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Author Interview: Raina Nightingale

Author, Raina Nightingale

Short Story: Krissela

Apologue of the Immortals

Tell us a little about your background and what led you to writing.

I tend to have a hard time with background questions! What's this about? My favourite colour? (I don't have one! But if I did, it might be blue - or all the shades in a sunset, or a whole rainbow, or I don't know!) When I discovered my favourite mythical creature (i.e. dragons)?
I honestly don't remember that either: only that I have a picture of dragons play-fighting around a volcano that I can't have been older than four when I drew. Or maybe you all would be interested to know that I've had some occasional experience taking care of injured animals.
I honestly don't remember what led me to writing. I think it was that there were these stories, and either I didn't want them to be over, or I didn't like something about them, or both, so I wrote more, but the way I wanted them to be. The first ones I remember doing this to were the Chronicles of Narnia, but not all that much later, I was writing stuff that was an awful lot like fan fiction for Middle Earth (I invented my own pantheon of gods based on the Valar, but expanded), and also for Pern.

How or when did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I must have been younger than 10 at the time. I wrote stories that I liked. I wanted to publish them. It was pretty simple.

What is your writing process like?

Sometimes, I say I'm a Seer, because I often have these visions of where the story will go, kind of like if I picked up a book and flipped to some random pages. It really is very, very much like that.
That's usually how it starts, too. A vision - something fuller and more concrete than just a theme, or a bit of world-building, or a character. Maybe it starts there, but by the time it's gotten to what I call my "writing process" it's a vision of somewhere I can start. And then, when I'm in the mood, I just write it. (I kind of have to, because sometimes I can't sleep if I don't).
Writing is a lot like reading to me, except a lot slower and a lot more intensive. But that's an awful lot like what I feels like.

What inspires you to write?

Writing is how I think. It's how I sort through how I feel about things, how I discover things to consider that I'd never thought of before, and how I challenge and refine my own beliefs. It's sometimes how I discover that I don't believe something - or that I do. It's how I try to understand people and the world around me.

What part does writing play in your life?

It's a very big deal. At least for me. Since it's how I think, it can be annoying when I'm having a conversation with someone who hasn't read my book, and I'm trying to illustrate how I feel or think about something - or what I don't understand! Because sometimes the only way I know how to put something is my story.
Well ... it means when I'm in the mood, I have to find some way to make there be time and space for writing, and when I can't do that - like because I injured my wrist and I can't type - it can be frustrating. Goodness, it can be a problem because I don't sleep well. (That's actually how I wrote "Krissela": I was just recovering from injuring my wrist, and desperate to write, and when I saw the prompt for the anthology - "stories about immortals with a point" - I instantly combined that with some other images, and I knew who Krissela was! And I just couldn't help myself, so I wrote it; maybe I should have waited a bit longer, maybe not, but it is what it is).
Hmm. And the other thing. When I'm going about my day doing other things, it's really hard to be bored! My mind replays my writing all the time, showing me what's going to happen next, or how to phrase something better. Sometimes I forget it. But sometimes I don't!

What are your aspirations for your writing journey?

That's a pretty expansive and abstract question! I don't really think about that a lot. To write the stories in my head. That's pretty much it. Now my aspirations my publishing journey might be a little different. But writing? Yeah, I just want to write the stories in my head. As well as I can, of course, but that's a given.

What is something you know now about writing you wish you knew when you started?

Hmm. Maybe that epic fantasy that wasn't for little kids did not have to have a boy and a girl that got together in it? That's about the only thing I can think of. I mean, there's a lot I didn't know - there's a lot I don't know - but a good deal of it, I think it would not be the same at all if not for the journey itself.

Describe your favorite character (you created). Why?

Right now my favourite character is probably Moon. He's the main character in one of my who-knows-exactly-how-many Works-In-Progress at the moment, the one I'm calling Storm WIP. Moon is really ... well, he's got a kind of strength that's really soft, really kind, and ... it's hard to describe, this is why I write stories! ... but he might seem crushed and broken by what's happen(ing) to him in a lot of ways, but really he's not broken at all, not if you really get to know him. He comes from a Plains people who worship a god who destroyed a dystopian civilization in the Plains several hundreds of years ago and set them free, but he's been kidnapped and taken off the Plains to be a slave to these people who aren't at the tech level of the destroyed civilization, but are a lot more advanced than his people. I don't know. I just love him. Some of it is the way he thinks. It's so hard to describe, it's hard even to write, because he thinks and responds to what he sees and what's done to him in a way that's so very much Moon. Even saying "he doesn't react this way, this thought doesn't occur to him," implies a context that isn't Moon. But some of that is that kind of strength he has, and that kindness. At any rate, his story is really close to my heart in a lot of ways.

Which author(s) inspires you as a writer?

Anne MacCaffrey, because her Harper Hall Trilogy were the first books I read that had dragons that weren't evil monsters in it (I'm in love with her dragons and her characters), and the first ones I read where females were active agents. Yes, the world of Pern tends to be misogynist, but the books aren't. In a lot of ways, I consider the Harper Hall books to be the first ones I read that are remotely like what I write.
Also George MacDonald. And sometimes I remember: he was really poor his whole life, never made much off of anything, barely made a living - but his books touch people. They've touched me - some of my favourite books are his. I really think many of them need to be MUCH more well-know than they are. But I look at him, and, well, he's inspiring to me in ways that aren't as a writer, but it's okay if I never make bestseller lists or anything like that. That's more inspiring me as an author though....

What advice would you give newly aspiring authors?

Write what you love. Write what you want to read. Write what you wish you'd gotten to read, what you want to be out in the world to be read. In my opinion, stories are best when the writer loves them, when the writer loves them even if they never get published, never get seen by another pair of eyes. But ultimately: decide why you want to be an author. Depending on what your goals are, I don't have a lot of advice.

What works can your readers expect to see in the near future?

Obviously, you'll see "Krissela" in "Apologue of the Immortals" when it comes out, if that needs to be mentioned.
I've got "Heart of Fire," which is the first book in the Dragon-mage series which will probably be a trilogy, but MIGHT turn out to be four, coming out on April 16th (and the cover reveal for that on February 1st). This is an Areaer Novel.
I'm hoping to get a free short story, Gryphon's Escape, out there soon! I just need to make the cover for that, now. So it could be any time, but I've been saying that for a few months now.
Other than that, a lot of stuff is still up in the air. I don't make long-term plans very well.

How can your readers find more about you and your works?

You can keep up-date with what's happening and follow those not-so-long-term plains as they get made and adjusted, and my progress on the stories I'm writing, on

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