Saturday, June 15, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Fantasy Author Andi O’Connor

Andi O'Connor, Author

Fantasy author Andi O’Connor offers readers a new world, Dragonath, which she created in her first novel in the Dragonath Chronicles series – THE LOST HEIR. One reviewer says, “The Lost Heir is a uniquely engaging story that drives the reader through the story at a steady pace, but still takes the time to slow down and allow for the characters to internalize and develop.”

Andi writes to entertain her readers and to attract those who otherwise might not read. She also strives to deliver a message regarding the empowerment of women. Andi is a member of several writing organizations, is working on the second novel for the Dragonath Chronicle series, and has completed a novel for her second fantasy series. She is also a ballet dancer.

Q: Why did you choose to write fantasy—the Dragonath Chronicles—with THE LOST HEIR as the first book?

Andi O’Connor: Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, so when I decided to write it just seemed natural. I cannot give an actual reason for why I chose to write THE LOST HEIR other than the idea intrigued me.  I enjoyed writing short stories as a child, and I thought tackling a novel would be something fun to do. I never really expected that writing would turn into my career.

Q: One of the reviewers of THE LOST HEIR says, “The characters within The Lost Heir are readily relatable and can be empathized with easily.” How do you make your characters engaging to your readers?

Andi O’Connor: This is a great question, and one to which I don’t really know how to answer. I would imagine that my writing process is quite unconventional. I don’t plan, outline, or make any form of character sheets. When I begin a novel, I have enough of an idea to get the words to flow, and I just start writing. The plot and characters develop as I go along, and I really have no idea what will happen in the next paragraph, let alone at the end of the book.

So, to answer your question, there isn’t any form of ‘scientific’ way I go about creating my characters. Just like in real life, their personalities grow and develop as the novel progresses, based on the situation they experience. There are times when I try to put myself in their shoes and think of how I would react, but most of the time I let them tell me.

Q: Can you explain the significance of your cover? What are the hands holding?

Andi O’Connor: It is called a kraylock and is what allows people to wield méno (magic). I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll have to check out THE LOST HEIR ;-)

Q: Why do you like elves? Why do you wish they were real?

Andi O’Connor: Another difficult question! I suppose it is because elves are quite similar to humans, yet generally don’t have the faults typical of the human race. They have an aloofness and air of superiority that I find admirable and intriguing. They possess an unwavering sense of dedication and loyalty to their purpose and their people and act with dignity and respect. There are of course exceptions to the rule. Not all elves in the fantasy world fit into this description, but these are the elves I am totally enamored with. In a way, I find them to be a depiction of what humans were supposed to be.

Q: How do you make your fantasy world credible? Is credibility important in the world of fantasy?

Andi O’Connor: There are many things that are different about the world of Dragonath, but there are also many aspects that are the same, or similar enough to be relatable to the reader, which I think is extremely important. When creating a fantasy world, it will be credible as long as it ‘works’. By that, I mean that whatever makes up the world is explained and consistent, and that the characters react properly to the characteristics and cultural societies of that world.

To me, credibility is what makes the fantasy genre so alluring. Fictional worlds that are believable, with characters that are relatable, draw us into the world. We can immerse ourselves in the story and are able to convince a tiny part of our minds that the world could be real. That maybe, just maybe, it exists. And I think that is the true magic of fantasy.

Q:  Do you write largely for entertainment, or do you also try to deliver a message? To educate or inform?

Andi O’Connor: I have never believed that books were or should be mutually exclusive when it comes to entertainment and education. Everything I write has a message or something for the readers to consider and learn from. I am a big proponent of female equality and the empowerment of women, and much of my writing deals with that specific issue.

Dragonath is a society in which women are equal to men. They are not viewed as property, and it is tradition to keep their surname in marriage and pass it on to their daughter(s). They are not restricted to stereotypical female jobs, and can do anything they want as long as they display the appropriate qualifications. As an example, Andillrian is the first woman chosen for the palace guard. She is an exceptionally gifted warrior who earns her rank and standing because of her abilities, not because of her sex.

Of course, people are people. Not everyone shares the same opinion of female equality. In THE LOST HEIR, there is such a conflict that develops between Mionee and Garenth, and I use Mionee’s experiences to hopefully help women realize that such treatment is not right and that they do not have to sit quietly and accept it.

Q:  Do you include villains and heroes in THE LOST HEIR? What are the characteristics of each?

Andi O’Connor: Yes, both villains and heroes are included in THE LOST HEIR. Again, I don’t want to give away too much, but the characteristics are broad and are meant to show that both heroes and villains come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the smallest and humblest of deeds can make all the difference in another’s life. Nothing should be downplayed because it may seem insignificant. Just because someone starts as one, doesn’t mean they can’t become the other.

Q: Who are your targeted readers? Is your novel largely for youth? Adults?

Andi O’Connor:  THE LOST HEIR was originally intended for adults, but I have had a great deal of interest from young adults. I would say it is mostly suitable for ages 15-plus.

Q:  What’s next?

Andi O’Connor: I am currently working on Awakening, which is the next book in The Dragonath Chronicles, and plan to self-publish that by 2015.  My second fantasy series is under works, and I have finished the first book titled Silevethiel. I hope to get that traditionally published, but we’ll see!

Q:  Tell us something about Andi O’Connor. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Favorite movie? Favorite author? 

Andi O’Connor: I’m a ballet dancer and go to class as many times a week as my schedule allows. I also play Lord of the Rings Online and read.

About Andi O’Connor

THE LOST HEIR is Andi O'Connor's debut novel.  She is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, the National Writers Association, The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, and the Boston Chapter of the Women's National Book Association. In her writing, Andi aims to bring the gift of reading to those who might have otherwise turned it aside, and she hopes her readers will embark on the most inspiring and exciting journey imaginable.

Always a meticulous planner, Darrak Hunter leads a dull life until his dreams become plagued with visions of a peculiar and distant world.  Waking up to a brilliant purple sun looming ominously in the sky, Darrak is met by a mysterious violet-eyed sorcerer who whisks him away from the struggling Earth.

Thrown into the clutches of a foreign world where magic is reality and not all is as it seems, Darrak embarks on a journey where he is forced to come to terms with his past and do what he can to shape the future.  Accompanied by a talented swordswoman, a prince, and a beautiful young sorceress, he must overcome cunning plots of treachery and betrayal to discover the strength to stand against a destructive black magic and an enemy who is a master at deception.
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1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!