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Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy


Please welcome Michelle Hauck to The Qwillery. Steadfast, the 3rd novel in the Birth of Saints trilogy, was published on December 5, 2017 by Harper Voyager Impulse.



Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Steadfast (Birth of Saints 3), was published on December 5th. How does it feel to see the end of the trilogy published?

Michelle:  I admit at first it was a giant relief. That was back in June when the deadline was days away and I was still polishing. It was the closest I ever came to not being done by a deadline. There was a lot of pressure then. Now that another milestone has come and gone with the release date, I’m feeling rather nostalgic. If you spend three years working on anything, day after day, there’s bound to be some regret when it ends. I’m going through a grieving period before I can really connect to another story. I think every writer faces that to some degree, even if it’s just putting your head into a different world and different characters.



TQHas your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Grudging (Birth of Saints 1) to Steadfast?

Michelle:  There’s more confidence now. A little less editing and revising. I have more trust that what I produce is worthwhile. But my process is pretty much the same. Write in the morning before work. Do a short read through to edit before I add new words. Never plan more than three chapters ahead. I’m not big on outlining or making plans. I’d rather wing the writing process. I didn’t have the ending thought out for Steadfast until more than halfway through writing the draft. I’m still a fly by the seat of my pants writer. Which is kind of interesting because if I don’t know the ending, the characters can’t broadcast it either.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Grudging came out that you know now?

Michelle:  I have to go with how much harder marketing and promotion is than the actual writing. I mean you hear that all the time from published writers, but it doesn’t really resonate until you’re in that situation. It’s painful to have to ask for reviews or to ask for people to buy your book. I think most of us have been trained since childhood not to be that way, not to ask for help for ourselves or to push our own agenda. Maybe that’s a female thing, or maybe it’s just me.



TQWhich character in the Birth of Saints trilogy surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Michelle:  Some of the minor characters really surprised me. As I said earlier I’m a pantser and I don’t really outline or plan. Sometimes I throw in what feels like a minor character, and all of a sudden, they end up with their own point of view. Father Telo was such a character. He was supposed to be in a few scenes to counsel a major character, Alcalde Julian, and I just couldn’t shake him. Father Telo grew to have his own agenda and his own mission to assassinate the Northern leader and he just took on a life of his own, becoming a major thread in Faithful and Steadfast.

The fact that he was a priest made him perhaps my hardest character to write. He was just outside of my experience and the whole write-what-you-know ideal. Father Telo is just so different from me. He had no romance interest. He’s more religious. He’s a male. I had to do a lot more research to write him than any other of my six point-of-view characters.



TQTell us something about Steadfast that is not found in the book description.

Michelle:  There’s very much an element of women in a male society coming into their own. A subplot of the series is about the male leader of the city—Julian—being forced out due to some mistakes, and the women coming forward to vote in record numbers and installing his wife—Beatriz—as the new elected official—and not just for one city-state, but for two. And then there’s the whole character arc of the husband and wife learning to deal with the power shift in their relationship. I’m afraid there’s a fire in my heart over the whole “She Persisted” situation in the real world and that carried over to my writing.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the Birth of Saints trilogy?

Michelle:  As I mentioned in the last question there’s the whole women as a segment of society coming into their own. But there’s also a theme of kindness. Let’s not be like the people oppressing us. Let’s choose kindness. Let’s choose tolerance. Let’s care for the suffering of the people being suppressed and see the value in everyone. There’s been too much hate in national policy lately. And I’m really feeling that need to respect all people these days. You see this even more in Steadfast where we finally see the Northern side of this clash of cultures.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Steadfast.

Michelle:  This is a quote from a speech by Beatriz to her people: “The Northerners are a people of violence and bloodshed. They took our city—my child—our children. I would not have us be like them. I would have us show them the meaning of kindness.”

And here is Claire trying to convince the Women of the Song to help her against the Northern god. You can guess from her speech that it doesn’t go too well: “The god’s power wiped a squad of soldiers out in the blink of an eye. This is not a joke. We need to be marching out of our swamp to help stop more killing. Even a ‘snit of a girl’ can see that. But unfortunately, that girl is talking to a bunch of old hens, clucking around instead of acting! Stupid and worthless! If we all die, it will be your fault!”



TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  So far what’s next is being lazy. I’ve taken a few months off from writing to just allow myself the free time to splurge on binge watching Netflix. Or to read. My writing heart is still connected to the characters from Birth of Saints and so I’m waiting for a little distance to turn my brain to new characters. Mostly. As I’m going through my writing vacation, I’m also slowly completing chapters for an almost finished rewrite of an epic fantasy I envisioned years ago. Old familiar characters given a new life, but not something completely new. When that’s done then I’ll look toward something totally original.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been great fun!





Steadfast
Birth of Saints 3
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 5, 2017
     eBook, 560 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, January 9, 2018
     Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
The final novel in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.

When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.

But there are still those with hope.

Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.

A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.




Previously

Grudging
Birth of Saints 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 17, 2015
     eBook, 432 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 22, 2015
     Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo of Michelle Hauck's the Book of Saints trilogy that combines the grace of Ellen Kushner's Swordpoint with the esprit de corps of Django Wexler's Shadow Campaign series.

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…

and the invaders who would destroy everything

The north has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.



Faithful
Birth of Saints 2
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 15, 2016
     eBook, 384 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 27, 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.





About Michelle

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. She is the author of the YA epic fantasy Kindar's Cure, as well as the short story “Frost and Fog,” which is included in the anthology Summer's Double Edge.

Website  ~  Twitter @Michelle4Laughs  ~  Facebook

Interview with Michelle Hauck, author of Grudging


Please welcome Michelle Hauck to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Grudging is published in digital format on November 17th by Harper Voyager Impulse. On December 22nd, the Mass Market Paperback of Grudging will be published. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Michelle a Happy Digital Publication Day!



Interview with Michelle Hauck, author of Grudging




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Michelle:  Hi! Thanks for having me on The Qwillery! I started writing about five years ago after a semi-serious illness. Once that health problem healed, it’s like my life and imagination came flooding back that had been missing for years. All of a sudden I had all these ideas. My husband said why not write them down (not that he imagined it would ever get this far), and I spent the next years learning how to do that. I think for writers you are always learning more.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michelle:  If you’re talking never write anything down beforehand and never making any outline, then I’m a complete pantser. I do, however, have very basic plot structures in my head, sort of like a midway point direction I’m aiming to reach with the story. I almost never have any ending in mind and rarely much besides a basic concept. The rest all evolves as I go along. I’m often surprised by characters who were supposed to be tiny instead taking on a life of their own and getting their own perspective. It’s also neat when a small detail you included on a whim can become a plot point down the road.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michelle:  I write very slowly. I often hear of writers churning out a book in a few months and feel some envy. I wish I could be speedy and finish a book faster. It takes the better part of a year, probably because I conceptualize as I go. Though, I have to say what I end up with is usually very close to the finished draft. Taking so long does mean that it’s not a rough draft, but a fairly polished one, which saves a lot on time in the editing process.



TQYou've written YA Epic Fantasy. What are the differences for you in writing adult versus YA Epic Fantasy?

Michelle:  Tone and voice are a big part of the difference. Also, the audience you have in mind as you write. Adult characters have a lot less to do with the story in a YA. That was my goal with Grudging. Unfortunately, pantser. The adult characters in Grudging took on a life of their own and my YA ending up selling to an adult publisher in Harper Voyager. So there’s a lot for both age categories in Grudging. You have the main characters being teens, but several perspectives from adult characters with adult voices.



TQDescribe Grudging in 140 characters or less.

Michelle:  I’m a big fan of twitter. Lemme see?

Enormous army. Desperate city. Father sends his sons for help from traditional enemy. Will the witches' voice magic save or destroy? #honor



TQTell us something about Grudging that is not found in the book description.

Michelle:  There’s so much about this book that isn’t in the description. Despite the dark tone and themes, the characters have a real playful side. They kept breaking out into jokes and banter, and I couldn’t seem to stop them. I guess that’s how you know you’re really feeling the characters—when they do as they please.

In many ways the story is about a family and honor. Julian, the father, is the mayor. He sends his sons, Salvador and Ramiro, to find a witch to save the city. Most of the scenes involve at least one member of this family.

In this society I created, becoming a “man” is important and it takes the form of earning your beard. So the way they wear their beards is a way to express personality, much like today with tattoos. Watch for that and it will tell you more about the characters.

And there is a whole side plot about loyalty involving some pretty special horses.



