Today, I would like to welcome another author, Rosalyn Briar, here in Alys in Bookland. I finished and reviewed her newly released novel, The Crown of Bones, and it is a NA dark fantasy novel filled with adventure mixed with Grimm’s Fairy Tales characters. I prepared a few questions for Ms. Rosalyn, and you can read her amazing answers below.
1. Where did you get the idea for The Crown of Bones?
I’ve always loved the Grimm’s Fairy Tales and wanted to use them as obstacles in an adventure somehow. The idea rattled around my brain until my husband’s Oma was telling me a story. When she lived in Germany as a girl, people would send out black-lined death notices to loved ones of the deceased in addition to printing an obituary. I really loved the dark imagery of that and thought I could flip it on its head—what if black letters were sent to individuals as an omen of death? In my first draft, I opened the story with Gisela receiving the black letter just to see where I wanted the story to go. I even titled it The Black Letter originally.
2. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while working on The Crown of Bones?
Although I knew the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales were quite gothic, as I read through the collection for research, I was surprised at just how dark the stories truly are. It was easy to incorporate them into my story to give it a gothic and almost horror vibe. My other surprise was just how vastly different the first draft of a novel is compared to the final result! I have never changed a novel from inception to completion so much as I did The Crown of Bones—but it was all worth it.
3. As a former teacher, does that play into your novels at all?
Teachers need to be creative, patient, flexible, organized, and good planners—all of which are helpful skills for writing a novel!
4. Would you be interested in making your books into a movie or TV series, if given a chance?
Oh, I think that would be wonderful! There are so much imagery and adventure in this novel—it would be fun to see it on-screen.
5. What steps do you take to get some idea, and make a novel out of it? And how long does it usually take for you?
I usually start with the main plot embryo, then focus on who my characters will be and the setting. Once I have a decent idea of those main items, I use the Save the Cat beat sheets to plot out the story. More recently I received Save the Cat Writes a Novel as a gift and have found that as a wonderful tool for writing a book! Drafting can take a few months and then I do rounds editing and beta reading to polish the story. After I make the novel as perfect as I can on my own, I hire an editor. From the idea stage to publication, I’d say The Crown of Bones took between six and nine months.
6. Could you please describe your writing process?
Since I have small children, I do most of my writing early in the morning. I wake up, make coffee, and write for about an hour before they wake up. I really enjoy the silence as I draft, and it is a great way to start the day!
7. How long did you write before you got published? Like, how many years and how many projects did you go through?
I’ve only been writing novels for about 2 ½ years. My first novel, which I am still proud of myself for writing, was not a book I wanted to publish. But while I was drafting The Crown of Bones, I felt something special and knew it was the book I wanted to publish!
8. Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
For The Crown of Bones, I really loved writing Brahm’s scenes. He is such a sweetheart!
9. Can you share a photo of a character inspiration, if there is one?
Attached here are the fun mood boards for Gisela.
10. Of all fairy tales out there, which one is your favorite, and why?
I absolutely love the Grimm’s Fairy Tale called “The Seven Ravens.” I only hinted to this story in one of the tapestries in “The Eternal Ballroom” chapter of TCoB, but I’ve written a short story retelling of it called “MERCY + GRACE,” which anyone can read for free on my website (www.rosalynbriar.com). It is my favorite of the GFT’s because it features a brave young girl who makes sacrifices to save her brothers.
11. What/who is your favorite book/author? Does it have any influence on your novel?
Like many people my age, I grew up on Harry Potter and with the rise of YA fiction like The Hunger Games, etc. I wouldn’t say those are my favorite series anymore as an adult, but they certainly shaped my tastes and interests. Lately, I’ve been enjoying dark fantasies that have fairy tale elements such as The Hazel Wood and House of Salt and Sorrows.
12. Now that The Crown of Bones is finally published, is there anything that has sort of surprise that you weren’t expecting about being an author? (It can be good and/or bad.)
I suppose a lot of authors quickly realize that so much more goes into a novel than just the writing part. There’s much to learn about editing, formatting, and marketing—mostly it takes a lot of time and patience.
13. What’s your position on fanfiction?
I personally don’t write fanfiction, but I am all for those who do! I think it is fun to read and is a great way for writers to get started.
14. How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
I think it is good to take breaks from a project. I do this when I have rounds of beta readers—once the book is in their hands, I don’t touch it until I receive the feedback. It tends to give me a few weeks to step away from the story. It is a good time to “fill the creative well” by reading other books or beta reading for someone else.
15. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
For Camp NaNoWriMo, I completed the first draft of my next novel called A Sea of Pearls & Leaves which is a dark fantasy about an eccentric princess who wishes to avoid marriage. Keep a lookout for its release this fall or winter!
Thank you, Rosalyn Briar, for answering my interview questions! I loved reading it, and I’m looking forward to reading your future novels.
Thank you too for my readers. I hope you learned something about my guest author. If you haven’t read her novel, The Crown of Bones, you may read my review and decide for yourself if it is into your liking.
Have a great day everyone, and always take care!