Today I am fortunate to have fantasy author Iffix Y Stantaph on my blog.
Hello Iffix. Tell us about your books. Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?
My series of books for middle graders and young adults is a space fantasy called Forgotten Princess. It is based loosely on the tale of Snow White.
Evil alien Queen Kalysta has been seeking to destroy her step daughter, and sent her assassin slave, called the “Shadow Man”, to kill the princess.
The Shadow Man, a mutant who is known as Gavyn to his friends, could not bring himself to kill the princess, but poisoned her temporarily, leaving her comatose and with amnesia. He hid her in an underground world where three alien teens joined together to rescue her.
But the past the princess cannot remember is coming back with a vengeance to destroy her. And the friends must fight for her survival. The first novella in the series is Impulse, and is available now from a wide variety of on-line retailers.
What genres do you write in? Who is your audience?
I have been writing chiefly fantasy and soft science fiction for about 22 years. While I value the cool aspects of sci-fi, I write character driven stories that seem to fit more with the Fantasy side of speculative fiction.
The series is chiefly for middle-graders and young adults but I have found that a number of adults who enjoy the genre have taken to it as well.
Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
I find that if you build the right sort of characters and let them talk, think, and act, the story often tells itself. If I ever get writer’s block, it’s because I’m having my characters do something they wouldn’t do. So I stand back and listen and watch. The story generally goes where it needs to.
For example, in Retrospect, the 4th book of the series, the story took a very unexpected turn. I couldn’t believe what had happened, but I couldn’t mistake that it was the characters’ natural decisions that brought the conclusion.
So, create vividly from the beginning, and let that fuel you.
It helps too that I don’t write stories I wouldn’t want to read. If it is boring to me, it doesn’t generally find its way to the page for more than a paragraph. It may, however, become brain fodder for later, if it becomes progressively too vivid not to write.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve been writing from a very early age. When other kids were out playing in the sandbox, I was in, playing with the keyboard. I had imaginary friends. And I kept them.
In addition, I was motivated from early in my life, when I lost someone close to me, to turn that emotion into creative energy. I have to write. But I also want to write. It’s pretty rare to want to do something and feel obligated by it at the same time.
What’s the best part of being a writer?
Who else gets to keep their imaginary friends with them into adulthood? If I wasn’t a writer, I would probably have to be checked into Happydale Home for the Insane.
(Ooh, look, there’s someone at the door. He’s wearing a lab coat. Fortunately, I have a moat filled with alligators. They’re imaginary, granted, but I never saw the last guy again so it must work.)
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
What I take away from every book I write is this: don’t let the things you regret shape who you become for the worse; take that emotion and use it to propel yourself forward to become an even better you. It’s the message in Jendra. It’s the message in Toby. And it’s the message in my heart that I keep coming back to. So I really hope the message comes across clear when others enjoy this series.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
Write You. (That’s deep, I know.) What I mean to say is: Write what makes you passionate. Write what you would want to read. Don’t always write what you know. Write what you would want to know if you could, then dig for the answers. Put yourself on the page. Be real, even if you’re writing imaginary stories. Your readers will relate.
If you could travel through time, where would you go and why?
Ironically enough, I began assuming I would have a choice in the matter. I’m more inclined to believe that if it was possible, I would probably stumble into a temporal anomaly by accident and wind up eaten by a dinosaur or something. (It would be on the day I forgot my dinosaur repellent socks.)
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
World Peace. (Sorry, flashback to my days in Mr. America Pageants. I never even got to the questions portion, but I sure practiced hard.) I think it would be incredible to have a really high intelligence. Think about it. Bruce Banner – really high intelligence – became one of the most dangerous superheroes ever. Tony Stark – really high intelligence – built a series of electronic suits that could give him any super power he wanted. Einstein – really high intelligence – figured out how time travel worked, so I could go back and change the answers to some of these questions to something deep and meaningful.
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
I’m in the process of the 5th book in my Forgotten Princess series: Stratagem. The book is taking the series in an entirely new direction, based on a kick-off at the end of Retrospect. I’m eager to find out what’s going to happen to the Princess and Jendra. (The cool thing about being mostly a pantser is I get to find out with the rest of my readers.)
I’ve also begun writing a book that will follow several hundred years after the Forgotten Princess series in the same galaxy. It might be its own series. Time will tell.
Do you have any closing remarks?
Thanks so much for letting me share an interview with you. I hope the readers had as much fun as I did.
Thanks for this, Iffix. I especially love your advice to writers — I agree, sometimes it’s good to write what you don’t know!!
Connect with Iffix Y Santaph:
Iffix Y Santaph’s books list on Goodreads:
Teddy Bear Junction