Sharon Shinn: an interview

Cat 243 Dover   by Mary Jo

I first discovered the romantic fantasy of Sharon Shinn when her second book, Archangel, was recommended on a romance reader list.  I was somewhat dubious—the cover was sort of bleak and could have been horror—but the list had given good suggestions before, so I took a chance.

Bingo!  Archangel was a wonderful tale of a world where modified human “angels” can fly and sing to the heavens to control weather, bring down medications, etc.  It was a dazzling world, one that I wished I’d invented myself, and a terrific romance.  BArchangel

An award-winning author of both fantasy and science fiction novels, Sharon Shinn almost always has a great romance as a central part of the story.  The November publication of her novel Fortune and Fate inspired me to invite her for an interview.   F&F is part of her Twelve Houses series, set in her world of Gillengaria.  (www.sharonshinn.net )

The books stand alone pretty well, but it’s so lovely to see her characters grow and develop that it’s worth starting with the first book, Mystic and Rider.  In Gillengaria, people who have magical abilities are called mystics—and way too many other people hate them for it.  So buckle your seatbelts…

MJP:  Sharon, how did you start writing?  Are there stacks of juvenilia hidden under your bed? 

SS: I started writing poems and stories when I was in grade school, and I completedSharonjacket2 my first (truly dreadful) novel when I was 20. I simply can’t remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer. And it’s hard for me to imagine that I might ever stop writing, though perhaps someday I might slow down.

Oh, yes, piles of juvenilia! For a long time, my goal was to have more published than unpublished novels…I think I hit that milestone at fourteen. Mentally I categorize the unsold oeuvre as “unpublishable and unreadable, unpublishable but readable, and almost publishable.” There are days I think I might polish up some of the manuscripts in the latter category and sell them really cheap online for hard-core fans…but so far I haven’t had the time for that very necessary polish-them-up part.

MJP:  How did you become interested in science fiction and fantasy?  And how about the great romances that are such an essential part of the stories?

SS:  I read a lot of sf/f when I was growing up, mostly Andre Norton books and Robert Heinlein’s juveniles. Eventually I started picking up Anne McCaffrey and Robin McKinley and Peter Beagle and early George R.R. Martin. It’s hard to know how to answer when people ask why I write sf/f…all I can really say is, “That’s how my brain works.” When a story starts taking shape in my mind, it’s almost always set in some kind of speculative fiction universe. I’ve dabbled in writing contemporary stories, but they tend not to be very good.

BAngelica   I also read a lot of romance! Like many others, I discovered Georgette Heyer at an early enough age that her stories, characters, and linguistic style became imprinted in my bones. Weirdly, I didn’t really enjoy contemporary romance until maybe the past ten years. So I was readng Regencies.

I was also reading Westerns (Zane Grey’s Sunset Pass and Raiders of Spanish Peaks…the quality of the prose is awfully uneven, but the romances are lovely.  Ernest Haycox’s Canyon Passage and The Earthbreakers. Intelligent, adult love stories—and the man can really write.)

I even, I must confess, have read everything by Emilie Loring, multiple times. So I think all the romances in my books draw from these pre-1960s traditions and rarely have a contemporary feel, even when they’re set in a futuristic time.

To people who don’t read sf/f, I often say that a fantasy book can be viewed as a sort of historical novel, with a meticulously created sense of time and place. So in a sense, I’m writing historical romances, and those were my influences.

As to why I almost always do put a love story in my books…well, I tend to think books without romance are boring. <g>

MJP:  Sword and sorcery fantasy and historical romance require similar research in terms of creating a low-tech world.  Can you tell us about some of your research as you did your world building?

SS: Oh, I wish I could. The truth is, I’m pretty cavalier about the research. I have a YA book coming out next year that is partly set in a sort of alternate China, so I skimmed a couple of books about Chinese history and I bought a Chinese-English dictionary. But since the traditions and culture I wanted to create were specific to the story I wanted to tell, I didn’t need a great deal of actual background—just a tiny bit of flavor.

When my characters in The Truth-Teller’s Tale were learning to waltz to the sound   The Truth Tellers Tale of a wind-up music box, I emailed an antique music box dealer to ask how long a typical song might last and how big a box might be. That was the extent of research for that book. I am not a role model for research. (Hangs her head in shame.)

MJP:  Will you tell us about the Twelve Houses books?  How you came up with the series, whether you’re going to set more stories there, any other tidbits you might like to share?

SS: I knew I wanted to write a series that featured a linked set of characters whose stories, taken altogether, would make up one protracted arc. For that reason, it was pretty important that I have a fairly clear idea of the whole story arc before I started writing—and essential that I have a really good grasp of the main characters from page one. So I spent a long time thinking about the series before I began writing it. I sketched out my map, I played with names, I came up with key scenes and worked out relationships.

BDark Moon Defender As I’m sure all writers do, I have a kind of mental bank of stories that I play around with from time to time, and a lot of details of the Twelve Houses books got drawn from that mental bank. For instance, a great deal of Dark Moon Defender came from a story I knew I would never write. Same with The Thirteenth House. But because I knew the details of those stories from years of skimming through them in my head, I was able to plant a few clues about them in Mystic and Rider, the first book of the series.

For instance, I knew that in DMD, the third book, Justin would have need of Senneth’s necklace, so I started mentioning it in M&R. I knew how I wanted the raelynx to be deployed in the last book, so I introduced it in the first one. Even so, it was pretty exhausting keeping all the details straight for what was essentially a 2,000-page book…and I would not be surprised to find that there are many little continuity mistakes that made their way into the final versions.

BMystic and Rider I haven’t really decided if I’m going to spend much more time in Gillengaria. There will be a novella set in that world that appears in an anthology coming out in fall 2009, and I am seriously toying with the idea of writing a novella about Donnal and Kirra. Many people tell me that their romance got short shrift, and I have a lovely little story I can tell about them that would take place between The Thirteenth House and Dark Moon Defender.

I also have a shortish piece I would like to write about Kirra that takes place twenty years after Reader and Raelynx. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten glimpses of stories I could tell about the next generation—kids born to Justin and Ellynor, and to Cammon and Amalie—as well as, perhaps, Lyrie Rappengrass, who makes a memorable appearance in The Thirteenth House. I could build a story around her.

I’ve also been mulling over another linked series of novels about five siblings from BThe Thirteenth House Tilt, stories that would take place a couple hundred years before M&R. But I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to write that series. I’m not sure I want to stay in Gillengaria another four or five years.

MJP: The Twelve Houses books use a convention of sff, which is the woman warrior, every bit the equal of male warriors.  I love that Wen, the heroine of Fortune and Fate, is small even for a female, yet she is one of the elite warriors of Gillengaria.  Is this realistic, or more a sign of female wish fulfillment? <G>

SS:  My guess is that it’s female wish fulfillment. <g>  But I have to figure that a trained female fighter can inflict some serious damage on an ordinary guy, even if he’s bigger than she is, and Wen is nothing if not disciplined. If anyone can carry the banner for the small but fierce female fighter, it’s Wen.

BFortune and Fate MJP:  The Samaria books were technically science fiction, which isn’t entirely clear at the beginning because they read more like fantasy at first.  They cover multiple generations, with technological evolution as well as looking at different female roles.  Comments?

SS: Well, in my original draft of Archangel, it was quite clear that the book was science fiction, because it opened with a prologue about how the original settlers left their ravaged, violent world and settled onto a new world where harmony was the first principle. But my editor really liked the idea of going straight to Gabriel on the opening page, and it certainly does reinforce the fantasy feel of the book. People often mention the “hybrid” science fiction/fantasy aspect of Archangel, but I don’t think it needs to be strictly defined. It’s an alternate world romance with religious undertones…kind of hard to categorize no matter what!

