Monday, 6 October 2008

C. L. Wilson - Author Interview

Lord of the Fading Lands
Lady of Light and Shadows

King of Sword and Sky


> Pitch your series.

Long ago, in the magical holocaust known as the Mage Wars, the immortal Fey and their allies fought to defeat the grasping evil of the Elden Mages and their dark-gifted supporters. During those wars, in a fit of grief-induced madness caused by the death of his mate, Fey shapeshifter Rain Tairen Soul nearly destroyed the world in a blaze of tairen fire. Now, a thousand years later, the fierce Fey king must fight to save his race from the brink of extinction and once again stop the evil rising in the homeland of his enemies, the Eld. The key to his success lies in the mortal city of Celieria, where the Mage Wars began, and with a young woman whose soul sings to him in ways no woman’s ever has, whose presence reawakens the primal fury of the tairen within his soul, and whose vast, untapped power can either save or destroy him and his people.

Beginning with Lord of the Fading Lands, continuing with Lady of Light and Shadows and King of Sword and Sky, and concluding with Queen of Song and Souls, the Tairen Soul series tells the story of a mortal woodcarver’s adopted daughter, Ellysetta Baristani, and the Fey king, Rain Tairen Soul, as they fight to save the tairen and the Fey, defeat the dangerous power of the Eld Mages, and complete their truemate bond.

KING OF SWORD AND SKY, which comes out this October (Sept 30) is book 3 in the Tairen Soul series. In this book, Rain and Ellysetta return to the Fading Lands, where Ellysetta begins adjusting to her new life as a powerful immortal and the queen of a fabled magical land. As the Eld plot their next deadly strike, Ellysetta struggles to master her vast magic and discover how to save the tairen, while Rain confronts open challenge to his rule and prepares to lead the Fey army to war.

> What are your favourite three books (not by you, either in the field or out of it)?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Limiting my favorites to just three is so difficult. I’ve had different favorites at different times of my life, and with so many wonderful books coming out month after month, I’m constantly enthralled as a reader.

I have to say, on the romance front, a pure historical romance, my favorite book is probably Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. Or Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. Or Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale.

On the paranormal romance front, Dark Desire by Christine Feehan hooked me so completely and drew me forever into the love of her Carpathian series. (I’m also a big fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Karen Marie Moning’s highlanders.)

On a pure fantasy front, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series both impacted me so greatly, they continue to be among my favorites, even though I haven’t re-read them in years. I adored Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule as well.

> In the books you've written, who is you favourite character and why?

Oh, gosh. Well…I confess, I adore writing Gaelen. He is a man who lives life by his own rules and to hell with anyone who disagrees with him. He fights for what he believes in, and is willing to pay any price to do what he thinks is right. He’s also a cheeky git, and that makes him huge fun to write. Yet for all his “in-your-face” attitude, deep inside is an honorable man who loves his country and his friends and his family so much, he would do anything to protect them. In the words of the wonderful movie, “A Few Good Men”, he is the man who will stand on the wall and say “Nothing is going to hurt you tonight. Not on my watch.” He is a man who will never give up, never let anything stand in his way – not even laws. And because of that, he’s something of a double-edged sword, which is part of what makes him so interesting to me.

And I actually really enjoy writing Annoura, the mortal queen descending into darkness too. She is so human, so flawed. There is goodness in her – Dorian could never have loved her if there weren’t – but she is a woman falling prey to her own weakness and insecurity. She wants so desperately for Dorian to love her, but she was raised in such a cold, political, untrusting place (Capellas) she’s always looking for the knife behind the back…the betrayal she knows has to be coming. Ultimately, if you look for something hard enough, you will find it (or at least start seeing it, even where it doesn’t exist). She’s a tragic figure, because she had a deep and abiding love, and she couldn’t believe in it enough to keep it whole.

> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

The way I torture them? Er, no! LOL.

> If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you? Would you live in somebody else's?