TQWhat inspired you to write Grudging? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Michelle:  The truth is I had finished a project and needed a new idea and found it in a song: “Come Along” by Vicci Martinez and Cee-Lo Green. Most of the main plot ideas come from lines in that song. Friends, foes, God only knows, led to the title, Grudging, and the main theme of uncertainty between traditional enemies. Trespassing, this is their land is the arrival of the Northern army. Truthfully, that’s the first time I ever used a song for inspiration.

Fantasy has always been my obsession. It’s the only thing I will ever write, I think. I love the freedom to explore so much because any situation you can dream up, you can do in fantasy. This genre just gives you so much room to explore and create and build not only characters, but whole worlds and societies. And you don’t have to have just one. Grudging has multiple societies and explores the way that those clash.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Grudging?

Michelle:  The main society in Grudging is based on Spain. I did a lot of online research on medieval Spain: what they ate, what their houses might look like, the sort of names they might use. I also studied much more about early saints in the Catholic Church and based most of the details on real saints. I looked at pictures of armor.

But I also visited the desert in Tucson to get the setting and see the real plants and animals that live in that environment. There’s nothing like feeling the weather firsthand. ☺ I went to a Mission-built cathedral in Arizona and used that for my description of the church in Grudging. So some parts of the world in Grudging is built on reality, but most of it came from my imagination. It’s great you can do that in a fantasy world.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Michelle:  They were all easy at times and incredibly stubborn at others. I think it depended on the day. But my easiest and hardest characters to write turned out to be secondary characters. There’s a priest called Father Telo who started as a detail and grew to an important role and his own point of view—totally unplanned. He could be hard to write because I had to research his words more as he was a priest. How would a priest react to this? What sort of platitudes would he say? That’s pretty far out of my comfort zone.

Ramiro’s mother Beatriz was very fun to write and probably the easiest, because she just said things. She blurted out truths. They say there’s a little of the author in every character and that’s so true. Beatriz is a little flaky, yet so full of heart. I think readers will be drawn to her perhaps most.



TQWhich question about Grudging do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Michelle:  You mean besides where can I buy it and how soon will it be a major motion picture? Hmm. Tough one.

Part of the story takes place in the desert and the other part in a swamp. A character has a close encounter with quicksand. Did you ever experience quicksand for yourself?

Why no. I can’t say as I did that research first hand. That came from watching the process on tv and staying well away.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Grudging.

Michelle:  How about two quotes from the mothers of the main characters.

Beatriz the hero’s mother says this: “But what does one pack to venture into a swamp and meet with a witch?” I think that’s a question we all should ask when we get up in the morning.

On the other side of the equation, we should hear from the mother of a witch. “Everything in nature is given for a purpose. The wolf doesn’t kill for sport. The blackbird doesn’t fly for show. We don’t use magic except to defend.” Keep that in mind when you suddenly find you have the ability to use magic.



TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  What’s next for a few years will be writing the rest of the Birth of Saints trilogy. The second is tentatively titled Faithful. Of course things get considerably worse for the characters. The description of what makes an enemy will get skewed and a little fuzzy. There might be some romance. Out of the chaos, a saint will be born to save them all. Or perhaps destroy, because pantser. ☺



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you for inviting me! That was a lot of fun answering questions and being able to ramble on about my favorite subject—myself writing.





Grudging
Birth of Saints 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 17, 2015
eBook, 432 pages
Mass Market Paperback, December 22, 2015

Interview with Michelle Hauck, author of Grudging
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.





About Michelle

Interview with Michelle Hauck, author of Grudging
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly the writer contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, PitchSlam, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints Series from Harper Voyager starts with GRUDGING on November 17, 2015. Her epic fantasy, KINDAR’S CURE, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. Elephant’s Bookshelf Press also published another of her short stories, The Unfinished Task, in their winter anthology, Winter’s Regret. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Twitter: @Michelle4Laughs
Blog: Michelle4Laughs: It’s in the Details
Facebook: Michelle Hauck, Author
Goodreads: Grudging
Goodreads: Kindar’s Cure
Tumblr: Michelle4Laughs

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Michelle Hauck

Grudging
Birth of Saints 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 17, 2015
eBook

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints TrilogyInterview with Michelle Hauck, author of Grudging2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck

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