1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
My name is Chelsea McKenna but I write under the Pen Name C.D. McKenna. I am based out of Colorado in the United States.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
The Blood of the Lion of The Vorelian Saga is going to be my first book published. This high fantasy genre is fused with horror elements that will continue to be introduced throughout the saga. The book follows three main characters who all reflect a different part of humanity.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
Ahh let’s see- three main characters, so I will break these down as best I can. Morei is the king of Geral and a tormented soul. He has been soul bonded to a demon, which is an extremely dangerous ceremony that brings out the worst in him. He is loyal, fierce, and will die for what he believes in, but his biggest weakness is accepting who he is. Morei was the first character born and ultimately, the rise of The Vorelian Saga. Syra is my female character who has been forced to flee from everything she has ever known. In possession of the most wanted blade in history, she must face her biggest fear: herself. Cyrus is my Dragon Rider- the first in eight centuries- who must give up the life of his past to embrace a destiny he never wanted. His biggest weakness is that he doesn’t believe in himself; he still sees himself as the orphaned boy who had been forced to work the mines of his city, Diemon.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
Hardest scene- tough question. I don’t know if I have ever had ‘the toughest scene to write’ but rather, scenes that have forced me out of my comfort zone as a writer. This includes both intimate and violent scenes that are required, as well as scenes that bring a character ‘to their knees,’ so to speak. The more I do them, the more fun they become.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
I am choosing to self-publish under my own publishing company. I want the chance to help authors like me in the future and feel this is the right path for me to take.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
The most difficult part in my writing journey is undeniably myself! We are our own worst enemies and I often have found myself in my own head with that ugly monster, Self-Doubt. My biggest piece of advice is even when the going gets tough and you might be at your lowest- keep writing. Do it. Remember that storytelling isn’t about simply telling a story, it’s about giving your soul a voice. To take that away is to take away the very essence of who we are as storytellers.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
The Vorelian Saga will be a body of work that is all connected with attached spin-offs in the future. My other work (Unconditionally Dark Saga and the tentatively named psychological horror Asylum) will be separate from The Vorelian Saga.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
I have always written. As young as I can remember, I was writing something, even if it wasn’t entirely coherent. I never once thought “I’m going to be an author” until three years ago. Prior to that, my goal was simple and has continued to be simple: to tell a story and give my soul a voice. As for favorite authors? Oh, that is difficult- everyone is a favorite of mine. I respect and love every piece of work I read- it is a reflection of a piece of the writer’s soul.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
Connections. I love them, and in the end, it has really helped my book market without me ever saying, “Hey, you should read my book.” I would never want it that way. At the end of the day, we are a community and we need to rely on that.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
Hmmmm, I loathe the “he/she probably doesn’t like me” cliché after the characters have been through hell and high water. Drives me nuts. On a psychological level, trauma and raw moments drive connections. Let’s not act like kids here 😉
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
While my book isn’t published, my “first review” would be from my editor. AND THAT WAS ROUGH. I laugh about it now but that was a tough few months of reflection, self-discovery, and learning. I wasn’t surprised though- it was my first time working with an editor, sharpening the vision of my book, and literally learning how to structure my story, so that it can actually read like a story. For that, I take any constructive feedback with open arms. At the end of the day, my story would not be where it is today without the help and feedback of my editor.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
My quirks- I bite the inside of my cheek when I write sometimes (does that count?) I also will zone out like nobody’s business when I am IN the scene; it has led to a number of times where my family is wondering if I have checked out into another dimension. I would also consider myself a hybrid of plotting vs ‘winging it.’ I get a basic idea of where I want to go but my characters tell me the story. At the end of the day, this is their story and I need to respect that 😉 AND YES, I love listening to music while I write; I live for it. All forms of rock are welcomed in my writing world, but it’s mainly Lord of the Lost, In This Moment, Blutengel, Rammstein, and a variety of other rock artists.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
I was at my lowest point in development edits, and I mean LOWEST. I was in tears nearly every day- trying to navigate the vision of my own story. I was beyond frustrated and I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I still remember the night- it was late and my father knew I was upset and really low (it had been a number of days by this time that I was feeling really ‘defeated’). He stops and looks at me and says, “Just think, you are on your own Hero’s Journey.” It was that simple and the best advice I have ever received. To this day, it is what I live by and it is what I tell others too when they are frustrated.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I am working on Book 2 of The Vorelian Saga and yes, I know the name already 😉 I am also working on a mafia infused fantasy styled story set in the modern world, Unconditionally Dark Saga. I also have a psychological horror book that I am working on that I hope to rough out the first draft halfway through 2022.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
The Blood of the Lion will be available early 2022.
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