Today we have crossed the digital divide to speak with, author, L. S. Fayne. She writes charming fantasy novels full of familial love, magic and vivacious characters, that are generally split into two series:
19th Century Series: The O’Byrne Daughters
Budding Magic: Book One
It’s Just Magic!: Book Two
Gathering of the Raven: Book Three
20th Century Series: Druantia’s Children
Christmas in the House of O’Byrne: Book One
Druantia’s Braids: Book Two
There Can’t Be Shadows Without Light: Book Three
Book Four expected soon ______________________________________________________
Hello, and thank you for being here. I know you were born in Norwalk, California and lived in Santa Cruz until you were ten, when your family moved to Oregon. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit more about yourself and your books?
To say my biological family is dysfunctional is being polite. My mother was neglectful, and when she wasn’t being neglectful, she was mean. My father was never there for us. He had a way of dissecting his life, and my brother and I were not very important to him. My brother and I used to fight horribly. I blame my parents for not protecting me against him. My arms were always covered in bruises.
My books are written from my deepest fantasies. In them, the sisters are strong and tight. It is them against the world and they would do anything, anything to protect that bond.
I don’t dwell on my childhood. I was out of my father’s house as soon as I was capable. I fell in love with my husband and married him at age 24. He’s gentle and strong. His family is so opposite from mine that at first I didn’t believe that they were for real. It is through them that I discovered the love and bonding of which I write in my books today.
Do you have a favorite among your books?
Christmas in the House of O’Byrne is my favorite book. It isn’t my best, because it was my first, but it was the book in which I discovered a type of freedom that I hadn’t known before. In it, I could make dreams come true. It’s warm, funny, and tight with family interactions.
You seem to know a lot about Druids. Did you do a lot of research before writing them?
I did a lot of research dealing with Ireland’s history. Although it was the Druids who brought universal learning to Europe, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of writings about the Druids themselves. It is also known that they brought in metal weaponry, which their “friends” then used against them. It is believed that the women were just as powerful as the men. I try to understand the time, and then let logic fill in the gaps.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I try to imagine what a magical, Druid like, family would be like in today’s society if they had never been separated from their own religious and magical heritage. I wrote the modern series first, and then became so fascinated with the seven sisters who migrated to America that I started writing about them as well.
As far as ideas, look out to a crowd of people. Every one of them has a story. Let the imagination loose. Also, I allow myself to daydream. Something, I had to relearn.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I publish around two books a year. A lot of the work and time goes into the editing, formatting, and art processes. The first draft usually comes rather quickly, but it takes a lot more to get it from first draft to published work.
It’s also easy to get distracted and write on other subjects. It’s important to allow this to keep the ideas flowing and free. I don’t get writers block. I get writers distraction.
What do you consider to be the hardest part?
Editing, definitely. I have to channel a different part of the brain, and put aside the fact that I wrote it. It’s also hard to see the words, and not the imagery already going on in my head. I have to have help with this whole process. I’m very open to copy editing. I struggle with content editing, but realize that if one person doesn’t get it, neither will others. I have to rework what is wrong. To be believable, it has to follow some type of logic, even if it’s “magic”.
When you imagine your readers, what are they like?
When I first started writing, I imagined young adults, mostly girls. It’s very shocking to do a book signing. You suddenly aren’t imagining the reader. They are staring right at you. It makes you, or should make you, more morally responsible. We have no control over who can read our books. I started putting an intended audience note on the copyright page. I’m not real comfortable with children reading my books no matter how advanced they are in reading.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want people to think and to feel! I want people to open towards different ideas and views. It’s an opportunity. I also like to entertain. I like to make people laugh. I want to provide some escapism.
All of the characters have a very distinct personality. How did you come up with them? How do you keep them straight in your head?
I love Mercedes Lackey’s work. I realized it was because of her worlds. I created a world that I could relate to. I actually have a family tree for the modern series. For the seven sisters, I used astrology to create the initial personalities. Their birthdays are listed in, Druantia’s Braids as a part of their mother’s diary. When you understand the different styles and ages, you can imagine how they might react to situations and to each other. I also take notes.
Would you consider the sister’s aunt to be an evil or tragic character?
Both. Her choices were selfish and evil. She had the same opportunities as her sister. Her sister had the same evil mother, Sadie. They choose different ways of being. She was tragic because of the waste of her life. She had love, but threw it away. She could have focused on giving and receiving love. Druantia would have helped her if she had been willing.
Which sister do you think you are most like and why?
Since the sisters are all a part of me that’s a hard question. Vevila actually has my birthday. In these books she is young and doesn’t have anything like my childhood, but I like her. She has my favorite fantasy gifts, language and singing. She is strong and independent. My favorite sister is Rhoswen. She’s not to concerned about what other’s think.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is a little piece of fun from Book Four of Druantia’s Children. It will be the next to be published. I think the name is, “Web of Oaths”. Names sometimes change. Remember, it’s still a draft.
Jeri reached out for Natilie’s mug. She laughed as she filled it. Natilie looked at the mug with chagrin. It was a big, pink elephant. She was also wearing big, pink elephant slippers. Jeri couldn’t remember seeing them before. They looked fluffy and fun.
“More and more of my stuff is getting Tawnyized,” Natilie sighed. “The Dumbo the Elephant movie was on this morning—and poof—my mug is an elephant. She transformed it and then laughed and laughed. She thought it was so funny.”
“Come on,” Jeri smiled, “admit it. You laughed, too.”
