It is with pleasure I welcome Kendra Olson to my blog today to talk about The Forest King’s Daughter, which has just been released, and her writing process.
1) WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE UP CREATIVE WRITING?
My parents always enjoyed reading and we always had a lot of books in the house. Also, my grandfather was a children’s writer and editor. He was the one who encouraged me to write. He even read some of my early stories.
2)WHEN DID YOU FIRST START TO PLAN THE FOREST KING’S DAUGHTER? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE STORY?
I became interested in this story after moving to London from my native California and thinking about the family members I’d left behind and how families reshape themselves. My novel was inspired by my great-grandmother who emigrated from rural Sweden to America in 1891 alongside many other young woman of her generation. My grandfather was one of our last surviving (American) relatives who grew up speaking some Swedish at home. I visited Sweden in 2011 and began learning more about this grandmother. She interested me as she’d left Europe never to return and here I was returning over 100 years later, as a young woman. It was a family connection I had forgotten about. I wanted to explore what went into such a decision, However, I never did find out and Ingrid’s story stems purely from my imagination.
3) DO YOU LIKE PLANNING OR ARE YOU MORE OF A ‘DISCOVERY WRITER’?
Generally I’m a planner, but I’m trying to strike a balance by doing more ‘discovery’ writing as I think I sometimes over plan. For The Forest King’s Daughter I did quite a bit of planning and research as it is historical fiction so I felt I needed to have that knowledge in place for the story. That’s not to say it’s all accurate, but I’ve done my best. I think there is a fine balance between letting your story be dictated by your planning/outlining and letting your characters develop where they need to.
4) WHAT PART OF THE WRITING PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST
I loved the research element of writing The Forest King’s Daughter! Also, contrary to many writers, I actually enjoy the first draft stage. Even with a solid outline it all feels so new as though anything is possible at this stage.
5) WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER AND WHY?
I like Ingrid, as she is the one who takes the biggest steps towards changing her life. However, I also like Dean Larsson as he can do whatever he likes!
6) WITHOUT GIVING TOO MUCH AWAY, CAN YOU TELL READERS OF THE BLOG ABOUT THE FOREST KING’S DAUGHTER?
The story follows the life of a young woman named Ingrid who lives with her parents and younger brothers in a rural province of Sweden in the late 1800’s. Ingrid has finished school and is bound to attend lessons at church to prepare her for confirmation, which was at rite of passage for young people at the time (Sweden was very different then to what it is today). Meanwhile, a new teacher has come to the village. He and Ingrid become good friends, to the chagrin of the all-powerful village church , and eventually her parents, who forbid their meeting. Defying her parents wishes, Ingrid visits the teacher under the pretence of helping a friend. As she’s leaving, a blizzard begins. Knowing she won’t reach home, she stays the night. Now her future is in jeopardy ss she needs to be confirmed in the church in order to work or marry.
7) I KNOW YOU ARE STUDYING CREATIVE WRITING NOW. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO EMBARK ON AN M.A.?
After I finished my novel,l I wanted to further my knowledge of the craft and I felt embarking on an M.A. would allow me to do this. I also wanted to cement what I felt I’d learned as a result of writing it. I didn’t know if I would find a publisher, so I thought I would try to get something from the experience! Also, I never got chance to finish my B.A. and I’ve always felt badly about that. So it means a lot to me to have the opportunity to achieve a degree! I felt if I didn’t use the novel as impetus to do it now, I’d never do it.
8)WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
That’s a very hard question! I don’t know if I can pick out a single author. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of Alice Munro, I love her simplicity and directness and the way she writes about everyday people and their stories.
9) IF YOU COULD GIVE SOME TIPS TO A NEW WRITER, WHO PERHAPS IS WRITING A NOVEL, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Persevere. Also, try to have a loose plan, even if you aren’t a big planner, so you have a map to point you in the right direction when you feel you can’t see the way forward,
Thank you Kendra. Many congratulations on the publication of your novel, The Forest King’s Daughter.
You can buy the The Forest King’s Daughter here: http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/books.html#Olson
Kendra is on Twitter @KendraOlson her blog is http://www.Kendraolson.worpress.com