Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Chrys Cymri

Wednesday Spotlight

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Pages: 230
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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2016
Pages: 234
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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 12, 2017
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Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I currently reside in England but have travelled widely and in my time I’ve lived in the USA and Wales. My first career was in financial services, but in 2003 I left my well-paid job to train to be a Christian minister. I’m a priest in the Church of England and I’m in a full-time training role, with a bit of input into an urban church. Previously I served in a small village church. A bit like Penny White…

My main hobby is photography, and I love to travel. My most interesting trip was to North Korea in August 2016. You can read about that on my travel blog, www.travellinghopefully.co.uk

 

What inspired you to write?

When I was seven years old I had a vivid dream, and I wrote it down. From this, I discovered that writing (when going well!) is a bit like dreaming while awake. A film plays in my mind, and I try to capture it on the word processor.

 

What inspired your novel?

Some years ago I decided to try my bishop’s patience by asking him whether Holy Water, blessed by a female priest, could harm a vampire who didn’t accept the ordination of women. His response was ‘Only you would ask that!’ A few months later I found myself wondering, what if he’d answered differently? And out of that came the Penny White novels.

 

What is the genre?

Urban fantasy. The main human character has an ordinary life in England (as a female Church of England priest) but has stumbled across a parallel fantasy world, Daear. The parallel country to the United Kingdom is called Lloegyr.

 

What draws you to this genre?

The contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary. I can well understand why Penny longs to be more involved in the fantasy world, particularly when her life in England seems so, well, ordinary.

 

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I usually know the start of a story, and how it’s going to end. Sometimes I struggle a bit in the middle and I find myself making lots of notes. The characters simply surprise me. Sometimes I feel like I’m simply the channel through which they are speaking. A few are loosely based on people I know.

 

What inspired your protagonist?

Penny loves science fiction and fantasy. So stumbling upon a world which has dragons, gryphons and unicorns initially seems like a dream come true. As she discovers a darker side to this fantastic world, she becomes inspired to help.

 

What inspired your antagonist?

My books don’t have so much an enemy as those of opposing viewpoints whose backgrounds leads to them making decisions which affect the protagonist. In the first Penny White book, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, a dragon family is opposed one of their own who decided to become a monk and, later, form a relationship with a human woman. This went against their sense of honour.

 

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

There is a budding romantic triangle for Penny. She’s met a police inspector, Peter, who loves ‘Doctor Who’ as much as she does, but there’s also a darkly handsome dragon, Raven, who is keen on her. I found it difficult to make Peter’s character interesting enough for him to be real competition to a dragon!

 

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I loved a scene at the end, when Penny is riding on a dragon with a small snail perched at the front, giving them directions. The image makes me chuckle.

 

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

My role as a minister takes up plenty of time (I only get one day off a week). So writing is something I do on evenings and my days off.

 

What are you currently reading?

A fantastic piece of fan fiction set in the ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ universe. It’s online only and called ‘Dragonchoice.’ The writer’s ability to write dialogue, action scenes, and characterisation exceeds many of the official novels.

 

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Patricia McKillip, Ayn Rand, Ben Aaronovitch, James Herriot, Katherine Kurtz

 

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia McKillip

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Dragonchoice by Faye Upton

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

 

What are your future projects, if any?

I’m currently writing the third book in the Penny White series (the second, ‘The Cult of Unicorns’, was published December 2016) and I have plans for at least seven in the series. After that, I plan to return to a science-fiction series which I’ve started and need to finish.

 

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

I can be contacted via my website, http://www.chryscymri.com. Anyone who signs up for my newsletter list (I send out an email around four times a year) can choose a free ebook copy of any of my books. I also have a Facebook page and I’m on Goodreads as well as other social media sites.

Here are all the links:

www.chryscymri.com

https://www.facebook.com/chryscymri/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1076161.Chrys_Cymri

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ChrysCymri

http://chryscymri.tumblr.com/

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Write, write, write. And accept criticism, because it will come and you can learn from it. Make friends with other writers. Other pointers can be read on my website.

 

Thank you to Chrys Cymri for sharing a lovely interview. Since I interviewed her, she has published a new book in the Penny White series. I have made sure to add that for all of you who are seeking a new urban fantasy read! – Leticia

 

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