The books cover multiple generations because I wasn’t thinking “series” when I wrote Archangel. I wasn’t even thinking “published,” because I wrote it at a time when I was getting very discouraged about the fact that I hadn’t yet sold a book. So I just wrote the story that was in my head at the time. When Ace bought it and asked for two sequels, I didn’t really see how I could extend the story of Gabriel and Rachel and tell the evolving story of Samaria.

To me, the central mystery of the planet was the relationship of the people to their technology, and I didn’t think that could be solved within the reasonable lifetime of Gabriel and Rachel. Plus I just didn’t think I could do that to Gabriel…force him to confront the truth about his god. <g> So I moved the story along by a Jovah's Angel hundred or so years with each new book so that Samarians could slowly uncover their past and Gabriel didn’t have to break his heart.

I don’t know that I actually set out to look at different female roles. But after I’d written the first three books, I wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the next two. I loved writing Angel-Seeker, because both Elizabeth and Rebekah were so different from the angels and Edori I’d focused on before. Some readers dislike Elizabeth, who coldly calculates how her life can be improved if she takes an angel lover, but I see her as determined and strong-willed and pragmatic. A sister under the skin to Scarlett O’Hara, someone who will do whatever it takes to survive and thrive.

Rebekah might have been even trickier to write because I wanted to make readers believe that she would find it hard to give up her familiar life, repressive as it was. Most modern-day American women might say, “Why wouldn’t she run away the first chance she had?” but Breven is the only world she knows and she’s terrified of what lies outside its boundaries. I’m not much of a risk-taker myself, so I could BAngel-Seeker empathize.

MJP:  You always convince me about the characters!  Occasionally in Samaria you show characters from earlier books, but the stories are pretty much self contained. In contrast, the Twelve Houses are an ensemble piece of a group of closely linked characters in which the overall story arc is advanced with different books from the point of view of different characters.  I love returning to see the same characters.  Did that just seem to suit this series, or is the approach part of Evolving Style or even A Master Plan?  <g>

SS:  It was a master plan! While most of my readers seemed to love the angel books, many of them were bitterly disappointed that Rachel and Gabriel were not the stars of the next two books. I’ve read lots of blogs and posts where readers who’ve finished the whole series reassure new readers that they’ll come to love the new characters just as much as they love Rachel and Gabriel, but I certainly got the message. Stick with beloved characters!

What’s funny is that some readers have been disappointed that the Twelve Houses books don’t keep Senneth and Tayse at the forefront, even though they still play major parts in the rest of the series. So maybe the message needs to be fine-tuned a bit: Stick with one set of beloved characters. <g> But I’m not sure I’d be able to do that. I’d have to think about it a long time before I’d try.

MJP:  You’re also done young adult fantasy novels, with two of them, Summers at Castle Auburn and The Safe-Keeper’s Secret being named to the ALA list of Best Books.  How do the YAs differ from the adult novels?  Are they the same worlds? Summers at Castle Auburn

SS:  So far, I have not set my YA books within my established fantasy worlds. I know some sf/f writers have done that—Anne McCaffrey, for instance, has YA dragon books—but my YA books have mostly inhabited their own distinct geography.

The main difference between adult and young adult books, at least for me, is the degree of complexity. I don’t think the emotions are less complex, and I don’t simplify the writing that much, but the books tend to be less than 300 pages and have fewer plotlines. In my adult books, I tend to interweave a couple of stories and bring in a pretty big cast of characters, but with only 250 or 300 pages to play with in a YA book, I don’t have time to meander off and go exploring. So I tend to tell one story about one set of characters in a fairly efficient fashion.

Other than that, the components I use are pretty similar. There’s a little magic, a little romance, a little world-building. Someone is either in disguise or is about to BGeneral Winston's Daughter find out about a mysterious heritage. And there’s usually a happy ending.

MJP:  What are you working on now?  And what direction might you choose in the future?   Whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll love it!

SS:  I just turned in an anthology that features four novellas, each one set in one of my existing worlds (Archangel, Heart of Gold, Summers at Castle Auburn, and Mystic and Rider). This turned out to be harder than I thought it would be (oh! That’ll only be 400 pages! I can churn that out in a couple of months), since each story required its own story arc, character development, and world-building elements. But I really really really like the way the book turned out, and the story "Blood," set in the set in the Heart of Gold world, is possibly my favorite thing I’ve written in the last few years. The anthology is tentatively titled Quatrain and it should hit the shelves in fall 2009.

At this very point in time, I’m working on another novella for an anthology I’ll share with three other writers—Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, and Marjorie Liu. It’s supposed to be a “feminist fairy tale with a twist,” which can be interpreted a Dream Makers Magic lot of different ways! Mine has many of the hallmarks of my other stories—it features a group of people who don’t really like each other making a trip together and bonding deeply while a couple of them fall in love. Oh, and there’s magic. And an evil father gets his comeuppance. It should be fun to read.

Next up…Come January, I’m going to start working on a novel that I’ve had in my head for years and years. I used to call it my “Calcutta book” because much of the action takes place in a teeming city, which will itself become almost a character in the story, if I do it right. I’ve thought about this book long enough that there are a lot of layers to the culture and my hope is to really bring this exotic city to life. I haven’t started writing it yet, but I’m thinking I’m going to find this a really interesting world to live in for much of 2009.

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog! It’s been fun to hang out here and talk about writing.

MJP: Thanks so much for visiting, Sharon!  You already have fans here, and I suspect you’ve made more today.

Sharon will give a way a copy ofBMystic and Rider Mystic and Rider, first of her 12 Houses books, to a lucky reader who posts a comment before midnight Saturday.  I warn you—the stories are addictive! 

So–are you a fantasy reader now?  If so, what do you like?  If not–why not? 

Mary Jo

 

130 thoughts on “Sharon Shinn: an interview”

  1. Serious fan grrl here! I’ve read– more like scarfed down– all your books and wish you could clone yourself to produce more quickly. I’m a pretty jaded reader but I get sucked into your worlds without a protest, seldom coming up for air until I sigh with pleasure at the end.
    As to the readers who complain about not seeing enough of favorite characters–just revel in the delight of creating such beloved characters and write what you want to write. That seems to be working well. “G”
    Thanks for stopping by the wenches!

    Reply
  2. Serious fan grrl here! I’ve read– more like scarfed down– all your books and wish you could clone yourself to produce more quickly. I’m a pretty jaded reader but I get sucked into your worlds without a protest, seldom coming up for air until I sigh with pleasure at the end.
    As to the readers who complain about not seeing enough of favorite characters–just revel in the delight of creating such beloved characters and write what you want to write. That seems to be working well. “G”
    Thanks for stopping by the wenches!

    Reply
  3. Serious fan grrl here! I’ve read– more like scarfed down– all your books and wish you could clone yourself to produce more quickly. I’m a pretty jaded reader but I get sucked into your worlds without a protest, seldom coming up for air until I sigh with pleasure at the end.
    As to the readers who complain about not seeing enough of favorite characters–just revel in the delight of creating such beloved characters and write what you want to write. That seems to be working well. “G”
    Thanks for stopping by the wenches!

    Reply
  4. Serious fan grrl here! I’ve read– more like scarfed down– all your books and wish you could clone yourself to produce more quickly. I’m a pretty jaded reader but I get sucked into your worlds without a protest, seldom coming up for air until I sigh with pleasure at the end.
    As to the readers who complain about not seeing enough of favorite characters–just revel in the delight of creating such beloved characters and write what you want to write. That seems to be working well. “G”
    Thanks for stopping by the wenches!

    Reply
  5. Serious fan grrl here! I’ve read– more like scarfed down– all your books and wish you could clone yourself to produce more quickly. I’m a pretty jaded reader but I get sucked into your worlds without a protest, seldom coming up for air until I sigh with pleasure at the end.
    As to the readers who complain about not seeing enough of favorite characters–just revel in the delight of creating such beloved characters and write what you want to write. That seems to be working well. “G”
    Thanks for stopping by the wenches!

