My old friend, M.E Neidhardt, has written and published a highly entertaining young adult fantasy novel entitled, Abysmal Canyon. I can highly recommend this book to any fantasy lover. There is intrigue, romance and a plot that will keep you guessing. Learn more about the book and its author in the interview below:
1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
Abysmal Canyon – Book 1 of Domina Lumen by M.E. Neidhardt
“Dowsing with her crystal was just a pastime for Ysolde until it became the difference between life and death. . .”
2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Young adult, new adult, adult science fiction/fantasy readers
The story is fast-paced action about an eighteen year old girl named Ysolde who is leaving for college when she learns she is the heir to an ancient legacy. Her legacy could be the deciding factor in a centuries old war between two mysterious races of energy entities, the Lumen and the Vapors. Along with adventure and some tragedy, there’s a bit of light romance and humor mixed in to the story and you learn just enough about dowsing to whet your appetite.
3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The idea and title for the book came when I was hiking in Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado. The events that happen in the book around the canyon are so abysmal, I decided to name it Abysmal Canyon. After the book was published, I learned there was an actual Abysmal Canyon in California which somehow slipped past my radar.
The name for the series, Domina Lumen, is the ancient title Ysolde, the protagonist, is given. It is Latin and means “lady light,” but as Ysolde’s title, it stands for the Lady of the Lumen. The Lumen (the good guys) are positive energy entities she helps battle against the Vapors (the bad guys).
4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I designed and created the cover art with Photoshop. I am an artist and wanted to see if I could make a cover that looked fairly professional. I wanted something simple and striking. The main image is from a photo I took from down inside Black Canyon then I added the crystal image. There are a lot of references to crystals in the story, so both images are visual clues of what the story is about.
5. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Although I love Ysolde, because of all the things she and I have in common and I would definitely like to meet Von in real life, Dan is my favorite character. He is Ysolde’s older brother and has the most freedom to say what he feels. He’s fun, easy to like and very real to me.
6. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
You’d think that would be the antagonist, Kraegon, but he’s kind of sexy so I’d have to say Alia, who lives in the dorm for a short while with Ysolde. She comes across as sweet and kind, but she’s actually quite evil and deceptive.
7. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
In chapter one when Ysolde is in her tent with the blood dripping down, I experienced that very thing years ago while living in a tent in northern Arizona.
8. What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
My book shares the common idea of a romance between a human and non-human, but the difference is that the emphasis of my story is not on romance, but on action and Ysolde’s ultimate goal.
9. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
Other than my art and writing, I have been dowsing for myself for many years and am a member of the American Society of Dowsers.
10. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
I have an Amazon Author page and a Facebook Author page. They are fairly skeletal at the moment, but anything I publish will be posted there. I also started a blog this summer which is more personal. I’ve been blogging about my writing, dowsing, musings about nature and anything else that comes to mind. Anytime I publish something, a notice about it will be posted there. My blog address is meneidhardt.com.
11. What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working daily on formatting my book and cover for print and hope to have that available by mid-October, if not before. I am also working on bundling some science fiction/fantasy short stories to offer and am working on my notes for book 2 of Domina Lumen. I hope to have it written within this next year.
12. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Reviews are hugely important. If you liked the book and don’t mind, please leave a short review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Spreading the word with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or wherever else is also very helpful. Thank you!
13. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
I decided to self-publish instead of waiting months on end to hear back from publishers. There is a lot of information on the internet about self-publishing now to help with the strict guidelines you must follow. If you decide to self-publish, you may have a steep learning curve at first, but it does get easier and I think it’s well worth the effort. You can always hire someone to format your work if you’d rather not deal with all the technicalities.
14. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Don’t hold back your passions!
15. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
“I took a few steps forward, staring down at the gaping, black void before me. My toes hung over the edge. The pit of my stomach lodged in my throat. Small rocks under my boots began breaking loose. I watched as they plunged silently into the emptiness below. The man’s strong energy inched my body forward. My boots barely clung to the precipice now. I looked into his pale beautiful face nodding at me with confidence and encouragement. I trusted him. I loved him. I would die for him. I took his hand and stepped off the rim.”