This month we Quills are sharing about some of our favorite reads. I wonder what Robin and Parker came up with. Read on to find out!
Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies, has something for us. Here goes . . .
I so enjoy doing our regular “Books We Love” posts! Do I pull one of the (usually older) books off my library shelves? Or do I choose something (usually newer) from my e-reader? I love revisiting my favorite books—and I love exploring new ones! Decisions, decisions . . .
You’ll be happy to know I made one.
What did Robin choose? Find out here.
P.S. Broaddus is the author of A Hero's Curse.
Today our group is writing about books we love. I had to wrestle with what to recommend. I just finished Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and the ever phenomenal Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. But today I'm especially excited to get to recommend Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.
Read on to find out more here.
In truth, posts about “books we love” are a bit difficult for me. This is due to two oddly co-existing—yet seemingly entirely contrary—truths: (1) there are so many I love; and (2) it is so difficult to find one that I love. How is this possible?
There are numerous changes going on in the publication world, which means that one cannot always have a sense of certainty in advance as to whether a book will be worth the time and expense. Still, there is so much out there to read! So, I’m going to step back in time.
In truth, the books that most often stick with me, are those deemed to be classics. I’ve always believed that most of the classics are identified as such for a reason. For me, that reason is that there is something lasting about each of the tales—something that sticks with me. The message that I take away may not be the message the author initially intended, but there you have it! For example:
with Les Miserables, it is the beauty of self-sacrifice;
for Tess of D’ubervilles, it is the bitter result that may come as the consequence of sheer happenstance, when a note intended to be delivered in time, instead slips under a rug, only to be discovered a long time later (and “too late”);
with The Count of Monte Cristo, it is the almost fairytale-like feel of a prison escape and the discovery of a fortune;
with Great Expectations, it is the hatred Miss Havisham holds for men and how she passes that on to an innocent child who suffers as a result;
with Crime and Punishment, it is the darkness of a society and the workings of a man’s conscience;
and with Pride and Prejudice (and for that matter, all Jane Austen tales), it is the inner-workings of interpersonal relationships in closely knit communities of a particular age. Each of these tales left a permanent mark on my memory.
Thus, I’ve decided to go with one of them this time around.
I think I’ve read pretty much all of Edith Wharton’s works. I find her renditions of the peculiarities of high society in the early 20th century, intriguing. One I found particularly compelling was The House of Mirth.
Following “poor-rich” Lily Bart, who had only been taught one thing—how to be beautiful—mesmerized me. When Lily loses both parents and is an orphan without a fortune, she finds herself at the mercies of friends and relatives. Men want something from her, women hate her for her availability and beauty, and she deems it impossible to find a future with her soul mate because they would be without economic resources. Lily experiences advances she feels are violations, and her friends’ rejections. Eventually, she must find work—but with few skills, she does not do well. In the end, the reader may be left wondering: was her death accidental, or a suicide?
Here is an interesting article on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/books/21wharton.html.
Knowing Lily’s story helps me appreciate the changes in our society. I’ve seen many of them—my daughters will benefit significantly from them. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
So, what are your favorite tales?
This time around, we Quills take on the questions: Do we plan our characters in advance? Or in the moment? And how do we keep track of them all, anyway?
First up, is P.S. Broaddus, author of A Hero's Curse. Here’s what Parker has to say . . .
Characters are great fun. Don't we all have our favorites? Maybe we love their wit, or clueless misadventures--I'm looking at you Bertie Wooster. Sometimes it's a character we relate to: I'm fond of Monk, the tightly wound, obsessive-compulsive detective.
Many of my stories are character driven--which means I'm constantly surrounded by . . . you guessed it . . . characters.
So the question comes up regarding how these personalities come to life. Do I plan them in advance? Do they spring into being in the moment? How do I keep track of them?
Take Essie Brightsday, a young blind girl and the protagonist of A Hero's Curse. How did she get here?
Read more here.
Find Parker's site here.
