It’s a new month, which means we’re back with a brand new Author Alert for May. Today I’m happy to bring you, Angela Orlowski-Peart, a Polish-born author, who at the age of seven, learned English to translate her favorite fairytales. Now residing in Seattle, Angela has published the first book in her Young Adult Paranormal series, Forged by Greed. With the sequel and a few other publications due out later this year, I wanted to bring Angela on the blog and see if she can handle 11 questions of DOOM! It is my prediction that she will survive the interview, but she will not leave unscathed!
1. Let’s start out easy. Tell us about Forged by Greed. What inspired the series, and what’s at the core of it? What’s FBG all about?
Ah, the Forged Series characters and I have been living in this imaginary world for a while now. They have started to talk to me a few years ago, first posing as different characters, and then finally revealing their true personalities. Forged by Greed has started as a Middle Grade novel, but that was a short-lived attempt. Two protagonists—Jatred and Jasmira—decided they are much more mature than the eleven-year-olds would be.
The story takes place in present day Seattle, where two Shape Shifters Races, the Winter wolves and the Summer leopards, live well-hidden among humans, perfectly fitting into modern life. Both Races are organized into secret societies, governed with the help of their own laws, rules, and traditions clearly outlined in each Race’s Accords.
Two powerful, ancient deities—the Winter Goddess, Crystal and the Summer Goddess, Amber—lead and watch over their respective Races.
And there is this extremely powerful Amulet, which existence and magical abilities are known only to a very few. It remains concealed by the means of the latest technology. Jatred, the guardian of the Amulet becomes key to the Goddesses’ conflict.
The Universe is… delicately speaking, finicky, and so every ten thousand years the Human World suffers the effects of the Universe belching out its powers. When the forces of nature are disrupted, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions rake the world. The Goddesses go to war and summon all their Shifters to join in the conflict.
What happens next? Two protagonists, Jatred and Jasmira of course have to step in and fight for their love and to protect the future of both Races and humankind.
2. You’re website’s author bio states you’re passionate about fashion, specifically when it comes to stilettos. My wife has a similar shoe obsession, and I just don’t understand it. Can you enlighten me a little? What is it about shoes that get women so excited?
Let me use an example. Imagine a pair of sexy stilettos on your wife’s feet. Now imagine her wearing a pair of clunky, old flats. In both scenarios, she’s slowly circling around you, her hands on her hips, a small smile playing on her lips. Which pair of shoes evokes hotness? Okay, so you don’t have to answer this, unless you want to, hehe.
3. Let’s do a little get to know you session here. Tell us five things about you that we won’t find on your website’s “About” page, or in your author bio.
Sure. One: I love spending time in the nature. This is where the best ideas for my writing are born.
Two: I hate rain. Yep, I know this might sound weird, considering I’ve been living in the Seattle area for 21 years. Well, one day I will buy a house on a tropical beach (*grins*).
Three: My latest passion is archery. I hope to beat Katniss in a near future.
Four: I am addicted to downhill skiing.
Five: My mom taught me knitting when I was seven. I still knit sweaters and stuff.
4. Hypothetical #1 – On a rainy day in Seattle (ha!) you find yourself cooped up in your writing cave. The creative vibes are rocking through the room when a disturbance falls upon you. You find your office fading away like an old photo, and leaving you to face your greatest fear. Armed with a magical paintbrush, you can paint and bring to life three items to help you conquer it. What is your fear, and what do you use to overcome it?
I’ve always wanted to try something like this! I grew up with this awesome animated TV show for kids in Poland. A little boy had an enchanted crayon and could draw anything with it. So yeah, thank you for letting me dream! I don’t have any significant fears like Ron Weasley’s trepidation toward spiders. But facing a vampire would definitely spike up my heartbeat and not in a good way. I’m not talking about sparkling vampires from Twilight, or any other swoon-worthy creatures, but the real deal—Bram Stoker’s vampire type (*shudders*).
I get my magical paintbrush and, with one flick of my wrist, produce a magic powder, as potent as the fairy dust. It sparkles on my palm like thousands of miniature jewels, but I know what this innocent-looking thing can do. Without hesitation I gently blow, and the powder hits the vamp’s eyes. He screeches in pain, writhing on the ground, and clawing at his eyes. And then he crumbles down, and the wind picks up what’s left of him—tiny flecks of black dust. Phew, that was close.
5. Tell us about your favorite Polish fairytale as a child. What is it about, and what makes it your favorite?
The truth is I don’t have anything favorite. Not one thing. Same with the fairytales. But one of the most loved stories from my childhood is about an old fisherman and a golden fish. The fisherman is terribly poor and unhappy. One day he catches a tiny golden fish, and she pleads in human voice to be set free. In exchange, she promises to fulfill one wish. So he lets her go and upon returning home tells his wife. The wife is mean and greedy. She yells at the husband and tells him to go back and get a new feeding trough for their pigs, because the old one is broken. Reluctantly, he goes back and asks the golden fish for the trough. She advises him to go back home. When he returns, the brand new trough is already in place. The covetous wife wants the fisherman to get even more stuff. She wants a brand new house and a large land. The husband goes back, stands by the water, but is ashamed to ask for more. Finally the fish swims up to him, inquires what else she can do, and promises to deliver once more. But of course that’s not enough for the old hag. After a week or so she demands to get a palace and an army of servants. Again, the man asks the fish, and the fish grants the wish. When the fisherman returns home, there is a grand palace, and many servants. The servants ask who is he and what does he want there. When he tells them, they check with the wife, but she only laughs and instructs them to set dogs on him. He tries and tries again, with no avail. After a week the wife sends her maid to the fisherman, commanding him to go to the lake and tell the fish to become her servant.
When the fish hears this absurd request, she only flicks her tail and disappears in the water. The man goes back home and what does he see? No palace, no servants, no signs of the previous wealth. There is only his old, small house by the woods, and his wife, who sits on the stairs and repairs his tattered fishing nets.
6. Forged by Greed has been said to have “an excellent new take on shifters that will leave you wanting more.” What is it about your shifters that make them stand out from others in the genre?
I’m sure every reader has his or her own opinion about this. And yes, many readers have told me how much they’ve enjoyed these particular Shifters. I think it’s a combination of many aspects: two rivaling Races lead by two mythological deities; the Races are organized into these secretive societies, with their own rules and traditions; the Universe’s powers highly affect the stability in the world, and it is up to the Shifters to stand united and against it; there are monsters, the Spirits of the Realms, and the Goddesses—and all of them play significant roles in the plot, either helping or interfering in the protagonists’ quest.
7. Hypothetical #2 – You’re on a late night stroll in a forest. During your starlit walk, you find a gorgeous lake surrounded by tall pine trees. The lake is still, reflecting the moon and the stars that flicker above. When you stop to admire the scene, something silent and deadly stalks up behind you. It’s…it’s…a Bukavac!!! (I did my research into Slavic-based monsters). The creature creeps forwards on all six legs, horns curling out of his body and face. He leaps onto your back with a ferocious roar, and tries to strangle you. Using only your ingenuity and the forest around you, how do you escape the beast’s wrath?
What the heck is a Bukavac? Thank God for Wikipedia (*chuckles*). Sooooo, the Serbian demon. Eh, piece of cake. I still have the magic powder on the palm of my hand (don’t tell my kids! I’m a stickler for washing hands). I rub it on its forehead, right between its horns. The beast prances out of the way, sits down on its haunches, and its head swivels from side to side. A low gurgling sound comes out of its throat, and its eyes cross and water. It snaps its jaws but rather lazily; or maybe it can’t focus. I pat it on the top of its head, turn around, and walk deeper into the forest, hoping for a better challenge.
8. If you’re still here for this question, I assume you’ve survived the beast. So take a second to catch your breath, then tell us about something you enjoy doing in your spare time that has nothing to do with books.
You mean that Bukavac? Pfffftt.
I normally don’t have “spare time”, being an author, a wife, and a mom of two kiddos. But from time to time I try really hard to do some rock climbing, walk or run outdoors, ski (when the season permits), and bike. I really like rollerblading too, but haven’t done it for a while. I also draw and paint in watercolor, make jewelry, knit, and even sew a bit.
9. The publishing path can be one of many ups and downs. What advice could you give someone considering going the self-publishing path? Anything you wish you’d known before you started?
Be mentally and time-wise prepared for A LOT of work. Talk with the other indie authors, join author and reader groups, get involved with the book bloggers, learn how to navigate the deep waters of social media and, most importantly, how to stay on track. Fit writing time into your daily schedule, and don’t waste time, endlessly browsing through that Facebook or Twitter.
10. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer, and was self-publishing your initial option, or did you try to query and take the traditional path first? What made you decide to go at it on your own?
Since my childhood books have been a major part of my life. I’ve enjoyed reading and writing as a child and a teen. But when I graduated from college with a degree that had nothing to do with writing, journalism, or publishing, my path became more of a reader and not much of a writer. That has changed when my first child was born. He loved when I told him stories and demanded so many of them that I had to start making them up, including Star Wars improvisations. That’s how I’ve returned to writing.
As for the publishing, at first I’ve definitely considered going the traditional path. But when I got involved with a couple of indie author groups, I have realized that the self-publishing option appeals much more to me. So I’ve never sent that first query letter and, instead, I spent a lot of time researching and learning the indie ways.
11. Before we get to the quickie questions, describe the Forged by Greed series in seven words or less.
Cool urban fantasy thriller with mythology elements.
What’s your preference?
Writing With or Without Music: Both, but I love writing with music. Especially when it comes to the action scenes. I’ve written the entire final battle in Forged by Greed while listening to the Lord of The Rings soundtrack.
Dream Vacation or Dream Car: Can I have both? Somewhere in the tropics. Limited edition Lamborghini.
Cats or Dogs: Both.
Spiders or Snakes: Can you be more specific? To eat, play, or scream in terror? Neither.
Chocolate or Caramel: Yum. Both!
Food: So, seriously—I don’t have anything favorite. But Tex-Mex would be the closest.
Cereal: Gluten-free granola.
Color: Nope. I definitely like most of them.
80’s Movie: Desperately Seeking Susan.
Smell: The smell of clean wind.
Thank you, Matt. This was very entertaining!
Special thanks to Angela for stopping by today. If you want to find out more about her, find her here: