Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Author Interview – Verna McKinnon

November 10, 2022
mandyevebarnett


It is my pleasure to welcome back a fellow author to my blog. Verna has been here before, but today we celebrate her newest novel, The Bastard Sorceress.

Since your last interview, how has your writing life changed?
I’ve learned to go with the flow. I’ve survived and found new publishers for my fantasy novels when my
previous publishers stopped publishing. It’s happened to me more than once too! But I’ve been lucky to
find new publishers willing to take me on. It’s a tough business, and small presses suffer the most.
Other than that, I’m still a mad writer who drinks pots of tea and keeps a package of emergency cookies
on hand when I create my tales. I’m focused in details of story, world, and characters. I put together
book bibles for each novel that are very detailed about every aspect of story, world, and people in in. I
still have plans on becoming the next princess of heroic fantasy. Just give me time.


What have you learned about your craft of writing?
I learned I have a knack for three things-creating good dialogue, great characters, and giving my
characters good names. It’s a gift I’m grateful for.


Would you ever write in another genre?
I love fantasy, but would love to dive into science fiction, especially some space opera.


What inspired you to write about Sabine Fable in your latest novel?
A new character I’ve never done before. I love my heroines, and they always lead my tales. With Sabine
Fable, I wanted to explore a character who suffered a rough home life and poverty, but was determined
to rise above what society dictated. I added real human elements in this tale of magic, and created flesh
and blood characters with more depth.


What characteristics does she have that make her a force to be reckoned with?

A tough upbringing can make a tough character. Her heart is good, but she is fierce and protective of
those she loves. She does not trust easily. She champions the underdog because she is one of them. Her
family once had magic, but mage fever took that away. She was a bastard, and judged for her low birth.
Magic is currency in her world, and mages rule. Even humble charm caste has respect. She had none.
Sabine is hungry for more than magic. She wants justice and to be treated with respect. She wants
people to see her. And yet she would never betray a friend or family member for what she desires.


Which author would you most like to meet and why?

There are so many! Many of my favorites have passed (Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee, Robert E. Howard,
Patricia McKillip). Neil Gaiman is one of many on my list. I did have the joy of meeting Tanya Huff (so
awesome), Kevin J., Anderson, and the great Larry Niven at conventions. I would love to meet Jennifer
Roberson someday. At least she is my Facebook friend. As are you, Mandy.


With several series of books, are you planning more?
Yes, but with publishers rising and falling around me over the years, I plan to be more careful. Even if I
plan a series, I will do each novel as a stand-alone. I am working on the second novel to Bardess of
Rhulon, called War Poet. But I am writing my novels from that perspective.

Has a movie or TV show inspired any of your stories?
Some of the actors in favorite shows or movies I may be inspired by. Some of my characters are drawn
from well-known actors.


What aspect of writing do you like the most?

The power to create my own worlds and stories. Yes, I am a goddess who rules her worlds.

Where can readers find your books?
Amazon has all my novels, available in both print and Kindle. My books are also on Barnes& Noble
online. And my new publisher (for Bardess of Rhulon & The Bastard Sorceress) TANSTAAFL Press.

Bio:

Verna McKinnon is a fantasy author of adventurous heroines. She is the author of the novels, The Bastard Sorceress, The Bardess of Rhulon, Gate of Souls & Tree of Bones. Fantasy is her genre of choice, though she has some science fiction in the works. Check in with her at her website. You can also read some of her previously published short stories at her website http:// vernamckinnon.com. Stay in touch by subscribing to email list at http://vernamckinnon.com/newsletter.html for her quarterly newsletter for news & updates. Follow Verna on Instagram @ vernamckinnon.author & Facebook for the latest on her writing life as a fantasy author, animal lover, and how she stays sane despite the odds. Chocolate helps.

Interview with Verna McKinnon…

August 8, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Tenacious – definition: characterized by keeping a firm hold on : highly retentive

Please welcome Verna McKinnon, an author of fantasy and science fiction.

