I haven’t always been good about keeping up with the Beautiful People blogging meme, but I have enjoyed participating here and there, and I have enjoyed reading the posts others have written for it. So it is with some sadness that I saw Cait and Sky announce that this month’s Beautiful People is the last one, at least for the foreseeable future.
Favourite genre to write in?
My favorite genre to write in is Fantasy. Of course, that’s a broad, sweeping spectrum that includes rather a lot. I’ve written Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tale retellings, and now I’m dabbling with hints of Steampunk and a smidgen of High Fantasy, as well… and I love it all! I’m also looking forward to my next series, which will be a sci-fi/mystery set on Mars… I think that will also be very fun.
What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?
Depends on what character we’re talking about…. in my current WIP, I think my main character: Dalmir would most benefit from reading something like “Surprised by Joy” by C.S. Lewis, or something dealing with the awesomeness of forgiveness and grace. But then, perhaps his story wouldn’t be necessary…
Favourite piece of dialogue you’ve written?
Dialogue is one of my strengths… and I enjoy writing it, so I have quite a few pieces of dialogue that I’m rather proud of. Instead of trying to list them all, I’ll just share snippets from two of my WIPs that I particularly loved:
From: The Orb and the Airship – Turrim Archive, Vol. 1
“I don’t believe it,” Aubri whispered, her voice reverent.
“I did not expect you would,” Dalmir replied. His normal tone and volume was strident in the hushed stillness of the night. “And yet, you must. If you value your lives, you will let us go in peace.
Ericole regained a bit of his composure. “My archers are still ready to fire on my command,” he blustered.
“Do you honestly think their arrows could damage me?”
Wynn looked at the old man, certain he was bluffing. Dalmir’s eyes, however, were clear and steady. He had an aura of power and authority about him that Wynn had never noticed before. His eyes were filled with ancient wisdom, but his face was strong and set. Wynn felt that he looked ready to go to war. As he studied the man, he realized that he truly believed that no arrow would touch anything Dalmir did not want it to hit. Glancing at their captor, he saw that Ericole, too, was wavering. The Dalmir who stood in the snow, bathed in the light of a tiny moon, made belief in magic seem quite reasonable.
Slowly, Ericole nodded. “Very well.”
Beren made a guttural noise deep in his throat. “Can we trust him, Dalmir?”
Dalmir gazed into Ericole’s eyes until the other flinched and lowered his face.
“Yes, Berenger, I believe we can, at least, for now,” Dalmir replied.
Beren loosened his hold on Ericole’s throat and the head of the Niveya family stumbled away to stand next to his wife. Aubri stood cool and calm and unflinching. Her chin up and cloak billowing out behind her, she appeared like a vision out of a fairytale.
“You have made an enemy this day, Lord Dalmir,” her voice was icier than the frigid air. “We were prepared to be reasonable. I will make sure you regret this moment.”
Something shifted in Dalmir’s face, something Wynn knew he would never be able to describe or understand. It was like a great sorrow, mingled with a burning anger.
“Dear woman,” Dalmir’s whisper filled the night, “I regret so very much. Nothing you could heap upon that pile would even be worth my notice.”
And then more recently, I enjoyed writing this bit:
From: Untitled – Turrim Archive, Vol. 3
“Sir, you left holes in the assignments to weed out students who can’t think outside the box. You wanted to find the ones who think like you. Even if I didn’t ask the right questions before, even though I believed that my answer would not work, I still came up with it. I still thought through a solution that was different than anyone else’s.”
Daegan did not slow, but he gave an abrupt nod. “Very good. But that is only part of it.”
“Yes, sir,” Wynn replied, matching the man’s long strides. “There is also the matter of security. I imagine that you would want to be very careful who you disseminate information to on what our capabilities are, particularly with the prospect of increasingly negative relations with our neighbors to the east growing more and more certain. It would never do to allow information on the Trackless to fall into the wrong hands.”
Daegan’s step faltered. It was brief, almost unnoticeable except that Wynn had been matching his pace exactly. His eyes flicked over to the artificineer’s face and he saw a tiny, tell-tale twitch of the man’s lips.
“The Trackless, eh?”
Wynn felt his ears grow warm. “It just sort of came to me as I was mulling over the problem last night. I was thinking of the great trains. My da rode on them before they stopped running. I’ve always wanted to ride one, always regretted being born in the wrong decade… ” He dragged the toes of his boots along the stone floor. “It is your design, of course, but I didn’t know what you had named it. I wasn’t trying to be presumptuous.”
“Genius is presumptious,” Daegan snapped. “And it doesn’t need to apologize, at least, not when it’s right. As a point of fact, I hadn’t named it. I spent years planning it, but I never gave it a name. I’m no good at names. The Trackless.” He nodded. “It has a certain ring to it.”
Wynn felt a mystified grin try to spread across his face, but then Daegan turned into the messy work room he had glimpsed the night before. It was still a shambles, and Wynn’s smile changed to a wince. How was he supposed to work in such a room?
What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
Marik — Wanted to be a soldier for the Igyeum. Actually became an airship pirate.
Dalmir — Wasn’t sure what he wanted to be, as the seventh son of a king, he figured he’d be a noble or a soldier. Actually became the caretaker of an entire country.
