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“The benefit of genre-hopping in my writing is that it provides a challenge and keeps me from being bored.”

Surfing Sub-Genre’s with Palmer Pickering

Getting to know Palmer over the last few years has been a blast, her energy and drive for storytelling, as well as helping to promote others in the indie scene is nothing short of inspiring. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing writing sprints, beta reading and even cover revealing for this wonderful human. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who can keep as many stories inside and outside of their head quite like Palmer can. Palmer will keep you on the edge of your seat with her genre blending and hopping ways, and let me tell you, it will be a blast. Welcome Palmer!

Q. First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today! Can you give us an introduction to you, your work and where people can find you? 

A. Kris! Thank you so much for the kind and glowing praise. It’s been so fun getting to know you over the past few years. It’s people like you who give indie authors a voice and exposure that is so needed amidst all the content flooding the market these days.

A little about myself: I work in high-tech in the computer and video gaming industry, and have been writing fiction since I was a child. I first published later in life, after I managed to complete the start of my Star Children Saga series. I queried agents for many years, but got tired of being rejected, so I struck out on my own. You can find out more about me and my books on my website at www.mythologypress.com.

Q. Over your writing career you have dabbled in Sci-Fantasy, epic fantasy and are now entering the litRPG scene. What have been the most fun learning or writing aspects of each sub-genre? 

A. Hmmm. Well, I find science-fiction to be the most challenging for me. Fantasy is really my sweet spot. But the themes and inspiration for the Star Children Saga had to do with origin stories on a galactic scale, and so the space setting makes it science-fiction in many ways. Although, I really consider the series to be fantasy first, and it gets more so as the series progresses. The first trilogy takes place mostly on the moon, so I had to do a ton of research about colonizing the moon and the science behind that. Interestingly, a lot of the technologies discussed in the book are being actively explored currently, such as extracting oxygen and Helium-3 from lunar soil, and getting water from ice reserves in the dark polar caps.

Heliotrope was a departure and a break from the intense, multi-POV Star Children Saga. Heliotrope is a pure fantasy genre (Epic, or Heroic fantasy), with a single POV character and a relatively linear timeline. Simple. Easy. Definitely an escape read. The book is long, broken into three distinct parts, the language is highly descriptive and immersive, and it’s written in a style that’s easy to consume. I had a lot of fun exploring the magic systems in this one, and many people have pointed out that they are unique. The found family and orphan tropes pull at the heartstrings, and the animal companions add a fun aspect.

Regarding LitRPG. It is all due to you, Kris, and a video you did on the genre. I had never heard of LitRPG and hadn’t read any, but I like video games and thought that bringing game mechanics to literature would be a fun challenge. Dark Town is the first book of the Tales of Temerity series, and is also the first level of the Dragon’s Crawl. I drew inspiration from my two favorite games, Final Fantasy XIV and Witcher 3. This series is the most fun and lighthearted of all my SFF books so far. The tagline is “Part cozy, part bloody, all fun.”

Q. What has been the biggest difficulty when it comes to switching sub genres from book to book? On the flip side of that, what have been the benefits of playing around with different aspects of fantasy?  

A. The benefit of genre-hopping in my writing is that it provides a challenge and keeps me from being bored. A genre mashup like Science-Fantasy is the trickiest for me, due to the blending of scientific fact (or possibilities) with fantastical components and magic. It’s a balance that has to be managed carefully in order not to throw readers out of the story. Other than that, I don’t find switching genres particularly difficult. It all comes down to the characters and the stories. I know all the characters and see the worlds in my head, so they are very distinct to me, although I do sometimes call Cassidy Temerity, and vice-versa, lol. Perhaps they were sisters in another life.

Q. As someone who is in the middle of writing a few different series, can you share how you keep track of it all? What is your process? 

A. Like I said, I see it all in my head. I’m a very visual thinker, as you can probably tell from my descriptive writing style. I’m also obsessive – I obsess about details, another thing reflected in some of my writing, for better or for worse. Sometimes I take it too far, I admit. But that focus and tenacity is what makes it possible for me to write consistently and prolifically.

Consistency for me is key in terms of productivity. I strive to write every day, even if just for a few minutes, and manage that probably five to seven days per week, in general. The self-publishing process itself is time consuming and can distract me at times, as can life. But, like anything you want to master, writing requires years of persistent practice. A benefit to writing daily is the story stays fresh in my head. I don’t need to waste time remembering what I wrote the last session, because it’s still percolating in my head. I’ll randomly think of a better word or sentence, or a detail I left out while I’m going about my daily life, and run to the computer or a note pad to make a quick edit.

I used to write with only a vague plan, but now I create outlines. The outline provides structure and a content map, and helps avoid massive restructuring and editing later on. But, I am not afraid to adjust my story if a better idea comes along. The outlines are a tool to help me, they’re not my boss.

