Tuesday 7 April 2009

Interview with Fantasy Author, Barbara M. Hodges.

Today I have a real treat for you, my readers. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented writer Barbara M. Hodges, author of the captivating Daradawn series. As an added treat, one lucky person who leaves a comment will win an autographed copy of her book, The Emerald Dagger.

Now without further ado:

An Interview with Barbara M. Hodges

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I live in Nipomo, California, a small town on the central coast. Jeff and I have been married thirty-eight years. We met in Salem, Oregon. Jeff lived with three other guys, and I lived with three other girls. We moved into the same apartment complex, and they offered to help us unload our cars...the rest is history. I will add that Jeff and I only knew each other three months before we were married.
We don’t have children, but I’m a terrific aunt, and we are owned by two basset hounds, Ophelia and Hamlet, as well as a sassy ginger-striped, feline, Wallace.
Jeff and I are both big NASCAR fans….go Carl Edwards. When I am not writing I like to dabble in decorative painting.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I seriously started writing seventeen years ago when Jeff and I moved to the central coast. I have five published books out at the moment. Three in my Daradawn series, The Blue Flame, The Emerald Dagger and The Silver Angel. The fourth, Stargazer’s Children, is co-written with Maggie Pucillo and Jennifer des Plantes, and the fifth, a science fiction story is co-written with Darrell Bain. I also have story in Alleatory’s Junction. Scattered Hearts an anthology by my local writer’s group has just been accepted by Desert Breeze Publishing and will be out next February.

Can you to tell us about your Daradawn fantasy series.

Seventeen years ago I dreamed of a land of magic. For weeks and months I built my world, created those who lived there. Gave them pasts and planned their futures. Then I sat out to share my readers. The Blue Flame introduces you to the sisters Regan and Kelsey Cafferty, and opens the rift into Daradawn.
Come, Step into my world. Meet Angus Bladeheart, dwarven protector of the royal house. Queen Tessa De'Amberville who collects war relics. Discover Da'Kar, leader of the unicorn horn-herds. Walk among the tree-homes of the elves of Vilsathor. And join Kelsey and Regan as they love and war against those who would wound this magical world.

Why did you decide to write in the fantasy genre?

I love fantasy. Anne McCaffrey started my love affair with dragons. Elves intrigue me, and magic and spells; good triumphing over evil and oh… those heroic men and women. You will find no weak women in my stories, but you will always find a basset hound.

What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction?

Remembering there are rules of magic. Yes, they are rules I created, but they are still rules. Especially when writing a series… if you can’t do it in book one, then you still can’t do it in book three or four.

You’ve written both fantasy and science fiction. Which one presents the most challenge to you as a writer?

Science Fiction. In Shadow Worlds, the story line deals with quantum physics, which I knew little about. Thank goodness my co-writer did.

How do you research your books?

I do most of my research online. Unless I am lucky enough to have help from someone with the practical knowledge I need. In the paranormal romance I am writing now with Maggie Pucillo, the setting is in Baja Mexico. I have never been there, but Maggie has a home there on the beach. An off shore island figures prominently in the story-line and guess what lays off Maggie’s beach…yes the island.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

I walked away from the computer to think about this question. What did I wish someone had told me when I first started out? There’s the so true, develop a thick skin concerning rejections…there’s believe in yourself, also good advice, don’t give up on your dream, but what I had to learn the hard way was stopping my knee-jerk, negative reaction to critiques. Even now it happens…what do you mean you don’t get it? It’s so obvious. How can say my character would never do such a thing? You think you know him or her better than I do. The simple fact is sometimes they do. I’ve found that I have to keep my mind open and mouth shut, at least for a number of hours. Most times when I’ve given it time, I do see where my critique member is coming from.
Saying that, I’m also adding trust yourself too. If what you are being told seems wrong after you’ve given it some time to sink in…then maybe it is wrong. It’s your story.

Who has inspired you as an author?

Oh my. The earliest fantasy that I loved was The Wizard of Oz, so Frank Baum. I’ve read all of the books and have a DVD of the movie. I’d have to say JRR Tolkien inspired my fantasy, as well as all of the Dragon Riders of Pern books. For science fiction I was inspired by Robert Varley, Greg Bear and Orson Scott Card.

What’s next for you?

I’m nearing the end of the first draft of A Spiral of Echoes, co-written with Maggie Pucillo. Then it’s back to work on Wynd Stallion, followed by the next book in the Daradawn series, The Scarlet Scribe. I also have Nipomo Blue and Full Circle, both YA books waiting in the wings.

Barbara M. Hodges developed a love for words at an early age, the seeds planted by a mother who read to her from as far back as she can remember. She lives in Nipomo, California and shares her life with her husband Jeff, two basset hounds and a sassy cat.
Her fiction novels include, The Blue Flame, The Emerald Dagger, The Silver Angel, books one, two and three of her Daradawn series, Stargazer’s Children, an anthology co-authored with Maggie Pucillo and Jennifer des Plantes and Shadow Worlds, a science fiction thriller co-authored with Darrell Bain.

You find more information about Barbara M. Hodges and her books at her website:


Anonymous said...

Barbara M Hodges is correct about writing high-tech science fiction. Over the years I have read numerous "science fiction" novels that would have been better classified as fantasy. This is my opinion since the science behind the story was so flawed that it should have been cut by the editor. On the other hand, fantasy is only bound by the author's imagination. Just have to love all of the variations of science fiction and fantasy novels. Great interview.

Sheila Deeth said...

Always nice to meet an author who makes a distinction between science fiction and fantasy. Thanks for this great interview.

Sheila Deeth said...

I hope you don't mind, but I got passed an award by another blog and chose you as one of my favorites to pass it on to.

kmt1976 said...

You know your characters better than anyone else. However, others may see sides of your characters that you aren't aware of. So I agree with you, keep your mind open and your mouth sort of shut :>) Don't give up on what you know about your characters - just allow others to help you round them out???

caleb fox said...

I'd add one thought to Barbara Hodges' answer to the question about advice for beginning writers: Write every day. When I began, I modelled my work day on Hemingway and Robert B. Parker--five pages a day. Now, as in my new fantasy ZADAYI RED, due in July from Tor, writing every day is an emotional necessity.

Anonymous said...

I love elves and dragons too!!

I can't wait to start reading your books, since you are a new author to me :)

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