Please welcome Kathy Tyers! Kathy’s first science fiction novel was published in 1987, and she has been at it ever since. She has been accused on two counts of writing Star Wars novels (and pleads guilty on both counts), but she also likes being known for her original “Firebird” series. Volumes 1-3–Firebird, Fusion Fire, and Crown of Fire–are also published as The Annotated Firebird. Volume 4 is Wind and Shadow, and the award-winning, messianic Daystar rounds out the series.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My favorite comment has been: “I have a bone to pick with you. You cost me a good night’s sleep, finishing your book.” Recently, a longtime fan sent a photo of himself with his little son surrounded by stuffed animals and toy stormtroopers. Too cute.
What book are you reading right now?
I’ve nearly always got at least five books going. Right now they include: Lisa Samson’s The Living End, Timothy & Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage (I am a newlywed (:)), Gillian Bronte Adams’s Orphan’s Song (Enclave Publishing!), and Iain Provan’s Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters. Iain was my Old Testament Foundations professor at Regent College. He integrates Old and New Testament in ways that I find enthralling.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what are some examples?
Oh, yes—but only at certain stages. For instance, I wrote the first battle scene in Firebird while listening to the sound track to “The Man From Snowy River.” I like listening while I write rough drafts, but I don’t dare when I’m self-editing, and that takes up a lot more of my writing time. I need to know the emotion’s actually on the page, not drifting in via the music. The Annotated Firebird lists a lot of the music that inspired sections of the first three Firebird novels.
What was the inspiration for Firebird?
When “Return of the Jedi” was released in 1983, I spent a lot of gardening time that summer imagining a romance for Luke Skywalker and an Imperial fighter pilot. Since Star Wars is totally copyright-protected, I took that fan story and ran with it, imagining a Jedi knight-like culture with a deeply different spiritual and philosophical underpinning. Now, I like Brennen Caldwell much better (sorry, Luke). Still, I’m very interested in seeing what has happened to Luke in the new Star Wars movie. Rumors abound!
Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Firebird is loyal and courageous under circumstances that most of us would find abhorrent, and it takes… well, it takes a really good man and a really good story to make her see that she grew up in a culture that’s graceless and oppressive.
Tell us about the love interest.
My sister read an early draft of Firebird, handed it back with a grin and commented, “Trying to create the perfect man, weren’t you?” Well… no, not perfect. But gifted, highly skilled, virtuous, devoted, single-minded, and did I mention the ice-blue eyes?
What can you tell us about any future releases you have planned?
Enclave Publishing plans to re-release all five novels in the Firebird series over the next few years. I’m giving them an extremely light touch-up, and Enclave is giving them updated, coordinating covers.
How long does it take you to write a book?
A year is good. Four months to write the rough draft. Eight months to whip it into shape.
How do you write? What’s a normal writing day for you?
When I’m writing rough draft, which I find emotionally exhausting, I can write for 45 minutes to two hours. Then I am through. Exhausted. Beyond finished. Editing, though, can go all day. I have to force myself to get up and stretch, walk around the block, clean the house, eat, sleep….
What is your favorite thing you have ever written?
The fifth book in the Firebird series, Daystar, is the messiah-in-space novel that I did not have the chops, the education, or the chutzpah to write back in the 1980s. I hope I developed the chops (Daystar won the 2013 Carol Award for speculative fiction). Regent College gave me the chutzpah and a strong sense of mission: That book needed to be written. After all, if our same Lord came among us in a far-future culture, with genetically modified telepathy, faster-than-light travel, and instant communication, what would be different—and what would be the same?
Thank you so much for joining us today, Kathy! Here is where you can find Kathy online: