Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, Author of Wizard of Ends

Thank you for joining us on your tour today, Vanessa.

To start off, please tell us a little about your upcoming release, Wizard of Ends.

Wizard of Ends is a fast-paced fantasy novella series. The main character, Lashlor Leaflin, is forced into all sorts of things he would rather have nothing to do with, most of which he believes will kill him. Luckily for the rulers of Ends, he is loyal to his land and will do anything to protect his king and queen.

What made you decide to publish Books 1 and 2 in the same month?

When I came to the end of Book 1, I couldn’t wait to write Book 2. So, instead of beginning my usual editing process, I followed my compulsion and just carried on writing. I’ve always been impatient to publish once a book is complete, so the thought of waiting to release Book 2 when it was already polished was a little too much for me… hence, I decided to publish both books during a month-long virtual book tour to celebrate the release of the series.

What are you doing to market Wizard of Ends?

I planned a month-long virtual book tour in which I’m currently touring via 24 blogs. Readers can find the itinerary here. I comment on all the tour hosts’ posts and thank them for having me on their blogs, and share all the posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Before the tour started, I posted a few sneak peeks on my blog, and announced the book tour about three weeks before it started. I also shared snippets via Twitter and Facebook. I wrote press releases for all the major tour highlights, including the discounts, giveaways and release announcements, and posted them on PRLog. Starting from the day of publication, I will also start submitting Wizard of Ends to a few hundred book listing websites and reviewers. This will be ongoing until I exhaust the list of people who will review, interview, showcase or list authors and our books. Oh, and I also contacted book bloggers and offered them ARCs (advanced reading copies).

Tell us what it takes to organise a virtual book tour.

An endless supply of time, energy and patience! The first thing to consider is how long you want the tour to be. I’m so excited about Wizard of Ends that I felt it deserved a month-long book tour, but, of course, that meant plenty of extra work! I started by creating my invitation to bloggers, in which I listed what I would be offering, and then started putting together a list of bloggers I thought would be a good fit for the tour. I wrote 30 guest posts and character interviews, etc. – before I officially invited anyone to participate. Be sure to set aside time for bloggers who want to interview you as part of the tour. Also before sending out an official invitation, I created promotional images and tour banners. You have to decide what you’re going to give away beforehand too – I chose to discount Book 2 to 99c on the day of publication only (after which it will be $2.99), and give away free copies of some of my other books, along with freebies from other fantasy authors.

There’s so much to enjoy during the Wizard of Ends tour – where can readers find a quick link to an extract?

Which character, across all your books, have you most enjoyed writing about, and why?

Lashlor Leaflin from Wizard of Ends. Because he’s so calm under pressure, and in the face of taunting and unpalatable situations. If everyone had as much self-control as Lashlor, the world would be a much better place!

What is the biggest challenge you face when starting a new book?

Deciding which book to write. Now that I’ve published the start of two series, I need to focus on those two series to avoid disappointing fans. However, besides Legends of Origin and Wizard of Ends, there are at least another twenty stories battling for space in my head. If enough time passes, I’ll lose those stories. It can be frustrating.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block and how did you overcome it?

Not really, no. There are times when I sit at the keyboard and stare at the screen, but that’s due to extreme fatigue, not writer’s block.

Why do you prefer writing fantasy over any other genre?

I don’t have to do any research for fantasy. When you’re writing a story with real world elements, it’s important to get your facts straight, or readers will think you’re a fool, and that means you sometimes have to do research. When writing fantasy, you can make up your own facts. In fact, it’s encouraged. As long as you’re consistent and your ‘invented facts’ are believable, you’re good to go.

How long does it generally take for you to finish writing a book?

It depends. I could write six to eight thousand words a day and still have my evenings free – assuming, of course, I wasn’t working full time. At that rate, a full-length novel would take about two and a half to three and a half months. A novella like Wizard of Ends would take about five to seven weeks. That’s to write the last word, and then the editing and polishing begins.

You work for yourself and your baby daughter is home all day most days. How do you cope with writing and juggling the demands of all your other commitments?

By the skin of my teeth! Honestly, I don’t know how I do it. Some days I feel like I’m going to lose my mind, and other days are a breeze – those are usually the days where I’ve got enough sleep the night before! It helps that my husband looks after our daughter during the day, but, if he needs to go to work, then I take over and work in the hours that evening. My mom takes our daughter for the day once a week too, which helps a lot. As far as possible, I allocate mornings and early afternoons to work, and late afternoons to writing or marketing my books. I fit in doing dishes, vacuuming, mopping floors, shopping, family visits, bathing and eating whenever there’s a gap, and tend to fall asleep on the couch most nights!

Do you have any pets?

We have a cat and three dogs – a German shepherd, a rottweiler and a shepweiler – all of which could more accurately be described as my children.

What’s your favourite flower?

A white lily.

Where can readers purchase Wizard of Ends?

Wizard of Ends, Book 1 will be published at Smashwords on 9 October – this week Thursday. I will also be making Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature available on pre-order at Smashwords on the same day – the official release date is 23 October, so readers won’t have long to wait. Shortly thereafter, the books will be available for free download (Book 1) and pre-order (Book 2) from other retailers, including Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

About Vanessa Finaughty

Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Her passion for the written word started her career as an editor and copywriter, and she part-ran a writers’ critique group for close on seven years. She’s been writing ever since she learnt how, has always been an avid reader, and currently lives on coffee and cigarettes.

Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.


  1. Great interview(and yes, I finally took a break from running around like a headless chicken to actually start following the blog tour)!
    However, I'm not sure I agree that you don't have to do ANY research for writing fantasy. Sure, it's a whole lot less than in any other genre, but I have certainly spent many hours trying to figure out if you can actually break a man's shoulder with a well-placed kick ;)

    1. Hi Michelle. I'm passing on Vanessa's reply, as she's unable to post comments here for some reason. She says: Hmmm yes, now that you mention it, I've done similar research - in fact, I just remembered I had to research rabies for Wizard of Ends. My bad!