This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today’s featured author is Ryan Doughan who has one book published and another in the work. Welcome, Ryan!
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Q: Hi Ryan, how long have you been writing and what got you started?
A: I actually started writing in any seriousness with poetry, writing my first poem just after my grandfather’s death when I was about fourteen. I moved from that into short fiction and then novels. My love affair with the written word started long before that first poem, though. My dad read to me most every night when I was a kid. He gave me the keys to Narnia and Middle Earth both, along with a number of other lands. He taught me that there was a universe to see and a million vantage points to look on it from.
I guess I became a lifelong reader even in the early years before I could read myself. In truth, writing is just reading on steroids for me. I not only get to come along for a great ride that someone else set up, I get to participate in its creation. That’s a job I can sign up for to my dying day.
Q: If you cross-over into another genre besides fantasy what would you choose and why?
A: That’s a great question. I love questions that make me think. I actually do write some nonfiction and am working on a project with my dad right now for use in teaching kids incredibly important lessons.
For fiction, though, my go to answer would be Science Fiction. Some might call that cheating however, since the two genres are so tightly intertwined. So, I’m going to go with mystery. I’ve always loved good Sherlock Holmes style brain twisters. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at one.
A: My debut novel, MIST FALCON: Book One Of The Warrior Poet Archives, was released this April. It was a blast to write, and I’ve had a lot of great feedback from it. Here’s the short blurb about it:
“I write this now, chiseled in stone and wrapped in wind with the hope that you may yet be saved from my folly. Avoid my errors and do not follow in my footsteps, save in greater preparation and wisdom than I have shown. Do not be fooled by the appearance of things. They are so rarely as they seem in this.”
In a kingdom shattered by war and never properly healed, Aiden is whirled out of his ordinary life scraping-by, scavenging the outskirts of Oustenbasch, one of the Nine Cities. Through total loss and driven by revenge, Aiden finds himself fretfully navigating a world of political mayhem while floundering through power in a magic he never dreamed to control.
Willem is a traveling musical prodigy, his voice and talent drawing crowds and filling taverns along with his troupe’s coffers. All the golden eagles in the realm can’t protect him, though, when the Swaar raiders attack the town of Bellcross, sending him scurrying into a life he would never have chosen, questioning the meaning of his existence while wrestling with a music that may be more powerful than he had ever imagined.
Known amongst all the Swaar as “Wolf Rider”, Ren Tako lives and dies by his axe and the strength of his arm. Tako finds himself blown into a situation where he must choose between loyalty to his Dal, the famed Rock Giant, and following a new destiny that could cost him everything he has ever believed or gain him everything he has ever dreamed.
Welcome to the Nine Cities and the Waste beyond to the East. Come ride with me. Soar above a broken land in search of a glimmer of hope, an uncut gem hidden to all but the most perceiving eyes. Come fly with me to the towers of Holmsguard and beyond, and see what it is to be MIST FALCON.
If you’re interested in more details, you can check it out on Amazon here:
or click over to my website here:
Q: How has being an author changed you?
A: I believe there are certain truths that are easier to see when one is taken out of their ordinary life. This is one of the greatest gifts fiction offers us. Writing fiction holds this gift just as much as reading it does. My eyes have been opened to things through the very process of telling a story about them.
Observation is another key growth point thanks to being an author. To tell a story that feels “real” I have to first be able to “see” the world in a real way. How people act, move, and talk—how they react to stress, loss, or joy—what happens when they’re nervous? Do they become edgy, giggly, brash? All of these things have to be threaded into the undercurrent of people’s lives for them to feel real. The same can be said for every aspect of storytelling whether it be world building, character creation, or political background.
Observation is absolutely key to understanding these piece of “reality” inside of a story, and it is a place I have grown the longer I have written.
Q: What’s your favorite fantasy villain, monster or minion?
A: Wow, now that is a question. I think I’m going to cheat the very nature of having a favorite and give you a few.
Brandin from Guy Gavriel Kay’s TIGANA—He has done evil things and yet is so complex that he’s hard to hate out right.
Saruman from LOTRs—a desperate man corrupted by fear and power.
Deloris Umbridge from Harry Potter—so easy to hate.
Severus Snape again from HP—I know, I know. He’s more of an antihero by the end, but he is so hate-able for so long, and what a fantastic character!
Andross Guile from Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series—so corrupt and yet so smart.
Q: How do you like your fantasy? Epic with good vs. evil or gray with opposing interests?
A: If I had to pick, I would say I am an epic—good vs. evil type, but if a book is written well, I can fall in love with it either way. If everyone I’m cheering for loses, or is tricked and made null somehow, I’m probably going to be disappointed. I have this problem occasionally with “gritty” fantasy.
But really, if its good writing with interesting characters and a great story, I’m there.
Q: What’s next on your writing calendar?
A: As I mentioned briefly before, I am working on a project with my dad with the working title, Cookies On the Bottom Shelf. This is a grouping of object lessons to help parents teach their kids biblical truths at a level that kids can understand. I have three kids, and I can speak from experience. Answering questions that are deeply theological at their core in a way that children can understand is tough. Cookies On the Bottom Shelf will help with some of those answers.
I have also started Book Two of The Warrior Poet Archives, continuing the adventure where MIST FALCON leaves off. It’s actually thrilling to dive back into the world of the Nine Cities, creating something new and familiar at the same time. It is also a considerable shift from the months I spent editing before MIST FALCON’s release. First drafts are a completely different technique from final drafts, more work in some ways, but oh so fun.
If you’d like to keep up with the progress of my upcoming books, I’d love to have you sign up over on my website, here: http://www.ryanjdoughan.com/blog . I’m also giving away the first two chapters of MIST FALCON for your early enjoyment.
Thanks to Ryan for being featured for the interview today. As always, I encourage readers to visit his links and check out his work. If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. I’ve updated the site with a new landing page starting today but you can still view the News page for announcements. As part of the changes, new email subscribers will receive my free new guide, 15 Must Have Apps for Self-Publishing Authors. Sign-up today! I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.