I'm very excited to have the lovely Rowena Cory Daniells stopping by for a return visit to celebrate the publication of her latest, the fourth and final chapter in the saga King Rolen's Kin. For more details on King Breaker, stick around for the synopsis following Rowena's interview, and then be sure to stop by next Friday for my review.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by again, Rowena – hard to believe it’s been over a year since you stopped by to chat about The Price of Fame. For those who missed your first visit, or who may be new to your writing, please tell us a little about yourself.
(Me at 15 with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Wish I could reach out and tell her it all comes out right in the end)
Q: The fantasy genre is ever-evolving, with various sub-genres vying for spotlight, but it always seems to come back to the traditional epics, full of magic, monsters, and heroes. What do you think it is about those stories that keep bringing readers back?
A: We need stories that give us hope. In the golden days of science fiction the classic authors wrote upbeat stories about space travel: to boldly go… etc. Now we live on a planet where the news saturates us with horror stories and big business seems to control politicians. Dude, where’s my Flying Car?
Yet people post pictures of their cats, kids and gardens on the internet and start petitions to try to right the world’s wrongs. We need to believe there is hope. Big fat fantasy epics give us a glimpse of worlds where virtue is rewarded and those who are pure of heart triumph. What’s not to like about that?
Q: King Rolen's Kin is a bit of an unusual trilogy, in that it ended with many of the core conflicts unresolved. Was that intentional – i.e. did you always know that a fourth book would be coming – or was it just the way the story arrived upon the page?
A: KRK wasn’t really a trilogy in a traditional sense. I wrote three books of what I thought be an ongoing series, then thought, wait a minute, I’d better see if anyone wanted to publish this. I always intended for there to be more KRK.
Q: That makes sense. If we can talk a bit about The Kings Man for a moment, where did that novella come from? Did you set out to bridge The Usurper and King Breaker with something separate, or did that particular story just not fit into either novel?
A: In the front of The King’s Man there is a dedication: To Leanne, who refused to believe that Garzik was dead. Leanne was my work colleague and she really enjoyed KRK except for what happened to Garzik. As soon as she turned around to me and said, But Garzik can’t be dead, I knew he wasn’t.
After that it was just a matter of finding out what had happened to him. So I wrote The King’s Man for Solaris, who wanted more KRK to bridge the gap between the trilogy and the next book. I worked alongside Leanne for a year while all this was going on, never letting her know what I was up to. Then when The King’s Man came out, I sent her a copy. She got such a surprise when she saw the dedication.
Q: That's a great story - I love it! Aside from Leanne's surprise, what has been the strangest or most surprising reader reaction to your work that you've encountered to-date?
A: Ten minutes ago a comment arrived on my blog. A couple had discovered my books and read both trilogies. The wife told me her husband had ADHD and it’s normally hard for him to read a complete book but he’d really enjoyed mine.
This makes writing worthwhile.
Q: Your work has (not surprisingly) been long-listed and short-listed for a number of awards, including the Ned Kelly Award and the Gemmell Legend Awards. Clearly, being nominated for any award must be a huge thrill, but is there one award that you secretly long for, a trophy on the mantle that would top all others?
A: You know what would top everything? Being able to give up the day job and write full time. And if you could throw in someone to do the washing and cooking that would be great!
Q: Boy, way to put things in perspective (LOL). To turn from pen to page for a moment, is there a particular author who continues to influence and inspire you, or someone who just refreshes your literary batteries?
A: I do love reading but I’ve been taking a break from fiction and I’ve been doing a lot of research. Sometimes you need to let the brain lie fallow and feed it a mix of rich nutrient so that when you come back to writing (or whatever you do) you feel refreshed and inspired.
A: This came up in The Price of Fame and the main character said what I would say. I’d like to see some complete unknowns play the roles because not only would it give someone a break, but it would mean the audience wasn’t seeing a famous star play the character, they would be seeing the character battling great odds. And that’s what I like to do, challenge my characters.
In King Breaker I really put Byren through the wringer. I hope readers enjoy seeing how he faces up to adversity.
On that rather fitting note, Rowena, we'll let you go to put some laundry through the wringer instead, so you can get back to creating heroes and villains. :)
Thanks again for stopping by.
King Rolen's Kin: King Breaker
by Rowena Cory Daniells
Paperback, 782 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Solaris
The conclusion to the hugely popular King Rolen's Kin series!
The story of Byron, Fyn and Piro picks up immediately where the cliff-hanging ending of The Usurper let off! When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives, now they’ve rallied and set out to avenge their parents' murder.
Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, now she holds the fate of a people in her hands
Be sure to check back next Friday for my review!