With me today is Claudette Marco, author of Satchel & Sword I: The search for the Saluka Stone. Before we get to the interview, let's learn a little more about this exciting new book:
SATCHEL & SWORD I (The Search for the Saluka Stone)
by Claudette Marco
In the land of time and Queens, one young woman sought not greed, but justice!
Satchel & Sword I: The Search for The Saluka Stone is part one of a Young Adult Epic Fantasy trilogy chronicling the struggles and perseverance of Nevaline Scarcliff, a 15-year-old foot soldier living in the militarist, matriarchal territory of Amazonia. The greedy Amazonian Queen forces her army to march north to fight against Amazonia's rival territory: Hychester. They must march through the bewitched Blackbern Forest in order to conceal their attack. There, Nevaline and her best friend Cairine wield their Claymores in perilous battles against mercenaries, thieving Harpies, giant, human-eating Pophagi, enemy soldiers, and a group of malevolent sorcerers called the Sables. Nevaline also discovers her true destiny: she must destroy Micdian, the God of Verahain (Purgatory), who descended to earth to enslave all in the continent of Kordalis and the northern islands of the Caátlach Ocean. She must retrieve the Saluka Stone and use it to awaken him and destroy him. Will she recover the Saluka Stone? Will she claim justice and destroy Micdian?
Please help me welcome Claudette!
Cherie: Tell us about your novel, Satchel & Sword I: The Search for the Saluka Stone in your own words.
Claudette: The struggles of a teenaged girl in a time of societal unrest and the will to never surrender hope for a better future… This is the story Nevaline Scarcliff, a 15-year-old foot-soldier living in the militarist, matriarchal territory of Amazonia. Her mother died at childbirth and, at eight years old, her father disappears and she is taken into the custody of the Amazonian government. She is placed into the United Warriors Training Camp. After much anger and frustration, she accepts her lot in life as a soldier, training arduously physically and with the sword, her Amazonia-issued Claymore sword, because if she does not, it means her death on the battlefield. But she accepts this because she has been taught patience and shown love by her Mythics teacher Master Sjhong, whom she also loves and admires as much as her own father.
The greedy Queen of Amazonia declares war on Hychester, a territory to the distant north and orders her army to march through the bewitched Blackbern Forest to conceal their attack. But, much to Nevaline’s surprise, her path would veer away from the army.
Cherie: Sounds intriguing. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
Claudette: I have spent my whole life looking for a career that would best fit my interests and abilities. When I found writing, it felt like two gears clicking perfectly into each other. When I started, the story just flowed out of me. I wrote close to 2000 words a day while working. What I enjoyed most in life was writing the college research essay. So I kept those habits when writing S&S like keeping a notebook for my notes about the story and characters, researching aspects of the Scottish, Mexica, and Mongolian culture which I include as details in the backdrop of the story, and I even drew a map to give the readers a guide for the story.
Cherie: Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Claudette: I was always fascinated by the idea of the Amazon, the female-led government. What would it be like? Who would run it? How would it be administered? Also, I wrote this book during a rough time in my life, and I wanted others to feel empowered by this story, as much as it made me feel at peace with myself and gave me confidence to actually be myself. So, I wanted the message to be that the underdog has hope, one must never give up in their dreams of getting out of a bad situation, or their dreams of achieving something when the future looks like a never ending plateau. I was starting my life from scratch, just finding the career I love doing, so I wanted my main character to be someone just starting out their life as well, and what better person than a teenager. Teenagers have already had schooling, a taste of what life is going to be like when it comes to dealing with rules, improvisation, and formulating goals for themselves. So everything fit.
Cherie: That’s a great message. What was your favorite or most difficult chapter to write?
Claudette: My favorite and, also, most difficult parts to write were not so much chapters but the characters. I spent a lot of time honing what they were going to say, how they were going to react to situations. I needed them to be true to their personality and upbringing, and their actions had to reflect that. For example, Master Sjhong and Farjon are distinct characters that needed an added touch which, I must say, was an exhilarating process for me. I loved this.
Cherie: Can you share with us something about you that we may not already know?
Claudette: I have spent much time trying careers that were not meant for me and I kept trying to make them work because I was afraid of failing. Failure has a pejorative meaning to it which leads people down wrong paths in life, or, something which can be worse, keeps people from living to their full potential. It did both for me, but I kept fighting back, and I learned not to take failure as a strike against me in life. I learned what I can and cannot do. Failure can actually lead to fulfillment, you just have to go for it.
Cherie: So true! What are you working on now?
Claudette: Right now I am working on publishing this trilogy, the second book will come out March 4th 2014, my 34th birthday, and the third I have not decided yet when. I have started the next book which is a Sci-fi adventure.
Cherie: Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less:
Favorite color? Red.
Secret crush? (It can be anyone real or fictional.) Not really a secret, but it always will be Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes, but likes and dislikes must click as well.
Have you ever experienced that head-over-heels, tingly, have-to-get-to-know-someone feeling yourself? The first time I saw Stone Cold Steve Austin on television!
Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy? Both. I love exploring both in my writing.
If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be? Smoo Cave in northern Scotland.
Are you a morning person or an evening person? A little of both.
Favorite author? Agatha Christie
Favorite movie or television show? The Lord of the Rings/Xena: Warrior Princess
Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process? Never did get to enjoy myself fully in the careers I tried. With writing, I get to indulge in my fulfillment.
Favorite place to write? In front of a window with a view of plants, nature.
Who is your mentor (or hero)? My parents Jose and Virginia Marco, and various teachers I have had in school like Sister Terese, Sister Christine Beach, my advisor in high school Mr. Marcus Lewis, my advisor in college Prof. Michael Mcbride, and countless other teachers.
What book are you the most excited to read? I look forward to anything fantasy/sci-fi. But I like re-reading books more than once like any of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries and Isaac Asimov. One book I really liked was Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
Are there any types of books you don’t read? I read a little bit of everything, except erotica. The bulk of my interests are in fantasy, sci-fi, and mysteries, but I also love reading horror, experimental, and even westerns too.
Thanks so much for being here today!
Claudette Marco, scrivener of poetry and short stories since she was a child, earned a B.A. degree from Whittier College, soul budding in world wild. After many years of toil, soul searching for relief, she finally reclaimed path towards labor complete: writing. Home locates in Covina, CA.
Connect with Claudette
Instagram: @Telekorn | LinkedIn: Claudette Marco