We have with us today a debut author from Musa Publishing—Arley Cole.
The Blacksmith’s Daughter, is being released today through Musa Publishing. And on this very special day, Arley has generously agreed to spend a little time with us.
Thanks so much for visiting with us. How excited you must be. Why don’t we begin by telling us a little about your book? A lot of us would love to write a novel, but we really don’t know how to go about getting started. What was the source of your inspiration?
Well, The Blacksmith’s Daughter is my first novel. I have published some short stories, but this was the story I had to tell. I did indeed dream the opening part of the book. It was one of those really vivid dreams with dialogue and everything. So it had to be done!
Wow! I wonder where those ideas come from. But you only had the opening part at that point. Once you had the idea for the beginning, what did you do after that? How did you come up with the rest of it?
I plot best when I am working on something with my hands. In particular, I iron.
Yes. I know that sounds weird, but it works for me. It has amazed me just how many important scenes have unfolded in my head just like watching them on a movie while I iron! When I run out of things to iron at my house, I am perfectly willing to come to your house and do yours.
I don’t know much about ironing, but I understand what you’re saying. I have a riding lawnmower, and I get a lot of my ideas when I'm mowing my yard. I guess it’s just one of those activities that lets your mind wander. But let’s continue. What about your characters? How do you create them? Are they based on people you know, or do they each have a smidgeon of Arley Cole inside them?
Characters come to me like visions of people. It’s not really people I know, I don’t think. But I do spend a lot of time with them thinking about them and mentally putting them into non-plot situations until I feel like I know them. I also work a lot with the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator profiles and Kiersey Temperament Profiles. I see where my characters fall into personality type and that also helps me define them and get to see how they would react. Then as the plot develops it helps me keep them true to themselves.
It sounds like you really do put a lot of thought and effort into your character modeling. That’s probably why they seem so real to the reader.
Let’s talk a little about your publisher, Musa Publishing. I’ve been reading about them on a lot of blogs and websites. They’re all over Facebook. From what I’ve learned, they’re concentrating their publishing efforts entirely in the digital format realm at the present time. Personally, I think that’s a great idea, simply because the eBook market is exploding now and should continue to do well in the foreseeable future. Did you have any reservations about digital publishing when you signed with them?
Absolutely not! In fact, I submitted to Musa first because of the digital format. I had just gotten a Kindle for Christmas and was thrilled at being able to download anything I wanted to read in a matter of seconds. I was also very much taken by Musa’s dedication to building a brand and a reliable bank of literature for people who wanted something good to read, but perhaps something that wasn’t immediately findable in the general fiction stacks.
For instance, I love a Regency romance novel, but they aren’t that easy to find these days because they appeal to a specific audience. Books like The Blacksmith’s Daughter also have their specific audience—folks who love Anne McCaffrey for instance will probably enjoy the balance of fantasy and relationship in TBD. But sometimes the mainstream publishing world cares less about these specific audiences and more about making big money off the easily targeted markets.
So you’re saying that Musa could be compared to the indy film and music industries?
Exactly! This is indy publishing in many ways. But we’ve got a fantastic team of editors and artists at Musa that make sure that only the best (I giggle ecstatically that my book was selected!) gets published, so readers can feel good about purchasing a Musa book. They know they are going to get something good and something they want to read. I am very psyched about that! It is the future of publishing!
I couldn’t agree more. The last figures I read showed that the digital publishing industry would exceed $1 Billion (with a B) in sales this year. That’s huge. So tell us a little about the chronology. What steps led up to your contract with Musa Publishing?
I got so lucky! I happened to submit just at the right time when Musa was getting ready to launch. So all my stuff went at light speed. It was a matter of days from when I was asked to submit the complete manuscript to the offer of a contract. We did a super fast editing job as well—thank you, editor Angela Middaugh! And it was only a couple of months before publishing.
That’s amazing. You certainly can’t do that with a traditionally printed book. And we definitely are living in a world of instant gratification. Digital books seem to fit that need perfectly.
I’m looking at your cover and wondering if you had to furnish that or did Musa create it for you?
Oh, the fantastic artists at Musa created that from scratch for me! Thank you, Kelly and Lisa! I believe this is an original piece of Lisa Dovichi art! I submitted some basic information about setting, plot, and character, and she turned it into this beautiful graphic. Then Coreen Montagna typeset the book into a work of art—I am not kidding! Even the section dividers are made for this book. The art department is top notch!
Well, it’s apparent that Musa Publishing knows what they’re doing. They’re certainly popping up everywhere I look on the Internet these days, and they’ve created a lot of buzz in the digital publishing world in a short period of time.
But let’s get back to The Blacksmith’s Daughter before we turn off the lights and lock the doors. Where can our readers get a copy?
The Blacksmith’s Daughter is being released today, both under the YA Euterpe imprint and the Urania imprint. It is not specifically a YA novel, but it does have themes that appeal to a YA audience. I think it is a fantasy novel with elements of romance and adventure that will appeal to a wide audience.
Naturally, the book is available through Musa. And if you want a direct link to The Blacksmith's Daughter, your readers can go HERE. But it’s also available in a multitude of easily downloaded formats through Amazon.com and several other sites.
Well, it’s certainly serendipitous that you’re here today, since today is the release date. I know you’re excited. I can hear it in your voice. I want to thank you for being so generous and spending the time with us on this special day. I’ll close this up by asking my last question.
Are we having fun yet?
Yes! Loads of fun! Thanks!
So, there you have it. If you like YA romance, fantasy, and adventure, give this one a try and see what you think. You just may love it. And keep an eye on Arley Cole. I strongly suspect we're going to be seeing more from her.