Thank you, Parker! (I, too, am a BIG Monk fan!)
Now, lets see what Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies, has for us this time around . . .
The answers are… Yes. And it depends! (Oops, my questionable sense of humor is showing!)
I tend to flesh out a few key characters briefly, but they grow from that organically. Every now and then random characters stroll into the story uninvited. I am not a fan of those “Get to Know Your Character” worksheets with a bazillion trivial questions, but I occasionally find them helpful when a necessary character refuses to take shape.
I do not have a shortage of inspiration. There are just so many interesting real people and characters from stories and movies from which I can pick little details! For example…
Read more here.
Finally, here are my thoughts . . .
Oh, the fun of writing! When it comes to character creation: there are no rules! Sometimes, a character comes to mind, nearly fully formed. This might happen in particular, for those key parties who engage in the most important activities in a story. But even then, they can surprise me. The character may turn out to be an unexpected whiner, or to have an unusual sense of humor, or to manage success in the face of unexpected odds. Those things tend to happen quite by chance! For example, I have one minor character in my first story who I realized near the end, almost never said anything, although he was present for a goodly portion of the tale. Rather than go back and put words in his mouth, I made that characteristic something about him that others recognized. By the time the third book of the series came around, one of the main protagonists refers to him as “Samuel the Silent,” sharing her “secret childhood moniker” for him. It wasn’t something I planned—it just . . . happened.
Occasionally, I create a character around someone from real life. In truth, that usually happens when I have something to say that might not be so nice to say . . . Oh, the fun of getting to speak my mind through the pages of my fantasy adventures!
With all that, most characters are not quite so central to a story. Often the real fun here is in introducing someone whose presence the story requires, and then waiting to see what he or she does. From time to time, a party will so surprise me, that I have to give him or her a much more important role than I’d originally intended.
All this is to say that for the most part, for me, characters develop as the story progresses. But even then, there are no hard and fast rules . . .
As to keeping track of characters, that’s another matter altogether. Whether I’m writing in a “word” program, or with Scrivener, I keep a constant record of any new character when I introduce the person. If I share physical characteristics, I make note of those. If I name them for a specific purpose, or because the name has a meaning of importance to me, I include that. As things move on, I add notes about the type of weapon the person uses, where the person is from, the names of his/her parents or siblings, or even of the horse the person rode in on (should any of those things come to be shared).
I use my characters lists regularly, to keep the details of my characters true throughout. I also include notes of things I think they will do, or purposes I expect they will serve in the future. And it’s a good thing that I do, too, because sometimes those issues are of extreme importance later—and had I not noted them, I might otherwise have forgotten them!
For example, when I started book three of The Oathtaker Series, (now—finally—with a title, namely, Ephemeral and Fleeting), I was stuck at the very beginning. There was a key issue that I had to resolve before I could even get through the first scene. In fact, I’d known details of that scene for some time. I knew it was unquestionably the way the story had to open—even though I was saddened by what was going to happen. But I had to resolve a central problem in order to complete that scene. I struggled for the answer. Then, when looking back at an old character list, there it was, in bold black and white. I discovered that, years prior, I’d made notes of the answer to the central issue/problem, not only of that opening scene, but of the entire tale. From the second I discovered my old note, it took me all of five months to write the almost 140,000 word tale—the crux of which depended on that note. So, most certainly, I do keep such a list! I cannot imagine writing without one!
How about you? Do you write? What tools do you use for character development?
Happy New Year, everyone! This month, each of us at A Drift of Quills, is interviewing one of our characters. Stick around for all the fun!
First up is P.S. Broaddus, author of A Hero's Curse.
It’s been a year since A Hero’s Curse made its debut and twelve-year-old Essie Brightsday stepped out from between the pages. To mark the anniversary, I sat down with her to talk about what she thought of being brought to life, what it was like having a talking cat, and where she saw herself in five years.
She laughs at the last question and smoothes the red cloudsilk bandana that’s over her eyes.
