Friday, March 8, 2013

Frances Pauli, Author of Unlikely

Author Bio:
Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction with touches of humor and romance which means, of course, that she has trouble choosing sides. 

She’s always been a fan of anything odd or unusual, and that trend follows through to her tales which feature aliens, fairies, and even, on occasion, the assortment of humans. 

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and e-zines. Her romances are published through Devine Destinies, and her Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction series are published by Mundania Press LLC. 
More info on her writing and published works can be found at:

Title: Unlikely
Author: Frances Pauli
ISBN: 9781482335552
Page count: 236
Genre: Fantasy
Price: 10.95

Tell us about your book:
Unlikely is the first book in the Kingdoms Gone fairy tale, fantasy series. 

Satina knows more than anyone that gangs are bad news. As a Granter, she uses her magic to help people escape them. So far, her sole reward has been a life on the run, dodging from pocket to pocket and only landing in the ordinary world long enough to put her special skills to use. When the goodmother arrives in Westwood, however, a magic-hungry gang is just one step behind her, and their leader wants more than just the town. He wants Satina, and he'll do anything, use anyone, to get her.

Though Satina finds an unlikely ally in Marten, the imp Skinner who manages to help more people than he hurts, it will take all the power they can summon to keep Westwood's secrets from falling into the wrong hands, to keep one wide-eyed girl from following the wrong man, and to keep Satina herself from falling in love with the only person in the world who knows how much of a fraud she really is.

How long did it take to write the book?
I wrote Unlikely for Camp Nanowrimo in June, so the short answer is one month. When you add in edits, revisions, more edits, and final polish, the book took much closer to a year to finish.

What inspired you to write the book?
A dream and a picture. I tend to get a lot of my story seeds from my dreams, but they are usually fragmented, bits and pieces more than a cohesive tale. I had this one mulling on the back burner and then I saw an image, on Pinterest I believe, of a ruined staircase. The building was long gone, but the stair still lead up to nowhere, ending on nothing and yet, still beckoning the viewer to climb. That idea, the ruins and the idea of things left behind, became the spawn of my whole Kingdoms Gone universe.
Once I had that in place, the story fit in perfectly.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I write every day. That pretty much sums up my routine. I write when I can squeeze it in, because I have small children, but the point is…every day. I research less on the Fantasy books than some of the others that I write. Science Fiction and Historical usually requires a much longer research phase. The Fantasies do, however, rely on a long history of study for pleasure in the topics of myth, fairy tales and things along those lines. So, some of the research is already done. It’s just permanently lodged in my brain.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope they enjoy it first of all. I write fiction for a reason, and magical worlds even more so: to entertain and let the reader slip away to another world for awhile. Once that is established, I hope that readers of Unlikely, and in fact most of the Kingdoms Gone books, come away thinking just a little bit about how things are not always how they appear on the surface, that every argument has two sides, and that both sides think they are the good side.  I am intentionally trying to avoid cut and dry or black and white in the series, and a character that may be villainous in one book could very well end up as the hero in another.

Excerpt from book:
She climbed the great stair on legs that shook and threatened to give her away. The stones themselves held, as they had through the ages, stout and unrelenting. Still, the absence of walls to either side slowed her steps, even though each stair stretched easily the length of a man in either direction. The Gentry had run this gauntlet, streaking like crazed demons to the diving platform. Satina climbed one terrified step at a time toward the narrow landing.
It had been three days.
As she neared the halfway mark, Vane’s stretched voice reached her. “Can you see it?”
Satina scooted toward the stair edge, and her stomach clenched. She leaned out just enough to see him standing in the middle of his crater. He held his necklace out and turned this way and that, testing it for warmth, looking for magic.
“Satina! Can you see anything?”
They hadn’t found so much as a broken pot, and she’d been hard pressed to keep him digging at the spot for three days. As it was, he’d split the men off into smaller teams, reworking the other digs—the ones that continued to turn up the occasional relic. Now he had a small cart full of dishes, scraps of tapestry and silver along with the remains of an unfortunate servant. But he had no magic.
“I’m not sure.” She shouted down at him. She’d “felt” a surge of power only moments before, and Vane had scrambled in answer to the revelation. He had his necklace out, and she had his full attention. “I think it’s a little to the right.”
Vane pivoted to the right and held out his device. Even at this height, she could tell he was scowling. Good. As it happened, his finding nothing at all fit right into her plan. Before he could order her down, before she could lose her nerve, she ducked back to the stair’s middle and continued her climb. To either side she saw treetops. In one direction lay the other stair, the little one beside the road where she’d begun this journey. In the opposite, Hadja’s cottage waited, warm and surrounded by sweet, calming herbs. Behind her, through a narrow swath of forest, the town of Westwood waited, Marten waited.
They all waited for her to fall.
She reached the top before her thoughts could collect. The next step would put everything in motion. She peered out over the courtyard. The next step went nowhere. Far below, Vane spun his misunderstanding in an arc, looking for magic that wasn’t there. Between them, a narrow strip of air shimmered and hinted at the pocket beyond.
Had they pulled the cart back into position? A breeze that had felt light and friendly closer to the ground whipped at her hair and cloak, tugging her in the wrong direction, the safe direction back down the stairway. Had this really been her idea?
She leaned out. The courtyard made a pattern from up here. She could see the slight shades of gray, the way the stones fit together. The digs marred it, but it was there, a soft herringbone of hewn rock. It would hurt, if she missed the pocket, if the wagon wasn’t back in position. The fall would kill her.
 “I see it!” She hollered down at him, but the wind tore her words away. He frowned, his hand pointing at the necklace. Satina shook her head. She threw one arm out and fixed her gaze on the pocket. The Gentry had done it. They’d done it at a run, like children at the bank of a creek, gleefully, with no fear. But they’d known where the wagon was.
“There!” She pointed down and wavered on the lip of the landing. Vane’s eyes flew wide. He shouted her name, screamed for his men. Satina let her arms flail, waved them through the air as if she struggled for balance. She bent her knees, and the wind snagged her cloak and whipped it high behind her. Like wings. She leapt into thin air and fell.

Where can we go to buy your book?
Unlikely is available on Amazon in

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
My webpage:

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