Interview with A.R. Silverberry: Author of The Stream
I met A.R. Silverberry on Facebook a few years ago. We got to chatting and he was one of my very first author interviews for his earlier work, Wyndano's Cloak.
I'm so glad that he's written another book and so happy that he reached out to me for an interview. A.R. is awesome!
A.R. is a talented writer and he shares his advice and knowledge with new writers. I appreciate this, and I know you will too.
Describe The Stream in 5 words.
A fable: embracing life.
You've written another novel Wyndano's Cloak – do any of the characters cross over in these two novels?
No, they’re different worlds, different characters, different genres, and different audiences! Wyndano’s Cloak was written for children, ten and up. The Stream is for adults.
Wyndano’s Cloak was a sprawling, fantasy adventure with a complex story line. I think of it as a mirror-hour-glass plot. The Stream is an allegorical novel. It can be read purely as an adventure about survival. Beneath that story runs another story, bound up in the metaphor of a stream.
The story raises questions about how one finds meaning in life when things constantly change. It raises questions about how to cope with the devastating blows reality throws at us, how to go on, how to build a life. Like many allegorical novels, the characters of the story are also symbols. The hero, Wend, symbolizes the innocent state we’re all in as we enter the flux of life. The stream itself is both character and symbol: giver and taker, creator and destroyer.
Where did The Stream's idea come from?
From a conversation I was having where I used the metaphor of a stream. I kept thinking about that metaphor. In a few hours, the character of a small boy, alone, defenseless, trying to understand the ways of the world, popped into my mind. I saw images of him confronting the challenges we all face in life: love, loss, pain, losing your way. The next morning, I put aside the novel I was working on (it wasn’t working anyway), and started writing. It pretty much tumbled out of me and didn’t let go until it was done.
How long did it take you to write The Stream?
I had to go back and look! About a year and four months, including revisions after it was edited. During that whole time, I was searching for a home to buy, resulting in gaps when I couldn’t work on it. You know how that goes!
(Indeed I do A.R.!)
Have your writing habits evolved since your first novel?
I used to be almost superstitious that I had to write in the morning, and that if I didn’t do it then, I couldn’t switch into writing gear later. I know now that’s totally untrue. All I need to do is sit down and start writing. I get into the flow pretty quickly.
What hasn't changed since my first novel is my writing process. I always identify a theme before starting. The theme might change, but I need that North Star to guide me.
Why did you choose to make the main character 5-years-old in The Stream?
He needed to be innocent and vulnerable as he tried to understand the world he awakens to. That not only sets the stage for his journey, but makes him a foil for the others he meets along the way. Contrast is everything!
How old does the character age to? What does he learn about himself?
At the end, he’s about 19 or 20. He learns that despite tragedy, we can go on.
Your main character in Wyndano's Cloak is a female – how easy or difficult was it for you to switch to a male's POV in your newest book, The Stream?
Easy peasy! The challenge, for me at least, is not gender but character; I either get them or I don’t. Some characters I slave over. Others, like Pet from Wyndano’s Cloak or Dory from The Stream, emerge full-blown. When I’ve figured how/why that happens, I’ll let you know. I imagine I could sell it as a magic potion! The great thing about Dory is he came with a passenger in the form of a truculent rooster. It’s those unexpected surprises that keep me writing!
Complete this sentence: If I knew then what I know now about writing/publishing I would…
… have published the ebook edition of Wyndano’s Cloak right away. I didn’t understand where publishing was going and missed getting in on ebooks early, the fans, the exposure, the potential profits. By the time I got in, the market was already fairly saturated, making promotion an uphill battle.
What does it mean for you as the author when a reader writes a review or emails you how much they enjoyed your books?
It means the world. Three of children told me that I inspired them to let out the stories that were trapped in their heads, and one woman told me that her granddaughter came out of her shell after reading Wyndano’s Cloak. Since my hope was that the novel would inspire young people to believe in themselves, I was thrilled!
Will you enter The Stream into any author contests? If so, which ones and why?
Budget allowing, I’ll enter Readers Favorite, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year, and the Eric Hoffer Award.
What do you think about the publishing world today? EBooks the way to go for all writers?
A recent study showed that the highest grossing authors are a blend of self-published and traditionally published. Traditionally published authors are seeing that they can capture better royalties if they also self-publish. Indie publishing has grown in stature, along with the caliber of the writers who do it. The looky-loos are falling by the wayside, and the serious ones are maturing. There’s some phenomenal talent out there.
Tell us something about The Stream's main character that surprised you when you started writing.
There’s some pretty dark stuff towards the end. I knew in general terms what that would be, but writing it made it real and poignant.
How many hours per day do you dedicate to writing?
One to three, not including blogging. On the weekends, I can put in four to six hours.
Who/what are you reading right now?
I’m reading The Illuminator’s Gift, by Alina Sayre, an indie author I met at the California-Bookstore-Day event at Village House of Books.
Why did you write The Stream?
I had something to say. Now that I’ve said it, I’ll probably never write another book like it.
When you write, do you use real images of people to bring your characters alive or are the all in your head?
Some of the characters have photos. Dory did. Petunia didn’t. I saw and heard her just fine. The photos give me an initial prompt and feeling, but I usually don’t need them once I get going.
What is the best website for a writer?
Writer’s Digest for all things writing. World Literary Café for marketing and networking, especially for indie authors.
How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?
Read my books, and if you like them, recommend them to your friends and family! Follows on Facebook and Twitter are also nice!
Any big news?
Finishing up draft three of my new novel, a YA, dystopian, sci-fi fantasy, slated to be a trilogy. If all goes well, it will be released next year! Thanks for this interview, Angie! Always nice to stop by Writing Teazures!
(Always nice to hear from you A.R.! You rock!)
Synopsis of The Stream:
What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?
After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?
Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.
Purchase The Stream:
iTunes: Coming Soon!
Purchase Wyndano’s Cloak:
Limited first edition Hardback:
Signed and unsigned copies available only from the author
Follow A. R. Silverberry:
R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.