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!


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June Goals | WIP Milestones and Booking My Audiobook Narrator

Happy June, Sparrows and bookworms!

After I’ve burned myself out in May – badly – I vow to do better this month *high five*

The below may not read like much, but they’re all big milestones across all WIPs!

Brightened Shadows

My first priority this June is to go over the rest of my critique partner feedback and make some changes to my draft. Once that’s done, it’ll go to my editor for its line edit. I might also read over everything again before that to make sure I’m happy with the changes and that everything flows well.

Blood Wisp

As I mentioned in the May update, this book is a right mess. Once I’m done with Brightened Shadows and it’s in my editor’s capable hands, I’ll restructure Blood Wisp. I’ve already started, and it’ll be a fairly simple process of copying chapters from the current draft and pasting them into a new draft, without any of that repetition and now-unnecessary chapters.

I’ll have quite a bit of rewriting and adding to do afterwards, but it’ll be much stronger for it when I’m done.

The Rise of the Sparrows Audiobook

I won’t say too much here because details are what my Audiobook Diaries are for, BUT I’ve chosen my narrator and am ready to book her.

I’m a little unclear right now as to how the next steps work (mostly admin-y things), but I’m hoping to wait with production until July to make sure I leave myself enough for living costs.

I’ve gone slightly over budget, but this narrator is perfect for my book, so I’m okay with that.

If they are happy to wait, too, I’ll be booking my narrator this month. I imagine it’ll be fine, but as someone who’s never done this before, I don’t want to make any assumptions.

And that’s my little big update! What are you all up to this June?


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December & 2019 Recap | The end of an exhausting but good year

What a packed year this has been, friends and bookworms! I possibly got more done this year than in any other, and I felt the end-of-year exhaustion this month when a few things didn’t go to plan (private things I won’t bore you with), Word crashed and lost my afternoon’s work despite autosave being on (what did we learn? don’t trust autosave. it’s a lie.), and I trapped a nerve badly in my shoulder/neck when I stretched one morning last week, which forced me to slow down a tiny bit earlier than anticipated.

BUT all that was nothing Christmas couldn’t fix, and I’m back at my desk today and as motivated as ever 🙂

Today’s recap will look at what I’ve achieved this month, but it’ll also look back at my goals at the start of the year.

Relics of Ar’Zac

You ready? This’ll be tiring to read. Make a tea now–don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This year, I…

*ahem*

… re-edited and re-published Rise of the Sparrows.

… finished and published Blood of the Dragon.

… finished and published Shadow in Ar’Sanciond.

set up the box set for pre-order.

had a book trailer made for Rise of the Sparrows and booked the trailer for the box set.

Lists sure make everything look easy, don’t they? o.o My main goal this year was to publish the rest of this series plus publish the box set before my 30th birthday next month, so I’m exactly where I wanted to be (despite what the next points might have you believe).

Having said that, publishing three books over three consecutive months is exhausting, and I don’t think I’ll do it again. There’s just no need, you know?

Now the marketing can begin for real! *pushes up sleeves*

Brightened Shadows

I wrote the sequel to Darkened Light and wrapped up the first draft during NaNo. It’s currently proofing, but edits will start next week and I’m aiming for an October 2020 release.

And, of course, Darkened Light also got a book trailer this year!

Blood Wisp

Things didn’t work out as planned at all for this little trilogy. Back in January, my goal was to publish the first novella in October, Novella 2 in November, and Novella 3 in December. Instead, what used to be three novellas is now one novel thanks to critique partner feedback, and I had to re-plot books 2 and 3 from scratch.

So, while I published none of these, they’re in a better place now and I feel much more confident going forward. Sometimes, we have to take a few steps back before we can go ahead, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Publishing the individual novellas would have a been a mistake, and I’ve learned so much about plotting a whole series in one go!

I’ll decide which WIP to work on next this week, and will announce it in my January/2020 post. I’m torn between Blood Song and…

Dreamer

This trilogy came out on top this year! I first wanted to write Book 1 during the July Camp NaNo, but I had so many editing jobs at the time that it didn’t happen, plus I wasn’t happy with the plotting.

I set it aside until next year, but then I struggled to get into Blood Song during NaNoWriMo once I’d finished Brightened Shadows, and since I didn’t want to force it (which would have meant unnecessary painful rewrites later on) and had a good idea of where Dreamer might go, I chose Esta’s story.

And it flowed, friends and bookworms. It flowed.

I now have a finished first draft, which is proofing until I’m ready to write books 2 and 3.

Sarina’s Sparrows

My Facebook Reader Group was born this year!

This was quite a big step for me since I left Twitter shortly before due to having too much social media to catch up on every day, but I have no regrets.

We talk about books, worship cats (and other animals), get early teasers and all other announcements before everyone else, there are exclusive giveaways, and I have a lot of other fun planned for next year, too, so come join us!

I believe that about sums it up! It doesn’t look like much, summarised as it is, but I assure you I was quite tired before my Christmas break XD

How was your December? How was your 2019? Grab some biscuits to go with that tea and tell me about everything you have achieved <3


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November Recap | … or How to Destroy NaNo Between Release Dates

November has been a super busy month for me (hello, NaNo!), but it’s also been super productive. In fact, I’m doing so well for time for once that I’m scheduling this post one day ahead! :O AND I’ll schedule my December goals right after! :O :O

Must be all the tea I’ve had this month.

Relics of Ar’Zac

I published Blood of the Dragon without a hitch, and now Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is ready for its big day too. It’s currently up for pre-order at only 99p/99c, so go get it while it’s cheap!

I haven’t looked at the box set again, but that file came back ready from my formatter and I’m not doing a paperback for it, so that’s pretty much there too.

NaNoWriMo

Friends, I destroyed NaNo this year.

I hit 50k words in just 15 days (and then I slept for a year) on Day 21–take off the weekends I didn’t write, and that’s 15 days of NaNo dedication!

I reached 40k on Day 20 (a Wednesday) and realised I could technically finish NaNo that week if I wrote 5k on Thursday and Friday. Finishing NaNo a week early and in time for the weekend sounded nice, so I decided to give it my best shot.

I then wrote 10k on the Thursday.

Friends.

I’ve never written this much in one day in my life! NaNo truly brings out the best in me.

I’m beyond chuffed that I unlocked all my rewards this year. My shirt is on its way <3

Despite that, it didn’t quite go to plan. I finished the first draft of Brightened Shadows and that’s now proofing, but I didn’t move on to Blood Song as I had planned to. I tried, but it’s been roughly half a year since I last looked at Blood Wisp. I just wasn’t in the WIP anymore. The characters felt forced when I wrote the first chapter.

I realised that, to write Blood Song, I’ll first need to read over Blood Wisp again and take notes, but there’s no time for that during NaNo, so I decided to put it aside for now rather than force it and be unhappy with everything.

Instead, I started Dreamer, which doesn’t even have a name yet. I did have some notes since I originally planned on starting it during Camp NaNo in July, but that didn’t work out for work reasons and I hadn’t looked at it again since. I figured I’d start it some time next year maybe, so this was the closest to pantsing a novel I’ll ever come XD

I did have a whole notebook full of ideas and character profiles and I knew where the plot needed to go and how it would develop, but to go in without Scrivener index cards was surprisingly jarring.

Because I wanted it to be a novella, I set the target word count to 20k. It’s currently at 25k and I’m only just at the midpoint, so we’ll see how long this will actually be.

BUT the words are flowing and Esta is so easy to write, which is all I really wanted for NaNo.

How was your November? Make a tea and tell me all about it <3


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