From voracious reader to published writer, Corie J. Weaver is the author of the young adult fantasy Coyote’s Daughter, with a sequel on the way. She has a background in medieval history, is a traveller, and resides in New Mexico with her husband and their four pets.
Thanks to the author I was able to review Coyote’s Daughter and loved it. As is one of my favourite hobbies, Corie J Weaver has allowed me to interrogate her about writing, young adult fiction, fantasy, and more. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Bonnie: What prompted you to write young adult fiction?
Corie: When I read, I want to escape, to be taken away by a story that grabs you and runs with you and just doesn’t let you go. Stories of heroes, and of reluctant heroes who do the job anyway, catch my attention. I enjoy reading young adult fiction, and when I thought I’d try writing a story, it was a natural choice.
Bonnie: Are there specific books/authors that brought about your love for young adult fiction?
Corie: Oh, goodness. There’s quite a few, actually. Tamora Piece comes to mind, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall books. Growing up I read the Narnia books and the Hobbit with my mother (we actually read aloud all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle school – mother love in action!). Two that I read in the 80s that I still have copies of are Princess of Flames, by Ru Emerson, and Daughter of Empire by Raymond Feist and Jenny Wurtz.
Bonnie: You have a background in Spanish manuscripts of the apocalypse, not what one would expect, how did you become interested in that subject?
Corie: I think many people have an interest in the middle ages – tales of chivalry, and honor, and all that. And I’ve always loved books, so medieval manuscripts was a natural tie-in. In one course on manuscripts I discovered that a commentary on the book of Revelations by Beatus had been copied over and over for hundreds of years, with an accompanying set of images that remained the same in content, but of course changed with the styles of the time. Investigating what we have left of those manuscripts, as well as manuscripts of the apocalypse from other regions, was a rabbit hole I nearly didn’t pull myself out of.
Bonnie: With so many fantasies being based on Celtic and Pictish mythology, what drew you to using Native American mythology for Coyote’s Daughter?
Corie: I’ve lived in New Mexico since 1988. It’s a land rich with its own stories and mythologies. I wanted to write about this odd place where people are very aware of the history, and the Pueblo cultures as still very much alive.
Bonnie: What do you love the most about creating stories?
Corie: I love figureing out who my people are, and what made them that way, and then creating a situation for them and seeing what they’ll do. The best part is when they surprise me, and take the story to wonderful new directions. The worst part is when I discover that a character I actually like has done something awful.
Bonnie: When your characters surprise you with negative behaviour, do you find your feelings towards them changing much?
Corie: About a year ago I was plotting something out and realized that the only logical outcome was for a secondary character I liked betray the main character. I was upset for days over that, and finally decided that it was an opportunity to explore his weaknesses. It would have been much easier all around to not have him make that choice – but the story wouldn’t have been as strong.
Bonnie: It seems to be common amongst writers being surprised by their characters, how would you explain the phenomenon to someone who is not a storyteller?
Corie: It sounds more than a little daft, doesn’t it? After all, these are my characters, I’m the one writing down what they’re doing. They should do whatever I want them to do, right? But I think many writers spend so much time trying to make sure their characters are fully fleshed, complex people, with back stories and goals and fears, there come points in the story that you realize the possible ways that your character can react to given situations are almost predetermined by all that back story.
Bonnie: Do you find there is a popular question people ask you when they discover you’re a writer?
Corie: Most people want to know who I’m published with – and then we get to have a nice long discussion about indie publishing and ebooks. So it’s usually a bit of an educational approach
Bonnie: Are you able to give readers an idea of what is on the horizon with your writing?
Corie: Next up will be the sequel to Coyote’s Daughter, Bear’s Heart. A land of Native American myths and legends is under siege by a killing wind. Bear Girl, shape-shifting daughter of healers, must leave the land she knows to venture into the mortal world to solve a mystery whose origins lay buried in a three-hundred-year-old tragedy.