Friday, February 21, 2014

A Conversation with Rosalie Skinner

     Welcome Rosalie Skinner, author of the Chronicles of Caleath, a gripping science fiction/fantasy series featuring an exiled hero, magic, sorcerers, dragons, nanobots, romance, and Rosalie's love of wild brumbies (all this just for starters).


1.  Rosalie, welcome to my humble blog site.  I'm so glad to have you as a guest.  Chats with writers sometimes just jump into the writing, but let me begin by asking if there's anything you'd just like readers and folks to know about you.

Rosalie - Hi John, thanks for having me on your blog.  I find it harder to talk about me, than my books, but here goes.  From a very early age I have been a prolific reader and not so much into writing.  For many years I painted portraits professionally, but when I ran out of Fantasy books to read in my local library I began writing.  Once I began I couldn't stop.  The Chronicles of Caleath came together as I learnt the art of storytelling.

2. You're probably best known for your Chronicles of Caleath.  For visitors who may not be familiar with your ongoing saga, could you supply what we writers call a brief summary blurb or what Plautus calls a "portion of plot"?

Rosalie - Caleath is a space age traveler stranded on a world where magic exists and technology is an alien concept.  At first he is unaware his journey is watched by off world viewers, similar to our obsession with Survivor and Big Brother.  He is driven by his need to survive, escape, and exact revenge on the man responsible for his abduction.  During his quest he becomes involved with the plight of the world he now inhabits. Not every challenge he faces meets with success, but as he survives he learns more about himself and his values slowly change.

3. You mentioned that Lea Schizas, the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing, contracted with you for an eight book series.  How did you conceive of an eight book series in the first place?  Did it come to you all at once, or did you sit down and plot and outline it out? Was it daunting and overwhelming to undertake such a large venture?  (I apologize if I ask too many questions here, but they seem interrelated.)

Rosalie - Lea Schizas helped me edit the first of the four books before MuseItUp existed.  So when she opened her publishing house, I was confident the series had found a good home.  The first four books were written as one.  One very long saga, and it was broken into four to suit the ebook format.  They were written separately, but each formed a new step in Caleath's journey. Adrift is really part one and two of the same story.  I think I had the most fun writing their seafaring adventures.  I didn't plot the outline of the series; rather it unfolded as one book concluded and the next began.

4. You say your hero Caleath was inspired by the "struggle of a young adult with a chronic illness."  How can this be when Caleath himself is so active?

Rosalie - The comparison might be vague, but to me it was linked. It evolved while watching a bright intelligent teenager with the promise of a successful career become ill.  While I watched her future as she dreamed it dissolve, Caleath's quest unfolded. Caleath's ordeal may not follow closely, but as I was writing, his challenges mirrored my daughter's. Finding friends falling away, being unable to pursue her chosen career, fighting constant pain, never giving up, facing depression and still being able to inspire others... Her courage and determination inspired my writing.

5. What do you think makes your series different from other series? In other words, what makes it unique or distinctly personal?

Rosalie - The mix of science fiction with fantasy, technology, and magic, the Survivor/Big Brother aspect, are not often seen in epic fantasy. Caleath usually finds himself failing, but finding a way around problems. Rather than a princely character seeking his inheritance, or a stable boy who is really a prince or wizard, Caleath is a stranger who wants nothing more than to leave.  He has no power agenda.  Rather the opposite.  I like to think it reflects the ups and downs of life rather than a Hollywood agenda.  Again, it reflects watching real life challenges and seeing them not always turn out with brilliant results.

6. So far, have you encountered any particular difficulties or surprises in writing the Chronicles of Caleath?

Rosalie - I found Invaded: The Darkest Day difficult.  I began wanting it to encompass several characters during epic battles.  The manuscript was complete and only after a year or so when I came to edit it, I found it didn't work on the huge scale, so I rewrote it from a single point of view. Took a lot to discard the work I had put into the battle scenes, but I think it works better now.

7. I know it's hard to pick, but do you have a favorite scene?

Rosalie - From the eight books... I have a few.  I like the dragon scene in Exiled: Winter's Curse.  I guess it would be my favorite.  It is the first time we meet the dragon Merkaat and the dead wizard Tallowbrand. Two of my favorite characters.  The most fun to write though were the seafaring scenes in Adrift.  They were great fun to write and research. :) 

8. Any particular writing plans for the future, either in the Chronicles or other projects?

Rosalie - The first book in a spin-off series has been completed, but I want to finish the second book before I submit it elsewhere, in case plot twists mean the first book needs changing.  At present I am busy writing short pieces in other genres, for interaction with my local writing group.

