ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Roland D Yeomans - PART 11: THE INFLUENCES THAT SHAPED MY WRITING STYLE - plus a review by Ann Best. BROKEN HEARTS BLOGFEST

Firstly, if you're looking for my Broken Hearts Blogfest entry, go here.
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Welcome back everyone! I hope you enjoyed the first interview I held with Roland, the author of The Bear with Two Shadows. I'm so pleased to see you all again.

Let's think about this question...what draws us to write? We plug away day after day, devoting a large chunk of our lives to putting words on the page. Why do we do it? What influences do we bring to it? These are the questions I pose to guest blogger and author Roland D Yeomans.

PART 11: THE INFLUENCES THAT SHAPED MY WRITING STYLE

Roland, I know you're a great believer in 'listening to the voices.' What voices are speaking inside your head?

Writing is a solitary sojourn. Most of us will never receive world acclaim ...nor do we expect it. So what then propels us on this journey? Denise, what swept you up when you first started to read for yourself? How often do you find a book which conjures that same spirit within you now?

Hmm...
Not often I'd wager.

I believe we write to create that world which spellbound us into reading in the first place. What voices called to us then? What lessons did they teach us?

Each of us heed different voices. I don't know what voices called to you, but for me the voices were :

Magic,
Horror,
and Otherworld Beauty

These three sirens dominated my solitary reading of choice during my high school years. And their voices can be heard in the background of all that I write today. Like the three fates, they weave the tapestry of my unconscious muse.

What particular books influenced you in your early days?

As a young child, I wandered alone into Edith Hamilton's MYTHOLOGY. In junior high, I joined the League of Five and group reading with BEAU GESTE and DR. FU MANCHU. In high school, I was alone again in my reading, open to any influence that caught my fancy.

The authors of those years were my unknowing mentors in how to write well. And oddly enough it was an artist who led me in the land where they all dwelt : Frank Frazetta. And he painted the first road sign on my path to becoming a writer :

I've heard other writers say that they are hugely influenced by artworks and some (like N. R. Williams) are also artists. I'd like to hear more about Frank Frazetta's influence on your writing.

OTHERWORLD BEAUTY WILL HAUNT YOU, BRINGING YOU BACK TO THE BEGINNING. {AND DON'T FORGET THE EYES.}

EERIE #23 : THE EGYPTIAN PRINCESS

When I spotted the cover to EERIE#23 with Frazetta's "Egyptian Princess" in a used book store, I was spellbound. Yes, she was clothing-challenged. But it was her eyes that ensnared me. And my encounter with her made me quite a few dollars lighter. EERIE #23, even back then when dinosaurs roamed the earth, was a collector's item.

From that moment on, I noticed eyes : weary ones , dull ones, evaluating ones, and those who were black windows into the nothingness that lived in the souls of those who possessed them.

As I began to write, I realized eyes could be the shorthand definition of the characters owning them. I noticed that when the eyes of strangers boldly met mine, it often meant the same thing as when Nixon proclaimed, "I am not a crook." I started counting my silverware.

But back to Frazetta. His art was vibrant, moody, and on-fire all at once. His paperback book covers led me to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and even to H.P. Lovecraft. And those three authors sketched the second sign post.

And that would be?

HISTORY. HISTORY IS NOT WHAT WE THINK - THERE IS MYSTERY AND MAGIC UNDER THE TOMBSTONES.

UNDER THE PYRAMIDS by H.P. Lovecraft (with Harry Houdini)

My hands went into warp speed when I saw the Frazetta cover emblazoned with that title. Frazetta. Harry Houdini. Wow. I didn't know this Lovecraft fellow, but I had to see what kind of supernatural trouble Houdini had gotten into in his Egyptian travels.

And I wasn't disappointed :

The first sentence : "Mystery attracts mystery."

I was hooked.
From Frazetta, Burroughs, Howard, and Lovecraft ... I learned how history can be made alive and alluring ... and supernatural.

