A Chat Over Tea with Fantasy Author Rhianne Williams

PHOO! It’s been a while since I’ve done an interview for this site. I won’t go into details again, so I’ll just throw the word burnout into the room and trust that you get it. The plan is to make these a regular thing as I originally wanted to!

This month’s interview is with the busiest of bees, Rhianne Williams. You might know her from her many writing projects or maybe from her website Little Novelist, where she helps other writers achieve their writing dreams.

Today, we’re talking about world building, how to juggle a gajillion WIPs, and what she’s working on at the moment. Video games are mentioned somewhere in there too.

A Chat Over Tea with Fantasy Author Rhianne Williams | Interview banner

S: Let’s start by talking about what you’re reading at the moment. What do you like about it?

R: I’m currently reading through the Vortex Chronicles by Elise Kova. It’s the next series after Air Awakens. I always have to be careful when reading Elise’s books as they usually give me MEGA book hangovers and then I have to not read anything for a while. I love the worlds Elise creates and honestly I just love everything Vi is also such a character. Originally I had planned to read all five books on my honeymoon but that got cancelled due to Covid and as Elise was running Air Awakens August it seemed right to pick up this series finally!

S: As someone who LOVES everything world building, I have to ask: what is it about her worlds you love?

R: Elise has such an incredible imagination. She really knows how to pull the reader into the book and make it feel like the places she’s made up could be a real place. As a patron of Elise’s I recently learned she spends months building the world before she even starts thinking about the story as a whole. Which naturally fascinated me as an author. I also got to watch her build the world for the novel she is writing with the help of her patrons.

S: Which book has influenced you the most?

R: I wouldn’t say that there is ONE book that has influenced me. Pretty much any book that I read was an inspiration. I love the emotions evoked in writing, and the excitement of a new world!

S: I completely agree. Any book that can makes us feel something is a winner! But let’s talk about your books. What are you working on right now?

R: Oh gosh! What a question. Well, at the moment, in the very time that I am writing out the answers to these questions, I am working on editing the 4 books in my fantasy series called The Kane Saga which consists of a trilogy and a prequel novella. Then I am also writing the first draft of a stand-alone dragon fantasy, AND I am working on the outlines for a new fantasy series. At the moment it’s just three novellas but I am planning on five more books in the series which has a working title of Project Kerradin.

S: Knowing you, I’m not surprised you have so much going on, but I think it’ll look like a lot to most writers. How do you balance so many projects? I had three books on the go this month, and I felt overwhelmed at times!

R: Haha! Yeah… I’m not the best role model for authors. I tend to get myself in a flap for the most part. I’ll start with the easy one. I schedule in 1 hour of writing every morning Monday – Saturday. In this time I can do between 26-1100 words. I average 500 though. Edit wise. They’re done in queue format meaning I do one edit after the other. So for example, Kingdom of Lies is with my Beta’s so I’ve gone through the critique feedback on my novella, then when that’s done, I’ll start on book two and do one round of edits on that. Then if my betas are done by the time I finish I’ll go back to book one. Outlining I just fit in, in whatever time I have. Five minutes at work, ten minutes on my lunch break, shout for my husband to write down the scene that popped into my head while I was having a shower etc. 

S: *marvels at how specific 26 is* Do you know what’s next after these WIPs? Given how much you’ve listed above, this might seem like a strange question, but I know you’re always thinking about the next project!

R: Nope. I have a few ideas but I’ll probably let some of them come to fruition before. I might even do another stand-alone as I do have a little elf that has been vying for my attention, and a reincarnated gender-bend author too. I am on the lookout for new ideas though, so maybe something new will arrive soon!

S: I can’t believe you said no and then listed two ideas and mentioned you have more! I knew that no was a lie 😉

What do you enjoy the most about this process? It could be anything from writing the first draft to doing research to connecting with readers on social media. What do you like about it?

R: Writing the outline and the first draft is my favourite bit. It makes me so happy to create, and that’s the part I love the most. Creating. The other part I like is finally holding a copy of the book in my hand and having people tell me they enjoyed the story. 

S: What do you enjoy the least? Why do you dislike this part of being an author?

R: Editing! I hate editing. As much as I know it makes the story better, I really hate it. If I could go from first draft to finished manuscript without the editing I would love it. I always find editing takes longer than writing the draft because I do so many drafts/revisions after the first one. For example, Kingdom of Lies is on draft 6 already haha.

S: So many authors feel that way, but I don’t get it XD Maybe it’s because I used to edit for a living? Seeing how much the draft improves through all these edits, how they start to sing… *sigh*

ANYWAY. Inspiration is an often-asked-after topic for artists of all formats. How do you approach it? Do you find inspiration, do you let it come to you, and how do you do it?

R: I let it come to me. Inspiration isn’t something you can capture, at least not in my opinion. It can choose to strike at any point. For me, it usually ends up striking at the most unlikely places. Either when I am driving to work, or in the shower. 

S: Authors like to joke that, if someone were to look through their search history, they’d be in trouble. What’s the weirdest thing you ever researched, and which book was it for?

R: If i’m honest… nothing haha! I write fantasy so there’s not that much to research. Not like a thriller writer might research ways people die, or what happens if you stab someone in a certain place. I tend to just look up mythologies and then find a way to twist it. 

S: But aren’t those things still just as important in fantasy novels? I read a lot of fantasy, and the body count is pretty high!

R: Well… yes. But in a fantasy you don’t have to have too much in-depth knowledge – which is what I meant. 

Sure you need to be realistic, you can’t have someone running around after being stabbed in the heart, but you don’t need to know where the trace evidence would be like you would in a modern thriller/detective novel way.

S: That’s very true. And I don’t think our readers look for those kinds of details, either – at least nothing that specific!

What do you consider the most important thing you’ve learned since you first decided to write a book?

R: When I wrote my first book, I completely pantsed it. I had no idea where it was heading or what was going to happen at the end of it. But it took me three years to write that fist manuscript and another 18 months to edit it. Whereas now, I spend time outlining my books which means even if I stray from the path I always know where I need to get back to, and it takes me less time to get those words down on the page.

S: See, I’m a plotster, too, and I think your reason for outlining is why every author should at least plan a little: if you know where your book needs to go, you can’t really get stuck! And there’s nothing worse than getting stuck halfway through the middle and not knowing what to do. It might still be tricky with an outline, but at least you know what your characters need to aim for!

But I’m getting distracted *ahem* When you’re not writing your book or reading others’, what do you do to relax and have fun?

R: Play the xbox or watch TV. I’m a big binge watcher so watching only one episode is really hard for me haha! And I can literally spend all day playing Skyrim or The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Sometimes I play the sims too but I can get bored of that super quickly.

S: I’ve lost so many hours to all of those games. Although, I admit, Skyrim has lost its magic for me. It feels depressing after putting so many hours into Elder Scrolls Online – it highlights everything that’s gone to shit in Tamriel since the good old days XD

Before you go – where else can we find you on the interwebs?

Author portrait of R. S. Williams

R: The best places to stay in contact with me are over on Instagram, on my Facebook page or on my email list. I have one for readers and one for writers

S: Thank you so much for stopping by, Rhi!

If you have a question for Rhianne or me, leave a comment below and we’ll reply asap!

You can find all interviews here.

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Sarina Langer