You have described your Outcast Chronicles trilogy as a fantasy family saga. How did you approach weaving developments in family relationships across the three novels, while still giving each novel its own focus?
The characters of the Outcast Chronicles (OC) are related to each other but theirs are not your traditional families. The trilogy explores a society torn apart by discrimination and persecution. There are the True-men, who consider themselves better than the mystics. And there are the half-bloods who are born, caught between two worlds. My goal with this series is to explore the long term ramifications through the generations. The first three books set up the story. Sorne is the disinherited son of the king, born with mystic traits. He spends a lot of the first book trying to win his father’s love and gain the respect of True-men. And then there is Imoshen, who was born a mystic, but finds herself caught up in a feud between the mystic sisterhoods and the brotherhoods.
What is it that attracts you so strongly to writing fantasy, as opposed to other kinds of fiction?
Like science fiction, fantasy can hold a distorted mirror to the real world to help us see things more clearly. This is what Terry Pratchett does with his Disc World books. By creating a secondary world, the author can set up events to test their characters and force them to question their assumptions.
Your novel The Price of Fame is a paranormal mystery, which is a bit of a departure from your usual high fantasy. What inspired you to write a paranormal mystery novel?
I read and write across the genres. The first draft of The Price of Fame was written over thirty years ago. It has gone through several incarnations before reaching this point. The craft of building a mystery is similar to the craft of building a secondary fantasy world. The writer must decide what to reveal and when to reveal it and everything must make sense.
You regularly go to book conferences and festivals. What are some of the highlights of these events for you?
Catching up with fellow writers and readers. I like attending panels, where the participants make me go wow, I must read their books. Then I’ll buy a stack of books at a convention and read my way through them. I’m going to have to cull my bookshelves again soon. Sigh…
You have interviewed a range of novelists and other book related people on your author website. What is one of the insights brought to light through these interviews which stands out to you personally, and why?
Writers come from a lot of different backgrounds, but the one thing they have in common is a fascination with people and the world. I think human beings use narrative to make sense of the world. This is why story is so powerful.
If your next novel had to have no fantasy/paranormal/speculative element, what might you write about?
I find no matter what genre I write, I explore the human condition and the relationships between people, between the powerful and the powerless, often this means between the genders or between those in power and those who are persecuted. I like to ask the question: how can we remain true to ourselves in an imperfect world?
Who is one of your favourite fictional characters, and what makes this character stand out for you?
This might sound really corny, but I do enjoy Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read everything Conan Doyle wrote on Holmes. I particularly like the way the character has been re-imagined in the contemporary Sherlock series which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr Watson. I like stories about flawed human beings and Sherlock, for all his intellect, is a flawed human being.
What is next for your fiction writing?
I’m currently writing book four of the King Rolen’s Kin series, tentatively titled, King-maker, King-breaker. I have lots of wonderful (read terrible) things planned for my characters. The challenge is to juggle the writing with my day job. Sometimes I wish I could just run away to write!
Rowena Cory Daniells author site: www.rowena-cory-daniells.com
The Australian Literature Review