It’s Friday. It’s time for my guest author slot, and today’s visitor is fellow fantasy author Diana Waters. She’s bringing the big guns, too – everything I love in my fantasy novels. Aaaand she currently lives in Japan! /fans self/ Now, before I run off in full fangirl mode to check out her redheads and see whether I can spot traces of Japan in her stories, I have to agree wholeheartedly with her assessment that trying to cram ourselves into a box with a label is painful at best and stifling at worst. Despite the many how-to books out there, we each have to find out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t. Fortunately, Diana Waters has done just that, and I’m going to enjoy what she’s come up with. 🙂
Thank you so much for joining me today to celebrate my most recent release, Kaidyn’s Courage. If you’re big on m/m romance or medieval-style historical-fantasy (or else just happen to have a bit of a Thing for red-heads), this story may well tickle your fancy.
Rather than stop by just to promote my book though, I’d like to talk about a term I personally found pretty intimidating as a new author: The Creative Process.
I admit I’ve never really thought of myself as being the especially creative sort. I built up this idea in my head of a writer being someone incredibly artistic – the kind of person who wallpapered their bathroom with rejection letters, locked themselves in hotel rooms to do nothing but write for three days straight, and typed away on laptops or scrawled award-winning ideas on napkins in trendy cafés. So whenever anyone mentioned The Creative Process and asked about what this entailed for me, I felt stumped and quite frankly, terrified that I was doing it all wrong. How could I be a Real Writer™ if I didn’t even know what my Creative Process was?
I knew I’d better immediately come up with one right away, and preferably one that matched my personality IRL. I know myself to be extremely organised and list-happy in most aspects of my everyday life (I’ve been described somewhat less kindly once or twice as “anal-retentive”), so I tried to approach my writing from the same angle. I mind-mapped ideas on a whiteboard, jotted down words and phrases on colourful post-it notes, drafted detailed character profiles, and did a whole host of other stuff that in the end, failed spectacularly – probably because I was trying way too hard to fit the image of “Writer”, as though it was a single definition or trait one simply had to have or embody in order to find success.
Several years have passed since then, and I’ve come to realise that there’s just no such thing as any one correct Creative Process. Moreover, just because someone might lean towards order or chaos in their general life doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to write productively that way – and while you don’t have to view yourself as ‘cool’ or ‘alternative’ to be able to write, attempting to limit yourself to writing in a way that fits with however you do view yourself probably isn’t a great idea either. Nobody is one-dimensional; there are many versions of ‘you’. It’s just a matter of finding the one that works best when it comes to creating a story, and not being too surprised if it’s not the one you initially expected.
Kaidyn is the son of the queen and a trainee officer in the kingdom of Sareen. He is also a Half-Blood—his father is from Iskandir, a neighboring kingdom which has been at war with Sareen for many years. Bitter and angry at the prejudice he faces, Kaidyn meets Sorin, a healer from one of Sareen’s most prominent noble families. As their relationship deepens, the war between Sareen and Iskandir grows worse. Not only will the pair inevitably become involved with the conflict one way or another, but Sorin is also hiding a secret, and time is running out for them both.
Note: This is the second book in the Wild Magics series (the first being the short novella, A Trust to Follow). However, both books are readable as standalone stories, as they take place in the same universe but feature different casts.
Excerpt from Kaidyn’s Courage by Diana Waters
“Oi! The Watch, run!”
Kaidyn’s ears had caught it, too—the clinking of steel as a patrol wandered nearby, perhaps attracted by the sounds of their struggle. No others could walk the city streets openly armed, even by day. Not that Kaidyn wanted to stick around any longer than his attackers. He had no wish to be locked up for the night either.
The man directly in front of him seized him by the collar of his shirt. “Something to remember me by,” he muttered, and Kaidyn knew his mouth was open but couldn’t hear his own gasp as he was dealt a final blow. The hit wasn’t in his stomach again, as he’d been expecting, but at the side of his head. It felt like an object struck him, not merely a fist, but something blunt and hard. He felt the blood begin to drip from the base of his skull and trickle down his neck. The world wavered around him as the last of the men ran off. Cowards, all.
Kaidyn took an uneven step, then several more. He tilted toward the ground but did not fall. Luck. Where is Luck? I have to find him, before…
He was still so angry, but his thoughts were leaking out of him along with the blood, the dizziness beginning to con-sume them. If I don’t hurry…
The stars were wheeling somewhere above him. When did I fall to the ground? He tried to search for a familiar landmark, but his sight was failing him. Kaidyn had either drank too much or been hit too hard.
“Oh!” Kaidyn heard a gasp, but it had not come from him. It wasn’t Luck, either. He tried to get up, to defend himself once more, but his hands met only empty air.
“I’m not going to hurt you, I promise—”
Kaidyn growled, his tone low and furious.
“All right, all right,” the voice soothed him. “I’ll just wait until you’re ready to walk again, shall I?” The unknown person sounded sympathetic. Gentle, even, and impossibly, unbearably kind. But that must have been in his head, because surely nobody who saw Kaidyn in his current state could be anything but disappointed, disgusted, or a combination of the two.
“It’s going to be all right,” the voice continued, and to Kaidyn’s astonishment he felt a cool hand touching his brow, brushing wisps of hair from his forehead. He could not remember the last time he had been touched with such tenderness. “I have you. You’re safe now. I won’t leave you alone here.”
Kaidyn shook his head, forcing his sight to clear. A pair of eyes stared anxiously back down at him and drew him in, as though calling him on from somewhere. But from where? Where…
He had definitely imagined that part, because this stranger, whoever he was, could not have known his name, much less the one reserved for his closest friends.
But he could not think any longer, he was falling, falling… and running again, running away from the pain and the bile rising in his throat, escaping everything but the darkness that finally overtook him to swallow him whole.
About Diana Waters
Diana is a New Zealander currently living in rural Japan. She has no idea where in the world she’ll be this time next year and is pretty okay with that. Other than reading and writing, her main passions include travel, amateur photography, and competitive swimming.