    Reply
  6. Don’t enter me – I have them all – I’m jumping on to praise The Truth-Teller’s Tale. I find all your world’s interesting, but this was one I really wished was a series, and not a young adult series either. Anyone who has stuck to the series has missed out – get yourselves to the YA section at once!
    Which reminds me, my older girl is now old enough for her own copy of this book – I think I need to go follow my own advice.

    Reply
  7. Don’t enter me – I have them all – I’m jumping on to praise The Truth-Teller’s Tale. I find all your world’s interesting, but this was one I really wished was a series, and not a young adult series either. Anyone who has stuck to the series has missed out – get yourselves to the YA section at once!
    Which reminds me, my older girl is now old enough for her own copy of this book – I think I need to go follow my own advice.

    Reply
  8. Don’t enter me – I have them all – I’m jumping on to praise The Truth-Teller’s Tale. I find all your world’s interesting, but this was one I really wished was a series, and not a young adult series either. Anyone who has stuck to the series has missed out – get yourselves to the YA section at once!
    Which reminds me, my older girl is now old enough for her own copy of this book – I think I need to go follow my own advice.

    Reply
  9. Don’t enter me – I have them all – I’m jumping on to praise The Truth-Teller’s Tale. I find all your world’s interesting, but this was one I really wished was a series, and not a young adult series either. Anyone who has stuck to the series has missed out – get yourselves to the YA section at once!
    Which reminds me, my older girl is now old enough for her own copy of this book – I think I need to go follow my own advice.

    Reply
  10. Don’t enter me – I have them all – I’m jumping on to praise The Truth-Teller’s Tale. I find all your world’s interesting, but this was one I really wished was a series, and not a young adult series either. Anyone who has stuck to the series has missed out – get yourselves to the YA section at once!
    Which reminds me, my older girl is now old enough for her own copy of this book – I think I need to go follow my own advice.

    Reply
  11. Ah…
    Another Emilie Loring fan.
    I’m also a Zane Grey reader and re-reader.
    Now I’ll have to find a few of your books to read.

    Reply
  12. Ah…
    Another Emilie Loring fan.
    I’m also a Zane Grey reader and re-reader.
    Now I’ll have to find a few of your books to read.

    Reply
  13. Ah…
    Another Emilie Loring fan.
    I’m also a Zane Grey reader and re-reader.
    Now I’ll have to find a few of your books to read.

    Reply
  14. Ah…
    Another Emilie Loring fan.
    I’m also a Zane Grey reader and re-reader.
    Now I’ll have to find a few of your books to read.

    Reply
  15. Ah…
    Another Emilie Loring fan.
    I’m also a Zane Grey reader and re-reader.
    Now I’ll have to find a few of your books to read.

    Reply
  16. Glad to hear that a couple of you have read all the books! There is really nothing lovelier than sinking deep into a novel and forgetting about the world for a while. But I’m laughing at the notion of trying to write MORE or FASTER…I already feel a little breathless sometimes at the pace. It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed doing novellas — less text, quicker turnaround, one more offering to the readers.
    Sharon

    Reply
  17. Glad to hear that a couple of you have read all the books! There is really nothing lovelier than sinking deep into a novel and forgetting about the world for a while. But I’m laughing at the notion of trying to write MORE or FASTER…I already feel a little breathless sometimes at the pace. It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed doing novellas — less text, quicker turnaround, one more offering to the readers.
    Sharon

    Reply
  18. Glad to hear that a couple of you have read all the books! There is really nothing lovelier than sinking deep into a novel and forgetting about the world for a while. But I’m laughing at the notion of trying to write MORE or FASTER…I already feel a little breathless sometimes at the pace. It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed doing novellas — less text, quicker turnaround, one more offering to the readers.
    Sharon

    Reply
  19. Glad to hear that a couple of you have read all the books! There is really nothing lovelier than sinking deep into a novel and forgetting about the world for a while. But I’m laughing at the notion of trying to write MORE or FASTER…I already feel a little breathless sometimes at the pace. It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed doing novellas — less text, quicker turnaround, one more offering to the readers.
    Sharon

    Reply
  20. Glad to hear that a couple of you have read all the books! There is really nothing lovelier than sinking deep into a novel and forgetting about the world for a while. But I’m laughing at the notion of trying to write MORE or FASTER…I already feel a little breathless sometimes at the pace. It’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed doing novellas — less text, quicker turnaround, one more offering to the readers.
    Sharon

    Reply
  21. I’ll be honest. I have read very little fantasy written for adults. I do count Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place among my all-time favorite books, and I have read a fair number of YA fantasy novels. But I put your books on my TBB list because I’m confident that if you’ve “read everything by Emilie Loring multiple times,” you must be a kindred spirit. I started reading adult romance fiction with my mother’s Emilie Loring books, and I will always have a soft spot for them. I still think Loring has some great titles. 🙂

    Reply
  22. I’ll be honest. I have read very little fantasy written for adults. I do count Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place among my all-time favorite books, and I have read a fair number of YA fantasy novels. But I put your books on my TBB list because I’m confident that if you’ve “read everything by Emilie Loring multiple times,” you must be a kindred spirit. I started reading adult romance fiction with my mother’s Emilie Loring books, and I will always have a soft spot for them. I still think Loring has some great titles. 🙂

    Reply
  23. I’ll be honest. I have read very little fantasy written for adults. I do count Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place among my all-time favorite books, and I have read a fair number of YA fantasy novels. But I put your books on my TBB list because I’m confident that if you’ve “read everything by Emilie Loring multiple times,” you must be a kindred spirit. I started reading adult romance fiction with my mother’s Emilie Loring books, and I will always have a soft spot for them. I still think Loring has some great titles. 🙂

    Reply
  24. I’ll be honest. I have read very little fantasy written for adults. I do count Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place among my all-time favorite books, and I have read a fair number of YA fantasy novels. But I put your books on my TBB list because I’m confident that if you’ve “read everything by Emilie Loring multiple times,” you must be a kindred spirit. I started reading adult romance fiction with my mother’s Emilie Loring books, and I will always have a soft spot for them. I still think Loring has some great titles. 🙂

    Reply
  25. I’ll be honest. I have read very little fantasy written for adults. I do count Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place among my all-time favorite books, and I have read a fair number of YA fantasy novels. But I put your books on my TBB list because I’m confident that if you’ve “read everything by Emilie Loring multiple times,” you must be a kindred spirit. I started reading adult romance fiction with my mother’s Emilie Loring books, and I will always have a soft spot for them. I still think Loring has some great titles. 🙂

    Reply
  26. From MJP:
    Liz, you’re so right about YA books–there’s really great stuff to be found there, and the standard of writing is very high.
    Janga, if you like great characterization and cracking good plots, you’ll like Sharon’s books even if you’re not a fantasy reader usually. (Though I admit that since I was born with the sff gene, I don’t really understand not having it. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  27. From MJP:
    Liz, you’re so right about YA books–there’s really great stuff to be found there, and the standard of writing is very high.
    Janga, if you like great characterization and cracking good plots, you’ll like Sharon’s books even if you’re not a fantasy reader usually. (Though I admit that since I was born with the sff gene, I don’t really understand not having it. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  28. From MJP:
    Liz, you’re so right about YA books–there’s really great stuff to be found there, and the standard of writing is very high.
    Janga, if you like great characterization and cracking good plots, you’ll like Sharon’s books even if you’re not a fantasy reader usually. (Though I admit that since I was born with the sff gene, I don’t really understand not having it. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  29. From MJP:
    Liz, you’re so right about YA books–there’s really great stuff to be found there, and the standard of writing is very high.
    Janga, if you like great characterization and cracking good plots, you’ll like Sharon’s books even if you’re not a fantasy reader usually. (Though I admit that since I was born with the sff gene, I don’t really understand not having it. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  30. From MJP:
    Liz, you’re so right about YA books–there’s really great stuff to be found there, and the standard of writing is very high.
    Janga, if you like great characterization and cracking good plots, you’ll like Sharon’s books even if you’re not a fantasy reader usually. (Though I admit that since I was born with the sff gene, I don’t really understand not having it. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  31. Like many adolescent girls, I devoured all the sff I could find but somewhere along the way it became a secondary interest for me. I do still pick one up occasionally and now my appetite has certainly been whetted to try one of Sharon’s–any recommendation on what the best “intro” would be? BTW … my daughters are carrying on the tradition and have shelves-ful of sff … they scoff now at my historical romance reading but somehow I feel I will have the last laugh in about 20 years!