E: Well, having a talking cat sounds great, but that’s just because you haven’t been lectured by one.
P.S.: That’s not true. I think cats lecture, whether they speak Lingua Comma or not. It’s just what they do. A lot of readers want to know more about your blindness, about how you interact with it on a daily basis.
E: It’s not really something I think about, you know? I mean...
Find out more here.
Next up, is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies and her newest release, Blood and Shadow. What have you for us today, Robin?
Let me introduce you to our guest, Bairith Mindar, a principle character in my book Blood and Shadow. He is a nobleman by fate, by birth, and by strength of character. His slight build, angular features, and graceful manner suggest elvish descent. One does not ask such things in polite society. Not straight out…
Bairith confesses that he is a mage, though when asked what spheres he can manipulate he deflects the question with a smile and an elegant gesture…
Find out more from Robin and her guest here.
Finally, here I am, Patricia Reding, coming to you with A Drift of Quills, and on behalf of Scripta Manent Publishing, where “Written Words Remain.” Today I bring you my long anticipated interview with the renowned Lucy Haven of The Oathtaker Series. Lucy, as many of you know, is the oldest living person known in Oosa, having survived the deaths of her two former charges. Of course, she has enjoyed the gift of “continued youth” since she first swore to protect a seventh-born of the Select, and will continue to do so for the remainder of her days.
I caught up with Lucy on her way out of sanctuary, following a Council hearing that the twins, Reigna and Eden, arranged after their return from The Tearless. (That is, following the end of Select: The Oathtaker Series, Volume Two). We’re standing outside the residence hall on sanctuary grounds in the City of Light. I must say, the Oathtakers here in the city are all aflutter with news that the twins have been tested and have found Ehyeh’s favor! So, without further ado, here is Lucy Haven.
PR: Miss Haven, welcome. It is a pleasure to see you.
Lucy: Thank you. It’s always a pleasure to be here. And please, call me "Lucy."
PR: Certainly. Thank you. Well, Lucy, what exciting news about the twins! Yes?
Lucy: Oh, Patricia, you have no idea. I’ve been working for this for . . . many long decades. There were times I thought I’d never see it, but indeed those twins prophesied about, have truly come into their own.
(*Lucy brushes aside her short, curly brown hair. She is truly lovely, with an appearance almost cherubic, you might say.*)
Their birth signs have returned, as have their scents—which are simply glorious! Reigna’s is a lovely combination of orange, violet, iris and jasmine, accompanied by cedar, sandal and oakmoss. Not to be outdone, Eden’s fragrance is reminiscent of jasmine, bergamot and orange, with hints of warm musk. Just standing in the same room with one of them . . . Well, words cannot describe.
PR: It’s all so exciting to hear. But, Lucy, it is your plans that our followers most want to know about at this time. So, do tell, will you be staying in the city?
Lucy: Actually, no. The twins want to head to the palace of the Select in Shimeron. Fortunately, Basha and Therese stopped by there recently. I understand the place was in a shambles. Anyway, they cleaned and re-arranged some things, in anticipation of Reigna and Eden’s return to their ancestral home. So now, the girls, Mara, Dixon, and a host of additional Oathtakers and Select will set off with a caravan. I will, of course, accompany them. I expect we’ll be on our way within days. (*Lucy sighs, heavily.*) In truth, I’m not looking forward to the traveling, but some things can’t be helped.
PR: How long has it been since you’ve been to Shimeron?
Lucy: Oh, goodness, it’s been . . . (*Lucy pauses, thinking.*) Well, I haven’t stopped there since some years before Rowena left there, pregnant with the twins. So, for sure it has been more than two decades, anyway.
PR: Rumor has it that there were some disagreements during the Council meeting that you just left.
