Today’s guest is Wyn Estelle Owens, author of The Dragon’s Flower (2019) and The Dark King’s Curse (2020). The former of those book I loved and recommend and the latter I have just begun.
I know Wyn slightly through Kendra’s group for fairytale retellers and I’ve seen a little bit of the inside of her writing. She’s a lovely person and can be quite funny. (As you will see if you read the dedication for The Dark King’s Curse.) She has the best characters. (Use of hyperbole acknowledged.)
So, I hate inventing interview questions, but I’m always glad of the results
Hello Wyn and welcome.
Hello! Thank you very much for having me. I’m glad to be here!
First off, a little bit about you. What do you like to do besides writing?
Lots of things, honestly. Reading, of course, is my favorite, but I also do a lot of handicrafts, making jewelry and crochet and knitting especially. I enjoy drawing as well, but only have the time. The same goes for watching shows.
Sounds a bit like me. I used to do so much handcraft, but now I can hardly find the time.
The Dark King’s Curse is a Celtic fantasy. Did you grow up with a love of Celtic mythology and fairytales?
Sort of? I definitely loved fairytales growing up (and Disney Princess movies), and I loved mythology in general. However, my knowledge of Celtic mythology was spotty until recently, and I’m still not as knowledgeable as I’d like to be. Besides that, I’ve always loved Celtic things in general, because I’m mostly Celtic myself. Most of my ancestry is Scottish, but I’ve also got Irish and Welsh blood in me, so I’ve always been interested in Celtic stories.
I thought that might have been the case. I recently discovered I’ve wee bit of Scottish and Irish ancestry myself, but it’s mostly drowned out by the English and Dutch.
Are there any specific inspirations for this story other than the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale?
The story of Daniel interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It’s what leapt into my head when I began plotting, way back in last January.
Interesting. I think I see the very beginning of how that plays out.
I’ve read The Dragon’s Flower and this story is dramatically different, at least in setting. Did you approach them in any different ways?
Somewhat. I didn’t need to do as much research culture-wise, because I’m already pretty familiar with medieval society. DKC’s story also didn’t require the same sort of worldbuilding that DF did, so that was pretty different. The biggest difference was how characters relate and interact with each other—they’re a lot more open and less structured than the characters of DF, because of the difference in cultures. For instance, Ailsa feels no embarrassment in trying to kick Fionn in the ankle (unless she fails), while Hanako would never dream of doing anything of the sort to Isao.
What do you think is the coolest thing about the Dark King’s Curse? You wrote it, so you must love it.
Laisren. Without a doubt. He’s just Laisren.
Okay. I don’t think I’ve met Laisren, but I’ll take your word for it until I do.
Did you always want to be a writer? How long have you been writing?
I’ve wanted to write pretty much as far back as I can remember. The first story I really remember writing was a poorly-disguised Happy Hollister knock-off when I was somewhere around seven-ish, and I only got a few pages into it. I made several more attempts, diving into the realm of fantasy (most of them fueled by my interest in the Redwall Series), but my first truly serious attempt was a manuscript that reached fourteen chapters when I was eleven. The next year I wrote what would become my first finished novel (three hundred pages written by hand), which pretty much sealed my fate as a writer forever.
When I was eleven… Actually, I don’t remember much of being that age. I certainly wasn’t writing though.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? Was there any particular soundtrack for this book?
I find it difficult to write if I’m not listening to music! There wasn’t a particular soundtrack, though I did listen to some Celtic-y music here and there.
Celtic-y music is always a good choice. Even when it doesn’t entirely fit the story.
Okay, now for a slightly silly question to wrap things up. What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman! A habit from my school days. I’ll write in Calibri Body sometimes, but that’s usually because I was too lazy or in too much of a hurry to get words down to fix it when I start a new document.
Serif fonts are cool.
And that is that. Thank you, Wyn, for taking the time to answer all those.
People, go check out Wyn’s books.
A darkness seems to hang over the lands of Conall, slowly but surely growing in strength with each passing year.
It all comes to a head when the twelve daughters of King Muir begin to disappear each night. None will admit where they go, and the only clue is their shoes; new in the evening, tattered and torn by morning.
When no one can stop the disappearances, Ailsa–lady-in-waiting to the youngest princess–volunteers to try and solve the mystery, or she and her peers will pay the consequences for failing to watch over their charges.
Armed with nothing but her gift of Fae-sight, Ailsa ventures forth on a quest to free her lady and the other princesses. With the help of an grumpy, glamoured gardener, a cursed faerie cat, and the mysterious Lord of Autumn, she may discover both the secrets and the truth behind the Dark King that lies at the root of the curse.
Wyn Estelle Owens is the penname of a young woman who’s still figuring out what this whole ‘adult’ thing is all about. She lives in a big, old house in Maryland by a Hundred Acre Wood (dubbed Neldoreth) with her parents, three occasionally obnoxious brothers, her dog Jackie, and her personal plot bunny, Joker.
She is fond of reading, writing, drawing, speaking in dead or imaginary languages, playing videogames, quoting classic or obscure literature, being randomly dramatic, and generally making things out of yarn. Her dream is to write stories that inspire people to chase after the wonderful world of storytelling.
Her favorite all-time authors are Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Christa Kinde, and above all, J.R.R. Tolkien, who first inspired her to pursuing novel writing when she read the Hobbit at the age of seven.