Glenda Larke is the author of many published novels, including the Isles of Glory trilogy. She can be found online at: http://www.glendalarke.com/
Q1: You are heavily involved in rainforest conservation issues in Malaysia, where you live at the moment: is this something that you have tried, or would like to, include in your novels? Do you think issues such as this can, or should, be brought into fantasy?
Certainly I have dealt with issues of the interconnectivity of the natural environment and humankind in my books – particularly in the Isles of Glory trilogy, and yes, I believe that fantasy is uniquely situated to bring home such important issues to readers. A fantasy/sf writer can say things without sounding too dogmatic or personal because it is all set in a fantasy or future world. I love a many-layered story, and this is one of the ways I try to achieve this. I haven’t – yet – dealt with a tropical rainforest, though. I believe it is possible to write stories which both entertain and have a message, without sounding didactic.
Such stories can be read on any level – I’ve had readers comment on the entertainment value and remark that’s all there is, and I’ve had readers say they love the many layers…and they are talking about the same book.
Q2: You’ve moved around a great deal: WA, Malaysia, Austria and Tunisia…. Has this moving around made writing easier or harder? And has it influenced what and how you write? As well – if it’s not a rude thing to say – you’ve started to be published “later in life,” as they say. Has this influenced your writing?
Writing is never easy, at least not for me. It is always hard work, but where I am matters not one whit. Having lived in so many places has given me an enormous amount of material and insight into other cultures, though. I tend to think in terms of the complex as a result, and rarely see things or people in terms of black and white. Or is that all part of growing older, or being an older (and one would like to think – wiser) writer? And if I know one thing, it is what it is like to be an outsider.
Q3: What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time? You’ve written non-fiction, as well as fiction: is this an area you would like to work in more?
I enjoy writing non-fiction, certainly, but not as much as fiction. So given the choice…
In five years time, I would like to see myself receiving accolades for writing the great fantasy of the 21st century…ok, one can dream, right?
Q4: Do you get much time to read, amidst all the other stuff that you do? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?
I used to read more before I had deadlines, that’s for sure. But I can’t imagine not reading at all. Right now most of what I read is by my fellow Voyager authors, often in MS form. (They do the same for me). And there’s is some fantastic writing there – Russell Kirkpatrick’s new Husk trilogy is a stupendous epic that deserves international accolades and far more recognition than it is getting. Karen Miller is the most versatile of us all, writing equally well in different sub-sets of the genre and making it all look so very easy, when of course it is not. I love Jenny Fallon for sheer exuberant entertainment and its “can’t-put-it-down” nature. Her latest trilogy is her best yet. On the international scene, I’d have to say Naomi Novak’s Temeraire books were one of the highlights of the year for me.
Q5: And, since surely you’ve thought about it… which fictional character would you most like to get it on with, and why?
If you mean one of my own characters, it would have to be Kelwyn Gilfeather…such a lovely, compassionate and totally confused man. Of someone else’s characters? Hmm…Tyrion Lannister. Because I’m curious, and I like to live dangerously.