Lucy: Well, yes, that’s true. But you know, the more I think on what Reigna and Eden had to say, the more certain I am that they were right. (*Lucy’s blue eyes flicker.*) You see, I had thought it necessary to hold someone accountable for the fact that they were left for a time without protection. Of course, Mara could hardly be faulted for her situation . . . (*Lucy shakes her head.*) But Dixon . . . Well, in truth—and in retrospect—I guess I can appreciate why he acted as he did. In the end, the twins, as they pointed out, had to go through the trials they experienced. Without them, they might never have found Ehyeh’s favor. (*She flashes a wan smile.*)
PR: Understood. So, Lucy, with this threat from Chiran facing Oosa at the moment, I expect you’ll be caught up in preparing a response.
Lucy: (*Lucy looks away—almost as though she’s unable to meet my gaze.*) Ahhh, yes, that’s right.
PR: Well, I have confidence in the twins and the Oathtakers. I’m sure you all will beat back the Chiranian threat.
Lucy: If we do not, I hesitate to think of the dark days to come. (*Lucy shudders.*)
PR: So, on a brighter note, our followers really want to know—where do you see yourself in five years?
(*Lucy’s eyes flash my way. Her jaw sets. Then, she shakes her head, bites her lip. Finally, she looks down. I wonder, is she hiding something?*)
Lucy: Now, that’s a difficult question to answer, Patricia. You see, Ehyeh has informed me of things to come and . . . (*She swallows hard.*) Suffice it to say, I am destined to experience significant changes in the near future.
PR: Anything you’d care to share? I’m sure our audience would love to know the details.
Lucy: Well, of course, I must discuss this all with the twins and Mara first. So, no, I’m sorry to say, I’m not at liberty to discuss the details at this time.
PR: No hint, even?
Lucy: (*Following a long, silent pause.*) Let’s just say that my current goal is to help prepare the twins and the Oathtaker troops for the battle to come. I want them able to act in the event I’m . . . (*She swallows hard.*) In the event I’m . . . unable. So, I’m sorry, but really, I can't say more and I must be running now.
PR: Certainly, Lucy. Thank you so much for your time.
PR: Well, there you have it, followers—Lucy Haven on the latest news. She’s been a mighty force in Oosa for the longest time. Still, I can’t help but get the impression that she’s concerned for her immediate future. What did you think? Hopefully, we’ll get some answers in Volume Three of The Oathtaker Series, which I understand is scheduled for release sometime in the first quarter of 2017.
Until next time, then, may Ehyeh bless you all. Thank you for stopping by today!
We are delighted to bring you this opportunity to be a winner this holiday season! See my home page for details.
What fun! With November upon us, as the landscape turns a bit . . . bleak, and as it seems to give off somewhat “maudlin” vibes, we Quills have taken up the subject “PICTURE THIS!” Each of us will share a picture or two of something that represents a person, place, or thing, from one or more of our stories.
First up, is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies. What have you got for us today, Robin?
Making up worlds is one of the best things about writing in the fantasy genre. It’s also hard work! There’s a lot of space for the fantasy author to let their imagination run wild, but we also need to tether our settings to a reality the average reader can relate to.
My short story, The High Roads, opens in the woods as night approaches . . .
Read more here.
P.S. Broads, author of A Hero's Curse, has some things to share with us. What say you, Parker?
Long have images stirred my imagination. I recall flipping through dusty old classics looking for illustrations. I would sit and stare at the The Chronicles of Narnia, or histories on Greek myth, entranced by the sketches within.
But images do more than keep me flipping through my tattered copy of Treasure Island--are what start the whole story for me. C.S. Lewis talked about the same. When discussing how he came to write the books of Narnia, he wrote that they “all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.” My own storytelling is similar. I write from images in my head. For me it was the picture of a young blind girl standing in the desert, listening to a long awaited storm rolling in . . .
For more, click here.
Now, for my thoughts . . .
