Apologies again, folks, for not updating here much. Between my day job and my new trilogy deadlines, I don’t have a lot of free time for blogging. Still, I’ve done a little blogging and interviewing in order to promote the Dreamblood duology, so here’s a roundup of stuff I’ve said elsewhere, in no particular order.
“The Unexotic Exotic” at The Book Smugglers.
People who read these books may be able to identify with a few traits of each of these characters, but no one will match them all. And that’s fine — because in theory, readers can identify with any character who’s written well enough. In theory. We see the uglier truth in reality, however. We see that boys balk at reading books with girl protagonists. Publishers hesitate to put characters of color on book covers for fear white readers won’t buy them. Even those characters who make the cover are almost never fat, or queer, or old, or visibly disabled. There is a crisis of connection in English-language fiction, and it exists because we — speaking as a lifelong book lover here — have been conditioned to have trouble relating to people substantially different from ourselves.
Instead, at best, we exoticize. At worst, we hate.
This is what the Dreamblood books face. And although I really just want to write a good, exciting fantasy tale about ninja priests, I’d be stupid if I didn’t acknowledge this reality and design my worldbuilding accordingly.
Interview in the Book Smugglers’ monthly newsletter
The Dreamblood is my effort to write traditional epic fantasy, just to see if I could. Problem is, most modern epic fantasy bores me to tears! Too much of it feels to me like it originated as a D&D campaign, with stock characters who have to grind through a stock setting, a magic system that’s supposed to be logical but is really just complicated, and a very foregone conclusion. I would’ve gotten bored halfway through writing one of those. So I had to write the kind of traditional epic fantasy I could enjoy: with a setting that looked nothing like medieval Europe, characters who don’t fit the usual archetypes, and magic that owes less to 3D6 and more to social science and non-Western beliefs about the supernatural. My favorite epic fantasies all do this, as do my favorite ancient epics, so I tried to emulate those.
“Five Things I Now Know About Being a Professional Writer” at my agent’s blog
Sometimes it’s laughable to think of myself as powerful; unless they’re mega-bestsellers, writers are pretty much at the bottom of the hierarchy in the publishing world. But the fact remains, we have more influence than any individual reader. We have — and it’s hard for me to even say this word, because it still feels kind of egotistical to think this way — fans. And ultimately, if our work gets enough attention, we have the power to change the genre itself.
All reviews that I’ve seen so far of The Killing Moon are here. Lumped in a few of The Shadowed Sun, though there aren’t many of those yet. I’ll round them up later.
The Killing Moon made NPR’s summer reading list!
And I made Bookpage’s Ten Women to Watch in 2012!
OK, back to work for me!