Indie Spotlight – Raina Nightingale

Today on my blog I am welcoming Raina Nightingale into the Indie Spotlight.

Raina Nightingale has been writing high fantasy since she could read enough words to write stories with the words she could read. She loves dragons and magic and beautiful worlds, complete with mountains, storms, stars, forests, and volcanoes! She also loves compelling and realistic characters. DragonBirth is her first novel in her High Fantasy setting of Areaer.

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Welcome to my blog, Raina. What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

I think there were a variety of things that played into the initial decision, but the longer I’m out here and the more I learn, the more I realise it was a really good decision. There’s copyright and ownership issues sometimes, that authors can get into trouble with. I heard of one case where the author didn’t deliver on time and had to abandon the whole series and world, and I really do not work well under time pressure, at least not on my art! Also, agents tend to be interested in rather strict formulas, and the strict formulas aren’t wrong, but there’s other possibilities out there, that I want to be able to explore as I choose.

I self-published. I definitely did not want to fall into the trap of some scummy small-time vanity press, and after exploring a number of different options, I decided to self-publish. There’s not that much to say about it except that it took me a long time to figure everything out about how I wanted to do it, but I’m not sure explaining the process in-depth would be very informative.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

My novels are all High Fantasy. I describe it most often as ‘Character-driven, with Slice of Life and Epic elements’. I really like the freedom and creativity fantasy affords. I like creating beautiful worlds, and I like working with as many real or imaginary creatures as I want, and with settings of my imagination. I also really like dragons and some form of magic! What really draws me into a novel though is the characters feeling like real persons, and that’s a great part of my writing process too – it’s very character-dependent, driven by the choices and personalities of the various characters, not just the main(s)! I think the world is actually pretty Epic, a lot more epic than we usually realise, even in our personal lives, and I also think that even the most epic adventures are really a lot about the everyday things one experiences and does, just living. All in all, I didn’t so much decide to write in my genre, as it’s just the genre I found myself loving and developing.

I’ve written short stories in a few other genres, I write poetry, and I write essays. Does that count?

Yes I would say that counts!
Do you only read the genre that you write?

No, but I prefer character-driven fantasy when it comes to my fiction. That’s not all I’ll read in fiction, but it’s what I tend to enjoy, and what I’m most likely to really enjoy. I’ll read a fair amount of different non-fiction genres, too. Biographies, philosophy, religion, and then I don’t know what this genre is called, but I’ve a fair amount of curiousity and interests in various things, so I’ll read things about, say, the flora and fauna of a religion, or thunderstorms and cloud formations, or volcanic activity, or what-have-you.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

As I write this? Only something I’m beta reading for someone. I’m excited to get into a few new books – I expect I will really like We Hunt the Flame though, as always, I’ll have to read it to know for sure – but it’s taking a long time to get them. I usually don’t listen to music for inspiration. I sing sometimes, though!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write what you enjoy. Write what you love. Write what interests you. Don’t worry about whether it’s any good or not, either, or get disappointed if you feel it isn’t. Just keep on writing until it seems good to you. I think that’s a good place to start. Also, try not to lose any of it! I wrote so many pages, and early on most of it was really not that good, but there were some short stories I remember now and wish I had not lost along with everything else.

No matter what else, make sure you enjoy your stories. I think that’s key. If you enjoy your stories, that enjoyment will come through eventually. If you don’t, I’m not sure how that can ever happen.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

Children of the Dryads is coming out June 3rd! I’m going to be working on the final finishing touches to its sequel, Sorceress of the Dryads, and you’ll be seeing that next after Children, though I don’t have a date for Sorceress yet – and I have to work out how not to spoil too much of Children on the backcover of Sorceress. I’m also currently writing four different stories, three of them set in the same world as Children of the Dryads and Sorceress of the Dryads. The next one you will probably be seeing from me is a spin-off story from Sorceress of the Dryads about two men who desert the army together and who are briefly part of the story in Sorceress before their story takes them somewhere else altogether. There will be a dragon in that one, and I’m pretty sure after that we’ll see lots of dragons again!!

