Interview: Ysabeau S. Wilce

ysebeau_s_wilceThanks for agreeing to do the interview. Whether it’s your short stories or novels, I find that you have a unique style and voice that no one else in the field is doing. How did you develop your particular writing style?

Reading, reading and reading. I have a theory that you can’t be a good writer if you aren’t a great reader. And you must read lots of different things too, with no regard for one particular genre, or for high or low literature. Obviously, I have more of an affinity towards the rococo and melodramatic, but I think it’s important not to be too limited in my reading choices, so I will read almost anything. Immersion in reading helped me develop an ear for rhythm, and made my style second nature. Now I just sit down and start typing, and out it all comes!

All your fiction so far seems to be set in the world of Califa. How did you come up with this cosmology? How do you keep track of all your characters and locations and interactions?

Califa evolved over a long long time. In the beginning elements of Califa could be found in a role playing game that my friends and I were obsessed with in high school. Back then, Califa was not called Califa, and it was more medieval. Later, when I got interested in American history, Califa began to turn into more of a California cognate. I decided, as a point of ideology, to have all my fantasy based in American mythology and geography. In my opinion, pastoral Tolkien-type fantasy is already well-picked over and I wanted to do something new. As far as keeping track of people and places, I do not do so formally. It’s all in my head. Thankfully my editor is very good at picking up continuity errors!

Have you ever considered writing fiction that’s not set in your Califa setting?

I’ve considered it, but rejected the consideration for the moment. Right now I’m still having fun with Califa and its environs, and my readers seem happy to be exploring that world along with me. But at some point I’ll have to stretch into something new.

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