I met Rebecca Gomez Farrell almost a year ago, when she came to Martuni’s for the Literary Speakeasy. We read together in March when she set up the Broad Universe RFR at FogCon and again in August at the Octopus Literary Salon when her first novel came out. I had some questions – I always have questions – so I invited her to stop by my blog and chat.
Rebecca Gomez Farrell writes all the speculative fiction genres she can conjure up. An associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Becca’s shorter works have been published by The Future Fire, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and Pulp Literature, among other outlets. Her first fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, debuted in August 2017 from Meerkat Press. This year, you can also find several of her short stories in new anthologies: Little Letters on the Skin, Through a Scanner Farkly, and Dark, Luminous Wings (October 2017).
Becca’s food, drink, and travel blog theGourmez.com has garnered multiple accolades. It influences every tasty bite of her fictional world-building. She lives in Oakland, CA, with her tech wizard husband and two trickster cats. Her fiction website is RebeccaGomezFarrell.com. On social media, she’s @theGourmez.
Loren Rhoads: Did something in the real world inspire your book?
Rebecca Gomez Farrell: Does my lifelong desire for a career in fiction writing count as real world inspiration? Joking, joking! My inspirations for the book don’t come from the real world so much as wanting to play with different concepts and going from there. For example, I wrote the book’s beginning relationship between Janto and Serra as overly romantic, as though they’d stepped right out from the pages of a bodice ripper with exaggerated proclamations of love and devotion. I purposely wanted to set them up in readers’ minds as a couple with deep affection for each other…but perhaps not as mature of a relationship as they believe themselves to have. That early scene places their tender love in juxtaposition to the news of Serra’s brother’s murder and her rising emotions of grief and anger. Can it weather such adult tragedy?
I guess you can say romance novels are one real-world inspiration. So is a hatred of mosquitos, social disparity, and the patriarchy.
LR: What is your favorite scene in the book — and why?
RGF: With the caveat that I can never pick a favorite anything without soon changing my mind, I’m picking a scene from Vesperi’s point of view at the very peak of the book’s climax. Which means I’m not going to tell you much about what happens, but I will share why I love it. It’s a final test for Vesperi, a moment of “what if?” for the reader. What if her character journey has been all for naught? What if, in Chapter 57, she’s really the same person she started as in Chapter 1? It’s a scene that makes clear my own thoughts on a fatal flaw within a patriarchal system: underestimating the value of women. Plus, Janto gets a really cool line.
LR: What was your writing process like as you wrote Wings Unseen?
RGF: It was a long and twisted road…by which I mean I began thinking about the book in college, which was fifteen years ago! The first few chapters—the introductions to my three main characters—were clear to me right away. I wrote those out in 2007, if my file properties can be believed. As I wrote, more scenes jumped to mind, so I noted the basics of a scene and filed it away for later, when I needed a prompt to begin. Writing the book in earnest started in 2009. By 2013, it was ready for submission after a third draft and a round of beta readers. I am not a fast writer, needless to say!
I organized my plotting as I went along, coming up with a character tree, glossary, and map as my memory demanded them, and ironing out the timeline after finishing my first draft. But my character arcs and my basic concepts were clear from the get-go. The puzzle of drafting came from figuring out how to fit them all together.
LR: What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
RGF: For me, it is hearing genuine reports from friends and family that they loved it and couldn’t put it down. What a compliment! But I do also appreciate the opportunities to read my work for a crowd. It feeds into my enjoyment of performance in childhood. I dare say I’m a better authorial reader than I ever was an actress, singer, or director!
LR: What do you have planned next?
RGF: After several successful local Bay Area events to promote Wings Unseen over the last couple of weeks, I am going on a book tour to Los Angeles and the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina! I look forward to seeing all my connections in those areas and reading with a great slate of fellow authors. I will also be attending SirensCon in late October and possibly ConVolution soon.
Oh, did you mean writing projects? Well, I’m working on the second draft of a post-apocalyptic romance novel called Natural Disasters. After that, I will turn my attention to a Wings Unseen sequel. In short stories, my fantasy fable “Treasure” will appear in October in the Dark Luminous Wings anthology. I had a humorous science fiction tale and poetic flash horror story released this past summer as well. I am always working on new short stories.
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancèe of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the bedeviling Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.
- Publisher’s Page on Wings Unseen: http://meerkatpress.com/books/wings-unseen/
- Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2x25GBc