Welcome, travelers. While we typically conduct interviews that go a bit deeper into the content and character of a world and its author, we’ve come upon a very interesting opportunity to talk to a number of storytellers who have all worked on the same anthology. These authors have collaborated on Beth Connor’s collection, The Golden Gull, which takes place in her world of Isdralan (and beyond).
Because of the shift in the way we’re interviewing these storytellers, we’re going to keep things a bit more open-ended, with this format serving as a sort of template for each of our interview subjects.
Today, you’ll get to meet one of the authors, a quirky pirate by the name of Redd Herring, and you’ll find out a bit more about them, including what other stories they’ve got in their catalog, and what they’ve got coming up. Read on to learn more about one of the authors of The Golden Gull!
Tellest: Greetings! First off, let me say that I appreciate you taking the time to share a bit more about yourself, and to talk about your story in The Golden Gull, as well as any other stories you’re prepared and excited to talk about! If you wouldn’t mind, could you please give a very brief introduction of yourself to readers?
Redd Herring: Redd Herring, author of The Red Diamond.
T: In the typical interviews that I conduct, I first try to find out some of the formative information about what turned an author to writing and storytelling. What was it that inspired you to tell your own stories? Did you have a favorite author, story, movie, or show growing up that helped to encourage your creativity? Or did you have a family member or person in your community who had the storytelling bug, and they managed to pass that on to you?
Redd: When I was young, our captain had a footlocker stuffed with books, which were hard to come by. If I completed all my chores, he would let me choose one of his rare volumes, providing I took great care with it. Clutching my prize, I would climb to the crow’s nest and settle in. The rest of the world disappeared as I entered the world of Odysseus and his crew sailing the seas, fighting monsters, and using their wits to stay alive. At night, I would sit atop a rum barrel, the crew gathered round with their pipes stuffed and tankards full and recount those great adventures, always adding my own twist. As they listened, those grown men became wide-eyed children again, hanging on every word and always wanting more. It was those dark nights spent weaving tales that showed me I wanted to tell stories and bring the audience’s imagination to a new place.
T: How did you begin your own writing journey? Did you have a specific story that was turning in your head that you needed to commit to paper? Was there some sort of contest that you were invited to participate in? Or was it something else altogether?
Redd: It was a long time before I actually wrote anything down. Paper is hard to come by on a pirate ship, and what little the captain had was not to be wasted on a stripling such as meself. I committed my tales to memory. Whenever we went into port, I would find a good spot in the market and begin weaving a story out loud for all to hear. As the folk gathered, I would point out interesting-looking characters in the crowd, pull them up with me, and add them to the story. After getting my new compatriots to act out a glorious climax to the adventure, I would lead the crowd in a rousing Sea Shanty and pass the hat. Coming back to the ship with a purse full of coins grew my worth, and reputation, with the crew.
T: How did you first collaborate with Beth Connor? Were you already familiar with Isdralan when it was determined that you would write a story for The Golden Gull?
Redd: Beth and I first crossed paths on the Reedsy website. We liked each other’s work from the start, and it wasn’t too long before she produced my story “The Book of Choices” on her Crossroads Cantina Podcast. Oh, the cantina—one of my favorite places of all time. Where else can you trade a story for a drink? After that, I helped her with some formatting and proofreading on her debut novel, Hollow City. Ever since, we have talked about working together on a book. I did know of Isdralan; I am familiar with Micah’s story and The Gull. Beth told me she wanted to tell more tales featuring the magical vessel, and I could not wait to be a part of the crew! I grabbed my computer and started that very day. Now, you might wonder how a pirate from days gone by could be using a computer, a website, and listening to podcasts. Well friends, it has to do with connections between worlds that are found near water, but that’s a tale that we will save for another day.
T: Could you describe the process of developing your story for The Golden Gull? How did the ideas come about, and how much would you say you communicated with Beth throughout the creation of your tale?
Redd: I think Beth probably wished I didn’t communicate with her as often as I did! I had the idea of The Gull manifesting as a Viking longship when we first talked about the book. I wanted the story to have the feel of a classic sword and sorcery journey. The difficulty with a short story is keeping all of your ideas in such a compact format, and I struggled mightily with it. I can’t even count the number of times I started over or rewrote large chunks of it. The biggest issue I have when writing is that I never truly feel that the story is finished. As soon as I submitted the final draft, I already had new changes popping into my head.
T: What other stories would you like readers to know about that you have written—or that you are working on? Could you also give us a quick synopsis of any of the tales you want to bring attention to?
Redd: I just released one of my short stories on Amazon. It is called “The Cold Shoulder”. It’s a quick read, coming in at about 2500 words. In it the protagonist, Trevor, moves in with his girlfriend. She is a complete tech junkie and has what we would call a “smart” home. All I can say is, Trevor does not get the warm welcome he was hoping for. I have quite a few short stories in the works, and I am working on The Book of Choices.
T: Where would you like to see yourself in the next several years? Would you like to have a full series under your belt? Are you designing a massive, shared universe that you’d like others to play in? Or are you excited by telling shorter, more intimate tales?
Redd: The place I most want to be in the next few years would be on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. I can’t tell you exactly where, since one of you might try to plunder me booty! I am working on a series now based on The Book of Choices. In the original short story, an ancient book is discovered by two teens. The book sort of “activates” when it comes in contact with blood, and the person involved is given choices by the book. Usually, any choice you make is not desirable. Beth and I are working with multiple authors to create a series of stories based on the book. I want the authors to be able to use each other’s settings and characters as the book crisscrosses worlds and times. This concept is similar to the Thieves’ World series that started back in the late 1970’s. That is such a strange thing for me to say, back in the late 1970’s, since I sailed back in the late 1670’s!
T: Finally, what is the best way for readers to learn more about you? Do you have a website that they could visit, or do you prefer for them to follow you on a specific social media channel?
Redd: I have a website—www.reddherring.com—that is in the early stages, but it is live and you can contact me through it. I am adding to my Amazon library and any reviews would help out tremendously.
T: Thank you very much for spending some time chatting with us. This was a little bit more of an unconventional interview than we normally perform, but I hope that you had a bit of fun discussing your writing journey, and that this helps more readers find you!
Redd: May your seas be calm, and your sails be full, my friends! I will leave you with two pieces of advice I learned from characters of great literature:
Always travel with wax in case you come across sirens – Odysseus
Always bring a towel – Arthur Dent
Tellest: I’d like to once again thank Redd Herring for taking the time to chat about the part he played in The Golden Gull, and for introducing us to the interesting history that brought them here, as well as speaking about the next projects coming up. Do be sure to check the author out on his website, and also don’t forget to check out The Golden Gull: The Isdralan Chronicles on Amazon today!
Special news! Redd Herring’s story, The Book of Choices, is free now through Tuesday at midnight. Make sure to move fast so you don’t miss this great deal! And there’s even a Crossroads Cantina podcast episode on it that you can listen to as well!
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