Saturday, October 10, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: L.F. Falconer


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Leanna.  Welcome to The Gal.  Thank you so much for being a part of The Gal's 31 Days of Horror.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

L.F. Falconer:
Hello.  This is always one of the hardest questions to reply to...I'm a pretty ordinary person with a pretty ordinary life.  I am one of six daughters and grew up on a ranch in rural Nevada.  I often consider myself to be a well-behaved rebel - meaning I follow the rules of a certain extent, but am not beyond bending them to suit my own purpose, as long as I remain legal and nobody gets hurt.  I don't like to follow the crowd and I'm the type of person who doesn't like to be told "no you can't" because, well, maybe I can!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

L.F. Falconer:
I'm glad you qualified this question with the word "most" because there are definitely some things I'd rather not tell.  But here are a few I'm willing to divulge: 1) I get claustrophobic in large crowds.  2) Driving through the remote northern Nevada desert one night, I was followed for 75 minutes by a UFO.  3) I don't like swimming in water I cannot see through.  4) The biggest jackpot I've ever won when gambling was $40.  5) I once stepped on a garden slug with my bare foot - to this day I can still feel it squishing up between my toes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

L.F. Falconer:
That would have to be my first grade reading primer, Fun with Dick and Jane.  After I mastered, "Look, oh look.  See Spot run," the flood gates opened.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

L.F. Falconer:
Currently, I am reading Follow the Crow by B.B. Griffith.  It's a supernatural thriller with a writing style which snares me from the get-go and keeps drawing me deeper and deeper into this mysterious web surrounding the three major players.  I am anxious to see how it all ends!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

L.F. Falconer:
I've always been a storyteller and as soon as I learned to read, I knew I wanted to write.  So I guess I've been writing since age six.  I had my first newspaper byline at age ten when I served as a reporter for one of my 4-H clubs, and attempted to write my first novel at age thirteen.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

L.F. Falconer:
To watch me, you'd think it was in my car while parked along the shoulder of the road.  Some of my best thoughts seem to crop up while I'm driving.  I don't really have any one special place I write - I write wherever I can, wherever I am.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

L.F. Falconer:
I'm not certain if it's a quirk, but my rough draft has to be written pen to paper.  The first edit then comes when I transcribe it into the computer, which I better be quick about doing because my handwriting is so atrocious I have a heck of a time trying to decipher it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

L.F. Falconer:
Writing any well-produced document is hard work and anyone who says that writing is easy probably isn't doing it right.  But what I find even harder than the actual writing is trying to find people to read what I've worked so hard to produce.  In this age of instant information overload, it's a real challenge to try and convince someone to take a chance on something new or unknown that might take more than an hour to get through, even when it's offered risk-free.  And unfortunately, I am not a salesman, so for me, marketing and promotion feels like trying to jump hurdles with my shoelaces tied together.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

L.F. Falconer:
I've always read such a wide variety of books and authors over the course of my life, it'd be impossible to choose.  I like certain authors, but not necessarily everything that author has written, and my tastes seem to change, subject to my age, my mood, my current life situation...however, I do tend to be consistently inspired by true, heroic adventures, such as polar explorations and other man-vs-nature survival experiences.  However, the single author one can find most often on my bookshelves is Stephen King - I have nearly an entire shelf dedicated to his books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

L.F. Falconer:
To me, a good story is one that stirs my imagination and hits me emotionally.  It doesn't matter if it makes me laugh, cry, shiver, or boil in anger.  The more powerfully it touches me, the better I like it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

L.F. Falconer:
The best characters are well-rounded and realistic.  They make mistakes.  They have secrets.  They allow you to get to know them on an intimate level - their hidden desires, their worst fears.  They are individuals with their own unique personalities.  It doesn't matter if they're the protagonist or the antagonist, as long as their personality appeals to my sense of reality.  And I try to instill my main characters with as many of these nuances as possible.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

L.F. Falconer:
This is tough because there are little pieces of me in all my main characters - even the bad ones.  But if I had to choose one, I'd probably have to go with Elva from The Legacy of Skur series.  She's sometimes stubborn to a fault, strong-willed, often emotionally vulnerable, loyal, and a ways seeking something just out of reach.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

L.F. Falconer:
I have passed by books that have, what I deem to be, bad covers.  Maybe I missed a good story, but if the cover turns me off, I won't pick it up unless it comes highly recommended by someone I trust.  I do pay someone to help me design my covers, and for my Legacy series, I am using my own art.  For my two Hope books, I went with a setting scene for each story, but, although I love the covers and get many compliments on them, too many people mistake them as inspirational stories, and the books are far from inspirational!  Eventually I may have to change their covers and go with something more commercially viable.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

L.F. Falconer:
The main thing I've learned is to be patient, to make sure the story is ready to be sent out into the world before sending it out there.  Also, the importance of hiring expert help with the things I'm less than proficient in.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

L.F. Falconer:
Physically or emotionally?  Physically, I'd have to say it was the initial sex scene in Exit Strategy because I had to be fairly graphic about it in order to introduce some of the main character's deviances.  Emotionally, it's a scene from The Legacy of Skur, Vol. 2.  I can't reveal it, for it's not yet published, but I can say that it tore my heart out to write it and it still tears me up every time I read it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

L.F. Falconer:
I call myself an author of dark fantasy because that's a pretty large umbrella which the majority of what I write will fit.  My novels range from fantasy/romance to epic fantasy to psychological thriller. I have a collection of short stories on the macabre side, and those are probably the most genre specific.  My thriller dips into the supernatural and my love story, I have ben told by the readers of romance, is not romance.  My epic fantasy is not dependent upon elaborate world-building, therefore it focuses more upon the characters and their adventures than setting.  It's more like a fairy tale than high fantasy, yet is not meant for children.  All my novels are layered with different levels of societal ills.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

L.F. Falconer:
Titles are highly important.  I have purchased books based upon their title alone!  Most of my own titles come to me fairly easily, but not all.  The most difficult one was Hope Flies on Broken Wings.  The title comes from a line within the book and pretty much sums up the overall theme of the story.  I had come up with several different titles for the book, initially, and polled my friends and family.  Hope Flies on Broken Wings was the poll winner.  To follow that, its sequel, Hope Rises from the Ashes was then easy to name.  The title of my short story collection, Through a Broken Window: Ten Dark Tales of the Strange and Deranged, is my favorite title, derived from one of the stories contained within it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

L.F. Falconer:
I've always been a raging fan of the short story, both to read and to write.  However, I'd have to go with the novel.  The sheer amount of time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears it takes to write a full length novel is nearly like giving birth to a child - an experience impossible to explain to someone who's never done it, but the bond forged between an author and their book during its creation is powerful.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

L.F. Falconer:
Generally, my audience consists of both males and females over sixteen who appreciate some darkness within the story.  My novels all include sex and violence.  I'm not a fan of gore for the sake of gore or sex for the sake of sex, but will use whatever is necessary to move my story along.  Hope Flies on Broken Wings and its sequel, Hope Rises from the Ashes, is a medieval fantasy love story about a middle-class girl who falls in love with a lower-class fisherman before she becomes the possession of an upper-class knight.  My psychological thriller, Exit Strategy, makes a wild voyage across the North Atlantic when Jonas Dumar sail off with some unusual passengers.  The Vagabond's Son and The Legacy of Skur is a rags-to-riches epic fantasy/fairy tale covering the lives of the players caught within a celestial game of dominance.  And the title says it all for Through a Broken Window: Ten Dark Tales of the Strange and Deranged.
            First and foremost, I consider myself an entertainer, and that is my main objective - to entertain.  My short stories are mostly geared in that direction.  Yet hidden beneath the plots of my novels lurks a statement about the ills of society: socio-economic discrimination, racial and religious bias, the effects of domestic abuse, and so on.  I combine fantasy with reality so that these issues, while integral to the plots, are not "in-your-face" social commentaries.  I once had a reader say that, after reading The Vagabond's Son, she became more aware of how she perceived others.  And that's the best I can do.  That's what makes it all worthwhile.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

L.F. Falconer:
In The Legacy of Skur, Volume One, there are several sex scenes which were deleted - they did nothing to enhance the story.  The few that remained were expressed in a more urbane manner.  And for anyone who has read Exit Strategy, believe it or not, Jonas swears a LOT less than he did in the first draft.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

L.F. Falconer:
My trunk overfloweth.  As far as my writing is concerned, I have the bare bones of a possible followup novel to The Legacy of Skur, and also have the beginnings of a supernatural thriller in the works.  At this moment, I also have three short stories in various stages of completion.  Then, there's always the dusting and the laundry.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

L.F. Falconer:
You'll probably find me in my bathrobe, rocking on the front porch with a shotgun in one hand and a jar of hard lemonade in the other, cursing at the drivers who run the stop sign in front of the house.  Seriously, though, with the short story and novella market blossoming anew, I hope to dive back into the scene more often.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

L.F. Falconer:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
It's been a pleasure having you here today.  Your answer to the "target audience" question is, by far, one of the best answers I have received yet.  I look forward to checking these out.
            Before you go, do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

L.F. Falconer:
First of all, I'd like to thank you for offering me this time and space, and to especially thank everyone who took the time to read all the way through it!  Like my fans who buy and read my books, the fact that you've willingly spent this time with me means more than I could express in words.  You're all all right in my book!  Just don't run the stop sign in front of my house...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Leanna... You are MY kind of people... :)


About the author:
In a subtle fusion fo fantasy and realism, with an undercurrent of social critique, L.F. Falconer's mixed green fiction is consistently praised as "unique," "captivating," and "beautifully written."  Falconer is a member of Higher Sierra Writers of Reno, Nevada, and the Churchill Arts Council in Fallon, Nevada.  Her works have garnered awards in both the USA and the UK.  A native of Fallon, Nevada, she and her husband are avid rock-hounds who enjoy exploring the desert backroads, mountains, and mining camps.  She likes to fill her spare time lolling lazily about with her two senior dogs, allowing her imagination to soar.  Find her books online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Outskirts Press.

About the books:

Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 7.1.2012
Pages: 240

Come along on a summer journey of two souls seeking release from their own perceptions of hell.
            From a medieval, seacoast realm, comes this haunting love story that hovers on the cusp of fantasy.  19-year-old Dugan is troubled son of an evil man.  He is beautiful, he is forbidden, and he has captured 16-year-old collie's heart.  But is the young man truly as dangerous as Collie's parents make him out to be?
            When two worlds collide, Collie and Dugan struggle with their own inner conflicts as they attempts to break the barriers that constrain them, hoping for the freedom to finally fulfill that love that keeps drawing them together.  But the choices they make aren't always wise, and all good things must one day end.  Sometimes, much too soon.
            A story of dramatic love and equally dramatic loss, seen through the eyes of two innocent, but defiant adolescents.  It's simple medieval setting brings to light many of the societal issues of today, including domestic violence, child abuse, bigotry, class segregation, and religious intolerance.

Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 7.19.2013
Pages: 252

Destiny's path is not always a clear cut trail, a discovery that tinker's daughter is about to make in this dramatic sequel to Hope Flies on Broken Wings.  Armed with little more than a tattered shirt, a whisper of hope, and a protective charm, Collie flees from the seaside ghosts of Donnel that haunt her son and dares to cross into the Tillaman Realm.  There, she succumbs to a charismatic young knight named Morgan who offers her sanctuary, only to learn that a pretty smile is not always to be trusted.  Her ultimate fate is precariously held within the mind of a catatonic child, and a deep winter snow has settled over the boundary mountains, blocking all roads of escape.  Bound to Morgan and hopelessly entangled in a dangerous game of brutality and possession, all Collie wants now is to return home.

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Short Stories
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 3.7.2014
Pages: 182

Take a peek, if you dare, and step into a world that balances upon the fringes of sanity.  Meet seven-year-old-Ronnie who develops an unhealthy appetite for cranberries - or Andre, a traveler who wanders into the wrong neck of the woods.  Meet the ghosts of Virginia City, Nevada, and pray you never cross paths with the Devil of the Desatoya.  Ten dark tales of the strange and deranged, this collection of short stories is sure to appeal to the darker side of even the squeamish, so don't be shy.  Take a look.  See for yourself what lies behind the broken window.

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 1.29.2013
Pages: 384

If a train leaves Boston, does it ever stop screaming?  Caught in a web of sex, lies, and murder, Jonas Dumar wants out, and finds himself running for his life in a journey of desperation from Massachusetts, to Newfoundland, to Greenland, and finally to the Shetland Islands.  But are Gabe and Izzy, the tormenters who seem hell-bent on driving him insane, assassins?  Angels?  Or something else altogether?  Take a wild voyage across the North Atlantic with a man in possession of too many secrets as Jonas soon comes to discover that a man really can learn more about himself than he ever wants o know.  What is isn't always what it seems.

(Prelude to Legacy)
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 9.10.2014
Pages: 318

Every legend has a hero and every hero has a beginning.  This uncommon, biographical fantasy takes an introductory glimpse into a world locked in the midst of imposed evolution, and not all the magical folk who inhabit the Black Wood are creatures of the light.  Born to an outlaw and favored by the goddess, after he escapes a life of brutality and his father, Adalanto is suddenly thrust into a society he never knew existed.  Struggling to adapt, he must battle the ghosts of a turbulent past in his rise to power.  But when the kingdom is rent apart in the wake of a dragon's destruction, he comes to discover that no one can outrun the dark.

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication date: 8.13.2015
Pages: 417

The Legacy of Skur is as grim a fairy tale as one could want.  Volume One begins with Fane's quest of misfortune upon the mountain of Skur which ultimately leaves him imprisoned there.  His sole companion has come from underground.  And his only protection is a crystal talisman.  When Fane's brother, Kael, is unwittingly thrust into the care of Fane's newborn daughter, he also gains possession of the crystal talisman.  Yet when the talisman's rightful owner comes to demand its return and holds Fane's daughter for ransom, an impossible choice must be made.  How much is Kael willing to sacrifice?  More than he realizes.

2 comments:

L.F. Falconer said...

Thank you again, Meghan! The questions you presented me with were fun and provocative. I enjoyed taking part in this October celebration.

Meghan H said...

You're welcome. I often feel like I'm putting y'all on the spot with my questions, especially since they really make you think. :)