Cherie Reich! She is the author of the Gravity and Foxwick series, and one of the sweetest people I know. Her theme for the Challenge this year was twenty-six flash fiction pieces from the Foxwick Kingdom. The result was her book, A to Z Flashes of Foxwick.
What made you decide to do flash fiction for the Challenge?
I’ve participated in #fridayflash off and on since July 2010, so I decided flash fiction would be the way to go. It’s generally short (I think my longest pieces was 600+ words, but most were in the 200-300 word range), and I thought it was a great way to showcase my writing.
Did you write it all in advance or as the Challenge progressed?
If I remember correctly, I wrote them all in March, but I had my critique partners look over them, so I didn’t get them all scheduled in advance until after the first week of April. I like to plan ahead.
Which one was the most challenging?
It’s a tossup between “Merrilea’s Music” and “Tyre and Thay.” For “Merrilea’s Music,” the piece wanted to be much longer than a flash fiction piece, so it was a hard idea to translate into flash fiction form. For “Tyre and Thay,” I wanted at least one drabble (100-word exactly flash piece), and I kept going under and lower before hitting it just right.
Which was your favorite piece and why?
Such a hard decision. Hmm, I’ll have to go with “Yonder Yew” because I amused myself with the pun on “Yew” and “you.”
What are the Shadowlands? (And what is a Foxwick?)
The Shadowlands is where souls go to live after they part from their bodies (i.e. die). I came up with the name of Shadowlands from my favorite quote from Sophocles’s Ajax, “For I see the true state of all us that live – We are dim shapes, no more, and weightless shadow.” Thus, we end up in the Shadowlands. As for what is a Foxwick, I’m not sure. I can’t even really remember how I came up with the name. It was either a Fantasy Place Name Generator or something else. I first used Foxwick as a setting in October 2010 for “Lady Death.” I thought perhaps it might be the founder’s name, but the more I play in Foxwick’s realm, I don’t think that’s true. So far, it hasn’t given up that secret, but I will keep searching.
Where do you get the names for your fantasy characters and places?
Various places. I’ve used a fantasy name generator. I think that’s how I got the names for Lochhollow and Merrilea Sea. I studied a lot of history in college since I majored in Classics, so some of the names come from there, like Vesta. I also do baby name searches. That’s how I came up with Eirwyn, Attor, and Kona. And the A to Z Challenge gave me a few names, such as Quaylin.
Now that the Challenge has ended, how can people read A to Z Flashes of Foxwick?
I self-published A to Z Flashes of Foxwick on April 16, and it’s a free read on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes. Of course, people can read it on my blog for free or purchase a copy for $0.99 on Nook and various Amazon affiliates who would not price-match to free.
What are your plans for the Challenge next year? More Foxwick?
My original plan was to write a YA Fantasy Foxwick story featuring Eirwyn (Princess of Wintermill at the time) called The Loveless Princess, but I soon realized my idea was too large for the A to Z Challenge, although I still plan to write it in 2013. Now I plan to find 26 random prompts HERE and try to craft a short story from them for 26 blog posts. I’m not yet sure what genre the story will be in, but I’ll figure it out once I find the prompts. I plan to collect the prompts in December and begin working on the story then. Yes, I really do like to plan ahead.
Thanks, Cherie - you rock!
Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE