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, and 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 Riel! 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?
Riel Rosehill: Hi! I’m Riel (pronounced as the “riel” in “Gabriella”) and I’m the author of Brave Soft Hearts in The Golden Gull. That story is a pretty good example of my work: character-focused, magical and queer. I have a good bunch of those both already available and also in the making.
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?
RR: I think my first love was fantasy. The Neverending Story was one of my first favourite movies, and I still find the concept captivating.
I also loved reading Harry Potter, and I definitely had a fantasy-phase, but overall, I’ve read diversely. I had a collection of pony club books, and my parents had their bookshelves stacked with westerns, of which I have read every single one. It was also on their bookshelf I found Birdy by William Wharton, and discovered my passion for war fiction.
I’m a daydreamer, always have been, so I kept making up stories, inevitably influenced by what I was consuming. I had my fanfiction-phase too, though I’ve never written any of that myself.
More recently, the books that captured my heart and inspired me to be a better writer were The Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller and, most recently, In Memoriam by Alice Winn.
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?
RR: I have been writing stories for as long as I remember. My first story was a micro fiction which I had to dictate to my mum, as I’d not learnt the alphabet yet. I entered my first writing contest with a short story in elementary school, and I joined a fantastic writing club in my early teens. As I often struggle to express myself in other ways, writing has always been an important part of my life. Having my stories published is what little me had dreamed of.
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?
RR: I learnt of Isdralan around the time Beth published Micah and the Candles of Time, and I already knew Beth through the Blue Marble Storyteller’s discord. She has narrated a few of my short stories for the Crossroads Cantina podcast (those episodes are now hosted on the Blue Marble Storytellers website).
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?
RR: Beth was always ready to help when we had questions or needed feedback, but she allowed us great creative freedom. There was no word limit, and we were free to pick any theme. There were only a few guidelines: the stories had to involve a version of the Golden Gull (which we could choose ourselves) and they had to be a speculative genre.
From the start, I knew I wanted my Golden Gull to be carrack (‘cause aren’t they cool?), so the next step from there was to figure out how to make it magic.
I thought of Charon’s ferry taking souls to the underworld and of boats carrying spirits and gods in fiction. I wanted my ship to also have a special cargo—this is how I came up with the idea that it would be trading dreams, and (slight spoiler) that the main character, Cillian, would end up on it as a traded dream himself.
Once I had the premise, this was a passion project: I blended all my very favourite things from war fiction to heartbreaks, steampunk and queer romance.
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?
RR: I always have a few stories in the works, but I would love for everybody to grab their copy of The Golden Gull, so let me talk about Brave Soft Hearts:
Discharged from service and heartbroken from a fresh break up, a field surgeon, Cillian Hale, is still processing the horrors of his last day on the war front when he finds himself aboard the Golden Gull. To his surprise, he isn’t a passenger: he’s part of the cargo.
Here, Cillian is having to share the cabin of Haider Wright, the ship’s handsome sailing master, until they find a new home for him with someone who is willing to pay the price. But as he is getting to know—and starting to fall for—Haider, Cillian wonders if there is a second chance to happily ever afters.
Only, how could a happily ever after be real, if he is traded to be someone’s?
Cillian doesn’t want the kind of love that exists because of a transaction. Torn between his ex lover and Haider, and not wanting to be bound by a contract, will he lose out on his own happily ever after?
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?
RR: While I’ve developed a love for telling short, intimate stories, I’m currently focusing on working on my first novel, Drop of a Crown. Hopefully in a few years I will see it in a bookshop—that is the dream. I’m also working on a collection of a few more interconnected short stories featuring the characters of Brave Soft Hearts, which I hope to get published towards the end of next year, but don’t hold me to that deadline!
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?
RR: My website and my Instagram are always kept up to date. If you want access to all my available stories, see my publishing history and read my bio, it’s on my website: www.rielrosehill.com and if you want to see what I am up to writing, reading or otherwise, I post to Instagram @rielrosehill with plenty of pet pictures—I’d love to connect with my readers and fellow writers on there!
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!
RR: Thank you for having me! And to everybody who checks out my stories or gets their copy of The Golden Gull after reading this and finds themselves enjoying Brave Soft Hearts: thank you. It means the world to me.
Tellest: I’d like to once again thank Riel Rosehill for taking the time to chat about the part she played in The Golden Gull, and for pulling back the veil on the rest of her projects, and her love for fiction. Do be sure to check the author out on her website, and also don’t forget to check out The Golden Gull: The Isdralan Chronicles on Amazon today!
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