1 You like to write fantasy out of all the genres. What drove you to it?
CHRYS: I like the freedom fantasy gives to me. In my ‘Penny White’ series, I enjoy taking some of the traditions associated with fantasy creatures (unicorns can heal with their horns, dragons love gold and are ruthless) and use these to build up distinct cultures for each. And, unlike when you write about human cultures, no dragon has popped in to say that I’ve got something wrong. Sadly.
2 What places have you visited before and have they ever inspired you to write something?
CHRYS: I visited North Korea in 2016, spending two weeks there as a tourist. What I saw made me think about leadership and monuments, and how many nations (socialist or democratic) try to instil national pride into their citizens. This informed my fourth Penny White novel, ‘The Vengeance of Snails.’ You can read about my trip to North Korea here.
3 Roses or violets?
CHRYS: Dandelions. You can make wine from dandelions.
4 You have a fantastic bird with you in your V-blogs and social media posts. Can you tell us how you two found each other?
CHRYS: I’m a third generation bird owner. My maternal grandfather had budgies, my mother has had a succession of parrots, and so it was only natural that I’d want a bird of my own. My first small parrot lived with me for fifteen years, until I had to have her put down after a tragic accident. Tilly came to live with me three months later. I am her second owner, and there was an adjustment period for both of us! I’ve written a blog entry about this.
5 Imagine you are a captain of a pirate ship, sailing the deep seas. What would be the first destination for you?
CHRYS: Is Narnia on the map? If not, then New Zealand, but before any other humans arrived there. I’d love to see the bird life which, sadly, predator species introduced by humans (cats, dogs, stoats) have wiped out.
6 Can you walk us through your writing process?
CHRYS: I carry a notebook with me at all times, because I never know when an idea will come to me. And if I don’t write it down, I do forget it later! I usually know the major scenes (action or emotional), and it’s the build up in between that I plan out in my notebook. Annoyingly, I usually get ideas for the next novel while I’m still working on the current one. I don’t sit down and do a full plot outline. However, now that I’m onto the fifth book of a (at least) nine book series, I’m finding it essential to keep character notes.
7 Do you have any advice for aspiring fantasy authors?
CHRYS: Write because you must, not because you hope to get rich from it. Very few writers make enough to give up the day job. But if you create compelling characters and interesting plots, you’ll be contacted by people who love your work. I receive at least one email a day from someone telling me that my books have made them laugh and given them joy. That’s worth a lot to me. There’s so much sadness in people’s lives. I hope that my books can provide a bit of a counter-balance.
8 What was the first book you have ever written and what was it about?
CHRYS: The first book was laboriously typed out on a manual typewriter when I was a teenager. It was about a girl who was adopted by a dragon. It ran to around 1000 pages. I have since written an updated version, which hasn’t yet been published. I’m working up the courage to do so, because the tale feels so personal to me.
9 Cats or dogs?
CHRYS: Parrots, my dear. Parrots. They have the independence of a cat and the loyalty of a dog.
10 Please tell us a bit about your upcoming projects.
CHRYS: I’m working on the fifth ‘Penny White’ novel, ‘The Vexation of Vampires.’ I also have a book which I wrote many years ago, ‘The Monster under the Bed’ which I might release into the world. The latter book is a rather dark fantasy, which is why I’ve always hesitated. But perhaps its time has come.
Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons
Bishop Nigel smiled at me. ‘Holy water doesn’t harm vampires. Which is just as well, as it would make it impossible to baptise them.’
When I was asked by a dragon to give him the last rites, I never dreamed it would lead to negotiating with his cannibalistic family or running from snail sharks. Life as the priest of a small English village is quite tame in comparison. At least I have Morey, a gryphon with sarcasm management issues, to help me. And if all else fails, there’s always red wine and single malt whisky.
As if my life weren’t complicated enough, a darkly beautiful dragon named Raven keeps appearing where I least expect him, I’ve met a handsome police inspector who loves science fiction as much as I do, and my younger brother is getting into trouble for trying to pick up vampires.
That’s what happens when you’re dealing with an incredible and dangerous parallel world full of mythical creatures. And I have to learn to navigate it all without losing myself, or my brother…
Amazon Author Page: Author.to/ChrysCymri