Interview with YA Author T.W. Fendley

Today I brought a special guest onto the blog, my friend and fellow St. Louis Writers’ Guild member, T.W. Fendley! T.W.’s second YA book, THE LABYRINTH OF TIME comes out November 7. Here I interviewed T.W. about her books and her writing process. At the bottom, you can enter T.W.’s Goodreads giveaway to win a paperback copy of her book!


Can Jade restore the Firestone’s powers before the First Men return to judge humanity? 

Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn’t sixteen-year-old Jade’s idea of fun. She’d much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director’s son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs.

Following the ancient stones’ guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and–with a shapeshifting dog’s help–seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.


Tell us about your upcoming novel, THE LABYRINTH OF TIME!
This is my first young adult fantasy novel, so I’m pretty excited about it. Between the aliens and the action, it is somewhat like the movie SUPER 8, but for teens instead of tweens. When 16-year-old Jade Davis discovers only she and the son of a Peruvian museum director can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones by an ancient race, she embarks on a quest to save humanity from fiery destruction.

Where did you get the idea for this novel? I find it interesting that this novel is based in Peru – what made you decide on that setting? Did this require a lot of research on your part in order to get the details?
I fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Since then, I’ve trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest. While visiting Peru, we stopped at the Library of Stone Books of Ica. The engraved stones I saw at this tiny museum almost two hundred miles south of Lima inspired this story.

My research focused on astronomy (timing of total eclipses and double moons, comet returns, etc.) and on Javier Cabrera Darquea’s book, THE MESSAGE OF THE ENGRAVED STONES OF ICA. Darquea tells of his ten-year investigation into the origins of the engraved river stones and the inscriptions’ meanings. I used some of his ideas about the “gliptolithic” men (I called them First Men) and their comet spaceship to develop the fantasy world in THE LABYRINTH OF TIME.

Who is your favorite character in THE LABYRINTH OF TIME, and why?
I like the Peruvian hairless dog, Boss Lady. Although I always pictured a dog in the opening scene, I didn’t realize she was a shapeshifter until much later in the story. Boss Lady just kept reappearing throughout the book until I “got it.” (Yes, I am a pantster!)

How is this novel different from your first novel, ZERO TIME?
LABYRINTH is a much less complex novel, which makes it more accessible to younger readers. ZERO TIME spanned 6,000 years, whereas LABYRINTH takes place over two days (except for the prologue, which occurs 49 years earlier).

LABYRINTH is told from the perspective of one character, Jade. ZERO TIME alternated chapters between two main characters – one in the present at Machu Picchu and one in the past, who time-traveled across the ancient world with a Great Serpent. The names of the characters in LABYRINTH are more traditional, unlike those in ZERO TIME, with hard-to-pronounce names taken from Olmec, Aztec, Maya, and Inca history and mythology.

For all the differences, some of the underlying themes are similar, especially regarding the absolute power of love and the impact of “aliens” on humanity’s development. And the Firestone in LABYRINTH is very similar to the Great Crystal—that imagery resonates with me on many levels.


Tell us about your writing and outlining process.
I’d love to say I’m very disciplined and organized, but that would be a lie. I tend to write in spurts, and then get sidetracked by marketing and life. I’ve tried outlining many times (and bought many books on the subject), but so far the only outlining seems to occur when I write the synopsis after finishing a novel. I think it’s due to my personality type – I’m an INFP (Introvert-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving) on the Myers-Briggs test.

What’s the best piece of writing advice anyone ever gave you? Do you have any advice for first time authors?
Don’t give up. Persistence is a key factor in this business. Almost everyone says they want to write a book, but few actually do because it’s a lot of work. My advice for those just starting out–find a community of writers you trust and like. You need their mentoring and friendship more than you know!

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to self-publish?
When my publisher folded in 2013 and the rights reverted to me on my first novel, ZERO TIME, I decided to self-publish rather than seek another small press. By that time, it was nearly three years old, so I wanted to keep my investment low. I found CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle allowed me to do that since they will provide free ISBNs. For a new book or if you’re planning to publish more than one book, I think it makes sense to invest in buying a block of ten ISBNs from Bowker. You need a different ISBN for each version of your book (print, Kindle, epub, audiobook). It’s hard to choose among the various distributors, but Ingram-Spark offers superior global distribution and will refund the $49 set-up fee if you place a single purchase for fifty print books within ninety days. If you want to have pre-order sales before your book is released, however, Ingram-Spark doesn’t yet offer that. You’re limited to posting your ebooks through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. Pre-orders count toward your first-day sales, which can help boost you up toward the bestseller ranks. I’m trying pre-orders for the first time with THE LABYRINTH OF TIME—wish me luck!

What are you currently working on?
Will THE LABYRINTH OF TIME have a sequel? I may do a sequel to LABYRINTH, but currently I’m working on a near-future science fiction novel called MOONBLOOD. It evolved from a short story that earned an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest in 2013. MOONBLOOD is based on a re-imagining of the Adam and Eve story, but it’s not about religion.

Where and when can we purchase THE LABYRINTH OF TIME?
The ebook is available for pre-order now at: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks

The ebook and print version will be available at most online retail outlets on Nov. 7, 2014; you can ask for it at your local independent bookstore and library, too. Sign up by Oct. 17 for my Goodreads giveaway (to win one of ten paperback copies) or check for my ebook giveaway on Library Thing beginning Oct. 7. Additionally, THE LABYRINTH OF TIME is available free through Oct. 31 to Net Galley subscribers.

Author’s bio:

T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications.

She serves on the board of the St. Louis Writers Guild, and is a member of The Write Pack, the Missouri Writers Guild, Broad Universe and Historical Novel Society. When she’s not writing, T.W. explores the boundaries of consciousness through remote viewing and shamanism. An Arkansas native, she lived in New Orleans and Washington D.C. before settling in the Greater St. Louis area with her artist husband and his pet fish.

You can find T.W. online at: Website | Blog |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for this book!!

To learn more about T.W. Fendley, me, our books, or the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, check out our radio show Write Pack Radio – a new episode premieres every Sunday! You can catch new and old episodes here:
-Meredith 🙂

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