The Oathtaker Series is set in a medieval sort of time. Of course, as it is a fantasy, it does not correlate to any actual historical age in our world. Thus, as the author, I had the pleasure of making it exactly what I wanted to be. With a fantasy, the author chooses all of the details of that world in which the tale is set. So, that world is what the author says it is—nothing more, and nothing less. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what technology might be available, how people dress, what they eat—or even, the language they use, or the way they speak. (Few of us could read the languages actually spoken in our world during the medieval period anyway, so why pretend to write in a manner exactly representative of those days?) Consequently, “medieval” is not an altogether apt description of Oosa, the land of the Oathtakers and Select.
I’ve decided to share pictures of a couple of buildings from my tales. While I, of course, cannot find an exact picture of any of them, here is a description of the wayfarers’ hut in which the twins, Reigna and Eden, are born, from the opening chapter of Oathtaker: The Oathtaker Series, Volume One:
"The wayfarers’ hut stood at a distance of about twenty long strides. Branches of the great oak in which she sat reached out and over the hut, which was old and nearly hidden among the surrounding brush and trees.
Something over ten-foot square and about as high, the building sported a dilapidated exterior. Its lower walls were made of mottled red-brown river rock packed together with clay from the nearby riverbed. Moss covered, it had begun to decay from a combination of age, weather, and neglect. Ivy surrounded the structure, holding to it tenaciously, as though it intentionally, maliciously, pursued the building’s demise.
The hut had no windows, only a small opening near the roof that served to allow smoke and heat an escape, and a single low door, rounded at the top, likely barred from the inside. Though wayfarers traditionally used such huts in days past, few of the cabins remained standing. This one had withstood the test of time—if only barely."
This picture is of something close to the hut. It is not of red-brown river rock, and is missing the rounded door, but it has the right “flavor.”
By contrast, the sanctuaries in Oathtaker, are grand buildings. Here, readers learn, the Select and their Oathtakers study, train, worship, and fellowship with one another. Here is the bit of a description from when Mara and Dixon are traveling to Polesk, when she gets her first glimpse of the city from a distance:
"Mara looked out at the largest city she’d ever seen. People on horseback and traveling in carriages moved through, giving life to the surroundings like blood through arteries. Houses at the fringes sported small vegetable gardens where scratching chickens milled about. Farther in were larger buildings. Each seemed to rise higher than the one before, as though in a silent contest to determine which was the tallest. In the city’s center stood the largest and highest of them all.
'Sanctuary,' he said, following her gaze and answering her unasked question.
'It’s huge!' Even from this distance, she could make out its grounds, like a park in the midst of which, sanctuary stood like a beacon to all who sought refuge from worldly cares. Made of white brick, it sported a towering spire that rose up, and up, and up into the air."
Of course, the picture shows a cross at the top of the steeple, which would not be there, but the picture also shows something of a round globe which would be correct. In any case, again, you get the idea!
It would be fun to see what you pictured when you read these portions. Please, do share with me!
Stay tuned for our next Quills post!
It’s October. The leaves are falling, the air is turning cooler by the day, and it is time for we Quills to post for the month. This time around, we’ve decided that we’d each choose a single author with whom we’d like to sit down to have lunch—and why.
P. S. Broaddus (aka Parker), author of A Hero's Curse, you're up first!
During a recent interview, I mentioned my favorite storytellers, and I even had to decide which author I’d want as company in a submarine.
This go around, it’s lunch with an author from the past. Over hamburgers we’d talk about habits and describe growing up. We’d finish off with a milkshake and chat about what informed their writing.
It’s a heavy decision, obviously. I mean, you have to agree on where to eat. My pick may surprise you, but I think you’ll follow my reasoning . . .
Read more here.
Next up, is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies. What do you think, Robin?
Choosing a single author to sit down and have a chat with is as bad as choosing your favorite book! Or color! Or child! There is a spectacular list to choose from, and stalking up and down between my bookshelves left me dizzy with indecision.
If I were to choose someone from the past, what kind of language and societal hurdles would we face when we tried to communicate? That’d be a whole conversation right there, but let’s assume we’ve been endowed with translation devices so we’ll both be on the same page (pun alert!). In that case…
Read more here.
