Welcome to This Cursed Flame Blog Tour! I’m thrilled to participating in this new release for a very special lady. First, let’s hear a little bit about this amazing book and then we’ll have a fun interview with the lady of the hour herself: Selina J. Eckert!
Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle…
Six years ago, Janan was transformed into a genie by an evil djinn, ripping her away from her home, her life, and her humanity. She has been on the run from him ever since. Worlds away, high school honors student Laurelin just wants to get into the chemistry program of her dreams.
When Laurelin discovers a crystal bottle that sucks her into the djinn realm, the girls find themselves working together to escape Janan’s creator and get Laurelin back home. But war is brewing in the djinn realm-a rebellion led by the same evil djinn they’ve been trying to escape. And he is determined to rule both the djinn and the human realms. As his creation, Janan is the one person standing in his way.
But to stop him, Janan must learn to overcome the fears he instilled in her and embrace her own dark magic while Laurelin must accept that some things are more important than an A+. Now, they will have to trust each other, and themselves, to stop the encroaching evil. Otherwise, both the human and djinn realms will fall to the tide of death and dark magic this war will unleash.
Welcome to Dragonpen, Selina! So excited to get to you a little better. So let’s dive right in. How did you come up with the idea for This Cursed Flame?
I’ve mentioned this once or twice, but This Cursed Flame was actually inspired by the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. I love classic sitcoms, and especially that one. I really wanted to have a story from a genie’s perspective, because those were all the parts I was most interested in during the show. I mean, the baby scientist in my also love the astronaut side of it, but let’s be real… magic!!!
What is your writing process like?
I suppose there are a couple ways to answer this one.
First, for my day-to-day process, it really varies. I don’t have a set writing space because I have a day job. My writing has to be in fits and starts whenever I have time. So sometimes I can write on breaks and downtime at work, but when I can’t, I will use some of my down time in the evenings to write on the couch in my living room, surrounded by my furbabies. I know a lot of people tell you to turn off the distractions when you write, but honestly, I usually write with the TV on in the background. Because I do have a full-time job, I basically work two full-time jobs to do writing, so I enjoy my life more if I let myself have TV time while I write without guilting myself about it. I also write on weekends when I can.
For my book-writing process, I start with an idea and let it stew for a while. How long varies from project to project. But I need to have some ideas down before I can actually open up a new document. Then I will write the first draft. I do not look back on what I’ve already written, unless I need to remind myself of something, and just write write write! I aim for 1000 words per day, but if I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo, then I don’t worry about missing days or lower counts, but having this goal really helps me make progress in a timely way. After a draft is finished, I let it sit for at least a month, then re-read it with only making minor adjustments. Then I do a full rewrite, fixing any problems I found during the readthrough. After that, I use betas and critique partners, do another rewrite or revision, and then repeat until I am happy with it!
Are there any characters in This Cursed Flame that you DID NOT get along with while writing this story?
Good question! Funnily enough, it’s the antagonist, Ahriman. He started out being the melodramatic caricature that just kind of waved his arms and acted like a toddler throwing a tantrum way too much while a different antagonist actually did the dirty work. I had to cut that other antagonist and make him scary in a more realistic way, and it was so hard to write! Villains are difficult, friends.
What’s your next project?
Besides continuing this series, I have a few more projects that are active right now. I do a lot at once!
The first is a Rapunzel retelling that I plan to release in August. It’s Mesoamerican-inspired, and I’ve been told it’s got plenty of feels and a strong, sensitive lead. J
Another is an anthology series I have in the works. It will consist of four books, one for each season, and each book will have four short fairytale retellings. The first one is winter-themed and will include retellings of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and probably The Ugly Duckling. I’d like to release that one around Christmas, but it’s only about half done, so we’ll see! And the others will be after that, released during or leading up to their respective seasons.
My next two projects are full-length standalones, but I plan to query them for traditional publishing before considering adding them to the indie list, since I have two more indie novels waiting for me to edit them for This Curse.
The first is Sea of Broken Glass, which I’m planning to complete within the next couple months, and it’s about two sisters who gain magic in a world where magic is considered to be a corruption. They are cast out of their lives into the wilderness with nothing and must try to find their mother and survive in a harsh world. If you follow me on Twitter, I am currently posting snippets for different hashtag games! 😉 I am so in love with this world, and every time I open it, I’m just so happy!
The last project in the works is in the plotting stages (and I may have accidentally written 1000 words of it…). It’s a young adult magic realism story that takes place in Pennsylvania coal country (near where I grew up) and will incorporate PA legends and myths into a contemporary setting. That’s all I can say on that one for now!
Why do you like to write stories?
This one is actually very close to my heart. Stories have always been a huge part of my life, and I love creating worlds. It’s such a pure artistic endeavor, and it truly makes me happy to create.
But there’s also a slightly more personal side to it. I went through a couple pretty intense bouts of depression during my college/grad school years, and stories were one of the few things that offered me some relief. They let me know I wasn’t alone and gave me something to think about other than my own problems.
And this has become a significant part of why I write. I want readers to know they’re not alone, to give them an adventure to have when their lives aren’t meeting up with their expectations or dreams, and to give them hope that no matter how dark the day gets, there’s always a dawn at the end of it.
If your writing style could be compared to weather, what would it be?
Ooo, fun question! I think it would be scattered thunderstorms! I write quickly and intensely, take a break so I can come back fresh, and then do more intense rounds of edits until it’s done. It’s just writing and editing in bursts whenever I have the time, usually at least once per day during my active periods. And when I’m not working on one story, I’m working on another, so there’s always something going on.
Bonus: A very large dragon invites you over for dinner…what do you do?
Um, I attend, of course! Who rejects an invitation from a dragon??? Of course I’ll watch my back, but I would hate to pass up such an opportunity!
About the Author
Selina is a biologist-by-day, writer-by-night native of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband, dog, and two cats and spends her time writing, reading, creating art, and dreaming about fictional worlds. Besides writing and sciencing, Selina also runs an author support business, Paper Cranes, LLC, that provides editing, consulting, and mapmaking services to authors, writers, and students. She has written two fairy-tale retelling short stories that were both finalists in Rooglewood Press short story contests and an exclusive fantasy short story, “Queen of Mist and Fog,” available through her newsletter. This Cursed Flame is her first novel.