RJ Blain on Her Greatest Character Strength and Weakest Characer Trait @rj_blain #Fantasy #TBR

Posted on Friday, October 10, 2014

What’s your greatest character strength?
I’ve been told by a multitude of trustworthy sources that I have the patience of a saint, so I’m going to go with that one. I like trying to give everyone a chance to prove themselves and become better – especially at writing. I think giving someone the gift of my patience is the only way I can really help another writer or person do what they want to do.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Hyperactivity. When I’m really having fun, I get particularly energetic and hyperactive. This can involve bouncing, squealing, and other disruptive reactions. I usually try to save this bundled up energy for home, but sometimes it slips out in public…
… especially if I spot a horse. I love horses.
Why do you write?
I love writing. When I first started to write, I think it was because I wanted to escape the real world for a while. Now, I just write because I like bringing these worlds to life for other people. I really enjoy the entire process. My favorite thing, however, is when I feel like I brought an interesting character to life on the page for others to enjoy. That really makes all of the work and effort worthwhile.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
No. Once upon a time, I hated reading and writing. Most of my elementary school career I spent dodging language altogether. I enjoyed science experiments. Most of all, I enjoyed sports and playing outside. I had no use for general education and English until fourth grade. Then I had a teacher who gave me a copy of A Wrinkle in Time. I learned to love writing shortly thereafter.
What motivates you to write?
A lot of things motivate me to write, but most of all, writing was something I decided I wanted to do. It’s very much a focal point of my daily life, and it’s gotten to a point I feel bereft if I’m not writing in one way or another – even if I’m editing something I’ve already written. Once upon a time, however, I was love in with the idea of seeing my book on a shelf. Now I’m just in love with writing. I think that shift is what let me actually want to turn my writing into a career.
What writing are you most proud of?
Storm Without End is definitely the piece of writing I’m most proud of. I started trying to build this book some six years ago, went through as many complete rewrites, but I finally managed to capture the essence of the Requiem world like I wanted, and managed to give these characters real lives of their own. 
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
This might sound a bit weird, but I’m really proud of the fact my husband and I could buy a house. When we got married, we were the definition of broke, and could barely afford to pay the rent on the cheapest apartment we could find. Achieving the stability to buy a home and live within our means was a huge accomplishment for the both of us!
That, plus the fact we’ve been married for over ten years now.
What books did you love growing up?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, and all of the Valdemar novels by Mercedes Lackey. These were followed up by Stephen King’s The Stand and Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. I skipped a lot of the younger age reading stuff and went for big fat fantasies and horrors pretty quickly.
Who is your favorite author?
Mercedes Lackey. She was the author who inspired me to write. My favorite of her works is definitely her oldest books, though. Nowadays, my favorites also include Jim Butcher (Mhmm Harry Dresden and Tavi!) and Brandon Sanderson.
What book genre of books do you adore?
Traditional and Epic Fantasy. I really love escaping to fall off worlds full of magic and wonder, with a healthy side dish of action, adventure, and excitement. I’m growing a bit more fond of Urban Fantasy as well, though I tend to favor novels like The Dresden Files.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book made me think, and I really enjoy books that make me think. I feel this sort of novel has a lot of impact over time. That said, I think it needs to be read in the mindset of comparing the reality of our world with the presentation of the government and world from Brave New World to have the most impact.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I really have a strong dislike for A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. I never was able to get into it, and I keep getting pressured by people who think I should enjoy it when I don’t. I probably wouldn’t dislike it nearly as much if so many people didn’t act like I should like it when I don’t.
It doesn’t fit my particular tastes. I have nothing against people liking this series, but I don’t want it shoved in my face when I just don’t enjoy it.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Obituaries are so interesting. If I had to have one written about me though, I’d hope it’d be written by a fan of my writing. My writing is an integral part of me, so that’s what I’d like for  it to be about. So I guess I’d like to be survived by my pets (and hopefully my spouse) and my fans – I’d like my writing to be remembered by people who enjoyed my stories.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the middle of the woods in Maryland. It was about 45 minutes to get to the nearest actual library, 20-30 minutes to the closest grocery store, and the morning commute to my high school took 2 hours. Once I learned to read, there was nothing else to do but play pretend and read books, so I got lost in my own little world fairly often.
The next door neighbor and I played abandoned on an island using a picnic table as our island and boat pretty often.
I abandoned ship after I turned 18 to move to Canada, as my fiancé (at the time) had work there, so it made sense for me to immigrate to Canada.
How did you develop your writing?
I practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. Then, with an overly ballooned ego, I asked another writer friend for his honest opinion. My ego balloon was shredded to little scraps. Being the stubborn type, I rolled over and played dead for a few months, dusted myself back off, snapped my fingers, and decided I’d prove him wrong. It was about that time I realized I had to relearn most of what I thought I knew about grammar…
I developed my writing by writing, reading about how to improve my writing, and trying to emulate the authors I really enjoyed until I found my own style and way.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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