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Posts Tagged ‘Charles de Lint’

One of my favorite authors, Charles de Lint, writes in The Blue Girl: “Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”

And that’s why so many of us write. We have stories to tell born from our view of the world, and a desire to reach out to the millions of readers turning pages in the house next-door or thousands of miles away. We hope we’ll find a few souls who hear us – and understand.

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. The author answers 10 questions about their next book, and tags the person who first tagged them, plus at least 5 other authors. So, I was very happy when I was tagged by Jennifer Allis Provost: http://www.jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html So here goes…

 What is the working title of your book? Owl Light. I stumbled across the word while reading, and instantly fell in love with the idea of a group of tales united by their connection to the dusky time of owls. Of course, coming from a background in art and creative writing, I had to toss in a few theme-appropriate poems and illustrations.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Each of the stories had their own beginning place. Often a scrap of folklore or fabulously strange news article inspired me. The mermaid story began with an article about a girl born with sirenomelia or Mermaid’s Syndrome. There’s a Day of the Dead story which includes lots of traditions that are used today – but it’s set in the far future on a distant world. And there’s a different take on the Rumplestiltskin fairytale. The remaining stories feature a clockwork owl, a selkie, a trow and his faithful buggane, ghosts, a future-seeing margay, the Daughter of Winter, an ancient sea giant, and other magical folks.

What genre does your book fall under? Speculative – which means that each tale is either fantasy or science fiction, though I did add in a couple of ghost stories. A little darker in tone than my 2011 collection, The Greener Forest, Owl Light is still Young Adult appropriate.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Since there are a dozen tales, there are lots of characters to cast. There are a couple of characters Johnny Depp would be perfect for. I can see Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Lawrence, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cicely Tyson in some of the female roles. And Nathan Fillion, Alan Rickman, Elijah Wood, Christopher Walken, and Warwick Davis in some of the male roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Owl Light dares the reader to step into a world where owls wake from slumber, shadows appear where shadows ought not be, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Owl Light will be published by Cold Moon Press. But because CMP is a small publisher, as the author/illustrator, I have to take a lot of responsibility for promoting the book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Some of the stories were written a year or 2 ago, and some last week. I think a collection of stories begins to come together before an author realizes she’s writing a book. Then, once she’s determined to pull a book together using her short fiction, the author focuses and writes additional tales that complete the overall concept of the collection.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Perhaps a collection of stories from Charles de Lint or Neil Gaiman or Andre Norton would have a similar vibe. Of course, these writers are so amazing, I can only dream of reaching their level of skill.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Owls and moonlight! As I write in the beginning of the book: “In Owl Light, that darksome time when creatures of the shadows move amongst us, how easy it is to believe in the mysterious and magical.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Several of the stories have won awards, including a Writers of the Future Honorable Mention. I’m the book’s cover artist, and in the print version, there are over a dozen black & white illos of mythic creatures that populate the stories. And I did lots of research on owls to add in accurate details about these amazing nocturnal birds.

And now, on to some wonderful writers and their Next Big Thing (I’ll post direct links as soon as I get them):

Douglas Cobb- http://douglascobb.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-article-douglas-r-cobb/

Laura Shovanhttp://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing.html

Dianne Gardnerhttp://dragontargeseries.blogspot.com/p/next-big-think-blog-hop.html

Christine Stewarthttp://www.therealwriter.com/my-weblog/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop.html

Fernando WordPimp Quijanohttp://thewordpimpspits.blogspot.com

Craig Alan Loewen- www.literary-equine.livejournal.com

Tami Coxhttps://www.facebook.com/spiritsofgettysburg?fref=ts  (Scroll down to Oct. 13 entry)

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to make comments and ask questions.

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 As I sit with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit open on my lap, I’m thankful for the wonderful speculative fiction that I read as a child. It was those books from long ago that stirred my imagination and inspired me to write stories.

I still have a stack of 10-page fairytale booklets, published by The Platt & Munk Co., Inc. in the early 1930s, given to me 1 at a time for “something to look at” when my parents visited with an elderly friend on the other side of Baltimore.

Before I entered kindergarten, I’d taught myself to read during those visits using Cinderella, Chicken Little, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Tom Thumb. And who knows, maybe the seed for the precocious opossum in Assassins formed as I read Platt & Munk’s Puss in Boots.

Three of my favorite books when I was a second grader were Ruth Stiles Gannett’s My Father’s Dragon series. In her tales, right under the noses of people in the “real world” lived a family of blue and yellow dragons. I had such vivid memories of the beautifully-colored dragons. I didn’t realize until I bought a copy of the books years later as an adult that the pictures were rendered in pencil. The stunning hues of the dragon family had been imagined by me. And dragons remain one of my favorite things to draw and write about.

Perhaps the most serendipitous introduction I had as a preteen student to the world of magic and folklore came from the librarian at Perry Hall Elementary. In the fifth grade, I’d rush through my regular classwork, and then, ask to go to the library to help put books back on the shelves. By the end of the year, not only did I know the Dewey Decimal System quite well, but the librarian gifted me with 2 slightly damaged books.

The first gift book was Lupe de Osma’s The Witches’ Ride and Other Tales from Costa Rica. I was immediately infatuated with the ghosts, witches, fairies, and other magical beings written about in that book. The beginnings of Bells? The second gift book was about prehistoric creatures that never existed. Among the critters written about were mermaids. The beginnings of Sideshow by the Sea?

Writers tend to write about what they know. What I’ve known since toddlerhood was fairy tales, folktales, myths, legends, and magical creatures introduced to me by books.

Still an avid reader, I gravitate to work by Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles de Lint. It’s the fantastical and sometimes dark worlds created by these writers that draws me in. And as a writer, I strive to create my own darkly magical worlds for my readers to enjoy.

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Butterfly Fairy

Butterfly Fairy

I spent a magical day at FaerieCon last Sunday. I got to chat with the Dragons Lure Anthology editor & assure her I’m hard at work on my story. I also got to visit with Kim Cross of Faerie Magazine. She’s wonderful to chat with & is enthusiastic about new projects for the magazine. I urge you to check out this beautiful publication: www.FaerieMagazine.com

I visited the dealers’ room & was happy to see so many artists present, including illustrator Charles Vess (whose work is breathtaking).

But the best part of the day had to be listening to writer Charles de Lint talk about writing urban fairytales, etc. He not only talked at length about his creative process, etc., but answered all questions posed by the audience in a friendly, professional manner. If you haven’t taken the time to read this author’s books, you should do so (I think there are about 65 published ones to choose from).

And lastly, looking around at the fabulous costumes (I must admit to buying some striped knee-socks, elbow-length fairy gloves & a fabulous rat puppet while looking) — I found the inspiration for Faeryland in a novel I’m at work on. The Medieval Faeryland I was trying to use in my novel didn’t feel quite “right”  — but the Steampunk Faeries wandering here & there at FaerieCon seemed “right.” Therefore, the Faeryland in the novel I’m working on will be Steampunk (think Victorian England or the Australian world of Mad Max).

My thanks go out to FaerieCon & its fairies for a magical answer to my setting challenge!

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