So, tell me about “Into Tordon”?
“Into Tordon” follows two online gamers on an adventure that’s out of this world! It’s a middle grade novel for 8-14 year olds, set in a slightly futuristic Australia, and there are dangerous creatures, exotic cultures, scientific impossibilities, riddles, advanced technology and challenges. Our two main characters, Beth and Zane, must face them all to survive!
Sounds like a wild ride! Nine of you wrote “Into Tordon” together. That sounds like a wild ride too. How did nine authors write a book together?
With patience and understanding! When writing collaboratively with so many people, you have to leave your ego at the door and contribute as much as you can with enthusiasm and a good spirit, knowing full well that your actual contribution is likely to go unnoticed once the book is released. There’s an element of trust too. One of you has to take the lead, to keep everyone on track, drive the project and make decisions. Thankfully, when I suggested the book to the other authors, they were all members of my writers’ group, the Northern Beaches Writers’ Group, and had written under my leadership before, so knew and trusted in my abilities.
Is that because you’re the founder and leader of the Northern Beaches Writer’s Group?
Yes, but also because they know and like my writing. Not only did I write a chunk of “Into Tordon”, but as ‘Editor-in-Chief’ I also rewrote other parts, then rewrote the whole book to give it a single ‘voice’ (the words, not the story itself), and polished it again once we had a publisher on board. I’m a freelance editor and mentor too, so they trusted in my experience when I picked up on things like inconsistencies, plot development, character arcs and worldbuilding issues. I’m so glad they did! “Into Tordon” is awesome!
How did you get a consistent voice / tone from nine separate authors?
It was tricky! We don’t all write in the same style. Some of the other authors don’t even write speculative fiction! (*gasp*) But I found the right tone with time, respect and experience. We had a solid consultation process too, where everyone got to critique everyone else in a safe and nurturing environment, until every single word was perfect. It was a real team effort. I also had a good second-in-command, Zoya Nojin, who always had my editorial back.
What was your favourite part of the process?
The writing of course! Though I’ve also enjoyed the promotional side of things: designing the website, posters, bookmarks, social media, this interview of course, and even a colouring-in sheet for readers. I’ll include one readers can download from here if they like.
What’s your favourite scene in “Into Tordon”?
I love discovering new worlds, so my favourite scene is when our two main characters, Beth and Zane, first enter the ‘strange world’ mentioned in the blurb. By the end of that chapter, there’s only one option left to them, which Beth phrases perfectly: “Run!”
|Zena's book launched by the fabulous Susanne Gervay|
Will you be doing author visits?
Yes, all of us will – to schools and libraries of course, but also to writers’ groups, festivals and centres who want to know about collaborative writing. Anyone interested can contact us through the website at zfkingbolt.com
What’s next for Zena Shapter as a solo author?
I have my own debut novel coming out next year! It’s called “Towards White” and is set in a fictional Iceland. Scientists have discovered where the electrical energy in our brains goes when we die, which brings about certain cultural developments. Becky’s brother visits Iceland to study those developments, but goes missing… I can’t wait to see it on the shelves! Details will go on zenashapter.com or my publishers’website, IFWG, as production progresses.
In the meantime, when and where is “Into Tordon” available?
All good bookshops on the highstreet and online. Here’s the blurb, I hope readers enjoy it! Thank you for having me, Dawn!
Only champions dare to enter!
Thirteen-year-old Beth has been waiting for weeks to play in the championship of her favourite online game, Tordon. Now tribes of beastmen roar through her speakers. Game on! She plays to win, until her gaming nemesis Zane challenges her to a real-life risk that has them sucked into a strange world. Here they must push their skills to the limit just to survive!
Faced with riddles, a multitude of dangerous creatures, exotic cultures and scientific impossibilities, Beth and Zane are forced to take on challenge after challenge if they’re ever to return home.
‘a pacy, exciting read’ Books+Publishing
Zena Shapter writes from a castle in a flying city hidden by a thundercloud, creating what-if worlds and adventures. She’s the winner of twelve national writing competitions, including a Ditmar Award and the Australian Horror Writers’ Association Award for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous online and print venues including the Hugo-nominated ‘Sci Phi Journal’, ‘Midnight Echo’, ‘Award-Winning Australian Writing’ (twice), and ‘Antipodean SF’. Reviewer for Tangent Online Lillian Csernica has referred to her as a writer who “deserves your attention”. She’s the founder and leader of the Northern Beaches Writers’ Group, a book creator and mentor, creative writing tutor, movie buff, traveller, wine lover and all round story nerd. Her novel “Towards White” will be published by the IFWG in 2017.