Is it my turn now? Is it really my turn now? Yes! So . . . here goes!
This might be the most difficult question presented yet! There are so many logistics to consider. If I choose someone no longer living, just how would the two of us arrange this lunch? Where would we meet? On this side of the divide? Or the other? (Oh, imagine!) If I choose someone whose native language is neither English nor Sarcasm (which is to say, not one I speak), how will we understand one another? Use some instant translation program? (Oh, I can see the problems arising from that already!)
Even assuming all the “how and where” details can be arranged, I have to consider whether I’d rather have lunch with a famous historical figure/politician who also happened to have a gift for words (Abraham Lincoln? Ronald Reagan? (Whatever your politics, you cannot read or hear him without recognizing his gift for communicating!)), or if I’d like to have a few laughs (Mark Twain?), or if I might like to discuss how that author’s writings fit into the then-current social order (Victor Hugo?), or if I’d like to get a close-up look at a place that has long intrigued me (Fyodor Dostoyevsky? Leo Tolstoy? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn?)
In the end, I’ve decided to go with Charles Dickens because—well, because he’s both serious and funny, and because his stories touched on social issues that he exercised considerable influence over, ultimately leading to societal changes on both sides of the big pond.
I can see it now. Charles and I would sit at a table laden with roast goose, gravy, plum pudding (what is that, anyway?), and Gin Punch—or perhaps, a Smoking Bishop (“Say, what?” you ask? I confess, I have no idea.), and we’d delve into the issues.
In the end, I suspect I’d find myself saying: “Please, sir, I want some more.”
How about you? With whom would you choose to lunch?
It is September—and time for we Quills to get together for our joint post. This month we are sharing our thoughts about some of our favorite reads.
Well, Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies, I can just imagine you mulling this one over. What have you come up with for us?
After standing in front of my bookshelves tapping my chin and saying “Hmm… Hmm…” several times, I finally chose Fortress in the Eye of Time, by C.J. Cherryh, the first of her incredible “Fortress” series. Dontcha love when there’s a whole string of scrumptiousness lined up when you get to the end of a book and wish for more?
Read more here.
Next up is our newest member, P.S. Broaddus, author of A Hero’s Curse. So, Parker, what witty things do you have for us this time?
We are fond of our pets. We have a dog, Indiana, (Indiana Jones reference, anyone? “We named the dog Indiana!”), who is one part funny, two parts hardheaded, but all three parts loving (Remember The Incredible Journey? We thought we were getting Shadow but Indy is really more like Chance). So when you find a tale (oh no, puns…) with talking animals, there is nothing to do but read and share.
Read more here.
Now, it's my turn! It’s my turn! So, here are my thoughts---
For my part, I’m going to share about the work of an author I met at the Literary Classics awards ceremony this past April. Amalie Jahn writes YA sci-fi. In her debut novel, The Clay Lion, Jahn asks young readers to consider what they might do if they could go back in time to save someone they love. I previously reviewed The Clay Lion, and would like to share some of my thoughts with you now.
You know how, when you listen to a symphony, all of your senses are engaged? You catch the sight of the furious violinists; the feel of the pounding percussion beneath your feet; and the various different parts that if you heard individually, you might wonder at. However could they all come into accord? Yet, when you hear the “whole,” they do. For me, reading is a similar experience. I look for things that are different from what I’ve read before, that are engaging and memorable, but I want the pieces to flow together smoothly. For me, The Clay Lion, hit every note with perfect pitch and with inimitable timing.
Brooke and her brother, Branson, share a sincere love and friendship. So when Branson, who is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, dies, Brooke is devastated. After investigating the potential causes of his illness, she travels back in time in an attempt to stop the events that brought about his illness. But along the way, she discovers that playing with time and events can have some devastating consequences—and that some things are meant to be. Even the pain that we experience has a purpose, as it can teach us about far more than merely suffering. In Brooke’s case, her loss teaches her to (as the author herself might say) “live in the present.”