I've read sometime on your blog that ROGER ZELAZNY'S LORD OF LIGHT was a great influence:

You're right there. I found it in the used bookstore shelf right next to a Frazetta cover of a Conan novel. This was the book that taught me that prose could be beautiful and evocative. I read the first paragraph :

"His followers called him Mahasamatman, and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam.

He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit. Silence, though, could.
Therefore, there was mystery about him."

{It is no accident that my own hero is called Sam.}

Mystery. Evocative imagery. I was hooked.

I became his student -- through his books, his essays, and his poetry.

Some of his words :

"No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words."


"I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words,


"Occasionally as an author, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant -you just don't know which.


You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the firstplace.


Trust your demon."


"I try to sit down at the typewriter four times a day, even if it's only five minutes, and write three sentences. It seems to get the job done. I've written a lot of novels."

You mentioned Ernest Hemingway yesterday Denise. It was Roger Zelazny who led me to this quote by Ernest Hemingway years before it made its way into the latest PREDATOR movie :

"There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."

Thank you Roland. Awesome writing journey...I assure you the voices I've listened to have nowhere near the resonance of yours.

I posted the synopsis yesterday (see previous post.) Today I'm posting an Amazon review by Ann Best from The Long Journey Home: 

This is a poetic novel, one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a very long time! Such wisdom from the mouth of Hibbs, the Great Bear, a powerful figure, to me, of man on his journey toward Death. Yet along the path, Hibbs voices thoughts that I kept writing in my notebook, thoughts that lift me beyond the darkness and into the Light. At one point I had my own thought: Step into the darkness to see the light.


Hibbs says, "Seeing the light is one thing, while seeing BY the light is something else (emphasis mine)." Might as well enjoy the view "while we walk to death," he says. I enjoy the view as I journey with Hibbs, and such beautiful descriptions as this: "He had been wandering alone to greet the coming twilight, a time when he could enjoy the burst of color from the sun clawing to keep its fiery head above the horizon. The dying sunlight streamed through the hovering branches like glowing arrows, the grass beneath his bare feet was gray, and the spiderwebs gleamed silver. Life pulsed all about him. Spring was coming."

I love the "characters," especially Hibbs the Bear, Surt the fire, Little Brother the Hawk, Leandra the Sidhe, GrandMother the Turquoise Woman. They are as real, even more real, than the two-legged creatures around me. And as in great literature, there is the underlying theme of good versus evil, and light versus darkness (the Darklings). That Hibbs is a healer further endears him to me. For don't we all, in a dangerous world, need to heal and be healed?

In my opinion, this is a five star plus plus book. Roland Yeomans, the author, truly captures its essence in his synopsis. Read the book! You'll be glad you did.

Everyone, I know you'd like to win Roland's book, but Roland is offering it at a discounted price of $1.99 during the blog tour.Grab it now using the link! Roland is offering some AMAZING signed editions to all of you! So don't forget to leave your email in the comments section. JUST LOOK AT THESE BOOKS! DID YOU GET THAT THEY'RE SIGNED!!!! BY THE AUTHORS!!!!! DON'T YOU WANT ONE???

A comment offers one entry per host. Another two entries for linking the book to twitter or Facebook. Make sure to email Roland @ rxena77@yahoo.com And any blogger who posts a legitimate review on Amazon by March 31st will get three entries into the drawing. Believe me you don't want to miss out on any of these amazing signed books. Drawing will be on April 1st.

Please join Roland's tour tomorrow. I believe his next stop is at Jody Henry's  for the next two days - 14th and 15th.





35 comments:

  1. Hey Denise! Hey Roland!

    I remember that cover with the Princess on it. She's a total babe - if a bit scary.

    I STILL haven't read an HP Lovecraft novel, and now, I really want to read Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.

    Great interview! I'll meet you over at Jody's and have a great Sunday, both of you :)

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  2. It's always interesting to see where an author draws their inspiration. Glad that you had this interview, my link to RY died, and I needed to find a new one :)

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  3. Hi Denise .. thanks for the link up with me - I thought I was already following you - as you say I got there yesterday!

