Writing TRAVELER, I discovered that your characters really do have an existence outside of yourself, and the more story you write for them, the more strong-willed and individual they become. When I wrote SEEKER, the first book in the series, it felt like Quin Kincaid listened to me at least some of the time. By the time I wrote TRAVELER, Quin and Shinobu and John (and even Maud) told me how things were going to be. As punishment, I really put them through the wringer in this book. We have to see what they’re made of, right?
What scene was really hard to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
There’s a chapter in TRAVELER where Shinobu is struggling with a new addiction, and he has to choose between acting on his impulses or helping Quin. It was hard to write, because he doesn’t necessarily make the right decision – and I love Shinobu (and Shinobu loves Quin, that’s a fact), so I hate to see him do the wrong thing. But most of us have had someone in our lives (maybe even ourselves) who did the wrong thing and knew it. It’s never a good feeling.
I like that scene with Shinobu a lot, but if I had to choose a favorite scene in the book, it might be one that takes place in a frozen cave, between a boy named Nott and the rat he’s having a heart-to-heart conversation with.
What advice would you like to pass along to other writers?
When I do book tours, I’m amazed at how many people, especially kids (but grown-ups too) want to write. Because writing is about communicating something from your own unique point of view, and since each one of us is different from everyone else in at least some small way, the idea of lots and lots of writers means lots of stories from unexpected points of view, lots of stories that show me the world in entirely original ways.
My advice to other writers is to embrace what YOU bring to a story, which I guess is a way of saying embrace yourself. Be willing to tear out a piece of yourself and share it with others. The piece of you doesn’t have to be secret or intimate or embarrassing, though secret, intimate and embarrassing things often make wonderful stories. It can be your love of adventure, or your disike of relatives who overstay their welcome, or your ambivalence about boyfriends who wear old sneakers, or your secret dreams or whatever. I think you get what I’m saying, right? It’s your take on the story, what interests you and inspires you, that will make the story draw the rest of us in.
Also, if there’s something specific you’d like to ask me, you can send me your question. I do a weekly video called 1 QUESTION, 2 MINUTES, in which I answer questions about writing, editing, publishing and all sorts of things. You can check it out on arwendayton.com or on YouTube.
What are you working on now?
Book 3 of the Seeker series! It’s called DISRUPTOR, and I’m excited and terrified about what happens to the characters. Quin, Shinobu, John and Maud have uncovered a larger and larger world in books 1 and 2, and in DISRUPTOR, this world of Seekers comes to a major crossroads and things get a bit wild, and also possibly a little bit romantic and a lot emotional.
ABOUT THE BOOKTraveler by Arwen Elys Dayton
For readers of A Game of Thrones and Legend: Traveler, the sequel to Seeker.
Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever.
Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.
Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.
But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to destroy them all.
The past is close. And it will destroy them all.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORArwen Elys Dayton spends months doing research for her stories. Her explorations have taken her around the world to places like the Great Pyramid (which she explored by flashlight when researching Resurrection), Hong Kong and its many islands, and lots of ruined castles in Scotland. She enjoys creating complete worlds inhabited by characters who charm, frustrate or inspire.
Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States. You can visit her at arwendayton.com and follow @arwenelysdayton on Twitter and Instagram, or reach her by email at email@example.com.
Have you had a chance to read TRAVELER yet? Does it seem like your characters have an existence outside of you? Are you writing about what interests and inspires you? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
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