Born in the garden state to a quaint New Jersey farm, author Brian Rathbone enjoys working with horses as much as a good dragon joke. Brian grew up to join the world of corporate America. One day, while reading DILBERT, he decided he needed a change. Brian started working from home where he finally found time to write down a story that had been growing in his mind for over a decade. That day an epic series was born, The World of Godsland.
I first found Brian on Twitter, where he shares his witticisms and dragon jokes. I downloaded CALL OF THE HERALD, the first in The World of Godsland series, and devoured it in an afternoon. Over the next three days, I read the entire nine book series. This series is filled with magic, sacrifice, war, loyalty, and of course, dragons. Brian has also adapted his Godsland characters into a children's series, THE LOST DRAGONS, for young children.
I am so pleased that fantasy author Brian Rathbone took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
1. What made you choose to write in this genre?
There was never any question for me. Fantasy fiction is what I love to read and what I am passionate about. I do also enjoy Science Fiction, and sometimes I blur the lines, like many great fantasy writers before me.
2 2. Who influenced you growing up?
I grew up on a working horse farm with four generations of my family. I was taught by my parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. And I got to work with my brother and cousins. I consider myself very lucky to have had this experience, even if I didn’t always feel this way.
3 3. When did you know you were a writer?
When I finished writing my first trilogy and had it edited by a professional editor, I began to feel like a real writer. It was only after I had sold about 50,000 books that I started to feel like an author. Being contacted by major literary agencies solidified that feeling.
4 4. What inspires you?
My deep love of reading fantasy fiction is what inspired me to write, but I draw inspiration from many sources: nature and my childhood experiences are chief among them.
5 5. Do you have a process? If so, what is it?
I walk and take notes until the story is clear in my mind. Then I create a rough outline that I later discard at will. Next, I write with wild abandon. I write without worry or fear. My goal is to get the ideas out of my head and onto the page. Afterward, I let the manuscript sit for a couple weeks while I start my next book. When I have some distance from the book, I use text-to-speech to have it read back to me. I let the audio set the pace and I follow along. When I have edited it to my best ability, I usually send it to beta readers. After addressing their feedback, I send it to my professional editor: Andrea Howe. When I get her edits, I review them and address any issues. Then Andrea does one more read through to check my changes. After that, it’s ready to publish. Whew!
6 6. Beyond children’s picture books, what is the first real book you remember reading?
A Wrinkle In Time was the first book I ever enjoyed reading, and I credit Madeleine l'Engle with fueling my love of reading.
7. What is the hardest part of the writing/publishing process for you?
Editing. Oh…and editing. Did I mention editing?
8. What are you currently working on?
For the first time since 2005, I’m writing a book for the purpose of traditional publication. While at Balticon, I was approached by the president of a world-class literary agency. I look forward to achieving my goal of becoming a hybrid author—one who is both self-published and traditionally published. Dragon Airways is a distant prequel to the Godsland series, and I can’t wait to bring it to the world.
9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write on! If you want to be a writer, don’t let anyone discourage you. People told me to give it up for years—including people who love me very much. They were wrong. Thank goodness I believed in myself and my story and I persisted. Follow your heart. If you will only be happy with a traditional book deal, then go after it. If you want to retain total control, then self-publishing may suit you better. Stick with it even when it gets hard, which it will. If you want to know how I got to where I am, consider checking out my book on audience building and book marketing. http://bit.ly/howbriandidit
10. What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I’m just a regular guy. I started out as a complete unknown. It is only through the support of my readers that I have become well-known. And it will be those same readers who propel me into traditional publication. Thank you. Without all of you, I would still be working in the corporate world, for which I lacked true passion.
1 BONUS QUESTION: Are you sure you aren’t a Cylon? (Because you seem to work like a machine…and I saw this picture on FaceBook…just checking.)
I am not a cylon. If you would like to discuss this further, please meet me in the airlock.