Jul 15

#Interview w/ Diamante Lavendar, #Author of "The Secrets of Yashire"

Title: The Secrets of Yashire; Emerging from the Shadows
Author:
Diamante Lavendar
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
Publisher: Shelf Published
Release Date: Jan 9 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Book Links:
Kindle | Amazon Print | Barnes and Noble
Books a Million (BAM) | Smashwords

The Secrets of Yashire: Emerging from the Shadows is a young adult fantasy adventure that occurs within the framework of a young girl’s subconscious mind. The main character, Brianna, finds herself thrown into a world called Yashire where she is forced to deal with circumstances that are threatening Yashire’s existence.

Against her will, she is sent on a journey to restore unconditional love back to the land while also contending with the evil force in the land, Zolan.

Brianna is sent on her mission by Libban, Keeper of the Land. Along the way, Brianna travels with the mystical tiger, Angelos; a huge, whitish-tan tiger with thick black stripes who sings only the purest songs of love, and the wondrous little one-eyed bird named Abiba. During the journey, Brianna is also preparing to meet her soulmate-the one she longs to be with and the one who will bring complete healing back into her life.

Together they travel through fantastic lands filled with magical creatures that could only exist in the wildest of imaginations. Through her treacherous brushes with danger and heartwarming experiences of love and acceptance, Brianna discovers many things.

It is here, amidst the powers and phantasms of the mind that Brianna receives life lessons and virtues to help her. Will one of her greatest triumphs be achieved as she learns to believe in herself? For only then can she truly see all of the wondrous things that life has to offer.

What or who inspired you to write?

I wanted to write since I learned to write! I started with very elementary rhyming poems when I was young and it blossomed into writing books. I wrote books for my siblings as I grew up. I also was always very much into fantasy and fiction. When I was about 10 years old I had my siblings convinced that an elf family lived in our home. I wrote notes from the ‘elf’ and left them lying around the house for my siblings to find. It made life very interesting for all of us!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I wrote the first version of The Secrets Of Yashire in 1990 after my daughter died. The story flowed out of me in my grief.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?

The Secrets Of Yashire takes place within a young woman’s subconscious mind after she suffers a severe accident. It is a story of her journey to find peace and answers about her existence in a fantasy realm known as Yashire. (Sorry! A bit more than 30 words!)

I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

Warning: This book may make you rethink your life!

What does your protagonist think about you?

Brianna, the protagonist of The Secrets Of Yashire, knows me quite well considering the fact that much of her is me! She wants me to find peace as I write about her journeys in Yashire. She also knows that she is also the embodiment of what I wished for my daughter who passed away. Therefore, she wants me to be happy with her travels, her virtues and the realizations she comes to. She wants me to approve of what she has learned. Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author? She has hung out with me for years. We have a relationship…an understanding. And she wants to keep a close relationship with me.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you?

Brianna, of course, speaks the loudest. Not only because she is part of me but also because she is the essence of my hopes and dreams for my daughter who passed away. Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others? No. Each character has their place in the story and they are content with their places, as I am content with them and the contribution each one offers to the storyline.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

The plot of this series has already been played over and over in my mind. It was, in essence, already created before the story even existed. The Secrets Of Yashire is a retelling of a plot that occurred long ago in my life.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like fiction. And fantasy. It has been a theme with me since I began to write as a small child.

How did you come up with the title?

I just made up the name of the land to be Yashire. And since Yashire is a place of fantasy and self realization, it contains many secrets that Brianna, the main character, must discover. Hence the title The Secrets Of Yashire.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I wrote this book to help young adults find their way in the world. There is so much confusion and so many wrong roads that a young person can take in our society. It is my hope that as young adults read this series, they will come to their own realizations and understandings that will assist them in finding happier, more peaceful paths in life. I wished that for my daughter and I wish it for the young adults that find themselves reading my book.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?

I will be writing at least two sequels to The Secrets Of Yashire. It is part of a series exploring Brianna’s journey of self realization.

Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?

I see myself having written at least four more novels. I have one in process right now and I plan on writing at least two sequels to The Secrets Of Yashire. I also have a few other ideas brewing as far as writing and publishing are concerned. I’d also like to widen the audience of my blog and possibly start spotlighting other authors as well.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have learned that no place is perfect. Therefore, I will just be happy with where I happen to be at the moment. I have learned to make the best of the situation I’m in at present…a philosophy of “bloom where you’re planted”. It’s the only way to be truly happy.

