Interview with Alessandra Clarke, author of Rider’s Revenge
28 Sep 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Rider’s Revenge.
It follows a young woman, K’lrsa, as she tries to avenge her father’s murder and finds that the broader world isn’t at all what she thought it would be. She’s used to spending her days riding her horse, hunting, and basically doing what she wants. She finds herself a dorana in the court of the Toreem Daliphate where everything she does is under someone else’s control and she’s dressed up in what basically amounts to a golden cage.
She thinks it’s all worth it as long as she can get her revenge—which involves killing the Daliph and destroying the entire Daliphate. Problem is, there’s a young man she’s been dreaming of and when she finds out that he’s real, it throws all of her plans into chaos.
It’s definitely a fantasy novel—I won’t say more because I don’t want to give too much away—but it’s also about growing up and proving yourself and struggling to figure out what the right choice really is.
What’s rocking your world this month?
Häagen Daz sea salt caramel gelato. Sooo good.
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
My father. He passed away twenty years ago when I was eighteen. He was an amazing man who overcame some incredible challenges in his life. I thought I understood what they were, but now that I’ve had a chance to live an adult life I know that I didn’t understand half of the challenges he faced to be the amazing father he was and I’d like to tell him that.
Plus, I haven’t found anyone who can match him at backgammon since.
Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I think I own at least four copies of it, including one in Spanish. My dad gave me a copy when I was sixteen and I found it so poetic and thought-provoking that I devoured everything else I could find by Gibran.
Where did you get the inspiration for the names of your characters in Rider’s Revenge?
Hm. Good question…
I tend to be one of those people who absorbs the idea of something but forgets the details so I often navigate by instinct.
K’lrsa’s name just came to me and then I knew if her name was like that then all of the tribal names would need to also have that sort of initial consonant with an apostrophe. I’d seen it before in the Dragonrider books by Anne McCaffrey, but I think it was also drawn from a book set in Africa that I read in high school (since the setting for the novel is similar to the Saheel region in Africa) and my study of Quiche Mayan which uses glottal stops. (Not that I expect anyone to pronounce the names using glottal stops.)
For the names in the Daliphate I wanted a different feel, so you’ll see that compared to the tribal names, a lot of which end in an a and are short, the names in the Daliphate are longer and end with -oon or –en or –el or –il sounds. I want to say it was a Middle Eastern feel I was going for, but not quite.
I like to take reality and then twist it a few degrees off center so that there’s an echo of the real world but you know it’s not the real world.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
I’ve always loved stories about people who were telepaths, like the Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley, so I think I’d have to choose that as my superpower. But…I don’t think I’d actually want to know what most people are thinking most of the time and I KNOW I wouldn’t want others to know what I’m thinking most of the time. Not that it’s bad or anything, but I’m a writer so most of the time spent in my head I’m off in some fantasy world spinning stories for myself.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from Rider’s Revenge
There are a couple scenes towards the end that I really had fun writing. I happen to be what’s called a “pantser” as a writer, so even I don’t know what’s coming until it happens sometimes. And in two cases I wrote a scene and then said, “Where the hell did that come from?”, but it’s great to surprise yourself as a writer and I hope I surprise readers with it, too. Although my readers may be smarter than me and see ’em both coming. (Ideally they won’t but will nod to themselves and think, “Oh, yeah, of course. That makes sense.”)
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I have a forty-page file of favorite quotes that I keep on my computer, but this one seemed like a good choice because it’s the philosophy I’ve been living by for the last year: “…following your dreams and having fun is far more important than making a lot of money, because you can always make more money if you run out, but you can’t bring back a dream that you’ve passed up for too long.” – Patricia C. Wrede (A great person and author, by the way.)
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