Some of you may remember me ranting about how much I enjoyed Lynn Flewelling‘s Nightrunner books. Now, I’m happy to announce that I rather randomly got my first author interview to post here! Thanks go to Lynn Flewelling for being awesome about replying to blog comments from random strangers like me and volunteering to be interviewed 😀
1.) For those not familiar with you and your books, what can you tell us about Lynn Flewelling the author?
Lynn: I’ve written two series: The Tamír Trilogy, and the on going Nightrunner Series. They are set in a mythical, pseudo medieval/Byzantine world, and centered around the Three Lands and the surrounding territories. My characters travel a lot.
I’m from Maine originally, have lived all over the country, and am currently in Redlands, California, which I love! Bits and pieces of my life are scattered through the books,
2.) Both your Nightrunner series and the Tamír triad are among the 100 most-sold fantasy books on amazon.com. Congratulations! Without spoilers, what can you tell potential readers about those two trilogies?
Lynn: The Nightrunner books are an on going, open ended series, which I modeled somewhat after Sherlock Holmes. The main character, a young exiled nobleman named Seregil, is part thief, part con man, a talented spy, a scholar, at times a wastrel, and a deadly swordsman. On the down side, he suffers from a dark past and a nasty allergy to magic. His partner Alec, who begins as his apprentice, is a young hunter from the hinterlands, who Seregil meets in a north country dungeon. The books are all related, as I am writing the ongoing story of their lives. They work for wizards and queens, get into a great deal of trouble, and eventually fall in love with each other. They are adventure stories, but also have an undercurrent of questions about loyalty, morality, and love. I try to never let “issues” take over the story. It’s just part of the natural flow and character development.
The Tamír Triad grew out of a minor historical reference in the Nightrunner books to a queen who had been raised as a boy for the first part of her life to save her from a usurping uncle. You have young princes, scheming wizards, a half mad king, a ghost, and more issues of loyalty, whether ends justify means, gender and sexuality. The story line takes place in the same geography as the Nightrunner books, but five centuries earlier. It doesn’t matter which you read first.
3.) What was the spark that generated the idea of writing the Nightrunner series and later on your Tamír triad?
Lynn:The Nightrunner books came out of my frustration back in the 70’s, with how women and queer characters were portrayed as weak, bitchy, evil or victims. I was sick of the big square jawed swordsmen running everything and decided to create a hero who didn’t fit the mold. Hence Seregil, who is slight, devious, queer, and more likely to trick his way out of a tight situation, or kill without mercy.
As I said above, the Tamír books were a natural outgrowth of the other series. It was great fun to go back in the history set up in the NR books, and show what really happened. I also worked with questions of sexual identity and what it means to be male or female in that world.
4.) Which of your characters did you find the most unpredictable to write about, because they suddenly took on a life of their own?
Lynn: That would be Alec, in the Nightrunner books. He started out as a flat, fuzzy concept, a Watson to Seregil’s Holmes, but once he took form he became fascinating, in part because we get to see him grow up over the course of the first three books, and more son in the new, fourth book of the series, SHADOWS RETURN (Bantam Spectra, June 24 2008 )
5.) What intrigues many of your readers is your take on gender and sexuality in both your Nightrunner and Tamír series. Were there any perceived conventions of the fantasy genre which you wanted to twist or break when you started to write both series?
Lynn: Absolutely. I wanted to portray a world where diversity was common, women could be whatever they wanted to be, from whores to mothers to soldiers, and with a divinely ordained matriarchy. That all creates a different society than your basic medieval template.
I wanted to redefine the idea of what a hero is, or a villain, for that matter. My bad guys aren’t trying to be bad, they are just pursuing their own ideas, just as the heros are.
6.) How long did it take from the first draft of Luck In The Shadows to the published novel? Which experiences did you make as an author of a fantasy series featuring ‘queer’ characters?
Lynn: It took ten years to complete an initial manuscript, which ended up being the first two books of the Nightrunner series.
Actually having queer content in the books has been a plus. My publisher had not problem with it, and it has certainly widened my readership. I get mail from straight people saying I changed their view of homosexuality for the better, and from gay and lesbian readers who are grateful to find characters they can more closely identify with.
7.) In the preface to “Traitor’s Moon”, you point out that the Nightrunner series is NOT a trilogy. Now the fourth novel in the series will be released on June 24th. What’s next and how many more of the Nightrunner books can we expect?
Lynn: Right now I’m writing a fifth Nightrunner book, THE WHITE ROAD, which should be out next summer.
8.) Anything else you wish to share?
Lynn: I’m biased of course, but I think I have the best fan base in the world. They hang out on my Live Journal and can always find out a detail I need far faster than I could, so they double as research staff. They send me chocolate and fan art. They share their enthusiasm, and that all buoys me along to create more stories. They find the silly mundane details of my life that I impart on the LJ strangely interesting, and laugh at my jokes. Anyone can join in. See: otterdance.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for your time, Lynn 🙂