A Drift of Quills is here again! We’re like clockwork that way, every Friday! Today we’re doing “miniviews” — shortshortshort interviews with some of our favorite authors. We each picked a victim, er… writer, and asked them the same three questions. Read on to see how they answered.
A.E. Marling leaped into the indie writer scene about three years ago with his impressive debut, Brood of Bones. (Not that I’ve talked about that before, but who’s counting?) Behind the book’s gorgeous cover is a story about an enchantress with a sleeping problem and a city full of pregnant women. All of them, from virgin to grandmother. What’s a curious, respectable, responsible woman to do?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book—and his others as well. So I asked him if we could take a tiny peek at his writerly self, and he was gracious enough to accept.
Q: What makes you write?
A: I want readers to be able to take adventures to the farthest shores of imagination. To see things they’ve never seen. To be told a new story with a beginning, middle, and resonate end. To have it finish in a weekend’s worth of pages.
Q: Badguys: pure evil or misunderstood adversary?
A: Every story is a tragedy from the perspective of the antagonist. I write my villains as having some of the same strengths as my heroes, but whereas the heroine overcomes her fatal flaw, the villain fails to grow. The villain’s inability to change dooms him in the final act.
Q: What was the toughest challenge you faced when writing, and how did you overcome it?
A: My first draft of Gown of Shadow and Flame was a disaster. No one liked or understood one of the principal characters. I self-medicated with a binge session of Skyrim, then I set about making the mechanics of her magic clearer. She’s a character who has sold her humanity for the power to survive, and in the first draft her depression and bitter thoughts dragged down the reader. In the next version I gave her moments of joy, so we can glimpse her younger self and wish for her to succeed. Now Gown of Shadow and Flame is my best-reviewed story.
I completely agree with this way of thinking — except for the “weekend’s worth of pages.” I want mooooore! I love big books and I cannot lie. And the misunderstood villain is challenging to write, but fantastic to read. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Marling! As always, I look forward to reading your next books (and he’s a blast to follow on Twitter, too) and wish you the best of luck with your writing.
Be sure to check out A.E. Marling’s books!
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Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark
I hear tell that sometime in the late 1980’s, Deanna Smith, author of the children’s book The Dragon’s Rocketship, received an old Mac Plus computer from her step-Dad and Mom. Trees all over the world heaved a sigh of relief. Because Deanna writes. About everything. Anywhere. All the time.
Read about what she’s up to (Read more!)
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Author of Oathtaker
I would like to introduce you to one of my new and dear Australian author friends, L. J. Clarkson. L.J. is the author of The Silver Strand (Mastermind Academy, #1) and Heaven and House – Rise of the Alpha. She writes for middle graders and trust me when I say that she has a unique ability to think and speak like one! She offers some interesting and off-beat characters, and providers readers with some good laughs!
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Now it’s your turn: Pick one of the questions and answer for yourself. We’d love to hear what you have to say!