Interview with Author Tricia Barr
Today, I am excited to introduce first time author, fellow blogger and fangirl, Tricia Barr. She has recently written her first full length novel, WYNDE! Today, I posed a series of questions to help introduce you to her and to get a sense of what WYNDE is all about.
Please welcome Tricia to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl!
What does the title of this novel signify?
Wynde is a family name, the surname of the lead character Vespa’s father. Her mother is a Fireheart. The parents keep their last names and at adulthood the children pick what name to take. Wynde is the first book in the Fireheart Series, and this is significant to the journey Vespa takes. Stories help us discover who we are; we learn about ourselves from the trials and tribulations of the characters. Hopefully as Vespa begins to understand who she is, as a person and a heroine, the reader will learn something about her- or himself.
Does the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you? If so, give a few examples…
What’s in a name? Essentially, everything. I spent several weeks picking names, researching their meanings and origins. Then I started pairing names to see how they sounded together. Vespa is derived from the word “vesper,” which has religious significance but also means an “evening star.” I wanted her name to sound more feminine so I replaced the “-er” with “-a.” That gives it a lighter sound as it rolls off the tongue. Vespa’s core group of friends – Terraq, who also happens to be her brother, Gemini and Zephyr – needed names that worked in concert with her name. She gains a mentor and a potential love interest within the story, as well, so I also attempted to have those names work with her name.
Many of the names in Wynde are related to the elements fire, air, earth, and water. This reflects the religious beliefs and cultural differences in the society on their home planet, Prime. Many characters have two elements in their name, such as Zephyr Tames; his first name denotes moving air and his last name brings to mind the famous river Thames. By doing this I was able to show that many on Prime have moved past former biases, but that doesn’t mean everyone has…
Some names came about in unique ways. One character in particular I wanted to sound determined and fierce right when he was introduced. I was watching a video of a honey badger and realized Badger really captured that vibe. Other times, I’ve used names of real people that remind me of the character, but switched up letters. This happens more often with the bad guys, especially ones for whom I have grand plans for their demise.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
I love the freedom of space opera or space fantasy. Really, your imagination is the only limitation in prose storytelling. Obviously Star Wars was an enormous influence on my life. I loved X-wings just like I loved the flying in Top Gun. The teamwork in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly and later in The Avengers is something that I hope to reflect in my story. All those stories are known for their witty dialogue. That helps bring humor to dark stories. Mostly, though, I love to tell stories and I wasn’t seeing a lot of what I liked to read. After I read one particular New York Times bestselling novel, which will remain nameless, I said to a friend, “I can write better than that.” That was the moment I made the jump from fanfiction, where I was a successful and award-winning writer, over to my own world-building.
I have an engineering background and spent some time working on the space program as an intern for the Air Force. That influenced the military science fiction elements. The Primeans are in the early stages of intergalactic trade, and there will be many things for them to learn about how alien minds work. I try to keep the space battles and technology grounded in realism. The fantastical elements allowed me to explore ideas that were new and inventive, and also to create a superhero origin story; actually, several superhero origin stories. The alien invaders are waterbound, essentially mer-aliens, but some of them have removed their tail fin and replaced it with mechanical legs so they can do battle out of the water. I really wanted to include mythical creatures, and being an equestrian I naturally had to use the Pegasus.
All that world-building is useless if there aren’t characters the reader can get behind. The late Aaron Allston was a master at creating characters that were relatable, and that you wanted to root for. From the feedback so far, every reader has different favorites, although a few particular characters – Nix, Gemini, Terraq, and Vespa – rank as favorites most often.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and does your characters reflect some of these attributes?
Here’s the funny thing: you almost have to be little insane to write a novel, especially when you’re talking about an epic space opera. Characters kept me up at night. They argued with me. I would be driving and realize I’d missed my exit because I was pondering a plot point. Then there is the crushing fear that I’m writing the worst thing ever. These are things every writer deals with. Personally, blogging keeps me grounded and interacting with others because writing a novel is a very isolating process. The attribute most needed to finish a novel is determination, and in a hero’s journey like Wynde, there are bound to be a few characters with plucky resolve to press on when others would walk away. So yes, a few of my characters are crazy and a few are doggedly determined. I’ll leave it to you to discover which ones are either or both.
WYNDE is available now from most bookselling platforms. For more information, check out my author website at TriciaBarr.com. You can follow me at @fangirlcantina on Twitter and Fireheart Series on Facebook.
Thank you so much, Tricia, for joining us today! Her novel WYNDE is available NOW and can be bought in either hard copy or electronic format from the following retailers: