Today I am pleased to introduce, Rosemary Fryth, world builder and author!(click images to purchase books).
You are a talented world builder, which is so important for a fantasy writer, where did you learn this skill?
I always want the worlds I create to be believable, because the moment a reader loses belief in the viability of that world, your story then loses its credibility. Fantasy, by its very nature, stretches the limits of credibility, so I think it’s important that the landscape, the society, and the world in which your characters exist, in my opinion, has to be utterly believable.
As to how I learnt that skill? I was for many years a medieval re-enactor here in Australia. I cooked medieval foods for feasts; I designed and made my own clothing based on historical records. I watched my husband laboriously create a mail-shirt out of hundreds of steel rings. I’ve worn the armour, hefted the sword or axe or shield. I know its weight, how a weapon feels in the hand, and what it is like to stand in an Anglo-Saxon shield wall. Even more importantly I’ve created the persona of someone from that era, and lived that persona at school-shows, at fairs, fetes, banquets, tournaments, camps and events. I’ve researched medieval castles, and visited them in the United Kingdom.
That sort of first-hand knowledge and experience is absolutely invaluable for getting your head into the mindset of a medieval person (and my epic fantasy trilogy is set in a medieval world).
My latest contemporary fantasy trilogy is set in a real-life region of Queensland that I’ve visited often, and am quite familiar with - so writing about that world was quite easy as I just drew on my own memories and recollections, placing instead researched Celtic mythology and paranormal elements into an actual real-life environment.
Which fantasy authors have inspired your style the most?
I’ve read Tolkien, Robert Jordan and David Eddings, as well as many other authors. Those writers would have to be counted as general and background inspiration for my epic fantasy; however my real-life medieval re-enactment was the most important inspiration for that trilogy.
My current style is contemporary dark fantasy, and I’ve been inspired by Charles de Lint, Raymond E. Feist, Mark Chadbourn, Robert Holdstock; and as a teenager, by Susan Cooper and Alan Garner. I really like the idea of creatures of Celtic and European mythology interacting with the ordinary and mundane world, and this idea and theme is explored in my new trilogy ‘The Darkening’.
All of your books are available on the kindle, but not in paperback. Do you plan to create paperback versions?
Eventually yes, but first off I want to finish this new trilogy that I’m writing, and then get it published on Amazon and Smashwords as eBooks. After all that is done, the new trilogy will go paperback via CreateSpace, and then perhaps one day my big epic fantasy trilogy will be paperback as well.
How do you market your books online?
Badly, I’m not a born promoter and as an individual I’m very shy and reserved (most times you’d not hear a peep out of me at parties). So marketing has been the most difficult part of the whole writing/publishing adventure that I’ve had to come to terms with. I have constructed a website (a task that I’ve had to learn from the ground up) and I’ve also ventured into Facebook, and even more reluctantly, Twitter.
What is the most successful marketing tool you've employed?
It would have to be Facebook, although I’d hesitate to label it as ‘successful’. It has given me the opportunity and tools to find other writers, reading groups, local authors, and also discover interesting groups of people who might be potential readers of my books. I try not to be too intrusive in my marketing on Facebook, because I know how annoying it can be when authors endlessly market their wares. So, I limit my marketing to updates on my writing, or when there is a new review or interview. My own Facebook page tends to accumulate a little bit of everything that I’m interested in - including political and social commentary, interesting as well as funny photos, along with updates on my other creative endeavours, such as my new interest in pottery and sculpture in clay.
What prompted you to choose self-publishing? Have you considered the route of traditional publishing? Are you interested in traditional publishing?
It would be great to be traditionally published, and to receive that sort of affirmation from the industry. As a pragmatist I know that the chances of being ‘picked up’ are remote and even more remote when you write books that go against the grain, or aren’t targeted for the mass market. The heroine in the first book of my latest trilogy ‘Dark Confluence’ is not the sort of woman you’d expect in the fantasy genre. Jen McDonald isn’t particularly attractive, is in her early fifties, is small, overlooked, unregarded, and a spinster - however she does possess an unusual gift, and that gift (or curse, depending on your perspective) propels her into a role of being a heroine, and the defender of her town.
