Hersey author jumps off the page

HERSEY – As each rejection letter came to Raven Bower’s desk in her light-starved, stone house, she questioned whether writing was a waste of her time.

After six years of publishers’ rejections, wasted manuscripts and glimpses of hope turned bad, the Hersey fantasy horror author finally saw the fruits of her creative labor.

Bower’s first book, “Apparitions”, was published in 2010 by Under the Moon publishing and was followed by two more books to complete the supernatural suspense series, “Wendigo” and “Rags Beneath,” which currently is being published.

She also scored a contract for an “Apparitions” screen play, contracts for two more book series’ and was recently named the director of a project with Hydra Publications to launch a series of gaming modules later this year.

“If you look at success stories from anybody - no matter what business they’re in - success is built on mounds of failure,” Bower said. “It takes a lot of work to be successful and a lot of times you fail.”

Though failure and trials may have dominated her past and the screen play is on hold due to funding restraints, the

writer has high hopes for the new gaming project as she begins to assemble her team of three other authors and a graphic artist.

The group will be creating role-playing gaming modules, which are scripts for a group of three to six players who act as characters in a fantasy world. One player - known as the game master - takes the pre-made script, which serves as the recipe for the adventure - and facilitates a game with friends or family.

“My job is to create the adventure,” Raven said. “I’m in charge of developing all the worlds, writing modules and choosing my team.”

Hydra Publications owner Frank Hall said breaking into the model gaming arena is something he has wanted to do for a while.

“I have always been a gamer. This is something that has intrigued me for a while and after helping my brother out at Origins Game Fair this year and being around all the new games it kind of lit the fire a little more,” Hall said.

After talking with Raven about gaming and seeing success from publishing the Vengeance series, he asked her to head up the team.

Bower’s husband Lain, who co-wrote the Vengeance series with her and serves as a silent partner in much of writing said he expects his wife to succeed in creating the interactive game.

“She’ll be developing stories for other people to interact with. Instead of just reading it, now they get to interact with it,” Lain said. “It’s a different dimension of writing. It takes a lot of skill to do that.”

The game modules will be set in the same fantasy world as the Vengeance series, giving readers the opportunity to role-play in the fantasy world and then read a collection of novels from that same world. Other novels also will be published from the same worlds as the modules are on the market.

The Bowers, who wrote the Vengeance series and created the fantasy world together, first began collaborating when Raven asked Lain to help edit her last two books in the Apparitions series.

“We just discovered that we work really well together and that my weaknesses are balanced out by his strong points and vice versa,” Raven said.

The first full collaboration the pair wrote was Primal, the saucy first book released in May of the Vengeance urban fantasy series.

Hydra Publications is the publisher of the Vengeance series, and Hall said the husband and wife team has a certain knack for their craft.

“They have a good sense of world building. They built a fantastic setting into our own world that is not only enjoyable but plausible,” Hall said. “That is something that is hard to come by.”

The pair credit each other for their success. Raven said her husband has a necessary knowledge of weaponry and a keen sense of making action scenes flow in a true-to-life way.

“Raven is very good with character depth,” Lain said. “She can make a character out of anything.”

Her keen sense of personifying even the environment surrounding the characters makes for a more dynamic story experience, Lain said.

In “Apparitions,” the main character Baily’s dog Thor has a personality of his own.

“On the page, he’s not just a dog. He plays a lot of small, but very important roles,” Lain said. “She’s very good at adding depth. Whether it be inanimate objects or the environment, everything seems to feel like a living, breathing thing.”

Writing in their own unique multi-view style of various character perspective, the pair lays out the entire series plot before breaking the story up into books. They know the basic plot for the entire series before they begin penning book one. They get inspiration from dreams, books on writing and each other and don’t believe in writer’s block.

“I truly believe there is no such thing.” Raven said. “If you believe in writer’s block, you’re really putting yourself at the mercy of something that doesn’t exist and that you can’t do anything about. Why would you want to do that to yourself?”

When the pair come to what they call a “pause” in creativity, they assess their writing and look for ways to improve and change their stories. They also turn to their shelf of books from similar fantasy novels to psychological crime reads to get their ideas flowing and expand their thinking.

“I think the biggest part of making good characters is realizing that your world view isn’t the only world view. It’s having that courage and capacity to step out of your shoes and outside of your comfort zone,” Raven said. “My characters do a lot of things that I would never do in my entire life. I personally find them abhorrant, but it’s what that character would do.”

The next book in the Vengeance series, “Smoke,” is set to come out early next year, along with an epic fantasy series called Weeping Dark: Bleeding Edge. A novella, “Nymph’s Lair,” will hit shelves later this year.

“It’s a calling, really,” Raven said. “I get cranky when I’m not writing.”

For more information on Raven and Lane Bower’s books, visit www.ravenbower.com.