Inspirations of an Author
Tolkien’s The Hobbit was given to me as a gift when I was 11, and it really opened the castle gates of fantasy to me. Suddenly, there was a whole world of swords, magic and fantastical creatures to meet. Immediately after I turned the last page, I took all the money I had saved in my Crayola bank, and biked down to the local bookstore. My goal was to buy everything else Tolkien had written. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings. From there, the elements that inspire my stories are varied and wondrous. Some may seem mundane, like conversations with friends and acquaintances—but everything, and I mean everything, can inform and inspire an author.
One of the biggest for me is any world where dragons can make an appearance. I find that extremely compelling. They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can? Please and thank you! I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around. Not necessarily physically strong, although that’s groovy too. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. Obviously, my preferred genre is fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves for those reasons.
With that in mind, I’ve been inspired to write (hopefully) strong female characters for a couple of decades now. I didn’t set out to do so. There was no conscious effort to make my work specifically male or female. My very first, very immature story was about my group of friends in junior high/high school. Because I was, have been, and always will be interested in fantasy, it was in a fantasy setting. Everyone carried swords, everyone was heroic with their swords, and that was essentially that. It was a story meant for my friends, and I thought highly of all of them, regardless of their gender. My parents raised me to believe that everyone was deserving of equal treatment. At the same time, I recognize that women around the world are not treated equally. Portraying women as something other than a pretty damsel in distress adds to the conversation. That doesn’t mean I denigrate men to raise up women. That’s also the wrong message to send. HELL BECOMES HER is the follow up to my debut release TEARS OF HEAVEN and follows the further adventures of Del, a strong female protagonist, who faces demons, both real and inner. This time around, she gets to face some classic bad guys, while at the same time confronting what it means to be both a woman and a mother. Challenges that face any parent on a daily basis, even one that isn’t fighting supernatural forces.
Finally, telling a good story well and hitting some epic high note moments is always inspiring. It’s hard to not to get carried away from the reality of, say, a sword fight or a gun battle, and into the unrealistic. Keeping the physics of actions and reactions on target is something I really strive for and enjoy. This is especially enjoyable when readers catch the effort that went into making a scene exciting, but still within the realm of the real. I have to say that my favorite is when a reader comes to me and says, “I can’t believe you killed this character. He was my favorite.” They really aren’t mad, but it means that I connected with them through that character, and I achieved a realism of life between their mind and the book with that character. That’s magic right there.
About the Author
RobRoy McCandless was born under a wandering star that led to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing. He’s the author of the urban fantasy TEARS OF HEAVEN winner of the 2014 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll and a 2015 EPIC eBook finalist and HELL BECOMES HER. His shorts have appeared in “In Shambles” (with Kevin J. Anderson) “Gears, Gadgets and Steam” and “Nine Heroes”. He continues to research and write historical and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with his three boys.