Interview with Rowena Cory Daniells
Posted by Dominick
Today I welcome bestselling author Rowena Cory Daniells at my blog. Her latest novel King Breaker, the long anticipated conclusion to her King Rolen’s Kin series, has just been released by Solaris Books.
F.I.: Welcome, Rowena, at Fantastical Imaginations. To start this interview I want to ask you my standard opening question in my interviews. What and when was your first stray in the realm of fantasy?
Growing up in a sleepy seaside town in the back-water state of Queensland, Australia there wasn’t much in the way of books and not much to choose from on TV: Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, Disney…
The stories I loved best were about going into space, travelling in time, or setting off on great adventures to places where magic was real. I wanted to grow up to be Samantha. Even now, if I’m feeling too sick to sleep, I’ll put on my Bewitched DVD.
F.I.: Which author would you have loved to meet?
It wasn’t until I had my second-hand bookstore that I realised all along I’d been an SF fan. This was back when it was really geeky to belong to Fandom, before the first Star Wars.
In my bookstore I’d read a book in the morning, a book in the afternoon and a book in the evening. I discovered Georgette Heyer’s brilliant Regency books. My two favourite SF authors were Fritz Leiber and Joanna Russ. I read everything of theirs that came into the shop and you could they both saw the world in interesting ways. I wish I could have met them.
F.I.: Those are indeed some very interesting names. Let’s switch topic to your writings, shall we? King Breaker, book 4 of the King Rolen’s Kin series, is your eleventh novel. What can you tell your fans, who have been eagerly awaiting this book for three years, about what to expect when they read it?
If I tell them too much, they won’t have to read it!
The KRK series explores the bonds of friendship and family, what binds us together and what drives us apart. In King Breaker Byren is going to be tested as he faces set-backs and challenges. He believes himself to be an honourable man and he tries to do the right thing, but what if there are only shades of grey? What if your enemy uses your sense of honour against you?
It is only when we face adversity that we truly know ourselves.
F.I.: To which readers do you think King Rolen’s Kin will appeal the most?
With KRK I set out to write the kind of rollicking adventure that made me fall in love with fantasy. While it is a bit Boys Own Annual or Biggles, there are serious themes being explored as a subtext to the adventure. So I think the series can be enjoyed on many levels.
F.I.: Sounds really promising, I must say. I want to ask you some questions about authorship and writing in general now. A few months ago there was on Twitter and in the blogosphere a lot to do about gender issues. Some were saying that woman have a harder time to make it as a fantasy writer than their male counterparts? Do you agree?
This is a perception I came across when KRK first came out. US and UK interviewers would ask me how it felt to be a woman fantasy writer in a world dominated by men. I find this interesting because in Australia fantasy is dominated by wonderful women and the guys don’t get a look in.
F.I.: That’s interesting indeed. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read lots of books in your genre and other genres, but more importantly read lots of nonfiction about history, sociology and anthropology. The most amazing things are true and you will be able to create richer worlds if you have a depth of knowledge about our world. Richer worlds, leads to more complex characters and helps you give an innovative tweak to the genre’s tropes.
F.I.: A few fun questions to end this interview with: You can pick one person to be alone with for one hour. Which person would you choose so you can teach him or her some manners?
I would like to take all the bullies in the world who exploit women and children and turn the bullies into small puppies, who have to rely on the good will of their owners for love and food. When they’ve learnt to love and cooperate, I’d turn them back into people and release them into society.
F.I.: You are married, have six children and are a full time writer (?). I can imagine there’s a lot of discipline and planning needed to make that all work?
Only three of the six children are still at home, studying and I wish I was a full time writer, but no such luck, I work part time to pay the bills. Very few writers can live off their writing alone. We do it for the love.
I find when a story grips me going away from it is hard. I’d rather be writing than doing the shopping or cooking. More recently I’ve been doing a lot of research to restore my creative well. You can’t keep drawing from it without giving the source time to refill.
F.I.: Are some of your children also fantasy fans? And your husband?
I discovered fandom; way back before it was cool to be an SF nerd. My husband is a fellow nerd and we raised 6 nerds, helping to address the balance of nerds in society.
F.I.: Some of the authors I’ve interviewed so far get strange looks when they say that they write fantasy. Do you have had the same experience?
I’m an associate lecturer at a college which specialises in Film and Sound Production, 3D animation, Multi Media and Computer Game Design, so all the students and teachers are creative. Writing fantasy is normal.
F.I.: Thank you for the wonderful answers, Rowena. One final question about your books. What’s the most remarkable review you’ve had on one of your books?
There have been many reviews but it is the readers’ comments that I treasure. One lady said her husband was dyslexic, despite this he had managed to read my trilogy in a week. I was thrilled.
I hope he gets King Breaker and I hope it keeps him up all night!
F.I.: Thank you for this great interview, Rowena. It was fun.
Rowena’ bio: Rowena Cory Daniells is the bestselling author of the King Rolen’s Kin trilogy, the Outcast Chronicles and The Price of Fame (Mystery with a touch of paranormal). She sets out to write the kind of books that you curl up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Rowena has been involved in Spec Fic for nearly forty years — as a reader and fan, independent press, graphic artist, bookshop owner and writer. She has a Masters in Arts Research and has taught creative writing to all ages. Currently, she is an Associate Lecturer. Before she went back to work, she served on the management committees of state and national arts bodies.
Rowena lives by the bay with her husband and has 6 children. In her spare time, she has devoted five years to studying each of these martial arts, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai sword.
About DominickHusband, father, author and fantasy-freak
Posted on 02/10/2013, in Books, Interview and tagged Australian fantasy author, Bestselling fantasy, Epic Fantasy, King Breaker, King Rolen's Kin, Rowena Cory Daniells, Solaris Books, The King's Bastard, The Outcast Chronicles, The Uncrowned King, The Usurper. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.