I highly recommend the multi-award winning, The Clay Lion, for both teens and adults!
Reviewed for Readers' Favorite.
* * * * *
Alex Craigie’s debut work, Someone Close to Home, opens eerily, as his subject’s eyes flick, flick, flick . . . Shortly, readers learn that Megan Youngblood, a world-renowned pianist, is hospitalized, unable to communicate. Without an adversary to speak on her behalf, she suffers the unkindnesses—and in some situations, outright intentional infliction of harm—brought on by those in whose care her son and daughter left her. As Megan recalls scenes from her past, which are centered around her overbearing and manipulative mother, and later, of a cruel and abusive husband, Craigie fills in the blanks. Megan suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. Megan finds, as the author suggests, that, “True and desperate loneliness is to be found in the unwanted company of others.” In the absence of her best friend, Claire, and Gideon, an old friend and love interest who had recently re-entered her life, Megan experiences the kind of nightmare that would keep anyone awake and fearful. For her, the situation grows darker as the story progresses, when Anna, a member of the staff with a personal grudge against her as a consequence of her mother’s actions, returns after a short time away.
While showcasing the kinds of outrages that can occur in care facilities that run on inadequate funds and without appropriate supervision and management, Someone Close to Home is actually a story of the human spirit—of rising above adversity, of coming to grips with one’s prejudices, of learning to forgive and to love. Alex Craigie presents a tale that will keep readers turning pages quickly. Even while fearing from time to time, what is to come, hope remains that Megan will be freed from the prison of her mind and body. I predict that readers will be watching for more from this gifted writer, as I know that I will!
I swear the earth tilts back and forth (hence, our seasonal changes) faster and faster all of the time! Can you believe it is August already? Well, with the first Friday of the month comes the post for A Drift of Quills.
This is a particularly exciting time, as we Quills just added a new member, Parker Broaddus, who publishes under the name, P.S. Broaddus. And wouldn't you know it? Parker, like Robin, is blessed with an incredible sense of humor. (Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit like chopped liver . . .)
In celebration of Parker's joining us, we decided we would interview him.
Here are his initial comments. (Did I mention that he has a sense of humor?):
After a rigorous training program, several severe examinations, and a truth serum administered by Professor Snape, I've been asked to join the writing group, A Drift of Quills. They are really nice, lots of fun, and super talented. And they like second breakfast. Bilbo Baggins was a part of their group for a while before he took off for the Grey Havens.
They asked if I would be willing to sit down for a short interview. We started talking about reading and writing but ended up talking about myth, legend, Tig's sarcasm and the sequel to A Hero's Curse.
Welcome, Parker! Now, here's your first question(s): What are your earliest memories of reading as a child? Did you visit a library regularly? A bookmobile? How did that impact your life as a reader and/or writer?
I recall reading quite a bit as a kid. One of my earliest favorites was Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry. I loved it! I drifted toward adventure stories and we had a whole shelf of G.A. Henty's historical novels that I enjoyed. I read Treasure Island several times but I particularly loved the fantastical. Alas, we didn’t have much in the way of fantasy, but at least we had the best: The Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite continues to be The Horse and His Boy. Harry Potter didn't come out until I was nearly grown, and I didn't take the chance to read them until I got to college.
If we’re talking about formative stories, I have to mention a 1920 reprint of the 1907 original copy of The Myths of Greece and Rome by H. A. Guerber. I found the stories, illustrations, and themes, brutal, epic and fascinating. It developed in me a love for myth that was later molded and defined by Lewis and Tolkien.
As for library visits or book mobile interactions, not so much. We lived on a cattle ranch about 80 miles from the city library. I remember it being interesting and fun the couple of times we went to the library, but what we really enjoyed doing was reading and re-reading the books we already owned. Like C.S. Lewis said about re-reading old favorites: “I probably do it too much. It is one of my greatest pleasures: indeed I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, Letter to Arthur Greeves Feb 1932
We may not have made it to the library very often, but that didn’t quell my imagination. I made up stories all the time. Most of the time my younger brother would be the compliant listener and I would regal him with imaginary adventures by the hour.
