Saturday, June 2, 2012

Author Interview: Desiree Finkbeiner (Ethos: Morning Star)

There was once a girl who used to be in a band. She wrote a lot of music. Then she switched things up and wrote a book. She is also an artist. Let's learn more about Desiree and her work.

When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna's mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality... immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies... 

She's thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret... a secret that he'd give his life to protect.

There's just one little problem... they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice... love eternal, or the end of the world...

Desiree, thank you so much for answering some questions for us here at Bibliophilia, Please. Would you tell us a little about your book, Ethos: Morning Star in your own words?

Ethos is the series I am focusing on most right now. Morning Star, book #1, was released March 28 2012. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal romance/adventure story that crosses over adult to YA markets. I try to keep my writing clean enough for adults and teens to enjoy without being easily offended.

There is some mild passion in the book as well as some mild violence, but I’m sure you’ve seen and heard much worse on Nickelodeon LOL! The main point of the book is to provoke thoughts of spirituality and moral reflection, to look within ourselves and ask how far we’d go to stand up for what we believe in. I think the issues presented are general enough, that people from all walks of life can find some tidbit of universal truth that speaks to them on a personal level.

I’m a sucker for action, so of course, there are a few good fights and chases… and what would a good fantasy be without a little romance? However, I didn’t want the book to be saturated with it. I tried to find balance between the romantic elements and the rest of the story, so readers from multiple genres could enjoy it.

When did you write your first novel?

I wrote my first middle-grade, fantasy chapter book at age 12, called Trail Of Faith. It was a high fantasy about four friends who were separated by a “saprin wind” (similar to a tornado, but it sucked each of them through a portal into other realms). The story was about their journeys back to find one another. I had intended to seek publication for it back then, but I wrote it on my father’s old Tandy1000 computer, with a DOS operating system, and lost the entire work when the system crashed. It was 30,000 words and I was devastated because I had not backed it up on a floppy. Now I save my files in three locations: hard drive, thumb drive, and online. I will never lose my work again LOL!

When did you start writing in general?

I think it was as early as I could put ideas on paper. Though, most of my early stories in childhood were illustrated stories and comics. I’ve been writing and illustrating since grade school. My mother had kept dozens of my little books in her keepsake chest, and we got them out a few years ago to share a laugh. Though, in the beginning, I was more interested in art and poetry, entering my work in shows and contests. I won certificates and awards all through grade school, middle school and high school, but most of them were for my art.

What inspired you to begin writing your Ethos series? What kept you inspired throughout the process?

Multiple sources inspired the story, but in short, I knew I just needed to write. So I tried to think of a way that I could appeal to a wide market, while choosing genres and topics of popular interest, but did my best to put my own spin on it so it was unique in its own way. I tried to avoid clich├ęs so my own voice would shine through the work.

But Ethos, in particular, came to me while I was recovering from a surgery. I needed an escape to make me forget about the pain.

What was the hardest part about writing your novel?

Finding the time to write without distraction was really difficult. I have 4 children, one of which is a special needs child, so peace and quiet is rare in our home. I only seem to write when everyone else sleeps, so I often had to sacrifice rest to complete this book.

If you would recommend one book for a person to read (besides yours!), which one would it be and why?

The The Book of Mormon. It changed my life! I’m reading it for the 8th time now and it gets better every time I read it! It’s another witness of Jesus Christ and contains a history of ancient America, and the wars and contentions that existed between the nations. Common themes in the book are of liberty, forgiveness, the cycle of pride and how it causes destruction (to both nations and individuals), and so much more.

There are a lot of people in the world who have been taught to hate this book, though they’ve never read it themselves. And even many of those who ‘claim’ to have read it, and continue to rail it, are bias in their position because they have been brought up to hate, or influenced by other haters to detest it without forming their OWN opinions. Much like certain cultures are hated by racists or bigots, so many people have been indoctrinated to ‘hate’ what’s ‘different’… it’s those people who do not give the The Book of Mormon a chance because of their upbringing. I say, set your bias and hatred aside and learn to appreciate the beauty other cultures have to offer. Truth is truth, regardless of what culture, race, creed or religion it comes from.

Had I listened to my friends and bias preachers who tried to ‘steer’ me away from the The Book of Mormon, I would never have discovered the treasures contained inside. It has been by far, the most enlightening text I have EVER read. My life is better when I read it. There’s more peace in our home when we read it as a family, and I find it easier to be kind to others and less judgmental of others when I make it a daily part of my life. Give it a shot, you won’t regret reading it.

What you do when you aren’t writing?

