"Writing as Wish Fulfillment": An Interview with E.G. Radcliff.
E.G. Radcliff is a YA-fantasy author who is talented when it comes to world-building, creating fantasy, and sharing her writing wisdom. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview her and get some insight into how she operates!
Please, introduce yourself! What should we know about you?
I’m a lifelong writer, lover of folktales and music, and I even dabble in visual art on occasion. I also love to sing, even more so if I get a chance to be accompanied by my brother on guitar or piano. I have a cat named Emrys, who is named from The Adventures of Merlin BBC TV series.
What led you to start writing?
The last memory I have of not actively wanting to write constantly was in the second grade… and then I invented a world called ‘Afipong’ and started populating it with characters, and things spiraled from there.
How would you describe your writing style?
I think my style is a little unusual in the YA arena. It’s very detail-centric, and I make conscious effort to describe things in ways they haven’t been described before. This goes for character, setting, action scenes; I really do my best to bring fresh perspective to everything I write. This makes my style more poetic, perhaps, without sacrificing the power and flow that prose brings to a narrative.
If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? What would you ask them?
I would love to meet Sarah J. Maas; her character and world-building were very inspiring to me as I wrote The Hidden King. Lucky me, I might actually get to this spring; she’ll be on tour in London, and you’d better believe I’ll try to be there!
Could you pitch us your novel?
The Hidden King is an action-packed YA novel inspired by Irish folklore that blends magic, found family, LGBT themes, and a whirlwind of self-discovery. A young man must discover, through no easy means, who—and also what—he is.
That sounds amazing! What is the inspiration behind this book?
A mad dream, actually. I woke up late with a complete setting in my head, along with a couple characters roaming around, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play with the new world I had.
Ah, that's always fun, when the idea arrives as a dream! What is the most rewarding aspect of writing fantasy?
To an extent, it’s wish fulfillment. It’s very cathartic to create a problem, especially one that seems unsurpassable, and find ways to surpass it—and you get extra points if those ways involve magic. There’s a lot you can do with a fantasy world, since it’s completely make-believe, and the creative rush I get from assigning real-world emotional reactions to fantastical situations is very powerful.
How did you go about developing the world of your book?
Since I got the setting from a dream—not cliché at all—I mostly just had to make sure everything lined up. I know things that’ll never make it into a book: how everything functions economically, where their fresh water comes from, where they get building material for their cities, etcetera. This just ensures that there aren’t any holes in the world. When that was done, I started thinking about how the world itself would impact the characters, and I tweaked it so that it would press them in the ways I needed.
Who is your favorite character to write and why?
My favorite character is Ninian. He’s sarcastic and can be kind of prickly, but I loved hinting at his depth that will come to light in the second book.
When and where will your next book be available?
The Hidden King is available on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited (ebook and paperback), and online (paperback only) at Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, and more. The next book in the series will also be available in these locations in mid-2020. If you are in a bookshop (or in your local library) and don’t see it on the shelf, ask them to order it!
What has your journey to publication been like?
For me, independent publishing was the way to go, for a variety of reasons. It allowed me to function on my own schedule, arrange my own sales, and market the way I chose. But I wanted to make sure I produced a piece that was as high-quality as any book that had been through the works at a “Big-5” publishing house, so I spent a long time with editors and artists to ensure that it was up to snuff.
What else are you working on?
Right now, my time is well occupied with working on Book Two, which is a prequel to The Hidden King and centers on Ninian. It’s tricky writing a prequel, but I’m having a good time with it.
Any tips for aspiring fantasy authors?
The most important thing you can do is observe. Watch everything around you, and watch it with the intent to make it yours. I also recommend reading as much as you can, both in and out of the genre.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk! It was great hearing all your wisdom and learning about your books. I hope everyone checks out her work, both in book form and her social media handles. You can find her at @egradcliff on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.