well as follow her on www.facebook.com/RaniAmberDivine, join her group, Divine Reads, and keep up on Instagram at Rani.Divine!
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!