I have a fantastic interview today with the author David Temrick and his novel Rebel Queen. Enjoy!
“Cassandra has a problem, and it’s only the first of many. Being raised as the youngest child in a family of great heroes would be a challenge for anyone.
Until a few days ago, Cassandra was content with her role as a child of greatness. She was studious, spent most of her waking hours with her mother and other heads of state and at her father’s insistence, learned how to duel. As her siblings had before her, Cassandra knew she would likely be matched with a partner for political reasons and had long since accepted her role in the world.
That was, of course, before her mother died, and before her…transformation. Overnight, her soft pale skin sprouted gorgeous golden dragon scales.
Presented with a future she no longer recognizes, as the first of her kind, she must overcome a whole new set of challenges if she hopes to survive the unknown threat that comes from across the Careless Sea.
The Sakwa dragonkin are a dying race, fueled by a tribal system that failed them centuries ago but yet unable to adapt to a new way of life. In a desperate bid to keep the people focused on outside conflict, Jenya of the Toho has declared war on Cassandra’s country. An ocean may separate the two cultures, but the Sakwa see the Seven Kingdoms as their opportunity for a new start; a new start they will willingly kill and die for.”
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been writing for most of my life at this point. I started with short stories, flash and fan fiction when I was a teenager. I wrote my first novel in 2008 and it was published in 2011. I like to share my love of writing with others, so in addition to some groups I’m a part of I also conduct workshops in schools. When I’m not writing, I love playing and coaching baseball and curling and I’m a sucker for weird movies and TV shows.
2. What inspired you to write Rebel Queen?
I’ve wanted to write another novel in the world that I’d created for my first two novels for some time. After I wrote a coming of age assassin novel called “Daughter of Vengeance”, I couldn’t wait to continue exploring how things were going to unfold on Amesdia.
3. What is the genre for Rebel Queen?
Fantasy. I love fantasy.
4. What draws you to this genre?
Aside from my odd fascination for the genre, what I love the most about fantasy is that the stories can explore some very common problems we face every day from a totally unique perspective. Racism and bigotry drive me crazy, so exploring racial biases between humans and dragons is a less polarizing way of exploring our own preconceived notions. This has to be done in a somewhat clever way so it doesn’t come off as preachy or condescending.
5. How did you develop your plot and characters?
I like to explore personalities and interesting people. I get my ideas for quirks from all around me. Once I have my characters in place and an overall story arc, I start outlining the major storyline and the large subplots. Almost always as I write though, the story takes on a life of its own and I end up down a rabbit hole. This style takes a little more time during the re-write and editing process, but I really enjoy what comes out of the other side.
6. What inspired your protagonist?
Change. We all go through it in ways large and small every day, but I wanted to saddle my protagonist with a really monumental shift in her appearance and as a result, her standing in her community and family. Once that huge alteration to her physical appearance happened, the rest of her character just slid into place. I didn’t want to make her cliché though, so there are some aspects to her pre-transformation personality that she held firm to.
7. How did you get in touch with your inner villian?
There are fairly despicable people in our world, I merely take the most repugnant parts of what I see as their outward personalities and then try to find a way to make that relatable. No one is the villain in their own story, so my antagonist had to have a rational reason for doing what she’s doing and how she’s going about accomplishing her goals. Otherwise, the villain is just two-dimensional and formulaic.
8. What was the hardest part to write in your book?
Racial tension and sexism makes me really uncomfortable. I had to have the major parts read and re-read by as many people of as many walks of life as I could coerce into it to ensure that I was exploring some hard to face truths as opposed to imaginary fluff.
9. What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The protagonist’s growth, both physically and emotionally. While she was changing from human to dragonkin (half-human/half-dragon), I had to decide what features of a dragon she would receive and which ones to leave out. My favourite part was describing her first attempts at flight. When I was younger, I had many opportunities to go gliding. I used every feeling and emotion that I could recall from those experiences to make her experiences as poignant as possible.
10. Are you a full time or part time writer? If part-time, what else do you do besides write?
Part time, though the goal is obviously to be a full-time writer. Other than writing, I play baseball and curling, watch movies, go on long walks with my wife and daughters…I can even be forced into yard work from time to time.
11. What are you currently reading?
I read autobiographies for the most part, the last one I read was Zak Baggins latest book. Nothing is quite as interesting to me as reading how someone perceives themselves VS how I perceive them. Weird as it is, I’d really like to read a Tom Cruise autobiography. He seems like an eccentric happy person, I’d like to read about how he sees himself. Biographies by others don’t interest me, they always seem to be more about the author than the subject, or clinical to the point of boring me to death.
12. Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Sharon Shinn’s book “Archangel” changed my outlook on life. No joke. It’s an incredible book. The sequels disappointed me, but Archangel was wonderful. The way she described music and the feeling of slavery really hit me hard. I’m a huge Raymond E Feist fan; I’ve always enjoyed his novels. I also liked Jennifer Fallon’s first six novels.
13. How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
I really enjoyed the Potter and Hunger Games books, even though only one of them made my top 5…in no particular order.
Archangel – Shinn
Magician – Feist
Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling
Treasure Island – Stevenson
The Third Magic – Katz
14. What are your future projects, if any?
I’m working on the sequel to Rebel Queen. The working title is “Dragon Plague” in which my protagonist from Rebel Queen and Draconis’ Bane will continue to have adventures…gods and demons it’s hard to promote a future book and not spoil the current one. Old enemies return with a new plot to commit dragon genocide on Amesdia. Three storylines will converge into one epic confrontation with the true architect behind all of the draconic suffering since the species fled their homeworld.
15. What is your preferred method for people to get in touch with you and your books?
Anyway you feel the most comfortable. I have a facebook fanpage that I try to post something to every day; I tend to get a lot of fan interaction from there as well as direct messages. Twitter and Reddit will probably always intimidate me for unknown and irrational reasons. But links to all of my social media and email are on my website, so really any of them will get to me in short order.
(Links for David Temrick are provided with the novel picture – Leticia)
16. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Find your voice and stick to it and understand that all criticism can help…even the unnecessarily cruel stuff. It’s hard to create things and put them out there to be judged. Do it anyway.
Thank you to David for allowing me the chance to interview him and his novel Rebel Queen. I encourage you, my readers, to seek out his novel.