Before the days of men, there were elves. In a time they were great and powerful, the first dwellers, the brightest ray of dawn upon the earth. They brought light and music to the world and every breeze that stirs and wave that crashes still echoes with the wonder of the fair folk.
But a foulness is brewing in the east, where men deal in sorcery. They summon dire forces, unleashing a terrible power into the world. And the elves, once immortal, now fade from the earth. But knowing that all sorcery comes from Runes that were carved ages ago, Efkin, a young elf lord, races to find and destroy the hidden Runes before all is lost. He sets out to recover the horn of his ancestors that long ago summoned the forces that shaped the world. Only the horn has the power to break the Runes. He journeys into the east, but comes too close to the heart of sorcery and does not dare blow the horn. If he is tainted by the poison of the Runes the horn will sound a ruinous note that could spell the end of the earth.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
At present, when I'm not writing, which sadly is most of the time, I am reading or watching TV. I worked for a few years in retail as a Toy Demonstrator at FAO Schwarz Toy store in Manhattan. That was a fun job. I demonstrated games, taught juggling, and rode a skateboard all over the store. Most days I was dressed up as a toy solider, greeting people as they entered the store and taking pictures. It was only $10 an hour, but I would do it again.
What was your favourite book as a child?
As a teenager one of my favorite books was Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone. It was very dark, but his writing and world building are so powerful. It showed me what a writer can do with words.
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I think I decided I would be a writer when I was a sophomore in high school. One day in history class the teacher brought a box of books and told us to take what we wanted. I took a book about writing and after reading it decided I would be a writer. Actually, I thought I would be an attorney who writes. Apparently I was half right. The attorney thing just wasn't for me.
What book do you wish you had written?
I wish I had written The Dreaming Tree by C.J. Cherryh. Her poetic prose is superb.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, if I stop procrastinating, I see myself signing copies of my second book, Sword of the Sylph.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing fantasy when I was sixteen. I just wrote a few pages of a story that I didn't finish. About four years later I started writing my first novel. I showed some chapters to Judith Appelbaum at Sensible Solutions, a company that helps people to get published. She had formerly worked at the New York Times' Book Review and she said she thought my manuscript was definitely publishable and recommended that I send to authors I admired, asking if they could recommend an editor who might be interested in my story. So I sent it to three authors and one of them, Michael Moorcock, my favorite, said it showed considerable promise and gave me the name of an editor to send it to. He also added that he broke his rule against reading unsolicited manuscripts to look at my story. So I sent it to the editor he mentioned and two days later got my first rejection from a publisher. Usually publishers take several weeks to respond, putting your manuscript aside until they can get to it. I think they responded so fast because of the letter from Moorcock. They read it and then immediately looked at my manuscript and then swiftly rejected it. Without the letter I think it would have taken them a month or more to respond. Anyway, I finished that first draft in a year and soon realized that it wasn't ready for publication, despite what the consultant said. For the next several years I wrote sporadically, sometimes inspired to write, sometimes trying to force words onto the pages. I wrote on and off like this for about ten years before my second draft was completed in 2001. Then, after collecting countless rejections from agents and publishers, I decided to self publish with iUniverse in 2008, almost another ten years later. So writing on and off, the book was completed over the course of about twenty years, its first printing in 2009.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I was introduced to the fantasy genre by a role playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. The game led me to the works of Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock. I didn't really have an interest in books until I was fourteen, reading Leiber and Moorcock. They really opened my eyes, showing me the power of words. I was extremely impressed by their world building and impeccable syntax.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I am very familiar with writer's block having suffered from the malady for some time. I have gone years without writing, but I notice that each time I return to the blank page my writing improves. After some dry periods following the completion of my first novel, I wrote four chapters of my second book, Sword of the Sylph, the best writing I have ever accomplished.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I would say that I am more planner than pantser. I like to have a map I can follow.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I think Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone has been a driving influence, the book that really showed me how powerful words can be.