1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I loved writing in school (it was my favorite subject), and my mom loves to whip out a book I wrote in third grade and remind me how much I've always loved it. It was just written with marker and taped together, but I loved writing even then. I actually originally chose Creative Writing for my college degree focus. I ended up playing around with my visual arts interest as well and transitioned to a Digital Arts degree, but the summer before my final semester, I missed writing so much, that I decided to pick it back up in my spare time, and I ended up writing an entire novel in a couple week period that summer (my first full manuscript). I decided then that I obviously couldn't stay away from writing. So, after I graduated, I started researching publishing options.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I don't want to get too carried away with a whole history of all the books and Authors I adore, so I'll share a quick rundown. In elementary school, I loved Stephen Cosgrove's Serendipity books (still have a couple). They're imaginative, heart-warming and often have meaningful messages. Gertrude Chandler Warner's Box Car Children books were also a favorite when I was in Elementary and Middle School; I couldn't get enough of their adventures and independence. They're still very nostalgic because my dad and I read them together. These days, one of my favorite books ever is still The Hobbit, by Tolkien. I love The Shannara Series by Terry Brooks (I got to participate in a Goodreads Live Chat with him that was amazing) because the stories are full of adventure and excitement. His books immerse readers in a fantasy world, often with wonderful female protagonists and fun animal side characters. I'd be remiss if I left out a couple other favorite Authors such as J.K. Rowling and Rachel Morgan.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Labyrinth Wall?
The idea was originally a series concept sparked from Dante’s Inferno but in a Fantasy world (think Lord of the Rings meets Labyrinth). That then melded with my thought of 'what if I explored a character that never had a childhood because they are actually a creation? So as a writer I am forced into a very strange perspective of someone learning to understand themselves and others for the first time.' All those strands of thought intertwined into what is now The Labyrinth Wall, the first novel in my Obsidian series.
4. You intimated that there will be a sequel to TLW. What can you tell us about it?
For those who have not yet read The Labyrinth Wall, I don’t want to give away too much. I will just say that the second book is a continuation of Araina’s story as she discovers the true nature of the world, which is not what she once perceived it to be. Also, this book is in the final editing stages and the first draft of the third book has actually already been written as well. All that to say, expect big exciting things to happen for the Obsidian Series in 2015.
5. Was there any intended symbolism behind the Mahk and Creators' relationships with each other?
Absolutely, in the sense that the harsh rule of the Creators which forces the Mahk’s dependence on them is not unlike historical relationships between societies. Dare I say, this sort of “rule by power” leaving those with fewer resources at the mercy of those with greater resources, is certainly not extinct in modern times. I think a lot of people can feel powerless as they find themselves in a role (even sometimes one which seems to have more power) and therefore a tension develops which leads to suppression and rebellion. Well, I could go on about this, but yes, I would say there is symbolism in that relationship. And, hopefully it doesn’t give away too much to readers to add that things aren’t always what they seem…
6. Aside from writing novels, you've won blogger awards. What can you tell the readers about your blogging?
Thank you for asking about my blogging, Kelly. I don’t normally have much inquiry about that. My blog can be found on my website at www.emilyanngirdner.com and the main theme is “Anything Imagined.” I initially started the blogging venture as a way to keep writing, even on breaks between novel projects and also as a way to begin to reach an audience. However, along the way I have met a wonderful network of other creatives and have been privileged to form some meaningful friendships with my readers in the process. As far as content goes, I stick to a couple of main series concepts most of the time, and those typically include Movie Mashup Monday (sometimes originally created by me and other times an attributed compilation of other mashups), Throwback Thursday Fantasy Relay (discussions of popular Fantasy books and movies), and Fellow Creatives (interviews with talented writers, artists and musicians). As you might expect, I also share novel project updates as well, but the best place to stay up-to-date on my news is by signing up for my newsletter here.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I love this question because it makes me nervous but excited to consider the possibilities. I have considered Children’s Fiction and Adult Fantasy, as well as publishing some Poetry. Part of the fun of writing for me is trying new things, so exploring a new genre could be a great experience. We shall see ;)
8. Were any of the characters based on real people?
No one character was based on one specific person. However, many of their traits came from myself or people I know.
9. What would you do if you were Araina?
Another interesting question, for which I will try to muster a worthy response. To be bluntly honest, I’m not sure I would have survived nearly as long as Araina. It is hard to say without being in the situation, but I tend to be a pushover and I often have difficulty standing up to anyone. And I have about as much experience with weapons as my cat does with skydiving (none). So, if I were created in the labyrinth like Araina, I would probably do my best to hide away (like she did), but I don’t think there’s any way I would have embarked on the journey she did. Araina is very explorative and has difficulty being content, so it was more natural for her to want to learn more and be brave enough to fight for freedom. I think I’d be likelier to follow along for the ride, but not lead the way. In fact, I sometimes think it is because I am more timid and settled that I loved exploring Araina’s world, because all I do is type while she takes on the madness.
10. Would you like to see The Labyrinth Wall in theaters? If so, what actors would you like to see play your characters?
Absolutely I would love to see a film adaptation of The Labyrinth Wall. As a huge fan of movie soundtracks and high fantasy film productions, it would be my dream to see the film accompanied by a lovely instrumental composition, like The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. As far as actors and actresses….
Araina: Dakota Fanning (Or possibly Candice Accola from The Vampire Diaries)
Darith: Engin Akyürek (He just looks almost exactly how I picture Darith)
Korun: Tyler James Williams (Currently Plays Noah on The Walking Dead)
Rase: Hayden Panettiere (Hayden has the same build as Rase and I think she could pull off the sass)
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
In ten years I see myself still writing (I have ideas and characters bubbling in my mind and all over notepads, so I don’t suspect I will be slowing down by then). The Obsidian Series will have been out for some time and who knows, there may even by films too. I see myself continuing to write and hopefully readers will continue to enjoy the adventures.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
If I ever become Catwoman then I will fulfill my childhood dreams (haha). Writing is my number one passion, so I will always be doing that, as long as I’m able. But in all serious I am an opportunist, so it would depend on what comes my way. Even now, I hold a marketing position in addition to my writing, and I love it all. I like to stay busy and take up new projects because I love to learn and grow.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
I’m polishing up book two in the Obsidian Series and have just completed draft one of the third book. Also, I have a short story project currently being edited that I plan to release for free as a gift to my readers. It will be out before Christmas and anyone who is interested can sign up for my newsletter to be among the first to learn it is released and grab a copy.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Terry Brooks, Jo Rowling or Rachel Morgan.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
3 Facts About Me:
1. A brown recluse spider bit my forehead and nearly killed me when I was a little one.
2. Due to my loving of writing, I work daily to overcome my insecurities and challenges of having dyslexia. Wonderful mentors in school taught me methods to help catch my errors and polish my skills. All of the work has been worth it and I hope to inspire anyone who faces similar challenges to push past them in pursuit of their dreams.
3. My first language was Turkish.
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