Today we are so excited to welcome another Queen of Fantasy to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight! Robin McKinley has brought fairy tales to life for years (both her own magical stories and retellings of ageless tales). Next up, Shadows, set in a world where science and magic are at odds. Before diving into her latest, peek into one of the most inventive, authorly minds there is!
Author: Robin McKinley
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Number two most impossible question, with ‘where do you get your ideas’ in the top slot. If I’m only allowed one, it probably has to be J R R Tolkien, who has had more influence on me than any other single author—for good and for ill. When I was a kid and teenager the fantasy genre didn’t exist yet. There were fairy tales and a few random oddments … and Tolkien. Some of the random oddments were astonishing on their own terms—Narnia, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, any of E Nesbit’s fantasies, for example—but nothing like THE LORD OF THE RINGS. LOTR probably made me a writer. It certainly made me a feminist.
What’s your favorite thing about your book? Mongo the manic Border collie and Hix the … um …
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? The Black Stallion. When I was a horse-mad kid I wanted to be Alec Ramsey possibly even worse than I wanted to be a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. And I’d get along better with The Black than with Gandalf.
Where do you write? ::falls down laughing:: I have a desktop but at present it chiefly exists for storage and back-up. I hope this will change when the puppy gets old enough to GO LIE DOWN when she’s told: with the piles of books, papers, drawing pens, mailing envelopes and homeopathy magazines all over the floor my office is not puppy-proofable. (The grown-up hellhounds hide in my office to escape the puppy hellterror.) So at the moment it’s have laptop, will travel.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Continuing the furry and four-footed theme, Whistlejacket, because of the fabulous George Stubbs painting.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I am on Twitter, yes, and have been known to defend it against its detractors. It’s all in who you follow.
What is your favorite season? It depends. In the middle of September on a clear blue day like today has been—with maybe a few artistic grey-and-white clouds scampering overhead—and the wind only sharp enough to be interesting and the sense that something exciting is about to happen—and that’s the smell in the air, not the awareness that I have a new novel coming out—it’s autumn. On a stark cold black and white day when the snow-dusted landscape goes on forever and you know that the ultimate secret of the universe, or at least the shape of your next novel, is about to be revealed to you, it’s winter. When the crocuses and then the daffs and then the tulips and then the bluebells come out, it’s spring. When my roses are all blooming like mad and the high walls around my little garden are holding the scent in so that you feel drunk and dizzy just stepping out the kitchen door, it’s summer.
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Rhiandomeer.
Do you have any writing rituals? Moaning, clutching my forehead, swearing that I’m going to get a job as a supermarket shelf restocker, deciding that hellhounds and/or hellterror really should have another hurtle and/or something in the garden urgently needs feeding/tying up/pruning/weeding and/or I absolutely must practice the new piece for my singing lesson. If all else fails, random fidgeting.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? The story-in-progress tearing along so fast and so vividly I can’t keep up with it, and a large self-refilling mug of always-hot tea.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Well if I only get one again (hmmph) it probably has to be Beverly Sills at the Kennedy Center, pushing forty years ago.
What are you currently working on? PEGASUS II, aka EBON, and a visit to Rhiandomeer would be very useful. I’m also still trying to get to the end of part one of KES, the serial I’m posting on my blog, about a (ahem) fantasy author who finds herself having, um, adventures.
a new book to look for by a favorite author …
love how she describes seasons here!