Inside the Author: Dana Marton

I know, I know, I’ve spoken with Dana Marton before. But that was before I knew that she had a fantasy novel. I really need to keep a better eye on these authors that I adore!! Check it out!!

This novel was amazing! I just couldn’t put it down. I know that you started this as a class assignment but, what was your inspiration?

Thank you so much! And thank you for featuring me! As for inspiration… It might have had something to do with where I was at that point in my life when I was writing the book. I was going back to get a university degree, leaving the corporate world that left my soul and creativity starving, going on a quest to become who I was always meant to be: a writer. I didn’t have to deal with warlords and evil soothsayers, but I did have a mortgage and tuition, and the prospect of choosing a new profession where hardly anybody can make a living was plenty scary. There is a reason the expression “starving artist” is a common term. But if my own quest contributed to the story, it was only on a subconscious level. The truth is, as I was writing other things, I kept hearing Tera’s voice, telling her story. And I was hooked. I had to write it down. It wasn’t convenient the least. I had other things to do. And who wants to write a nearly 500 page book from a single point of view, anyway? It immediately doubles the level of difficulty. And novels written in 1st person are not popular. Some readers won’t read them at all. I prefer third person myself, have never written anything in 1st person before or since.

But as long as I kept hearing that voice, I kept writing. And when I was done, I loved the book. Then feedback came from industry professionals: great book, but can’t be classified, which means we wouldn’t know whether to put it on the YA shelf or the fantasy shelf or the romance shelf, which means we don’t know how to promote it. I thought really hard about rewriting The Third Scroll as a romantic fantasy, but it would have ruined the book. There was only one thing that I thought I could change without compromising the story: the point of view. So I rewrote the entire book in 3rd person. And hated the end result. Tera’s voice was the soul of the book. I wasn’t telling the story, she was. It was her story to tell. So I gave it back to her and I threw out the 3rd person version.

I’m so glad I didn’t compromise and hack her story to pieces so it could be more conveniently shelved in book stores. I have not had one complaint from a reader so far that they didn’t know what publishing subcategory to put the book in, or that it’s written in first person. Readers seem to fall in love with Tera and Batumar as much as I have. The response have been amazing. With my other books (I also published nearly thirty romantic suspense novels over the years), I receive 1 reader mail for about every 1000 book sold. With The Third Scroll, that ratio is 1 in 3. About a third of the people who read the book wrote to tell me how they stayed up until dawn to finish it, how they’re still thinking about Tera, and asking when the sequel is coming out. Some of these letters put tears in my eyes. I fought for ten years to be able to get this story in front of readers. All I can say is, it was a fight worth fighting.

This was a hard book to classify. It’s not really young adult but it’s not terribly steamy either, it’s not para but there is magic, it’s not even really fantasy because it’s so believable. How do you classify it, or can you?

I started this book before I knew how the publishing industry worked, so I was blissfully ignorant about how important classification was. I just set out to write a book that transported me away to another world, entertained me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel part of the action, made me feel love and despair. I thought if the words could do that to me, they might do that to my future readers, too. All I wanted was to write the best story I was capable of writing. Tera is such an amazing young woman. I just wanted to do her justice. I wish book stores had a shelf labeled DARNED GOOD STORIES, to house Outlander and Clan of the Cave Bear, and all my other epic favorites that won’t bend their heads to easy definition either. The biggest honor I could imagine would be on a shelf next to them.

Can you tell us what we can expect from the next book in the series?

This question is very difficult to respond to without including any spoilers about book 1, since book 2 grows organically from the first story. In the sequel, Tera’s powers (healing and other) are still growing and cause increasing difficulties, bringing her onto the radar screen of people she would do well to avoid, not that the choice is given to her. Charges of sorcery against her persist and more, putting the High Lord Batumar in a very difficult position. He is sworn to protect his people. But what will he do when he is forced to choose between his duty and protecting the woman he loves? Okay, I promise it’s actually a lot more exciting and deep and much better than this. But I can’t go into details without giving the ending of book 1 away. Sorry!

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m thrilled that Dana didn’t compromise the story and I, for one, will be waiting with bated breathe for the next installment.

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** Many of the books I review are Advance Review Copies. These books are loaned to me for my review. I am in no way compensated for my time nor am I asked to give anything but my honest review. If you have further questions, please, review my FTC Disclaimer on my homepage.

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