So there you have it! A glimpse of what reading and storytelling looked like for me as a young whippersnapper. What about our readers? What were your earliest memories of reading as a child?
Find our more about Parker here.
At this point, Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies, and interrogator extraordinaire, takes over the questioning. (Lest you wonder, Parker is seated in a lone chair in the center of a room. Bare walls and hard floors surround him, his hands are tied behind his back, and a bright light is shining in his eyes . . .) Here's Robin:
When we had Parker as a guest on the Quills a few months ago, Patricia and I liked his style and his wonderful sense of humor so much that we hunted him down and trapped him in a dark corner (nix that that part) . . . invited him to join us full time. Much to our surprise (nix that part, as well) delight, he agreed!
By way of introduction, Parker has kindly agreed to be the subject of a mini-view: one question from each of us. (Is it cheating that they’re multiple-part questions?)
What is your most recent published work? Do you have a favorite character from it? If so, who, and why?
Oh, nice. Fun question. My most recent published work is my debut novel, A Hero's Curse, book one of the Unseen Chronicles. It was published this past Christmas, with the audiobook having launched last month, over the 4th of July. A Hero's Curse follows the adventures of Essie Brightsday, a young blind girl, as she attempts to find her kingdom's lost king. The nature and structure of A Hero's Curse pushed Essie and Tig, her sarcastic talking cat to the forefront of the story. They get the most screentime. Essie is a fascinatingly complex young lady, and Tig's dry, sarcastic humor is so akin to my own I can't help but like him. But there are several characters who I really enjoy...(Read the rest on Robin Lythgoe's site!)
Once again, find the rest of Parker's response to Robin's question on her site, here.
This month, we Quills discuss how we find time to write. Thank you for joining us!
First up, is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies. Here are her comments:
Time—we all need more, right? Can I have a secret extra day in the week? Or how about a clone?
I’m one of those blessed souls who theoretically has time. Awesome, right? Mmmmaybe…! Anyone who looked at my life would assume there are great gobs of the stuff lying around, waiting…
Read more on Robin's site here.
I have some thoughts to share, as well. Here they are:
Time in a bottle.
Time will tell.
A time to love, and a time to hate . . .
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .
A time for every purpose under heaven . . .
The time is right . . .
Time and tide wait for no man.
Hey! Have you got the time?
Most would agree, I think, that there never seems to be enough time to go around. So how, in a life filled with family, friends, day jobs, and more, do we find time to write?
I recall as a child, my mother saying that it annoyed her when people asked her how she found the time to do things. With eight—yes, count them, eight—children, she was a busy woman. She always said: “I don’t have time, I make time.” I guess the same is true for me when it comes to my writing. I could fill my hours with many things, but I squeeze in my writing whenever I can. Why? Because the only way I’ll know the end of any of my stories, is if I write them. That is great incentive to keep at it.
I practice law by day. I’ve had the good fortune of working a little less than a full time schedule over the past years. Thus, I’m usually able to say: “Wherever I am, is exactly where I belong.” What I mean by that is that when I’m working, I’m generally not distracted with details about home, and when I’m home, I do my best not to be distracted with office details. I seek not to lose time with either, focusing on the other. Rather, I want to focus on whatever is before me at the time.
The best writing times for me are when everyone else is away—although in truth, that rarely happens. When it does, I covet the hours. With them, I sit at my desk uninterrupted, with my music of choice in the background, pecking away at the keyboard to my heart’s delight. I usually get the better part of a day a week to do that—and sometimes more! I turn on “Robbie,” my robot vacuum cleaner, and get started. Then time does, indeed, fly!
What about you? How do you find—or make—time to write?