Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Interview with Thoraiya Dyer

Please welcome Thoraiya Dyer to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge interviews. Crossroads of Canopy is published on January 31st by Tor Books.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Thoraiya a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Thoraiya:  Thank you! And this is a tough question. I’ve said before that most children write stories, so the real question should be, why do some people stop? Some of my earliest writing was as a shy schoolchild attempting to make friends, often by casting my peers as humorously inept superheroes. Sometimes it worked!

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Thoraiya:  Plotters go well with deadlines and I’ve trained hard to become one.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Thoraiya:  Telling people I’m a writer. Hahaha!

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Thoraiya:  Oh, almost everything, but most obviously the natural environment, history, mythology and modern scientific advancements.

TQDescribe Crossroads of Canopy in 140 characters or less, like a tweet.

Thoraiya:  Like a tweet, you say? What about:

TFW magic trees are 5x the height of the Eiffel Tower & your sister falls out of one #doh #CrossroadsofCanopy

TQTell us something about Crossroads of Canopy that is not found in the book description.

Thoraiya:  My main character, Unar, is creeped out by fish. Her phobia is borrowed shamelessly from a writer friend of mine. She knows who she is!

TQWhat inspired you to write Crossroads of Canopy? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Thoraiya:  I’m going to answer that first part by quoting a previous interview: “I still have the bit of scrap paper I first wrote the idea on. It reads: “Write an epic fantasy novel about a tropical rainforest where countries are not horizontal, but vertical, and defended by magic.” I started writing Crossroads of Canopy after a trip to Cairns and the rainforests up there in tropical Queensland. All the other rainforests I’d been to wanted to come to the party as well – Nepalese forests, Canadian ones, Tasmanian and Singaporean and New Zealander. I put my version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in there because of a book on ancient civilisations that my Dad brought back from Lebanon for me.”

The freedom to explore the seeming-impossible is what appeals to me about fantasy. (Science fiction too, it’s just that it requires slightly more justification, if no less extrapolation.) If you can’t imagine a better society, you can’t build one, and if you can’t think up wildly imaginative theories of life, sentience, time and space, you can’t hope to scientifically prove or disprove them.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Crossroads of Canopy?

Thoraiya:  Aside from walking around in a *lot* of rainforests, which was easy because I love them, I read a mountain of books, visited many megafaunal-fossil-filled museums, and dredged up a whole bunch of travel experiences I was fortunate enough to have.

TQPlease tell us about Crossroads of Canopy's cover?

Thoraiya:  It’s so pretty! It captures all the danger and mystery I tried to convey. And it’s green! : http://www.tor.com/2016/05/18/cover-reveals-thoraiya-dyer-crossroads-of-canopy-marc-simonetti/

TQIn Crossroads of Canopy who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Thoraiya:  The easiest characters to write were the three brothers, because I could hear their voices so clearly and distinctly from the very beginning. The hardest was the main antagonist. It took some time to get that character right. Because who likes trying to understand why damaged people do despicable things?

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Crossroads of Canopy?

Thoraiya:  The only fantasy novels without social issues are ones without any societies. Can you think of any? I can’t. Inequality is a recurring theme in the history of humankind. Also today and inevitably tomorrow.

TQWhich question about Crossroads of Canopy do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Thoraiya:  Does “path” rhyme with “hearth”? The answer is: sometimes. Hahaha!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Crossroads of Canopy.


‘ “I can’t see the future,” Odel said. “Not yours, anyway. It’s only the deaths of children that I see. Since I turned sixteen, whenever I close my eyes, it’s little children falling that fill my dreams. I am the forty-fourth incarnation of Odel and I will find no peace until I die. Here’s a thing that I have learned, little Gardener. Sometimes, it’s best to not be chosen.” ’ – end Chapter 9

TQWhat's next?

Thoraiya:  What’s next is the second book in the series, Echoes of Understorey! In Book #2, I’ve tackled a warrior protagonist to follow on the heels of my magic-wielding one, and it was fun to write a story centred on Imeris, who is so different to Unar.

TQThank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.

Thoraiya:  Thank you for having me back!

Crossroads of Canopy
Titan's Forest 1
Tor Books, January 31, 2017
Hardcover and eBook,336 pages

The highly-anticipated fantasy debut from Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer, set in a giant mythical rainforest controlled by living gods

At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.

Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she wishes to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy's slaves.

When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves.

“I am majorly impressed with Thoraiya Dyer's Crossroads of Canopy. A unique, gorgeous, and dangerous world, a stubborn female hero, and a writer to watch!”—Tamora Pierce

About Thoraiya Dyer

Photo by Cat Sparks
THORAIYA DYER is an Australian writer whose more than 30 short stories, as well as a novella and short fiction collection published since 2008 have racked up 7 wins from 17 Aurealis and Ditmar Award nominations between them. Her debut fantasy TITAN'S FOREST TRILOGY is published by Tor Books.

Website  ~  Twitter @ThoraiyaDyer 


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