Madolyn Rogers is a science journalist who lives on a wooded hill in Wisconsin with her husband David, son Luke, and extended family, as well as their dog Xander and the occasional visiting bat or squirrel. (It’s a ramshackle old house in the country, OK, things get in…)
She has loved fantasy and science fiction since childhood, when she immersed herself in Star Trek, Dune, Lord of the Rings, and the Earthsea trilogy, among many other indelible works. More recently, she has been a fan of Game of Thrones, Marvel movies, and the sci-fi novels of Vernor Vinge and Lois McMaster Bujold. Her favorite movie of the last couple of years was the trippy sci-fi masterpiece “Annihilation.”
Professionally, she writes about brain research, and in her spare time, she studies martial arts and plays Dungeons & Dragons.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog, interviewing the authors. Today we are accompanied by Madolyn Rogers, author of Tales of Wyvernia and also featured in the anthology The Alchemy of Sorrow (will be released in November 2022).
Let’s dive in!
1.- What made you decide on the self-publish route?
Originally I decided to self-publish because of the creative control it gives me. Based on meeting agents at writing conferences, I knew that publishers would ask for changes to make my story more marketable. I felt those changes would make it more cliched, and I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to publish it the way it was, as the story I set out to tell. After putting the book out, I discovered that self-published fantasy is a vibrant field full of amazing talent, telling unique and fascinating stories. I’m really happy to be part of this community.
2.- Which aspect do you find more difficult in the creative process?
When I start writing, I usually have a vision for the overall story I want to tell. I know the main theme and how it ends, but the plot mechanics of getting there can be hard to nail down. Sometimes I get stuck and have to set a story aside for a little while and let my subconscious work on it. Then when I come back to it, I know how to resolve my plot problem and move forward. I love that part of writing, actually. Sometimes it’s like solving a puzzle, figuring out how to put all the pieces together to make a complete picture.
3.- From where do you draw inspiration for the Copper Assassin (the entity)?
I’ve always been fascinated by golems, these mysterious automatons. I think they have some of the same appeal to me as sci-fi androids—emotionless beings that provide an outside perspective on human behavior, like Data in Star Trek. I wanted to write a golem that had that same quality. Not slow and clanking and stupid as they’re sometimes portrayed, but instead fast and deadly and with her own mind. Nonetheless, she’s still basically a machine that follows her programming to the best of her ability. I was fascinated by how such a being would look at the world and how she would interact with people, and where the story would go from there.
4.- I find this mix between fantasy and sci-fi really interesting, what made you think about it?
I’m a big fan of both fantasy and sci-fi, so I think it was natural for me to mix them to some extent! I like the freedom of creating a fantasy world and developing the rules for how it works, but I also have a science background, so I tend to think in those terms. Probably some of that science mindset creeps into my fantasy stories without my even realizing it.
5.- What inspired Wyverna?
Wyverna started as an idea about a society of outcasts. When I was younger I always felt like I didn’t quite fit in, so I imagined a whole culture of people like that, people who had been kicked out of their own countries for being too different. Rebels, sorcerers, assassins, religious cults… then all these outcasts banded together to form this chaotic melting-pot society where anything goes. It made sense to me that they would survive by becoming pirates and preying on the countries that rejected them. Besides, pirates are fun to write about! I also really wanted to make Wyverna an egalitarian culture where men and women have equal status. There have been so many stories focused on patriarchal cultures, and I wanted to explore something different. I enjoyed writing all the kick-ass women in this story.
6.- What can we expect in the future from Madolyn Rogers?
The sequel to The Copper Assassin, Jackal of the Mind, is out now. It follows the same main character, Gorgo, but is a separate adventure. I have the third book in the series written and am doing final revisions on it, and I’m working on book four. So I anticipate several more books in the series, tracking the twists and turns in Gorgo’s life as he evolves. I also have a novella set in Wyverna with a female main character, which I may publish next. That piece has a somewhat different style, very character-focused. I feel there’s a lot of room to tell a variety of stories in this setting, and I look forward to delving into all the aspects of this society in the years to come. Finally, I have a short story in a fantasy/sci-fi anthology, The Alchemy of Sorrow, that comes out this fall. That story is set in the same world as Wyverna, but a few centuries earlier. The other authors in the anthology are amazing, and I’m really excited to be part of this project.