We are back with a new SPFBO interview. My schedule has opened up again, so hopefully I can be a bit more active on the blog! Today’s interview is with Ryan Meier. Hope you guys enjoy!
STARTING OFF WITH A BANG
Introduce yourself! An easy question to start off with. Who are you, what do you write?
Hello Readers! I’m Ryan D Meier and I write epic fantasy.
Is this your first time in SPFBO?
Yes, this is my first year submitting and I couldn’t be more excited to share my entry.
What book did you enter into this year’s event?
This year’s entry is Shadows of Creation, my recently released book #1 of my epic fantasy series, the Creation Chronicles.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Yes. Several of the characters are focused around topics that are close to me, but Brenn is a character I designed to highlight aspects of mental health that are so common in our society. He struggles with deep seed guilt that manifests through depression, alcohol abuse, and an unconscious desire for self-punishment. I’ve seen aspects of those things in the mirror and in friends and family throughout the years.
It was therapeutic to write his scenes, and I hope his struggles help my readers feel less alone with some of those feelings.
What was the inspiration for the story? What are your future project(s)?
Ironically, the book began taking shape with a really simple plot concept – one I said “Gee, that would be interesting”. Without giving too much away, one of our characters develops a plan with the best of intentions and it quickly blows up in his face, leaving him to scramble and desperately try to put together the pieces.
What are the key themes and/or messages in the book?
Although epic fantasy often takes place in fictional worlds that has few ties to our own reality, the themes and characters are often as real as you and I. Shadows follows that same premise.
We struggle with major societal issues every day. Income inequality, race relations, cultural differences, mental health, the abuse of power, corruption, and greed. My characters and the people of Turina deal with those same topics, just like you and I.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
My vision for how Shadows should read was clear from the very beginning – a completely fictional world, multiple character POVs, and a diverse plot where separate storylines crash together.
A lot of planning and outline organization went into ensuring the approach would make a pleasant reading experience and not a confusing one!
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
I’ll be vague and tell you that each of the characters will continue to grow. Our protagonists mean well, but as you get to know them you see their flaws. Like you and I, they will work each day to be better.
Book 2 of the Creation Chronicles, Elements of Creation, is being written as we speak. A third book is planned to finish the trilogy.
MORE RAMBLES ABOUT WRITING
What is your favorite book you’ve written?
Shadows of Creation is my first published novel and definitely my favorite. I have a stand-alone novel written (in editing) and other unpublished works. But Shadows represents so much of what I want to share with my readers.
Who are your favorite authors?
I’m a Brandon Sanderson fanatic – enough said. But my reading varies – a few favorites: Dragonlance novels (specifically Weis & Hickman), Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Ernest Cline’s books, The Expanse series from Corey, Game of Thrones by GRR Martin, Kingkiller Chronicles from Rothfuss, Sword of Truth with Terry Goodkind (loved some, disliked others) … I could go on and on.
What makes a good villain?
Villains can be done well in a few different ways, but the ones I love the most are the ones that have a motive that could be justified. They are doing evil things, but without evil intentions. A well-known example: Thanos from the MCU. He wasn’t trying to kill half of the universe’s population for fun or destruction – it was to maintain balance.
Doesn’t make it right but makes him an interesting bad guy.
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?
I want to give a huge shout-out to all the featured authors from Worldhoppers’ Guild. It is a completely free indie author promotion site I own and operate. It features original short stories and free samples from dozens of fantasy, science fiction, and horror self-published authors.
Check it out and find your new favorite writer – worldhoppersguild.com. Or, if you’re an indie author, contact us for a free feature.
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
How much I hate the editing process… can I say that here?
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
Full plotter here – and would consider myself a gardening architect. No matter how well I plan, sometimes the story and characters show you there’s a better way.
If you had to give up both snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
I’m a pretty simple man. I try to only have tea during writing, limiting as many distractions as I can. With that said, do not touch my tea. I repeat, do not touch my tea.
Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?
No preference, although the winter months are easier for me. My wife and I have four beautiful children and try to stay as active as possible with them. Good weather means I need to manage my time better.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I think the best characters are “real” people – in the sense that they remind us of people we are, we know, or have known. I build them from the ground up, using the idea that people make decisions based on their core values and the things they hold close to their heart.
What is your writing process? Do you have one? What is your workspace like?
I’m a morning writer and sit in the same spot every day. I set goals and do my best to make it a 6 day a week habit. However, life gets in the way – and that’s okay.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Many places, but music is my number one. While I’m in the planning/outlining process, I dive into music and often find certain songs help me visualize scenes and flesh out character backstories and personalities.
How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
After finishing Book 2 and 3 for the Creation Chronicles I have a rough outline for a modern day urban fantasy series that has a few killer concepts built in. I’m focused on the next two, but I have so many ideas in this head I’ll likely have to leave some to the next generation in my will.
Do you have any new series planned?
Yes, but there isn’t anything more important than finishing the Creation Chronicles.
MORE ABOUT YOU
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my wife and children. We like to spend time outside hiking, swimming, gardening, etc.
For myself? I love reading (although it’s a lot of audiobooks these days), watching anything creative, and video games.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Beach bum? Is that an option?
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
Tea. Simple, organic black tea (with a touch of local honey!)
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
Machu Picchu – because if there is going to be magic on this earth, I bet we could find some clues there!
There is so much of this world I haven’t seen, I can’t begin thinking about exploring another part of the universe yet.
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your road trip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Katara from Avatar the Last Airbender, Tanis Half-Elven from Dragonlance, and Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones.
We’re going to save the world (obviously).
What superpower would you most like?
Healing. If I could help ease someone’s pain I would.
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
Buddha. I would make a simple vegetable stir fry from my garden over brown rice.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I’m yoga enthusiast (even though my routine gets broken).
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Support quality local businesses and the good people who own them.
Finally, what is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?