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My road to publication has been a long one. I spent years trying to get an agent and a publisher. Back then many of them did not accept simultaneous submissions, so you had to submit your manuscript to one of them, wait several weeks for a rejection, then rinse and repeat. I did this for several years, sending queries to big and small publishers, sending to academic presses, sending to agents. Finally, I decided to self publish with iUniverse. And since then my novel has won a first place Gold Medal in the Readers' Favorite Book Contest, a second place Runner-Up Award in the Los Angeles Book Festival, and a nomination for a Montaigne Medal for Most Thought Provoking Book in the Eric Hoffer Book Contest. I really can't complain about being rejected because it forced me to keep improving the book until it became an award winning novel.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
If I had to do it over again I might flesh out more details of some of the characters, in particular Ebin, who really comes alive in book two. I think there are areas where I could do less telling and more showing.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My upcoming book, Sword of the Sylph, the one I should be working on now instead of watching TV, is simply the greatest writing I have ever accomplished. I really go much deeper into the characters in the second book. You can get a sneak peek at my site RobertRedinger.com. Just click on "SIGN UP for free preview"
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I would say the events that occur in my fiction are not based on real life. It's mostly imaginary people wandering across imaginary worlds.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
One of my favorite chapters of The Sylvan Horn is Chapter Twelve: Into the Sky. In this chapter the elf hero summons a group of shimmering air elementals to lift him into the sky to battle a dragon. I love the descriptions of the battle and the way the elf finally defeats the dragon.
How did you come up with the title?
Originally, the book was titled "The Horn of Cranus," but I changed the title after entering a contest in which someone advised me to think twice before putting the word "anus" in the title. I changed the title to The Sylvan Horn.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I'd like to go back and elaborate on some of the characters.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring writers is simply to keep writing. Don't wait for inspiration, make a schedule and stick to it.
What has been the best compliment?
One of the best compliments I received was from a reviewer who said she liked my world building and also said she had not read anything that captured her imagination like I had in a very long time.
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
My writing environment sometimes included Baroque classical music because I heard that it can improve creativity.
When I started writing I used pen, paper, and a clipboard. I thought I would always write with a pen first and then type what I wrote. That changed when I started writing screenplays. With all the different margins and formatting issues of screenplays I found it easier to type it directly into my word processor. Once I started typing screenplays it was not long before I started typing my novel also. But I like typing my novels on a word processor, not a computer, because my word processor has an LCD screen with no light so it's easy on the eyes. I really don't like writing a novel on a computer screen.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Like writing in the shower?
I used to have a peculiar ritual. I would wash my hands thoroughly before typing on my word processor. I didn't want the keys to get dirty.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I read all my reviews and I responded to one of my favorites, the one I mentioned earlier from the reviewer who liked my world building and writing style.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
My advice on dealing with bad reviews is to remember the good reviews.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
My least favorite part of the writing process is writer's block.
4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I don't know if it was intentional, but I did find that as I was reading I felt some similarities between this and the Lord of the Rings, the quest to save things as it is. As I read further through there were a lot more differences and I felt it was finally on its own path and able to tell its tale.
One of the things I did find annoying was the repetitiveness of some of the sentences, I know it was possibly done for effect but it seemed to have no relevance or impact on the story.
When the story was in its own flow I was captured and enjoyed the adventure that I was taken on and the mystical things that were involved. Apart from my grievance above, I did find that it was very well written.
Give it a chance.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Born in New York City, award-winning author Robert Redinger studied theater and film at Hunter College where he received the Bill Sherwood Award for Most Promising Filmmaker. He has been a student of mythology for most of his life. His fascination with trees and the creatures of the wood have led to the creation of his sylvan heroes. His first novel, The Sylvan Horn, is a Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner. He is currently writing Sword of the Sylph: Book Two of The Sylvan Chord. Visit his Web site at RobertRedinger.com