Today I am interviewing Rachel Neumeier, author of the new fantasy novel, The Mountain of Kept Memory.
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DJ: Hey Rachel! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Rachel Neumeier: Thanks for asking me over, DJ! It’s a pleasure to be here.
You know how so many authors started writing stories when they were very young, teenagers, perhaps? Not me. I’ve been a *reader* all my life – definitely in a “My Life My Books My Escape” kind of way, in fact (that’s a great motto). But I didn’t start writing until grad school. I started then because I’d just read a book where the protagonist annoyed me and partly to improve my typing speed, but mostly because I needed a hobby that was completely separate from my research project.
Eventually I completed a giant fantasy trilogy. This taught me how to write. After that I wrote a much (much) shorter standalone fantasy novel that I hoped would be publishable. That book, The City in the Lake, was the one that was my debut sale. After City was accepted by Random House, I kind of rearranged my life to accommodate my hobbies instead of the other way around. Now I work part time, but I make sure I always have time for writing and for my herd of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Mountain is my eleventh novel to hit the shelves, but I’ve got a very busy schedule for 2017. If I manage to finish the third Black Dog novel in January, I’ll self-publish that as my twelfth. Then my next YA will come out in March from Random House, and my next adult fantasy next November from Simon and Schuster.
So far all my books are fantasy, but on my agent’s advice, I just finished my first space opera, so I’m hoping to see that find a home. I’m hoping to be like CJ Cherryh, one of my favorite authors, with tons of books published in both fantasy and SF.
DJ: What is The Mountain of Kept Memory about?
Rachel: Mountain is a traditional fantasy . . . or not quite! But it *reads* like a traditional fantasy. Mostly.
Mountain alternates points of view as Oressa and Gulien deal with their rather ambiguous father, the powerful woman he has offended – she used to be a goddess, or so people say – and a foreign invasion. Enemies may not quite stay enemies, friends may not necessarily stay friends, and the truth about the Kieba may be even stranger than the stories people tell about her.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits?
Rachel: Well, Oressa spends a good deal of time finding all the secret panels and passages in the palace and ferreting out everyone’s secrets. She learned young that it’s important to know everything and never reveal how much you know! She’s one of my favorite protagonists ever, in fact.
Oressa’s brother Gulien is in a tough spot, torn between loyalty to his father and the awareness that his father is almost certainly catastrophically wrong this time.
Osir himself – their father — is one of the most ambiguous characters I’ve ever written. Oressa is terrified of him, Gulien loves him and wants to earn his good regard, and the complexity of relationships that results is one of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book. I think Osir came out just as I hoped.
Gajdosik, one of the foreign princes who is invading, is actually a very important character. He’s not precisely quirky, but he’s determined, ruthless, clever, and above all steadfast. Continue reading