January 4th, 2019
I asked where Ms. Lundeen would like to interview:
It was the perfect winter morning. The day was bright, but the wind was cool, crisp, and nipping against my nose. I walked over the snow towards the gigantic Willow Tree in the middle of the yard, hearing the delicious crunch beneath my feet as if I were walking on glass buried under a thick blanket. The tree still had all of its leaves, even in the middle of winter, but each of them were capped white. It was beautiful and peaceful. As I approached the tree, the hanging branches parted on their own, and the warmth enveloped me as I walked underneath the Willow’s massive canopy. I was a bit early, and so my interviewer had not arrived yet. Still, there was an elegant table already set up with tea, coffee, and a variety of cookies and cakes. In the trunk of the tree was a large fireplace, and a small fire was already burning. I smiled, hearing the familiar crackling of the wood bringing with it the memories of my childhood.
I removed my coat, gloves, and hat, and a team of Pixies flew down to take it from me. I sat down at the table and waited for Laura to arrive, smoothing out the folds of my dress. In the distance, I could hear a dragon roaring, but it was too far away for me to worry about. To be honest, I was more concerned of the Pixies flying overhead, eyeing the container of sugar cubes in the center of the table. They were such mischievous creatures after all.
Laura Mae: Good evening, Ms. Lundeen! How was your day today?
M.L.W. Lundeen: It was fine, Laura, thank you for asking. How was yours?
L: It was really good! The holidays are quickly approaching. Do you have any plans?
M: As a matter of fact, I do! We are in the process of purchasing our first home, and, if all goes well, we will be closing soon. As such, we are in the midst of packing up our belongings. I’m also trying to finish up my novel before the new year.
L: You have a lot going on! Congratulations on the first house!! So exciting! And you’re writing a book. I wish you all the best! Haha! How is that going, by the way?
M: Thank you! We are very excited! The book is going well. I’m currently on the final draft, chapter 26. I have a few more chapters to go, and then it will be off to the Beta Readers.
L: That’s so exciting! What is this book about?
M: This particular book is part one of a series. It’s called the Halfling, and it’s about a warrior named Wulfsmith, who is a half-elf, half-human in a world where half breeds are typically hated.
She struggled to overcome the prejudices that sought to destroy her, and she persevered, finding friends in the most unlikely of places, and even love from one whom she thought she could never have. She rose to heights never before achieved by her kind, and became the right hand of the Empress of Tanwystal.
But she was not without enemies.
Deceit, jealousy, and betrayal shattered the life she had made for herself, and now she has set out on a journey, with her Dryad companion, Calmegil, seeking the son that was stolen from them while trying to escape a past that could be their undoing.
L: That sounds awesome! You need to let me know when you’re looking for betas. *wink* How many books are you planning to put in the series?
M: I haven’t decided how many books will be in this series. Originally it was supposed to be a trilogy, but after fleshing out the first draft with descriptions and details, I realized it was not going to be possible. The first draft alone, with the added details, will be a trilogy all by itself.
I have a beginning, and an ending in mind. So, however many books it takes to get me from point A to point Z.
L: Oh neat! That’s a pretty big project! What do you think your inspiration behind this series was? Reminds me a lot of Lord of the Rings. Is it similar?
M: I suppose it has the same elements as Lord of the Rings, but I’ve had this story idea ever since I was a child. Of course, the characters were much simpler then and have matured with me over the years. It wasn’t until around 2005, two years after I began writing, that I began reading Fantasy novels. Before then, my genre of choice was Romance, but Homeland by R.A. Salvatore was the first book I ever read in the Fantasy Drama genre. I have read other fantasy novels before, but most of them were for children. Ex. The Farthest Away Mountain.
L: That’s really cool that you’re writing from something you thought of as a child. Impressive and ambitious! How close do you think you are to publishing and have you considered getting self-published or traditional?
M: I still have to go through the Beta Readers. If their reviews come back positive, then I will begin the editing process. As far as self-publishing vs traditional, that is a choice I’ve struggled with for some time. I’ve talked with many different authors about the pros and cons of each, and, while it is certainly the more expensive route, self-publishing gives me total creative control over my story. Plus, I know quite a few authors who went this route and are successful.
L: Very true. There are a lot of different ways to go. I wish you all the best in whatever path you take! So what would you say your favorite part of writing is?
M: My favorite part is losing myself in the world I’ve created. Seeing the characters blossom and interact with one another. People like to remind me my characters aren’t real, and yet, I’ve found myself surprised by the conversations they have with each other as if I’m not even there.
You have to treat them as though they are real. That was advice I received from many authors across social media. This came when I had a serious bout of writer’s block, and none of my characters were cooperating. I had to go back, and change what they did not like, and the story flowed from there. However, I was warned they will try to hijack the story from time to time.
L: I love that! I always think that marks a true writer. Someone who “can’t” control the story, but let the characters do it. It’s how you know the story will be authentic. Ms. Lundeen, do you have favorite literary character at all? Perhaps from a favorite book or book series?
M: I have several favorites, I don’t know if I could pick just one. There’s Drizzt Do’Urden from the Dark Elf Trilogies written by R. A. Salvatore, there’s Geralt from The Witcher novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski, Wulfric Bedwyn from the Slightly Series by Mary Balogh, and Molly Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
L: I’m sure those are all great characters, especially if one of them is Molly Weasley, cause she is a badass. Haha! So, going back to writing, since you’re writing so much and have been writing for a long time on this series, is there a soundtrack for it or any songs that you like or associate with it?
