In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Tyrean Martinson, who contributed the story "Of Words and Swords" to the anthology.
Interview with Tyrean Martinson
When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the blinking cursor or my current WIP is mired in muddy plot-issues, I write in my journal or I write with writing prompts. After I do that for 10-15 minutes, it seems like something finally lets go and my creativity and ability to write comes back. To work around other obligations, I take my writing with me wherever I go. When my daughters needed me to drive them to activities, I would write while they were engaged in those activities. When I've had to, I get up earlier and write or I write while the dinner dishes are getting done by someone else. If I cook, my daughters and husband usually clean up - this grants me a 15-20 minute window to write. 15-20 minutes may not seem like much, but I can get some writing done and that helps keep my WIP fresh for a lengthier session later. Creative daydreaming time is always useful, too. If I'm taking a walk, I try to imagine my story world. This helps when I sit down to write.
I love reading and writing fantasy so this anthology seemed like the right fit and then the prompt about lost heroes gripped me. The more that I've thought about it (even beyond writing my story), the more I'm convinced that most fictional heroes are lost when we first meet them in their story world. I don't know many fictional heroes that don't have some sense of reluctance at the beginning of their adventures. It might be that I'm just drawn to reluctant or lost heroes because I feel they represent the kinds of doubts we all have about ourselves. When I think of real world heroes, I often think of firefighters, EMTs, and missionaries who run orphanages, schools, and human trafficking counseling centers. Real heroes never seem reluctant or lost on the outside. However, a semi-retired 80+ missionary lady I know has mentioned that she harbored some doubts at different times in her 60+ years of missionary work - she's taught classes in schoolrooms in Pakistan, India, China, Brazil, Kenya, and Peru. My family has a firefighting friend who has shared the heaviness of his work - it isn't something he just leaves behind him. He is troubled by the pain and suffering he sees. In my personal background, I have struggled with bullies both as a kid and as an adult teaching in a classroom that included both victims and bullies. As a kid, I always wanted some kind of righteous vengeance on my bullies until one day one of them asked me to forgive him. I realized that I had been becoming a bully on the inside, letting my anger and hurt change me. I had to rely on forgiveness to change my path toward something better. I think that the concept of a lost hero is part of how we deal with those moments when we struggle to find something good or heroic in the world around us.
So far in 2017, my three favorite reads have been Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (it's a Star Wars book that runs parallel to the original movies), Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (a superhero urban scifi fantasy novel), and Red Rising by Pierce Brown (science fiction/dystopian). My favorite book as a teen was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. On the surface, Ender's Game is a sci-fi novel, but I really think it's more about bullying on an individual level and a societal level. Each of these novels includes a redemptive arc for the main character that requires the character to forgive others or themselves.
Despite all the seriousness of my answers here, my story "Of Words and Swords" is fairly light-hearted. Sometimes, I think we need a little light-heartedness when we read and when we write.
Daydreamer, writer, teacher, believer–Tyrean Martinson lives near the Puget Sound with her husband and daughters. With her B.A. in Ed. and English, she teaches writing classes to home-school teens and she writes speculative, contemporary, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing books.