First I read LARA by Bertrice Small. I wanted more! I wanted to stay in the world she'd created. Luckily, A DISTANT TOMORROW and THE TWILIGHT LORD were already out, and I could return to Hetar right away and didn't have to wait months to read them. I hate waiting, don't you?
In her world-building, Bertrice blends lyrical and lush descriptive prose with a very matter-of-fact level of pragmatism. Lara is a remarkable character—but then so is her creator! I wondered what she was up to when she wasn't traveling between worlds, waging wars, adjudicating peace, forging alliances or spending time with her multi-faceted characters.
So I emailed Bertrice and asked...Wassup?
And she said...."You sent that using a Blackberry! Gawd, I am impressed. As I've said, I'm no techie. I do have a cell phone, but I never remember to turn the thing on. On the other hand, my bio is always up to date and I have a web mistress & update everything at the beginning of the year. For someone who is creative, I seem to have a practical streak. (Isabel says see? It's that left and right brain thing going on). Bertrice continued:
"I really don't wrestle with fantasy and reality. For me, they seem to be quite separate. " But then she added:
"Are you a believer in things not seen? Well, being of Celtic heritage, Irish/Scots/Welsh, I am. And I seem to have a wonderful guide for my fantasy series. For the first time in my life I never know what I'm going to write when I sit down to do a day's work. But I put my fingers on the keyboard, and it comes. I count it a great blessing to be allowed to be the conduit for these wonderful stories.
"I've spent today working on a few re-writes for Tara Parsons, my HQN editor. What a bright lovely girl she is. I have been most fortunate in my editors over the years.
"I'm also in the midst of subcontracting the renovations on a house we bought this spring. My adventures in all of this might prove amusing. Or not...!
"We decided to downsize. I found the Retirement Community idea lovely—the thought of never having to cook a meal again was incredibly tempting—but the folks there were old!
"Then I checked out the over 55 condo community in our village, but it is now "over 80" and the condo board chairman told me I couldn't have my DirecTV. The satellite would spoil the "integrity of the buildings." Good grief!
"Then a neighbor on our street died, and while I knew the house needed work, it's all on one floor. We bought it. It has a lovely living room with a raised hearth fireplace, a dining room as big as my own, which means I get to take my furniture, but the 3 tiny bedrooms, and the two 1957 bathrooms are going. They will become 2 large bedrooms, and 2 modern baths.
"Moving from a house we've lived in for 28 years which has 4 bedrooms, and 4 full bathrooms requires some paring down! Our son and his family are moving into the old homestead.
"I made certain, however, before taking time off from my work to get THE SORCERESS OF BELMAIR into my editor, Tara. (Isabel says thank you from all editors for your professionalism!) THE SORCERESS is scheduled to come out next May and there will be 3 more books in the series. And after that? I have absolutely no idea, but it will come. Of that I'm certain.
"Now I've decided I like fantasy better than reality. When I write fantasy I control the world in which my characters live. It's great to be a goddess!
"But when you're renovating a house to live in, reality strikes hard. The end of the house being completely rebuilt is now totally demolished. I go down after I stop working in the early evening almost every day.
"So far, on most days it looks as if nothing is or has gotten done. But yesterday the narrow window half way up the wall in what will be my new office was gone, and a brand new big window put in! I'm beginning to see how the light will fall in that room now, and where I might place my desk.
"It's progress, but reality is too darned slow for me. If it were fantasy I would have had that new office finished at least two chapters ago!"
All the best,
We all build our worlds—sometimes in fantasy, sometimes in reality. And life needs both, doesn't it?