Thursday, 26 May 2011
Wendy Tyler Ryan
Today, as part of her broader blogtour for her novel Fire's Daughter, we have Wendy Tyler Ryan here to answer some questions.
Let’s start with you telling people a little bit about your novel.
It’s a fantasy. It’s an adventure. It’s a love story. It’s coming to terms with who you are and learning to go after what you want – no matter what the cost. All elements everyone can relate to. It all just happens to be set in a different time and place.
You had this idea a while ago, before coming back to it. What’s it like revisiting a concept like this? Did you find the story growing in new ways? Do you think that the finished book is something that you could only have produced now that you’ve had time to grow as a writer?
I think there were ideas that were laying in wait, so to speak. I couldn’t wait to get back to writing this story. I somehow felt more comfortable in the fantasy world.
To the second part of your question I would have to say – yes. In some ways I am very glad I “cut my teeth” on the contemporary romance I finished first. Just writing that novel alone, I learned so much more about writing. If I would have finished it back then It would have needed a lot of work to bring it up to the level it is today, maybe not story wise, but certainly as far as execution and mechanics are concerned.
Your novel is broadly medieval fantasy in tone. Did you do any specific research to capture that flavour?
Actually, no and I’ll tell you why. I have been a fan of period books and movies ever since I was a child. If it was a “period piece”, I was there like a dirty shirt. However, I wanted it my way, so the fantasy part was a no brainer. I did do some research with regard to swordplay and this is where I cringe because I know who I’m talking to here. The average person probably wouldn’t question my scenes (small as they are), but if you read them, Stu, you’d probably bury your head in your hands. But hey, I’ll just go back to “it’s fantasy, right?”
On a broader note, why fantasy? Does it allow you, for example, to do anything that you couldn’t have done in another genre?
Yes, it allowed me to have fantastical characters that don’t exist. It allowed me to give my heroine a unique ability, and, it gave me the freedom not to be so darned historically accurate. My world is my world, so there! :D
I had read too many blog posts on “serious” historical reviewer’s sites that scared the bejesus out of me, making fun of people who didn’t do their research correctly. No thanks, I want to write, I don’t want to spend hours with my nose in wiki or elsewhere determining what underwear people should have on. Maybe my characters don’t wear undies!
When writing fantasy, a lot of authors seem to start with the world first. Does that describe the creative process you used here?
No, and that is probably where I differ from most fantasy writers. My world building is subtle and that is precisely what I set out to do. My book is also very character driven with lots of dialogue. I give the reader hints right from the get-go that “we aren’t in Kansas anymore”, but I don’t shove it down their throat. I hope I’m not offending anyone here because I certainly don’t mean to, but when I pick up a book in the store and open the first page and see two pages of character names I can’t pronounce and a complex map of a world, I close the book and put it back on the shelf. So I mean no disrespect because I know there are fantasy lovers that thrive on that type of world-driven story, but that’s not where my interests lie.
To give you a better idea, my book could easily be an historical novel except it has magic elements and some creatures that don’t exist. Maybe that is over-simplified, but I think you get my point. Some fantasy novels have the “world” as the main character with pages of deep description. My book is about the characters with the world as a comfortable backdrop that anyone can slip into easily and that was very much planned.
You’re also an independent author. What was it like taking control of the entire production process? Are there any parts to the process you particularly loved/hated?
On some level I loved every part of it. The only thing that made me swear and want to pitch something across the room was the fact that there wasn’t one singular definitive source of information which I could have relied on to get the job done. The research took longer than the actual endeavour. I quite frequently say that writing the definitive guide to self- publishing should be my next project.
Finally, since you’re so involved in things online, did your blogging help to shape the story in any concrete ways? Has it helped you as a writer?
I would have to say that it has helped me tremendously. I’ve been blogging for just over a year now and I can say with complete certainty that I have grown as, not only a writer, but as a person as well. I’ve learned about myself, from myself. I’ve learned about myself through other’s eyes. I’d even go so far as to say I might not have made the decision to self-publish if not for my blogging experience.
Thank you so much, Stu, for giving me this opportunity to chat with you. I really enjoyed your questions.