I sent a few questions over to fantasy author, Elaine Isaak (The Singer’s Crown, The Eunuch’s Heir–and most recently, The Bastard Queen) Elaine does a lot of local conventions and doesn’t mind helping out newbies. But you still don’t want to be her hero.
1. What was the inception your most recent project? What were your first steps in building that idea into a viable story?
The Bastard Queen is a sequel to The Eunuch’s Heir, so it had two genesis points: first of all, to see how the characters from the previous book aged–the children growing up, the adults taking on new roles, and second, to look at disease as a crisis for both character and culture. I had the idea of the wastrel prince becoming the king, and doting on his bastard daughter–how would she grow up? What place might she have in her society? So I would say the actual plot grew out of exploring her character.
2. What kind of research and/or world-building did you do before beginning?
Much of the world-building was done for the previous books, but I did get to reveal more about the mystical side of the Woodmen, who played only small parts in the past. Also, I was researching the plague for a historical project–was the Black Death really bubonic plague? The anthrax scare was happening around this same time, so that brought concerns about epidemics into the fore.
3. What’s your first-draft process? outline, edit as you go, speed-writing?
I prefer to write a fast draft all the way through. I used to edit yesterday’s pages before starting a fresh day, but I found that I would lose momentum and wind up worrying about choices that may have been mistakes. I now find, when I reach the end of a book, that those mistakes sometimes turn out very well for me.
4. How do you start revisions?
With a lot of kicking and screaming. Seriously, it’s frustrating to put a lot of work into something, then realize that it has to be completely different. Do I scrape it all the way down to the original wood or can I simply apply the right final coat and make it work? If there are large issues, I try to tackle those first rather than polish something that will be cut later.
5. If you could choose a few descriptors that would go in a blurb on the front cover of your book, what would they be?
engaging, moving, traditional fantasy with a twist
6. Where should readers go to find out more about your work?
www.ElaineIsaak.com (there’s even a page where you can find out *why* you don’t want to be my hero!)
7. Care to share a link (aside from your own work) to something amazing you think everyone should see or know about?
Ever wanted to live in a tree? I want one of these! http://www.freespiritspheres.com/