Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wishes, Whirlwinds and Wild, Wigged-Out Wonder

Today we're blessed. C. L. Wilson joins us in the back seat for a breeze through the wild autumn weather! She's become a hot ticket. . . the buzz on her USA Today Bestselling DEBUT BOOK, Lord of the Fading Lands, is incredible. . . as is the book itself! If you've a yen for some fine writing, powerful plotting, mesmerizing characters, and heart-stopping action. . . rush out and get this book. It's an epic fantasy romance that takes you on a thrilling ride through a fabulous alternative world and makes you wish you could just step into the story and stay there!

I confess, I have a special interest in this book. . . having read it early on. . . since C.L. is one of my writing buddies and crit partners. Believe it-- I was blown away by this story and this world. And it only helps that C.L. is one of the funniest, smartest women I know. But, hey, she can speak for herself. . .

One year ago today, I was an unpublished author with four “close, but no cigar” Silhouette-Intimate-Moments-wannabe manuscripts under my bed, a 1,000 page rules-breaking fantasy romance manuscript (aka “The Monsterscript”) I adored still out at three houses, a collection of contest jewelry and a stack of rejection letters I was beginning to think would soon rival the Monsterscript in sheer volume.

One week after that, the Monsterscript was at auction, and my friend, two-time Golden Heart winner and contest diva extraordinaire Carla Hughes, and I were driving up the last hill leading to my family’s home in Atlanta at 3am in the morning, when we both looked up and saw a shooting star cross the heavens over my parents’ house. We both made a wish on that star. In the interest of keeping star-mojo intact, I won’t blab Carla’s wish. But as for mine…well, being a writer, I wished for writerly success.

All I can say is … Dang, that was one powerful star!

Today, LORD OF THE FADING LANDS (the first half of my beloved-but-multi-rejected Monsterscript) is printed, bound and on the shelves of bookstores, grocery aisles, drug stores, Wal-Marts and airport shops all around North America, and LADY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS (the second half of the Monsterscript) comes out in two weeks. Most incredible of all, as of October 11, 2007, one week after LORD’s debut, I, C.L. Wilson, am a USA Today bestselling author.

Don’t look now, Toto, but we’re not in Kansas anymore.

I am living in Oz. For pretty much the last two weeks, I’ve been thrilling to the Technicolor glory of Munchkinland and gleefully cavorting around the town spiral with Glinda and gang. (Hey, Lollipop Guild! Slap some sugar on me! And ooooh, that yellow brick road sure does look shiny!)

Alas, this basking isn’t going to last much longer than it does in the movie. The Wicked Witch of the West will soon be hot on my trail, demanding the return of her sister’s ruby slippers, and my new journey as a published author will begin in earnest. Deadlines and sell through and sales figures, oh my! (And, ahem, in case you were wondering, the Wicked Witch symbolizes Fear and Self-Doubt, not my editor, who is wonderful. J)

Luckily for me, I know I won’t be making that journey alone. I have some of the best friends in the world traveling with me. Friends with heart, who are so incredibly giving and encouraging and supportive. Friends with brains, who know so much about the publishing business and who help steer me clear of danger. Friends with strength and courage, who have shown me how to carry on in good times and bad.

And even though my journey is just beginning, I already know what awaits me in the Emerald City: belief in myself, confidence to continue pursuing my heart’s desire, and the knowledge that the friends and family I love and hold dear, who’ve been with me all along, are a greater measure of success than any (admittedly thrilling) wonders Oz has to offer.

Betina here, again. Okay, you guys. Hit the keyboards and ask the questions and make the comments. She's all ours. Muwahahahaha!


Wendi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Brenna said...

CL - major, major congrats on your well deserved success! I have not read your book yet, but I promise I WILL.

You are obviously living every beginning writer's dream, mine included, but I'm gonna step out on a limb here and guess it didn't come without sacrifice. LOL

A 1,000 page manuscript is HUGE. What kept you motivated to keep writing it?

Wendi said...

