Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Crosswind (Land, Sea, Sky Book 1)" by Lynne Cantwell

Crosswind (Land, Sea, Sky Book 1)
by Lynne Cantwell

Crosswind, the first book in the Land, Sea, Sky series, is on tour with The Finishing Fairies. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. You can also enter the giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes. Be sure to visit all of the other tour stops as well.

Also available: Three prequel stories in one book, Where Were You When: An Anthology (Land, Sea, Sky).

Storm's coming...
Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods' return. As conflict eases around the world, attention - and money - has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.
But the former ruling class - the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system - are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.
The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods' peace will not be destroyed.

Book Trailer

The events that Lynne Cantwell used to frame her latest novel Crosswind are set in Washington D.C. in the not too distant future, less than a decade away. My take on Cantwell’s immaculately crafted satire on the contemporary political environment in our nation's capital, is that this author hit the home run.
Cantwell introduces her readers to a cast of characters whom she has some insight into…maybe in the form of being a subject matter expert herself. Main character, Tess Showalter is an investigative reporter. She shares a townhouse in D.C. with a former college roomy, Sue Killeen. Together they take on a male third to split the cost of the home they live in. What happens later is extraordinary. Each represent different forces of a mystical world with goddesses and ancient spirits. There are other characters on the fringes of good that take stage. Readers will recognize them as the adversary.
Without giving away the entire plot, which by the way is plausable, the personalities of all the characters eventually collide and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. Though this might sound like the story is formulaic, hang on to your hat, because it is anything but…
Speaking of hats, mine goes off to Cantwell. She delivered with precision writing craft, interesting and unique character development, and a contemporary and imaginative story presented in a setting where she has a great degree of credibility. Lynne, please hurry up and write another. I’m ready for it and ready for the next adventure.

Interview With the Author
Hi Lynne, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Crosswind: Land, Sea, Sky Book 1.
Happy to be here, Lynda. Thanks for having me.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I started writing the first book in The Pipe Woman Chronicles (the precursor series to Land, Sea, Sky) with the intention of writing an urban fantasy, because I had been reading a number of them. So I guess you could think of C. E. Murphy, Carrie Vaughn, and Patricia Briggs as my literary godmothers.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
Adults, definitely. There’s cursing and some non-graphic sex.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I was looking for a way to extend the storyline of the Pipe Woman Chronicles with different characters and in a different location. So I moved the action from Denver to Washington, D.C., where I live now. Then I started thinking about where the world would be, ten years down the road from the events in the final book of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, and how badly the guys who had lost power when the gods returned would want it back. That’s when the idea for Land, Sea, Sky began to come together.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In the case of Crosswind, probably the structure came first. But I knew right away that the Morrigan would be one of the goddesses involved, and that Tess would be her human avatar.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It was making everything as authentic as possible. There are a lot of moving parts in Crosswind, with the involvement of the military and members of Congress, as well as the inner workings of a TV newsroom. I have been both a Navy wife and a journalist, and I know people who work on Capitol Hill. So I wanted the details of those scenes to ring true, even though this book is a fantasy.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I’m mindful that I write urban fantasy, so I don’t expect to leave anyone with any sort of profound revelations. But I hope my readers can envision a world in which God acts to put humanity back on a track of taking care of one another, instead of living in fear of one another.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Not long. I wrote the first draft in August and September, and sent it to my editor and beta reader shortly thereafter.
What is your writing routine?
Confession time: I don’t write every day. I tend to write the first draft in a sprint, NaNoWriMo-style – so 50,000 words or so in three or four weeks. Then I let the manuscript sit and “ripen” for a few weeks before I give it an editing pass. After another editing pass or two, I send it to my editorial team. When they get it back to me, I input their corrections, do one more read-through, and then hit “publish.”
It probably sounds like the book would be a hot mess. But my first drafts are pretty clean, with very few grammar and spelling issues. I’ve read the advice about how you should turn off your inner editor when you write your first draft, and fix all your grammar and spelling mistakes after you’ve got the story down – and that’s useful for people who are paralyzed by perfectionism. But I spent twenty years going on the air with what were essentially first drafts; the writing mechanics had to be there from the get-go. So I’m used to do it this way. And it does save me a lot of time in the editing phase.
How did you get your book published?
I’ve been self-publishing for the last couple of years.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Writers need to be well-read. So I advise aspiring authors to read a lot, and to pay attention when they’re reading to see how the author puts his or her story together. But really, the only way to improve as a writer is to write.
Great advice, Lynne. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read a lot, and I knit, and spend way too much time on Facebook. I probably should sleep more than I do.
What does your family think of your writing?
I like to say that I grew my own editorial team. My daughter Kat is my beta reader, my daughter Amy took the photos of Holmes Run that I’m using on Pinterest to illustrate the area where the characters in Crosswind live, and one of their college friends is my editor. So I’ve been very lucky in that regard. Even my ex-husband says he likes my work!
That's great! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in northern Indiana, five blocks from Lake Michigan. My father was an auto mechanic; when he was in the fifth grade, his father died, so Dad had to quit school and go to work to support his family. My mother, who never finished high school, was a homemaker. (Now there’s a word you don’t see much anymore.) Anyway, I have one brother who is ten years older than me.
Did you enjoy school?
I was one of those annoying kids who not only liked school, but who was good at academics. Art and gym were my worst subjects.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I did, and I read way beyond my grade level. I did a book report on George Orwell’s Animal Farm in the fourth grade. I didn’t know what allegory was, but I certainly got the message about how power corrupted those pigs.
What was your favorite book as a child?
In early elementary school, it was Heidi. Then I moved on to Little Women. Then when I got to eighth grade, it was Jane Eyre.
Who were your favorite authors as a child?
Edgar Allan Poe was one. The Masque of the Red Death is still my favorite Poe story. I read a lot of classics as a kid – and also plenty of Nancy Drew mysteries.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in the second grade, the boy who sat in front of me brought in a book he had written and illustrated. I looked at it and thought, “I could do that.” And I’ve been doing it, off and on, ever since.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Not really, other than getting me started. I suppose my writing is infused with those experiences subconsciously, but that’s true of any writer.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I get two kinds of comments about my books: people either get offended by what they perceive as Christianity-bashing, or they want to live in the world I’ve imagined. I don’t ever criticize Jesus’ teachings; in fact, my characters want the world to get back to them. I do take issue with what organized religion has done with those teachings, though, and it seems like a lot of people agree with me. But I don’t want to make it sound like the books are some kind of polemic; they aren’t.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I wrote the first draft of Undertow, the second Land, Sea, Sky novel, in November. With any luck, it’ll be out in the spring. Then I’ll be writing the final book in the trilogy, Scorched Earth. I’m not sure what I’ll do after that, although I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at magic realism.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Lynne. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thanks, Lynda! I enjoyed being here.

About the Author
Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway you a chance to win some great prizes (US only).