I break the unwritten rule that many publishers ask their authors to adhere to, of writing for the market. My characters too are oft-times very ordinary folk, and I’ve tried to make them the sort of people that readers could relate to and imagine being a friend, or a member of their own family. I also write my stories to please myself, and not to follow a trend or a fad. In my dark fantasy stories there isn’t a vampire, werewolf or undead zombie to be seen. I write about dark faeries, about the Fae, and about creatures of Celtic mythology.
I chose self-publishing because last year I had a health scare that, if it had turned out to be nasty, could have knocked me off the perch for good. So, in true Aussie style I thought bugger them, did a bit of research, discovered Amazon and KDP, and within a week or two had uploaded onto Amazon, my old and dusty Riothamus manuscript. I figured that life was too short to be endlessly waiting on the vagaries of agents and publishers.
What inspired you to write the Riothamus fantasy series?
My medieval re-enactment was the primary inspiration, however I felt that there was a book in me, and so I looked through the many short stories and abortive attempts of novels I had written in the past to find one that I could use as the basis of a novel. ‘Riothamus’ was that story, and it grew to over three hundred thousand words - a telling that took two years to write.
As with ‘The Darkening’ trilogy, I also wanted to write a book that ‘I’ wanted to read. So many books have ‘almost’ succeeded, but in some way, shape or form, fell short. So I wrote ‘Riothamus’ to please myself, the fact that well over a thousand people have read and presumably enjoyed it too is very heartening to me, and it pleases me that a bit of who I am will remain in the memory of my readers long after I’m dead.
Dark Confluence is another of your well-reviewed books, a paranormal YA fantasy. What is your favorite sentence in this book?
If I may, it would have to be two sentences:
“I know what you are,” she said levelly to the figure, which in turn undulated slowly in the mist. “I know what must be done, and I understand what may happen.”
All through the story my heroine has been fighting against her destiny, fighting against her role as a heroine and protector of her town. At last now she understands and accepts what has to be done. The acceptance of what she has to do, and the price she may have to pay, is at heart what ‘Dark Confluence’ is all about. It is about self-sacrifice, and on the other side of the coin, the lust for power, wealth, and influence.
Can you tell us a little about the countryside in Australia where Dark Confluence is set?
I live in the South-East corner of Queensland, and the book is set in a fictional country town on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland - an upland area about a half-hour drive from the beaches, a little over an hour’s drive from the northern suburbs of Brisbane, and is a greener and cooler area than the surrounding hot and humid sub-tropical region. In the far distant past the entire region was dominated by large shield volcanoes, which have over time, eroded down to crumbly volcanic plugs called ‘The Glasshouse Mountains’. When I was younger (and fitter) I climbed a couple of those peaks. The Hinterlands boasts areas of remnant sub-tropical rainforest that are contained within National Parks and State Forests. There are lakes and waterfalls, and the views from the Hinterland to the Sunshine Coast beaches are in a word, stunning. I’d recommend a visit there, or if you live too far away, Google ‘Sunshine Coast Hinterlands’ on the internet.
If you could be a character in one of your books, who would you choose and why?
I relate to all of my characters, because they are my creations and each one I guess possesses part of me. However, upon reflection it would have to be Jen from ‘Dark Confluence’ because she is so very real, and so very strong and brave. For example, Alissa from ‘Riothamus’ has wonderful qualities, and like Jen, is a strong woman - but Jen has also known heartbreak and a terrible loneliness too, and has come out the stronger despite being overlooked and unregarded by life.
What projects are you working on next?
‘Dark Destination’ is the second book in ‘The Darkening’ trilogy, and is currently with an editor/proof-reader for the final massaging into shape prior to publication. I’m also currently working on ‘Dark Destiny’ which is the third and final book in the series. I don’t envisage ‘Dark Destiny’ being published until early next year. After that - well all of the books will one day have to be formatted for paperback, and I’d like to write a short-story prequel to the ‘Riothamus’ trilogy, and also a stand-alone novel that will take place twenty years after the events of ‘Riothamus’. I’ve also promised my husband that I will co-write a horror book with him next year - so very busy times ahead.
How can readers connect with you online? (i.e. Facebook, website, Twitter links)
My website link is:
My Facebook link is: https://www.facebook.com/#!/rosemary.fryth
I can be contacted on Twitter:
Thank you for stopping by The Jennifer (Author) Diaries Rosemary Fryth!