Oh, absolutely, but only if I could be one of those gorgeous, slender immortals with vast power and no need for dieting and exercise and no fears of going gray or getting wrinkles! What woman doesn’t think that sounds like heaven?
Seriously…I love the whole concept of the existence of magic, of entire races of people dedicated to honor and the protection of what is good and innocent in the world, and the idea of lifespans that last many, many thousands of years so long as you had a truemate – a perfect, unwavering soul-to-soul love. I don’t even think the threat of true evil that exists in my world would deter me, because a paradise without a purpose is just a different form of hell.

As for someone else’s fantasy world, I have to confess that as a kid, when I first discovered Anne McCaffrey’s dragonriders books, they so captured my imagination, that my childhood best friend and I use to have weekend sleepovers in which we’d pretend her basement room was a weyr and we had both Impressed our own dragon. I’d love to live on Pern (if I could be a Dragonrider!) but I’d get in trouble for smacking some of those obnoxious Holders in the mouth, I’m afraid!

> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

The first novel I ever wrote (and completed!) was a 80,000 word contemporary romance called GHOST (unpublished) which I completed when I was twenty. It took me about 3 years to write it. I completed the whole thing in longhand on legal pads then taught myself to type by entering it into a word processor on a computer.

The first published novel was Lord of the Fading Lands (which in unpublished form also included Lady of Light and Shadows) and it took me probably about five years to write, revise, chop in half, rewrite, re-revise. Then I had to chop it in half again and revise it into two books for publication.

> What was the most fun book signing, convention, etc. you've attended and why?

So far, my favorite convention has to be this year’s DragonCon. It’s been a while since I went to a con, and I forgot how much fun they were. Although I was working a booth and didn’t get to get out to the workshops and panels much, it was four days of fabulousness. The costumes people wore were so gorgeous. I can’t wait to do it again!

> If you still have one, what's your day job? If you don't, how long did it take before you could support yourself only on your writing?

My day job used to be Manager of Training and Product Marketing for a telecommunications manufacturing company. I spent all my career in high-tech, working around computers and computer systems, but always in some capacity related to writing – marketing, technical writing, training. Though I have not yet made it to my first royalty statement, I quit my full time job 18 months ago before accepting a contract to write two more books in a year. I knew even that would be a stretch for me, working at it full time. Luckily, I have a husband who was willing to support my decision, and my family agreed to make the sacrifices necessary to give up my salary and let me write full time to pursue my life long dream.

> What is your university degree in?

My degree is in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. (Because I always wanted to be a writer and was determined one day to see my own books in print.)

> Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

For me? Fantasy, without a doubt, because I get to make anything happen “by magic” . And because science was never my particular strongpoint in school.

> When and where do you write?

All the time and everywhere. I have an office at my house, and I’m usually in the office from 3am in the morning until 6pm at night and sometimes much later, but I’m trying to force myself to write for a few hours, take a break for a few hours, then go back to writing some more. Juggling life and writing and managing a productive full-time writing output can be difficult. I’d really like to get to a point where I can comfortably write a book every six months, but I’m still not there yet.

> What's the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is the people I’ve met through my writing – readers, other writers, booksellers, librarians. The worst part of writing is my penchant to get stuck in my office for days on end and never leave it.

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Don’t give up! The road to publication is littered with the dead dreams of wonderful writers who gave up too soon. It isn’t easy. It isn’t rewarding. Putting yourself out there – your writing out there – and getting rejection after rejection is one of the hardest and most demoralizing [things] an artist can do. But keep at it. How can you expect anyone else to believe in you, if you don’t first believe in yourself?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Jessica and CL - what a great interview! And I didn't think it was possible to love Gaelen more....but I've been proved wrong :)

*SIGH* I'm so hanging out for King of Sword and Sky.


C.L. Wilson said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Orannia :) And stay tuned...more Fading Lands novels to come after QUEEN - well, after a brief side trip to the wonderful world of THE WINTER KING, which comes out Oct 2009. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely be staying tuned! I'm superglued....OK, that might indicate stalkerish tendancies, which are completely unfounded!

The Winter King. Ohhhh, methinks I'm going to have to winnow my may through your website to sniff out the juicy gossip.

orannia *who must stop mixing up sayings*

C.L. Wilson said...

LOL...well, I'm going to finish QUEEN and get bits up about that first, but look for Winter King info some time next year. :)