As a newcomer to writing, that question is hard to answer. What I can categorically state is what the hardest thing has been to date: ego management!! Having a book edited for the first time is the first test. Facing up to facts about your writing, how good or bad your book is. OK, if you have a kind editor then you’re doing good (and I did), but still - the process can be quite a kick in the guts. The second test will undoubtedly be when reviews start to come in. Overcoming self-doubt is tough, and facing up to facts can be even worse.
If you asked me this question in a few months time, my answer would more than likely change. But for now, sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering if it was all worth while - if I am good enough to sell books - that is the hardest, and most painful part.
Can you give us a short synopsis of the book?
Path of a Novice is the story of young elf, Fel’annár - Green Sun - narrated in three instalments: Path of a Novice, Road of a Warrior and Rise of a Warlord.
A precocious child, his past is shrouded in mystery. An orphan, half-breed, ill-bred, he is raised by his aunt in the Deep Forest. Mocked for his mixed heritage, Fel’annár must learn to overcome discrimination and step upon the path he was born to take.
One dream, to be a captain, a Silvan captain in a land dominated by Alpine lords. Together with his childhood friends they set out into a land at war, ruled by a failing king, tinged with the blight of racism.
Adventure, hardship and understanding will lead Fel’annár down an unexpected path of discovery - of his skills and the nature of his veiled past - one that could change the course of history.
What inspired you to write this book?
I became obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkien, and specifically with his multi-racial society. However, I was left disappointed in some aspects, not for the writing itself but the lack thereof. Tolkien delves into the Noldorin elves, their history, culture, song, politics, wars, but the Silvan elves are hardly mentioned at all. I wanted to know who they were, why they were not ‘high elves’. It almost read as favouritism on the part of Tolkien and yet I was always more inclined to empathise with the Silvan elves, the forest dwellers.
And of course, when you can’t find what you want to read - then you write it. In Path of a Novice, I pick up on the point of Tolkien’s apparent favouritism and depict a land that discriminates against the Silvan people, and how they deal with their designated role as second-class citizens.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
Not enough. Perhaps it’s just because this is my first novel but I just cannot stop fiddling with it. In fact now that I think about it, I can’t answer - I have no idea how to quantify it. I sit and fiddle, get up and make tea. Return to the screen and fiddle some more. Get up and faff in the garden then back again. It has been obsessive and I am sure a professional would tell me I need to get my act together! I suppose that is just inexperience, that with time I will be able to manage my writing more efficiently.
Name your top five favourite books.
This is a cruel question. To name just five? I would have to go with the classics I think, the ones that stuck in my mind for the impact they had on me, not as a writer but a person.
Arthur C. Clarke - Childhood’s End
Isaac Asimov - The Foundation Trilogy
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Fellowship of the Ring
Gabriel García Márquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles
What are you working on now?
I am currently editing the second book in The Silvan Trilogy, Road of a Warrior. My experience with the first book will hopefully make the second instalment easier to put together - my editor’s words are still ringing in my ears!
It will also be fundamental to get a handle on feedback from the first book. Its strong and weak points, what readers loved or hated. It will certainly have a direct impact on Road of a Warrior. Fingers crossed their are no flames, just constructive criticism and a touch of encouragement :)
Title: Path of a Novice: The Silvan Book 1
Author: R.K. Lander
A land at war, a failing king, a light in the forest …
Bel’arán, land of mortals, immortals, and those that dwell in between. The elven forest realm of Ea Uaré is threatened by ruthless Sand Lords seeking water, and the undead Deviants who crave the mindless destruction of elves.
The powerful Alpine lords strive to dominate the leaderless native Silvans through power games, leaving in their wake a bereft king, assailed by grief and a family unable to forgive him.
As the king drifts in endless sorrow, the forest people are loosing their identity. Discriminated and belittled, they are the warriors but the Alpine lords are their commanders – until a child is born to the Deep Woods – an elf with the face of an Alpine and the heart of a Silvan, an orphan whose only dream is to dare become a Silvan captain in a world dominated by Alpines – Fel’annár, Green Sun.
A born warrior, to his friends, Fel’annár becomes Hwind’atór, the Whirling Warrior, and together, they will step upon the path of a novice.
Adventure, hardship and self-discovery will mould the warrior he will become. But destiny will not be ignored, and Fel’annár is confronted with the truth of his own abilities and the mystery of his past, one shrouded in sorrow and intrigue – one that may change the course of history.
From child to novice warrior and beyond, Fel’annár is, The Silvan.
R.K. Lander was born in the UK. Fantasy was always a central part of her life and soon began reading authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Azimov, Ray Bradbury and J.R.R. Tolkien. Now living and working in Spain, Ruth runs her own business and writes as an independent author.
The Silvan is her first work, a YA epic fantasy trilogy revolving around the figure of a Silvan elf, Fel’annar. The first in the series, Path of a Novice is available for pre-order, and the second, Road of a Warrior, is approaching the editing stage.