AUTHOR: Resa Nelson
BOOK TITLE: The Dragon’s Egg (Book 4 in the Dragonslayer series)
PUBLISHER: Mundania Press
GIVEAWAY: Get a free mini ebook of the two Dragonslayer short stories that inspired the book series -- get a taste of the characters, the world, and the story. Download the PDF file at http://www.resanelson.com/files. (No obligation or information gathering. Just a simple download.)
Please tell us about yourself?
I’ve always been a writer. By the time I was in 2nd grade I knew I wanted to be a novelist. I’m originally from the Midwest, but I’ve lived in the Boston area most of my adult life. I write mostly fantasy and science fiction, but I love reading murder mysteries, which has a big influence on my work. I have five novels in print, including my 4-book Dragonslayer series and a standalone novel about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. There’s typically a lot of action and adventure in my books because I never want my readers to get bored! My mission is to write novels about women who are strong, smart, and courageous.
Tell us your latest news?
The last book in my Dragonslayer series was published in November. This novel completes my first series, and I’m really looking forward to hearing how readers feel about the last book and the way the series ends. I’m currently writing a standalone novel, which is present-day science fiction.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve considered myself a writer since I was about 13 years old. But I felt like a “real” writer for the first time when I was accepted for the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop, a six-week boot camp taught by award-winning novelists. I’d made three short story sales to small press publications before going to Clarion, but I hadn’t made a professional sale yet. Clarion was the first time I’d met people who felt as passionate about writing as I do. I felt like I had found my long-lost tribe, and I typically feel that way to this day when I meet other writers.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The entire Dragonslayer series is about the idea that we all have the power to choose who we are. I believe that the truth about anyone’s character lies in the action they choose to take in any given situation, and we all have the power to choose how we act from day to day, moment to moment. Every book in the Dragonslayer series explores this idea in different ways.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Elizabeth Lynn, who was one of my teachers at Clarion. She helped me understand that my greatest strength is characterization and she helped me understand why. She taught during a week when I felt especially fragile and had a lot of doubts about my abilities, and she helped turned my confidence around 180 degrees. That experience was a real defining moment for me.
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I just finished reading Catching Fire. I love The Hunger Games, and I really enjoyed the series. I like the way Collins puts a new spin on the story in this book, although I noticed during the first half of the book I didn’t feel as compelled to keep reading as I did when reading The Hunger Games. I don’t mean that to be a criticism – it’s just an observation of my personal experience.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I don’t believe in looking back or second guessing. I depend a lot on my intuition, and I let it lead me. I always know if I’m heading down the wrong path and can backtrack and find the right path pretty quickly. When I head in the wrong direction, I can feel it – it’s like the hair going up on the back of your neck when you know you’re in danger. When I head in the right direction, it feels good. A friend once gave me this advice: If you feel like you’ve accomplished what you wanted to accomplish, then the book is a success. I never turn a book in to my publisher unless I feel that I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in that book.
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
I don’t believe in the traditional definition of writers block. Here are three things I do believe in. (1) Sometimes life events have to come first and writing has to wait – for example, when someone you care about dies. That’s just a matter of dealing with life and then finding a way back to normal. (2) Sometimes you’re on the wrong path, which means you first have to realize you’re going in the wrong direction and then figure out how to get back on track. To me, it’s just like driving. When you get lost, you have to be willing to admit you’re lost and then do something about it. (3) And sometimes fear gets in the way – fear of failure or fear of success or fear of both. I think writers are really courageous people who are willing to take huge risks. To paraphrase a poem by Ray Bradbury, sometimes you have to be willing to take a running leap off a cliff and build your wings while you fall.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
When I read, I mostly read murder mysteries. My favorite mystery author is Harlan Coben. He’s a master of plots that twist and turn. His villains are extremely scary. But what I like most is the humanity and morality of his main characters, including the ones who lean pretty close to the dark side. When I read any novel, I feel like I’m hanging out with the characters in that book, and his characters are ones that I want to spend time with.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot from writing the entire Dragonslayer series. I love doing research. Because my main character is a female blacksmith who makes swords for blacksmiths, I took a course in blacksmithing and also took courses to learn how to use medieval weapons at a museum. But the process of writing these books also changed me. As I delved deeper into the series, I researched how women were perceived and treated in the Middle Ages. When I created my villains, I revealed why they are the way they are – what their thinking process is like and where their opinions come from. Before I wrote my Dragonslayer series, I felt disgust for people who are biased against women but now I pity them. Writing my villains helped me understand that discrimination can be passed down through families or societies for hundreds or thousands of years, and it takes courage and strength to think differently from the way you’re taught, whether by your family or by other people in your environment.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m a big believer in doing what you love. If you love writing with your whole heart, I think there are three important things to do: (1) Keep working at and learning about the craft of writing, (2) learn about the business side of writing and the publishing industry, and (3) refuse to give up, no matter what. On the other hand, if you don’t feel passionate about writing, put on your seat belt because it’s likely to be an especially bumpy ride.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m deeply grateful for all of my readers. It’s such an incredible thrill to connect with people who enjoy my novels, and I love hearing what they enjoy about them. The feedback I get from my readers often inspires other novels I write. Sometimes comments from readers give me ideas and sometimes I name characters after readers.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
I expect to speak on panels at Arisia in January and Boskone in February. These are science fiction conventions held in Boston every year.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My publisher is Mundania Press, a traditional publishing house that specializes in genre fiction. I found them through ralan.com, which is my favorite online market source for science fiction/fantasy/horror writers. When I read the description of Mundania Press, I thought we might be a good fit. When I explored their website, they went to the top of my list. I’m extremely happy with them, and so far they’ve published every novel I’ve submitted.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
My website is at http://www.resanelson.com. My email address is ContactResa@aol.com. I’m starting a new blog on my homepage (http://www.resanelson.com). My fan page on Facebook is called The Dragonslayer’s Sword and Resa Nelson (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871?ref=hl). I’m @ResaNelson on Twitter.
Resa Nelson’s 4-book Dragonslayer series
In a fantasy world modeled on the beginning of the Viking era, Astrid is chewed up and spit out by a dragon when she’s a little girl, which leaves her skin completely covered in scars. Her powerful family gives her to a childseller, and the blacksmith who buys her eventually teaches the secrets of his trade to her – including the well guarded tricks of forging a dragonslayer’s sword, a weapon that’s both flexible and strong. As an adult, Astrid steps into his shoes and becomes her village’s blacksmith and weapon-maker for the dragonslayer who protects them.
As an adulthood, Astrid learns how to shapeshift, which means she can control how others see her. Shapeshifting is all about emotion and perception in that any given person’s feelings toward others have the power to change how they appear to everyone else. The unwritten law that everyone honors is this: You always have the right to yourself, but you don’t have the right to change other people.
Astrid soon discovers there are two different types of dragons, a secret that no other mortal seems to know. While most dragons are dangerous animals that must be killed, others are intelligent shapeshifters that can take either the form of a dragon or the form of a mortal. Astrid’s world constantly changes, twisting and turning in unpredictable directions, often putting her in terrible danger. She does her best to survive and thrive, all the while trying to understand why dragons have taken such a peculiar interest in her and what they want from her.
Book 1: The Dragonslayer’s Sword
Book 2: The Iron Maiden
Book 3: The Stone of Darkness
Book 4: The Dragon’s Egg
Book 2: The Iron Maiden
Book 3: The Stone of Darkness
Book 4: The Dragon’s Egg