    Reply
  32. Like many adolescent girls, I devoured all the sff I could find but somewhere along the way it became a secondary interest for me. I do still pick one up occasionally and now my appetite has certainly been whetted to try one of Sharon’s–any recommendation on what the best “intro” would be? BTW … my daughters are carrying on the tradition and have shelves-ful of sff … they scoff now at my historical romance reading but somehow I feel I will have the last laugh in about 20 years!

    Reply
  33. Like many adolescent girls, I devoured all the sff I could find but somewhere along the way it became a secondary interest for me. I do still pick one up occasionally and now my appetite has certainly been whetted to try one of Sharon’s–any recommendation on what the best “intro” would be? BTW … my daughters are carrying on the tradition and have shelves-ful of sff … they scoff now at my historical romance reading but somehow I feel I will have the last laugh in about 20 years!

    Reply
  34. Like many adolescent girls, I devoured all the sff I could find but somewhere along the way it became a secondary interest for me. I do still pick one up occasionally and now my appetite has certainly been whetted to try one of Sharon’s–any recommendation on what the best “intro” would be? BTW … my daughters are carrying on the tradition and have shelves-ful of sff … they scoff now at my historical romance reading but somehow I feel I will have the last laugh in about 20 years!

    Reply
  35. Like many adolescent girls, I devoured all the sff I could find but somewhere along the way it became a secondary interest for me. I do still pick one up occasionally and now my appetite has certainly been whetted to try one of Sharon’s–any recommendation on what the best “intro” would be? BTW … my daughters are carrying on the tradition and have shelves-ful of sff … they scoff now at my historical romance reading but somehow I feel I will have the last laugh in about 20 years!

    Reply
  36. From MJP:
    JudiDW, I’d start with either Mystic and Rider, first of the 12 Houses books, or Archangel, first of the Samaria books. Both are great reads, and introductions to those worlds. If pressed to suggest just one, I’d go with Mystic and Rider.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  37. From MJP:
    JudiDW, I’d start with either Mystic and Rider, first of the 12 Houses books, or Archangel, first of the Samaria books. Both are great reads, and introductions to those worlds. If pressed to suggest just one, I’d go with Mystic and Rider.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  38. From MJP:
    JudiDW, I’d start with either Mystic and Rider, first of the 12 Houses books, or Archangel, first of the Samaria books. Both are great reads, and introductions to those worlds. If pressed to suggest just one, I’d go with Mystic and Rider.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  39. From MJP:
    JudiDW, I’d start with either Mystic and Rider, first of the 12 Houses books, or Archangel, first of the Samaria books. Both are great reads, and introductions to those worlds. If pressed to suggest just one, I’d go with Mystic and Rider.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  40. From MJP:
    JudiDW, I’d start with either Mystic and Rider, first of the 12 Houses books, or Archangel, first of the Samaria books. Both are great reads, and introductions to those worlds. If pressed to suggest just one, I’d go with Mystic and Rider.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  41. You know, this is one reason why I like this list so much: the exposure to so many great authors. It’s like having a Personal Shopper go out and hand-pick your next books to read.
    I’m not normally into sff, but once word got out that Sharon Shinn was coming here as a guest, everyone I told did cartwheels, which tells me I’d better put you on my must-read list!

    Reply
  42. You know, this is one reason why I like this list so much: the exposure to so many great authors. It’s like having a Personal Shopper go out and hand-pick your next books to read.
    I’m not normally into sff, but once word got out that Sharon Shinn was coming here as a guest, everyone I told did cartwheels, which tells me I’d better put you on my must-read list!

    Reply
  43. You know, this is one reason why I like this list so much: the exposure to so many great authors. It’s like having a Personal Shopper go out and hand-pick your next books to read.
    I’m not normally into sff, but once word got out that Sharon Shinn was coming here as a guest, everyone I told did cartwheels, which tells me I’d better put you on my must-read list!

    Reply
  44. You know, this is one reason why I like this list so much: the exposure to so many great authors. It’s like having a Personal Shopper go out and hand-pick your next books to read.
    I’m not normally into sff, but once word got out that Sharon Shinn was coming here as a guest, everyone I told did cartwheels, which tells me I’d better put you on my must-read list!

    Reply
  45. You know, this is one reason why I like this list so much: the exposure to so many great authors. It’s like having a Personal Shopper go out and hand-pick your next books to read.
    I’m not normally into sff, but once word got out that Sharon Shinn was coming here as a guest, everyone I told did cartwheels, which tells me I’d better put you on my must-read list!

    Reply
  46. Sharon, you were just chosen as Author of the Month at a book loop I’m on, and I do have a few of your books in my TBR mountain. I’ve pulled Archangel out to read and will be starting it soon. Sorry to say I haven’t read any of those in that mountain, so I’m really looking forward to this first read. Thanks for a great interview.

    Reply
  47. Sharon, you were just chosen as Author of the Month at a book loop I’m on, and I do have a few of your books in my TBR mountain. I’ve pulled Archangel out to read and will be starting it soon. Sorry to say I haven’t read any of those in that mountain, so I’m really looking forward to this first read. Thanks for a great interview.

    Reply
  48. Sharon, you were just chosen as Author of the Month at a book loop I’m on, and I do have a few of your books in my TBR mountain. I’ve pulled Archangel out to read and will be starting it soon. Sorry to say I haven’t read any of those in that mountain, so I’m really looking forward to this first read. Thanks for a great interview.

    Reply
  49. Sharon, you were just chosen as Author of the Month at a book loop I’m on, and I do have a few of your books in my TBR mountain. I’ve pulled Archangel out to read and will be starting it soon. Sorry to say I haven’t read any of those in that mountain, so I’m really looking forward to this first read. Thanks for a great interview.

    Reply
  50. Sharon, you were just chosen as Author of the Month at a book loop I’m on, and I do have a few of your books in my TBR mountain. I’ve pulled Archangel out to read and will be starting it soon. Sorry to say I haven’t read any of those in that mountain, so I’m really looking forward to this first read. Thanks for a great interview.

    Reply
  51. MJP – since you mentioned standard of writing, I have to tell my favorite Sharon Shinn story – I took an anthology with Shinn’s name in huge letters to lunch – I loved her story, the others? Well, that’s why I won’t name it. It was a cover your face with one hand and suffer kind of read for me on the rest of it. This woman stops and starts raving about the book – I said yea, I really liked… and she went into a totally enthusiastic History Of Fiction centered on all the other authors.
    Bless her heart.
    She even offered me her phone number so I could call her if I couldn’t recall the books she was suggesting. I didn’t take it. Eventually I actually said “Please stop talking to me. Really. Please. I’m, um, late for that thing I’m late for.” She was still talking when I closed the exit door to in her face. She loved her authors and she wanted me to love them too. Or die trying.
    Life was interesting when I was bald.

    Reply
  52. MJP – since you mentioned standard of writing, I have to tell my favorite Sharon Shinn story – I took an anthology with Shinn’s name in huge letters to lunch – I loved her story, the others? Well, that’s why I won’t name it. It was a cover your face with one hand and suffer kind of read for me on the rest of it. This woman stops and starts raving about the book – I said yea, I really liked… and she went into a totally enthusiastic History Of Fiction centered on all the other authors.
    Bless her heart.
    She even offered me her phone number so I could call her if I couldn’t recall the books she was suggesting. I didn’t take it. Eventually I actually said “Please stop talking to me. Really. Please. I’m, um, late for that thing I’m late for.” She was still talking when I closed the exit door to in her face. She loved her authors and she wanted me to love them too. Or die trying.
    Life was interesting when I was bald.

