Harmony Book Reviews

R.J. Anderson Interview

Posted on: July 16, 2009

I was a HUGE fan of her book, Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter and was absolutely delighted when she agreed to an interview. Her answers are awesome. Enjoy!

1.)    Why faeries? Why not unicorns or zombies or werewolves or humans?
 
I’ve written about this in some depth here, but the short answer is that I wanted to write about creatures who were similar enough to humans to be interested in and even drawn to humans (and not just for their braaaaaains either), yet were inhuman enough themselves to find humans puzzling and mysterious… as well as unexpectedly wonderful.
 
Plus, I’ve always had a soft spot for small faeries, but I really didn’t like the idea of them automatically being perceived as cutesy and silly and not to be taken seriously just because of their small size. Why shouldn’t a small creature be just as dignified – and even dangerous – as a large one, or even more so?
 
2.)    What was your writing process like while writing Spell Hunter? How has it changed from the first draft to the final copy?
 
When I wrote the first draft I hammered out a new chapter every few days, because I had three of my classmates hanging around demanding that I tell them what happened next. I tried to write to the best of my ability (and even rewrote an entire chapter at one point when my readers told me it was “kinda boring”), but nevertheless, the whole process happened pretty quickly.
 
As time went on, however, I began to learn more about what really goes into making a book good enough to publish (as opposed to being good enough for your not-very-critical friends to read). I spent a lot of time tweaking and polishing prose, only to discover that what I really needed was to take the book apart and rebuild it from the ground up – same main character, same basic premise, but it needed higher stakes and more tension in the plot, as well as an emotional journey for my heroine. So I ended up rethinking a lot of my ideas and rewriting large chunks of the story another two or three times, before it became what it is today.
 
3.) What can you tell us about your upcoming books? How many more do you have planned in the series?
 
Wayfarer (known as Rebel in the UK) takes place some fourteen years after the events of Spell Hunter a.k.a. Knife, and the main character is a fifteen-year-old faery named Linden. There’s also a human boy named Timothy who ends up helping Linden in her quest to help the Oakenfolk, and the narration is shared more or less equally between them. However, many of the characters from Book One play a significant role in the story as well, and I think fans of the first book won’t feel cheated in that respect.
 
As for further books in the series, I have an idea for at least one more at this point, but we’ll see how that goes. 
 
4.)    What is your favorite part about creating a fantasy world to write your books in?
 
I think the process of discovery is the most fun for me – writing along, coming to a roadblock in the plot, and beating my head against it for a while before suddenly realizing something about my fantasy world and characters that solves the whole problem and adds a new layer of depth to the story. I love it when that happens, but it almost always takes place while I’m actually writing the book and not at any point before. 
 
5.)    Do you listen to music while you write? Do you create playlist for your books? (If so, feel free to include them) Who are some of your favorite singers/bands?
 
My music collection is sadly out of date right now, most of it from the mid-to-late 80’s and early 90’s – I’m sure (indeed, I know) there are a lot more recent bands that I’d enjoy, but I don’t have the time to hunt them down so I just have to be content with new artists that other people force upon me. 🙂  However, my fellow Debut 2009 author Megan Crewe is a genius when it comes to coming up with appropriate songs, and she made me a brilliant playlist for Spell Hunter a.k.a. Knife that I still enjoy listening to on a regular basis – including the songs “Tree Tops” by Eisley, “Someone’s Daughter” by Beth Orton and “Rock In This Pocket” by Suzanne Vega, all of which are utterly perfect for the story.
 
I’m still putting together my playlist for Wayfarer a.k.a. Rebel at the moment, but I do know at least two songs that are on it – “Glastonbury Song” by the Waterboys and “Too Far Gone” by Sixpence None the Richer are both perfect for my hero Timothy.
 
For myself, my favorite musical artists are Talk Talk (especially their later albums when they got really artsy and not-at-all-commercial), Crowded House, David Sylvian, and more recently Keane. 
 
6.)    What advice do you have for teens who enjoy writing?
 
Keep practicing your writing skills as much as you can, but also make sure you keep reading other people’s books as well – both in and out of the genre you’re trying to write. Find some smart readers who can give you good, helpful advice on how to improve your stories, and use their suggestions to help make your work better – because that’s an absolutely essential discipline if you ever want to become a published author. 
 
7.)    Share one random fact about yourself most people don’t know.
 
I have a scar in my left armpit, which I got from a climbing accident on a playground when I was a kid. Seriously, of all the freakish places… but I am fantastically clumsy and can always find interesting new ways to injure myself, as many of my family and RL friends can tell you.

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1 Response to "R.J. Anderson Interview"

I loved RJ’s first book and can’t wait for Wayfarer to come out!!! Great interview! 🙂

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