M: I do have a writer’s playlist that I listen to while writing. They are divided into categories so that I will stay in that mood while writing a particular scene, however, I try to stay away from songs with actual words as they can distract me. They vary from soundtracks to random artists. Battlestar Galactica, Edward Scissorhands, LOTRO and World of Warcraft soundtracks are usually helpful.
L: That is quite a variety! But all fantasy fiction-esc. I like it. Especially Lord of the Rings. They mainly make me want to watch the movies though! Haha! Besides music, is there any other rituals you need before you sit down to write? Any snacks or drinks?
M: I say a little prayer, grab something hot to drink, and I light a candle. I like the soft, warm glow of candlelight. Even better is to have a fireplace, because I love the crackling sound of the wood.
L: Oh that’s the best! I love a good fire. So since you have been writing for a while, do you possibly remember the first thing you ever wrote?
M: Aside from the assignments given in school, this story is the only story I’ve ever written. I used to write poetry in high school, but I haven’t written much poetry since then.
L: Neat! Same for me too. Do you have a book you’re currently reading right now, and what’s it about?
M: I’m currently reading Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent. It’s a story about an unexpected friendship, but I find my stomach rumbling after every chapter as it has a lot to do with food, and the author has a way of describing every smell, every taste, and even the texture of each meal. I often wonder if I should wait and read when I am full, or will that ruin the experience?
L: That’s interesting! That’s a really good writer to make you hungry after reading! Haha! I would probably eat before, myself just for that reason. I love stories like that though. Do you have any authors you admire or perhaps find yourself writing similarly too?
M: There are many authors I admire, but I don’t really know if I can compare my writing style to another author’s. I’m working on having my own voice.
L: Makes sense, I get that. And that’s good! You want to be unique. So what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Any hobbies?
M: I like playing video games when I have some free time, or, sometimes I like to cross-stitch. I’m learning to make things with polymer clay, and I love photography. Most of my time is dedicated to my children though. Honestly, if my husband weren’t here to share the load, I don’t think I’d have time to even write.
In fact, if not for him, I would have given up on this novel a long time ago. I began writing in 2003, but the story really grew wings and took flight in 2009 when I met him. He has been so supportive and encouraging.
Every day he asks, “Did you get any writing done?” because he’s anxious to see me published, and it’s nice when you have someone who believes in you that much.
L: How lovely! It’s so nice to have a supporting team, especially one in real life! You’re very lucky! What are some of your favorite video games?!
M: The game I play most is Lord of the Rings Online. I’ve been playing it for the past eleven years, and will probably continue playing it until it shuts down. Granted, I don’t play it much anymore, but it’s still my top game. I also played, and beat, Alien: Isolation on hard mode, but unfortunately I was not good enough to beat it on nightmare mode. Still, the fact that I beat it at all is amazing. I was terrified when I first played that game! I would not come out of that locker for HOURS! My husband would say, “You’re gunna have to come outta there sometime!” and I’d say, “Oh yeah? We’ll see who rusts first!” I also love the game The Last of Us, Final Fantasy X is a family favorite, and Kingdom Hearts. We also enjoy the Witcher Games.
L: Love it! Makes sense why you enjoy Lord of the Rings soundtrack then! I love the Last of Us as well. Amazing story, even for a zombie game. I love mom’s who play video games. I don’t think it’s very common anymore, so, kudos to you!
M: Yeah, I was never into games like that before, or shows, but I really enjoyed it, and I got hooked on the show The Walking Dead.
L: I LOVE the Walking Dead! Even the most recent season! So awesome. Okay, before I get too sidetracked here… Ms. Lundeen, what is one of the hardest lessons you’ve learned that you wish you knew earlier?
M: There are many hard lessons life has taught me, but I will stick to the topic of writing. I wish I had known beforehand not to expect support from my family and friends. Over the years, it was the lack of support and encouragement that made me want to give up so many times. It wasn’t until much later I learned this is something almost every author experiences. I think that’s why the writing community is so important, because we are there to support one another and to encourage each other to keep going when we begin to doubt ourselves.
L: Very true. I’m glad that you were able to find a place you feel comfortable and continue to do something you love. Alright, one last question. Please tell us your best piece of advice for aspiring writers or authors out there.
M: The best advice I can offer is to not let fear get in the way of your ideas. I did that, and now I’m seeing those ideas being brought to life by other writers because I was too afraid to take a chance. I’m adding those ideas back into my story, but they are no longer original. So my advice would be to uncage your imagination, give it wings, and let it take flight. Yes, it’s a risk, but it’s a risk worth taking.
L: Thank you so much for speaking with me today Ms. Lundeen! It’s been such a pleasure!
M: Thank you! This has been an honor!
I am a wife, mother, and writer based in Louisiana. I have been working on my first novel since 2003, but the story officially grew wings and took flight in 2009. That was the year I met my husband; my biggest supporter, and my biggest fan. In my spare time, when I am not writing, I like to play games such as Lord of the Rings Online, Skyrim, and more. I also love to get lost in a good book, and my favorite genres are Romance, Fantasy, and Drama. Occasionally, I like to dabble in arts and crafts. I love photography, painting, making things from polymer clay, and cross-stitching.