Tuesday, June 22, 2010

KRK Giveaway!


Well the books are here and I've had a chance to catch my breath. Now I'd like to give away two copies of 'The King's Bastard' to two of the loyal Mad Genius Club blog followers.

I'm going to ask a question and the answer will be cleverly slipped into my blog, so listen closely Grasshopper.

Some things stay with you. When I was about 10 my family went to play tennis at a set of courts in the back blocks of the Gold Coast. This was in the days when the holiday strip was not as gaudy and glitzy as it is now. My parents loved to play tennis and they told me to watch my little brothers, 8 and 5 and my sister 3. Behind the courts was a stretch of land backing onto a creek. There were white sand dunes, scrubby trees and it was the perfect place for us to play (in those far off days when kids ran wild most of the time). This photo is me at 11, thinking I am very cool.


As the eldest I was used to organising the games and I always saw myself as a sort of hero character so we'd play these long involved games with my younger siblings as my army, following orders, fighting great battles against enemy foes.

While running down one high white sand hill through the hollow into the next we left my little sister behind. Halfway up the next dune I turned around to find she'd run through the deepest part of the hollow and the sand, which appeared to be solid, had given way. She was knee deep in some sort of sticky sand-clay mix and couldn't get out. Having seen plenty of Tarzan movies, I immediately thought of quicksand.

A real emergency! I told my brothers to stay back, afraid that they'd get trapped too, and edged forward. The sand's surface broke up under my feet. It was cold and smooth and wet, and I didn't know what was under there. My eight year-old brother (who was almost as big as me) came and grabbed my arm to pull me out if I got stuck. I managed to grab our little sister's arm and hauled her out of the sticky sand-clay which did not give her up easily. Meanwhile the five year-old brother danced on the edge of the danger zone in desperate to help and likely to get himself into trouble.

End of story, she was fine and we kept on playing. I don't think we even told our parents about it, because by the time they finished playing tennis our game had moved on and that was old news. But I will always remember that sense of something under the ground opening up and proving dangerous.

In King Rolen's Kin power seeps up from the land's heart, infecting people and animals. Only those trained to contain this power go near Affinity Seeps. Now you see how a childhood adventure can be the inspiration for something in a story many years later.

These days I don't order my younger brothers and sister about to play out my great battles, I have a cast of characters and they play out the battles in my books.

The giveaway question is -- In King Rolen's Kin what are the places called where power seeps up from under the ground? Answer in the comments on this post. We'll give it until Saturday and then put all the right answers in a virtual hat and draw two out. Dan can announce the winners on the Saturday Post.

Meanwhile, have you used events from your childhood or adult life as triggers for stories?

34 comments:

4th guy said...

I don't think I have so far. (which means that I'm not writing enough!)

4th guy said...

(do I submit this in the comments? everyone will be able to see it ... )

Rita de Heer said...

Affinity Seeps, methinks it is.

Those were the days when play was all over the landscape without fear or favour. My army tended to split into opposing sides. Me with the youngest kids against all the middle ones together.

I'm working on a novel right now that I began the summer I stood in a nest of grass ticks. The next day I was up at the doctor's, to have about 70 pincered from around my waist. Skin was extremely important to me for the next four or five weeks, enough time for some inspired writing.

Mike said...

Scary, but the real answer is Affinity Seeps (which makes me wonder about ... what are the spots called where you use a straw to draw water up? Are there similar spots in the Land that Rowena wrote?

Events from childhood/adult life as triggers? Sure -- in fact, I keep a list of events and write them up every now and then for fun. Transforming them into fictional filling is a bit more subjective, though. I think this is at least part of what that adage about "write what you know" is all about -- use your life as the basis and background for your stories, and you almost automatically get a little extra boost of reality and involvement. But be careful -- you also know those events too well, and are likely to leave out stuff, confusing the reader.

Jonathan D. Beer said...

I believe that power comes up through the land via Affinity Seeps - pick me, pick me! :)

I haven't really, although like everything else the events of my life have formed my thinking and the way I look at things. At this point I think it is more broader themes than individual events which I have taken from my life - after all, I have never led a daring charge across an enemy's deck, or watched a supernova callously exterminate a solar system from existence (although both of those things would be pretty cool...)

I am certain that, as I write, there will be call to raid the memory store for interesting stories and inspiration. At this point I am trying not to lean too much into my characters, concerned as I am that they be free and independent of my own biases.

Hope KRK launches well!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

4th guy from the left, or should it be second guy from the right?

You can submit your answer into the comments.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Rita,

Int hose days you knew everyone who lived on the same street as you, and you dropped in without knocking.

Ooh, grass ticks? I don't think we have them here in Australia. We have ticks which are really dangerous. If you pet gets a tick it can die.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mike, I've written a fantasy set in a tropical paradise, partly inspired by my childhood. It is really is just a leaping point.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Hi Jonathan,

I'm not having a launch as such. Will probably have a room party at World Con. LOL.

Tehani Wessely said...

Affinity Seeps - REALLY looking forward to these books!