    Reply
  53. MJP – since you mentioned standard of writing, I have to tell my favorite Sharon Shinn story – I took an anthology with Shinn’s name in huge letters to lunch – I loved her story, the others? Well, that’s why I won’t name it. It was a cover your face with one hand and suffer kind of read for me on the rest of it. This woman stops and starts raving about the book – I said yea, I really liked… and she went into a totally enthusiastic History Of Fiction centered on all the other authors.
    Bless her heart.
    She even offered me her phone number so I could call her if I couldn’t recall the books she was suggesting. I didn’t take it. Eventually I actually said “Please stop talking to me. Really. Please. I’m, um, late for that thing I’m late for.” She was still talking when I closed the exit door to in her face. She loved her authors and she wanted me to love them too. Or die trying.
    Life was interesting when I was bald.

    Reply
  54. MJP – since you mentioned standard of writing, I have to tell my favorite Sharon Shinn story – I took an anthology with Shinn’s name in huge letters to lunch – I loved her story, the others? Well, that’s why I won’t name it. It was a cover your face with one hand and suffer kind of read for me on the rest of it. This woman stops and starts raving about the book – I said yea, I really liked… and she went into a totally enthusiastic History Of Fiction centered on all the other authors.
    Bless her heart.
    She even offered me her phone number so I could call her if I couldn’t recall the books she was suggesting. I didn’t take it. Eventually I actually said “Please stop talking to me. Really. Please. I’m, um, late for that thing I’m late for.” She was still talking when I closed the exit door to in her face. She loved her authors and she wanted me to love them too. Or die trying.
    Life was interesting when I was bald.

    Reply
  55. MJP – since you mentioned standard of writing, I have to tell my favorite Sharon Shinn story – I took an anthology with Shinn’s name in huge letters to lunch – I loved her story, the others? Well, that’s why I won’t name it. It was a cover your face with one hand and suffer kind of read for me on the rest of it. This woman stops and starts raving about the book – I said yea, I really liked… and she went into a totally enthusiastic History Of Fiction centered on all the other authors.
    Bless her heart.
    She even offered me her phone number so I could call her if I couldn’t recall the books she was suggesting. I didn’t take it. Eventually I actually said “Please stop talking to me. Really. Please. I’m, um, late for that thing I’m late for.” She was still talking when I closed the exit door to in her face. She loved her authors and she wanted me to love them too. Or die trying.
    Life was interesting when I was bald.

    Reply
  56. MJP is right about starting with “Mystic and Rider” or “Archangel” if you have any inclination toward fantasy. If you’re REALLY uneasy about trying fantasy, I tell people to start with “Summers at Castle Auburn,” because it’s a very accessible story with just a few fantasy elements (and it’s the book of mine that is probably the second-favorite of most of my readers). Another book I recommend to non-fantasy readers is Emma Bull’s “War for the Oaks,” set in modern-day Minneapolis and just a delightful read. Great romance, too.
    Janga, I LOVE “Fine and Private Place.” Peter Beagle blurbed my first book, one of the more exciting moments in my professional career. And I totally agree about Emilie Loring’s titles. “I Hear Adventure Calling.” “Throw Wide the Door.” “What Then Is Love?” “Love Came Laughing By.” I could go on and on…
    Liz, laughing at the story about the anthology. Not all the stories in all the anthologies were to my taste, either, but it’s certainly interesting to see the wide range of stuff that gets published in a romantic fantasy collection.

    Reply
  57. MJP is right about starting with “Mystic and Rider” or “Archangel” if you have any inclination toward fantasy. If you’re REALLY uneasy about trying fantasy, I tell people to start with “Summers at Castle Auburn,” because it’s a very accessible story with just a few fantasy elements (and it’s the book of mine that is probably the second-favorite of most of my readers). Another book I recommend to non-fantasy readers is Emma Bull’s “War for the Oaks,” set in modern-day Minneapolis and just a delightful read. Great romance, too.
    Janga, I LOVE “Fine and Private Place.” Peter Beagle blurbed my first book, one of the more exciting moments in my professional career. And I totally agree about Emilie Loring’s titles. “I Hear Adventure Calling.” “Throw Wide the Door.” “What Then Is Love?” “Love Came Laughing By.” I could go on and on…
    Liz, laughing at the story about the anthology. Not all the stories in all the anthologies were to my taste, either, but it’s certainly interesting to see the wide range of stuff that gets published in a romantic fantasy collection.

    Reply
  58. MJP is right about starting with “Mystic and Rider” or “Archangel” if you have any inclination toward fantasy. If you’re REALLY uneasy about trying fantasy, I tell people to start with “Summers at Castle Auburn,” because it’s a very accessible story with just a few fantasy elements (and it’s the book of mine that is probably the second-favorite of most of my readers). Another book I recommend to non-fantasy readers is Emma Bull’s “War for the Oaks,” set in modern-day Minneapolis and just a delightful read. Great romance, too.
    Janga, I LOVE “Fine and Private Place.” Peter Beagle blurbed my first book, one of the more exciting moments in my professional career. And I totally agree about Emilie Loring’s titles. “I Hear Adventure Calling.” “Throw Wide the Door.” “What Then Is Love?” “Love Came Laughing By.” I could go on and on…
    Liz, laughing at the story about the anthology. Not all the stories in all the anthologies were to my taste, either, but it’s certainly interesting to see the wide range of stuff that gets published in a romantic fantasy collection.

    Reply
  59. MJP is right about starting with “Mystic and Rider” or “Archangel” if you have any inclination toward fantasy. If you’re REALLY uneasy about trying fantasy, I tell people to start with “Summers at Castle Auburn,” because it’s a very accessible story with just a few fantasy elements (and it’s the book of mine that is probably the second-favorite of most of my readers). Another book I recommend to non-fantasy readers is Emma Bull’s “War for the Oaks,” set in modern-day Minneapolis and just a delightful read. Great romance, too.
    Janga, I LOVE “Fine and Private Place.” Peter Beagle blurbed my first book, one of the more exciting moments in my professional career. And I totally agree about Emilie Loring’s titles. “I Hear Adventure Calling.” “Throw Wide the Door.” “What Then Is Love?” “Love Came Laughing By.” I could go on and on…
    Liz, laughing at the story about the anthology. Not all the stories in all the anthologies were to my taste, either, but it’s certainly interesting to see the wide range of stuff that gets published in a romantic fantasy collection.

    Reply
  60. MJP is right about starting with “Mystic and Rider” or “Archangel” if you have any inclination toward fantasy. If you’re REALLY uneasy about trying fantasy, I tell people to start with “Summers at Castle Auburn,” because it’s a very accessible story with just a few fantasy elements (and it’s the book of mine that is probably the second-favorite of most of my readers). Another book I recommend to non-fantasy readers is Emma Bull’s “War for the Oaks,” set in modern-day Minneapolis and just a delightful read. Great romance, too.
    Janga, I LOVE “Fine and Private Place.” Peter Beagle blurbed my first book, one of the more exciting moments in my professional career. And I totally agree about Emilie Loring’s titles. “I Hear Adventure Calling.” “Throw Wide the Door.” “What Then Is Love?” “Love Came Laughing By.” I could go on and on…
    Liz, laughing at the story about the anthology. Not all the stories in all the anthologies were to my taste, either, but it’s certainly interesting to see the wide range of stuff that gets published in a romantic fantasy collection.

    Reply
  61. I remember reviews that claimed there was *too much* Senneth and Tayse in the other books–which just shows you, there’s no pleasing some people. 😉
    Whenever I get involved in a “which Sharon Shinn book should I read?” conversation, which is often, I recommend Angelica. It is one of my top ten romances of any genre, and chronologically first in the series, so I think that works. Or do you think the “reveal” in it about the nature of their world shouldn’t happen til later in the series? (Like reading The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is just wrong?)