MuseitUp Publishing

9. Did you get into publishing late or early, and how has the experience been for you--especially with MuseItUp Publishing?

Rosalie - As a writer I started late.  I had no thought on publishing until online writers from my critique group began to ask for the books.  After self publishing the first book as two print books, I became interested in e-book publishing.  It was a godsend to be signed up with MuseItUp.  As I said previously, knowing Lea, I was confident my series had found a good home.

10. Can you think of any question or questions you haven't been asked that you'd like to answer?

Rosalie - The science fiction portion of the books (apart from the space travel) is close to becoming science fact.  Nanobot technology is necessary to enable astronauts to get to Mars.  There is a scheduled trip planned for 2020, so they must be mastering the nano technology.  I hope their nanobots work better than Caleath's do. :)

I would also like to mention the final two books in the series. Adrift: In Search of Memory and Adrift: The Fragile Sun...are scheduled for release before Christmas with special deals on the first books if readers have missed them.  It will be the first time the complete series has been available! 
[Obviously, there's been a slight delay.] 

MuseitUp Publishing


  1. Rosalie was my content editor for my book, reGUARDing GRACE, at Muse. I had a wonderful experience working with her. Nice Article. It was great learning more about her. Congratulations on your success, Rosalie.

  2. Thank you John for hosting me today. Adrift is now available. I am excited to offer this seafaring adventure to readers.
    Thanks Karen. Editors are people too. They just seem like pedantic fuss pots at times. :) All in the polishing process of getting a good story out to readers.

  3. Fascinating interview. As a fan of the Chronicles of Caleath, I can only agree, despite magic and futuristic technology at work, it's always people and their plights, with challenges to overcome--or not, at the center of every book. Great reads.

  4. Some fascinating insights. A what bold choices you've had to make. I particularly found your revision of the battle scene concept quite inspiring. (Rosalie was my first MIU editor, and I'm still grateful for such a helpful and encouraging approach.) Looking forward to seeing the complete series out there.

  5. What a terrific interview. Rosalie, you should be very proud of your accomplishments. The series sound fabulous and you can bet I am checking them out!

  6. Thanks for dropping in.
    You are a master of creating complex characters who keep the reader hooked.
    It was daunting doing the rewrite, but it taught me a lot.
    John is running a contest so there is a chance to win a copy of book one Exiled: Autumn's Peril, or the seafaring ADRIFT: In Search of Memory, for those who are game to join the journey. I hope the backstory is clear enough for readers to jump into the adventure and join Tag as he searches for his memory.

  7. This is a fascinating interview, Rosalie. There are so many points to explore in yet another interview. Imagine never thinking of publishing until members of your online group asked to read the books. One wonders how common this is with writers. And yes, writing is often rewriting and rewriting and rewriting . . . Let's hope this contest goes well. Methinks there should be a lot of good guesses. ;)

  8. Eight book series. Is my mouth hanging open? To me that seems like undertaking the challenge of a gazillion piece puzzle.

    Wishing you best of success with your series and all your WIP Rosalie.
    And I'm sorry to hear of your family's pain.

    All the best,

  9. Thanks John,
    I loved writing the books, working with a critique group, learning more about writing. Publishing didn't cross my mind. :) Not till later. I meet with a local writers group where I am sure there are a few members who write all the time yet never consider being published.

    Loren, Thank you for dropping in. The story almost wrote itself. Characters and situations grew and led from one to another, each challenge a step toward the final outcome.
    The pain... Each and every day is a challenge to my daughter, still. The strength needed to cope with life is phenomenal and yet she is an inspiration to so many.
    Health is a precious commodity we take for granted until it is denied to us.

  10. Very entertaining interview John and Rosalie. I admire your openness Rosalie. I can see how you transferred the pain of your experience into your fiction. I also think your fantasy story clearly preempts reality, and having followed Caleath's journey, I like his frequent wise counsel to other characters, in spite of his own desperate situations. Congratulations on a wonderful series.

  11. Thank you, Wendy,
    Your support has been wonderful. John asked great questions that took a lot of soul searching to answer.

  12. Thanks for sharing this interview with us as I had not heard of her before today but the books will make nice gifts for my husband.

  13. New follower here. I'm stopping by from "A to Z" and I look forward to visiting again.


  14. aren't doing A-to-Z, right?
    Donna Smith
    The A-to-Z Challenge
    Mainely Write