Although I'm not much a writer, I do dabble every so often, and waaaay back when I did a certificate in creative writing, one of the assignments was to write a story based on a childhood memory. I wrote a children's story retelling the weekend my family went camping at a remote Western Australian beach, only to be caught in a bushfire. I'm pretty proud of that story still, and wouldn't mind reworking it and submitting it for publication somewhere! :)

Mike said...

Yep, exactly. But I've read some pieces where the writer clearly knew what he or she was talking about from experience -- and forgot to let the reader in on it. As long as it is just a starting point, and you fill in enough of the edges, okay. Just remember that the reader often doesn't know what you do. (I'm preaching to the choir, I know...)

ChrisW said...

I'm a sheep so i'll go with the heard and say Affinity Seeps.

ChrisW said...

Herd even. Do I get a sympathy prize for bad spelling?

Brendan said...

1: Affinity seeps(since so say everyone else)
2: Just the other week I wrote a scene that used my memories of midnight walks in the bush for inspiration
3: nice fair-isle jumper!

matapam said...

I had a dog as a child, very intelligent. He knew how to unlock the doors before he opened them, looked both ways before he crossed the road and saved my sister from a drunk that probably had rape in mind.

Every dog I write has a bit him in it.

My kids had such a different childhood from mine. We ran wild, played hide and seek in the dark all over the neighborhood, rode our bikes everywhere. Helmets? You're kidding, right?

4th guy said...

Well then, it's Affinity Seeps :P

Jonathan D. Beer said...

Rowena, I think you deserve at least a launch room. Order all the guests to throw copies of the book into the air like graduation day - they will REALLY remember who told them to do it and which book it was that gave them a lump on their head ;)

I've been following Solaris' blogging and whatnot about KRK, and I look forward to seeing it sprout up in my local bookshop :)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Do rework it and submit it,Tehani, Sounds interesting.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mike said:

Yep, exactly. But I've read some pieces where the writer clearly knew what he or she was talking about from experience -- and forgot to let the reader in on it.

Then the editor didn't do their job.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris W,

My spelling is as bad as yours. I was running a workshop for year 9 kids and spelt something wrong on the whiteboard and one of them told me. Sigh.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

We were on Mt Tamborine, which was inland from the Gold Coast.

I loved Mt Tamborine, it was rainforest jungle with mist and windy roads with stunning views.

Very different from the Gold Coast which was sandy dirt and fibro shacks all less than 20 years old.

No history, no sense of adventure.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam, sounds like a wonderful dog.

I know what you mean about different childhoods. About thirty kids would congregate on the empty block next to my house and we would play spontaneous games organised on the spot without adult intervention.

I think there were more kids around then, too.

Mind you, with my 6 kids we're an instant party where ever we go.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

4th guy said:

Well then, it's Affinity Seeps :P

But is it 4th guy from the left or 2nd guy from the right?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Jonathan, Solaris have been blogging about KRK? Really?

Damn, I should be following that. Bad of me.

Will go over and try to catch up.

But it is all just a little weird, talking about yourself and your book.

Australians don't put themselves forward. So this blogging has been something I've had to learn.

Stephen Simmons said...

Elements from my experience have leached into things I write, inexorably and inescapably. I think it was Vince Flynn who said that you can tell a lot about where an author is in his/her personal life by seeing what leaks into their work at any given time. But, so far, I haven't (at least knowingly) used anything from my past as a "trigger" or focal element for a story. Of course, I haven't really gotten anything published yet, so there's still plenty of time to change that ... ;)

(You put "Affinity Seeps" much too near the end of the post. Made the contest far too easy.)

Stephen Simmons said...

I really miss the days you wrote about, by the way. When I was a kid, we didn't even have a lock on our back door. My parents installed a hasp and padlock after the last of us six kids moved out, so they could go on vacation without the local high school kids using the house for parties. (Not worried about them stealing from us, mind you, just didn't want to facilitate the parties.)

Now I don't let my sixteen-year-old daughter walk to the school half a mile away unescorted. It's sad.

Mike said...

LOL at myself. I should add that I've been running online writers workshops, reading slush, and dealing with student writing for... wow, that long? So I was thinking more of the rougher stuff. Anyway, yes, if there is an editor, they should catch that. But I like to teach people to catch it themselves -- we are our own first editors, don't depend on them!

Chris McMahon said...

Congratuations again, Rowena. I enjoyed your walk down memory lane. Being from a large family, I can feel exactly what this was like. We also did not tend to pass too much information to Mum & Dad:)

I'm enjoying my copy!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Stephen, I like to buy all a writers books and read them in chronological order. That way I can see how they develop as a writer.

You can also see how they grow as a person. I picked that one author had separated from her husband by the tone of the interchange between two of her regular characters who were supposed to be in love.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mike, I agree we should be our own front-line editors (I like that phrase).

But you can develop a blind spot and fail to see things in your work.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Glad you are enjoying the book, Chris. (Chris was part of our crit group when I was writing the series, so I sent him a copy when the book came out).

I was eldest of four and I had six kids, but you came from a much larger family, as I recall.

Jim McCoy said...

Affinity Seeps!

Scott said...

Ummm... Affinity Seeps

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Jim, as long as its not Affinity SHeeps!