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Monday, September 16, 2013

The Shameless Publicity and Interview of Author Michelle C. Eging: The Threads of Sole

I have the privilege, and this is a real privilege, of presenting to all of you author Michelle C. Eging, one of my good friends and an amazing author. She just released her novel, The Threads of Sole: Unraveled, in ebook and paperback, and I am ecstatic.

Those of you who know me know I'm not huge on indie publishing, and I am extremely hesitant to purchase anything indie-published unless I know it's golden. But let me tell you: I absolutely adore this book. It's dark fantasy at its finest. The creativity, the characters, and the story just blow me away. I love it to pieces, and I hope you'll go check it out for yourself!


In the aftermath of the War of Awakening, the King and his Council condoned the Purge, methodically executing members of the magically gifted Blessed so no person’s power will threaten Sole again. After years of political negotiation, the Purge has ended, requiring the Blessed to brand their faces and creating a rift that has Sole on the brink of civil war. Enwyck, the daamon half-blood Prince of Sole, Joslynn, a woman whose mask hides her deformed and poisonous spider-silk skin, Windle, a former Godmother now hiding as an old man, and Kasimir, a blind cripple no longer able to transform into a raven, find themselves struggling to preserve the kingdom while confronting the trauma of their pasts and the broken pieces of their present. One false move and everything they fought for will unravel, if it hasn’t already.


First, tell everyone a little about yourself.

I answered the rest of the interview before returning to this question because I would rather discuss writing then talk about myself! Maybe an anecdote will be best:

Last Friday, I went to a fancy Italian restaurant. After work, I changed into a Not Work, time to hit the
town, outfit. The front bumper to my car is held on by duct tape, which was not sticking to the car anymore, so after changing, I gave the tape and my car a pep talk that it could make it to the restaurant and back without incident. For the most part, it listened. I drove to the restaurant and parked my gimpy, ghetto car next to a yacht, or some sort of fancy boat. As I walked across the parking lot, it occurred to me that money wasn't the issue holding me back from replacing my bumper, since I was about to drop some on what can only be described as exquisite cuisine. Clearly, I would rather eat good food than have a pretty car.

Now blow everyone’s minds with how long it took you to complete this novel, and how many revisions you did.

I've been working on this novel since I was sixteen, so it's been nine years in the making. And books two and three are in draft stages, so it will probably be 11-12 years before I'm finished. As for number of revisions? Oh, I've tossed out at least ten drafts before getting close to the final product. The draft previous to this one was over 500 pages long before I tried all over again.

Where did you get the idea for The Threads of Sole, and how did that idea evolve over your revisions?

Oh boy, do you want the long version or the short version?

In high school, I studied German. One day our teacher was going over the formula for fairy-tales, a genre I've been obsessed with since before I could read (movies count, right?). When she started talking about the heroine and how she was always beautiful, and sweet, and innocent, I started thinking of how I could take the genre and turn it on its head. The first version of the story was a lot like Cinderella, except the girl was disfigured from her stepmother pouring hot oil on her face upon discovering Cinder's engagement to the Prince. And then the Prince ended the engagement, even though he still loved her, because the Kingdom demanded the bride be beautiful. Of course, there needed to be more of a plot then that, so the two of them had to save the Kingdom from his mother. While I wrote the first draft, I bought a copy of the Grimm's Fairy Tales and read it straight through, jotting down fairy tale elements or plot lines that I think would work in the story, elements that have still survived although the story is nothing like that original idea that hit me between the eyes in school.

Over time, the story grew in complexity as I grew from a teenager to a grown-up. I ditched all the German words I'd layered in, which is why so many words are capitalized in the final draft, to maintain some of the flavor without alienating the reader. The book went from being only in Joslynn's POV to having four characters' POV. Since I was no longer a love-sick teenager, the plot and focus expanded from romance to include politics, struggles with personal spirituality, coping with trauma, the effects of tyranny and war on a nation's and an individual's psyche, etc, etc. And the characters became richer, too. For instance, in earlier drafts, Joslynn was a hermit living in some secluded cave given to her by the sea king and she finds the prince washed ashore. Now, Joslynn uses wealth she was given by the sea king to build a city for refugees and serves those people as their political representative before the Kingdom's Council.

Oh, and did I mention I never planned on this being a trilogy? It just sort of happened that way.

I've had a lot of eyes on this book for the past ten years, and all of that feedback helped me move further and further away from rehashing the familiar elements I had encountered in the fantasy genre into territory that was new and fresh for me. Hopefully it will be that way for my readers as well.

What has been your inspiration for writing this?

The Brothers Grimm fairy tales, like I mentioned. And this really dark fantasy trilogy, which I loved in all my angsty teenagerness called the Black Jewels Trilogy (I wouldn't love it now, but I did then). And my own personal experiences. Which might be kind of weird since this is a fantasy novel... I didn't mean for it to happen, but it did somehow. In weird, unexpected, subtle ways, it did.


When can we expect a sequel?

Hopefully next summer!

~*~

You can find Michelle on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and at her blog, and you can buy The Threads of Sole: Unraveled on Amazon or on CreateSpace.



11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book and I love the cover!

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    1. I love the cover too! The illustrator did a wonderful job.

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  2. Spider silk skin really caught my attention, TTofS sounds really original. Also, I too would rather eat yummy food than have a fancy schmancy car! ;)

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  4. This was a lovely interview Charlie and nice to make your "virtual" acquaintance Michelle.

    Unraveled has quite a dark and wonderful feel that appeals to me. I'll certainly be giving this one a look over at Amazon.

    Charlie, you know how to pick good ones :-)

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  5. Awesome! I think anyone who doesn't take at least ten years on their first novel is missing out on something. It's such a wonderful experience to spend that much time with a story--to really get to know the characters, the ins and outs of your world, the magic of the moment. Granted, I also think there's value in learning how to crank out a story in a matter of a year, but I think that's a process that takes a great deal of refining.

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    1. I agree. I have found with my back-burner projects, that the first drafts are much for sophisticated and executed with more skill because of sharpening my teeth, so to speak, on this first novel. So I won't be re-writing them for ten years!

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  6. Okay, that does sound interesting. I'll go take a look.

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