Friday, June 7, 2019

Angela Savidge, Author of Urban Faery: A Modern Fantasy

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Today we are interviewing Angela Savidge about her visionary fantasy novel, titled, "Urban Faery: A Modern Fantasy."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born on an American military base in Germany and raised in a deeply entrenched southern Baptist community in rural North Carolina. Overall, I do feel it was a safe and good upbringing, although I have always been more spiritual than religious. I was an only child and spent a great deal of time in a densely wooded forest near my home. And otherwise, I was very involved in the theater department at the local University. I lived in my imagination and loved the stage, but I was admittedly not a very good actress, so I navigated into production instead. I attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated as a Theatrical Production Stage Manager. After college, I bravely took the train to New York City with only $300 in my pocket to take an assistant position in film production. That job eventually ushered me through the gates of Universal Pictures in Los Angeles. I spent more than a decade in LA, but for the last 5 years, I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon and Saint Petersburg, Florida. Like my main character, Cate, I had grown disillusioned by everything around me in a predominately material-obsessed environment, and I needed to live somewhere more grounded for awhile. That being said, publishing this book has been very cathartic, and I am pleasantly surprised that I am missing Los Angeles now. I can’t wait to get back and have a regular presence there again.

Describe the plot of your new book, “Urban Faery: A Modern Fantasy,” in a few sentences.
Predominately set in Southern California’s iconic neighborhoods of West Hollywood and Malibu, my book follows the remarkable journey of a rising actress, Cate, as she attempts to find more meaning in life. Desperate to reconnect with the natural world, she wades into the ocean at one of Malibu’s most notorious surf breaks but is unaware that a powerful swell has moved in putting her in the direct path of danger. When Cate is rescued by a mysterious surfer named Luc, an alluring Welsh renegade and a modern-day descendant of the ancient Fae race, she is propelled into a new era of self-discovery and a total re-evaluation of the world around her.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The obvious target audience are readers of Fae romance and new age fiction, but I do believe that this book will appeal to a much wider audience. It’s a unique blend of Southern California’s surf culture, environmental spirituality and urban fantasy. I think surfers and anyone concerned about the environment will really enjoy reading it, particularly Angelenos and anyone living and pursuing careers in Hollywood. Also, the elusive Fae, Luc, is from the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales, and the book touches on a bit of Welsh history and mythology. As the series continues, Wales will feature much more prominently. 

Tell us a bit more about the protagonist, Cate.
My main character, Cate, is in essence myself. She’s from a small town in rural North Carolina, and although she always wanted to move to a big city and have a successful career, it eventually becomes too overwhelming for her. There is a piece of advice floating around the writing world that you should always make yourself the main character. Not every author does this, but it felt right in my case, and I feel it made this story much more authentic. Although I am not an actress myself, I’ve always daydreamed about it. Also, while living in Los Angeles I spent a good amount of time in Malibu, and like Cate, I really envied that extraordinary connection surfers have with nature.
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Author Angela Savidge.

Cate experiences a sense of meaninglessness before meeting Luc. What prompted her to feel this way?
The realities of Hollywood can be very harsh. And when living in Los Angeles, surrounded by so much fame and fortune, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to stay grounded and true to one’s authentic self. Cate was experiencing what Joseph Campbell calls ‘a dark night of the soul.’ She’d lost touch with her true nature and was spiraling into an abyss of despair.  

Once Cate meets Luc, her outlook on life changes. Luc has a mysterious heritage and an interesting past. Without giving too much away, can you tell us about him?
Born in 1860, during the height of the Industrial Revolution, Luc suffered a great loss due to a tragic environment disaster—one that would forever alter the course of his life. After the catastrophe, the Fae mystics and foretellers decided to embark on a great pilgrimage to seek out a youthful, new-fashioned candidate with the intelligence, personality, and charisma that would be required to be an ambassador to the modern world. They found Luc in a remote area of the Usk Valley in Wales and deemed that he would be the bridge that humans would invariably need. But as the story opens in 2018, Luc had spent the better part of his life in care-free solitude. He’s a rogue rebel, one might say, with a peculiar, yet spellbinding penchant for surfing.