“I did,” Natilie admitted with a wry smile. “It was only afterwards that I realized she had transformed my favorite mug. It fit my hand perfectly—well—it used to. I was lucky about my shoes. I hated those, but these are lovely.” Natilie lifted up her fuzzy slippers. “What is it about bad shoes anyway? They just don’t wear out, and I can’t seem to throw them away.”
“Donate them,” Jeri suggested.
“They aren’t good enough,” Natilie wrinkled her nose.
Jeri smiled as she watched Natilie. Natilie was strong again—vibrant. She had that type of energy which made everyone feel good. People loved to be around her lively spirit and her dry humor. It was good to have her back!
“How’s Tawny doing with the poofing?” Jeri asked her.
“Amber is dealing with it,” Natilie sighed with relief. “I’m so glad she’s back. She seems to have a natural understanding on how to teach a toddler how to not burn down the house. She’s so calm.”
“Amber isn’t afraid,” Jeri nodded. “The last thing we want is to scare Tawny. You can’t control a gift if you are afraid of it. We are lucky to have a fire bearer. It’s a really rare gift. Now, we have two.”
“Sort of,” Natilie grimaced, “Tawny’s abilities aren’t quite like our gifts. Her gifts are some kind of arcane power she inherited from Faerie. The energy doesn’t come from within her, so she doesn’t get tired from it. It doesn’t teach her control. There are no ramifications to her for abusing it.”
“Oh,” Jeri paused, “so she could change every mug in the world to pink elephants and never tire out. That’s a bit scary—although—we could use that and set up a franchise with them.”
“Oh, could we?” Natilie laughed looking down at her mug. “There is no doubting her sweet soul. We just have to teach her the right things.”
“Speaking of which,” Jeri smiled her warning.
Jeri and Natilie paused as they watched the door slowly swing inward. Two toddlers stood in the doorway, hand-in-hand. Travis and Tawny looked in with huge eyes. Travis laughed with a gurgle upon seeing Jeri. His blue eyes sparkled. Tawny looked in with a more serious expression. Travis pulled Tawny further into the room.
Travis was just a month older than Tawny, but was already leading her into mischief. Travis had his father’s crisp blue eyes, and his mother’s dark brown locks. He stood an inch taller than Tawny. Tawny had golden hair. The tips of her pointed ears just peeked out from her hair. Her eyes were an unusual shade of gold, the eyes of a tiger, with long golden lashes. Both were wearing little blue jeans and t-shirts. Travis’s t-shirt was blue, Tawny’s pink. They saw Natilie’s mug and giggled.
“Found it,” Tawny pointed at the mug. “Nana said to change the things back. Said it was rude. How would I like it if someone did that to dolly—changed her into an elephant? I wouldn’t like that at all.”
“I told you Jeri was here,” Travis told Tawny. “She doesn’t know yet.”
“Ah, Ah,” Natilie lifted her finger. “Talk so Jeri can understand.”
Travis frowned at his sister and tried again.
“Eri here,” Travis mouthed the words slowly.
“Yes,” Natilie smiled, “Jeri is here.”
“Hi rascals,” Jeri greeted them with a grin. “What are you playing?”
“We were looking for those things to change back,” Tawny told her. “Sorry about your car.”
Jeri looked at her blankly. Tawny looked at her mother, and stomped her foot. Jeri had to smother a laugh.
“Jeri’s language is harder,” Tawny complained.
“Yes,” Natilie responded back in Elfin, “but that is the only words she knows. You know both, so it is up to you to talk to her so she understands you.”
Jeri looked at them and couldn’t help the snort that slipped past her lips. Natilie heard her but didn’t look up. It was just that Natilie sounded so funny when she talked like that. To Jeri’s ear, it just sounded like baby talk—gibberish. Jeri didn’t know what she was saying, but she had Tawny’s and Travis’s full attention. They knew exactly what she was saying. Jeri could see it in their eyes.
Natilie had been given the base Faerie language by a little elfin creature just before Tawny had been born. It had astounded and amused Natilie to realize that baby talk was actually a language, and that she could understand everything the babies were saying. It was challenging to teach them a language which they had no use for. They could understand the words, but had little desire to say them.
“Came to change cupp and hoos,” Tawny pointed at the Dumbo mug and then down to Natilie’s feet.
Natilie nodded, but had mixed feelings about both things being transformed back. Now, she kind of wished they could stay that way, but Lidia was right, Tawny needed to stop changing things.
“Not the slippers though,” Natilie compromised. “They are better than before. I like them this way.”
Tawny gave her an enchanting smile. Travis giggled with delight.
Jeri was surprised when the mug glowed and changed back to the way it was—fit and all.
“Very good!” Jeri chanted to Tawny. “That was amazing!”
Tawny gave Jeri a dimpled grin. Travis nudged her and her grin dropped. Tears filled her eyes.
“Car too bad,” Tawny told her, “not do.”
“Car?” Jeri asked.
Natilie looked out towards the yard, and had to get a grip on the laugher which wanted to burst out. It really wasn’t funny—not real. Jeri’s eyes narrowed as she followed Natilie’s gaze. Her brand new Mercedes had been changed to a large pink elephant.
“What?” Jeri exclaimed.
“It does have wheels,” Natilie smothered a snort.
Is there anything you would like to share with potential readers?
Thank you so much for your gift of reading. Without you, our work is just empty pieces of paper.
Thank you for being her today and bringing a excerpt! That was a pleasant surprise. I’ve read the first two O’Bryne books, which I will be reviewing on the 25th, and look forward to the opportunity to read the 3rd. If you are a fan on innocent magical adventures, I highly recommend the O’Bryne sisters series.
More information about Mrs. Fayne can be found here:
Be sure to come back on May 25th to read my review of Budding Magic and It’s Just Magic.