It’s time for another author interview. This week I’m honored to present Erin Bales. Take it away, Erin.
-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?
Getting into the MFA program? No, that’s not quite right. I’ve always loved reading and writing. Actually, I’m a sucker for a great story in any form, whether it be in a book, a television show, a video game, etc. And I’ve written for as long as I can remember. But I never felt like becoming a writer was something that I could actually do until I was accepted into the program at Seton Hill. I guess I just needed that last push of confidence to make me believe that I was good enough, smart enough, and that, doggone it, people liked me!
-What genre(s) do you write? If more than one, what’s your favorite?
Fantasy, epic flavor. I also dabble a bit in sf, but second-world fantasy is definitely my true love. World building is so much fun, and I really enjoy writing stories where the fate of that entire world is at stake.
-What project are you working on now?
I wish I could work on more than one thing at once, but right now my thesis novel, In Blood and Duty Bound, is my sun and stars. The main character is an irresponsible young princess. In the wake of her oldest sister’s death, the princess begins to grow up and learn responsibility, not realizing that her sister’s death is the catalyst for a series of events that will come to shape the princess’s entire world.
Man, that’s rough. My pitch is also a work in progress, but that’s the gist of it.
This is from In Blood and Duty Bound, in the chapter after Solena, Renn’s big sister, dies.
Under Renn’s riding clothes--she’d refused to change into the mourning dress her maids had for her--the muscles in her thighs, arms, and abdomen cramped and ached, and she wore gloves to hide the chafing and blistering of her hands. She couldn’t conceal her raw lips or her wind-chapped cheeks. The pain was intense, but it was clean. Unsullied. Pure. It was the sort of pain that a salve or a couple of days rest could ease, and she welcomed it.
Malthias and Linore entered the tent with Heshi trailing behind them. Though it was less than a tenday since Renn had last seen them, their shapes appeared strange, and she understood that they too were permanently altered.
Not even a thick layer of powder could conceal the sallowness of Heshi’s skin or the puffiness around her eyes. Malthias’s back was stiff and his shoulders were hunched, as if warding against blows that would not cease to fall. There were black circles under Linore’s eyes, and she moved like a woman carrying an unbearable weight. Linore is the heir now. The very thought felt like a betrayal. Renn turned away from her and faced the pavilion.
Max entered and sat down beside her. Four days worth of ragged stubble covered his cheeks, and the scent of chemicals clinging to him was so strong it burned the inside of her nose. He reached over and squeezed her hand. The sharp pressure brought tears to her eyes. She squeezed back. Pure.
-For other aspiring writers, any tips?
Read, read, read! Write, write, write! The bit of wisdom I have above my computer is something I heard Michael Arnzen say my first residency: “You can’t fix a blank page.” Truer words have ne’er been spoken. Put your butt in the chair and get your words out. Get your story on the page. You can think about things for ages, but until you’ve written them out, you’ll never know what you really have.
-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?
As you may have guessed, my favorite genre to read is epic fantasy, and I love stories with strong female protagonists. I don’t know that I have a favorite book, but I do have favorite authors. Tamora Pierce has been a big influence. I heart George R.R. Martin, Sharon Shinn, and Glena Larke. I will always have a big place in my heart for Stephen King. I think Brandon Sanderson is writing some of the best, most imaginative epic fantasy on the market today.
-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
My current work in progress. It’s still in its dog drafts (rough, rough), but I know it’s going to be better than anything I’ve written so far.
Want more from Erin?
I'm currently a senior editor at an e-publisher. I'm working on my third English degree. I've lived in Illinois almost my entire life, but I dream of living in Edmonton, Canada, in large part due to the cooler climate. The first book I remember loving was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. I love Bioware video games, Star Trek, and I watch way too much TV. I hope to someday set foot on all the continents (four down, three to go). If it wasn't totally weird, I might have a squirrel as a pet.
This was fun! Thank you so much for the opportunity.
You’re very welcome, Erin!
Writers/authors—want to be interviewed?
E-mail Mary DeSantis.