Pete Adler, writing as AR Silverberry interviewed many authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy Network. I was one. But now I'm turning the tables, and here are Peter's thoughtful answers to his own interview questions:
Regina M. Joseph Interview of A. R. Silverberry
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Take a peek inside my unconscious. The other night I dreamt I was hanging out with Glenn Gould, the late, great classical pianist, and his family. Gould never married, but in the dream he was, and had two children, a boy and a girl, I think. We were sharing a meal, perhaps a picnic. Glenn was nearby, playing Bach on the piano, swaying with the music, tossing off long runs of notes effortlessly, deep in the trance state from which music flowed from him. Despite the speed of the passage, every note was crystalline, sang with exquisite beauty, yet each was perfectly woven into the fabric of the whole in a way that was profound and moving. All I could do was marvel. I remarked to his wife, who was relatively new to me, “Glenn and I have been friends for years.”
Freudians, Jungians, armchair psychologists, knock yourselves out! I can’t be any more transparent.
2. What inspired you to write The Stream?
The idea came from a conversation I was having where I was using the metaphor of a stream. Afterward, I kept thinking about that metaphor. In a few hours, the character of a small boy, alone, defenseless, trying to understand the ways of the world, popped into my mind. I saw images of him confronting the challenges we all face: love, loss, pain, losing your way. The next morning, I put aside the novel I was working on (it wasn’t working anyway), and started writing. It pretty much tumbled out and didn’t let go until it was done.
3. What does your hero, Wend, yearn for?
A meaningful life.
4. What’s the novel about and who would enjoy it?
What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?
After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?
Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.
5. What do you think makes for great fantasy fiction?
Great fiction weaves magic, entering through your pores and seducing with unforgettable characters that sweep you along and leave you gasping. You know what I mean, that moment when everything falls into place, and with a rush of emotion, you shout aloud because you understand at a level beyond words.
That covers “great” and “fiction.” Fantasy has all that, plus the unique quality of worlds tailored to the story and the story’s metaphor. Lord of the Rings could only unfold in Middle Earth. Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, and the Scarecrow could only walk in Oz and upon that yellow brick road. Max could only find the jungle in his room and sail away to meet the Wild Things, and Milo could only discover the wonders around him by traveling through the phantom tollbooth and exploring the world on the other side.
In short, fantasy enchants.
6. Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
I read pretty broadly, and heavily in the classics. Ten years ago, it was Dickens and Austen. Among contemporary writers, I enjoy Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Barbara Kingsolver. I love the magical realism of Jorge Luis Borges. Sacrilege, sacrilege, I don’t read much contemporary fantasy! It just doesn’t grab me.
7. How do you approach crafting a novel?
For a humorous answer, read my first response here. For a thorough answer, read my post, Anatomy of a Novel. For a quick answer, read on!
Really, my approach is moving target. Each novel has unique problems and challenges. As soon as I think I have a method, it slips through my fingers, and I have to vary my course. I do like some structure, though, so whatever drew me to the story in the first place, I try to nail down a theme that fits the idea. From there, I try to work out characters that could drive that theme and the plot. But the process is dynamic and always subject to revision. Just this week, I started revising the theme for book two of the trilogy I mentioned above. Who knows, tomorrow, I may toss that new theme and go with something else. If writing is nothing else, it’s surprising, and that’s what makes it exciting both for the writer as well as the reader.
8. What’s ahead for you?!
I’m working on a YA, sci-fi, dystopian trilogy. Say that fives times really fast and you’re a better man or woman than I. The first book is pretty much done, but I decided to write the other two before releasing it so I know how the whole thing fits together. (Jungians and Freudians from above, take note!) Since it’s a long-term project, I plan to write some shorter works and maybe a standalone, or readers will have to wait too long for something new.
Purchase The Stream:
About A. R. Silverberry:
A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.
Follow A. R. Silverberry:
· Book Title: The Stream
o Fantasy > General
o Literature > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical
o Fiction > Visionary > Metaphysical
· Publication Date: April 26, 2014
· Publisher: Tree Tunnel Press