    Reply
  62. I remember reviews that claimed there was *too much* Senneth and Tayse in the other books–which just shows you, there’s no pleasing some people. 😉
    Whenever I get involved in a “which Sharon Shinn book should I read?” conversation, which is often, I recommend Angelica. It is one of my top ten romances of any genre, and chronologically first in the series, so I think that works. Or do you think the “reveal” in it about the nature of their world shouldn’t happen til later in the series? (Like reading The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is just wrong?)

    Reply
  63. I remember reviews that claimed there was *too much* Senneth and Tayse in the other books–which just shows you, there’s no pleasing some people. 😉
    Whenever I get involved in a “which Sharon Shinn book should I read?” conversation, which is often, I recommend Angelica. It is one of my top ten romances of any genre, and chronologically first in the series, so I think that works. Or do you think the “reveal” in it about the nature of their world shouldn’t happen til later in the series? (Like reading The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is just wrong?)

    Reply
  64. I remember reviews that claimed there was *too much* Senneth and Tayse in the other books–which just shows you, there’s no pleasing some people. 😉
    Whenever I get involved in a “which Sharon Shinn book should I read?” conversation, which is often, I recommend Angelica. It is one of my top ten romances of any genre, and chronologically first in the series, so I think that works. Or do you think the “reveal” in it about the nature of their world shouldn’t happen til later in the series? (Like reading The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is just wrong?)

    Reply
  65. I remember reviews that claimed there was *too much* Senneth and Tayse in the other books–which just shows you, there’s no pleasing some people. 😉
    Whenever I get involved in a “which Sharon Shinn book should I read?” conversation, which is often, I recommend Angelica. It is one of my top ten romances of any genre, and chronologically first in the series, so I think that works. Or do you think the “reveal” in it about the nature of their world shouldn’t happen til later in the series? (Like reading The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is just wrong?)

    Reply
  66. Archangel was the first fantasy I read. I admit I quite surprised when it was clear that it was more S/F than fantasy. But that did not diminish the enjoyment I got from reading the series.

    Reply
  67. Archangel was the first fantasy I read. I admit I quite surprised when it was clear that it was more S/F than fantasy. But that did not diminish the enjoyment I got from reading the series.

    Reply
  68. Archangel was the first fantasy I read. I admit I quite surprised when it was clear that it was more S/F than fantasy. But that did not diminish the enjoyment I got from reading the series.

    Reply
  69. Archangel was the first fantasy I read. I admit I quite surprised when it was clear that it was more S/F than fantasy. But that did not diminish the enjoyment I got from reading the series.

    Reply
  70. Archangel was the first fantasy I read. I admit I quite surprised when it was clear that it was more S/F than fantasy. But that did not diminish the enjoyment I got from reading the series.

    Reply
  71. Great interview, Sharon. I’ve been getting more and more into fantasy this past year. One of the girls on my reading group has been raving about your books. I was able to get Summers at Auburn Castles to read now, and just finished an anthology story – that and this post definitely have me interested in the 12 Houses series.

    Reply
  72. Great interview, Sharon. I’ve been getting more and more into fantasy this past year. One of the girls on my reading group has been raving about your books. I was able to get Summers at Auburn Castles to read now, and just finished an anthology story – that and this post definitely have me interested in the 12 Houses series.

    Reply
  73. Great interview, Sharon. I’ve been getting more and more into fantasy this past year. One of the girls on my reading group has been raving about your books. I was able to get Summers at Auburn Castles to read now, and just finished an anthology story – that and this post definitely have me interested in the 12 Houses series.

    Reply
  74. Great interview, Sharon. I’ve been getting more and more into fantasy this past year. One of the girls on my reading group has been raving about your books. I was able to get Summers at Auburn Castles to read now, and just finished an anthology story – that and this post definitely have me interested in the 12 Houses series.

    Reply
  75. Great interview, Sharon. I’ve been getting more and more into fantasy this past year. One of the girls on my reading group has been raving about your books. I was able to get Summers at Auburn Castles to read now, and just finished an anthology story – that and this post definitely have me interested in the 12 Houses series.

    Reply
  76. I did not read sff growing up. I thought they were boy books. Actually, this blog played a big role in getting me to try some sff (particularly lois mcmaster bujold), and I do agree that fantasy can feel like historical romance/fiction. I don’t know what the fantasy term for it is, but I always think of it as pseudo historical and have come to really like it. I need to thank the word wenches and particularly MJP for convincing me to go to the part of the bookstore I always ignored.
    Sharon – I do have a couple of your books in my tbr pile bc of recommendations on DA, and I plan to pick them up really soon. I also read a lot of westerns growing up, but that was more the Louis L’amour/Lonesome Dove era. I do still really enjoy Elmer Kelton’s novels.

    Reply
  77. I did not read sff growing up. I thought they were boy books. Actually, this blog played a big role in getting me to try some sff (particularly lois mcmaster bujold), and I do agree that fantasy can feel like historical romance/fiction. I don’t know what the fantasy term for it is, but I always think of it as pseudo historical and have come to really like it. I need to thank the word wenches and particularly MJP for convincing me to go to the part of the bookstore I always ignored.
    Sharon – I do have a couple of your books in my tbr pile bc of recommendations on DA, and I plan to pick them up really soon. I also read a lot of westerns growing up, but that was more the Louis L’amour/Lonesome Dove era. I do still really enjoy Elmer Kelton’s novels.

    Reply
  78. I did not read sff growing up. I thought they were boy books. Actually, this blog played a big role in getting me to try some sff (particularly lois mcmaster bujold), and I do agree that fantasy can feel like historical romance/fiction. I don’t know what the fantasy term for it is, but I always think of it as pseudo historical and have come to really like it. I need to thank the word wenches and particularly MJP for convincing me to go to the part of the bookstore I always ignored.
    Sharon – I do have a couple of your books in my tbr pile bc of recommendations on DA, and I plan to pick them up really soon. I also read a lot of westerns growing up, but that was more the Louis L’amour/Lonesome Dove era. I do still really enjoy Elmer Kelton’s novels.

    Reply
  79. I did not read sff growing up. I thought they were boy books. Actually, this blog played a big role in getting me to try some sff (particularly lois mcmaster bujold), and I do agree that fantasy can feel like historical romance/fiction. I don’t know what the fantasy term for it is, but I always think of it as pseudo historical and have come to really like it. I need to thank the word wenches and particularly MJP for convincing me to go to the part of the bookstore I always ignored.
    Sharon – I do have a couple of your books in my tbr pile bc of recommendations on DA, and I plan to pick them up really soon. I also read a lot of westerns growing up, but that was more the Louis L’amour/Lonesome Dove era. I do still really enjoy Elmer Kelton’s novels.

    Reply
  80. I did not read sff growing up. I thought they were boy books. Actually, this blog played a big role in getting me to try some sff (particularly lois mcmaster bujold), and I do agree that fantasy can feel like historical romance/fiction. I don’t know what the fantasy term for it is, but I always think of it as pseudo historical and have come to really like it. I need to thank the word wenches and particularly MJP for convincing me to go to the part of the bookstore I always ignored.
    Sharon – I do have a couple of your books in my tbr pile bc of recommendations on DA, and I plan to pick them up really soon. I also read a lot of westerns growing up, but that was more the Louis L’amour/Lonesome Dove era. I do still really enjoy Elmer Kelton’s novels.

