"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Brush With Greatness

This weekend, I attended ConQuest, Kansas City’s own science fiction and fantasy conference. It was my first ‘con’ ever, as both a fan and an author. I sat on a panel for Hadley Rille (shown in the picture on the left), with authors Michael Swanwick, Christopher McKitterick, M.C. Chambers and editor Eric T. Reynolds. I also attended several other panel sessions, spoke with many interesting people, and all around just had a really fun time.

One of the great things about ConQuest is it is a small convention, which means there's the potential for one-on-one time with famous people that you might not get in other places. Yesterday I had a full 10 minutes with one of my personal heroes, George RR Martin. He was very approachable, and easy to talk to. I made him sign all my volumes of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (I only have three actually – haven’t yet purchased the fourth). He noticed the 'author' flag on my name tag and asked about my work, so I told him a little about EOLYN, too.

I was not particularly well read in fantasy when I started writing EOLYN, and it wasn’t until about a year into crafting this novel when A GAME OF THRONES was recommended to me. I was struggling with a very specific issue just then. I wanted to find effective ways to integrate the history of Moisehen into my story – to make it a seamless part of the plot, as opposed to an annex, or a prologue, or a ‘data dump’ chapter somewhere midway through the novel. Laura Hardenbrook and Joe Baric, both members of DHS, thought Martin would be a good place to start as an example of how to accomplish this.

I have to admit: EOLYN almost died the day I started reading A GAME OF THRONES. The prologue alone was brilliant – gripping, vivid and terrifying - and found myself thinking, “Why do I even bother, if there’s someone out there who can do what George RR Martin does?”

But in the long run, it was through reading A GAME OF THRONES - and other fantasy novels -that I learned appreciate my own work. I came to realize that all of us who write fantasy have something unique to offer to the craft, and whether great or small, our individual contribution is always valuable. So I went on to finish EOLYN, and I am very very happy that I did. I think you will be, too!