Friday, April 7, 2017

Author Interview: Rebecca Roland

Today I would like to welcome Rebecca Roland, author of the Shards of History series! 

What book had the biggest impact on you growing up? 
There were a lot of books I loved while growing up, but the one that pops into mind first is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I was excited to read about a smart girl with glasses (like me!) who had a non-typical family and who went on an amazing and terrifying journey. I connected with Meg Murphy so much. I can hardly wait for the movie to come out, and I've been trying to get my son to read the graphic novel (it's in blue and white tones, and he likes full color, boo).

Could you tell us a bit about your writing process for the Shards of History series? 
I wrote the first book as a stand alone, and I'd spent so many years on that book that when it was done, I was done. But I found myself thinking about the characters and wondering what they were up to. I started coming up with bits and pieces of additional story for them. Eventually I wrote the second book, which ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, thus ensuring I had to write that third book. I also wrote a short stand alone story about Rasmus and how he came to be exiled from his village. At this point, I feel like I went on a grand adventure with the characters, and now they're off living their own lives, sans me.

How did you go about building your story world? 
The first book began as a short story. It wanted to be more, so I wrote more, but I didn't spend a lot of time on world building, and it showed. So after that rough draft, I spent a lot of time thinking about the cultures of the various communities and how they all interacted, then I incorporated all of that into the rewrite. I used that information and kept building on it in books 2 and 3.

What type of books do you read for fun? 
Well, I'm currently taking classes toward my Doctorate, so I haven't been able to read for fun since January. But when I do get to pick up something not related to statistics (excuse me while I sob), then I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, and non-fiction. Last year I finished a reading challenge that made me branch out. I developed a real appreciation and some newfound empathy for people who aren't like me. It was fun, and also a good learning experience.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you’d gotten as a writer? 
One thing that seemed to help me make a breakthrough, and that took an inordinate amount of time for me to try, was to read a lot of short stories and analyze them. Shorts work better than novels for this because you can get through so many. When I sit down to read a short story and look at it critically, I first come up with what the story's about, or the theme. On the surface, it's a heist, but in reality it's a story about family, or integrity. Then I note what I liked about the story, and I note what I didn't like about the story. I try to take the aspects I like (strong characterization, or unique world building, or what have you) and incorporate it into my own stories.

Are you currently working on any new projects? I am very slowly (due to school) working on a new novel. I tried to write a police procedural last year, but no matter how I approached it, I couldn't make it work. So I set that aside, and then this YA dark fantasy novel popped into my head and I've been working on it ever since.

About Rebecca:
Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes primarily fantasy and horror including the Shards of History series. Her short fiction has appeared in Everyday Fiction, Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating way too much chocolate.

Blurb for Shards of History:

Feared and reviled, the fierce, winged creatures known as Jeguduns live in the cliffs surrounding the Taakwa valley. When Malia discovers an injured Jegudun in the pine forest of the valley, she risks everything — exile from the village, loss of her status as clan mother in training, even her life — to befriend and save the surprisingly intelligent creature. But all of that pales when she learns the truth: the threat to her people is bigger and more malicious than the Jeguduns. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy her people. It’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley — a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.


Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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