Please give author Aaron Redfern a warm welcome today! He is sharing with us more about himself and his book 'The Long Way.' Feel free to share comments and questions below!
What was the inspiration behind 'The Long Way'?
The Long Way is based partly on stories my dad invented for me when I was a kid and partly on a story I started to create for my younger brothers many years later. When I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month in 2007, I came back to the idea and wrote the first draft of The Long Way in a month. It's inspired in part by fairy tales and mythologies, and obviously in part by Tolkien's novels, but I also wrote it because I feel like there's something a little off about the romanticism of high fantasy and I wanted something in the same vein that was both weirder and more real.What message are you trying to send?
I just hope that readers enjoy it and maybe learn a little bit about their own personal journeys while they read it!How much do you have in common with the main character, Spiff?
Spiff is a lot like who I was when I was his age (which is about 12): quiet, able to soak things things up and accept new situations without necessarily being able to deal with them, and easy to push around, but with a big heart and a love of simple things.What is it about the fantasy genre that intrigues you so much?
Fantasy has always been my genre of choice. I was listening to the Chronicles of Narnia at age 5, reading Redwall at 7, and graduating to Dragonlance and Lord of the Rings by my preteens. I came to science fiction a bit later and have read and written in a variety of genres, but fantasy still feels like home, and every novel I ever write will probably be in that genre. I love fantasy (and science fiction, and anything else that is speculative as opposed to realist) because it lets you explore the whole range of everything that is possible and impossible. There's nothing you can't do with it.Please tell us about your other published works.
Besides this book and its sequel, The Forgotten Way, I've published a number of short stories on BookRix. The ones I'm most proud of are "Stories About the Rain," which is a science fiction story about love and space travel, and "Crawl," which is a horror story.Are you currently working on any other projects?
At the moment, I'm primarily focused on creating a website for myself, but I'm trying to keep up with my short fiction and write a little bit of everything. I'm currently working on a short story about a supernatural dive bar in small-town Connecticut.You have learned a lot from the dead poets and novelists. Who are some must-reads that you wish to recommend?
In terms of the stuff I read for my English major, I recommend the poets most highly. Frost, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Donne, either Browning, Pollitt, Heaney...most old fiction feels terribly outdated, but poetry never does. As for novelists, I think the great magic realists like Ben Okri and Gunther Grass and the great satirists like Joseph Heller have helped my writing out a great deal, especially The Long Way. But I'm a fantasy writer, and most of my real writing "mentors" are writers of fantasy and science fiction. Read Stephen King and George R. R. Martin. Read Octavia Butler and Gene Wolfe. Read Storm Constantine and Guy Gavriel Kay. I'm sure all my readers have read the basics, but F&SF is so huge and has such a wide range of talent. It's impossible not to be inspired by it all.You also love New England. Why is it so dear to you? What are some recommended places for visitors to check out?
Boston's a great city, and I can never get enough of it. But New England isn't as much about seeing the sights as it is about ways of living (unlike Florida, which is where I grew up). New England is sort of like a fantasy land where everything is beautiful and a little bit untamed and you can dream of curling up in the shade of a maple tree with a book forever. Also, there's tons of contra dancing, which I couldn't do without.What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I spent several years after college working at a studio that restores stained glass windows. I loved the area and wanted time to write, and that gave me the chance. I just always wished there were more stained glass windows with dragons or phoenixes on them.Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you enjoy The Long Way, check out the sequel too. In The Forgotten Way, Spiff and his friend Miriel travel to the edge of the world looking for answers. Along the way, they meet all sorts of strange new folk: an improbable prince, an educated troll, an enigmatic Watcher, and a terrifying new villain.Thank you so much for your time!
Aaron Redfern has been reading and writing fantasy since a time when he could count his age on his fingers. He went to Williams College and studied English, a language in which he was already proficient, and although he learned almost nothing from the English professors, dead poets and novelists taught him a great deal. While at college, he fell thoroughly in love with New England. He has decided never to leave and currently resides near Northampton, Massachusetts.
Aaron has written three novels, including The Long Way and its sequel, The Forgotten Way. His short-fiction titles include Stories About the Rain and Crawl.
Published by BookRix: 5/19/2012
In a move that defies all logic and likelihood, a young boy named Spiff is called upon to carry out the most important quest that has ever been undertaken. His mission drags him headlong across the face of the world, through a veritable pantheon of hardships and threats that are at once chilling and baffling. Along the way he meets dragons and madmen, and learns that the lovable and the monstrous are two sides of the same coin.
Conceived as a darkly whimsical loose retelling of the Tolkien saga, The Long Way poses the question that high fantasy rarely cares to ask: Why?