Today's spotlight is on Vanessa Morton, author of her soon to be released WEbook title, Moonfall: Tales from the Levant
Vanessa earned her bachelor's degree in history from the University of Incarnate Word and earns a living by writing contracts and technical papers for one of the United States' largest hospital systems. She makes her home on a vineyard in East Texas with her husband, Thomas, and their two daughters, Elizabeth and Hanna. They have eight Boer goats, a Great Pyrenees, seven cats and an unknown number of guineas.
WEbook: Hi Vanessa! You've been a dedicated WEbooker for a while now, but could you let us know how you first come across the site?
Vanessa Morton: Well,I discovered WEbook by surfing the web looking for a community of writers I could collaborate with, and at the same time learn some more about the craft of writing.
When I joined WEbook back in 2010, I got really involved and met a dynamic group of writers who have really helped me hone my craft as a writer. Together, we decided to form a critique group - I haven’t looked back since!
WB: What advice would you give to someone who is new to WEbook?
VM: Get to know other writers by participating in the monthly writing challenges. Each entry is open for critiques throughout the month. You learn a lot from the comments, and it's a wonderful way to meet other writers and form groups.
WB: What do you think the best thing about writing here on WEbook is?
VM: The collaborative critique group that we formed here on WEbook, helped me enormously in the early draft stages of Moonfall. We critiqued each other’s agent queries, and although we represented a variety of different genres, we each brought something unique to the table.
WB: How long you have been writing for?
VM: I’ve been a casual writer since elementary school. During college I drafted two novels that are currently parked in my desk drawer...
WB: Could you tell us a bit about Moonfall?
VM: Moonfall is the story of twin sisters living in the Late Bronze Age. When Zaron forces her little sister to serve at the insidious Moon Temple, her twin, Rachav, allies with a mysterious nomad from beyond the Wasteland, who wields an ancient force so powerful it threatens to destroy not only the temple, but the entire kingdom…
WB: That sounds like a captivating, yet complex story. Would you label it as Historical Fiction?
VM: It’s a mash-up of historical fiction, young adult, and what I call supernatural—for lack of a better word. Empires in the Late Bronze Age believed in a pantheon of sky gods. Moonfall captures some of the supernatural milieu by incorporating the Queen of the Night, Yerach the moon god, and the Ancient One of the Hebrews.
WB: What an interesting time-period to place your story within. How were you inspired to use a Bronze Age setting for Moonfall?
VM: I’ve been fascinated by ancient history since Middle School, when I spent a long Texas summer ensconced in the air-conditioned comfort of my local library, reading Persian, Greek, and Jewish legends. I believe people living at that time were not very different from people today: teen angst, political corruption, sibling rivalry and passion are hard-wired in our nature. Moonfall brings the ancient landscape to life with references to Biblical accounts, Akkadian records and archaeological research. But its primary focus is on the relationship between the twins who lived in the city of Jericho, a city famous for being one of the oldest, continuously inhabited places in the world.
WB: Is Historical Fiction your favorite genre to read as well as write?
VM: I would love to read more stories set in the Bronze or Iron Ages, but there is a dearth of such literature, so I often have to fall back on my other favorite genres—Sci-Fi and horror from masters like King, Lovecraft, Poe, and Bradbury.
WB: To finish up, why don't you tell us how you felt when you found out that WEbook was going to publish your book?!
VM: Surprised. Excited. Nervous. Breathe and repeat!
WB: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us Vanessa. We wish you all the best of luck with the publication of Moonfall: Tales from the Levant!
Vanessa's book Moonfall will be released soon, and is a project that was created right here on WEbook, with the help and support of her fellow WEbook friends and authors.
An excerpt from Moonfall: Tales from the Levant
Rachav awakened to the piercing whistle of a bee-eater. When she sat up, something tugged her back to the ground. She lunged away and her scalp ripped. Suddenly released, she pitched forward and turned around. Nothing. No movements save several straggles of her hair, gaily waving from the hawthorn bush.
She rubbed her head. You survived your first attack.
Heart rate slowing to a reasonable pace, she inhaled the earthy, damp smell of the riverbank. As a child, she loved making mud pies, even venturing to find out if they tasted as good as they looked. Once was enough to cure her, but she forever associated muddy earth with the taste of wilted greens and bitter roots.
Following the burble of the Yarden, she went to the riverbank and filled her skin with cold, rushing water. Across the river on the far bank, Salma and Massa might be watching her from the tangle of scrubby oaks and flax. On the other hand, they might be gone already. The sun had already crested the ridge beyond the Yarden; nothing was visible along the bank except tree top silhouettes.
Holding both arms high, she waved, just in case they were still there. The idea of never seeing Salma and Massa again hollowed her chest. But family had to come first. She wrapped both arms around herself, trying to warm the frail, cold feeling that had settled behind her ribs. In moments, she turned south onto the road that would lead her to Yericho, Highway of the Moon.
Vanessa's debut novel will be available soon, exclusive to the WEbook store...
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