For Dark Town, I keep spreadsheets of the inventory of gear, weapons, skills, and power objects (e.g., dragon jewels) that the adventurers collect, since they are key to the progression of the plot and growth of the characters. I decided not to include those lists and tables in the book, although I considered it. I’m not a fan of the “crunchy” LitRPG style of listing stats throughout the book, and I thought that sharing my lists would provide spoilers. Plus, I think the book is written in such a way that it’s pretty easy to keep track of who has what when. Let me know if you think otherwise.

For Star Children Saga, since it’s so complex, I have drawn many maps, illustrations, and extensive block diagrams to connect the various plotlines and threads. I’ve drawn character arcs and story arcs. I’ve physically collected key objects that are featured in the books, such as the crystals and some costumes. At one time, I wrote a brief summary of all the scenes, one each on index cards, and laid them out on my floor. I still have those cards, and it helped me piece it all together while I was constructing the long arc of the series.

For Heliotrope, I drew maps of the kingdoms and roads to keep track of where the characters were and where they were going. Those got made into professional maps in the book.

I do a ton of research about everything in my books. Thank god for the internet. I collect imagery of all the clothing, places, animals, gear, weapons, etc. that I describe. I study the crafts and technology of the books, whether it’s sword making or building a fieldstone wall or making titanium. Moon Deeds has a military component, and I do not have a military background, so I read autobiographies of Navy Seals, shot semi-automatic rifles, studied hand-to-hand combat, and asked an Army Ranger friend of mine to beta read it for me. For the surgery scene in Heliotrope, an Emergency Room trauma physician friend read that part for me. As for Moon Deeds, well, not many people have actually gone into space or set foot on the moon, but I do know a LOT about the moon. Ask me anything.

Most importantly, I always make sure I am having fun. I write because I love to write. If I never published any of my books, I would still write. The publishing process, however, forces me to polish my writing and make the story the best I can make it at that moment in time. Otherwise, everything would probably still exist in a sloppy, first-draft state.

Q. I understand you work with quite large teams to get these works as polished as possible before they are published to the audience. Aside from writing the stories, what is your favorite element of post-production and why? 

A. I worked professionally in the publishing industry (non-fiction) for many years, and either managed or personally conducted many steps in the process, from editing, proofreading, graphics, layout, printing, and audio production. I have also worked in advertising and marketing. So I have a good understanding of the various steps involved. I set out to manage my indie imprint, Mythology Press, as professionally as I could. Because I still have my day job, I can afford to vend out a lot of the steps. I am not an artist, so I would still hire artists, and after having been a professional proofreader for high-profile clients, I know that it is impossible to proof your own work and catch everything. That said, I hate typos, so I hire out several proofing passes for my books. My process is getting tighter as my writing craft improves, requiring fewer editing rounds. At this point, I’ve gathered a strong team of talented professionals. It takes time, and trial and error, to find the right people. Pricing for freelancers is all over the map. Price does not always equate to quality, so I’ve managed to find skilled people at reasonable rates by working with people all over the globe. My favorite part is working with visual artists. My least favorite part is reading my finished manuscript multiple times. That part is a love/hate thing. I hate to read it for the umpteenth time, but the last time I read it before releasing it, I cry. It’s like saying goodbye.

Q. Your upcoming release Dark Town is your first foray into the litRPg space, how did you find creating game elements inside of your world?

A. Easy and fun. Writing it was like playing a game for me. The book has typical elements of role-playing games, including gathering, crafting, upgrading gear, challenges, battles, and bosses.
I hope reading it is as fun as it was to write.

Q. Out of all the characters you have written, if you could choose 4 to be in a team making their way through the Tales of Temerity world who would they be?

A. Ha! Great question. I think it’d be fun to send a foursome from each book into the Dragon’s Game. From Star Children Saga, I would send Cassidy, Torr, Jasper, and Berkeley. I might consider Ridge instead of Berkeley, but can I trust him to make the right decision? From Heliotrope, I’d send the four found family characters. No spoilers, but sorry, Sigrid, Dinsmora goes instead of you.

Q. I am really excited for the release of Dark Town, but I must ask, once this book is out in the world, what is the next project off the ranks? Can we get a hint 😉 

A. Sure! I’m 36K words into Book Two/Level Two of Tales of Temerity: “The Swamp.” That’s about one-third of my target of around 100K words. I plan to release that book in 2025. I’m also about 90K words into Anaximenes, which is Book Three of the Moon Deeds Trilogy (first trilogy of Star Children Saga). My target for that one is about 160K words, so I’m about 60% done with that, although I’m writing scenes randomly and out of order, so that’s been interesting. The good old outline (and the entire story existing in my head) makes that scene-jumping possible. I’m not committing to a release date on that book, since it’s been kicking my butt. But maybe in 2025 as well.

Did you know Palmer was a SPFBO9 Semi-Finalist? Check out the post here! 

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

Watch out for Dark Town coming in 2024!

The Fictional Escapist

Kris has been an avid reader for most of his life, forever escaping into various worlds, far beyond his imagination. Now at the ripe old age of 32, he spends his days in a sea of authors, review copies and unedited manuscripts; and he is having a blast!

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