The setting, Los Angeles/Hollywood/Malibu, plays a major role in the story. Did you always know you wanted to set the story in Los Angeles? Or is it something that evolved as you wrote?
I lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade, and spent a good amount of time in Malibu. In many ways, this story is semi-autobiographical, deeply rooted in my experiences. So, yes. I always knew it would be set there.

One of the interesting aspects of the story is the blend of the ancient with the modern. How did you accomplish this with your writing?
Thank you for asking that. It is an excellent question. This is the one aspect of the book I really hope I got right. I wanted the story to be distinctly believable, not too far off on the scale of fantasy. I really made a huge effort to hold back on the fantasy end, to keep the story reeled in to modern-day life, so that the reader might just imagine that the Fae actually still do live among us. 

What got you interested in the visionary fiction/urban fantasy genre?
In my teenaged years, I happened across a book entitled Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, as dictated by Jane Roberts, and to this day, I do not remember how I acquired it—but it forever altered my perception of the world around me. The text, spoken by a discarnate entity named Seth, was my first introduction to the concept that we live within a multidimensional reality, that our bodies and the entire universe are composed of timeless atoms and molecules flickering creatively through space. As Carl Sagan famously said, “We are all made of star-stuff.”

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
For sure, Joseph Campbell. Both personally and as a writer. I first read The Power of Myth in college and was so moved by it. The ideas he presents became my philosophy. Later in life, when I began dabbling in writing, I really delved into all of his work, and I am still a self-motived student of his to this day. There are so many quotes that I call my favorites, but one that is particularly potent for me is, “The goal of life is make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” That one brings tears to my eyes.  

Who was your favorite character to write?
There is an ancient bard in my book, a Fae elder known only as Night Owl. And, oh how I wish I could meet him in real life! He is a great philosopher and storyteller with a compulsory infatuation with American music. Light on his feet and a natural-born thespian, he even appeared in several motion pictures during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
When I first started writing, the technical aspects were extremely daunting. Everyone has an opinion on writing style, and I simply did not know who’s viewpoint to trust. Also, some of my favorite books are written in entirely different grammatical styles. It took me a long time to have the self-confidence to go ahead with the style that felt right to me.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I’m a late bloomer, and now that I’ve finally started writing, I never plan to stop. It’s up in the air now if I will carry on writing the Urban Faery series in novella format, or if I will develop it directly as a television series. Maybe both. I feel I could carry on with this story for quite a long time. Otherwise, I do have several full-length novels that I have begun work on, but those are at least a few years from completion. I also feel that my experience in the film industry is quite unusual for writers in my genre, and I hope that I will be able to use that to bring visionary fiction stories to the screen in a commercial yet mindful way. That’s my long-term goal. 

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
Proofreading and editing. I took typing in high school, and I was an executive assistant for many years, so I am a very fast typist. But when typing my own thoughts, I make a lot of mistakes, especially when my mind is moving much faster, or slower, than my fingers. Also, whenever I read my own work, I rarely see the mistakes I’ve made. It’s almost like I’ve memorized the words already. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a disconnect I have with the page. I hope in the future I find a really good editor/proofreader who can help me with this. But this time around, I never found one. In the end, I was essentially on my own. 

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?
When I get writer’s block, I literally sit and stare at the page. There’s no running away from it, no magical cure. I sit and sit and sit. The discipline to do that is intense, but after awhile a few words might come…and then a few more…and then I’m off!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I am donating 10% of all proceeds from the book to the Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches.  http://surfrider.org.

More Information
Visit the author's website. 
Buy the book on Amazon. 
Like the author on Facebook.
Follow the author on Twitter.

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