I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Monday, February 7, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Rowena Cory Daniells

Fantasy author, Rowena Cory Daniells, has been involved in speculative fiction since 1976 when she and a friend set up a small press publishing house.

Since then she's run a bookshop, a graphic arts studio, established her own business R&D Studios, sold nearly 30 children's books, and two fantasy trilogies.

She's a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, has served on several management committees (RWA, the Queensland Writers Center, the Brisbane Writers' Festival, the Aurealis Awards) and was one of the founders of Fantastic Queensland and the VISION writing group. Currently, she's an associate lecturer at Qantm College.

Rowena's book, THE KING'S BASTARD (Bk 1 of KING ROLEN'S KIN trilogy) has just been nominated for a David Gemmel Legend Award for Fantasy. And the cover has been nominated for a Ravenheart Award (for best cover).

Please welcome Rowena as she guest blogs about a topic close to her heart... 

What’s the movie term ‘Resonance’ got to do with writing?

When you talk about how a movie resonates with you, you mean the way the characters linger in your mind after the movie finishes. You mean the way the music keeps playing in your head. Maybe you can’t stop thinking about the place where the movie was set. Maybe there was one line that encapsulated the theme of the movie and you keep hearing that line.

That’s what Resonance is, something that resonates with you.

As a writer, I develop a Resonance File for the different series I’m working on.  Being a visual person rather than aural, it won’t necessarily have music in it, but I will know the kind of music the characters listen to in my invented secondary world. Some of my friends who write have told me they create play lists and have the music going in the background while they write. I’ve never gone that far.

But I must confess that I vary my desktop picture depending on which series I’m writing. While I was working on the KING ROLEN'S KIN trilogy, I had a snowy scene on my desk top. Yes, you guessed it most of the KING ROLEN'S KIN trilogy was set in winter. I also wanted a Medieval Russian feel for the series, so I described the castles as having domes and towers.

But there’s more than the setting in my resonance file. (See here for a glimpse of my KRK Resonance File). It also includes my research. In fact my resonance file starts long before the book’s first words are ever written. I’m always watching documentaries and reading books about historical events and how different societies operate. So, long before I know what I’m going to use it for, I’m collecting details that will help make my world richer.

I must have been eleven when I read an account of someone who was caught out in a snow storm. They saved their children’s lives by building a snow cave. So, when I came to write KING ROLEN'S KIN, everyone built snow caves while travelling overnight during winter.

When writing fantasy we authors invent a secondary world and we need to keep the locations of towns and rivers etc straight in our heads, so we come up with maps. The way a land is shaped, shapes the people. Feudal Japan with its small areas of fertile land, spread over four main islands led to constant warring for resources. This is part of the motivation that drives the warlords in KING ROLEN'S KIN.  (For my KRK maps see here).

And lastly, there is the feel I wanted to create for my world and its people. When ever I sat down to write I needed to be in the right frame of mind to slip back into those characters. When people read my books, I wanted the characters to resonate with them, so that they would think about Piro, Fyn and Byren after the book was finished.

Currently, I’m working on The Outcast Chronicles. When ever I think about this series I have a strong sense of the Byzantine empire of the twelfth century, richly decorative, beautiful and complex, coupled with dark intrigue. 

Do you keep a Resonance File? What do you put in it? Are you visual or aural?

Thanks for visiting my blog today, Rowena!

 Now for the extra special bit! Rowena is generously giving away a sign copy of the KING ROLEN'S KIN trilogy (above). Just answer this question:

What is your favourite secondary world and why?

Make sure you answer in the comments section by 8pm, Sat.12th February 2011, and the winner of the give-away will be announced on Sun.13th February 2011. This giveaway is open to all - local & international.

Rowena's other books:

The T'En Trilogy
Check out Rowena's website for more information. She also a regularly posts over at Ripping Ozzie Reads, a Aussie spec.fiction blog.


  1. Hi Kylie, Hello Rowena,

    Thanks for the great interview. And the lesson on creating secondary world.

    Well, for me the wizardry world has been mysterious and intriguing!

  2. Hi Kylie and Rowena,

    Well, Rowena you have just SOLD me on your series! Russia is my absolute fave place in the world, and I swear I have been to the place in your picture (though in summer, not winter) or somewhere extremely like it.

    As for favourite secondary world, I can't pick just one. It has to be either Anne Bishop's Black Jewels world, or Ilona Andrews world of the Edge (where taking a shotgun to Walmart is normal). I like worlds that are unique.

    Bec Skrabl

  3. Hey Nas, I bet you might be a Harry Potter fan or maybe David Eddings with your liking for wizardry!

    Hi Bec! Ahh, another satisfied customer! If you haven't read The Last T'En series I'd also make room on your bookshelf for it too. Wonderful series!

