Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Return by Charity Santiago

In February 2011, Charity Santiago's 7-month-old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. While Charity stayed at his bedside, she kept them both entertained by downloading several books on her new Kindle and reading them out loud. It was during this time that Charity learned about Kindle's self-publishing program, and realized that she had an opportunity to share her writings with the world.
Charity is a native of southeastern Arizona, and a writer since childhood. She wrote her first manuscript, Guinea Pig Code, at age nine. When she’s not writing books, Charity spends her time reading on her Kindle, wrangling children, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and pursuing a degree in Education.

For the last three years, eighteen-year-old Ashlyn Li has been running from her destiny. A free-spirited ninja, Ashlyn would rather loot an abandoned city or challenge a fiend to battle than assume leadership of Toryn, her father's kingdom. However, when a series of attacks reunites Ashlyn with the friends who helped her save the sun three years ago, she discovers that her kingdom is at war and her father has presumed her dead.

Suddenly Ashlyn is faced with not only fulfilling her birthright, but also making sense of her feelings towards two very different men- Drake Lockhart, the enigmatic vampire who captured her heart three years ago, and Vargo, the charismatic assassin who was once Ashlyn's sworn enemy.

Will Ashlyn ascend the pagoda and become Lady of Toryn?
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
 I got stuck outside in the rain one day while I was filling up my horse’s water bucket, and completely out of the blue, this image popped into my head of a girl riding her horse through the rain. I liked the sense of isolation that I saw within her, and my next thought was, “Well, why is she isolated?” I thought it would be fun to write the story of a prodigal daughter, a girl who left her family and friends, but returns and tries to make amends.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
I actually started writing the story more than ten years ago, but it sat untouched for several years until I decided to drag it out, do some revisions, and give the characters an ending. I estimate that it probably took 250 to 300 hours of writing for “Return.” I’m not a fast writer. Sometimes I hear about these authors who crank out a book in twenty days. That is so not me!
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
 I like that I can lose myself in a fictional world. Writing is a lot like reading, except that you control what happens in the story. With real life being so unpredictable, writing gives me a chance to escape into my fantasies.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
I hate editing with the fire of a thousand suns. I really do. As I mentioned, I’m not the fastest writer in the world, and by the time I finally finish writing a book, I am just done with it. I don’t ever want to see it again, much less read through it and check for typos and continuity errors. My editor and I have found a way to kind of get around that- he edits the book as I write it so that we can get most of the work done before I complete the manuscript and have my big “That’s it! No more!” tantrum.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Oh…that’s a tough one. I’ve never thought about it. I’m a big fan of Sylvester Stallone, and I often wonder where he gets his writing ideas. I guess I wouldn’t mind getting inside his head for a day.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Frosting. Every December, my husband and I host our annual Christmas Cookie Party, and we always buy way too much red and green frosting, and then we never use it. (We’re not big on cookies except around Christmas.) It always sits in our fridge for months before I get fed up and throw it away. So I’m pretty sure the frosting sitting in my fridge right now is almost four months old. I know it’s gross. Don’t judge me!
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m finally finished with the Lady of Toryn trilogy, of which “Return” is the first installment, and I’m currently writing a paranormal romance called “Blood Lust,” which is coming out April 12th. This summer I’ll be going back to the fantasy world that I started in “Return,” but focusing on different characters.
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