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  • May 2010
  • Authorial Voice

    Guest Author Interview: Lynn Flewelling

    Lynn Flewelling is an internationally acclaimed author of fantasy literature.  Her eight novels (The Bone Doll’s Twin, Luck in the ShadowsThe Shadows Return) have appeared in twelve languages.  Book five of the Nightrunner series, The White Road, which will be released on May 25, is already garnering lavish praise.  Lynn breaks barriers in her writing by bending the rules that limit traditional fantasy heroes.  I was honored when Lynn graciously agreed to be my first guest author.

    How can we find you and your work online?

    Website: http://www.sff.net/people/Lynn.Flewelling/

    Blogs:

    LJ: http://otterdance.livejournal.com/

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-Flewelling/145593970532?created

    Yahoogroups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling/

    Twitter: LynnFlewelling

    When did you know you wanted to be an author of fiction?

    My favorite game as a child was “let’s pretend.”  I never outgrew it. But I think the writing bug bit me in middle school, when I was reading Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man. There was something about his lush use of language that made me want to write. So I did, and wrote some really bad stuff, as we all do, trying on different voices—Bradbury, Poe, Twain, London—until I found my own some years later. Sadly, I never imagined in those early days that I could actually realize that dream, but that didn’t stop me. Getting published was one of the greatest thrills of my life, and continues to delight and surprise. I have readers. I have fans! People actually wait expectantly for my next creation. Fifteen years later, that still amazes me.

    What is it about writing fiction that keeps you coming back?

    It’s the “let’s pretend” factor. I love to lose myself in another world by writing, in much the same way I do when reading someone else’s work. Perhaps because it’s because I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. Some days I don’t know what’s going to come out next.

    Can you describe what a good writing day is like for you?

    I get started early, with a sense of where I want to go that day, and once I start, time stops. The real world melts away, and when I come up for air hours later, I’ve written a thousand to two really good words, scenes that feel good, dialog that sings.

    What do you find most challenging about creating a new world?

    Detail! To make a world live and breathe, I include everything from religion to architecture. That takes a lot of research, a lot of thought, and the ability to know the difference between “just enough” and “way too much.”

    Do you have any favorites among your characters?

    I’d have to say that Seregil, the bisexual hero of the Nightrunner novels, delights me the most. He’s dashing and damaged, incredibly intelligent but not always in touch with himself, and he uses his wits more than his sword. When I began the Nightrunner series, I created him as an experiment, to see how much I could break the standard hero mold and still keep people reading. It was a risk, but I’m happy to say it was also a success.

    Your Tamir Trilogy explores issues of gender roles and perceptions of gender in very different ways from the Nightrunner Series.

    In the Nightrunner Series, I depicted alternative sexuality as a norm. It’s not accepted everywhere in my world, but is in the central country where our heroes operate. I treated it as simply another facet of who the characters are, not the central point of the story. I’ve had a lot of reader response, some of it negative, but far more in the form of thanks from gay readers for giving them heroes with whom they can more readily identify, and straight readers who found their beliefs challenged and softened. I’ve had some gay readers tell me that they used to books to come out to family and friends. That wasn’t something I could conceive of when I was writing them; I’m just glad they’ve had such a positive effect.

    The Tamir Triad explores what gender really means and how much it does—or doesn’t—matter. And it cuts both ways.

    Are there particular ideas about gender you would like people to take from their reading of either series?

    Gender is only one factor of what makes each of us unique. Being male or female, whether by birth or choice, does help define you, but it shouldn’t limit, or create a “better/worse,”  ”weak/strong,” or “capable/incapable” dynamic. It’s when people choose to make those distinctions that things go wrong.  I’m not anti-man in my books or life, but I am a feminist. Or perhaps a humanist: I believe that even in all our diversity, all people are equal in terms of right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Genre fiction such as fantasy and science fiction has been described by some as the bastard stepchild of literature.  Do you have a response to that attitude?

    I would say it’s just the opposite. I can only speak to Western literature, but the first recorded stories were filled with gods and monsters. Look at Homer’s Odyssey, or Beowulf.  Classical literature is full of supernatural events. Who do you think is read more these days: The Mill on the Floss or Morte d’Arthur? My money is on the latter.

    Congratulations to you on the upcoming release of The White Road, Book 5 in the Nightrunner Series!  What is it like to stay with characters and a world for an extended series?

    On one hand, you have the onus of keeping it fresh and interesting, both for yourself and your readers. On the other, however, there is the joy of watching characters change and grow, and explore new corners of their world. The Tamir Triad was planned and executed as a trilogy, so when I got to the end of book 3, that was it: the end. I cried as I wrote the last lines, knowing I was saying good-bye. Readers who loved the series have asked me to write more, and sometimes I’m tempted.

    The Nightrunner Series is open-ended. Each book can be its own self-contained story arc. As long as I have good ideas, I can keep writing in that world.  I’m working on a sixth, working title The Summer Players, at the moment, with number seven under contract.

    What most surprised you about writing The White Road?

    My books always surprise me. I start with a general idea of where I want to go, as I did with White Road, but all sorts of wonderful things and new characters happen along the way.  This time I was captivated by a character who was meant to be secondary. I won’t say more than that.

    If you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

    Write.  So many people dream of being a writer, but you don’t get there without doing the hard work and paying your dues. And those dues are, in part, writing all the crap you have to write in order to learn to be good. Taking classes and workshops can help, but unless you are doing the work, you aren’t going to get anywhere. It demystifies the dream pretty quickly, too. It’s not all sunshine and roses and sitting on a sunny terrace with a pen and notebook. It’s grueling and often discouraging. It can drive you crazy and only the strong survive. How strong are you? How bad do you want it? You only discover that by doing the work and taking your lumps.

    Do you have any upcoming appearances you’d like to let readers know about?

    Well, the big news is my workshop, Writing on the Waves, which I am teaching aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean. It begins May 23 and there is still some space available. For more details, see my website.

    I’ll also be doing a book launch at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego on June 5 at 2 pm, and I’m a guest at Yaoi Con in San Francisco in October.

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    4 Responses to “Guest Author Interview: Lynn Flewelling”

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    1. Michael Davis says:

      Lynn,

      Thank you for your interview! While I’ve not read any of your work, I certainly will look to do so now. Your talk of detail in work is something I hope for when discovering a new author. That is not to say that I’d like to be told where each individual pebble on the beach is, but it seems you are speaking in more general terms of culture and character. These are the details I find that create a rich world — the interaction of intangibles that add a dimension of realism to an otherwise fantastic setting.

      I am excited to hit the book store!

    2. Chantelle says:

      hello…

      really good article. Ready to hear more next week,my blog http://www.vibesconnect.com/Nancybill/blog/something_that_is_not_always,23715 Many Thanks….

    3. Xehmer says:

      Great One…

      I must say, its worth it! My link, http://deborah11.blog-host.nl/,thanks haha…

    4. jesse says:

      trusted@pillspot.com” rel=”nofollow”>.…

      thanks!!…

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