Today I’m excited to welcome Christopher Bunn to the blog as part of the LUMINOUS Blog Hop and Giveaway. Christopher will be chatting with us about writing noblebright fantasy (including what the heck that is), his own contribution to LUMINOUS, and his favorite re-reads. To wrap it all up, we have an awesome giveaway of a “Not All Those Who Wander…” LOTR tote bag + an “I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good” Harry Potter Journal at the end of the post, plus author swag! So make sure to scroll all the way down. Here we go!
Hi Christopher! To start us off, what is Noblebright to you?
I think I was writing in the Noblebright genre long before I’d ever heard the term. For me, life has to have an ultimate meaning, a hopeful meaning; something bigger and deeper, something beyond humans, outside of our existence and outside of our control. I’ve taken that hope and written it into my stories. I’m not saying my books are all sweetness and unicorns and little fairies wearing bluebells on their heads. On the contrary, light and hope shine all the brighter in the darkness, and there’s plenty of shadow in my books.
How do you portray the Noblebright ideals in your work in general and the Luminous selection in particular?
I write in three genres: fantasy, science fiction and humor. My humor is rather odd and mostly written, I suspect, as a therapy (much cheaper than paying a psychologist).
However, in both fantasy and science fiction, the Noblebright ideals are vital to how I create my heroes. They don’t always make the right choices, but, when the story’s over and done, they’ve always chosen hope, even if it results in loss and pain. That’s a choice that’s always before all of us, even in our everyday lives, and it’s something I want my readers to recognise when they read my stories. If I can create a character that feels familiar to a reader, despite the fantastic trappings of magic and dragons and strange monsters, if they can journey along with that character through a book and start thinking, “Hmm, I hope he makes the right choice–I hope I would make the right choice if I was inside this book,” then hopefully I’m encouraging my readers.
That’s what a lot of great stories are about, isn’t it? Leaving readers with a sense that life can work out, even in the darkest times. Charles Dickens wrote some masterful stories with that thread running through them. One of the best, in my humble opinion, is Tale of Two Cities. Despite the story ending sadly for Sidney Carton, he made a fantastic choice, laying his life down for someone else, and even though he went to the guillotine, his death, oddly enough, leaves you with the sense that here was a man who died well, who died nobly, whose death was full of hope.
That is Noblebright.
My story in the Luminous collection is The Hawk and His Boy. The main character, Jute, is just a rough, young street thief. He doesn’t always make the right choices, but, as the story progresses, he slowly becomes aware of a world much bigger than what he knew and believed. Ultimately, he learns that there’s much more to life than simply living for himself. That’s a lesson we all need to learn and relearn, every day. I know I certainly do!
That’s definitely a lesson to live by! Do you have plans for a sequel to The Hawk and His Boy?
I actually have two more books already written that take place after The Hawk and His Boy: The Shadow at the Gate and The Wicked Day. The three books together pretty much round out the story of Jute. However, I included so many side characters and reference to the history of the world I created that I suppose I could write an easy dozen more books in that world without exhausting its possibility.
However, given that there are only twenty-four hours in the day and that I haven’t figured out how to live without a certain amount of sleep, I’m not sure when those stories will be written.
Finding time to write is definitely challenge. Speaking of which, how do you like to write? Longhand (shorthand?), typewriter, computer, blood, nail scratches on the walls?
These days, I write on computer. It’s a strange thing. Even though I love to write and love to create stories, I do it with a great deal of tooth-grinding and irritation. How can something you love so much drive you so crazy? Perhaps love is always like that (see: Marriage and Family).
At any rate, I write a like a snail who sets records for Slowest Snail in the Entire Kingdom of Snails. Any sort of distraction will get me, such as paint drying on the wall, the suspicion of something tasty (or even just edible) in the refrigerator, or chores. Chores, for crying out loud! I’d rather do chores than write. Yet, I love writing. That goes to show you that, yes, writers are certifiably insane.
Ha! I can empathize with the love-hate relationship between an author and their writing. Given how difficult writing is, what is your perfect writing day?
My perfect writing day is dark, rainy weather. An empty house (hopefully with the rest of my family visiting relatives on another continent). A satisfying selection of snacks and drinks in the pantry and refrigerator. Absolutely no one calling me on the phone, and the wind sighing in the eaves as the rain patters on the roof.
That sounds pretty awesome! I also love reading on a rainy day. So … what’s your favorite re-read book for a rainy afternoon?
What a perfect combination: rain and a great book. I find, as I grow older, that books really are the best way to relax. A good book is infinitely preferable to an excellent movie (movies merely give you a two hour or so window into another world; books actually plunge you into other worlds). I don’t have one favourite book to re-read, but I do have a list of them: Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, Ellis Peters’ The House of Green Turf, Fitzroy MacLean’s Eastern Approaches (one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read), Robert Lewis Taylor’s A Journey to Matecumbe (do NOT see the Disney film–beyond dreadful), The Lord of the Rings, Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, and any number of children’s chapter books. I have to say, there are some brilliant chapter books for kids that stand a great many reads: Gardner’s The Giant in the Snow, Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles, many of Daniel Pinkwater’s books, most of Sid Fleischman’s books (especially The Great Hornspoon, Ghost in the Noonday Sun, Chancy and the Grand Rascal, etc).
Books… they’re better than food.
I can’t argue with that! (I mean, as long as I’m not actually hungry.)
Thanks so much for the interview, Christopher!
Discover Christopher Bunn’s writing, and nine more noblebright reads in Luminous… You can also check out the full line-up of Luminous author interviews at http://noblebright.org.
And don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the giveaway!
Dare to step into lands of myths, magic, and monsters, because there is light to be found in even the darkest of places.
Now, ten fantasy authors have come together to offer this epic boxed set of noblebright fantasy! Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to explore ten unique worlds, fall in love with gallant heroes and heroines, and discover the chinks in the darkness where the light shines through.
What is Noblebright fantasy?
Set apart by a sense of hope, noblebright fantasy includes at least one character who, although flawed, still deliberately pursues goodness. And that goodness has the power to make a difference. In a noblebright story, even villains are not without hope. Their redemption isn’t guaranteed, of course, but it is a possibility.
This boxed set includes:
The Lord of Dreams by C. J. Brightley
When a fairy king grants a human wish, there’s more at stake than dreams.
A Threat of Shadows by JA Andrews
Haunted by his past and surrounded by companions carrying their own dark secrets, Alaric grasps at one last chance to save his dying wife.
Heir of Iron by J.S. Bangs
Family secrets. Forbidden Love. An empire on the brink of collapse.
The Hawk and His Boy by Christopher Bunn
You can run as far as you can, but you can never escape the Dark.
Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story by Pauline Creeden
Just when Raven tries to leave the life of a Reaper, she’s pulled right back in.
The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué
After discovering a secret underground kingdom and a mysterious sorcerer-prince, Princess Lily must free herself and her sisters from a dangerous curse or face a lifetime of darkness.
Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell
Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest…
Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
A street thief with a dangerous secret, Hitomi finds herself betrayed to the dark mage who killed her father.
Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Magic school can be a lot more dangerous—and wondrous—than expected.
The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia
Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.
A LUMINOUS Giveaway!
For a chance to win this awesome Lord of the Rings book tote, Harry Potter journal, plus swag from LUMINOUS authors, enter here: