Some Thoughts with ... Marcela Carbo

23 Nov 2022

The Author/s

Marcela Carbo

Marcela Carbo

Marcela Carbo worked as a systems administrator and troubleshooter for many years. She started writing seriously in 2018 and has several trilogies planned for the world of the Practice of Power. When she's not creating, she enjoys watching shows like The Expanse and playing Total War games. She also returns to Azeroth for each new expansion and inevitably bemoans the sad state of crafting.

She writes human epics in high fantasy, often dark settings. Her first release is Fate's Long Shadow in the Practice of Power series of stand-alone novels.

The Interview

Welcome to my favourite section of the web, talking with authors. Today's featured author is Marcela Carbo, creator of the series Practice of Power.

Let's dive in!

1.- What made you decide for self-publishing?
I started writing seriously in my late 40s with plans for at least a dozen books to start. I didn’t want to wait for an agent or publisher to “pick me”. So, I put my work out there directly to readers. I wanted full control of my IP and creations, even if it meant it would be harder to find readers. I was also fine with attracting niche readers.

2.- Why is your series called Practice of Power?
Power is central to all my current works-in-progress, and the series name was meant to comprise all the books in this world. I want to explore all forms of power present in human experience. The practice of it usually refers to magic in the world but it extends to all forms of power in human cultures, the good and the bad. I’ll explore the power dynamic at the highest, cosmic level all the way down to the lowest levels between two individuals, or within a character’s mind.

3.- What inspired you to write Fate's Long Shadow?
This was purely practical. I needed a short story to offer to readers for signing up to my newsletter. But as I worked on the story, it developed into a full-length novel. This has been a problem for me with my first eight stories. They all started as novellas and developed into novels. All my novels (current and future) take place in the same world, so as Fate’s Long Shadow developed, I grew to love it. It revealed elements of the world and characters I hadn’t considered before. It was also my first and only first-person story. So, all around it was a good learning experience.

4.- Could you explain a little about the God pantheon of your world?
One of the ideas I am exploring in this world is the rise or evolution of gods. I wanted to roll the clock back to a time when they hadn’t arisen yet. So, in this universe, religions are more animistic and refer to natural forces as gods and goddesses. But the time is coming when some people in this world try to reach for greater power.

5.- How did the idea of living among giants appear?
I really can’t remember when that idea came to me. The story originally was going to be about a young giant going off in search of his older brother. Once things changed to a Mornae narrative, I wanted a story that would give an introduction to the Mornae but from a distance. So somewhere along the line, it turned into a Mornae girl raised among these giants. The giants are inspired by the Vrykul of World of Warcraft.

6.- Jassae and her master are both strong characters. What inspired you to write them?
As a discovery writer, I admit they just happened. As the story developed, I focused on exploring a quieter magical power in the midst of its opposing expression. Peace and harmony versus blind rage. Jassae’s mother is more typical of a Mornae priestess, but Jassae isn’t raised like her, and her talent takes her down a different path. I think of Syral as the more typical strong one. She just refuses to be a victim and has a vision for herself that she will not compromise.

7.- Fate's Long Shadow has a really big timeline (over 30-40 years), has this provoked any kind of challenge in the writing process?
Yes, how to organize it was a challenge. I tried to group scenes into larger chapters but then things felt lop-sided, so I went with a scene-per-chapter model. Since the people I deal with are long-lived, some exceedingly so, I had to figure out how to tell a coming-of-age story that is the length of human life. For the protagonist, this story is just about her youth. So, it was a challenge but something I needed to develop for myself since longevity will affect characters in books to come.

8.- I saw that the cover now and the one on Goodreads are different. Why?
I had set a personal goal to publish by a certain year—like a life milestone--but when that didn’t happen, I decided to publish no matter what by my birthday in 2022. So, I scrambled to put together a cover. I had worked with two well-known cover designers and know all the “rules” of indie publishers like getting a pro to do it. But for my personality, a professional troubleshooter, it was very liberating to design my own cover, change it, and try things.
I like the most recent version depicting the opening battle scene, but when I started designing the cover for book 2, I had trouble coming up with something that matched the tone and style of the first book. So now I have covers for the series that look better together.
Goodreads records every edition and cover, so the old ones are there. I have physical versions of each cover and I guess someday they will be a cool prize for fans.

9.- I liked the narrative style, with short chapters, did you plan it beforehand, or was it just the writing flow?
Yes, I did plan for short chapters that would feel more like memories or glimpses of important events and keep things moving quickly.

10.- What has Marcela Carbo planned for the future?
I’m currently drafting the third novel in the Practice of Power series. It’s up for pre-order so I need to stay focused. My next series after the Practice of Power series is called The Fifth Accord. It picks up where the standalone leave off, and each one focused on one of the five ruling Mornae factions. Each book will tell the smaller-scale stories of three characters but hint at larger problems. The first book in this series is in final revisions and will release early next year. After the Fifth Accord, I get to work on the real series (the one I intended to write at the start of my writing career) that will be more of an epic like A Song of Ice and Fire. All the current books lead to that series.

I want to thank Marcela Carbo for taking the time to answer all of these questions, and for writing such a great novel as Fate's Long Shadow.

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