A couple of weeks ago my friend and mystery writer Vicki Delany tagged me to do a Blog Hop – which for those of you who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, is a kind of chain letter, blog style. I get tagged by a friend, I tag some friends, and so on. Vicki can be found at http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.ca/ as well as any bookstore near you. I’ll do some tagging of my own at the end of this piece, but in the meantime, let me answer some questions.
- What am I working on?
Boy, am I tempted to say “Chapter 18” and move on to question 2, but that wouldn’t be polite, would it? Seriously, I am about to read over the current version of chapter 18 of a project called Halls of Law. That’s the working title, at least, and it may end up being the over-all title of a projected two-book series. This is a fantasy novel all right, but it going to be a bit of a departure for me, and is coming out under my new/old name, VM Escalada. In Spain I’ve always been Violette Malan Escalada to the rest of my family, but as you may have noticed, here in North America, we don’t usually use both surnames – which works out well for me.
- How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The thing that interests me most about the world is people . . . okay, chocolate, but really, no, people. I love sword fighting, and I love the supernatural and paranormal aspects of fantasy worlds, but what I really love is who people are, how they connect with one another, how they decide what’s important to them, and where they’ll draw the line. As a woman, and as a person who’s been in a good, long-standing relationship, my books also tend toward having a strong female presence, and good, long-standing relationships, but of course I’m not the only writer doing that.
- Why do I write what I do?
I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll have occasion to say it again: it’s my belief that fantasy fiction in particular is one of the last places where protagonists can act honourably, without their attitudes or their actions being treated ironically. That’s the kind of book I want to write.
- How does my writing process work?
In general terms, I start with characters, and work outward from there. The germ of most of my work is a dialogue, and from there I can figure out, sometimes quite slowly, who these people are, what kind of problem they’re facing, and even how they’re going to go about dealing with the problems. In practical terms, I have a fixed writing schedule, though it doesn’t necessarily involve actual writing, in that I might be revising, editing, or doing research. For Halls, for example, I had to read up on Roman legions. I try to work every day, and on the days that it’s impossible, I try at the very least to think over the book in progress, to keep the characters and their situations fresh in my mind until I can get back to them.
Keeping my answer to question 3 in mind, I’d really like to recommend Howard Andrew Jones to you. Howard is probably best known for his books set in the Pathfinder universe, but I have a special feeling for The Desert of Souls, and The Bones of the Old Ones, set in the world of the Arabian Nights. You can find Howard at: http://www.howardandrewjones.com/