Is there an Author that you would really like to have met?

I wish I could have met CS Lewis. And Abraham Lincoln. They were such humanitarians! I would have loved to glean some wisdom from them both. They were intelligent and inspirational. Kahlil Gibran too.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?

I have always loved fairytales. And I loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I have been inspired by fantasy since I can remember. There is just something amazing about creating lands where anything is possible!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

Paperbacks! I love the feel of them in my hands!

Are you a self-published (Indie) Author or big traditional published?

I am an Indie author. My book was accepted by a traditional publisher twenty years ago and it went very awry. I ended up in a lawsuit and had to get my rights back. After that experience, I gave up for a while and then recreated my story and eventually self published.

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

You can expect more fantasy, more fiction and a little bit of everything else! I have already written a women’s fiction novel entitled Breaking The Silence that I am promoting at the present time as well. I am also in the process of writing a fiction novel as we speak that is based in medieval times. It includes a touch of mystery, some romance, a lot of self discovery and a bit of drama! All wrapped up in one! I will also be writing the sequels to The Secrets Of Yashire as well as a poetry book. I may even publish a nonfiction book in the future about writing. The ideas are brewing in my head at present!

How do you market/promote your books?

I have numerous social media sites where I do promoting and posting. I can be found on google, facebook, twitter and myspace. I also do blog tours and I post ads in magazines. I have had poetry and short stories published in magazines as well. I am always on the lookout for new ways to market and promote since that is key to becoming a known author.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?

By keeping it personal. By writing about what you know very well and what you feel very strongly about. The more of ‘you’ that comes out in your writing, the more of a voice you create for readers.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer’s block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?

If I encounter a severe writer’s block, I just walk away from the project and give myself time to think about it before I start again. It helps to renew the process.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I think the Land Of The Purple Cats was my favorite place in The Secrets Of Yashire. I love purple and I love cats so putting them together to create the land was a lot of fun for me. I could almost feel them purring around me as I wrote. It is a beautiful feeling to get so enmeshed in your story line that you feel you are a part of it!

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? What has been the best component?

Honestly, the toughest thing I have dealt with so far was not criticism but was the experience I mentioned earlier with the publisher that went awry. When you put so much of yourself into a book and you reach the height of being published and having your dream become a reality only to have it fall flat is very traumatic. It not only happened to me but a number of other authors as well that were dealing with this publisher. It was heartbreaking. I had to pull back and distance myself from the whole situation for quite a while before I could continue.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I spend time outside. I love nature. I also draw and paint. I refurbish furniture too.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?

The only thing I wou
ld change in my writing would be to make improvements based upon reviews and recommendations by other authors. I want to be at my best with my writing, so I am always open to ideas of how to improve my stories.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up. Writing is like anything else. If you really want to do it, you need to stick with it. Anything worth while takes time and effort and if it is your dream to write, never give up!

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?

To write what you know. You must have authority to write on a subject so you need to know it well or it won’t have the merit to stand on its own.

Do you write under a pen name?

Yes, I write anonymously.

What are your pet peeves?

In justices and pain needlessly afflicted on any living thing.

Cats or dogs?

Cats

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Neither! Either caramel or mint chocolate chip!

What are 4 things you never leave home without?

My wallet, my license, my keys and emergency money!

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Desktop.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I love to write in silence, so I do a lot of writing at night or in a secluded spot when I have the opportunity during the day. I have an office in the basement where I do a lot of writing. Noises don’t carry much down there!

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?

Tom Hanks, because he starred in Cast Away and I would definitely want someone who could give me advice! Jim Carrey because I would need comic relief! And Jennifer Lawrence because she had to have picked up some good clues as to how to survive in tough situations when she played Katniss from The Hunger Games!

One of your favourite quotes?

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

What is one of your favorite poems?

The words we say are scratches deep upon the surface bare. We can remove the varnish but the markings are still there. Some things there are we cannot mend or wrest to former glow. For once the grain is scored in pain, the scars will ever show. -Roxie Lusk Smith

Why does that poem carry such meaning for you?

I memorized that poem when I was a child and it has stayed with me all of these years. The poem always carried great truth to me. Too often people don’t think about the effect their words have on others. That is why, as a writer, I try to help people pave a positive path for their lives.

