It’s time for a stopover in warm, sunny California. I’m meeting the brilliant Cindy Brown, fantasy and paranormal author who likes to compose stories about what "makes people tick, especially when they are out of place, culture, or even time."
Her debut novel, The Road North, is the first of The Roads Traveled Series, which is also comprised of The Wild Road and the recently distinguished with a Wattpad Feature The Road Goes Where We Go. The completion of the fourth book of the series, The Road South, is just one of her current projects.
Thank you so much, Cindy, for accepting my invitation to chat with me. Now, why don't you start by telling us who Cindy Brown is?
Just a random CS/IT person by day and a creative type by night ;-)
You write mostly paranormal and fantasy fiction. What draws you into these genres?
This is hard to say. I started off primarily in Science Fiction (and was always a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, etc). I was also a *huge* fan of the King Arthur legend (this was sparked by reading Mary Stewart's Camelot trilogy, and then I found that many people wrote stories around this legend. Somewhere in there I started watching Xena then Buffy and went off on a long vampire tangent. I think all of that just means I'm very well versed in old British stories, fantasy, and story telling in general :-)
One of the things I love imagining are the invisible things, the world around you containing other worlds no one sees. If witches, vampires, werewolves, etc., actually exist, then they do a good job of hiding their world from us, don't they? I like working out how they must do this.
In your novel The Road Goes Where We Go, readers are introduced to a medieval setting and to tales and legends of the Irish mythology.
How did this idea come to you? What sparked it?
This is actually a prequel of sorts. I am writing another story, and in that story, I have a character who I established as Irish, etc. There's another character who mused about how she'd met him , how she'd followed a bard and that had changed her entire life. From that throw away line, I had a definite setting for TRGWWG. It appealed to me, because most of my stuff is actually contemporary, more urban fantasy than anything else. A historical novel was something I hadn't really tried. A romance was also something I hadn't really tried either (though I will admit here, if you promise not to let anyone else know, I do read romances, too).
Would you give us an insight into the male main character?
Well, he's kind of complicated ;-) He's not human, never was (though most people in the other story do not know that) and much of his story was learning how to be human anyway. Geileis was the first and largest influence on his life.
How much research did you have to do?
The basic storyline is derived from the story of Tamlin, so the fantasy elements and the ideas were all pretty well set when I started writing. I did look up a lot of minor details on 12th century Ireland, though. Even little things like whether they would have had mirrors back then, what kind of candles, what sort of crop rotation?
It's interesting, Ireland was transitioning in many ways: from herding to agriculture, from pagan to christian, from Celtic to Norman (yes, the Normans invaded Ireland after they got through with England and Wales) and so on. That gave me a little more flexibility than I expected with multiple cultures floating around -- did I mention the Norwegians that had invaded a century or so before and so who also made random contributions?
That was fascinating material, though I wound up only alluding lightly to it in the story. I don't want to infodump readers, but as a writer -- IMO -- I have to know this stuff in the back of my mind so I don't have a character tighten a belt buckle, say, when they used rope or stays or something like that. Or I have to give different characters certain mindsets that are just odd or even wrong to us in modern times. Then again, my female MC has certain goals that were actually present in her time.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Good lord. It's unpredictable, that's the thing. TRGWWG was actually extremely easy to write. I don't know why, but every several days, I wrote another chapter or two like clockwork. I need to go back and polish the entire story, but it just wrote itself. By way of contrast, the story that inspired TRGWWG is plodding along. I like it, it has good stuff in it, but in some ways it is much more difficult to put together. If I could figure out why things can be so different from story to story...!
What is your message for those who would like start writing?
Keep at it! Some people want to be writers as a career, other people want to write as a hobby. There's as many reasons as people, probably. Whatever your reason for writing, though, just sit down and write. And if you're not writing, then read. And if you're not enjoying it, then find something else that does bring you satisfaction.
What are your future projects?
Well, the story I'm working on really has a lot of separate threads I'm eventually bringing together. I hope to write three or four more stories in this world. We'll see how it goes.
Thanks, Cindy. It's been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit better. Wishing you lots of inspiration for your next books!
You can find Cindy on WATTPAD and on TWITTER.