Sunday, 21 October 2012

On Location

When I wrote Embers of the Sun, I used actual locations throughout the story, only changing the names to 'created places' in the very final edit. I found this helped picture the characters more realistically, putting them in the actual environment.

What was fascinating was the ability to find locations without ever having to leave my office, or even my laptop.

Technology is a wonderful thing! Just think of the elements you want - surfing, beach town, east coast - then Google it! There were so many options to choose from. It was great to 'go on location' once the choices had been made, and 'walk in the shoes' of my characters.

Embers of the Sun, being urban fantasy, needed a mythical location, a valley ablaze with flowers, a place that defies imagination. Again Google came to my rescue, especially as this was not a place I was ever going to get to... 

This photo gave me the basis of what I was looking for and painted far more than a thousand words for me!

Embers of the Sun

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Friday, 12 October 2012

On character development

I guess we all have our own way of developing fictional characters. Mine is talking to them, in everyday situations, so I can hear what they say, how they say it, and understanding why they say what they do. 

I sat down and had a 'virtual' cup of coffee with Tessa Howard, the main character of Embers of the Sun, just before I started to write the story. It was a good way to get to know Tessa... 

I didn't stop and think about the questions, or answers, I let it all just flow wherever it wanted to go. Follows are the notes I made of that interview.

CM: Thanks for coming today, Tessa.

TH: I'm really pleased you asked me.

CM: Would you tell me a little bit about yourself?

TH: Sure. I just finished University, studying to be a school teacher. I've just received an offer to teach at a little seaside village! I am so excited!

CM: Congratulations! You enjoy the beach?

TH: Yes, I've been going to the beach for holidays my entire life. My mother loves the coast which is why I'm so excited about the job. My parents will be able to come and visit whenever they want to.

CM: So, you're close to your mum and dad?

TH: Yes, very. I'm an only child.

CM: Your boyfriend will miss you after you leave, no doubt.

TH: I don't have a boyfriend. I've been too busy studying to have a serious relationship. My best friend, Natalie, thinks I'm weird but... well, maybe I just haven't met the right person.

CM: Do you believe in fate, Tessa?

TH: No, not at all. I make my own decisions. I'm responsible for my actions. Believing in fate is for people who don't want to accept responsibility, or maybe they just can't, and it's easier to put it down to fate.

CM: What if everything that happens, happens for a reason? Just one long series of events that are all interconnected?

TH: If that was the case, then we would never need to make a decision, things would just happen. I haven't got time to sit around and just wait.

CM: Ah! The impatience of being young.

TH: Perhaps.

CM: So, you think you might meet some handsome surfer at your new home on the coast?

TH: It would be great to meet someone. I'm going to miss my family, and my friend Natalie, but I usually make new friends pretty quickly. 

CM: A summer romance, huh? Before you start your new job?

TH: Only if it's meant to be...

CM: I thought you didn't believe in fate? 

TH: I don't. But doesn't everyone have a soul mate, just waiting for their paths to cross?

I wrapped up the interview at that exact moment... I had a story to go write!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

On Urban Fantasy

The idea for 'Embers of the Sun' came from listening to a couple of friends talking about whether something that had happened was because of fate, and meant to be, or if it was just the outcome of choices that had been made.

I started asking, "Do you believe in Fate?" to just about everyone I met over a month or so and I was surprised by the answers I received. Most people who said "No" then went on to tell me about something that had happened and how it was 'meant to be'. The others who answered "Yes" were equally of the opinion that they were still in some degree of control because of the decisions they made along the way... 

Curious and more curious...

I didn't set out to write 'Embers of the Sun' as urban fantasy but as I got drawn more and more into developing the fate and freewill concepts, urban fantasy was the only way for me to really tell the story.


Chantal Mortimer

Sunday, 23 September 2012

On Writing Organically

In my early twenties, I studied journalism and took a stack of creative writing courses, thinking I needed the 'bit of paper' to prove I could write.

None of it was wasted, I certainly learnt the underpinning structure of writing, but did it teach me to actually write? 


In my thirties, I went to a zillion events and bought a zillion books on writing. Did I learn anything more? No, but I met lots of great people. 

Having just published a novel, Embers of the Sun, I can now reflect on the struggle to write the storyline I'd spent months devising and mapping out (advice from all those courses, lectures and books!). 

Finally, I just sat down and wrote the story, organically. 

In other words, I trusted that I could find the right words, in the right sequence, and tell the story. 

For me, writing is believing the story you want to tell is worth telling. And the words just flow...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

On publishing Embers of the Sun

The first novel I read, when I was about 15, was Wilbur Smith's 'When the Lions Feed.' I knew from the moment I finished reading it, I wanted to captivate readers with my own stories. Thanks, Wilbur, I've read every one of your books, a hundred times or more, and have no doubt I will read them again!

I live and write, in the beautiful Scenic Rim Region, in southeast Queensland, Australia. My small property is surrounded by rolling hills, with dramatic mountains in the backdrop. With misty mornings, spectacular sunsets, and the Milky Way just beyond my fingertips in the evenings, it is very hard not to be inspired. Daily.

According to my family, I was 'born with a pen in my hand' and lived in an imaginative world for most of my childhood. Ha! 

Have just published an ebook 'Embers of the Sun'. 

'Embers of the Sun' is an urban fantasy fiction, set in Australia, available as an ebook for Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle devices and Kindle apps.

Book Summary

Tessa Howard didn’t believe in Fate. Nor did she believe in miracles. Yet, a spur of the moment decision veers her life onto a collision course with a re-alignment of events that she has no control over, where only a miracle will save her. After a horrific car accident, one bizarre coincidence after another draws Tessa closer and closer to the surreal Sam Archer, until she is confronted with an unbelievable understanding, and an even more startling reality... Tessa's life is a cosmic battle between Fate and free will. 

Book Reviews

Review by: kym klein on Sep. 20, 2012
From the beginning of Embers of the Sun I immediately got a sense that everything was not as it appeared. It all felt kind of surreal, there was a mysterious feeling about Embers that drew me in.... But to go into any more detail about the story would risk revealing too much. The author's overall writing style was well constructed, compelling and engaging and is probably more suited to a younger reading audience, although sophisticated enough perhaps to appeal to a wider demographic. Story wise I enjoyed Embers very much. It has a very strong and unique plotline, the pacing is even and builds nicely to its' dramatic, and suprising conclusion. Chantal's depiction of events and locations is imaginative and evocative, and the character description in general is excellent. The admirably un-rushed narrative spends as much time on the detail as it does on the theatrical. Embers of the Sun is dramatic, thought provoking and witty with compelling dialogue, and without giving too much away, it will keep you guessing right up to the final page. Which all contribute to making Embers of the Sun a highly recommended read.

Review by: Alan Holt on Sep. 16, 2012

The title caught my eye and the story confirmed my belief in fate. A great story from the first page giving the reader a great deal to ponder over.

Review by: Trish Salter on Sep. 16, 2012

A great first novel - difficult to put down until the end. Very thought provoking when thinking it through after reading the last page

Review by: Cameron Salmond on Sep. 16, 2012

I really enjoyed this. I didn't see what was going to happen. The characters are really good, and love the humour! I had to read the last page a few times to figure out the final twist and got me thinking...

Review by: David Brendan on Sep. 16, 2012

Fantastic! Couldn't put it down... kept me guessing, then the final twist still has me wondering... fate or free will?

Available from:

Available soon on Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Sony

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