Sunday, June 27, 2010

Interview: R.J. Anderson, author of Wayfarer

Please welcome R.J. Anderson, author of Spell Hunter and Wayfarer. You can read my review of Spell Hunter here. R. J. Anderson (known to her friends as Rebecca) was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, went to school in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely.

1. Please describe Wayfarer in 50 words or less.
A faery named Linden ventures into the modern human world to save her dying people, enlisting the help of Timothy, a human boy, along the way. But their quest earns them some dangerous enemies, and soon their lives, and the fate of both their worlds, is at stake.

2. What inspired you to write about faeries? How did you come up with the lore behind Spell Hunter and Wayfarer?
I was always interested in the idea of small faeries, but I disliked their reputation -- in North America at least -- for being cute and sparkly and generally childish. So I decided to turn that idea on its head and write about a small faery who was not in the least cute, and whose problems and challenges were very big and serious (and even grown-up) indeed.

Some of the lore in the books is invented, but in most cases it's my own personal spin on ideas that are part of faery folklore anyway. The particular group of Welsh faeries that Linden and Timothy encounter in Wayfarer, for instance, are very much based on a genuine Pembrokeshire legend. But I tried to avoid legends and traditions that have been overused by other authors -- or at least, if I did have to draw from those very familiar sources, to put a fresh spin on them.

3. If you could choose one of the faery jobs, which one would you want?
I'd want to be the Oak's librarian, for certain. I love books and I'm good at keeping things organized, and it would be just about the only task in the Oak that I could be sure of doing well!

4. Everyone reads classics in high school English. Which ones did you love? Which ones should students never be forced to read?
People are going to think me horribly warped for saying this, but I loved Lord of the Flies. Not because it was a pleasant read by any means (in fact I was enraged nearly to the point of tears over the fate of Simon, who was my favourite character by far) but because it rang true to my own experience as a bullied and ostracized child. I could easily believe that a group of "angelic" children could degenerate into barbarism and murder if all restraints were taken away, because I'd experienced the cruelty of unsupervised children myself. I had a similar "Yes, this" reaction to Animal Farm.

On the other hand, I nearly tore my hair out in despair over the very dull works of "classic Canadian literature" we were forced to read, most of which involved housewives going through midlife crises or old men reminiscing about the war. On the Prairies. With the wind blowing the grain. And nothing much else.

5. The one book everyone should read?
The Bible. Even if you don't believe a word of it, it's exerted a huge and undeniable influence on literature in general, and even on the fantasy genre in particular. And it's tremendously honest and perceptive about human nature, at its best and worst.

6. Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, please tell us a little about it.
I'm just about to plunge into revisions on Arrow, the third book in the faery series, which is scheduled for publication in the UK this coming January. It wraps up the loose threads from Wayfarer and brings the war between the rebels and the Empress to a resolution. After that I'll be polishing up a very different project, a paranormal thriller for older teens called Touching Indigo, which will be out Fall 2011... and then it'll be time to write a fourth faery book, Swift, which is either a standalone or the start of a new trilogy -- I'm not sure yet.

7. Any last words?
If you're reading this and you're a teacher, librarian and/or book club leader who is interested in me and my books, I'm available to do virtual visits and interviews on Skype. You can find out more details on my Skype an Author page ( and contact me through my website,

Thanks so much for joining us Rebecca!


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