First off, I’ve preordered the book already and checked out the summery…
Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
… But tell me, what is it all about?
It circles mainly the story of Naomi, a prisoner and disgraced knight, as she tries to take back the country of Ffion from the evil Princess Adrienne.
Naomi finds herself accidentally married to the King of a neighbouring country, something neither of them are particularly happy about, all the while being hunted down by harpies, mercenaries, and Lord Cygnus, a dark sorcerer and Adrienne’s lover.
At its heart it’s very much a traditional fantasy story, good versus evil and all that, but I’d like to think I’ve put my own spin on it at the same time. I think Naomi’s character alone has given it a kick it might otherwise have been lacking.
What drew you to writing and why this story?
I suppose the best way to describe it is as a sort of love letter to the fantasy genre. I grew up reading stories about magic, dragons, princesses, and knights, and I loved them. I spent a lot of my childhood –and actually, my adult life, too- with my head up in the clouds, dreaming about adventures and magical lands, and when it first occurred to me to write them down? Well. That was it for me, really.
The main premise of The Redwood Rebel is that I took a lot of old fantasy tropes and a lot of pre-conceptions about character roles and had a little play with them. The dragon is in fact the “prince” (he’s actually a king, but you get what I mean), the princess is evil, the virgin sacrifice is the knight, but thinks the whole concept of virginity is stupid, and as the story progresses even these roles become questionable.
It was a lot of fun for me to write, so I really hope that enjoyment will be passed along to readers, too.
How many cover ideas did you go through?
Well, honestly the scene that’s depicted on the cover has been in my head since the very beginning. It’s such a pivotal moment in the books, and despite not mentioning this to my illustrator, Juliette Brocal, it was still the scene she picked to work with after I sent her the manuscript. She’s very clever that way, and it was wonderful to work with someone who was as enthusiastic about the work as me. That’s a lot rarer than you might think.
Is there one book that inspired you more than any other?
I wouldn’t say one in particular. I wouldn’t be doing this without Terry Pratchett though, just because his work showed me that there was nothing to be embarrassed about for writing fantasy. There’s a lot of snobbery attached to the genre, unfortunately, and young, impressionable me was very nearly put off writing altogether for a long time. His work was instrumental in building up the great big shrug I give now when people try to look down at what I enjoy.
On to YOU!! MWAHAHAHA
Oh dear, haha! Okay, you may fire when ready!
What’s your day look like?
Coffee first, then dog walking, then a bit of social media. By then I’m usually on my third coffee or so, and I’ll write until I hit my quota, or until it’s time to walk the dog again. Most evenings I read and fluff about on the internet, or if I still have words left in me I’ll sit up late and squeeze them out.
Three days a week, I have The Day Job, which is at a well-known stationery shop, and helps fund the writing. It also forces me out of the house to interact with other humans, which is possibly a good thing. Possibly.
…Well, it helps me write dialogue, at the very least!
It’s just me, The Man, and Pilot, our Sprocker Spaniel. I have family down in Dorset, my mum and sisters, who I’m very close to despite the distance, and my lovely niece and nephew, both of whom have Auntie Neenor wrapped very firmly around their little fingers.
How do you juggle your family and everything else?
It’s not very difficult in my situation. Pilot and The Man are both sufficiently house broken, so that’s nice. Sometimes I curse The Day Job, just because I would always rather be writing, but then payday comes and I remember why I like it.
Last, what’s your playlist?
I listen to a lot of different things, depending on my mood. I like Florence + The Machine, Nero, Lorde, Fall Out Boy, Sia, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Kesha, Lady Gaga… At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Tobu, which always has a good rhythm for typing to!
Big thanks to Lorna George for stopping by. You can check out her links and more below.
Lorna George lives in a crooked little house in Norfolk with her husband, a lot of books, and a fifty year old begonia named Frank. She spends an inordinate amount of time dreaming up magic, dragons, and fearsome ladies, and has decided to try and make some sort of career from it by writing them down. She hopes this will give her a reasonable excuse when caught staring wistfully out of windows when she should be paying attention to the not-so-mystical "Real World".
Since she has become increasingly vulgar with age, she writes predominately New Adult stories, and despite what a lot of people seem to think, she seriously doubts she will ever grow out of fantasy.
She doesn't particularly want to.
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Illustrations by Juliette Brocal