Friday, December 12, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Corrigan

In celebration of her recently released fantasy mystery, Catching a Man, I'm dedicating this week to author Elizabeth Corrigan. The penultimate post for this series is an interview with Elizabeth.


Hi Elizabeth! Congrats on the release of your latest fantasy novel, Catching a Man, a fantasy mystery that takes place in a 1950s-style kingdom. Why did you choose the 1950s as your backdrop?

I wanted to do something different. So I thought, “Medieval, Victorian, and urban fantasy have been done to death. What has no one done? I know! The 1950s!”

The main character, Kadin Stone, both wants to fit in yet can’t stop herself from defying the rules to investigate the murder. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed her character?

If you stay tuned for tomorrow’s final installment of Corrigan week on Zigzag Timeline—and if you aren’t, why not???—you can check out my detailed answer to that question. But the short answer is that I wanted to write about a woman in the 1950s who didn’t have modern sensibilities but who still had positive traits that readers could empathize with.

Of Catching a Man’s supporting cast, who is your favorite character? Can you describe him/her?

King Ralvin is my very favorite character. As Kadin meets him, he’s the king of her entire country, who always wears ceremonial robes and face paint in public. Kadin is the commonest of commoners, so it’s an extraordinary experience for her to have a conversation with him at all. She doesn’t do much more than stutter her name, though if her brother were there, he’d have had a thing or two to say about Ralvin’s disinterest in progressive politics. As to what I love about Ralvin… Well, you don’t want spoilers do you?

What was your favorite scene to write?

Hm, that’s a tough question. I would say something with Ralvin, but his first scene actually got a major overhaul, and his later two also created complications during the editing process. Probably my favorite scene was the one that was also a favorite among my betas, the one where Kadin learns to make java. And if you’ve read it, you know that there are some other dynamics going on there as well.

How long did it take you to write Catching a Man? Did you have a process, or did you just wing it?

I started writing Catching a Man—I have to remember to call it that in public. Among my friends and family, we just call it “Kadin Stone.” Anyway, I started writing it for NaNoWriMo in 2007. I made it through the 50,000 words but then didn’t write the rest until August 2008. It was the first book I ever wrote, and I mostly pantsed it—writer lingo for saying I didn’t outline and just wrote stuff until I got to the end. I knew it needed massive edits, so I put it aside for a while. After I wrote the first two books in the Earthbound Angels series, I felt like I was prepared to go back to Kadin. It did take several rounds of editing to get it into shape, but I’m pleased with it now.

In addition to Catching a Man, you’ve also published two urban fantasy novels as part of the “Earthbound Angels” series. What is it about writing fantasy that appeals to you?

I remember the first fantasy book I ever read, round about the seventh grade—The Ancient One by TA Barron. Prior to that, I had liked science fiction but had thought fantasy wasn’t for me. After that, I couldn’t get my hands on enough fantasy! By the time I left high school, I read fantasy pretty much exclusively, so it only made sense that all the stories I made up were fantasy as well. I think I like fantasy because it’s so different from reality that it’s pure escapism. And since there are no limits, there’s always a way for a happy ending.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

I think the biggest influence on Catching a Man is Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, though that is probably far from obvious. In Poison Study, the military dictator was the good guy who had brought order to a land that had previously been ruled by a corrupt king. Sure, there were lots of rules, and everyone had to wear a uniform, but everyone had a job and was treated equally. I read it and thought, “That’s just so different. I want to write something just as different!” Other authors and works that have influenced me include Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, Sharon Shinn’s Samaria series, and Melanie Rawn’s Exiles series.

Thanks for stopping by!

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