Author Sybrina Durant is an author because she writes. She feels compelled to do so. She is also an entrepreneur because Indy publishing required it. I think she is a quick learner! Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
I am Sybrina Durant – unicorn author and entrepreneur. I also have a full time job at an engineering company where I describe my primary role as “bringing order to chaos”. That’s what document controllers do through gathering, organizing and cataloguing information.
Doing that for thirty plus years helped me understand the concept of doing the same things in my book related activities, whether it is researching, outlining my stories, or setting up my unicorn book and gift store. Yes, that’s right. . . one of the ways I promote my book, Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale, is by promoting every unicorn book by every other author that I could find on the internet. Considering all of the age categories, that’s well over one thousand books featuring unicorns!
When and why did you begin writing?
I started trying to write science fiction and fantasy after I had read a couple of hundred science fiction and fantasy books – several of them novels featuring unicorns. By the time I was in my early 30’s, the works of those other authors had so inspired me that I was sure I could come up with a tale of my own. I was particularly fascinated with the idea of unicorns with magical powers but I wanted mine to be different from all the others I’d read about. I decided mine would be metal-horned unicorns with magical powers based on the science of their particular metals. I got to work researching metals and finally came up with a group of unicorns whose hides and manes were derivatives of the colors the metals produced under different conditions such as heat. Nearly all of them were named for the name of their metal in other languages. Their magical powers were inspired by their names or properties of their metals.
A couple of examples are Style, the steel-horned unicorn, who is the tribe’s magical “mane-do” stylist; and Tinam, the tin-horned unicorn, who can magically preserve food in tins of different shapes and sizes. In those two examples, Style is an Old English word for steel and Tinam is a Germanic word for tin.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer when I didn’t even really know what being a writer meant. I was pretty naïve in the beginning of my writing days. Now, even after writing several books and receiving lots of positive reviews, I’m still never completely happy with what I’ve written.
Luckily, beta readers and editors have saved the day for me many times. I recommend every potential author out there to utilize their services if serious about the idea of selling books to the public. Otherwise, be prepared for some cruel criticism.
Back to your question, I’m not sure I’ll ever really consider myself successful as an author. There are so many amazing writers in the world who will never achieve financial success or worldwide recognition. That is a shame because a there are so many great stories being told. The struggle to get eyes on your book is intense as there are literally over five thousand books published and offered to the public for sale each and every day in the United States alone. If you write it, you have to be willing to market it, too. With all of the competition, most of us will have to learn to be content to work within our own little sphere of influence. That sphere will only have any hope of continuing to expand outward by your overwhelming commitment to marketing.
Can you share a little more about your current book with us?
Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale is the full length novel version of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm, a middle grade picture book. In that one, each two page chapter is followed by a glorious double-spread illustration by Dasguptarts. That “chapter book” contains over 160 pages total. I was never happy with the text constraints of that version of the book so I expanded it to an 85,000 word clean-read YA novel.
The Blue Unicorn is one of twelve remaining members of the Tribe of the Metal Horn. It took a couple of centuries for Magh, the evil sorcerer of MarBryn, to slaughter hundreds of stranded space-faring unicorns who were visiting MarBryn. Why did Magh do it? To steal the unicorn’s magic, of course. Why didn’t the unicorns just travel away from the evil sorcerer? Well, you’ll find the answer to that question in the book. Of the remaining twelve unicorns, only Blue was born with no metal and no magic. Strangely, it was prophesied that he would become the saviour of the tribe. With little to no hope left, it will be up to the plain blue unicorn to figure out how to fulfill the prophecy that promises he will take the metal-horned unicorns back to the safety of their home planet, Unimaise.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, it is somewhat lyrical and a little whimsical with some silly comedic moments plus quite a bit of action, adventure and drama. I use a lot of word play. . .turning ordinary words into flights of fancy. My unicorns think and act like people. Readers, who are grounded in reality, will have to seriously suspend some of their beliefs when they learn of some of the things they are capable of.
How did you come up with the title of this book? I was always enamored with the Wizard of Oz. I wanted the word Osm to evoke flashes of fond memories in potential readers. On a side note, the word, Osm, is taken from a metal that many don’t know about called Osmium. That shiny, bluish-white metal is the densest metal in the world – twice as dense as lead. It is also one of the rarest metals. It’s not the most expensive but as of today it is valued at $1,645.00 for 1 troy ounce. That’s right up there next to the price of gold!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First, that you can’t always just a book by its cover. And last, don’t let anything stop you from trying to achieve your goals. Keep consistently at it. You will find yourself learning and calling up new strengths every day. Never give up.
What authors have most influenced your writing? What about them do you find inspiring?
Piers Anthony’s writings most influenced my desire to try to write a book. He wrote about magical unicorns and he is known as a master of “punmanship”. I absolutely loved the way he took ordinary words and terms and flipped them into something completely different and unique. Here’s one – Ladies: Are you looking for a new pair of shoes? Just pluck one from a Ladyslipper tree. His books contain thousands of examples of this type of word play. All the normal people in his novels were known as the Mundanes. Hmmm…I wonder if that’s where JK Rowling came up with the idea of calling magicless people Muggles? She has publicly admitted to being influenced by lots of authors but he is not one that I could confirm. By the way, I call all of the actual people in my novel (those with magic and those without) Two-leggers. But I never call them people.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading about the metal-horned unicorns from Unimaise. It took me thirty years to come up with a story that I wanted to actually share with others.
Journey To Osm- The Blue Unicorn’s Tale