Susan writes Kalieri Tales, a series of separate stories set in the world of Aldura, which in her own words are “stories of duty and honor, courage and sacrifice, with dollops of magic and loyalty tossed into the mix.”
I’ve just finished Stormhawk’s Warning and Alliandre, and I’m in the middle of reading On Treason’s Trail, which are all stand-alone stories of varying length that definitely live up to the description.
Susan: Big question. A chunk of the creation history is told in Jezrei’s Justice. Aldura is the smallest of the words created by the Father and was chosen by the Twin Gods as their own. The people created by the Twin Gods are the Kalieri. There are at least 2 land masses on Aldura: Alarel (the Twin God’s land) and Ipsen (the Twin Goddess’ land). After the Twin God died, the land of Alarel was divided into five kingdoms: Alliandrae, Galdona, Vladesh, Klatinan, and Ryland.
Up to this point, only one story has been set on Ipsen (Alliandre).
There is magic, of course, but multiple kinds of magic:
- The magic imbued in the world by the Father upon creation.
- A sentient magic bestowed upon the world by the Twin God when he died.
- The magic of the Twin Goddess and
- The magic of Urdow, the oldest child of the father who wants to destroy what the Twin Gods have created. Each system has different rules as to how it can be used and prices for its use, and not everyone can use all the different types of magic.
Susan: It wasn’t really a conscious decision. In the first story I wrote (Kaserie’s Choice), the MC mentions a place where the invading enemy were stopped. In the 2nd story, the MC meets a little girl who reminded him of his dead wife. Both were really ‘passing comment’ type things in the original stories, but both ended up as stories on their own (Battle of Stryker Pass and Phaedra). Other stories were spurred by questions from people who critiqued my writing on writers’ forums. Their question(s) or comments would spur a new story idea. That’s pretty much how all the successive stories came about—nothing complicated enough for a novel but questions about the world or a character’s past or an historical event. Exceptions are Alliandre and Friends: both of those developed from writing prompts. Why individual publications? To be able to offer ‘samples’ to readers w/o asking them to commit to purchase a collection from an unknown storyteller.
CJ: That actually seems like a sound idea. I liked that I could see very different glimpses of the world through the eyes of the characters in the stories. When did the idea for Kalieri Tales first come to you?
Susan: Actually a critiquer thought up the title ‘Kalieri Tales’ so I cannot take credit for it, but the idea of the world was born maybe 15-20+ years ago and I dallied with it (either world creation, history development, or writing bits and pieces) off and on until the last few years during which I found time to focused more on writing.
CJ: I can see why the world feels so well rendered, if you’ve been working on it for that long. What do you do when you’re not writing about Aldura?
Susan: Read, crochet, research genealogy, take care of and play with my fur children (2 dogs, 4 cats), and spend time with my family.
CJ: You certainly keep your heart and mind busy. Who do you think Kalieri Tales will appeal to?
Susan: That’s the question I’ve been asking myself since I started writing. In truth I have no idea. If I only consider those who have consistently critiqued my stories/writing, the ‘target audience’ would be males of widely different ages (20s-80s). I think only one or two females have consistently read/critiqued my writing. However if I look at reviews, it is predominantly females.
CJ: That’s interesting. I think I tend to have a mix of male and female critiquers, but my reviews have all come women so far. I don’t know what that says about either of our writing. What other projects are you working on or planning?
Susan: I have one novel fully drafted and a lot of other works in various stages. I’m not sure what length they will be. I’m a pantser so the story becomes whatever length the story becomes.
The fully written novel takes places ages after the currently published stories, and its prequel is in the drafting stages. Others in various stages of completion are in the same era or much earlier than the published shorts/novelettes/novellas. Overview of some of the ones who won’t (probably) reach novel length: reuniting Galdona, story of how the Black Wolves became Black Wolves, the creation of the Njae, the conversion of the Dragons, and another one set in Ipsen tentatively called Fire Vision or Ariadne.
CJ: Wow, that’s a lot of work in progress. What’s the next book in the Kalieri Tales called?
Susan: My last story, published May 11th, is named Phaedra. After that there will probably be nothing for a while since I’ve been in a creative ‘dry spell’ as far as writing. Real life has stepped up to the plate for its time in the spotlight. After the medical issues are dealt with, I may bundle some of the stories together but I’ve not decided yet. If I do that it would largely be for my benefit (to get a printed copy) since I don’t have an e-reader, except kindle for PC. Also my inspiration to write the stories on paper comes from readers’ feedback that they enjoyed etc. If readers don’t read, why write them down since I already know what happens?
CJ: That’s certainly true—it’s all about the readers and knowing that people enjoy your work, isn’t it? Well, I’ve certainly enjoyed your stories and hope that they’ll continue. And I’ve enjoyed our chat. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.