Greetings, favorite readers! This month’s guest blog post is by Roberta Trahan, a a former journalist and marketing professional whose first novel, THE WELL OF TEARS (Book One of The Dream Stewards) was published in September 2012. The second book in the series is set for release in Spring 2014.
I’m excited to host Roberta, who was gracious enough to answer seven questions of varying stupidity. Read on for more information about her protagonist, her fluctuating cat herd, and why climate changes and science fiction are best friends. You can also go to her blog to read a guest post from me about the origins of the null idea.
You live near Seattle. Do a lot of rainy days help with your writing?
The truth is, it doesn’t actually rain in Seattle as much as people think – we do, however, have an inordinate number of gray (cloudy) days. This general atmospheric gloom does create an introspective ambience, which tends to encourage a certain kind of creative funk that is very productive for me.
Your first book, The Well of Tears, mixes history and fantasy. How do you like incorporating fantastical elements into real-life events?
The Dream Stewards series is best described as an epic fantasy in historical context. I try very hard NOT to re-write any of the events – in fact, all of the historical references in the books are as accurate as I can make them. Instead, I have invented a magical backstory to explain the facts of record. The fantasy behind the history, so to speak. Imagining sorcery and prophecy at the root of it all is great fun – it opens up so many possibilities and ways to challenge our perceptions of the world we live in. I pretty much live for that.
How is your protagonist, Alwen, like you? How is she different?
Alwen is different from me in most ways – especially in appearance and temperament. I modeled her on an amalgamated vision I have of women of her (our) stage in life – women struggling with the balance between duties – to herself, her family and her calling. In the ways that Alwen is like those women, she is like me. We are peers, of a sort, sharing in the challenges that all women face when trying to hold on to their own identity while living up to the expectations placed upon us by virtue of our gender. The only way other way Alwen is like me is in how she views and values her relationships. I used my own views to inform hers in that respect.
Where do the characters’ names in your books come from?
I tend to believe that names have far more significance than simply as family band identifiers. Every single character name I use has been carefully researched and selected for its cultural accuracy and its meaning. The names are mostly Celtic and Slavic, depending upon the origination of the character – ‘Alwen’, for example, is a Welsh name meaning ‘white light’ and ‘Bledig’ is an old Slavic name meaning ‘wolf’.
The author bio on your website is suspiciously vague about how many cats you own. Be honest. What’s the number? What are their names and why?
At the time I created my original author bio, which was a few years ago, we had 7 cats. Their names have no real significance. Which makes no sense, I know, given my answer to your last question. We let the kids, who were pretty young at the time, name the animals. Most of them ended up with color monikers, like Rainbow and Pepper. Since then, the brood has dwindled. We currently have one feline friend in the house – but I’m always lobbying for more.
Your newest book, Aftershock, is very different from the Dream Stewards series. What made you decide to write a climate-based adventure?
AFTERSHOCK is my first and so far only foray into science fiction. It was written more than a decade ago, after a significant earthquake hit the area. Writing the story was a reaction to the anxiety that experience invoked. And actually, climate and environmental issues are woven into all of my books. The undeniable connection between us and our natural world is something I feel very strongly about, and this plays out in different ways in each story I write
What’s next for you, writing-wise?
Like most authors, I have more ideas stewing in my subconscious than I could ever write, but right now I’m focused on developing a contemporary fantasy trilogy, and of course, the next book in the Dream Stewards series!!