What are three of your favorite movies?

The Mask, Liar, Liar and Heaven Is For Real.

What are three of your favorite books?

The Bible, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Battlefield Of The Mind.

Who is your favorite movie star?

I would have to say Jim Carrey. I love to laugh! I find him to be absolutely hilarious! To me, comic relief is essential in staying happy!

“Good morning!” Libban entered the hall, her hair flowing like locks of gold down her shoulders, her eyes glinting like a sapphire fire. “Now that you are refreshed, please come and sit with me. There is much for us to talk about.”

She led Brianna back to the room with the large table where they had eaten the night before. Libban motioned for Brianna to sit down and then gracefully slipped into a chair next to her.

“I know that this is going to be hard for you to believe, but I know who you are and why you are here.” She sighed and touched Brianna’s hand. “You are the promised one—the one who The Spirit of Truth sent to heal the land.”

“What?” Brianna stared at her.

“You are here to heal the land. Only you can heal the land. You have been chosen because you yourself are broken. And the only person who can fix you is you. By healing the land, you will be fixing yourself.”

“I’m broken? I don’t even know who I am!” Brianna kept staring.

“It will come back to you. You must trust me. The Spirit of Truth has spoken. The Spirit never lies.” Libban answered.

“And what is The Spirit of Truth? I’ve never heard of such a thing.” Brianna countered, feeling quite agitated.

“The Spirit of Truth is your guide. The Spirit will help you realize what you need to know to accomplish your journey through this land. You will hear The Spirit’s voice. And you must listen to what The Spirit says. It is vitally important. You must trust. It will never steer you wrong.” Libban continued.

“Wait. It will help me through the land? I have to go through this land?” Panic gripped Brianna. “I don’t know anything of this land! I don’t even know what I have to heal! I don’t know where I have to go or anything! How can I heal something I know absolutely nothing about?” She jumped up. “I can’t do this! You’re asking too much! I don’t even know what I’m doing here!”

Libban stood up and lightly touched Brianna’s forearm. “Please. Calm down and have a seat. I am only trying to help. I need for you to understand. Please. You need to know what is expected of you. I know this is alarming but you must gather yourself and listen to what I have to say.”

Brianna looked into her eyes.

Okay. I’m not going to do myself any good by panicking. I’d better just shut up and do what she’s asking.

Slowly she slid back into the chair.

“Alright. I’m listening.”

Libban sat back down too.

“You see, a long time ago this land was a very happy place. All of the creatures lived comfortably and got along well. There was no harm or pain for them. There was no danger. It was peaceful and everyone was contented. But then something happened. No one quite understands what it was—only The Spirit truly knows—but evil entered the land. And slowly it started taking over. It grew into a force known as Zolan. Zolan is a wizard of sorts. He gains more power each day. He thrives off negativity. He keeps getting stronger and stronger. He has created wicked creatures and evil lands. He is trying to destroy Yashire completely.” Libban spoke fervently. “And you must stop him.”

Brianna shook her head. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know Yashire. I’ve never heard of it until yesterday. I don’t know the creatures here. I don’t know the lands. I don’t even know who I am! I don’t know how to fight an evil wizard. I don’t know anything!” She searched Libban for some type of answer.

“I do know one thing. Your name is Brianna. The Spirit spoke to me. And I know that you are the chosen one to heal this land.” Libban stated.

Wow. I have to heal this land. This is crazy. But what choice do I have? All I know is that my name is Brianna. That does actually seem pretty familiar to me. Maybe once I heal this land my memory will come back. I hate not knowing who the heck I am.

“Ok. Well just tell me what I have to do then.” Brianna looked at Libban with determination. “Let’s get started.”

Diamante Lavendar has been in love with reading since she was a child. She spent many hours listening to her mother read to her when she was young. As she grew older, she enjoyed reading novels of all genres: horror, fantasy and some romance to name a few.

She began writing in college and published some poetry in anthologies over the years. After her kids were older, she wrote as a form of self-expression and decided she wanted to share her stories with others.

Most of her writing is very personal and stems from her own experiences and those of her family and friends. She writes to encourage hope and possibility to those who read her stories.

Diamante believes that everyone should try to leave their own positive mark in the world, to make it a better place for all. Writing is the way that she is attempting to leave her mark—one story at a time.

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