    Great interview .. love learning more about writers and Roland how you pursue your craft .. the influences etc ..

    Ann - really good review .. I will be buying Roland's book at some stage ..

    Cheers to all - have good days ... Hilary

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  4. Another superb interview! I've made some notes and copied references, thank you.

    I have yet to start Roland's book, I need to squeeze in some downtime (ha!) to do it justice.

    See you at Jodi's!

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  5. Hi, Denise, Hi, Roland,

    It's so intriguing to find out more aspects of an author's life. Especially one that I consider a good friend.

    SO many influences. I LOVED Frazertta's art! I have a BFA in illustration and he was one of my favorites. The passion in his paintings are so evident. They draw you right into the scene.

    Good luck on the rest of you tour, Roland. Thanks Denise for a great interview.

    See you at Jodi's blog tomorrow.

    Michael

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  6. Hi Denise, I read the first part this morning while in the wilderness where the internet is not so good. Now I'm back in the city for a while...

    There's poetry in Roland's writing, a rare if not unique style.

    Thanks for the interview - lots of insights there. I enjoyed Ann's review too.

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  7. WordsCrafter : I think you'll like THE LORD OF LIGHT. THIS IMMORTAL by the same author, Roger Zelazny, is shorter and just as much fun.

    Will : I've missed you and wondered where you were. Hope to see you by my blog again. Have a great weekend, Roland

    Hilary : I think you'll enjoy Hibb's adventures. Have a pleasant week.

    Margo : I know what you mean about having free time. I have precious little of it what with my job!

    Michael : You liked Frazetta, too? No wonder we're such good friends. May this Sunday be healing to you!

    There has been some sort of glitch. Jodi set up with Blogger to have my interview with her posted Monday, but cyber-gremlins have part I today. Sigh. I feel like Wiley E. Coyote when it comes to technology! Sorry, Denise.

    Grandpa : Thanks for the kind words about my writing. I envy you that time spent this morning in the wilderness. Hibbs, too! Roland

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  8. Great review by our friend, Ann. A wonderful excerpt of your writing too. I must get an e-reader! I am wishing you much success, Roland, because you deserve it. Thanks for hosting Denise.
    gillael@aol.com
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

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  9. Another good post. This was a great interview overall.

    Magic and Otherworld Beauty are two of my favorites too. ;-) Not sure if I can accomplish the second much but the first is always fun. Horror is one that confuses me. I can't figure that one out.

    *waves hi to Roland*
    :-)

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  10. Thanks, Dawn, for the kind words. Why horror? There can be no light without shadow. No Otherworld Beauty without Beast somewhere lurking in those shadows. Our heroes must have something overwhelming and terrifying to prevail against or else our fantasies are boring .... brrr.

    *waves back to Dawn* :-)

    Nancy : You know you can download for free "Kindle for Your PC" then your computer or laptop can be your eReader without buying one. Thanks for the very kind comments. Roland

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  11. Wow, what a fantastic review! Yay for Roland.

    And Roland, I love your phrase 'clothing challenged'. Haha!

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  12. You had some excellent influences Roland. All you writing is visual and evocative and now I understand why.

    Good work, Denise and Roland both.

    And thanks for posting NR's review. That was a treat.

    .........dhole

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  13. Great to see you all enjoying Roland's interview. Apparently it's on too at Jodi's today.

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  14. Hi Denise, Hello Roland,

    It was a great interview. And Ann Best's review is fabulous.

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  15. Hi Denise, Hello Roland,

    It was a great interview. And Ann Best's review is fabulous.

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  16. Nas, I agree. Ann's review is tops.

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  17. Hi Denise.

    Hi Roland. I left a comment here earlier, but I can't see it, so I'm back. Loved the interview and I find it fascinating to read what inspires and influences other authors.

