It’s my great pleasure to welcome author Rabia Gale to my blog today. Her bio says she breaks fairy tales and fuses fantasy and science fiction… How could you not want to read anything and everything she writes?
I invited her here to discuss, among other things, her novella, Rainbird, which she launched this week. Here’s the blurb:
She’s a halfbreed in hiding.
Rainbird never belonged. To one race, she’s chattel. To the other, she’s an abomination that should never have existed.
She lives on the sunway.
High above the ground, Rainbird is safe, as long as she does her job, keeps her head down, and never ever draws attention to herself.
But one act of sabotage is about to change everything.
For Rainbird. And for her world.
Rainbird is a fantasy novella of about 31,000 words.
Excerpts at rabiagale.com/rainbird
Sounds fabulous! My copy is awaiting me on my kindle, and I can’t wait to read it. In the meantime, Rabia has been kind enough to share some of her insights…
1. What was the central idea behind your new novella, Rainbird, and how did you approach writing the story?
Thank you, Ellen, for having me on your blog! Rainbird was inspired by a mental image of a girl dancing under a night sky. I knew that she was up high, in the thin cold air. Who she was, where she was, and why she danced came later, but it all started from that one picture.
I actually meant Rainbird to be a short story. Seven thousand words in, I realized I had too much story and hurriedly ended it with a draco ex machina. Several months later, I began the process of expanding it into a novella. I added more characters, worldbuilding details and plot events, deepened the conflicts, and changed the ending.
2. What do you love most about the finished work?
Rainbird herself. I love her impulsive generosity, her zest for life, her fierce love for her father, and her almost-reckless courage.
I didn’t set out to write any themes into my story, but they turned up anyway. Rainbird struggles to forge her own identity, find her purpose, and discover where she belongs. All of us can relate to this, and for many, this is a lifelong quest. Where Rainbird’s path took her surprised even me. I came away from the story knowing that I told only a chapter of her life and that further adventures await her.
I’m awed when a story I create spills over the boundaries of the written words.
3. What is it about the fantasy genre that inspires you — as a reader, as a writer?
I love to explore fascinating worlds—the more bizarre, the better! Planets with multiple suns, floating islands, cities on the backs of giant creatures—all of these draw me as a reader and as a writer. It’s no wonder that Rainbird lives high up on the skeleton of a gigantic space dragon!
I also like to get into the minds of heroes, those flawed people struggling to do the right thing in the face of great odds. And what better way to discover heroes than by putting them in situations where life, loved ones and even the entire world are in peril? The fantasy genre is quite inventive when it comes to terrible consequences. Horrible death may be the least of your worries, when compared with eternal bondage to the Dark Lord or having your soul eaten by a demon. It’s in the crucible of fantasy that my favorite heroes are made.
4. Care to share some of your favourite fantasy reads with us?
There are too many to name, so I’ll list some books I’ve really enjoyed in the past two years. In no particular order these are:
- The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
- The Collegia Magica trilogy and the Lighthouse Duet by Carol Berg
- Cold Magic and Cold Fire by Kate Elliot
- The Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
5. What aspect of storytelling are you most passionate about?
Definitely the characters. I like to take ordinary people and put them into extraordinary circumstances. I enjoy exploring the range of human emotion. I love watching my characters interact with each other, especially in familial relationships (too often, fantasy characters seem to have no parents or siblings!).
6. Who is your favourite literary heroine, and why?
From my list of recent fantasy faves, I’d have to pick Anne de Vernase from the Collegia Magica novels. Anne is introverted, bookish, smart, independent, loving, and a worthy protagonist.
7. What is the most important writing-life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Everything comes in seasons.
As a homeschooling mother of three children, I’m sometimes frustrated by my lack of writing time. But I’ve made peace with the fact raising children is my first priority at this point in my life.
I’ve also realized that there are cycles within writing. There are times to pound out raw and imperfect first drafts, and times to finesse stories into shape with a light hand. There are seasons for simmering stories, and days when you just need to ship them out the door!
I break fairy tales and fuse fantasy and science fiction. I love to write about flawed heroes who never give up, transformation and redemption, and things from outer space. I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and now live in Northern Virginia. Visit me online at http:/www.rabiagale.com.
Thank you, Rabia, for spending time with us here today. It’s the first ‘Fridays with Friends’ post in quite a while! I now have a bunch of new books for my TBR pile (yeah, thanks for that!), not to mention Rainbird.
I hope visitors to this blog have enjoyed Rabia’s insights into her work and the fantasy genre in general. Please leave us a comment!