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Saturday, September 8, 2012

GUEST BLOG POST/GIVEAWAY with Rowena Cory Daniells

Catch up with Rowena on Twitter: @rcdaniells
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Fantasy Book Critic is pleased to welcome Rowena Cory Daniells as she celebrates the release of her new series The Outcast Chronicles. Enjoy this lovely guest post from her as we celebrate the release of book one, Besieged. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end! 


The Power of Story

When my great grandmother gave birth to a seven month baby back in 1901, the doctor told her to be ready to bury it. She didn’t. She wrapped the baby girl in cotton wool and kept her in a shoe box and fed her with an eye-dropper through her nose, because the baby couldn’t swallow. This damaged her hearing and made her deaf, but she grew up to be the eldest of four girls.

Everyone in the family learned sign language and she joined to the Deaf and Dumb society (as it was called in those days). There she met a young man. They fell in love and she brought him home to meet the family. As a small, deaf boy of six, his parents had left him in an orphanage to sail home to England and visit relatives. 
They never came back for him and he spent his childhood waiting for them. When my great grandmother heard this she told him - the ship went down.

She said it with total conviction and he believed her. To her, this was the only thing that could have possibly stopped his parents coming back for him and the moment she said this, his outlook on life changed.

It didn’t matter whether it was true or not. It mattered that he believed it.

My mother told me this story when I was a child and I’ve never forgotten it. I think of that little boy, left alone, waiting for his parents to come back for him, being disappointed year after year as he grew into an angry young man who believed he’d been abandoned because of his disability. And I think of my great grandmother who, with four simple words, rewrote the story of his childhood.

To me this is a powerful story because it changed someone’s life. It also reveals the power of story because I will never forget it. Story taps into emotion because we identify with the people in the story.

We grow up listening to stories. We teach children important lessons through stories (remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf) and we make sense of the world through story. It is much easier to remember the details of a story, because we identify with the characters.  As we experience what they experience, we learn from their mistakes, which is why so many children’s stories are cautionary tales.

A really good story makes us question our assumptions and the characters linger in our minds. Even fantasy stories based in created worlds can do this, if they didn’t Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings would not be so popular.

As a writer, I prefer writing in a secondary world because I can create just the right situation to test my character. I love placing my poor people in terrible situations where they have to confront their inner fears and make important choices.

This is what I have tried to do with The OutcastChronicles. I’ve built a world where people born with gifts are feared and ostracised, where parents whose baby is born with the physical characteristics of a mystic, are forced to give them up. Then I’ve told the story of Sorne, the king’s son, disinherited because he was born with the six fingers and the wine-dark eyes that marked him as a mystic.

I hope, readers will find the Sorne’s story as compelling as I did while writing.

Rowena has invited the readers of Fantasy Book Critic to celebrate the release of Besieged.  

Rules of the Giveaway:
1. Giveaway is open to everyone around the world!
2. Only one entry per person please. 
3. Contest starts September 8, 2012 and ends September 17, 2012 at 12:01 p.m. EST.
4. All entries will be used for the sole purpose of this giveaway and not sold or used for other purposes. 
5. Entries without an answer to the giveaway question will not be included.
6. Have fun!

How to Enter:
Send an email with the subject - BESIEGED to Make sure to include your name, address and an answer to the giveaway question listed  below.

Rowena has a copy of Besieged, book one of The Outcast Chronicles, to give-away to one lucky commenter. (Open world wide).

Give-away question: What stories did you hear as a child that still linger in your mind?


Rowena Cory Daniells said...

I'll start the ball rolling. I read everything that wasn't nailed down and some things that were.

But what I looked for was the thrill of something that filled me with wonder.

@DahgMahn said...

Oddly, the lines that stick with me most came from my earliest reads.

"One dog, two dog, red dog, blue dog!"

Maybe thats why they call me Dahg Maybe not.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I still remember:

See Jane run. See Dick run. See Spot run.

Riveting stuff when you're 5.


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