Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interview with Villa Spiderhawk

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

My work has been classified as paranormal romance, as fantasy, and as historical fiction. Romance fits two of my books, but the other categories fit all four.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
Oh no question about it!

My genre(s) chose me!

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

I think I'd like to try writing mysteries, and maybe once I finish up with the Forest Song series I shall.

I don't see myself writing science fiction, but never say never!

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I actually very much enjoy 19th Century French literature. I go back and read those lovely old books every chance I get. It's wonderful stuff, plus it preserves my fluency in French, since I rarely speak it anymore.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,

I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. Seriously. I've always had a passion for language. In fact, linguistics was one of my majors in college. Other than that I'm just your average hermit living in the middle of the woods with five cats and a bunch of deer.

I'm a retired French teacher and have taught middle school, high school, at community colleges, and at SUNY Binghamton. I retired about eight years ago, though and decided at that point that if I didn't follow my bliss and actually write a book, I never would. And so I did. And then I learned that writing books was like eating potato chips. You can't stop with just one.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Oh I can't name a favorite character. Each of them is precious to me in an individual way.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

There really aren't any villains in Hidden Passages. But in the Forest Song series, the Nazis are the villains. I had nothing to do with creating them, though.

8. What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on the fourth book in the Forest Song series.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

The most recent of my books to be released is Forest Song: Letting Go. It continues the story of Judy Baumann, a German girl who finds her true home and calling in the German-Polish Corridor in the late 1920s. The series follows her life through the Second World War and maybe beyond. So the original idea came with the first book. From then I have simply been listening to Judy as she tells me her tale.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

In Forest Song: Letting Go, Judy encourages Inga, the young woman she hopes will be her protégée, to go out into the woods to decide if she wants to stay and mother the woods. Knowing that she is nearing the end of her life, Judy wants to be sure someone will remain behind to protect the sacred forest.

The first chapter is spoken from Inga's point of view. The second chapter, however, continues Judy's narration of her adventures during World War II. In this volume, Judy's friends face abduction, imprisonment, and even murder. And in trying to help, Judy confronts betrayal and failure and disappointment as well as stunning successes.

“Oh, good, Inga, you’re back. You were gone a long time,” Babcia’s grin was maternal when she welcomed me home. Pixie small and candle straight, her white hair loose to her waist, she flicked her wrist when I shrugged to explain my days-long absence. “No, I said to take your time. I knew where you were. I wasn’t worried. Have you made your decision?” I nodded. “Good, good. Now have some vegetable soup.” Sitting at her table, I accepted the soup and told her about my adventure. She didn’t eat. Instead she sat on the edge of her chair and, leaning on her elbows, tilted toward me, her peridot eyes going rapturous blue, anticipating a long and complex story.

Three days before, I had gone to explore the forest I would mother if I stayed. Pretending to feel safe, I’d hummed a cheerful little ditty while treading only on the sunny spots. But every rustle, every crunch, every snap of a twig had hauled my heart to my throat, had stopped me short. Arms extended, my fingers defensively splayed, muscles clenched into panicky knots, I couldn’t move my head but, working on their own, my eyes had scuttled to the menacing shadows.

Finding nothing, or at best a scampering squirrel, I’d gone on, fiercely working to trust September’s warmth. Ever watchful for snakes or the signs of a bear, though I didn’t know what those signs could be, I placed one foot in front of me, sniffed the air like a hare, hummed a note, and eased the other foot forward. In a month all the leaves would be gone from the trees, and the woods would be more light than shade. The snakes and bears would be safely tucked away in hibernation. In a month I would be much less endangered. In a month, I told myself, I could walk through the trees and smile at my soul-squeezing fear. But on that September day I dared not let my guard slip, for I could not see what lurked behind the curtain of leaves or what prowled among the whispering gloom.

“What are you doing?” I demanded of myself. The afternoon breeze puffed my hair into my face. “You don’t have to do this. It’s not your job to save the woods. Just say no and go back to your life.” My life wasn’t so bad if I squinted just right and ignored the dismal fact of Mama’s death. I could tell Babcia that I had decided not to stay. I’d go home and make peace with my father. I’d quit school, find a job. And when I had some time off, I’d visit the old woman, maybe bring her a gift. She’d understand and forgive. I turned around to go back, but I could no longer see her house.

Kids back to school? Time to relax with a SpiderHawk book or two!

Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones

Forest Song: Finding Home

Forest Song: Little Mother

Forest Song: Letting Go

Forest Song Cookbook


Malcolm R. Campbell said...

So, you also started with a crayon! I hope it was out of one of a box with at least 64 colors so you had plenty to choose from.


Anonymous said...

Lovely interview. Thanks for letting me into your life, Vila with the experienced guidance of J.L.
One of my sons lives in Binghamton after a career with a dance troupe.

Sandy Nicks said...

Great interview, Vila! I love your writing. I also love that you have 5 cats like me :-)

I wish you much success and look forward to the release of your next book.