Erynne M. Napier
I just turned 47 years old and I am a mother of two and grandmother of two. I have been writing ever since 4th grade. I currently live in Des Moines, Washington (near Seattle).
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
My latest published work is Phoenix From the Flames. It's the sixth and final mainline novella in my Phoenix From the Flames series. This story, like the others that I have written and continue to write, is set in my fantasy world of Palatia Royale. This matriarchal world is a Greco-Roman style civilization with Medieval elements. This particular book continues the story of Kressida DePandora who is the rightful Damisaá (Queen) of her world. After the suspicious death of her mother, she went into exile with her husband, Emmanuel Kristoból (King of Dreo Indpenedencia) and her children. For the future of her family, not to mention her country, she has to confront her father who is chasing her across the world, trying to kill her.
All of my stories are separated into three series ... Dawn of the Phoenix, Before the Phoenix, and Phoenix From the Flames. Each of these series has 6 main-line books; the first five have different pairings of protagonists. The sixth book has the same pairing as the first book and wraps up the storyline. Each of these stories has their own plot line, but these plot lines link together to continue an overall storyline. I also have other stories which I call Adventure Novellas that, again, have their own storyline, but they also contribute back-stories and other details about the world in general.
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
I would have to say the biggest personal challenge that I have as a writer is finding the time to write. As much as I would like to spend every waking moment writing, I also need to work to support my writing habit.
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
You mean aside from running out of Kleenex? Seriously, though, I think that finding the time to write is my greatest difficulty. That, and trying to focus on work, rather than my stories. Normally, it takes me roughly 4 hours or so to write a chapter and 40 hours for each novella.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
If I could, I would give up my job in order to have time to write. I have found that just by writing, my stories get better.
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
When I published my first book, it gave a legitimacy to my writing. Rather than writing to just be writing, it gave me the possibility of actually making money with my writing.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
The more that I write, the more stories come to me. I think at this point I have just as many unwritten books as I do written ones. As to actually started books, I only have one that I'm working on. However, I do have other novellas that have rough plot lines hammered out and are ready to go.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yeah, I read the reviews and I know that there will be those who love my stories and others who might be offended by my work. Beyond that, I would be looking for ways to improve my writing ... how to organize my thoughts better, perhaps use different language, items like that.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Only all the time. I like using foreshadowing between novellas as they tend to tie my stories together. I also put a lot of Easter eggs in my writing just to make the reading all the better.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I actually don't know any authors that I'm friends with. However, when I was in the 4th grade, my teacher had me go to an assembly with a wonderful author named Pleasant DeSpain. He greatly inspired me to pursue my writing; I still have the ditto that he handed out those many years ago.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell myself not to give up on writing. Whereas when I was growing up there wasn't this idea of self-publishing, now self-publishing has helped me to at least get my books out there.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think that writing for the market might be a common trap. Also, trying to write out of what one has experienced might be another. Certainly, a writer might be able to overcome these, but, I prefer to write from the heart.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
I haven't really found a way to do marketing. I'm part of the starving writer group. That, and I have to work, so time is very limited.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
I don't really have a favorite book. I have favorite authors ... Walter Farley (author of The Black Stallion series) and Marguerite Henry (author of Misty of Chincoteague). Yeah, I was really into horsie books.