  4. Love hearing about your process, Rowena. And so *thrilled* your KRK tirlogy is doing so well.

    Secondary worlds... fave has to be the Kingdoms of the Alorns and Angaraks (David Eddings - Belgariad and Mallorean series) followed by the "Lands" (Terry Brooks - Shannara) and Ballybran (Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer trilogy). I do love the non-Muggle world of Harry Potter too.

    Not very good at picking one, am I, lol?

  5. Anita, I loved Ballybran and the whole Crystal Singer concept! What a fantastic SF book. And Eddings sits on my shelf - the Belgariad series has to be my favorite!

    Thanks for sharing and bringing back some fond memories. :-D

  6. Nas Dean,

    I don't know the Wizardry Worlds. Sounds like you're into mystery and intrigue.

  7. Bec,

    Russian history and culture is just so rich.

    I met Anne Bishop at an SF Convention. She was lovely. She said, she can just see her male characters walking down the street, they are that real to her.

  8. Anita Joy,

    You've picked three of the most popular secondary worlds!

  9. Kylie,

    I think we've probably all got the same books sitting on our shelves. Although I've had to cut back. Down to two six foot bookshelves.

  10. hi Kylie,
    I really enjoyed the world/s created in Fiest's, The Magician what an amazing story that was.
    I also just love ENVY :)

  11. I just realised ...... I have read the T'En series it was fantastic!!!!!!!!!
    I went to Rowena's website really enjoyed looking about and I will be hunting for these new books too..... Have a great day xx

  12. Hey Robyn/robyn r (the same person, I hope gauging by your comments *g*),

    I've yet to read any Fiest. I'm afraid the blurbs never really interested me even though I've had so many people recommend this series to me.

    So glad you've read some of Rowena's books! The T'En series WAS fabulous.

    Don't forget you're now in the draw for Rowena's new series! Good luck!

  13. Rowena - I'm panting to read your book - it sounds so amazing!!!!!!!

    I haven't kept a resonance file in the past but for my last book, I sort of did - without really realizing it! I began to play with Microsoft OneNote and ended up with pages of images, which prompted me so much more than my written notes ever did!!!!

    As for my fav secondary worlds - it's a toss up between Darkover, Pern and Midkemia!

  14. Amanda, Pern is incredible isn't it! I love dragons and when I first started reading this series I thought it was fantasy. Turns out to be a combo SF/F as more books came out!

  15. Hi Kylie & Rowena,

    Great post, I love hearing about the ways in which other writers work - I tend to do a lot on computer, but collect pictures, patterns, fonts -- all kinds of stuff that speaks to me about something I'm working on. Music also works, but to a far lesser degree. I guess I'm more visual when I'm writing.

    A lot of my fav secondary worlds have been mentioned - I oscillate between paranormal, urban fantasy and fantasy, and have recently discovered sic-fi works for me too! I love The Belgariad series, also the worlds in Eragon, anything from Krelsey Cole, Nalini Singh or Joey W Hill. I remember loving Mercedes Lackey's Hundred Kingdoms as well. Wow, hard to narrow that down!

    I just love the covers for KRK, Rowena. I keep coming back to them, especially book 2. Very eye-catching!

  16. Hey Emmeline! I've only just discovered Joey W.Hill - read one and promptly ordered the rest of the series and spent a couple of weeks late last year glutting myself on them - LOL.

    Welcome to the Dark Side...umm, paranormal/UF/F/SF romance!

  17. Oh fantastic interview....Kylie you are a star interviewer....and Rowena, you are just great to listen to and your knowledge is amazing.

    I too am visual though I haven't collected specific pictures for my projects. I think I remember that feeling and try to translate...also my study is such a mess that random pictures I've collected are say, buried. So I must unearth and enjoy going through them...

    One of my favourite worlds is David and Leigh Eddings The Belgariad. Others include Jennifer Roberson's The Chronicles of the Cheysuli from the 1990s, and off course Harry Potter. Just wonderful world-building. I've read the first two The Last T'En books but have yet to read the third. My study has nothing compared to my bookshelf!!! *sigh*

    Congrats on the series Rowena and can't wait to read the Byzantine inspired next series (i've always been fascinated with the Byzantines being a Greek Orthodox). :D

  18. Thanks for the kind words, Robyn R.

    Hope you like The Outcast Chronicles just as much!

  19. Amanda,

    A resonance file adds so much to your book and once you start, all sorts of things end up in it.

  20. Emmaline,

    Book 2 is my fave cover, too.

    I'm a big fan of Nalini Singh as well.

  21. Elini,

    Thanks for the kind words. I think your study must look like mine. Sigh. I keep promising myself I'll clean it up!

  22. Emmeline, sigh. Wish I could spell!

  23. Eleni, I travelled halfway around the world to find the entire set of the Cheysuli series - discovered them in a wonderful little bookshop in Edinborough, Scotland!

    Rowena, it's been an absolute pleasure (not mention a fan-girl moment) having you visit my blog! Thanks for guest blogging and hopefully I'll see you in Melbourne at the RWA conference in August! (if you're going) :-)