Freya Robertson – Guest Blog - Archieved Post

November 10, 2013 - 8:58 pm No Comments

I asked Angry Robot author Freya Robertson to write a guest blog for me and prompted her with a question about writing genre as a female author.

So welcome to Freya, and here goes!

Kia ora (that’s Kiwi or New Zealand for hello!) and thanks for having me on the blog.

I’m here to talk about Heartwood, my debut epic fantasy from Angry Robot Books.

You asked me the question about what it’s like to write in this genre as a female writer. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure my experience has been any different than it would have been if I was a guy. I don’t think about my gender much in my involvement with the F&SF genre, and I’m sure part of that is due to my being a gamer.

In gaming—both in RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and online games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2, there is no difference in statistics between male and female characters, and this definitely had an impact on the way I presented the sexes in Heartwood.

In many ways, the novel is a traditional epic fantasy. It has a quasi-medieval European setting, and the high stakes and scope of the novel mean it sits comfortably in the epic genre. However, I wanted to change a few things to ensure it had a more modern flavour. It has no elves, orcs or dwarves, and instead the creatures are formed from the elements, with Darkwater Lords rising from the ocean to steal the holy tree’s heart.

The other way I attempted to modernise this fantasy was by creating more of a gender balance than was traditional in the medieval world. The Heartwood army contains both men and women, and the leader of the army is a woman. I wanted to create a strong female lead who is convincing as a leader but also able to retain her femininity, and hopefully Procella, the Dux of the Exercitus army, fulfils that role.

I haven’t really encountered any problems along the publishing road because of my gender. Angry Robot certainly has no issue with female authors! There will, of course, always be those readers who refuse to read certain authors because of their gender, and I’ve also had a reviewer state that he didn’t like the fact that I also write romance. Oh well, it’s his loss! Heartwood is an epic fantasy full of adventure, battles, castles, religion, folklore, history and big, epic themes. And as the largest book that Angry Robot has published so far, it’s certainly something to get your teeth into!

TD: Thanks so much for taking the time to join us. Heartwood came out 27th Oct 2013.


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