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  • Writer's pictureMarve Micheal

Meet Author Blanka H. Madow

Author of the Mother of Pearl Fantasy Series

I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend and critique partner Blanka H. Madow. I met Blanka after the ProWriting Aid Fantasy Writer's Week in 2022. Blanka is one of the main facilitators in my writing group, Writer's Connect, and hosts the weekly writing sprints. Blanka is an incredible writer and has published five books in the last 24 months.

Blanka H. Madow was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia. Growing up, she was an avid reader of fantasy novels, which inspired her to write her own stories. Her debut novel, Mother of Pearl, is the first in a Precious Stones series. When she is not writing, she is still reading in a smaller town. Blanka writes New Adult Fantasy—perfect for escapists.

When did you start writing, and when did you decide to be an author?

I started writing when I learned how to write, but I always destroyed everything because I was too ashamed of my stories. When I finished my first book, that was when I decided to be an author. I realized I couldn’t stop and wanted to share the stores. There was no other choice. Shame turned to doubt, but impostor syndrome is a part of being a creator, so I learned to accept it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Depending on the reader, it could be good character arcs or world-building or magical systems. In the end, if the writer writes what they want and then edits it for the market, it will become a good story.

How did you decide what route to publish through?

For me, indie publishing has been the first option. Being from Croatia, I believed the traditional l route would never happen, so I never queried, but I wanted my stories out for people to read. Someday I might try querying, but I’m happy with indie publishing for now.

Could you tell us about your book(s)? What inspired you to write this story?

My books are new adult fantasy with world-building and a lot of character growth. My characters start out naive, but they always grow. Grey morality has also found a way to be present in all of my characters. The Adriatic Coast inspired my world-building. I never saw the representation of the Balkan people in books, so I also wanted to bring out our traditions in a fantasy setting. Most people won’t even pick up on those details, but I felt really proud I included them. It is still a fantasy setting any reader could connect to, but my people brought parts of the story to life.

What do you enjoy most about writing in your genre, and how did you choose a genre to write in?

I mostly read fantasy romance, so it wasn’t my choice. I naturally gravitated toward it. And I liked how I could play with world-building in my romance novels.

There are lots of twists and turns in the plot and characters. What was your process in the early stages of planning? Did you find anything difficult to plan or write?

I am a pantser. I told the story to myself in the first draft, then edited it to make it all work. It wasn’t hard to write. I usually write a new story any time I have to edit. But the editing process makes me regret not planning. Now I’m trying out plotting to make the editing easier.

Which of the characters did you feel closest to when writing and why? Was it enjoyable and/or difficult to write characters with so many secrets and motives?

I felt closest to my side characters—mostly Avieles, a man with the longest character development. I enjoyed discovering he holds such a big story for a small character I didn’t think anyone would like. I enjoy writing secrets and foreshadowing throughout the series, and I love seeing readers' reactions as they fall for the unsuspected characters.

Do you have any advice for other debut and/or indie authors? What were your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?

You will make mistakes. As much as you learn and plan, something will go wrong, which is perfectly fine. I know people do a lot for a debut, but if you’re a small indie author, you have the privilege of not having so many eyes on you. Think of your first few books as a learning curve to publishing. My biggest challenge was learning others will be late. Very late. As much as I had planned, I had to work overtime to meet my deadlines. Now I give longer deadlines.

How long does it take you to complete a project? How do you manage your work schedule?

It takes me roughly 3-4 weeks to write a book and then a month to edit it for beta reading. (This is where I had to learn to give more time.) Then it takes me two weeks to fix the edits while I send chapters to my critique partners. After all the advice, I send it to a developmental editor. It takes me two weeks to fix it again, depending on how I feel about the book. If I’m happy with it, then it goes to the last stages of editing and proofreading, and if I need more opinions, I send it to beta readers again.

Are there any books, shows, or movies you’re enjoying now? Any recommendations for our audience?

I’m enjoying fantasy romance, and the new Seven Deadly Sins series by Emma Hamm is becoming a favourite. I mostly rewatch Only Fools and Horses, and I’ll recommend that show to anyone under stress because it has a healing touch of laughter. As a fantasy reader and writer, I do need a lighthearted show to get me out of my head. But for a new release, Queen Charlotte has torn my heart out and recommended when you are in a better mental space for emotional people like me.

Precious Stones Series

About Book One - Mother of Pearl

Lured to a mystical land, Valeri must learn to harness a power deep within her. Orphaned at a young age, sisters Valeri and Amelia shouldered the household responsibilities in their small village of Noor. Valeri was the hunter; Amelia the gatherer. While fishing one day, Valeri follows her instinct into the depths of the ocean despite a raging storm. She discovers the Mother of Pearl shell - which, unbeknownst to her, unlocks the secrets of her ancestral power. Knocked unconscious by the storm and washed ashore in a foreign land, she soon realises she is thousands of miles from her sister, and there are wicked plans afoot. As she struggles to find a way to return home to her sister, Valeri befriends Prince Rulin at the magical court. In each other, they find purpose. But she must harness the newfound power within her blood first.

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