An interview with J C Rutledge

 

Q. Your novel, To Slay a Dragon, is classified as Young Adult/Fantasy, what made you pick this genre?

A. I wanted to write a book that anyone could enjoy – a book that parents could read to their children, but would also happily read to themselves. In creating this, the book fell into the Young Adult category on its own. As for Fantasy… I have always been in love with fantasy stories, movies, games – everything! The genre is so diverse that anything is possible. It gives readers a temporary escape from reality, while at the same time offering insights into the world and human nature. For me, Fantasy was the only choice.

Q. You’re very keen on dragons, what is it about these creatures that fascinates you?

A. I hardly know where to start. Dragons are creatures that have appeared in stories and mythologies across the world. Sure, different cultures have their own representations of them, but, somehow, the image of a fire breathing monster became present across the world before anyone was travelling extensively enough to spread the word. So, where did this idea come from? How did so many different minds come up with the same idea? Is it possible that these creatures could have existed, or did various cultures simply discover dinosaur fossils and decide that something so big must have the mystical power of fire? I doubt we’ll ever know until someone digs up a fossilized dragon!

In a fantasy world, dragons are magnificent beasts. They are beautiful, powerful, sometime wise and sometimes catastrophically destructive. They can play the role of guardian, counselor, steed, villain, monster, or just about anything else an author can come up with. I don’t think there is any other creature that inspires the human imagination quite like a dragon.

Q. Did you always want to be a writer and why?

A. The first time I decided I wanted to be a writer was when I was twelve. It was a short-lived dream because – as can be expected at that age – my writing was mediocre. When I was eighteen, I revisited the idea and took a writers’ craft course in school. That was where To Slay a Dragon was born – in the form of a short story that was read to the class and received demands for more. Again, it didn’t last long, largely because I felt I lacked descriptive skills. I still wrote here and there, but my attentions turned towards becoming a music teacher.

It wasn’t until January 2010 (I was now twenty-one) that I picked up the pen again. My fiancé agreed to lend a hand with any descriptions or scenes I got stuck on, so I committed myself to writing a little every day. In eight months, I finished my first novel and began work on the sequel.

As to the why, I would have to say I’m a writer at heart. I have all these great stories and ideas flying around in my head and I want to share them with the world! Besides, the stories make so much more sense on paper. There are days that I feel like I keep writing just to find out what happens next.

Q. Do you ever have days when you circle the computer and do anything and everything, but sit down and write?

A. Very frequently, however – with the exception of one week when I was very sick – I have written every day for the past two years. Even if it’s only one sentence, or editing a small section, I force myself to get some writing done before I go to bed. I know that if I let myself get away without writing just once, it will be nothing but excuses from thereon out.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. Anywhere and everywhere! All you have to do is look around you and you can see stories waiting to happen – or even hidden within other stories! The overall plot for my series was inspired by a video game, a few scenes came to me while watching movies or listening to music and some of my characters are inspired by characters in books I’ve read. I think the best thing for any writer to do is read, watch, listen, play! The more you experience, the more you have to work with, even if you’ve only collected the inspiration at a subconscious level.

Q. I always find I have my best ideas in the wee hours of the morning. When does inspiration hit you?

A. Usually first thing in the morning or late at night; the times of day when the world around me is quiet and the cursor is blinking invitingly on the screen…

Either that, or when I have no way to write down my ideas! Sometimes I think my brain is conspiring against me, it is most inconvenient.

Q. What path do you hope your writing will take?

A. I’d like to establish a large enough fan base that I can write full time. Then I would be able to expand my series – which already had eight books planned out and has potential for many more. Eventually, I’d even like to get to a point where I can do some collaborations; letting other people write stories in the world I’ve created and working with them to make it fit into the global plot line. After all, I’m developing a world as large as ours, with thousands of years of history; there will be far more tales to tell than I can manage alone.

Q. Do you have a blog or website where readers can view your work?

A. At the moment, Authonomy is the only place my work is available.

Q. Who are your favourite authors and why?

A. Terry Pratchett takes the top of the list, no questions asked. He is a brilliant satirist who has created a world and characters that just keep dragging readers onwards. Sadly, he is currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, but he is still holding on and writing more books – to me, that is the mark of a true artist.

Next would have to be Margaret Weis. I picked up one of her books when I was looking for something new to read, a book called Doom Brigade in the Dragonlance series. The thing that stood out to me the most about this book is that, as I read along, I noticed that the main characters were worshiping a goddess of evil! Yet, through the whole book, you were feeling sorry for and rooting for characters that, when all was said and done, were the villains in the world. The skill involved in doing that is the reason I now have a collection of her books, and I hope to be able to achieve the same thing some day.

The list goes on to include Tolkien, Rowling, Anne McCaffrey, R. A. Salvatore, but we’ll be here all day if I start explaining why I like all the authors I consider favourites.

Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer new writers?

A. Just do it. Sit down and write, ignoring your own uncertainties, until you’ve completed your project. It doesn’t matter if you’re afraid you won’t get published, because you’ll never know until you do. One thing is certain though: if you don’t write, it will never happen. So, get out there and chase your dreams.

http://www.authonomy.com/books/33874/to-slay-a-dragon/

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9 Responses to “An interview with J C Rutledge”

  1. Excellent interview Kate and J.C. 😉 Dragon-lovers come in all shapes and sizes. I liked the answer to the first question, how could all cultures, without knowing the others, come up with the same ‘creature’, if something didn’t exist? I totally agree. 🙂

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  2. Another great interview, Kate. J.C.–what a wonderful glimpse into the vast world you’ve created.

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  3. Great interview Kate. And J.C. thanks for the inspiration, Dreamcatcher…

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  4. Ah…dragons be here! Fascinating interview J.C! As a fellow dragon lover, I’m waiting for the day they dig up a dragon fossil!

    Another inspirational interview Kate! You are brilliant mate! 😀 xx

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  5. Another wonderful interview – well done JC, and Kate, awesome as usual 🙂

    Like

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