I first met Bryen O’Riley at a meeting of the Shenandoah Valley Christian Writers’ Group and was immediately drawn to her as a fellow fantasy writer. We kicked off a long and glorious friendship that included many scintillating conversations about odds and sundry writing details over late night greasy food, cabbage leaves, and writing strategies.
She’s stopping by my blog to promote her new book, The Gryphon, the second book in her Chronicles of Quat series, releasing on June 2nd. Pull up a comfortable chair in my virtual living room (I call the couch) and listen in!
1.) Condense your book into three sentences for us.
In The Gryphon, Tad’s captors carry him to the Unknown Lands in the north to face certain death. Rynn is used by the Quatists to calibrate their ultimate weapon against the Fae. Etan is manipulated by the most evil man the world has ever known.
2.) What was the hardest part of writing this book for you? What part did you enjoy the most?
I think the middle book of a trilogy is tricky. *Editor’s note: Hear, hear! This is usually the place where the hero learns his skill and the conflict is set up for the next book, etc. I typically find middle books a bit boring and I really like action in my books so balancing all of that was hard.
The part I enjoyed most is linked to that. In my search for adding something new and fresh to the story in the second book, I introduce an entirely new people and belief system. I enjoyed revealing more complexity to my Science vs. Religion conflict in this second book of the trilogy.
3.) Who is your favorite character from this book, and what makes him/her your favorite?
I like Rynn the best, I think. She is my favourite from the first book too. I like her sacrifices and her struggles. The Gryphon allows the reader to see a little more into her past and her thoughts. It also shows her to have more depth than the first book which mostly focused on her role as a mother.
4.) What specifically do you enjoy about the fantasy genre?
I think, deep inside all of us, is a hero or heroine. Our monotonous existence in this time and place – pushing papers, pushing buttons, pushing strollers – doesn’t allow much chance for heroics and fantasy is a lovely respite into what our world should really look like.
5.) Since we’re such a visual culture: if you could direct your book in an adapted-to-screen version, who would you pick to play the roles, and why?
This is very difficult for me to do since I do not have television (and haven’t for 15 years!) I don’t know most of the new talent so most of these people are a bit older than they should be for the part but it will give my readers an idea…
Tad – Liam Hemsworth
Etan – Chris Hemsworth
Rynn – Catherine Zeta-Jones
Alastar – Bradley Cooper
Mikhail – Kevin Costner
Galen – Chris Pratt
Elisathaya – Alexandra Daddario
Chet – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
6.) Can you describe the process of how you built your story from the seedling of an idea into the fully-fleshed-out book that it is now? What was your original idea? How close is the finished product to it?
The original idea was just to have the conflict center around the belief in Science and the belief in Unseen things. I am a big critic of Science (the methodology itself) and wanted to write a story that focused on people who found Science impossible to believe in. The story itself has changed a bit from my original story which was about a sister and brother who originally discovered the Stone. However, I have written that story down in a prequel short story that I plan to release eventually. The decision to make the trilogy about later in history (2,000 years after the Stone was discovered) was pretty easy—that is where the most conflict in the story was found.
7.) What’s next for you? Another in this series? Or are you embarking on another journey with another series?
I do need to write the third book in this series but I also have a really fun idea for a romance (I write romance under the pen name Aletheia von Gottlieb). Honestly, I will probably work on finishing The Chronicles of Quat series since I have readers waiting for the ending! But on days when I’m not feeling it, I may allow myself to get sidetracked with the romance—sometimes the best thing for me to do when I’m feeling stuck is to work on something else for a bit and then come back.
8.) Quick Answers. Don’t think more than a second about these:
Peanut butter or Nutella? Peanut butter, but Nutella is close behind!
Paperback or ebook? Paperback
Applesauce or fruit cup? Applesauce (if homemade)/fruit cup (if there are no gross fruits — like oranges! — in it)
Rowling or Tolkien? Tolkien
Tea or coffee? Tea
Europe or Caribbean? Europe!
Chicken or beef? Beef
Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre? Pride & Prejudice (by a LONG shot!)
Swimming or skiing? Skiing!
9.) Any authors to whom you want to give a shout out? Who has been a part of your journey, an inspiration, so to speak?
I think the person I can credit with encouraging me to get serious about my writing, besides family, was Kay Walsh. She was the first person who looked at my work and said, “This is publishable.” I had always thought I was a decent writer, but who doesn’t think that? It was amazing for me to hear someone else, with such certainty, tell me I was good enough. Then it was she who sent me the information about a contest that fit the very piece she had complimented. I sent the story in and it was chosen. I am so grateful to Kay for her encouragement and support—I do not know if I would be a published novelist today if it weren’t for her.
The mystical power of ancient Belief struggles to reclaim a world threatened by the new and equally powerful Science, while Happenstance and Prophecy manifest, and deliberate Ignorance threatens all.
The Chronicles of Quat trilogy continues as Tad is carried to the Unknown Lands in the north by strange men with even stranger abilities where certain death awaits. Etan must keep a secret from Alastar, even as the man seems to have a sinister ability to force people to do his will. Rynn’s captivity on the Isle of Quat reveals the largest threat the world faces—something even Alastar fears.
Some will fail. Some will fall. But all will strive. And in the end, perhaps, the Gryphon will ride upon the wind.
Bryen read her first fantasy novel, The Eye of the World, at fourteen. She has voraciously consumed fantasy novels (to heck with sleeping!) ever since. Bryen is the author of The Chronicles of Quat series. Visit her blog at www.bryenoriley.blogspot.com.