It’s Thursday which means it is time for another author interview. This week I’m talking with Rowena Redman, author of The Kingdoms of Parvery; The Survivor Book 1
Rowena writes Fantasy, and you can learn more about her and her books through her website and social media.
WEBSITE – TWITTER – INSTAGRAM – FACEBOOK
In a faraway fantasy land, nine kingdoms live together peacefully for over 600 years. What difference could one survivor possibly make? Read this first installment of Kingdoms of Parvery to find out.The Survivor
Questions About Writing
What inspired you to start writing?
Writing has always been a part of my life since I was a child. I have always been making up stories mostly for fun with my toys. As I grew up, I began writing some of my made-up tales down. Then later, I tried my hand at writing alternative endings to some of my favorite books.
I had the idea for my first book when I was sixteen and completed it while I was still a teenager. It was flawed and still is, despite a complete rewrite, but I have not given up. I still reread it from time to time to try and make it a book I am proud of. In the meantime, I had another idea for a collection of books based in fantasy land. I began writing the first book in 2019, and now four years later, I am a published author.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to improve my writing voice which is why I chose to go to university to study creative writing. I really enjoyed completing my degree, especially the collaborative creative environment created by my classmates.
It was a long time later that decided to make the leap of becoming a published author. Mostly because I needed the right idea but also because I had to find the courage to share my writing. Putting your books out there can be very daunting, and feeling ready is really important.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Please Bear in mind I have only published one book; I wouldn’t want to start acting like I know everything there is to know. However, my advice to any prospective author would be to decide your own way of doing things. When you are at the crucial stage of having a completed manuscript, take some time to research the process of being published. Find some publishers or agents that you really like and think will be a good fit for your book. They like the personal touch. But also decide what your thoughts about self-publishing are. Publishing is a difficult process no matter what, so I think it is really important to choose what is right for you.
What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?
For me, I think success would be being able to support myself from my writing. I don’t mean that I necessarily want to be a full-time author, I’m not even just speaking in terms of financial success. Being able to support myself means more than just money. It would also mean having readers and fellow writers to connect with and lots more books to publish, of course. Encouragement from my readers in any form would be a huge success for me.
Money is important too since it will help to pay to create the next books in this series and any more that I would write but It would also feel great to be able to help support my growing family with money made from my books.
Do your family and friends support your writing?
Absolutely I am dyslexic, so writing and reading is a challenge for me. My parents taught me never to allow my dyslexia to hold me back and to be proud of what I can achieve. My parents knew more about dyslexia than most as they publish and sell special needs books for a living. They always helped me as such my mother would read me well the normal age of being read to and encouraged me to love books. Now she is my book editor. But my whole family is really supportive as well, which feels amazing since family is very important to me. They send me links to publishers, read my book, and share my tweets.
Questions About Your Books
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
The most surprising thing has probably been writing fighting, blood and gore, and yes, even death scenes. As a reader I tend to enjoy books with pretty descriptions and happy endings and though I do read books with a darker side it’s not my favorite part of books. So finding that I can put such scenes in my novels is a shock. I think I have definitely grown as a writer through writing this collection, and I hope to continue to do so moving forward.
Who is your favorite character?
I suppose it ought to be my main character, the Survivor Myrbeth but while I do love this character, my favorite character is Mercy. I don’t want to say too much about why because it will give a lot about his character journey, but Mercy is a mercenary whom readers meet in the first chapter. He is a complex character that readers will really get to know. I am sure they will soon learn why he is my favorite.
Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Here is just a small extract from the first chapter if you would like to read the rest, visit my website, where you can read the whole first chapter for free.
The inky blue-black sky began to lighten into a cold bright blue. It touched the wooden thatched houses and lit the empty-stalled market. Its pale glare woke sleeping animals and snuck into vegetable gardens plucked completely bare. The light seemed to reach everywhere but the dark, thick forest. The pines and cedars that engulfed the Kingdom of Twickerth could grow to over 60 feet; these trees were both prized and uprooted, as wood was the industry of the kingdom. However, the cutters were careful with their felling, the tree must be allowed to re-grow less the wood and work disappear. ‘The tree may be cut but the forest must remain’ was the common saying. This wood would soon be felled again but for now, these tall trees provided a line of cover surrounding their target, the village of Twickgrove.
“Dawn has come and soon they will all awake.” The speaker was tall, with a bald head and dark skin. He was dressed in simple black cloth and black leather with no armour other than a mail vest and crude pot helm. It was no different for most of the company of men he had joined, poorly fitted out for the work ahead, unlike the leaders. The company had been created by five leaders and these men were known as the five heads. The purpose of the company was simple: they were swords for hire, usually hired for distasteful work.
The dark-skinned man had been granted the rank of second commander, which meant only the commanders and leaders were above him, but it also placed him in the front line. Just to the left of him were the five leaders of the company, who were in front only because of their rank and not because they would be in the thick of the fight. The leaders were a mixture of men; short, tall, white, dark, fat and thin, but all had an air of menace. Their garb was similar, black and simple, but the five heads also wore finer pieces of armour and even fine pieces of jewellery; this was their method of keeping their wealth close to their person. The dark man was new to the company, so had no such wealth to display. He had needed work and they had been recruiting fighters who weren’t afraid of blood, and he had very little fear in his life at all. The conscription had gone well; an additional 20 or so men had been gathered to the company ranks. Each new recruit had been further tested in skill of arms and general intelligence. The results of this test determined their place and rank. As a son of a knight the dark man had gained rank but not respect. None of the new recruits were trusted, they would have to show their commitment first.
“A pointless statement,” one of the nearby leaders barked back, responding to the dark-skinned man’s words. This man was tall, with a square jaw and small sharp eyes and looked like a leader to the young, dark man.
“Perhaps, but it has poetry, Finish, that you can’t deny.”
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
Definitely I have already written the second and third books in this collection and am currently in the process of editing and re-drafting them. I am currently writing another book that will be part of the Parvery collection and i have plans for at least one other. I don’t have a release date yet for the second book but I am hoping it will be sometime this year.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing your books?
As I am dyslexic for me, the struggle was not to write the very first draft but to try to improve my writing in each edit. I had my mum, as I said is a professional book editor, proofread my book, which was a huge help. But editing my drafts was still difficult for me. It was and is a big challenge for me, and I still feel like I have more to learn in that area. However, despite this struggle, it is a process I have enjoyed at times. Reading your own work can be rewarding as well.
Questions About Reading
Who is your favorite author, and why?
That is a very tough question to answer, and the truth is it changes at different points in my life. Growing up with sisters, I have always liked the books of Louisa May Alcott, but as an adult, I do love the Agatha Christie Mystery. However, if I had to choose one right now I would say James S Corey as he is the first sci-fi author I have really read and got me interested in reading more sci-fi books, which I believe is the mark of a great author leaving you wanting more.
What are you reading now?
I tend to have more than one book on the go at the time so right now I am rereading the hunger game trilogy and I have also just started a new book by Anne Cleves; telling tales. Telling tales is one of the books that inspired the TV drama series Vera which was recommended to me by a friend. She knows I am from Yorkshire, where the books are set, and thought I might enjoy them as such.
Favorite book when you were a kid?
The Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud. I still re-read them all the time, and I have probably read those books more than any other, even the Harry Potter series. These books still surprise me and make me laugh, I don’t think I have ever read anything similar since which is probably part of why I love them. I would highly recommend them as a great read for adults and kids.
Do you listen to audiobooks?
Yes, I am a big audio listener and a passionate advocate for audiobooks. As I said previously being dyslexic, reading is a struggle for me. Audiobooks have helped me to access so many books that reading physically just would not have been possible. I learn best by listening so can better appreciate the nuances of a novel through listening than reading. I do still buy and read physical books, but I will often listen to an audiobook first then buy and read the physical book if I like and want to re-read a novel.
If a new book comes out in a series, do you reread the whole series?
Yes, every time I read a book I find I appreciate new layers. I also know how important a small detail front the first book can often be important later. I like to follow the character’s whole journey so yes I would re-read the whole series. In case you didn’t pick up on it I re-read a lot.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Sowing I am very crafty and enjoy creating things, so when I am not writing I often sow to keep my hands busy. I make baby mobiles, quilts, and banners.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I did seriously consider being a midwife at one point in my life. Ultimately I chose to pursue writing instead and am focused on improving my writing career to the point where I have even debated returning to university to study creative writing further.
If you could choose three authors to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Suzanne Collins, George R R Martin, and Neil Gaiman because I believe I could learn a lot from these authors, and their conversation would be amazing.
Do you prefer tea or coffee or something else?
Tea, I have never liked coffee but I do love a good cup of tea.
Do you prefer the city or the country?
The country no doubt, I love the scenery and all the growing things. I like to go on long walks, and sometimes I find it is the best way to get my mind flowing.
Thank you to Rowena, for joining me for this week’s interview. And all of you, remember to go follow her on social media and grab a copy of her book.
I love to hear from my readers, so leave a comment and brighten my day <3