Grayden — Wanted to go to the Academy and train to become a Defender. So far, he’s on track to achieve that… as for later… well, we shall see.
Wynn — Wanted to be an engineer and travel the world like his father. Actually went to the Academy… and may have discovered that adventuring isn’t all he thought it would be.
Favourite character name(s)?
All of them! My absolute favorites would probably be Brant, Grayden, Kiernan Kane, Kamarie, and Karyna. (I like “K” names, apparently)
What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?
Dalmir feels loved when he feels needed. He hasn’t felt that way… in a very long time.
Marik feels loved when he sees the looks of trust in the eyes of his “family” and knows he has done a good job protecting them. He hasn’t felt that way since the beginning of Book 1.
Grayden feels loved when his mother makes him his favorite food, or when his younger sister annoys him, or when his father talks to him man-to-man. He hasn’t felt that way since leaving for the Academy.
Beren feels loved when his family is teasing him about his height. He hasn’t felt that way since the beginning of book 1.
Wynn feels loved when people listen to him and allow him to do the things he excels at. He is feeling pretty loved at the moment in book 3.
Favourite character you’ve ever written?
That would be Kiernan Kane.
If your character were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)
Brant: Throw everything out… except my sword. I might need that. And maybe that one gryphon feather…
Kiernan Kane: It can all go, except my mandolin, that was a gift from someone very special.
Kamarie: I kind of like my stuff… I don’t talk about it or look at it much, but I do tend to keep things for sentimental reasons. Oh, I suppose if I had to choose, I’d only take a few of my favorite books, and my sword, and my horse… but it would be hard to leave everything else, there are so many memories…
Wynn: I need my tools, and my schematics.
Marik: Stuff doesn’t matter. Unless you’re talking about my airship. But she’s more than just a thing, you understand. She’s my home. She’s family.
Dalmir: Nothing matters. *mutters grumpily and refuses to say more*
Grayden: There are a few things I’d probably want to take with me. The dagger I got from my Da. My mom’s apple pie recipe. But things can be replaced. It’s people that are the most important.
Favourite tropes to write!
Quests. Coming-of-Age stories. Mysterious characters with murky pasts. Nothing-is-what-it-seems. I like to turn fairy tales upside down. I enjoy writing prophecy-tropes, but I have to be careful because those can be polarizing!
Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
All of them…? What kind of question is this? The Minstrel’s Song has lodged itself in my heart and will always be my baby. Even though the series is complete, I have had unexpected moments of realizing that there may be other stories in that world still to tell…
But all of my new ideas are also tugging at my heart, begging for a turn. Some of them are demanding with a little less politeness than others… so, like a good parent, I’m making them wait. Can’t reward whining with instant gratification, after all!
Favourite relationship between characters you’ve written?
Definitely the “frenemy” relationship between Brant and Kiernan Kane.
There is a new relationship blooming between some of these new characters in Turrim Archive, though, that is very intriguing. Different… but super fun.
Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
I’d love to see more YA and Fantasy books with solid friendships that don’t have to turn into romantic relationships. And I’d love to see more Fantasy books featuring strong families and good fathers and mothers. I understand why there are so many Fantasy Orphans, and I’ve even written a couple of them myself… but there is a dearth of solid mothers and fathers in the realm of fantasy, and I’d like to see more of them make an appearance in books.
I’d also like to see a lot LESS of the angsty teenage girl characters who are full of self-loathing and a sharp tongue who inexplicably have multiple guys who want to marry her following her around like puppies even though she’s a jerk to all of them. Ahem. Sorry for the random rant.
Favourite pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?
Um… despite being super visual person, I don’t spend a ton of time on pinterest or creating aesthetics for my books. However, I really liked the one I made for Stone Curse and the one I’ve made for my Minstrel’s Song series. I am actually working on one for Turrim Archive, but I’m keeping that one under my hat for a bit.
Favourite time periods & settings to work with?
I love writing in the Medieval and Middle Ages time period, particularly in an “Old World” sort of setting. However, I’m really enjoying exploring the Victorian Era for Turrim Archive, and have been learning about a ton of other cultures in that time period for this new series, as well… so that has been different and a lot of fun. The Turrim Archive will feature flavors from German, Norwegian, Romanian, Persian, Scandinavian, Spanish, and Italian cultures.
I certainly love the “Old World” and Medieval time period and settings. I’m also really enjoying playing with the Victorian-era
When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
I most want people to find what they need in the pages of my books, and that is going to be different for every reader. Some readers just want a fun adventure, and I hope to provide them with that. Others need an escape, some want to find friends, some need inspiration, some are just looking for someone to root for. Overall, though, what I’d love for my readers to find when they read my books, is HOME. I hope that my stories can become beloved friends that make them feel like they are home, no matter where they might be or how far they might adventure away. Whether they are reading something that makes them laugh or cry or jump up and down shouting about whatever happens to be going on in the story… my dearest wish would be that these are the sorts of stories that can be read over and over again, and bring a breath of fresh air, a nostalgia for wherever they were when they first read them, and an intangible delight to curl up with this story just one more time… really, what more could I ask for?