Taking care of my family, creating art and helping my husband run our business. We run an extreme sports store and we’re in the process of building an indoor extreme sports park for the youth of our community, to enjoy a safe place to skate and ride bikes. We’re very active in our community and do our best to be good examples to the young people we serve. We hope to inspire kids to live drug-free lives, to have pride in their community, and to stand against gang activity, racism, etc.

I’ve had quite a few musicians turned novelists on the blog in the past. How is writing novels different from writing music for you?

To be honest I haven’t given much energy to music in years. For about ten years, it was all I seemed to care about. I almost lost my life to getting caught up in the wrong music and the lifestyle that went with it. It wasn’t until I was about 24 that I finally realized, if I didn’t give up my music career, it would lead me down a dark path that I may never return from. So I turned my back on music it until it would no longer be a temptation to live a lifestyle unbefitting of a mother and Christian. Sometimes doing the right thing means sacrificing what you love most to live up to your full potential.

Writing and art was much ‘safer’ haha. I was able to have the artistic outlet I needed, without having to interact with other people as much. I actually became somewhat reclusive over the years (some of it was the result being a battered wife, but I freed myself from those chains and found new life when I remarried my wonderful husband, Carl) Occasionally I will write music with my kids, but we have much more fun writing and sharing stories with each other.

Wile I do still love music, writing provides an escape that music does not. Also, music becomes ‘dated’ so quickly, but good writing is timeless!

Can you tell us a little about some of your artwork?

I create art in two main genres: fantasy and outsider art. Obviously, my fantasy art lends well to my storytelling but my outsider/abstract art is more expressive. Outsider art seems to be more like visual poetry whereas fantasy art tells a story. I have a degree in commercial art, which lends to marketing and advertising. They all have a place in my life. My favorite mediums include pen and ink, acrylic paint, watercolor and digital.

How do you think your being an artist affected the way you write?

I’m able to create conceptual art for my worlds and characters (though I focus more on the characters and creatures than the scenery) and it helps me form a firmer grasp on descriptive writing. Where words fail, art is king.

Did you incorporated music or art into your novel in any way?

Not so much music as I do art. Though in college, I wrote a musical screenplay that revolved around music. Music is no longer a driving force in my creative life. I find the visual arts more appealing. My editor talked me into releasing a special edition print of Ethos, complete with illustrations. I’m also working on lots of art for the series to be used in promotional items and merchandise. I have hundreds of prints available for sale on deviant art, and I sell my original art and limited edition prints on eBay.

In closing, what advice would you give to an aspiring writer, be it poetry, novels or songs?

I will take the opportunity to quote from my artist statement here, it applies to any form of expression:

I don’t believe in destroying a piece of art if it doesn’t appeal to me. Though I sometimes find disenchantment with a finished work that didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped, I am mindful that my personal preferences are bias and don’t conform to the likes of everyone else. It is best stated, “One man’s junk in another man’s treasure”, and my art is no exception. Oft times I find that the works I am most disappointed with are the favorites of my peers!

I believe the only way an artist can discover true self-crafted style is to let go of discipline for a moment and let inspiration take over, put the pen on the paper and let go of control, let the spirit of creativity move the inner-self to cherish shrewd promptings and most importantly overcome the pessimistic criticism of others. I have embraced this philosophy of self-worth in spite of failure or imperfection and hope others can sense my genuine desire to be who I am without fear.

Available Today: Amazon | Amazon UK
Be sure to add it to your TBR on Goodreads!

About the Author

Desiree Finkbeiner attained a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from Missouri Southern State University (2006) with a heavy background in business, marketing, music and fine art-- She was heavily involved in campus affairs and served actively in several committees focusing on campus entertainment and events.

She performed with musical acts/bands in rock and electronic genres, released seven studio albums, performed in 11 states and has written hundreds of songs. Her band, Carbon Star, was a finalist for VH1's "Bands on the Run" reality TV show in 2000. Then she performed with Pointy Teeth until finally leaving the music industry for the quiet life.

She had a scholarship for acting in college though she was not a theater major. Although she no longer performs or focuses on musical/performing arts, she has chosen to shift her talents to other areas that are more conducive to raising a family.

Continuing education is a constant adventure for Desiree with topics of interest ranging from civil and corporate law, history, political conspiracy, homeopathic medicine and spiritual healing. She prefers to read non-fiction, especially on topics that educate and broaden her perspectives on controversial issues.

With thousands of completed art works in her archives, most of which appear in private collections worldwide, Desiree hopes to focus more on publishing, marketing and licensing her work so she can leave a legacy behind.

You can keep up with Desiree on her Website, Blog, Facebook Fan PageGoogle+, and Twitter!

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You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!