Author Interview: Lindsay A. Franklin

Lindsay A. Franklin is a freelance editor and the best-selling author of The Weaver Trilogy. The first book in the series, The Story Peddler (Enclave Publishing, 2018), introduces readers to a world where storytellers weave their wares into crystallized sculptures with the potential to reveal dark secrets. The Story Raider (2019) is the second release in the trilogy described as “a colorful fantasy of light, darkness, and the many adventures in between” and “a perfect blend of humor, heartache, and healing.” You’ll find Lindsay on her website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What would you like readers to know about the story that unfolds in The Story Raider?
I hope readers will see my heart in an even clearer, more obvious way than they did in The Story Peddler. Raider is a little darker, wrestles a little more deeply, and begins to touch on tragedy in a way I’m not sure Peddler was ready to fully explore. I love The Story Peddler for what it is, but something about The Story Raider feels like it reflects me as a human a bit more closely.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
I was under an insane time crunch to finish this book. This wasn’t my publisher’s fault. It’s just the way my work year panned out, and I wrote about 80,000 words in a month to finish on time. I’m a pretty fast writer, so this might not have been too terrible, except that The Story Raider takes my characters all around the empire on a ship. That meant I had to research ships, firstly, and I had to build four new cultures. In a month. Thankfully, I had the underpinnings of these countries, languages, and people groups churning in my mind for years beforehand, but even so, the mad dash to finish by my deadline was manic, to say the least.

You mention in previous interviews that the initial inspiration for the first book in The Weaver Trilogy came from a comment by an acquisitions editor who described herself as a story peddler. What inspired this second book?
Once I had the initial idea for Tanwen and her storytelling gift, the rest of the series logically snowballed—not all at once, of course, but one step at a time. As a writer, there are some goals you have as your series go on. Raise the stakes, expand the story world, deepen the character development, throw obstacles into budding relationships. For The Story Raider, I knew I wanted to see Tanwen mature a lot. I wanted to complicate her love life, have her wrestle with her family life, challenge everything she thought she knew about some people, and to begin to see the world beyond her tiny corner of familiarity. The plot for Raider grew up around some of these goals for Tanwen. I also had a strong idea about a new character’s journey in the third book, and Raider served as the introductory piece to this new character’s story.

Did you feel sorry for any of your characters as you tortured them on the page?
When I consider this question, the first character that comes to mind is Brac. I don’t want to spoil anything major, but I took one of my simplest characters and threw him into a very messy situation—much of which is his own fault, some of which is the result of manipulation. I feel terrible for him. I feel terrible for the mess I’ve gotten him into, and when I finished Raider, I wondered what in the world I was going to do with this poor boy. I left many of my characters in bad spots at the end of Raider, and he’s near the top of that list.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for The Weaver Trilogy?
It’s always a challenge to take the world I imagine and try to convey it on the page without dumping information on the reader. Sometimes I get questions from readers about an aspect of world building (usually the magic system), and part of me wants to drop a Wikipedia entry about how the magic works in the middle of the story so everyone’s questions are thoroughly addressed. That would be bad writing, of course, so I won’t do that. But finding the balance between including enough information and doing so in a way that doesn’t bog down the story is really challenging, especially when you’re writing fantasy.

Describe one of the main settings and why you chose it for the story.
At the core of Tanwen’s character has always been that she’s a simple farm girl. She has big dreams, lots of talent, and the desire to see and do and be more. But the fact is, she was shaped by her upbringing in a small town. The ideologies of that small-town culture are at the center of who she is, even if she can’t see the value in that at the beginning of The Story Peddler (incidentally, this is one of my favorite things about Tanwen and Mor’s relationship in the first book—he’s the one who tells her to embrace who she is, small town and all, even as she chases her dreams). So I had a lot of fun taking my small-town girl and bringing her to exotic locations in The Story Raider. I love each of my new settings for different reasons, but I probably love the culture and history of Meridione the most. For Meridione, I drew upon my Italian heritage and several other cultures for my source material. One of the most fun scenes for me to write was when I took my Eastern Peninsula farm girl and plunked her down into a rough pub on the west coast of Tir. She orders tea.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
Coming back to these characters I love was so fun for me. I started my first draft of The Story Peddler in 2013, and while I had worked on it a lot in the years between the first draft and the release in 2018, The Story Raider was the first time I got to work with all-new material in ages. That was very refreshing, artistically.

Without giving the plot away, tell us a scene in The Story Raider that you’d love to see play out in a movie.
There are two battles in Raider that I would love to see play out in a movie—specifically the one that takes place aboard ship. I won’t say more than that, but it’s a very emotional sequence that I think would be visually stunning. Also, the introduction of a new-in-Raider character. We meet her on an island, and she’s a fascinating, tragic character for me. I would love to see her onscreen.

How awesome was it to win the 2019 Realm Award Book of the Year for The Story Peddler?
I was…beyond shocked. I still have no words!

As a freelance editor, what are some common mistakes or missteps you see in client submissions?
Too much telling—where the manuscript reads like a biography of the main character rather than a novel. Then there’s a stage where writers (myself included) learn about showing and telling and sometimes over-show. Where one quick line of narrative summary would suffice to keep the story moving, and instead we get a beat-by-beat description of a scene that doesn’t move the story along. Finding the balance between show and tell takes practice and sometimes a little coaching.

What writing projects are you working on now?
The third book in The Weaver Trilogy is complete and with my editor right now. The title is The Story Hunter, and it’s scheduled for release in May 2020.

Speculative Fiction Writer

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