First up in my series of getting to know my Critique Partners (CP) is the CP who is furthest in my book, the wonderful Rowan Liddell! She and I met online about 6 months ago and I’m so grateful that we did. Rowan was one of the very first people to read my book baby and has been amazingly kind, insightful, and so SO funny with her feedback. Although Rowan and I write in different genres (she writes amazing high fantasy, and I write contemporary fiction) we connect on a personal level and appreciate each other’s writing. I am lucky enough to be reading (and critiquing) her work as well, so I can say that she is sincerely a wonderful writer, as well as a great person. Rowan’s turn-around is so impressive she puts me to shame, often getting my chapter back to me within a day or two (even though my chapters are on the… big boned side). Currently, Rowan is about half-way through Guardians of Enlightenment: Discovered and her feedback has helped me transform the book so much!
Because I love her, I want to introduce her to you guys! So, here’s my interview with the delightful Rowan!
Quick! Tell us three facts about you:
- I’m actually an IT person for a school for my day job.
- In my downtime I do all of my writing. I’m nonstop working on projects.
- The thing I do most outside of writing is actually animal husbandry. I have a zoo in my bedroom, five guinea pigs, eight rats (recently rescued a pair of three week old babies from snake food), two ferrets, and five lizards. This doesn’t include the cats, dogs, etc. the rest of the family owns, but my zoo is my pride and joy. I spend my free time researching better ways to take care of my babies and, in general, taking care of them and enriching their lives. It’s the closest I’ve come to having a maternal side. :)
When did you start writing?
I have been telling stories since I could speak. I was a very talkative kid who preferred hanging out with adults, or at times just about anyone who would listen. I had many imaginary friends, and when I was six I discovered I didn’t have to repeat the stories I heard because I could write my own. My true first story, the one I’m actually about to finally release to the world, came to fruition when I was eleven. I’ve been working on The White Dragon Saga for that long. XD
What’s the most valuable piece of writing advice you’ve received?
That is a tough question, but I have to say the most valuable advice was even when you are not writing, you are still a writer. Everything is inspiration. In my case, I am unusually prolific in my writing (so I’ve been told). It’s almost compulsive for me at this point to just write when I have a moment to. Part of my reasoning for doting on my zoo is to remind myself that even though I am a writer, it’s not detrimental to take a moment to breathe and live a life outside my fictional worlds. There are valuable things outside this side career of mine, and without them my writing actually does suffer. I don’t stop being a writer just because I’m not writing all the time, and I think that’s something that all writers need to hear at some point. Life and health CAN come first, no one is going to take your writer boy scout badge if you miss one deadline.
Who are your favorite writers?
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was the reason I dove into fantasy and magical realism. I will recommend her any day. She was thirteen when she published her first book, and reading that book was such a delight for me. It was the first time I’d seen a modern vampire young adult novel that just redefined the genre for me.
Junk food/indulgence of choice?
Goldfish and tea. I have become such an avid goldfish eater.
Tell us a bit about your WIP:
The Blood of the Enemy is the first book in a series of six. I have been working on it for almost fifteen years now. It’s the story of a set of cursed descendants of a tyrant whose effects the kingdoms are still dealing with today. This first book features a main character whose brother went mad and tried to kill her, and said brother took it upon himself to try and outdo their cruel and evil ancestor while securing himself as the only potential ruler of a fallen kingdom. No heirs means he can’t leave his sister alive, so when he discovers her living that’s when the story is set into motion. There’s the additional struggle that the majority of the cast are referred to as ‘half-breeds’ since they are all mixed race. If you’re already on the outs with society, how else do you get help surviving but to stick together? I enjoyed writing this book because I loved the characters and it has been my greatest struggle translating why these characters are so dear to me onto the page. The struggle was worthwhile though, I am proud that I did not give up on them.
Would you rather have to fight a dragon-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized dragons?
Hundred duck-sized dragons, I think I could distract them with some food. Give me a lizard over a bird any day, birds in general tend not to like me. XD
Where can people find you?
My website is rowanliddell.com and holds links to all my social media and places where I publish. :)
A huge thank you to Rowan for the interview. If you’re into high-fantasy, Rowan is definitely the writer to watch. I’ll let you guys know when her book release date is announced!
Next post, I have a YA/NA indie fiction book review planned for Heart on a Chain, so keep an eye out for that :)