First up is this one with the author R.F. Long. ~waves to R.F.~ She writes for Samhain Publishing (http://samhainpublishing.com/index.php) and has two books out with them--
THE WOLF'S SISTER
and her most current
THE SCROLL THIEF
Here's a peek into her bio over at Samhain. She lives where I'd love to visit, and I want to know who I have to kill to get her job.
R. F. Long always had a thing for fantasy, romance and ancient mysteries. The combination was bound to cause trouble. In university she studied English literature, history of religions and Celtic civilisation, which just compounded the problem.
She lives in Wicklow, the Garden County of Ireland, and works in a specialised library of rare and unusual books.
But they don’t talk to her that often.
You can learn more about her and contact her through her website: www.rflong.com.
You can also click here: http://samhainpublishing.com/books/the-scroll-thief
and here: http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/the-wolfs-sister
for summaries of these tales and links to excerpts of each one. Go on, you know you want to.
I asked R.F. if she'd answer a few questions for me about her writing process, motivations and what got her into writing in the first place. So, without further adieu...
Q: How did you discover romance fiction?
A: I read fantasy since I was a child – fairy tales, adventures, mythology – and almost all of these contain an element of romance. The first book I really remember as having an impact on me as a reader of romance as well as fantasy was Diana L. Paxon’s The White Raven, a version of the Tristan and Iseult legend. It blew my mind. I loved it.
Q: Do you have any writing experience outside of this genre?
A: I always wrote fantasy. It was my first love. But more and more I found romantic elements in my stories, and in the stories I loved to read. Once I recognized that, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I had been writing the wrong sort of stories, or a least sending them out in the wrong direction. I readjusted my writing to focus more on the romance and it fell together.
Q: Where do you get your ideas or inspiration? Do other people ever suggest the ideas for your stories?
A: I tend to end up having far too many ideas, rather than having to look for them! Inspiration comes from all sorts of different places. Mythology places a fairly large part in my writing so I read a lot of myths and legends. Music also inspires me, helping me build emotion – in writing The Wolf’s Sister, the song “Nature’s Law” by the English band Embrace captured exactly the relationship between my main characters. At the moment, as I start to plan out a second sequel The Wolf’s Destiny, the song “Stand my Ground” by Within Temptation is acting in the same way. It’s great when you listen to a song that just sends a shiver down your spine and you go “yes, that’s it.”
I don’t think I’ve ever had people suggest ideas for my stories yet. I believe that the best person to write such stories are the person who had the idea anyway. They are always most likely to do it the most justice.
Q: Which story was the most difficult to write and why?
A: I have an ongoing WIP, called Moy Tura Echoes. At the moment I have two crit partners, a husband, and several online friends trying to get me to finish it. The problem is it seems to have a mind of its own. I’ve been writing it on and off for a couple of years now, and while its edging forward, its difficult to get through. Not sure why. I have the whole thing mapped out, I know where its going, but its taking its own sweet time. Which is a pain because I think it contains some of the best stuff I have ever written and it’s a story very dear to my heart.
Q: Do you have any favorite authors?
A: At the moment I’m recommending Ariana Franklin to anyone who will listen – a medieval version of Bones. There are only two books – Mistress of the Art of Death and The Death Maze - but they are fantastic. My bookshelf is full of fantasy classics – The Lord of the Rings, Terry Brooks’ Shannara Novels, and Raymond Feist (especially his Empire series with Janny Wurtz).
Q: Are there any particular themes that you find recurring (intentionally or unintentionally) in your stories?
A: Redemption turns up a lot, and atonement for the past. I’m fascinated with the idea of people struggling to make amends for their mistakes. There are also a lot of people keeping secrets. It makes for interesting conflicts.
Q: Was it harder to read romance after you started writing it?
A: Actually I find it harder to read anything since I started writing seriously. I have such a difficult time reading on if a book doesn’t grab me right away. And I’ve very little patience of things like head-hopping. I think that’s to be expected. When you immerse yourself in any craft, you start to notice little things that others would not. But that said, when I come across a really, really good book its such a treasure. I have two small children, I work full time and I write in every other second I can. I don’t have a lot of time for reading even though I love to do it. So I want “that” book – the one I cannot possibly up down. And in turn, I want to write something like that for others.
Q: Would you describe your ideal writing surroundings (food, weather, music, etc.)?
A: Curled up on the sofa, under a blanket, with the cat beside me, the fire in front of me and the laptop on my lap. I also tend to need noise, mainly because I’m no longer used to silence – so I usually have the TV or stereo on as well. And tea. I don’t really exist without a cup of tea.
Q: Do you usually write in a linear fashion or do you write scenes out of order? Does one method work best for you?
A: It depends on the story of course, but over time I have moved from writing linearly but pantsing, to writing out of sequence but also pantsing, to writing out of sequence to a plan, to writing a brief outline and then writing linearly. So I think I’ve gone through every iteration at this sage. They all work in their fashion. The stories present themselves in different ways, so I tend to fall in with whatever the little voices tell me.
Q: What is the writing process like for you? Do you revise as you write, or do you prefer to get a first draft down first, and then revise?
A: I prefer to get the first draft down and then go back over it. However, if something really big has changed, I will tend to either go back and make the change, or make of note of it somewhere (in the margins as it were). There’s always a risk that I’ll start editing before I’ve finished writing, which means I’ll never actually manage to finish. And I have one or two that torment me that way.
Please feel free to leave a comment or a question for R.F. here or at her website. She'll be popping here to see what we're up to and answer any questions you might have. Thanks, R.F.!
Also, many thanks to my bud, scatteredlogic for all her help.