Interview with Elizabeth Haydon

Q: How do you explain the success of Rhapsody?

A: Hmmm. I guess I attribute whatever success Rhapsody has had to three things. First, the kindness of the readers; fantasy fans are a communicative and enthusiastic audience, and any book benefits most from good word of mouth. I think I have been fortunate enough to experience some of that. Next, the support of a visionary publisher and editor; no one at Tor ever said, “There aren’t enough/there are too many battle scenes,” or “Where are the spells?” They encouraged me to let the story develop as it needed to, however unorthodox it may be. Third, I think people enjoy the characters, which are not really the traditional hero types-in fact, at least two of the main characters are in many ways bad guys.

Q: Can you give us a sneak preview into your next novel, Prophecy?

A: Sure. Unlike Rhapsody, which had a fairly singular point of view and followed the main protagonists around all the time, Prophecy splits that point of view into two fronts-the overland journey undertaken by Rhapsody, with Ashe as her guide, to find the dragon Elynsynos, and the discoveries of ancient secrets made by Achmed and Grunthor back home in the mountainous lair of Ylorc. You will find more hints as to the identity of the F’dor, the hidden demon, and learn things about people you thought you knew that may change your mind about them. You will discover what the House of Remembrance was being used for. You will see much more of the world. It’s creepier.

By the way, in the third book, the point of view splits again into about 5 different fronts. It is a much darker, action-filled, cataclysmic book. The trilogy is structured so that book 1 [Rhapsody] sets up the story and asks a lot of questions, book 2 [Prophecy] will answer a lot of those questions, and the third book, Destiny [Child of the Sky] is the summation, the confrontation, the resolution.

Q: What has been your major inspiration sources?

A: In this genre, mostly C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey and Patricia McKillip. Folktales from all over the world. I’ve gotten a great deal of inspiration from my travels-just seeing the amazing things that actually do exist in the world lights the imagination. And music-I am highly inspired by a wide variety of music.

Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

A: Fourth grade. Writing a play was one option in a history assignment, and it seemed easier than the others. Two friends and I put on a fairly awful play that I wrote called The Clue in the Diary, and it was great fun. Writing fiction became a dream at that point. I took courses in college, but didn’t believe that I would be able to make a living from it.

Once I went into editorial work, it was like deliberately taking a different fork in the river, and so I pretty much gave up on the idea at that point. Even after I began writing textbooks I still considered myself an editor, not a writer. An editorial friend asked me to write Rhapsody, and if he hadn’t, I don’t know if I ever would have done it. It was a tremendous gift, because it awakened that dream for me again. I don’t know how I ever could have let it go in the first place.

Q: Can you give us an update on the movie project?

A: The producers have renewed their option agreement. The latest draft of the screenplay has been finished and it’s great. They have been including my creative input, so I have been very pleased.

Q: What sort of things would you like to accomplish in the future?

A: First and foremost, I hope to be able to maintain a level of quality that readers consider to be high and I can be proud of; this is more important to me than churning out a lot of books or making a lot of money.

Within this series, I hope to be able to tell more of the history of the world. I devised the history of this universe from its inception to its death, and some of the most interesting stories [in my opinion] take place in what for the characters in RHAPSODY is the past.

Since all the royalties from both RHAPSODY and PROPHECY are being donated to children’s charities, I hope they will be financially successful enough to help those organizations.

I’d like to write in a few other genres, and have some projects in the works.

Most of all, I want to be a good, compassionate person. I continue to strive at this. I hope to be a worthy partner to my husband, and not to be an embarrassment to my kids at school functions. I seem to be doing better at the former than the latter.

Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?

A: It is absolutely invaluable for both research and communication. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken to research these books without online access to the vast miasma of information out there in cyberspace [my husband calls the Internet The Book of All Human Knowledge.]

More importantly, it allows for great communication between authors and readers. I love hearing from people who have read the book and are kind enough to let me know they liked it, or who have questions and observations. I’ve met a lot of great people through my website and email.

Finally, I think online sites like SFF World are largely responsible for the boom in fantasy and science fiction that the industry is currently experiencing. Readers in these genres tend to be very computer savvy, intelligent and techno-capable, so word spreads through the community much more readily because of the commonality of the Internet.

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