How much fun did Michael Rothman have creating the different creatures and places in Willow’s world? What is Eer Ha’ehven an anagram for and was it done on purpose? How much research did he have to do in order to write this book?
How much fun was it to create the different creatures in this book: the wildlings, shadow walkers, clickers, etc?
As someone with an engineering background, writing allows me to stretch my imagination and give an outlet to things that could be. Whether they be things of good or bad, it is a very satisfying effort when it’s all said and done.
The different places on Willow’s world—the Forbidding and the dark underworld called Eer Ha’ehven—what was your inspiration for these places?
I imagined a world where bombs had fallen and from the ashes of a world nearly destroyed – what would likely be the result. I tried to predict a somewhat realistic place for things as a result. The underworld being a place where some may have taken up shelter centuries ago was a natural idea to explore and see what might those refugees be like after centuries of having lived underground. In the areas of devastation, most would die, but there would likely be those who managed to survive, and those would almost certainly have evolved to deal with their adverse conditions. So let’s just say it was my vision of a not-so-distant possible future.
Eer Ha’ehven can be an anagram for “Here Heaven.” Was this done on purpose?
This question makes me smile. Yes, it was, but it has a dual meaning. In a different language, (עיר האבן) it means city of stone.
How long did it take you to complete this book? Will there be a sequel?
It took about three or four months from conception to finished product. As to a sequel, it depends on demand. I currently am busy writing some future work that is in a very different genre (Technothriller) but there is plenty left to be written on this story. I purposefully left it in a good place where people can see where things are going and can hopefully be satisfied with where I stopped the story. I very much know where else I’d take it.
Is there any particular reason you decided on a strong female character (Willow) for the leading role in your book?
Even though I’m not one for identity politics in any fashion, I like the idea of strong female characters versus those who might be written as following a different stereotype. Also, I like to write things that might surprise people, so if folks are surprised by Willow – good.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
Random inspiration. Whatever feels right is usually what I go with and they usually grow on me. The one thing I try to avoid nowadays is too many characters with the same first letter in their name. Folks tend to get annoyed by it and confused.
How completely do you develop your characters before beginning to write?
I usually have a character sketch in my mind for most major players in the story. However, I’ll admit that they do evolve sometimes and have been known to take a complete 180 from where I started – again, inspiration does come into effect at times.
How long did it take you to decide on a title for your book? Were there many other possible titles you had picked out?
Oddly enough, I had that title almost immediately and stuck to it. I was pretty sure no others would have come up with such a thing and it had a meaning of sorts, which of course is explained later in the book.
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book?
Not too much for this. I knew most of what I needed for this title. However, when writing, it’s not uncommon to constantly have to look up tiny things to ensure accuracy in portraying something. Whether it is the creation of arrows and their history or the forging of a sword, you want to get the details right or people will certainly tell you in no uncertain words.
Do you plan out the entire book before writing it? Or do you just sit down and write?
I usually have a pretty good outline of general events and then I fill things in as I write.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
I’m pretty determined once I start. I usually don’t start something unless I’m pretty excited about where the idea is going.
What is your favorite genre in which to write?
It did start in epic fantasy, but I’ll admit I currently have a particular fascination with writing technothrillers. I know, pretty big leap – but stay tuned, I’ll be announcing a book deal soon enough on something in that genre.
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
I’m good at juggling and have an understanding family. 😉
Have any new opportunities come your way because of your writing?
Occasionally getting asked to talk at conferences, but that’s not so new to me. I think something is cooking that may be very new for me, but I can’t talk about it yet. Again, stay tuned. 😉
Are you successful enough to write full time?
Not yet. I think it’s rare for most authors to be able to do it full time. And it is most particularly rare for those who are rather successful at their primary job for book income to supplant the need for the primary income. But it would be nice, wouldn’t it? 🙂
NOTE: This is not my complete interview with Michael Rothman. The rest of it can be read at Rockin’ Book Reviews.
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