Welcome Fantasy Author RJ Mirabal!

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It’s my privilege to welcome RJ Mirabal today as part of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour! Let’s learn more about RJ.

RJ Mirabal

Q:Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
A: I don’t know who choose whom, but from my earliest memories I have loved stories. And once I realized the difference between realism and speculative stories, it was the “weird” ones that had me hooked, first as a reader and then in my own childish creations. By junior high, I wrote a few little science fiction, adventure, and fantasy stories. So it went from there. Only the need to have to make a living in my adulthood kept me from a serious focus on writing, though I did try hard in my twenties, but the market was hard to break into at that time. Retirement from teaching has finally allowed me the freedom to write.

Q: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
A: I can create my own world and do all the research “between the ears.” Library research was always like pulling teeth without anesthetic for me, though I still do some in terms of the more realistic parts of my stories, but now the Internet makes it easier.

Q: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
A: Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, Tony Hillerman, Rudolfo Anaya, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare, Arthur C. Clark, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Bronte…. I could go on and on.

Q: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use? What inspires your world building?
A: I have included the hero, the dark lord, world building, created races, good vs. evil, the quest, and magic into my published book as well its sequels, but I’ve tweaked them quite a bit to make them my own.

My hero is an apathetic alcoholic, the “dark lord(s)” are actually less-than-impressive leaders of a not totally evil race, the quest is fairly standard, but magic is downplayed as a power of limited scope. My races are all a little odd and rustic, but the world I have built is my pride and joy.

I have used an alternative New Mexico as a high desert setting elevated to mythic heights—literally. The Medieval European type setting has been done to death. Since I grew up in New Mexico and always found it to be a unique and fascinating place, it only seemed right to make it a major part of my fantasy stories.

Introducing Charlotte Henley Babb!

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Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome fellow fantasy author, Charlotte Henley Babb. She writes one of my favorite genres; steampunk! Let’s learn a bit more about Charlotte.

charlotte-babb-author

Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
I live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. I’ve always lived in the southeastern part of the us, the red mud, rolling hills Piedmont area, where people used work in cotton mills, drink sweet tea, wear overalls and drive trucks. We’re getting really gentrified as people move here from the rust and snow belt, but there’s still sweet tea and grits.

What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
The current WIP, 20 Hours to Charles Town, is a steampunk adventure set on an airship brothel. The madam has expanded her business to host a secret meeting of the ambassadors from the European colonies in North America where the American Revolution was not successful. The topic at hand is the recognition of Texas, which has just seceded from Mexico. Can she get them there in one piece despite a rogue detective, a hoodoo, and an anarchist plot?

Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
Yes. I have always wanted to write since I discovered fiction. Having the backbone, intestinal fortitude, or whatever other body parts apply, to sit down and face the blank page has taken me much of my life, and I have experimented with arts, crafts, web design (my current day job), teaching writing (my current evening job) and various other things. I worked for a few weeks as a telephone psychic to make some extra money—but not much.

I wish now that I had started writing sooner, but that’s water under the bridge, and it occurs to me now that I make things happen when they happen. Now is always the right time.

What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
Fantasy is for people who are too smart for hard drugs. Nobody in the left mind would live in the real world, so it is up to us writers/directors/actors/ to create those fantasy world for those people to live in for a while.

Fantasy, and most other fiction as well, has to do with the protagonist taking on incredibly unbalanced odds, generally of eldritch proportions, and must face them and prevail, which s/he usually does, by wit, strategy, and cunning.

What authors make you want to be a better writer?