Today we have the lovely Gillian Bronte Adams with us! Gillian is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas and the dreamer behind the Songkeeper Chronicles. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist.
Join me in welcoming Gillian!
1) What is your favorite part of speculative fiction?
How true it can be. It seems like the more fantastic a story is, the less readers should be able to relate or actually be impacted or changed by the story. (What do I have in common with someone who spends their time leading armies into battle or hunting down criminals in space?)
But really, the inner challenges that characters face, the decisions they have to make, and the flaws that they struggle with are all so relatable. And sometimes the fact that it takes place in a fantasy or sci-fi world is almost disarming to me as a reader, and I am more likely to be impacted by those characters and those stories than I am with contemporary or more “realistic” reads.
2) What is the one author, living or dead, who you would like to co-write a book with someday and why?
Brandon Sanderson. Hands down. He’s one of my favorite authors of all time, and his fantasy worlds are so incredible! It would be such an amazing experience to craft a book with him and learn from him and just be able to tell that kind of story! #dreams
3) If you could travel anywhere for book research (all expenses paid) where would you go and why?
Everywhere? I love traveling so much, and there are so many places that I want to visit and so many awesome cultures and countries that I would love to be able to draw from in my writing.
But right now, the top two places would be an active volcano (from a safe distance, of course) and a jungle because both of those play into my next top secret project.
4) What were some of the challenges for you writing your book?
Song of Leira was the hardest of The Songkeeper Chronicles books to write. I think a lot of that was because it’s the last book in the series and there were so many plot threads to weave together and lots of promises that needed to be fulfilled.
So the process was challenging and the final month and a half of writing felt like I was sprinting non-stop! But I am honestly so pleased with how it all came together. Now that I’m past the painful part of the process, it’s really exciting to look back at how that happened.
5) What is your favorite thing you have ever written?
For me, it’s always the next project I’m working on. Each new project becomes my favorite in turn! But I am still especially in love with Song of Leira and particularly the last 1/3 of that book.
That’s the part of the story that I wrote non-stop, barely pausing to eat and sleep, because the story was just happening so fast and intense that I had to get it out. And even as the author, that’s kind of the sense I have when I reread it, and it stirs up all sorts of emotion in me, so I can only hope it does the same for readers.
6) What is your favorite part about writing?
That moment when you as a writer become fully immersed in the story, and you can imagine yourself there in the scene, hearing what the characters are hearing, and seeing and smelling and feeling it all like you’re standing in their shoes. Those are the moments for me when writing feels like floating instead of treading water and it’s amazing.
So much of writing is about just doing it, about setting your nose to the grindstone and getting words on the page. But those moments when the words and the story and the characters and the world all come together into something beautiful, wow, those moments keep me going.
7) How do you come up with your story ideas?
My story ideas slowly coalesce over time. I actually realized the other day that I’ve been thinking/dreaming about my new post-Songkeeper Chronicles project for over six years, and I only recently actually started writing it. So, usually I get just the barest hint of an idea – sometimes, it’s a character that intrigues me or a concept or a storyworld I want to explore – and there’s not enough for a story at that point. But I let it sit and simmer in the back of my mind and stir it up every now and then, and by the time I’m actually writing, it’s grown into a full-blown plot!
So, I’m working on writing a new series now and I’m neck-deep in characters and plot and worldbuilding and the first draft and it is so delightful. I have another series simmering in the back of my mind with some characters/plot points just beginning to form, but it’s nowhere near ready to write. And I have another idea for a character who needs a story and world and plot but it’ll probably be several years before she’s to the point where I could actually write her book.
Thank you so much, Gillian! Here is where you can find her online: