In celebration of the David Gemmell Award short-lists being published, Gollancz is thrilled to be running a series of interviews-in-ninety-seconds with as many short-listed authors as we can get our hands on! Today we’re delighted to talk to Kristen Britain, the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of The Green Rider series, made up of Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, The High King’s Tomb, and Blackveil which is nominated for Best Fantasy Novel 2011. We caught up with her, and took a moment to ask a few questions . . .
If you could have one writerly superpower, what would it be?
Speed. Those who have waited for each book in my series know of what I speak, and must be commended for their patience.
Do you have any writing rituals that help, when you’re putting together an epic fantasy novel?
Tea, of course (Irish Breakfast, Red Rose, Prince of Wales, Darjeeling, Oolong . . . Loose leaf, preferably), and I draft in longhand. One day I will use blue ink, the next day black so I have a quick visual of how many pages I’ve tortured. I am quite fond of doodling in the margins, too, and that is not so easy on a computer.
You may bring one mythological creature to life – you may even keep one as a pet – which one would you choose, and why?
My Gryphon (Irish terrier) is pretty mythological . . . Otherwise I’d say a unicorn. I like equines, and environmentally, the world could use more clean water. A pegasus would be cool, too, but the droppings from on high, not so much.
How much real-life research do you think it is necessary for an author do to? It is essential to pick up a sword, before you describe a fight scene?
I think there is a balance of imagination and research. I acquired a sword to be able to do just that–see what it felt like to hold in my hand. However, I have never personally killed someone with it, so I must largely extrapolate what that is like emotionally and physically. Currently, in the writing of book 5 of the Green Rider Series, I’ve had to do a good bit of research on a certain piece of old technology. I already knew a good bit about it, but I was missing some useful details. I got as much as I could, and had to fill in some gaps with imagination.
What’s your current favourite TV series, fantasy or otherwise?
Doctor Who, although I am rather behind . . . I started with the Tom Baker Doctor way back in the 1980s here in the US, and was a card carrying member of The Doctor Who Fan Club of America. I also got my poor mom to knit me the scarf, which I still have, somewhere . . .
If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring fantasy author what would it be?
Persistence. Do not give up.
You’ve been shortlisted for the David Gemmell Awards, which is wonderful. While you have the podium, is there another author out there you would suggest readers take a look at?
James A. Burton and his novel Powers.
Kristen Britain lives in a log cabin in Maine where she writes full time and pursues interests reading, guitar playing, and cartoon illustration. She enjoys exploring the magical places around her and can often be found paddling a canoe in stillwater, ambling through the woods to mountain summits, or sitting along the rocky shore listening, watching, and daydreaming. You can learn more about her and her novels on her website , or check in on her livejournal page here.
You can vote for Blackveil, or any of the novels long-listed for the Legend Award for Best Novel, here. Voting ends 31 May, so vote now!
If you would like to attend the award ceremony, please contact the DGLA directly! All details can be found here.