My friend Dianna Gunn has a new fantasy novella out this week, and she popped by Fiction and Film to have a little chat with me about the book and her writing. But before we get into the interview, checkout the gorgeous cover!
Welcome, Dianna. So nice to see you here at Fiction and Film. I'll just ask you the questions I ask any visitors to the blog...
Do I get to pick the 24 hours? I'm going to assume the answer is no and choose Tessa, the love interest/roommate in Good Bye, because she has the most peaceful life overall. That said, if I get to pick the 24 hours, I would much rather be Rolf, a dragon in a completely different fantasy novel I'm currently rewriting. Because duh, dragon.
Why? And what would you do that day?
As Tessa my day would be all about climbing the mountain, enjoying the sunrise and the sunset and the clean mountain air. As Rolf, well, obviously I want to fly. Who wouldn't?
In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?
The main character falls in love with a woman AND they actually get to be happy together. No tragic LGBTQ romance here!
Also, I tried really hard to take common things in fantasy—things like pantheistic religion and magic—and use them to make a society that is much more forward thinking than most fantasy cultures, who seem to be stuck in or around the dark ages.
What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?
Keeper of the Dawn has been with me for a long time and has gone through dozens of drafts, so it's hard to decide what scene was most fun the first time I wrote it. There is a scene where Tessa takes Lai(the main character of Keeper of the Dawn) to an art vault. Every Sunrise Guardian who ever lived has a portrait in that vault, and Tessa tells Lai stories about them. I love this scene because it says so much about the world and the culture, but also because it's the first time I really hint at romance between Tessa and Lai.
As for the most challenging scene to write, I definitely struggled most with the ending, but I can't really say why without spoilers. So, suffice to say, the ending is the part that's changed most significantly since the first time I wrote this story.
Which of your characters is most like you?
Ohhh another tough question. In Good Bye I'd have to go with Lai, the main character. She's extremely devoted to her beliefs, even when she runs away from home, and even when she doesn't become a priestess she's still determined to serve her gods. She is as dedicated to those gods as I am to writing.
That said, I'm nowhere near as good in a fight.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
The ability to always know whether or not a person is telling the truth. I would use it mostly as a tool for understanding people and their motivations, but hey, it sounds like a great way to get some blackmail too…
If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?
Oh wow. This might be the toughest question anyone's ever asked me. I'm going to cop out by saying that I was once asked to drunkenly reenact the Iocaine powder scene from The Princess Bride, and it was hilarious. Also, the book and the movie are about as close to identical as any book and movie can possibly be, probably because the same guy wrote both of them.
Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.
I went to an alternative high school (that's not the surprising bit) where I learned how to make and sell skateboards (surprise!). And I really miss making skateboards.
What other interests do you have outside of writing?
I love art of all kinds, especially performance art. I've done some improv in the past couple of years and hope to do a lot more this year.
Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing?
My big thing is biting my lips, but that's not only when I'm writing—it's a nervous tick I can't seem to get away from no matter how hard I try. It's endlessly frustrating because my lips are always sore.
As for a guilty pleasure, frankly I don't believe in guilt, so no. If anything, I probably should be guilty about the amount of pop I drink, but I'm not.
ABOUT KEEPER OF THE DAWN
Sometimes failure is just the beginning
All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.
From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum—a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.
Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai's own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join their sacred order.
Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.
Keeper of the Dawn is a tale of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.
Dianna Gunn is a freelance author by day and a fantasy author by night. Her debut YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is out now through the Book Smugglers Press. She also blogs about life, books and creativity at http://www.thedabbler.ca.