Sunday, May 23, 2010

Interview with a Princess

Here it is folks, as promised. It took me longer than I thought. It's really difficult to look and sound professional with tissue crammed in your nose. Today I'm much better and definitely presentable. So now I'm sitting across from Princess Kandake. I'm so excited about this opportunity I need my notes to keep everything I want to ask from getting mixed up. She graciously agreed to answer questions many of  us have about her position as King Amani's daughter and an heir to his throne. Let's get started.

Good morning, Princess Kandake, thank you for coming. How are you? Nubia is quite some distance to travel, how was the trip?

I am well, thank you. The journey was difficult but pleasant. Having the readers so invested in my story made stepping off the pages fairly simple. The difficult part was the journey through time. It seems things have changed greatly. In your time very few people travel by horseback and your travel routes are so filled with what you call cars, makes getting from one place to the next a little frustrating.

Yes, I imagine our world is very different from yours. Would you describe Nubia for us?

Your world does have differences than mine. Nubia is a place full of promise and opportunity, beauty and strength. If you were to visit, you would see why I love it. Because we are close to the Nile River, our land is lush, it keeps our grasses growing and that keeps the cattle healthy. We are a hard-working people. We trade in items we make from iron and other metals. Our animal hides are in high demand and so is what we make from frankincense, like our medicines and kohl. But what Nubia is best known for is our warriors, which, by the way, are male and female.

I can see that you love Nubia, why wouldn't you want to rule over it?

In this time, people seem to think being queen is a wonderful thing, something everyone should want to be. Being queen and ruling over a kingdom is very difficult and constraining. There is little room for yourself.

Difficult? Constraining? What do you mean?

A queen has great responsibilities. She must ensure that all of her people have enough food to eat and the medicines they need regardless of what happens with the cattle or crops. She must make sure the laws of the kingdom are fair to everyone and settle any disputes that arise. It is the queen that holds the kingdom together. And that's just what happens in Nubia. A queen must know her neighbors well and determine if they are allies or enemies. She must also be aware of what is happening in those kingdoms and how this effects Nubia. Besides, a queen can't go hunting whenever she wants.

That does seem like a lot of responsibility, but isn't being a warrior dangerous?

Life is dangerous. What matters most is how I live that life. I could spend my days making decisions that others have to carry out. Or, I could spend my days doing what the ruler commands and making sure those necessary things get done. I'm more of a doer.

You say that  you want to be Nubia's next Prime Warrior, doesn't that mean you would have to give commands?

Yes, but I get to participate in those commands. The Prime Warrior is required to have the same or better skills as all the warriors. She would protect the way of life in Nubia from all enemies. I'm already really good with a bow and my skills at combat are growing every day.

Before we wrap things up for today, one of my readers would like to know how old you have to be to begin warrior training?

In Nubia we begin learning skills like riding a horse or shoot an arrow at a very young age. These skills are important to hunting and providing food. As you get older, say about 9 years old, you begin training at the trade you desire.

Why begin training so young?

For us 9 years is not not very young. We are declared adults at 14 years, a much younger age than in your world. Here, you don't start your adult life until 18 years.

Princess Kandake, thank you so much for your time. I understand that you are open to another interview. I look forward to our meeting again.

You are very welcome. I look forward to our talking again, soon.

That does it for today. Be sure to get your questions to me, Princess Kandake will be available to answer them in our net interview.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long!

Oh my goodness, how long does a cold last, anyway. Today I finally woke up with energy, feeling well, and having a brain. Although, there are those that would say that the brain thing is debatable.

Saturday I attended Agent's Day in Newport Beach, a SCBWI event where four agents presented. I rode down with three of my writing buddies. It was great to catch up on what we're all doing and hoping for. The weather was overcast (surprise... not) with a cool breeze. Two of the four agents really impressed me. They presented as informative and human. The last characteristic is really important. 

Writing is fun and enjoyable even though it is a lot of work. Submitting is a little scary, but a necessity. Meeting agents and editors is terrifying! I always go to brain freeze when there's an opportunity to speak with them. I push myself to do it, but afterward I kick myself for not talking about anything interesting. My assumption is that if I continue to work at it, this disability will leave me.

Saturday I had a moment to speak with one of the agents. She was immediately approachable, inviting, and warm. We talked about reading my work and her backlog of things to get done. I realize that all agents have pile of work to do, not to mention the queries that flood their mailboxes (email included) daily, but sometimes the way they present this is a little off-putting. What I hear is, "I'm not sure if reading your work is worth the time I'd be taking from more pressing things." I doubt that any of them is ever saying that, but it's how it comes across to me. This particular agent didn't have any of that tone in her conversation with me or any of the others at the event.

I hope that when she reads my submission she finds it something she would love to represent. I'd love to work with her.