TweetFantasy Suspense Author Ingrid Foster lists Pennsylvania Farm Girl, Veteran, World Traveler and Desert Dweller among her many descriptors. Having written her first story when she was eight, she didn’t officially get the writing bug until January 2005. She currently lives in the Sonoran Desert with her husband and furry babies.
What is your latest book?
My Fantasy Suspense novel entitled My Father’s Magic just went into print and later this year I plan to publish my second book in the Esme Bohlin Suspense Series, Revenge of the Dark Queen.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
It chose me. My Instructor at Long Ridge Writer’s Group, Lynne Smith, told me after reading Fresh Meat, that I was a natural for the horror genre. But she never had a chance to read my novel, My Father’s Magic. While having some horrific elements, it is truly what I call Fantasy Suspense. It has the immediate telling of the villain of the story and the fast pace of a suspense novel while in a contemporary fantasy setting. So, in truth, I waffle between the darker stuff like with my Dark Desert Tales and the Fantasy, but all of it is dark, fantasy-based and an entertaining ride from start to finish.
Are your characters ever based on people you know?
Not intentionally, but there are some personality similarities between my characters and people I know in real life.
What else have you written?
I’ve published two short stories from my Dark Desert Tales Collection, “Fresh Meat” and “A Home for Rose.” Both will be included in a somewhat altered state and along with one novella, one novelette and a surprise story in my upcoming book, The Dark Desert Tales Collection, to be published next year.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
That their books are poorly edited and unprofessional. The vast majority of Indie Authors spend a great deal of time on their craft, they value their readers and want to provide the best product they possibly can. Like many others, going Indie was not a hasty decision. I researched both avenues, listened to more experienced authors both Publishing House published and Indie and finally decided to go Indie with my own brand name, Lucky Nut Press. I wanted the freedom to make choices that were right for me and my stories without having to yield to the latest market trends and big house bottom lines.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
All the time, every day and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
The first book, I edited each chapter as I went. I stopped doing that. I see it as two completely different mindsets. I keep early mornings for writing and late mornings or afternoons for editing.
After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?
Yes, after five years on My Father’s Magic I was done so I chose some objective people and had them read it. After two editors and a team of beta readers, the book was ready to publish.
What are some of the crazy things people have said to you upon learning you are an author? How have you responded?
“Oh, I’ve got a great story idea for you!” or they’ve sent me their stories without asking, expecting me to read them and give a glowing opinion. But, I didn’t choose writing, it chose me. So, IMO, we all have a need to write as a way to vent, but just because you do that doesn’t mean you’re a writer. A writer is someone who has to write, it’s as natural as breathing and we are happiest when writing. If you don’t have that drive, that desire and passion to write, look around you, your talent and passion are most likely doing something else.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
Yes, the antagonist in My Father’s Magic. He had a lot of the same characteristics of someone from my past. Someone I came to despise. Needless to say, I was glad when my main character (protagonist) Esme kicked his ass.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Read everything, inside your favorite genre and outside and then when the need to write becomes so intense that you have no choice, write and write and write. Reading feeds your inner writer, gives you ability to think outside the box and original ideas and concepts are what sells. If you want to write something that’s been hashed a thousand different ways like vampires, come up with a different take on vampires or at least a character that is close to home for you.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I’m 55 years old, I devoted my life to writing January 2005. That’s when I stopped fighting my inner writer. Long story, very personal, let’s just say a well-meaning family member convinced the 17-year-old me that giving into my need to write would drive me slowly insane. Over the past few years I’ve learned too things, that cutting off my need to write hurt me more mentally than writing ever could, and two, to embrace all of me, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the crazy. A whole life is a happy life. But back to being published, after a dozen or so query letters I decided writing was a much better use of my time and then when I decided to go Indie, a good friend helped me self-publish my first story, “Fresh Meat.” I’m a fast learner, so I was then able to epublish “A Home for Rose,” and My Father’s Magic.
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I absolutely love a story that grabs me from the first paragraph. If a story doesn’t do that, most likely it won’t later and I’ll pass on it.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
A lot. It took me five years to write My Father’s Magic and a lot of that was because I researched Goddess worship, Paganism, the European Germanic Migration and other topics along the way.
Is there a question I haven’t asked you that you would like to answer?
Where did the idea for My Father’s Magic come from?
After a few years of writing other stories, I got the feeling I had an emotional block inside me that needed to be addressed. Writing has always allowed me to explore my feelings. I’ve always wanted to tell my story, but when I started writing a memoir, the ADHD part of me said, “Boring!” So I decided, “Why not tell your story but in a fictional, fantasy way?”
So I drew a map of a fictional place on a whiteboard and the magical village of Albion was born. Then I started coming up with characters and even though the characters are not me or people I know, I used a lot of my own background, emotions and experiences to write this book.
Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?
Is it wrong to say your own novel is your absolute favorite read? In truth, I write stories that I myself enjoy. I believe that if I’m not enjoying the story, my readers won’t either, and so I write for me. It’s an absolute pleasure and bonus when others enjoy my stories as much as I do.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
The only negative reviews really involved my two Dark Desert Tales, basically that they were too short. So with that in mind, I decided to take them back to the drawing board and explore ways I can increase their story line. I wrote them both to meet assignment requirements for a class I was taking, that’s why they’re short. But with the freedom to expand and allow my characters to spread their wings, it will be fun to see what happens.
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
Yes, always. My first book was about five friends and even though I couldn’t quite get the story to work I never forgot my five friends. A couple years back I put them into another story. It’s pretty much the same location, but a different plot and it will most likely be a trilogy.
Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?
I have this adorable little creature in My Father’s Magic that takes a bigger role in Revenge of the Dark Queen. He has six spider legs and two cat legs complete with paws. His fur is as soft as cashmere and changes color to reflect his mood. He has large Onxy eyes and he’s the last (as far as we know) of his species thanks to an flea-carrying plague that took place in the human world centuries before. I’d love for him to come to life.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
I brake for katzenspinders!
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
Have you ever started out to write one book and ended up with something completely different?
LOL, yes, The Gathering, the novella that will come out in my Dark Desert Tales collection, started out being about a middle-aged couple moving into a haunted apartment complex in southern Arizona. It’s now about a young widow who returns to southern Arizona to spread her husband’s ashes as promised. Unfortunately almost at the same time, a construction project disturbs a buried pile of ancient bones and all hell is about to break loose.
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
Okay, this may be a little morbid. But I had a near-fatal car accident in 1994. After five days in ICU and pretty much out of it, I woke up to see my two-sisters entering my hospital room. Mind you, I’m the youngest of four by eight years and as we are spread all over the country it had been years since I saw them. Having them there when I opened my eyes was the absolute best surprise!
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I’d love to learn how to fly helicopters.
What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?
My 5th Grade English class. I was in a bad place regarding school until 5th Grade, mainly because of severe dysfunctional issues at home. My parents divorced when I was in 5th Grade ending my severe abandonment issues and for the first time I could focus on school. I’ll never forget setting at my desk working in my Language Skills workbook and it seemed like everything opened up to me and I began my life-long love of words.
What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?
I have three movies: The Long Kiss Goodnight, Something’s Gotta Give, and Love Actually
Favorite books: The Prophetess by Barbara Wood, Stephen King’s It and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Doesn’t everyone? 🙂 Okay, mint chocolate chip ice cream and key lime or lemon meringue pie
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
Spending time with my family, a child’s laughter and walking my dog.
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