Taking Journeys and Asking Questions
March 14

Taking Journeys and Asking Questions

Brey Willows blogs:


“Where do you begin?” 

That’s a question a lot of people ask authors. Do you start with character? Or with plot? 

I’m definitely a plot led writer. I figure out the action part first, and then I populate it with the characters it needs. 

Relevant Tangent:

Amazing author Radclyffe teaches that writers often circle themes in their writing. E.g., returning home, or love heals, or chocolate is adventure (that last one might not be accurate). But often, we don’t know what themes we circle until we’ve written enough books that we can sit back and analyze them. 

Back to me:

So, I’m plot led and I’m generally a fantasy writer. So when I saw this photo of a cottage for sale in New York, I instantly had to write a story about it. 

And, being a fantasy writer, of course it had to be something special. When Maggie McShay moves in because she’s looking for something new and different in her life, it turns out she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Destiny, a quest, magic, love…it’s all there. 

That’s where the tangent comes in. Spinning Talesis my fifth book. Not a huge catalog yet, to be sure, but enough that I can stop and do a bit of pondering. It turns out I write around two things: journeys and social questions. (And there’s always a butch-femme pairing, because that combo does it for me.)

I love a good journey, both in real life and in my books. I like taking characters places, having them visit new cities, face the elements, learn stuff. And within those journeys I like to play with big, unanswerable life questions. What is destiny? Do we have a say in how our lives go? (Spinning Tales) What does climate change look like, and how do we decide who is worthy of being saved? (Chosen) What does the world look like without religion? Or with it? How do you meet in the middle between belief and philosophy? (The Afterlife Trilogy) 

I love playing with these ideas, questioning them, expanding on them, making characters deal with them and do some real soul searching. My next book, Changing Course, which comes out in November, includes a big ’ol trek, and plenty of questions about poverty, equality, and cosmic judgment. 

With that, I’ll stop blathering on. I hope you like Spinning Tales, along with the fantastical characters peppered throughout. I fell a little in love with these characters, and I hope one day to revisit them. And if there’s ever a way to visit that cottage in New York, you can bet I’ll be right there, waiting at the back door.