|Period||2000 â€“ present|
|Genre||Fantasy, Historical Fiction|
I had really good English teachers in elementary through high school. Not only were we required to read a lot – which is the best training for writing – we were drilled on grammar every day, every night. I hated the drill part, but I don't dangle my participles too often.
Read. Read. Read. Read many genres. Read good writing. Read bad writing and figure out the difference. Learn the craft of writing.
I enjoy worldbuilding very much. I generally start with an approximation. With 'Flesh and Spirit' and 'Breath and Bone,' because I was thinking of a world on the brink of a dark age, I began with the sense of Roman Britain. But I purposely set the geography to match something other than Britain – which has been overdone.
Write. Write. Write. Learn how to revise. No story is perfect straight from the keyboard.
I like to write stories that read like historical fiction about great, world-changing events through the lens of a flawed protagonist.
At one of the first science fiction conventions I ever went to, I saw a guy wearing a sandwich board promoting his book. Count me out of that one.
There is one plot point in one of the 'D'Arnath' books that I don't think I handled as well as I could have. Am I going to tell you which one? No way!
I'm a fairly ordinary person – a lifelong reader, a former software engineer, and former math teacher. I come from a wonderful family of teachers, musicians, librarians, and engineers. I think I surprised them as well as my friends and coworkers when I took up writing as a hobby and let it take over my life!
My college roommate gave me her copy of 'Lord of the Rings,' and I read that probably five or six times – not because I think it's the greatest thing ever written, though some people certainly think it is – but the world he creates is so vivid. So real that he designed its own languages, history and mythology.
For the 'Rai-kirah' books, I began with the image of Aleksander riding the great wastelands, and that quickly morphed into the desert. Because I wanted my slave market cold and miserable, I chose to set the opening scene in the empire's summer capital in the mountains.
Some reviewers call my stories dark – and yes, there is violence and angst, and the stakes are high – but I like to think that the endings are satisfying and hopeful.
Writing is communication, and you don't know how you're doing until you put it in front of someone else's eyes. You also learn from critiquing other writers' work.
I never believed I could write anything. No way – write a whole story? Figuring out all that plotting and symbolism? How do you foreshadow things?
I would love to have written Roger Zelazny's first five books of 'Amber.' What a great idea he had about the shadings of reality!
One of the things that put me off writing for a while was that piece of advice everybody gives new writers: 'Write what you know.' Nobody would ever want to read about my boring life! But I do know a lot of things about different societies' cultures and mythologies. The way people were and are.