    Reply
  81. Sharon, thanks for a fascinating interview. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but I’m going to have to change that! Soon!
    One question: you seem to keep several fantasy worlds going in your head at once. How do you keep track of the differences in traditions and laws, landscape, etc., let alone the characters?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  82. Sharon, thanks for a fascinating interview. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but I’m going to have to change that! Soon!
    One question: you seem to keep several fantasy worlds going in your head at once. How do you keep track of the differences in traditions and laws, landscape, etc., let alone the characters?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  83. Sharon, thanks for a fascinating interview. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but I’m going to have to change that! Soon!
    One question: you seem to keep several fantasy worlds going in your head at once. How do you keep track of the differences in traditions and laws, landscape, etc., let alone the characters?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  84. Sharon, thanks for a fascinating interview. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but I’m going to have to change that! Soon!
    One question: you seem to keep several fantasy worlds going in your head at once. How do you keep track of the differences in traditions and laws, landscape, etc., let alone the characters?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  85. Sharon, thanks for a fascinating interview. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but I’m going to have to change that! Soon!
    One question: you seem to keep several fantasy worlds going in your head at once. How do you keep track of the differences in traditions and laws, landscape, etc., let alone the characters?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  86. I’ve only read one fantasy book. It was Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. I really enjoyed the book and have no idea why I didn’t pick up the other books in the series.

    Reply
  87. I’ve only read one fantasy book. It was Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. I really enjoyed the book and have no idea why I didn’t pick up the other books in the series.

    Reply
  88. I’ve only read one fantasy book. It was Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. I really enjoyed the book and have no idea why I didn’t pick up the other books in the series.

    Reply
  89. I’ve only read one fantasy book. It was Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. I really enjoyed the book and have no idea why I didn’t pick up the other books in the series.

    Reply
  90. I’ve only read one fantasy book. It was Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. I really enjoyed the book and have no idea why I didn’t pick up the other books in the series.

    Reply
  91. Willaful: I think a lot of people start the Samaria books with “Angelica” because, as you say, it’s chronologically first and it really should be able to stand alone. Yes, it does kind of reveal the secret at the heart of the series…but I figure most people figure that out by the middle of “Archangel,” anyway, so it’s not such a dreadful spoiler. 🙂
    Anne, as to how I keep various stories straight in my head: When people ask me this, I say it’s kind of like having a bunch of TV shows that you watch every week. Different people, different tone, different storylines, and they all seem so distinct that you don’t really get them mixed up. My friend Rett MacPherson (who writes a series of cozy mysteries) says it’s more like keeping up with the various branches of your family. THIS happened to Aunt Sue, THAT happened to Cousin Joe. That being said, whenever I’m going to write another story set in an existing world, I ALWAYS go back and reread, because otherwise it is very easy to forget fun little details that I want to make sure get mentioned in the new story.

    Reply
  92. Willaful: I think a lot of people start the Samaria books with “Angelica” because, as you say, it’s chronologically first and it really should be able to stand alone. Yes, it does kind of reveal the secret at the heart of the series…but I figure most people figure that out by the middle of “Archangel,” anyway, so it’s not such a dreadful spoiler. 🙂
    Anne, as to how I keep various stories straight in my head: When people ask me this, I say it’s kind of like having a bunch of TV shows that you watch every week. Different people, different tone, different storylines, and they all seem so distinct that you don’t really get them mixed up. My friend Rett MacPherson (who writes a series of cozy mysteries) says it’s more like keeping up with the various branches of your family. THIS happened to Aunt Sue, THAT happened to Cousin Joe. That being said, whenever I’m going to write another story set in an existing world, I ALWAYS go back and reread, because otherwise it is very easy to forget fun little details that I want to make sure get mentioned in the new story.

    Reply
  93. Willaful: I think a lot of people start the Samaria books with “Angelica” because, as you say, it’s chronologically first and it really should be able to stand alone. Yes, it does kind of reveal the secret at the heart of the series…but I figure most people figure that out by the middle of “Archangel,” anyway, so it’s not such a dreadful spoiler. 🙂
    Anne, as to how I keep various stories straight in my head: When people ask me this, I say it’s kind of like having a bunch of TV shows that you watch every week. Different people, different tone, different storylines, and they all seem so distinct that you don’t really get them mixed up. My friend Rett MacPherson (who writes a series of cozy mysteries) says it’s more like keeping up with the various branches of your family. THIS happened to Aunt Sue, THAT happened to Cousin Joe. That being said, whenever I’m going to write another story set in an existing world, I ALWAYS go back and reread, because otherwise it is very easy to forget fun little details that I want to make sure get mentioned in the new story.

    Reply
  94. Willaful: I think a lot of people start the Samaria books with “Angelica” because, as you say, it’s chronologically first and it really should be able to stand alone. Yes, it does kind of reveal the secret at the heart of the series…but I figure most people figure that out by the middle of “Archangel,” anyway, so it’s not such a dreadful spoiler. 🙂
    Anne, as to how I keep various stories straight in my head: When people ask me this, I say it’s kind of like having a bunch of TV shows that you watch every week. Different people, different tone, different storylines, and they all seem so distinct that you don’t really get them mixed up. My friend Rett MacPherson (who writes a series of cozy mysteries) says it’s more like keeping up with the various branches of your family. THIS happened to Aunt Sue, THAT happened to Cousin Joe. That being said, whenever I’m going to write another story set in an existing world, I ALWAYS go back and reread, because otherwise it is very easy to forget fun little details that I want to make sure get mentioned in the new story.

    Reply
  95. Willaful: I think a lot of people start the Samaria books with “Angelica” because, as you say, it’s chronologically first and it really should be able to stand alone. Yes, it does kind of reveal the secret at the heart of the series…but I figure most people figure that out by the middle of “Archangel,” anyway, so it’s not such a dreadful spoiler. 🙂
    Anne, as to how I keep various stories straight in my head: When people ask me this, I say it’s kind of like having a bunch of TV shows that you watch every week. Different people, different tone, different storylines, and they all seem so distinct that you don’t really get them mixed up. My friend Rett MacPherson (who writes a series of cozy mysteries) says it’s more like keeping up with the various branches of your family. THIS happened to Aunt Sue, THAT happened to Cousin Joe. That being said, whenever I’m going to write another story set in an existing world, I ALWAYS go back and reread, because otherwise it is very easy to forget fun little details that I want to make sure get mentioned in the new story.