    I'm looking forward to reading your book. We have a copy, and it's on my reading list for soon. Good luck with your promotion and I hope you have great success with the book.

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  18. Tony glad you popped by. Wonder what glitch ate your first comment. I thought it was strange margo'd been and not you.

    Denise<3

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  19. I enjoyed this interview, and best of luck in your tour Roland! Fun stuff. Can't wait to snuggle up with my laptop to read the magic.

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  20. Tanya, it is a wonderful read. My eyes are smarting with eyestrain with all this ereading, but it's worth it.

    Denise<3

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  21. Talli : Wasn't Ann's review fantastic? I am humbled by it. And yes, I thought "clothing challenged" is a term I could use without getting slapped by Frazetta's Egyptian princess! I've been trying to replace my copy of EERIE #23 that went up in smoke with my home burning.

    Donna : We all have influences that we know ... and some that we don't. Denise did do a great interviewing job both days, didn't she?

    Nas : You're right. Ann's review left me breathless. Now, if only I deserved it!

    Tony : So many things influence us of which we are aware and some that murmur from the shadows of our unconscious mind. I truly hope you enjoy my book and Hibbs.

    Tanya : Hibbs hopes you like his adventures. The ever-confident hawk, Little Brother, is sure you'll like his comebacks to Hibbs!

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  22. Hi Denise and Roland! What a great interview. I find it interesting to learn how authors are shaped, and what influences them. Sending lots of great wishes your way!

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  23. Julie : Isn't Denise a wonderful interviewer? Hibbs nods his head yes, with his mouth full of her flowers! Thanks for the great wishes. I'm sending a few back your way! Roland

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  24. Hi Roland.Thanks for getting back so often and commenting. You're making everyone's day.

    Thanks for coming by Julie.

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  25. I, too, love Frazetta's work. My favorite is his Wolfman. What wonderful inspiration you have and thank you so much for sharing. I'm inspired myself to start to work on the story I had set aside out of frustration.

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  26. Of course, my favorite Frazatta painting is "The Egyptian Princess" for that is the first work of his that I saw. But my 2nd favorite has wolf in it : Wolf Moon. A story in one painting!

    I'm glad Denise and I inspired you to reclaim one of your past works!

    Denise : Work has shut down access to the computers. But I was able to comment more before I set off and I got off early and was able to respond as I like to. You have been a great host. Thanks!!

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  27. another great read, keep em coming. ill have to get back to you on that one ;)

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  28. Roland's writing and writing journey are so amazing. I enjoy reading every interview! And I can't say enough about his incredible book!! And thank you, Diane, for the time you spend on these posts. YOU are amazing!!!

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  29. Obi : Thanks for dropping by and liking our interview.

    Ann : Thank you for constant support. It means so much to me. And you're right : Denise spent so much time on this Herculean effort. All the praise rightly should go to her : she made me look good. Gypsy, my cat, nodded in agreement. Sigh. I get no respect from the Persian princess!

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  30. Great interview. From what I've read from Roland, he trusts his demon and evokes beautiful word pictures. The focus on eyes has me thoughtful.

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  31. Roland has an amazing story to tell no matter what he talks about. I've recently downloaded Hibbs' story - I'm only halfway-ish, but I can already say it's brilliant, classic Roland style, deep and poetic and flowing language all the way through.

    T.x

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  32. Erin : Eyes have always fascinated me. And trusting my daemon has certainly gotten me into some fine messes!

    Tessa : Thanks for downloading Hibbs' story. And even more thanks for the kind words. Have a great new week, Erin and Tessa - Roland

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  33. It's great seeing the comments still coming in. Glad you're reading the book, Tessa.

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  34. I think you're right, Roland, about trying to recreate 'magic' which first touched us in youth. It wasn't a book I remember, but watching Neil Armstrong on the Moon. Perhaps that's why sci-fi called so strongly. I haven't fit any space horses in yet. Hmmm.

    Great interview, Denise. :D

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