The is the first part of the inspirational stealing interview with Robin Lythgoe. You can see the second thieving part on Friday.
Tell us a little about yourself for the readers.
I was born in Maryland, but spent several years in Oregon and did a short stint in upstate New York before moving to Utah. I married an artist, and together we have four wonderful children. Reading and writing have always been a part of my life, and I am particularly drawn to fantasy. Before I managed the art of the pen I dictated my first fiction—a tale about a rabbit—to a scribe (my sister). My mother often headed up expeditions to the library, from which the entire party invariably returned laden with a stack of books guaranteed to make the arms longer. I read everything voraciously, and when I finished my stack, I’d start on my mother’s… and then my sisters’. Today I write tales about wizards and magic, fantastical places and extraordinary journeys.
What is AS THE CROW FLIES about?
AS THE CROW FLIES is about a thief. He doesn’t just steal shiny things, but talent, education, and reputation as well. Crow defends what’s his with scorn and a razor wit. His comfortable world crashes around him when he’s caught, poisoned, and forced to work with the man who’s been chasing him for years. Together the two of them must fetch a myth before they completely lose everything. On his journey Crow discovers unexpected treasures, treasures that will change him forever.
What was the inspiration for AS THE CROW FLIES?
It all began with the opening scene, with Crow perched on a window sill looking down at a freezing, rampant river and zealous guards at his back. Why was he there, how was this consummate thief exposed, and how was he going to get out of this mess?
What genre do you like to write?
Fantasy. I love fantasy! I’ll read just about anything, but the fantasy genre captures my mind and my heart.
What genre do you like to read?
While my library is heavily fantastic (pun!), there are also volumes of sci-fi, historical fiction, thrillers, romance, a couple of mysteries — and reference books. When I was young I used to read the encyclopedias. For fun. Now I have the whole world at my fingertips and it is so amazing! And so distracting!
Who are some authors who have inspired you?
Well, there’s Tolkien, of course. My most excellent older sister read “The Lord of the Rings” to me and my little sister when I was about ten or eleven. Between that and Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia,” I had my feet well set on the fantasy path. Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, C.J. Cherryh, and Robin Hobb are just a few of the authors whose work motivates me to stop dreaming and start writing.
If you could dine with a famous author alive or dead who would it be? Why?
What a hard decision! I had to go think about it for a bit, but I decided on dinner (or lunch!) with Robin Hobb. Not only does she have an excellent (pen)name, but she’s a really terrific writer. I know I read something by her when I was in my early teens, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was (which is horrible, I know, but I read a LOT). A couple of years ago I took one of those online tests to see which author my writing most resembled, and it was Robin Hobb. I went right to my Kindle and bought the Farseer Trilogy and read the whole thing over the course of a week. The first book was good, but didn’t impress me a lot — until I got to the end of the trilogy and sat there crying my eyes out.
What do you do to combat writer’s block?
Writer’s block is, in the words of the great Richard Castle, nothing more than writer’s embarrassment. “That’s when you’re so embarrassed by the horrendous drivel you’re writing that you can’t bear to see it on the page. After all, you can always write something.” In my attempts to come up with something good, I listen to music, read, or pretend I can do artistic things in Photoshop.
What advice to you have to aspiring authors?
Advice is like clothing; it isn’t a “one size fits all” situation. If you want to get better, then writing a LOT is important. So is reading. Reading helps keep you out of ruts in your own writing, it helps inspire and it opens up new vistas. Reading “how to” books and articles can be helpful, but it can also become an excuse for not producing your own work. The most important thing to remember, whether you’re writing for yourself, for an audience, or for a slice of that elusive pie in the sky: enjoy what you’re doing. And eat chocolate.
What is your next project?
I am currently working on the first book of a new (fantasy, of course) series. Books two and three have some traction, too. This one is of a more serious nature than AS THE CROW FLIES, but it’s about a character I’ve known for a long time. At the same time, there’s been some interest in a sequel to Crow’s story, and I have some ideas for that bubbling around in my head. If only I could fit more days in the week, I could do them both.