Verna McKinnon

a)      What do you enjoy most about writing? Creating new worlds and telling stories.  I have always had an active imagination.  I like to create stories I want to read.

b)     What age did you start writing stories/poems?  I use to make up stories as a kid.  I was always interested in writing, but too shy to admit it for a long time. 

c)      Has your genre changed or stayed the same?  Fantasy and Science Fiction has always been my main genre.  I am a proud Nerd Princess.

d)     What genre are you currently reading? Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I’m so easy.

e)      Do you read for pleasure or research or both?  Both.  I love researching cultures, history, and mythology.  I am a secret academic from that perspective.  As an author of fantasy and science fiction, it is invaluable to create worlds and cultures in my stories.   You want to develop something tactile and fully dimensional for the reader.

TheTwilightZone

f)       Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? As an adult-my husband, Rick Hipps, who is also a great writer.  As a kid-Star Trek-and many other attempts at science fiction on TV when I was a kid.  I love imagination and where it can take you-I also loved Twilight Zone & Outer Limits.  Plus it was the only place where women had more to do than bake pies.   I was a little kid but they held more interest for me than other things, and it gave me an interest to read the literature on my own. 

g)      Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? Wow.  That’s tough.  I have many I love-even my bad guys like Koll the Sorcerer or Obsydia the Bloodstone Queen.  But Belwyn the owl from my Gate of Souls novel is a favorite.  He is the bedrock that takes care of Runa, Mellypip, and Cathal.  Belwyn is a thousand year old owl familiar with a sharp wit and sharper beak-he takes care of everyone and brooks no nonsense.  His dialogue is some of the best.  He has a dry wit and does not believe in false morality.  He has faced down a heap of evil and tragedy in his life, yet he is the caretaker of the group. 

h)      Where is your favorite writing space?  My study at home with all my little creative pictures and things around me.  Also I love the Seattle coffee shops.  If you give me caffeine and sugar, I am pretty happy.

i)        Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?  I must admit I start out as a seat of the pants writer on some levels.  I was that way with my first novel.  All in my head and I just wrote.  I am better now.  I get an idea and I go with it.  I have scraps of paper and notebooks I fill with the idea for a book.  My initial writing is chaotic with the new idea.  Then when I have written some bits and feel it can grow into a real novel, I begin to format my world/story bible and detailed characters, religion, cultures. 

j)       What inspires your ideas/stories?  Anything.  I am crazy that way.  I play a lot of “what if”

k)     Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?  Alas, I am alone in Seattle.  I want to belong to one again.  Anyone want to adopt me? 

Gate of Souls

l)        Do you have a book published? Gate of Souls, A Familiar’s Tale Book 1.  It is published though Aberrant Dreams Publishing.  I am available in hardback, softback, and Kindle.  You can find me online at Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com, Barnesandnoble.com, & Aberrant Dreams website.  It is a 4 book series and the next book, Tree of Bones, will be out when the cover art is done and we do galleys.

m)   If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? There are so many I admire.  Sadly so many of my favorites, like David Eddings, Roger Zelazny and Ray Bradbury, are gone.  I do love classic fantasy literature so unless we can summon Robert E Howard from the grave, one of my living writing idols is Tanith Lee.  Her “Tales of the Flat Earth” and “Birthgrave” series rock.   

n)     Where can readers find you and your blog?  www.vernamckinnon.com.  That is my website and my blog is there too.  You can read me pontificate on the process of being a forlorn Princess of Heroic Fantasy.  I also will welcome anyone who wants to be a follower on my blog-no weird cult stuff, just writing wisdom and some humor.

owlhead3

 o)      Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?  Yes-I am working on two novels now.  The 3rd in my Familiar’s Tale series, Fires of Rapiveshta, (this one has lots of dragons) and Bard Maiden of Rhulon, a new heroic fantasy novel with a female heroine, Rose Greenleaf, a Dwarven Bard who flees an unwanted marriage in her home of Rhulon for adventure with the tall folk in the southern kingdom of Tirangel.  Well, she gets her adventure-a little more than she can handle too!  

Thank you Verna for a wonderful interview.

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