Author interview with Rowena Cory Daniells

Author interview with Rowena Cory Daniells

I have always enjoyed a great Epic Fantasy adventure and when I came across the books of Rowena Cory Daniells they directly caught my attention. Her series: King Rolen's Kin and The Outcast Chronicles, though both Epic Fantasy are competely different. King Rolen's Kin is a rollicking adventure full of magic and courtly intrigue with a focus on a lot of action. The Outcast Chronicles is something different and rally caught me off guard a few times. I still remember that moment with Imoshen and the boat, hauntingly beautiful. And what really makes both these series great is the way that they are written, once you sit down with one of these books, you are totally absorbed until the end. 

Last year there was an announcement that a fourth book in the King Rolen's Kin was being published by Solaris (!), it's out now called: King Breaker.

Author bio:
Rowena Cory Daniells is the bestselling fantasy author of  King Rolen’s Kin, The Outcast Chronicles and The Price of Fame (crime with a touch of paranormal). Rowena writes the kind of books that you curl up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon. She has been involved in Spec Fic for almost forty years — as a reader and fan, independent press, graphic artist, bookshop owner and writer.

She has a Masters in Arts Research and has taught creative writing to all ages. Currently she works as an Associate Lecturer. Rowena has a very patient husband and 6 not so patient children. In her spare time, she has devoted five years to studying each of these martial arts, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai sword.

Lean more about Rowena Cory Daniells at her blog:


Hi Rowena, welcome to The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.

BP: First off, could you give us a short introduction as to who Rowena is? What are your likes/dislikes and your hobbies?
RD: Dislike getting out of bed on a cold winter morning. Love to lie in bed and listen to the rain on the roof. This makes it sound like I’d never get out of bed, if I had my way. Actually, I find it hard to sit still. Even when I’m at my computer my mind is racing. My hobby is learning. I find the world fascinating, so I’m always researching something.

BP: If you would have to sell your books in just a sentence or two what would you say?
RD: When I go to Supanova the popular culture expo, I tell people I write the kind of books that made them fall in love with fantasy when they first discovered the genre. They’ll sweep you away and keep you up all night!

That’s me with Meaghan who wanted a book signed.

BP: You have already written one trilogy and extended one to a quartet, all in a fairly short amount of time. How do you keep up with writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
RD: I have dozens of books written. Well, maybe not dozens. My first trilogy came out between 1999 and 2002. Then the publishers closed down the line and I was ‘orphaned’ so I wrote madly for years until Solaris picked up King Rolen’s Kin.

Inspiration is all around us. I teach first year UNI to pay the bills and I tell my students to think about what moves them, then write about that because if it moves them, it will move their audience.

BP: If you look back on the two series King Rolen’s Kin and The Outcast Chronicles, are you happy in the direction they went? Or would you, if you were given the chance to rewrite any scene do it?
RD: I once read an interview with Quentin Tarantino, where he was asked if he would ever do a director’s cut of one of his movies for DVD release. He said that he’d always made the movie he wanted to make so he didn’t need to change a thing so he wouldn’t go back. I wouldn’t go back, not that I consider what I’ve written perfect books but my policy is to always look forward. Besides, there are always ideas bubbling around in my brain, begging to be written.

Currently, I’m giving myself a chance to recharge my creative batteries, but I found myself awake at 3am this morning, exploring a character’s motivation for a dastardly deed.

BP: The initial plan of the King Rolen’s Kin series was to be finished as a trilogy, how come you decided to add a fourth volume to the series?
RD: I always saw KRK as the first three books of a series. That’s why Byren defeated one of his enemies and had to set sail for Rolencia to reclaim his kingdom.

BP: Looking at both your series, King Rolen’s Kin is quite action packed and one big adventure but this is quite opposite compared to The Outcast Chronicles which is in my opinion much more emotional. Did you set out to explore different themes in both series?
RD: With KRK I set out to write the kind of fantasy book that I loved when I first discovered fantasy, full of rollicking adventure. But underneath all that action and fun I was exploring the bonds of friendship and family. In the very first book, Byren’s friendship with Orrade is tested to the limits. In King Breaker the bonds with his family are tested.

With the OC I wanted to explore discrimination and persecution in a fantasy setting. To do this I needed to make the reader emotionally invest in the characters. Being a long time reader of science fiction, I also wanted to bring the same rigorous world building to the mystics and their society as you would bring to an alien race. How would being gifted affect the individual and what effect would that have on their society?

BP: When you were writing any of the books did you encounter any specific problems? What was your biggest challenge?
RD: Time. Between work, my family and looking after elderly relatives I feel like I’m stretched thin. With the first draft of a book you have to pull the story it out of your head so you need to stay in the ‘zone’ or you have trouble getting back into the world and the characters. The second draft is easier because the story is there on the page as well as in your head and you’re just making it clearer.

BP: King Breaker concluded the King Rolen’s Kin series. Will you surprise us again with additional short stories like The King’s Man or another book in either this series or in The Outcast Chronicles?
RD: I get readers asking for more OC and I do have several books written in rough draft. It is just a matter of finding the time to pull them into line. And I always meant KRK to be a series so we will just have to wait and see.

BP: With having written 7 books in a relative short time, do you still have enough ideas for other books? What can we expect from you in the future, do you have new projects that you wish to pursue?
RD: The ideas are not the problem. It is slotting the writing into my life. I have to earn money. Sigh. Reality is such a downer.

BP: Everyone enjoys fantasy in his or hers own way, what do you like most about the fantasy genre and writing it?
RD: Fantasy gives me a chance to explore the human condition in a world that I have set up specifically to test the characters. If I set a story in this world, it has to adhere to the rules of this world. If I build a fantasy world I can give people gifts that are both a curse and a blessing.

BP: And just lastly if you would have to recommend us your top 5 favorite books which would they be?
RD: You’d be in a better position than me to do that, Jasper. I’ve been neck deep in research for over a year now. I like books that sweep me away, where I get involved with the characters and find myself thinking about them afterwards. These are the kind of books I try to write.

BP: Thank you very much for your time Rowena and good luck with your future writing!

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