You may have read my interview on A. R. Silverberry’s blog. Today, it’s my turn to return the favour. A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.
Enjoy the interview!
Hi, great to have you here! Starting this interview in an unusual way, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Where are you from?
Saturn, possibly Andromeda, on account of my mind drifting far away. Or perhaps another century, 18th or 19th, your choice. When everyone else was listening to Credence Clearwater, I was braving the mold-infested cellar under our garage to pluck rare gems from a classical 78 collection we’d inherited.
Name your claim to fame.
Wyndano’s Cloak won a bunch of awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award Gold-Medal in Juvenile Young Adult Fiction.
What inspired you to write The Stream?
I was using the metaphor of a stream in a conversation. That sounds mundane, but we were talking about something I felt passionately about, and that feeling never left me through out the writing of the novel. Anyway, the rest of the day, I kept thinking about that metaphor. A few hours later, the character of a small boy—alone, defenceless, trying to understand the ways of the world—popped into my mind. I saw images of him confronting the challenges we all face in life: love, loss, pain, losing your way. The next morning, I put aside the novel I was working on (it wasn’t working anyway), and started writing. It pretty much tumbled out of me and didn’t let go until it was done.
What was the first thing you ever wrote?
As a child, before I fell asleep, I played out a story in mind. It was a series. Each night I picked up where I’d left off. Despite what Freud says about boys not thinking about girls during latency, these were hefty romances, usual about a crush from my class, but there were also adventures at the top of Mt. Tamalpais with a cave made from indestructible steel. I don’t recall telling anyone about the stories, but my mom must have known, because she and I used to steal away to a private place where I dictated and she scrawled like crazy. I don’t think she liked it when I made the sounds of an X-ray machine. Imp that I was, I tried to peek at the paper and asked her how she’d spelled it. She told me not to worry, she’d gotten it down.
What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
My fantasy novel for children, Wyndano’s Cloak, was published in 2010. I’ve written some unpublished storybooks and a few short stories.
Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
I’ve played piano for over fifty years. Besides walking, it’s the main way I relax. By the way, walking is where I get my best ideas and solve story problems.
In your photo you look younger than me (I’m forty-five). Which means you started playing the piano before birth. Good thing you’re a time traveler, then. What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project.
It’s a YA, dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy. (Say that five times real fast and you’re a better man than me!) I see it as a trilogy. I’m halfway through the fourth draft. I tell myself I won’t release it until all three books are done. We’ll see if I stick to that!
Which are your favorite authors and what do you love about them?
I go through phases. Last decade, I read a lot of Dickens and Dean Koontz. This decade, it’s Stephen King. Tolkien, Robert E Howard, the Oz books, fairy tales, and myths were my constant diet growing up.
Funny, in your blog you had mentioned Borges, too. You were just humoring me, weren’t you? Anyway, are you an Indie author? If so, do you have any advice for other indie authors?
My editor urged me to submit Wyndano’s Cloak to an agent. He felt so strongly about it, he actually sent it to one without my knowing it! It was nice to have someone feel that passionately about my story, but I kept telling him no. I had a strong vision of what I wanted. Publishers are sharp and know the marketplace, but they are people, subject to the same subjective responses as the rest of us. I didn’t want them mucking the book up, insisting on additions or deletions. I wanted complete artistic control and to maintain my vision of the work. But traditional publishing has many advantages, including distribution, connections to libraries and bookstores, and reviews in respected newspapers and journals. The downside is that there are so many people trying to squeeze through just a few doors. My plan for new works is to submit to agents and editors. It’s worth six months of submissions. If nothing pans out, the indie route is still there.
My advice to indie authors is the same I would give to any writer: Write the truth.
What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
My wife. My cat. My health. I have a private psychotherapy practice. I’m grateful for the confidence my clients have in me.
How would you like to be remembered?
Weaver of magic.
What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?
After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?
Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.
It sounds fascinating! Where can we purchase The Stream?
A sinister shapeshifter threatens to shatter Jen’s world and the kingdom of Aerdem. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning? Wyndano’s Cloak may be Jen’s only hope. If she has what it takes to use it . . .
Secrets, riddles, and mystery abound in this award-winning fantasy of loyalty, betrayal, and the yearning of the spirit. Ages 10 and up.
Where can we purchase Wyndano’s Cloak?
Limited first edition Hardback:
Signed and unsigned copies available only from the author
And where can people follow A. R. Silverberry?
Thank you so much, it was great having you here. 🙂