Tuesday, December 28, 2010

# Guest Blog # On Writing

Interview with "Best Line" Contest Winner Kevana McConnaughey

I'm pleased to have the winner of my Best NaNoWriMo line 2010 contest here today--writer Kevana McConnaughey! Out of more than 450 entries, her line stood out to emerge victorious:

There was simply no arguing with Royalty, he thought, even when it was only three feet tall.

JRA: Thank you for joining me today, Kevana! Tell us about your NaNoWriMo project, Regnant Dracorum, and about the scene that your award-winning line comes from!


KM: Regnant Dracorum is the story of Heir Apparent Deliah, a young woman born to be Queen, and her struggles to protect her country, avenge her father’s murder, and deal with one minor problem:

She’s been turned into a dragon.

Wrapped up in the mix are her sister, Princess Sarah, who lives an exhausting fishbowl existence as a beloved pop star-style celebrity; Sarah’s True Love, Knight-Mage Ser Rothburg Denglewithy, a brave defender of the realm, who was hit by a spell and now thinks he’s a giant chicken; the girls’ mother, Queen Regnant Celeste, the most powerful mage in the land until she went missing, without a trace, ten years ago; and the dashing and dangerous Egret Dreshel, a mage wielding strange and insidious magic no one’s ever seen before, who is willing to risk anything to reshape Elgrad in his own design.

Deliah, aided by her blind godfather and his seeing-eye gargoyle, finds an old diary of Celeste’s that hints the long-lost civilization of the dragons is real, not legend as most people think. Hoping the dragons might have the knowledge to turn her back into a human and counter the deadly magic that murdered the King and polluted the land, Deliah and Sarah end up on a quest retracing their mother’s last steps. Their journey takes them far beyond the borders of their homeland and face to face with their own decisions, strengths and weaknesses. But the clock is ticking as the black magic poisons more and more of Elgrad, and the griffons of the Ayysrean Empire, seeking to claim the land for their own, prepare to strike at the country’s moment of weakness.

Deliah has to face her fears, overcome her own failings, and step up to the throne before she becomes not only the worst Queen in Elgrad’s history, but also the last.

-

The winning line comes from the book’s prologue, a scene in which a very young Deliah has snuck into the Queen’s private laboratory. Upset at her mother having a baby (Sarah) and dealing very poorly with any kind of change to her world, Dee is busy ripping out pages of her mother’s books in protest when Page Rothburg Denglewithy – just a bit older than Deliah herself, and known to everyone as Dengle – comes across the Heir Apparent’s little temper tantrum. They have a scuffle and Dee commands, with all the imperiousness of a small child, for him to leave.

“There was simply no arguing with Royalty, he thought, even when it was only three feet tall.”

JRA: Sounds fascinating! I love fantasy. How’s the story coming along? Are you still working on it?

KM: It’s coming well, though my serious writing on it is on pause until after the holidays. It’s pretty well plotted and planned from start to epilogue – and I’m still working on it in bits and pieces when I have time.

JRA: This was your second NaNo, correct? Was your last project a fantasy as well?

KM: This was my second NaNo, and my first attempt at straight-up fantasy. My last attempt, and so far only win, was urban fantasy – that’s my favorite genre, fantasy set in our modern world.

JRA: I've got a soft spot for urban fantasy myself. Now, regardless of genre, is writing something you do all year round, or just for NaNo?

KM: It’s something I do every day – I’m a newspaper reporter. But I don’t get to write my own stories as much as I’d like; it’s tough to put all my creative energy into writing at work, and then come home and write even more. Even when it’s something I’m passionate about and involved in, like Regnant Dracorum, it can be a real struggle to find the time and energy to write. I do write short stories based on my more interesting dreams, and I’ve got a third book idea in my head that probably isn’t going to wait for NaNo 2011. I don’t really write fanfiction, though I’m an avid fanfic reader.

JRA: Stories inspired by dreams--that's awesome. What do you like to do aside from writing?

KM: I enjoy hunting zombies. It’s a great stress reliever.

When not busy fighting the scourge of the restless undead, I’m a bookworm. I read what I enjoy writing most – urban fantasy, but also everything from autobiographies to scifi and even the occasional classic.

I’m also an amateur herpetoculturist, which is a complicated way of saying I keep pet snakes and lizards as a hobby. (Non-venomous, harmless snakes and lizards, I should mention – I’m not into having pets that could kill or seriously injure me!)

I’m a video game junkie – Mass Effect, Bioshock, Dragon Age – and I geek out over shows like Supernatural, Fringe, and Doctor Who. I’m also a teensy bit addicted to perfumes and have a ridiculous number of toys all over the place. I refuse to grow up all the way and haven’t met anyone yet who could make me.

JRA: Ooh, I don't blame you. And Fringe is one of my fave shows!! Has any of your fiction been published (or do you have plans to get it published)? Or is NaNo all about the “luv” of writing?


KM: None of my fiction has been published. I do plan to publish both of my NaNo novels (once I actually finish them, ha!) Eventually I’d like to be a full-time fiction author. But NaNo itself really is about the love of writing, and the shared joy and chaos that comes from trying to accomplish something as insane as writing a book in a month. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun!


JRA: Absolutely!! Sometimes I see folks getting so caught up in the "word count" aspect of NaNo that they stress out and lose the fun of it. Then what's the point? Now, when it's not NaNo season, where do you like to “hang your hat” on the internet? Do you Twitter, blog, etc.?

I’ve been on Livejournal since 2003. It’s not as fashionable as other sites, these days, but it’s home. I welcome new friends! http://starwild.livejournal.com I’m also on Twitter @starwildwanders, and I’m a moderator at a fantsy/steampunk/mad science adoptable site, Valenth, if I can give a shout-out to my friends there: http://www.valenth.com.

JRA: Shout away! I'll definitely give you a follow over on Twitter. Best of luck finishing this book, and I look forward to seeing you around for next year's NaNo!



About the host:
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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people.

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