Thursday, September 17, 2015
Author Interview - Anna Thayer
Anne: Today's interview is with Anna Thayer, author of a new fantasy adventure series on the order of Lord of the Rings. Her series is called The Knight of Eldaran, and the book just released is the first of the series, The Traitor's Heir. If you'd like to read the review, click HERE.
It's great to have you here today, and we have a few questions for you, Anna Thayer. The first is, "What inspired The Traitor's Heir?"
Anna: The Traitor's Heir and it's sequels sprang from the collision of a number of things. The germ of the story came to me whilst I was working in customer service for a wine merchant, and a gentleman phoned in to request a price list. He lived in a place called Edesfield, and I thought that a place name of that kind must have a story to it. It was then that I had the flash of inspiration of a king on a battlefield in the pouring rain; his name was Ede, and the field bore his name because he had died there. This became the backdrop for Eamon's story, in which I wanted to explore the idea of what it meant to be "in the world, but not of it." At the point where I was writing Eamon's arrival in Dunthruik, I too was going to live in a new city - Palermo, Sicily. Palermo went on to be an immense influence on the trilogy, especially in creating the historical backdrop for Eamon's world; indeed, Palermo's 'centro storico' and the map of Dunthruik are almost identical!
Anne: I have to laugh--I patterned a fictional map for a series of stories after a town I knew well too. Now, tell us how you develop your characters.
Anna: It's probably truest to say that my characters develop themselves! They so often seem to have minds and plans of their own. I like to have a feel for a character's arc in a story, so that there is a sense of progression and change for the reader, and to craft the story so that its situations hone the character through experience. I also try to let each character be individual, and have always found that characters' names are a vital component.
Anne: True, that. It's hard to explain how imaginary people can decide for themselves what they're going to be like or going to do. So--do you work from an outline?
Anna: I both do and don't work from outlines. I always know where the story starts, where it ends, and perhaps some key stops along the way, but never in detail. When I wrote The Knight of Eldaran I planned each chapter as I came to it. That way, there were always surprises for me, too!
Anne: Good on you! What do you find to be the most challenging part of being an author?
Anna: The most challenging aspects of being an author for me are firstly, finding time to write (made difficult by a day job and a young family!), and secondly the grind of editing. Over time I have come to view the editing process as an adventure of its own, but I often find it a sheer act of will to get through. I have been immensely blessed by my husband in the final phases of editing these books - fresh eyes and the ability to tell it like it is are incredibly valuable!
Anne: What has been the easiest?
Anna: I don't think there's necessarily an 'easy' aspect to authoring, but the most enjoyable part for me is the thrill of discovering a story, then crafting it to share it with others. I love getting just the right words in just the right place to tell a story that might mean something to somebody else.
Anne: You achieved your goal. I could see the warring factions in my own brain through your writing! Is that why you write?
Anna: I write because I love words - they have cadences and fluencies like music. I've always adored stories and their ability to transport and transform; a fan of both Tolkien and Lewis practically from infancy, it always seemed natural to go on to try writing myself. Of course, my pre-teen attempts at fantasy novels (of which there are half a dozen) are embarrassing now in their evident mimicry, but they show how enraptured I have always been by stories and this genre in particular.
Anne: Would you please tell us a little about the next book in the series?
Anna: The second book in the trilogy, The King's Hand, sees Eamon pushed to the limits of his wit and courage as he attempts to follow his king whilst surrounded by his enemies and being drawn ever deeper into the counsels and affections of the Master.
Anne: I can't wait for it to release! I'm hooked on Eamon's story, and I have to know what happens next!
Thank you so very much for being here today. I hope the readers here will buy a copy of the first in the series and get "hooked" too!