C.L., I loved reading your success story almost as much as I loved your book. I've preordered Lady of Light and Shadows, and I can't wait until it gets here! You deserve every bit of the success you're enjoying. Live in this moment and buy some good sunglasses because the future is only brighter!

C.L. Wilson said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy the book!

And LOL...you would be right on the sacrifice. 3 am wakeup calls and 15 minute power naps were just what I needed *before* I sold. God bless my husband and kids for putting up with my semi-abandonment of them for the months after the sale.

What kept me going on a 1,000 page book? (and lol, that was what evolved AFTER I cut the first 1,000 page monsterscript in half! EEK!)

What kept me going? I wish I could say it was me. But no. It was those friends of mine. Christine Feehan and Diana Peterfreund, and my sister Lisette, in particular, who kept saying "Finish this! Finish it! Finish it now!" and who also kept saying, "No, Cheryl, this is not a 1,000 page pile of poo! Now finish it!"

I'm so glad I have them in my life. And not just because they kept pushing me to realize my dreams. :)

C.L. Wilson said...

Wendi - LOL on the sunglasses. I hope I am not a flash in the pan. Though, I think my girls are enjoying the excitement and the limelight even more than I am. You should have seen them preening and posing at my first book signing in Tampa. *gg* Hams, the both of them. Cute hams, but hams nonetheless. *g*


Michele Hauf said...

C.L., cool to have you with us today! I can't wait to read your book. I understand creating a 'world' and know it can be incredibly hard but very rewarding. How long do you plan to play in this world? The next book, and then...will there be others?

C.L. Wilson said...

Hi Michele,
I love worldbuilding. That's half the fun of writing fantasy, at least to me. *g*

I've got four books contracted for this world. Those four will conclude the Rain/Ellie story. After that, we'll see if there is enough interest to continue. I've had a number of requests already for a particular cobalt-eyed warrior's story. *gg* (I love that people love Bel as much as I do!)

I also have another fantasy romance set in a different world that I hope to see in print. :) And I promised my kids I'd write a book I would let them read, so that's somewhere on the agenda as well. LOL.

Loretta said...

Oz is a wonderfully magical place, but C.L is living the real dream. Always love reading about a sister TARANs success.

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, down to the nitty gritty: tell us about the book trailer you made and where it can be seen.

Also. . . details of the process of making it, please. I'm fascinated by it and I think everyone would like to know what it involves. And do you think it had a part in the tremendous success of your first book?

C.L. Wilson said...

Hey Loretta! (waving!!) Loretta made her first sale not long ago - a western which she sold to Avalon. We're all very excited for her. :)

Hi Betina (one of my beloved yellow-brick-road companions).

Ah, the Book Trailer. I chose COS Productions (Circle of Seven, Sheila Clover English) because I know and love Sheila, because she essentially invented the industry, and because she and her COS cadre do incredible work. If you google Tairen Soul, you'll find the video all over the internet. It's also up on my homepage www.clwilson.com and on my myspace www.myspace.com/clwilsonbooks.

Essentially, after I selected COS, Sheila hooked me up with one of the talented directors she works with. The director submitted a sample script to me for approval, sent me a number of actor/actress headshots and video clips so I could choose the main characters (which was very tough), then they went off and shot the film and dubbed in the effects. I was thrilled with the way the tairen, in particular, turned out.

As part of the COS package, Sheila also provided a widespread distribution of the trailer to some 20+ sites on the internet and gave me the embed code so I could copy the trailer to my own sites. Word of mouth and internet sharing spread the trailer to even more places.

I've been thrilled with the results of my trailer - I've had quite a few people write to say they bought my book due to the trailer, it was up on Barnes & Noble as a special feature (before they changed their website), and I've had the benefit of a number of other COS-sponsored marketing opportunities (internet radio spots, trailer-showings and chats at the Romance Galleria, etc.).

All in all, I'd say it was money well spent. I'll be choosing COS for the next trailer too. And maybe with that one, I'll try using it for some cable tv ad spots.

Vicki said...

