The Violet Fox
by Clare C. Marshall
The Violet Fox Series, Book One
There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.
The Marlenians, who live on the surface,
and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.
The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors’ hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.
Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity, before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides, and before she falls any more in love with the prince she’s supposed to hate.
More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in rural Nova Scotia with a clear idea of what I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do in life. Write, and publish books. I’m 24 years old, a full-time freelance editor/designer (Woulds & Shoulds: http://editinganddesign.com) and author-publisher (Faery Ink Press). I have an undergrad combined honours degree in journalism & psychology from the University of King’s College in Halifax, and I completed the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber College in Toronto. I’m also a somewhat-accomplished fiddler player and step dancer. I really like cats, but I intensely dislike cheese.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
Nothing that I remember consciously made me into a writer. I’ve always been writing little stories, or attempting longer ones, since I was in grade school. I started submitting manuscripts to publishers when I was 15, and I did a lot of research on the publishing industry, especially in university. It became obvious that only those authors who sold well could actually support themselves full time as writers. So I currently straddle the industry as a freelance editor/designer (mostly for books, but also some other non-book projects as well) and an indie author, and (after a lot of work and dry spells!) I can say that I do support myself through freelancing. I consider this part of being a writer. Being a writer means being versatile and adapting to situations so you don’t starve. LOL!
What I can say, though, is that I knew I wanted to be an author-publisher when I was in my second year of university. Publishing myself seemed like a challenging and exciting venture that was worth a shot, regardless of what came of it.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
Inspiration comes from a lot of places for me. Sometimes it’s just going on Reddit and reading people’s stories. Sometimes it’s a well-written book. Sometimes it’s just asking myself, “What if?” and running with it. Sometimes thinking about where I want to be in life inspires me to keep going.
But a lot of the time, I have to create that inspiration. I have to wake up early every day and say, I’ve got at least 3 things to do today. I could bum around and play video games (I am a shameless Sims 2 addict, and I also enjoy the occasional RPG), or I could sit and do work. Whether that work is writing a couple thousand words on a novel, or editing a manuscript for a client, or designing websites or laying out eBooks, each day is a little different. When I’m feeling dry, sometimes just forcing myself to do a little work can keep me going. Being productive is a way of inspiring me and motivating me to create more things.
4. Tell us about The Violet Fox.
The Violet Fox is one of those stories that I’ve had tucked away for a long time. It’s about a girl named Kiera, who lives underground with the rest of her people, the Freetors. They’re not allowed to live on the surface, because the surface people (the Marlenians) drove them underground almost two hundred years ago. But the Freetors, they guard the secrets to magic, which certain Marlenians really want. When an ancient tome detailing the secrets to this magic are stolen from the Freetors, it’s up to Kiera–who masquarades as The Violet Fox on the surface, a sort of Robin Hood/Mask of Zorro figure–to disguise herself as a Marlenian princess, infiltrate the Marlenian castle, and retrieve the tome. She gets caught up in the castle politics, and becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Keegan.
In short: it’s Robin Hood/Mask of Zorro meets Cinderella with a dash of The Little Mermaid.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Telling myself to sit down and write. It’s nice to imagine the stories and the characters, and see the manuscript finished in your mind–and even imagine it on the bookshelves–but all that doesn’t happen unless you sit your butt down in front of the computer and write.
The second hardest thing about being a writer is what I mentioned above, the actual economics of being a writer. I’m not only a writer–I’m a publisher too. Finding balance in these two activities is daunting, challenging, and sometimes humbling. I’m only one person and I only have 24 hours in a day. I have a lot of ambition and a lot of stories I’d like to see written, but only so much time and energy to devote. Also, I have student loans to pay! So it’s really a challenge of time management, and judging how much my time is worth.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I really like having Xenergy (a tasty energy drink) when I’m settling in for long bouts of writing, especially when I’m surrounded by distractions (boyfriend gaming next to me, watching TV, etc). I don’t need it, but it really focuses me.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
I’ve really enjoyed anything by Maggie Stiefvater. Her writing is so poetic and descriptive. I also like Orson Scott Card, but I haven’t had much of a chance to read any of his newer stuff. I’m working on reading some books now (it’s hard to make time to read when you’re in the middle of getting your book off to press!), but I recently finished Divergent, by Veronica Roth, and although it started off rocky for me, I ended up really enjoying it. I have an occasional book blog (http://yafantasybookreviews.com) that I’m going to not neglect when The Violet Fox stuff slows down a little! 🙂
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Sometimes! :O Usually a character is a combination of people I know, or I may draw physical characteristics from certain people but make them have a completely different personality. Probably the most difficult character relationship to make real was the brother-sister relationship between Kiera and Rordan. I don’t have a brother, and I’m the eldest in my family, where Kiera is the youngest and Rordan is her older, protective brother. So I really just had to let Kiera speak to me and put myself in her shoes and try and communicate how even though she finds her brother annoying, she still loves him and looks up to him.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
Writing-wise, I’ve been scratching away on the sequel to The Violet Fox, called The Silver Spear. I’d like that to be out next year. I also have been shopping around a children’s chapter book series at traditional publishers and agents, so I’m really hopeful for that being published at some point.
10. Why do you love writing?
I think one of the reasons I like writing so much is that I get to create people and worlds, and tell their stories. Also, the feeling of having written 70,000 words and then setting it aside as a complete work, that’s really satisfying.
About the Author
Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She founded Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design in 2010 for self-published authors and businesses looking for quality editing and design services. She enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press, and released her first novella, Within in 2011. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.
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