Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guest Author - Fantasy Writer, R.A. Knowlton


My guest interview this week is with fantasy writer, R.A. Knowlton whose book, “KnorraSky: The Deception” pronounced “NorraSky” has been published by IFWG Publishing and is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel, and includes both Kindle and Nook downloading. R.A. currently lives in Missouri, but has his roots in the state of Maine.

Betty: R.A., I’m a historical fiction writer, which entails a great deal of research but, at least, the information about the era and the setting are all available. But I’m always intrigued how a writer of fantasy is able to plan, not only a completely new race of beings; but also the lands they live in, the type of clothing they wear, they way they talk, etc. It seems to me it takes a great, imaginative writer to be able to portray these things. Where do you even begin to come up with such details?

R.A. Knowlton: I’ve always liked sci/fi/fantasy, so for me imagination comes easy. But I always base my stories on the tangible that the reader already knows and understands. Then I throw in the unexpected. It takes a lot of time and planning. Since I tend to write historic fantasy/sci/fi, I start with research of the estimated time period I plan to use in my story. In KnorraSky that is about the year 1450 in our time. Writing fantasy/sci/fi allows me the freedom to explore concepts that are constrained in our world, but are the norm in the worlds I create. I find that exciting. My style of fantasy is not mainstream. Because of my religious beliefs I do not include the elements of magic in my stories. When magic is mentioned, only in passing, it is only a by-product not a focal point of the story.

Betty: You have maps in the beginning of the book, which as a historian, I found very interesting. How does the idea for these come about?

R.A: I created the maps after I wrote the first chapter of KnorraSky. I knew the story I wanted to write so I set the boundaries of the story in the maps and wrote the story around the maps.

I feel that maps in a fantasy world are important for both the reader and the write. For the reader, it gives them a visual of the land that the story is telling them about. For the writer it ties them to the storyline. For instance when I was writing about the Yuba Territory in KnorraSky, the maps forced me to write with the idea of people living in a very mountainous area with beautiful waterfalls and tall trees. On the other hand, when I was writing about the land around the city of Knorr I was reminded that the land was mostly flat with only a few small hills and few trees. The other way that the maps helped me was for distance and time. I used the maps to decide how long it would take King Noman and his men to ride from point A to point B and so on. This makes the story more believable....well, it is a fantasy world so let’s say somewhat believable.

Betty: How long did it take from the time you first came up with the plot idea until publication?

R.A.: Two years. I rewrote the story thirteen times before I felt it was the story I wanted people to read.

Betty: Is “KnorraSky” your first novel and, if so, have you always wanted to write or did the desire just come in later life? Although, I must say, you don’t look like a senior to me.

R.A.: KnorraSky is my first novel. I never had the desire to write but with the prodding of a friend who is a published author and the desire for a easier retirement, I started writing. It was not love at first. My lack of formal writing education hindered me. But I joined an on-line writes group and the people I met there, including Gerry Huntman, Esme Carpenter and Warren Goodwin, help me greatly. I began to love this art form and now it is my passion.

A little more about me; I have worked in the metal roofing industry for the past 30 years. During that time I have also worked in almost every vocation of the construction industry. Before that I worked as a cook for about seven years. I am an ASE certified mechanic and worked in that industry for three and a half years then add a couple years of over the road truck driving and I sure feel old. 

Betty: So much time and thought goes into inventing this imaginary world, I presume you don’t want to stop now. Do you have a sequel or sequels planned?

R.A.: KnorraSky, it is a four part story. A complete description of all four parts can be read at http://raknowlton.weebly.com/knorrasky.html.
I also have a fantasy children’s book coming out soon title, The Well, and a standalone novel taken from the KnorraSky world titled, Raven’s Chronicle.
After all of these are finished I am writing a historic fiction story titled, Maria Dunn, the story of a farm family from Iowa that starts around the time of WW I and ends around the1970’s. I have also written and published another book, An Illustrated Guide to Metal Roofing which is available on Kindle.

Betty: Well, thank you for being my guest this week. I should also mention that "KnorraSky The Deception" was an Indie Book Awards Finalist. My husband has already read “KnorraSky” and found it extremely absorbing. And, even though, I don’t personally read much fantasy, I’ve started the book now, and find the concept intriguing. So best wishes and we’ll look forward to other books set in your fascinating world of KnorraSky.

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