"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Spotlight on Tor Books
A. Vaughan is the author of "Warprize", the first volume
of a new trilogy from Tor Books. This is her first novel.
She's always loved fantasy and science fiction, and has been a fantasy
role-player since 1981. Beth is owned by four cats, and lives
in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along
Mad Anthony’s Trail on the banks of the Maumee River.
An Interview with Elizabeth Vaughan
PNR: I know that Warprize is your first novel, when did you decide to begin writing?
Elizabeth V.: I always talked about being a writer, but it wasn't until my 40th birthday that I got serious about it. A very good friend told me to put up, or shut up, which forced me to put pen to paper.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Elizabeth V.: I wish I could keep a strict writing schedule! But real life makes that hard. When I was writing WARPRIZE I would grab fifteen or twenty minutes when I could, and jot down notes, ideas and bits of dialogue. I'd use the weekends to put it all together. But when I was working on Book 2 of the trilogy, I had to establish more of a routine, because I was under a deadline. So I normally write in the evenings for at least an hour, and more on the weekends.
My free time? Well, I have been a fantasy role player for about twenty years, so I get together with friends to play on a regular basis. And I read, mostly history when I am writing. The occasional play or movie. Boy, I sound dull.
PNR: What do you enjoy most about writing? What do you find the most frustrating?
Elizabeth V.: Living in the fantasy world with my characters, and thinking of ways to torture-er-tease-er-entertain my reader. I adore the creative process, but I dislike editing. It's very necessary, since I want a polished manuscript, but-ugh.PNR: Where do you get your story ideas? Elizabeth V.: In the shower. No, seriously. I will be covered in soap and shampoo and all of a sudden my hero is in my head, telling me how the battle scene goes, and who gets wounded. Nothing worse than trying to write on a soggy legal pad. <g>
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?Elizabeth V.: Strong characters come first, with solid plot and conflict. I love to foreshadow events, setting you up for things to come without the reader even seeing my diabolical plans. [insert evil laugh here].
PNR: What is your favorite genre to read?Elizabeth V.: Fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, history, probably in that order. The only problem is that I don't read in a genre that I am writing in, so no fantasy or romance for me in the last few years!
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced your work?
Elizabeth V.: Oh this is tough. It's not easy to narrow it down. Mercedes Lackey, Dennis McKeiran in fantasy. Rex Stout in mysteries - that man was the master of the first person POV. Elizabeth Peters is another, as well as Dana Stabenow, whose characters leap off the page.PNR: Could you tell us about the publication of your book, Warprize? Elizabeth V.: Warprize started when I read a story where a woman surrendered herself to a tyrant on a throne. I didn't like the story, and didn't believe the woman's motivation for her surrender. So I started thinking, what would bring a woman to make that decision? What if her people were at risk? I kept asking "Why?" and Lara kept telling me, and I kept writing until I had a partially finished manuscript. That took about three years.
Then I met my agent, finished the book, and submitted it to her. I was very lucky; I'd written the right thing at the right time. My agent got it to Tor, who gave me a contract for the trilogy. You can read the entire story at my website, http://www.Warprize.com
PNR: Your characters strike an emotional cord with readers, could you tell us a little about their developmentElizabeth V.: Lara was the first to talk to me, telling me of what led her into the arms of the Warlord, Keir. I enjoy playing healers in my role-playing games, and with that as a motivating force, it wasn't hard to understand why she would be willing to sacrifice herself for her people. But that girl is damn stubborn, which leads to some real problems.
Keir was a bit more secretive. It was the secondary characters that let me know what drove him. Eventually though, I got him talking. He's one handsome warrior, bold and strong - willing to take risks to reach his goals. This is a strength, but it can also be a weakness and one his enemies might ultimately exploit.
PNR: In your book Warprize, the story is skillfully told in first person? Tell us about the challenges of writing a novel from this viewpoint.
Elizabeth V.: I chose first person because that is how Lara "talks" to me. But I also used it because it allows me to use Lara’s ignorance of the Firelanders to show the reader their world. As she learns, so does the reader. But it does create problems, being restricted to Lara's point of view all the time, especially in Book 2, where Lara-er-well, you'll see!
PNR: There were many humorous scenes between your hero and heroine; do you enjoy using humor in your writing?Elizabeth V.: Oh, yes! But I really don’t deliberately set out to insert the humor. As I write, certain scenes just naturally lend themselves to a touch of laughter. Maybe this is because of Lara's sense of humor. Or mine.
PNR: Can you tell us about projects you are currently working on?
Elizabeth V.: Well, this is a trilogy. I have finished Book 2, which isn't titled yet. I am working on the outline to Book 3. I am also working on ideas for another new fantasy romance but I really can’t give too many details at this point, because the characters are just starting to talk to me. I have to listen carefully and take lots of notes. . .PNR: Where can readers find out more about your upcoming projects, and how can they contact you?
Elizabeth V.: I can be reached through my website, located at http://www.warprize.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear any comments, and I promise to post information about the next book as soon as I can!
Featured in this Issue:
Interview with : Elizabeth Vaughan
June 1, 2005 336 pages ISBN: 0765352648
Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders. Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace--but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle. But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status. She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes... The Warprize
Lara is the Warprize
A powerful healer, she has sworn an oath of loyalty to Keir the Warlord, and his people. Now the Warlord and his chosen mate face enemies within the tribe and danger lurks on every hand as they journey toward Keir's homeland.
When they reach a village marked with the warnings of the plague, Keir forbids Lara to heal the sick, commanding that she not risk her own life. But both Lara and Kier are strong of will and neither will bend easily, even for love; and when Lara disobeys, she pays the price: both she and Kier are plague-struck... and so is their entire encampment.
In the midst of the dying, Iften, a rival warrior, gathers his followers and challenges Keir for the right to rule their tribe. If Keir, weakened by the sickness, loses -- he dies.
And so does Lara.
To save her love, her life, and her adopted people, Lara must find a cure for the plague -- and fully embrace her sworn role as Warprize to her Warlord.