(2000-06-02)Q: What led up to the publication of Green Rider?
Actually....publication of my first novel was based on a love ofreading and writing. I first attempted writing a novel in myteen years. During college and the early years of establishingmy day career, I continued to write, but was unable to do agreat deal of it. I don't think I believed it possible that *I*could ever be a published novelist, so I did not focus on it.Still, some part of me must have felt the impetus because Inever completely abandoned the writing. I dabbled in poetry,creative nonfiction, and fantasy short stories. While some of mypoetry and nonfiction were published, I couldn't crack the shortstory markets. I got fed up with all the short story rejections,and decided to return to my first love -- novels. In the fall of1992, I sat down to begin GREEN RIDER, the origins of whichsprouted from some of the material I had produced in my teenyears. There was a character in those writings, a minorcharacter who was a king's messenger from the land of Sacoridia,who grabbed my attention. For some reason, I decided to changehis name and gender, and my protagonist, Karigan G'ladheon, wasborn. She leaped right off the page, tweaked my nose, and hitthe ground running! I was intrigued by the notion of amessenger's occupation as being dangerous -- it's that oldsaying about killing the messenger because of the message. Iwanted to find out why Karigan would become a king's messengerif the job was so dangerous, and how.
The first draft was completed in less than a year, and whatfollowed was revision, and submissions to publishers and agents,which produced a series of "positive" rejections, including onefrom an agent who made some cogent observations about the story.I agreed with his points and embarked on another round ofrevisions, enlisting the aid of an author-friend who read itover with fresh eyes and offered invaluable advice. When Ipolished off the last revision, I resubmitted the story to theagent. One of his colleagues agreed to represent the book, andon Election Day of 1996, it sold to DAW Books. Two years later,it hit bookstores in its first hardcover edition (it iscurrently in paperback).
So, it took four years to whip the book into shape and gothrough the submission process, and two years before it cameout. It was a long process and this is a long story, but thesethings generally are. I have yet to hear a first novelpublication story that was short.
Q: How has it been getting all this positive response to yourfirst novel?
A: The response has been fantastic -- I have been quitethrilled! It's gratifying that so many people have given afirst, unknown author a chance. Probably the best part ofpublication has been learning that the writing was not a one wayline of communication. People are reading what I wrote. Thosewords aren't locked up in some drawer or cast out into a vacuum.There are living, breathing people at the other end, and that'swhat gives the story and characters continuity and life.
Q: What can you reveal about the sequel to Green Rider, Mirrorof the Moon?
A: I am hesitant to reveal much about the sequel while I'm stillworking on it. Even the best laid plans may go awry during thecreating process, or get changed during the revision and editingphases. Everything is subject to change. Even "Mirror of theMoon" is a working title only. I may find some more apt titlealong the way.
That said, I can reveal that the sequel takes place two yearsafter the events of GREEN RIDER, and that it carries on theadventures of Karigan G'ladheon and the Green Riders. Certainplot threads that were not entirely knotted off in the firstbook will be woven into the sequel. Many familiar characterswill be active participants in the sequel, as well as some brandnew characters who will be introduced.
Q: What do you see as the main theme of this series?
A: If I had to pick a main theme, I believe it would be abouthow easily we forget the lessons of the past. History repeatsitself, often for the worse. My eternally-lived Eletians observein the sequel that humans have short memories because they are(comparatively) short-lived. Much that was once known has beenlost or changed as one generation transitions to the next, oftento the detriment of the current generation.
A secondary but important theme might be how one person caneffect change. I believe that fantasy, with all its archetypes,is one of the most empowering forms of literature.
Q: What sort of things would you like to accomplish in thefuture?
A: For starters I'd like to finish the sequel!
And continue writing. For me, it is a passion. To stop writingwould be like amputating a part of me, and for the time being,I'm still intrigued by the Green Riders and their world. I wouldlike the series to be a really strong and memorableaccomplishment.
One day, when I have only one career to work, I'd like to getinvolved in some causes I'm interested in, in a meaningful way,and perhaps, like the sub-theme of the series, effect change forthe better in the real world. In the meantime, I'm finding ithard to find time just to clean the kitty litter!
Q: What have been your major inspiration sources and how havethey influenced your writing?
A: JRR Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, and Lloyd Alexander were earlyfantasy inspirations. But I have read, and do read, a variety ofauthors and titles (as time allows) within and without thegenre. Anything I read inspires me one way or the other, andbecause I've written a book myself, I am much more criticalabout what I read. My other major inspiration is the naturalworld, which I think is evident in the setting for GREEN RIDER.I worked out many plot problems while hiking, walking, andbiking through the woods and over mountains, or sitting by thesea. I think spending time outdoors really sinks into thatcreative place in my subconscious.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
A: The internet has provided me with a venue to post a website(www.angelfire.com/ky/karigan) where readers have an opportunityto check out sample chapters and get the latest news. E-mail hasits particular uses. I enjoy hearing from readers, and it's agreat way to communicate with publishing people on the businessend of things. I have found some useful writing resources, too,but generally my life is spent so much in front of a computerfor both careers, that I don't use much time to surf or wadethrough endless possibilities for research material. I'd ratherbe outside beneath the sun or moon, smelling the woods after arainstorm, or paddling a quiet pond at sunset. Out there in thereal world, where I can feel the breeze on my face, that's wherethe stories are.