Excellent – I do love dragons! Thank you for being a part of my Indie Spotlight series, Raina – I wish you every success!

DragonBirth (#1 in the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy)

In a world where dragons are considered demons and Dragonriders are hunted and killed as witches…

A devout village-girl, Silmavalien, meets a dragon hatchling and discovers a love she could never have dreamed. At the same time, her world is ripped apart as she discovers the gods she has worshipped and everything she has ever been taught or believed is a monstrous lie. Not knowing what to believe – or even if she can trust her engaged, Noren, with her new secret – she must find a way to care for herself and her dragon, Minth, in a wild and hostile world, a world which only grows stranger as the days pass.

Barnes and Noble | Amazon  | Goodreads

DragonWing (#2 in the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy)

An age-old war is renewed. The destiny of two Dragonriders and the race of dragons hangs in the balance…

Silmavalien thinks she has found a safe haven. She just wants to raise her dragons and learn how to ride them in peace, but a war is being waged around her and over her, one which will determine not only her fate but that of the dragons, whether she accepts her part in it or not.

On the other side of the mountains, Noren’s dragon has hatched. He determines to find Silmavalien and her dragon, but that is easier said than done, especially in a society where to be found with a dragon is a death sentence. Moreover, he soon discovers that there are other, darker foes who threaten him and his darling Elninya.

Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Goodreads

DragonSword (#3 in the Return of the Dragonriders Trilogy)

When the Obsidian Guardian rises and the Dragon-sword shines again, so will hope to defeat the Nightmare…

Dragonrider Noren has narrowly escaped being burned at the stake. Reunited at last, he and Silmavalien flee northwards. Joined by Onyxalis, a black dragon who believes himself to be the destined Avenger of the Dragons, they must battle their way through the hordes of the Nightmare Lord to the Volcano of Ellen Island. There Onyxalis may receive the power he needs as the Obsidian Guardian, and there the re-forging of the Dragon-sword will be begun.

With the Gift of the Volcano, they will finally have the power to fight the battle before them and even the mightiest of the Nightmare Legion.

Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Goodreads

The Gifts of Faeri (A Short Novel; Independent Prequel to the Return of the Dragonriders)

Faeri has something no one else does: the ability to sing power into objects and direct that power to her will. For more than two decades she and the obsidian dragon paired with her, Chrysanthemum, have been traveling Aneri, using her song to give gifts to everyone they come across that will make their lives easier. But then the fabled enemy in the stories, the Nightmare, shows its hand, trying to taint Faeri’s gifts and make them a snare to the souls of those who keep them.

Just when Faeri is convinced that her song is worse than useless,  a conflict with nightmare creatures reveals Chrysanthemum’s fire as a bane to the Nightmare. . .

Barnes and Noble | AmazonPDF copy

Children of the Dryads (#1 in the Legend of the Singer Duology)

When her human father, Eldor, a member of an organization of elite warriors dedicated to protecting the Valor Alliance, is called on a mission she does not think he can survive, Tara-lin violates his orders and follows him…

She is a half-elf, born with the long-lost ancestral magic of the elves. With her is Alis, a human girl desperate to avoid a marriage forced on her by her father, a colleague of Eldor, but terrified that gods Tara-lin does not believe exist will cast her into the netherhells for her disobedience. Ahead of them is Eldor’s terrifying destination – Nightshade Castle, haunt of madness and black magic.

Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Goodreads

Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Brittany M. Willows is a bisexual/asexual author and digital artist living in rural Ontario, Canada. Inspired initially by video games and the stories they told, she began building her own fictional universes and has no plans of stopping any time soon. When she’s not writing about post-apocalyptic lands, wild magic, or people gallivanting through the stars, she can be found hunched over a tablet drawing the very same things.

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