    Reply
  96. From MJP:
    Michelle–you’re quite write about reading science fiction as a kid–it was boys’ stuff. At my school, it was me and the scientifically inclined boys. 🙂 I have no idea why I was drawn to it, but I was drawn to science, especially astronomy and geology, so there was some connection.
    I’m glad to see how many Word Wench regulars have given sff a try basec on seeing recommendations here. It doesn’t work for everyone–no genre does–but if it does work, there’s GREAT books like Sharon’s, and Lois McMasters Bujold, and one can never know too many great writers.
    Speaking of Bujold, THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION has just come out. It’s a compendium of interviews and essays on her work, and great fun.
    Lois’s life long friend, Lillian Stewart Carl, is one of the editors and did several of the interviews, and she does a lovely job of showing who an sff writer is born. Worth looking for if you’re a fan of the Vorkosiverse. (Being a complete Bujold fan grrrrl,I did an essay on romance in the Vorkosiverse.)
    So many great stories out there…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  97. From MJP:
    Michelle–you’re quite write about reading science fiction as a kid–it was boys’ stuff. At my school, it was me and the scientifically inclined boys. 🙂 I have no idea why I was drawn to it, but I was drawn to science, especially astronomy and geology, so there was some connection.
    I’m glad to see how many Word Wench regulars have given sff a try basec on seeing recommendations here. It doesn’t work for everyone–no genre does–but if it does work, there’s GREAT books like Sharon’s, and Lois McMasters Bujold, and one can never know too many great writers.
    Speaking of Bujold, THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION has just come out. It’s a compendium of interviews and essays on her work, and great fun.
    Lois’s life long friend, Lillian Stewart Carl, is one of the editors and did several of the interviews, and she does a lovely job of showing who an sff writer is born. Worth looking for if you’re a fan of the Vorkosiverse. (Being a complete Bujold fan grrrrl,I did an essay on romance in the Vorkosiverse.)
    So many great stories out there…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  98. From MJP:
    Michelle–you’re quite write about reading science fiction as a kid–it was boys’ stuff. At my school, it was me and the scientifically inclined boys. 🙂 I have no idea why I was drawn to it, but I was drawn to science, especially astronomy and geology, so there was some connection.
    I’m glad to see how many Word Wench regulars have given sff a try basec on seeing recommendations here. It doesn’t work for everyone–no genre does–but if it does work, there’s GREAT books like Sharon’s, and Lois McMasters Bujold, and one can never know too many great writers.
    Speaking of Bujold, THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION has just come out. It’s a compendium of interviews and essays on her work, and great fun.
    Lois’s life long friend, Lillian Stewart Carl, is one of the editors and did several of the interviews, and she does a lovely job of showing who an sff writer is born. Worth looking for if you’re a fan of the Vorkosiverse. (Being a complete Bujold fan grrrrl,I did an essay on romance in the Vorkosiverse.)
    So many great stories out there…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  99. From MJP:
    Michelle–you’re quite write about reading science fiction as a kid–it was boys’ stuff. At my school, it was me and the scientifically inclined boys. 🙂 I have no idea why I was drawn to it, but I was drawn to science, especially astronomy and geology, so there was some connection.
    I’m glad to see how many Word Wench regulars have given sff a try basec on seeing recommendations here. It doesn’t work for everyone–no genre does–but if it does work, there’s GREAT books like Sharon’s, and Lois McMasters Bujold, and one can never know too many great writers.
    Speaking of Bujold, THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION has just come out. It’s a compendium of interviews and essays on her work, and great fun.
    Lois’s life long friend, Lillian Stewart Carl, is one of the editors and did several of the interviews, and she does a lovely job of showing who an sff writer is born. Worth looking for if you’re a fan of the Vorkosiverse. (Being a complete Bujold fan grrrrl,I did an essay on romance in the Vorkosiverse.)
    So many great stories out there…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  100. From MJP:
    Michelle–you’re quite write about reading science fiction as a kid–it was boys’ stuff. At my school, it was me and the scientifically inclined boys. 🙂 I have no idea why I was drawn to it, but I was drawn to science, especially astronomy and geology, so there was some connection.
    I’m glad to see how many Word Wench regulars have given sff a try basec on seeing recommendations here. It doesn’t work for everyone–no genre does–but if it does work, there’s GREAT books like Sharon’s, and Lois McMasters Bujold, and one can never know too many great writers.
    Speaking of Bujold, THE VORKOSIGAN COMPANION has just come out. It’s a compendium of interviews and essays on her work, and great fun.
    Lois’s life long friend, Lillian Stewart Carl, is one of the editors and did several of the interviews, and she does a lovely job of showing who an sff writer is born. Worth looking for if you’re a fan of the Vorkosiverse. (Being a complete Bujold fan grrrrl,I did an essay on romance in the Vorkosiverse.)
    So many great stories out there…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  101. I have enjoyed reading fantasy–it’s been a while though. One of my favorite series was Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. I’ll definitely have to look for yours!

    Reply
  102. I have enjoyed reading fantasy–it’s been a while though. One of my favorite series was Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. I’ll definitely have to look for yours!

    Reply
  103. I have enjoyed reading fantasy–it’s been a while though. One of my favorite series was Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. I’ll definitely have to look for yours!

    Reply
  104. I have enjoyed reading fantasy–it’s been a while though. One of my favorite series was Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. I’ll definitely have to look for yours!

    Reply
  105. I have enjoyed reading fantasy–it’s been a while though. One of my favorite series was Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. I’ll definitely have to look for yours!

    Reply
  106. War of the Oaks is still on my bookshelf–haven’t read it in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did! Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Reply
  107. War of the Oaks is still on my bookshelf–haven’t read it in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did! Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Reply
  108. War of the Oaks is still on my bookshelf–haven’t read it in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did! Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Reply
  109. War of the Oaks is still on my bookshelf–haven’t read it in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did! Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Reply
  110. War of the Oaks is still on my bookshelf–haven’t read it in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did! Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Reply
  111. I have read all the 12 Houses, so don’t add me into the give-away. I bought them all in HC, so that tells you something about how much I enjoyed your books. (I’m too cheap to buy most authors in HC.)I got Wen’s story the day it was released and read (gulped) it in 2 days. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it, so I won’t be able to reread until it comes out in paper. I love the way you make a believable world, and your characters. That’s the hallmark of excellent fantasy, to my mind.

    Reply
  112. I have read all the 12 Houses, so don’t add me into the give-away. I bought them all in HC, so that tells you something about how much I enjoyed your books. (I’m too cheap to buy most authors in HC.)I got Wen’s story the day it was released and read (gulped) it in 2 days. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it, so I won’t be able to reread until it comes out in paper. I love the way you make a believable world, and your characters. That’s the hallmark of excellent fantasy, to my mind.

    Reply
  113. I have read all the 12 Houses, so don’t add me into the give-away. I bought them all in HC, so that tells you something about how much I enjoyed your books. (I’m too cheap to buy most authors in HC.)I got Wen’s story the day it was released and read (gulped) it in 2 days. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it, so I won’t be able to reread until it comes out in paper. I love the way you make a believable world, and your characters. That’s the hallmark of excellent fantasy, to my mind.

    Reply
  114. I have read all the 12 Houses, so don’t add me into the give-away. I bought them all in HC, so that tells you something about how much I enjoyed your books. (I’m too cheap to buy most authors in HC.)I got Wen’s story the day it was released and read (gulped) it in 2 days. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it, so I won’t be able to reread until it comes out in paper. I love the way you make a believable world, and your characters. That’s the hallmark of excellent fantasy, to my mind.

    Reply
  115. I have read all the 12 Houses, so don’t add me into the give-away. I bought them all in HC, so that tells you something about how much I enjoyed your books. (I’m too cheap to buy most authors in HC.)I got Wen’s story the day it was released and read (gulped) it in 2 days. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it, so I won’t be able to reread until it comes out in paper. I love the way you make a believable world, and your characters. That’s the hallmark of excellent fantasy, to my mind.

    Reply
  116. Kathy: Thanks for the nice comments. Sorry about your dog eating the book! I tend to buy paperback more than HC, too, so I know how strong the motivation must be to buy the hardback.
    JudiDW: I think I reread “War for the Oaks” about once a year. That’s on my comfort shelf. My favorite line is “Gracious, pet, I’m a supernatural being.” 🙂
    Thanks to everybody for stopping by! This has been really fun.

    Reply
  117. Kathy: Thanks for the nice comments. Sorry about your dog eating the book! I tend to buy paperback more than HC, too, so I know how strong the motivation must be to buy the hardback.
    JudiDW: I think I reread “War for the Oaks” about once a year. That’s on my comfort shelf. My favorite line is “Gracious, pet, I’m a supernatural being.” 🙂
    Thanks to everybody for stopping by! This has been really fun.

    Reply
  118. Kathy: Thanks for the nice comments. Sorry about your dog eating the book! I tend to buy paperback more than HC, too, so I know how strong the motivation must be to buy the hardback.
    JudiDW: I think I reread “War for the Oaks” about once a year. That’s on my comfort shelf. My favorite line is “Gracious, pet, I’m a supernatural being.” 🙂
    Thanks to everybody for stopping by! This has been really fun.

    Reply
  119. Kathy: Thanks for the nice comments. Sorry about your dog eating the book! I tend to buy paperback more than HC, too, so I know how strong the motivation must be to buy the hardback.
    JudiDW: I think I reread “War for the Oaks” about once a year. That’s on my comfort shelf. My favorite line is “Gracious, pet, I’m a supernatural being.” 🙂
    Thanks to everybody for stopping by! This has been really fun.

    Reply
  120. Kathy: Thanks for the nice comments. Sorry about your dog eating the book! I tend to buy paperback more than HC, too, so I know how strong the motivation must be to buy the hardback.
    JudiDW: I think I reread “War for the Oaks” about once a year. That’s on my comfort shelf. My favorite line is “Gracious, pet, I’m a supernatural being.” 🙂
    Thanks to everybody for stopping by! This has been really fun.

    Reply

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