Oz, the land where you journey to discover your dreams finding you had them all along. The yellow brick road is so fitting for you Cheryl. You’ve journeyed it’s true but the amazing writer that you are has been with you all along.

I’m so proud and excited for you. All of this couldn’t happen to a more deserving and wonderful person. And I get the honor to call you friend and Madame President. You totally ROCK!!!

Oh and don’t click your heels to come home just yet cause you’ve got more to do and see!

Now for a question…What was the hardest for you in building your world? The land with all the areas, mountains, distance between? Or the language?

Okay, one more question. What would you tell aspiring Fantasy writers or any other writer for that matter is the single most important thing to do when creating their world?

C.L. Wilson said...

Hey vicki. Thanks for joining us!

Which was harder? The language, hands down. The map I just drew, the language is a constant work in progress. I've got a good start, but so many, many more words need to be added to the standard vocabulary yet. I add 'em as I need 'em, then refer to my Feyan dictionary regularly *g*

The single most important thing about worldbuilding is consistency. The second most important thing is attention to detail. It's the little things--the whole conglomeration of little things--that makes the world come alive.

Great questions Vicki! Thanks!


Keri Ford said...

This is great news! Other than the trailer, was there any other promotion you did that you felt added to your overnight success?

Thanks for sharing your story.

Cherie J said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I have been hearing so many great things about your book I put it on my TBB list. I am looking forard to reading it.

C.L. Wilson said...

Hey Keri. So glad to see you here. Other promotion? Well, blogging, myspacing, a very detailed website, and a weekly ARC giveaway starting 4 months before the first book, were the things I tackled.

My publisher, Dorchester, has been an absolute gem. They sponsored a very, very successful buzz-building program, which included giving away ARCs in return for the readers promising to read and post reviews of the book, spread the word.

I also had some wonderful endorsements by a number of well-respected and bestselling paranormal romance writers, chief among them Christine Feehan, who has been the best champion a writer could hope for.

C.L. Wilson said...

Thanks so much for coming and posting today. I really hope you enjoy the book!


flchen1 said...

Wow, CL, this sounds like quite an accomplishment (and lots and lots for us readers to look forward to!) Thank you for giving us a glimpse behind your process :)

Elissa Wilds said...

Hiya Cheryl! How about sharing some of your secret tips for staying motivated and keeping that muse going admidst the chaos of everyday life? (I still think of you getting up at 3am to write before the kids wake up for school and get inspired!) BB, Elissa

C.L. Wilson said...

Hi flchen1....thanks.

I cannot take credit for the accomplishment though. Without my friends and family, without the folks at Dorchester, without a whole lot of support and encouragement from many people, this would not have happened. I'm so grateful it did, but I know I didn't do it on my own. :)

C.L. Wilson said...

Elissa (hi! waving!!!)
Secret tips for staying motivated? You mean besides a nice bottle of merlot? LOL.

I do get up at 3am. (Today it was 2am.) The world is quiet, the phone doesn't ring, and email doesn't tempt me to play hooky *g* Plus, I'm rested, fresh, and ready to write. (I have a hard time being creative when I'm tired.)

I listen to Howard Shores complete recordings from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. (gorgeous, brilliant music!) I drink lots of coffee *g*

I brainstorm plotting ideas with several crit partners, and they help me when I get stuck.

Keri Ford said...

Thanks for answering Cheryl and Good Luck in all your future projects!

Jessica said...

I am sorry I missed this! I think I need to get my priority's in shape. Who says that the kids need their mom all the time! sheesh! I wanted to say that I love the genre bending story of this book. It is so totally epic fantasy...it should be in both fantasy and the romance sections of the book store. This fan girl can't wait for the next book!

C.L. Wilson said...

Thanks Keri! I'm so glad you came.

And Jessica! Better late than never. *g* Give those kids lots of love. I can wait *gg*

I'm so glad you liked the cross-genre feel and not too long to wait for LADY now! (the countdown is on *gg*)


Betina Krahn said...

Thanks so much C.L. for taking a ride with us in the convertible! And thanks for all the great info. We know you're going to sell a million!