Robin Lythgoe is an author of fantasies, forging enchanted and inspired fiction. It is my pleasure to introduce her to you here on No Wasted Ink.
Hello! I’m Robin Lythgoe, and I’m an author. It’s incurable, but I will suffer through it as best I can. So far, so good! I write fantasy books and stories, I make maps and dabble in Photoshop, I collect and read books, I consume copious amounts of chocolate. Dark. (Because milk chocolate is a color, not a flavor!)
When and why did you begin writing?
I think my love of writing goes hand in hand with my love of reading. I grew up in a family of dedicated readers (seven of us!). Not only did they read to me, but they instilled a tremendous love of reading. I was “writing” before I could master the alphabet, with my oldest sister playing the part of a scribe. In elementary school I wrote one particular story that my teacher liked so much that she had me read it in front of the class. I was nervous. The kids loved it. Then she sent me to another, older class. The response was so positive that it lifted me right up into the dream of wanting to be an author when I grew up. It didn’t seem entirely practical, and for a while other work took up my time, and then my children came along and distracted me further. I do have a picture, though, of me sitting at an old Apple IIe with a squalling baby in my lap as I try to write. Now I have no more excuses!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
MMmm, that’d be around age 4. After that I wrote short stories, poetry, and the beginnings of several novels. The real sense of accomplishment came when I actually finished one of them — and then there was no going back.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
As the Crow Flies, is the fast-paced story of a sarcastic, untrusting (and untrustworthy) thief blackmailed into fetching an impossible bauble for an even less trustworthy wizard. He is tasked with finding a dragon’s egg in a world where dragons are rare as hen’s teeth. What’s at stake? His true love. And who does he get paired with? The thief-taker who’s been dogging his trail for years. The two men, at completely opposite ends of the law, must learn to work together or lose everything. And if they do succeed, it could mean the end of the world as they know it.
I’m also working on an epic fantasy series featuring a character near and dear to my heart. It’s in a much more serious vein but, once again, dragons feature.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have to say that I always have scenes and characters and ideas bubbling around in my head. Some of them end up in a note file, but one particular scene grabbed me (the opening scene), and it didn’t let me go until Crow got his adventure.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I hope so! I am told that I have a very strong voice, which is a great compliment! I’ve read a really wide variety of books from fantasy to westerns, thrillers, romance, historical fiction, adventure, encyclopedias (really) — and did I mention fantasy? All of that has had an impression on me, and it has given me a broad base to draw from.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
It was not easy at all. I had a great title, but then the book didn’t quite fit it, so I changed it. Twice. Still didn’t like what I had, so I wrote down everything I could think of and everything I could scrounge up from the internet about crows or birds or journeys. As the Crow Flies fit the story to perfection, but… there are several other books by that name. Some authors and friends suggested a few others, but they didn’t “fit” and didn’t focus on Crow the way I wanted the title to do. So I guess what? I went back to As the Crow Flies.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First, I hope the readers will be entertained. There is so much “grim” going on in the world (in reality and in fiction), that I wanted to write a story that was light, quick, and humorous. If there *is* a message (I’m not saying there is!), I hope people will think about how the people around us are important. You never can tell where you will find a friend and what that person will add to your life.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes — and no. I don’t think authors can help but incorporate what they see in “real life,” but I don’t know any people like those featured in Crow’s story. And I have yet to run into any power-hungry wizards, thankfully…!
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Tolkien, Lewis, and Brooks definitely impacted my opinion about the genre. It’s a rare fantasy author who has not read them. I love CJ Cherryh’s fantasy books. She writes with such a unique and poetic style. But I’d have to say that the two authors that have had the most effect on me are Tad Williams with his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, and Terry Goodkind with the Sword of Truth books. Their style and prose are so comfortable to me that I can slide right into their books and forget to come out again. I love the settings, the quests, the absolutely believable characters, the struggles with morality, the sheer “epicness.” I’ve recently added Robin Hobb to my list of favorite authors. Someone told me I wrote like her. At the time I couldn’t remember reading anything she’d written, so I borrowed Assassin’s Apprentice. I liked it. I bought it. I blew through the next two books in the series and then sat there crying like a crazy woman at the end. I want to write like that, and maybe some of my more serious works are somewhat similar. I can happily live with the comparison.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I actually designed the cover of my book—and the bookmarks to go with it. I was at one of Brandon Sanderson’s book-signings and gave him one. He said he was impressed with the artworkd (or he was really good at exaggerating).
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read a lot! It’s good for you whether you write or not. Good for the brain, for the vocabulary, for experiences beyond your everyday life, for stimulating your imagination and creativity. Oh, the places the reader can go… And something else? Don’t be too quick to give up. I really like the famous quote by Richard Bach: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” He would know; his best-selling Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 18 times before being published. I admire that kind of stick-to-itiveness. On a bad day it makes me wonder what I’m complaining about.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First and most important, thank you so much for reading my book! I do love to get feedback, so reviews are much appreciated (and I read every one). I’d love to hear from you, and I’m pretty easy to find. Come talk to me!
As the Crow Flies