PART 1: THE GENESIS OF ROLAND'S WRITING STYLE
Roland, your writing style has always intrigued me. I would describe it as 'lush.' Could you explain where your style comes from? I think it is quite unique.
Denise, you ask if I have any idea why I write as I do. You say it is lush. And I guess it is. But isn't the world around us lush? So textured, so multi-layered. Each strand in the web of life interconnected with the beating heart next to it.
Are you alluding to your Lakota heritage?
Yes, it is the Lakota way of looking at the world. My blood is only part Lakota, but my mother made certain my worldview was fully Lakota.
It is why I write like I do.
What things or people have been your main influences in your writing?
The sound of my mother's voice ...
in the darkness as she read to five young boys about heroes, monsters, and the importance of never giving up ... on yourself or on life. Go here to read more about The League of Five.
Loneliness and loveliness :
An only city child transported to a lush, humid country setting, alone but not alone -- wild thickets filled with birds, deer, dogs, wild cats, and the sense of the heavenly Father watching from the cloud-painted vault of the sky.
The South :
It had a slower pace with people who behaved, at least in Lafayette, with an old school grace and courtesty. I learned that the way you held yourself and regarded people were important. I noticed people in a way I might not have had I stayed in the faster paced North -- where to protect your sanity from the crowds, you withdrew within yourself.
David the shepherd boy :
It was the combination of the South, the vibrant world of the country, and the isolation that made me feel a bond with young David the shepherd boy. And so I knew that somehow nothing would come upon me that The Father hadn't already spotted and knew I could handle. No Goliath without the stone close-by to put into my sling.
Does where you live still influence your writing on a day-to-day basis?
I live in the back of my apartment complex by a meandering bayou.
Two white egrets sail gracefully through the eye-aching blue sky to settle in the swaying branches of the cypress trees. It is hard not to have this beauty soak into you ... and into your writing.
Your style is reminiscent of poetry. When I'm reading your book I keep feeling I'm reading an epic poem.
I love poetry. That love is reflected in the way I write. The echo of the Lakota teaching tales can be heard in the meter of my prose like the singing of the old songs.
Those stories and songs were about the land.
The land becomes a character?
The land was living and intelligent in those stories. A winter storm had a personality : blustery, full of himself, and ultimately deflated at the end. The summer wind was persuasive, seductive ... convincing all the blades of grass to dance in the same manner all at once.
So when I glance up, seeing winter gathering her cloud armies to send storming across the horizon, I feel connected to them. The summer breeze ruffling my hair is The Father's hand playing with one of his sons.
My eyes always go to the land.
Ernest Hemingway is a favourite writer of mine. He soaked up the influences around him, yet his re-telling was very clipped at times. I read where he could spend a day editing a page, getting it just so...
Ernest Hemingway pared his writing to the bone, preferring the reader to fill in the blanks. But each of my characters sees the world around him or her in ways distinctive to their personalities.
That is reflected in how they describe the events and people in their lives. I am certainly no Hemingway. But then, I think a book written tersely like a telegram becomes old after awhile.
Share with us from your novel a favourite excerpt where you demonstrate some of these concepts we've been discussing:
In my novel, Leandra Dagda studies Hibbs the bear with two shadows as she feigns sleep. Her nature dictates how she sees the bear :
It was the bear's eyes that ensnared the Sidhe. Those eyes.
There was great humor in those deep eyes. But beneath the gentle laughter swam dark, haunted flickerings. It was a lonely melancholy that flashed out from their depths, quick as a nose-wrinkling rabbit from its hidden lair. And almost as hard to catch.
Leandra falls in love with Hibbs soon after :
She smiled cruel. Not that she would let him know, of course. He would have to earn the right to look within her heart. Her smile was a thing of nightmares. It might even be the death of him.
But do not judge her too harshly for such thoughts. For she was neither monster nor mortal. She was something much, much finer and infinitely worse. She was Sidhe.
I'd like to leave you all with a synopsis of The Bear with Two Shadows...
To this day the Lakota still whisper an ancient legend around the campfire. They whisper lest Estanatlehi, The Turquoise Woman, overhears and visits her sorrow and her wrath upon the talebearer for speaking words long, long forbidden.
Then why speak them at all?
Listen to the sigh of the world in the winter winds. It is the sad nature of all Two-Leggeds that the forbidden tale is the very one most hard not to hear -- or to pass on.
And it begins, as most forbidden tales do, with a woman.
The Turquoise Woman.
She whose cold and remote thoughts some see in the sky as the Northern Lights. Not that she cannot love.
But her love is both haunting and terrible beyond any singing of it, as Hibbs, the Bear with Two Shadows, discovers.
Thank you Roland. You've given us much to ponder and some beautiful prose to consider. See you here tomorrow where we'll give the folks Part 11 - THE INFLUENCES THAT SHAPED MY WRITING STYLE.
Everyone, Roland is offering some AMAZING signed editions to all of you! So don't forget to leave you email in the comments section. JUST LOOK AT THESE BOOKS! DID YOU GET THAT THEY'RE SIGNED!!!! BY THE AUTHORS!!!!!
A comment offers one entry per host. Another two entries for linking the book to twitter or Facebook. Make sure to email Roland @ firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I hope you can come by tomorrow, for the second part of this interview.