Today I bring you an interview with Michelle Franklin whose short story collection, Tales from Frewyn, will be coming out this month by Red Willow Digital Press (we share the same publisher!). For those of you who don’t know how enjoyable Tales from Frewyn is, I suggest you read my review on it.
Michelle is an amazing author who writes at a fevered frenzy. If you follow her tweets you’ll know that she dishes out about 10,000 words a day and would die if she wasn’t writing. I suspect that a lot of people would die if she didn’t post a story a day because she has over 15,000 readers. Read on to find out more about the Haanta series and her inner workings.
What inspired you to write the Haanta series?
I have been writing both fantasy and romance since grade 4. When I entered university, I began writing something called the Arustan series, which was a series of terrible high fantasy novels based on the Eastern Continent portion of the Haanta world. I had quite a few books done and sent them out to publishers, but my writing was not where it should have been and I was rejected. After a few years of rejection, I stopped writing, mostly due to work, but I retained the feeling that without ample time to just sit and write, I would never improve. Jobs came and went, and when the recession hit, I was laid off. It was the holiday season so I had some time to myself. My editor at the time said to me, “You know, you haven’t written in a while. Maybe you should write something.” I started writing short stories about a woman and a giant and began posting them online to see what people thought. After 6 months and about 700 short stories, I decided it was time for a novel. One novel turned into 4, 4 turned into 8, then 10, and in one year I had written more than I ever had done. The inspiration was a mixture of the desire to create something new and to revamp the world I had created long ago with an improved style of writing.
Fantasy novels are saturated with vampires and zombies. What made you decide to write about giants?
Well, I don’t really consider those books to be under the fantasy genre even though many might do. Fantasy, I feel, has become a catchall phrase. I consider anything with vampires and zombies to be macabre, horror or supernatural. I don’t know why people consider them to be fantasy or even paranormal (when paranormal to me means ghosts and other inexplicable activity). I have always written about giants, even though my first story as a kid was about cat people. I’m a small woman and I have always delighted in the notion of being cared for or even embraced by a giant, whether one of seven feet or ten feet, etc.When I was young, I always wanted a giant companion and I love seeing little women paired with large men. I had created a race of giants for the Arustan series but I never gave them a history. Here was the opportunity.
Why does Rautu love chocolate so much and where can I get some chocolate from Diras Delights?
He just loves food in general- or rather, food that does NOT come from his homeland. The food of the islands is meant to nourish, not to taste great, whereas the food in Frewyn is the opposite. He loves everything from dried pork to fried shrimp to fresh bread to pie. Dark chocolate is his main vice. He will kill a man to have it. There is no chocolate on the islands, so for him, it’s a true delight and rarity. Some comparable chocolates you can find here are Villars, Dolfin, and Camille Bloche. We all have one thing that we really enjoy. Frewyn fare just happens to be Rautu’s one thing.
Do you have a writing ritual that you must do before you start writing?
Make breakfast and sit down to the computer. Sometimes yoga and meditation, but from the instant I wake, I feel that there are a million stories I must write. I only get to 3 or 4 of them in a day, however. Music for me is also important. I have a playlist and specific songs that are linked with certain books and characters.
Who’s your favorite author and what’s your favorite book?
Early David Eddings and late Jane Austen would be my favourites. Persuasion and the Belgariad are my two top books. I cannot tell you how many times I have read them.
Has your favorite author/book influenced your writing?
Yes, in a way. David Eddings helped me understand my want to write fantasy and Jane Austen helped me understand my love for writing romance.
How many books are in the Haanta series currently?
10 books written, 2 published so far, 21 done/outlined/chapters written. There might be more tomorrow.
How did you meet Twisk? Can I steal Twisk from you?
Twisk found my stories online and began reading them. She began emailing me questions about the world and the Haanta culture. To answer her questions, I began writing short stories about a woman named Kai Linaa who comes to the islands as a convert and learns about the Haanta traditions, etc. I suppose she must have enjoyed them because she asked if she could draw for the series. I certainly wasn’t going to say no. She claimed she couldn’t draw very well (and still claims the same) but she began drawing one image a week. One year later, she’s still drawing for the series and she’s now my creative partner. You could try to steal her, but I warn you: she bites.