Lia Keyes was born in the basement of a house that no longer exists, in a part of London called World’s End. It’s no wonder she writes fantasy!
Lia is represented by Laura Rennert of AndreaBrown Literary Agency, is founder of The Sreampunk Writers Artists Guild, and Creative Strategist for the non-profit, VentanaSierra, founded by Ellen Hopkins.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers, my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
Can I cheat and share a video of Ira Glass talking about the gap between your storytelling taste and your ability? Because I love that one and replay it often!
If you could go back in time, what piece of knowledge would you take back with you into the future?
Ooh, that is an interesting question! Early civilizations understood so much and it sometimes took us over a thousand years to rediscover the same knowledge—that we live in an atomic world, for one—but perhaps a simple appreciation for how to use time well is something we could learn from the past. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology we have more leisure time than ever before, but there is a persistent sense of unease in the rushed, materialistic society that has resulted; a loss of spirit and meaning and craftsmanship. So perhaps the knowledge that I'd bring back to the future is that building things of quality—in relationships, in what we contribute to the world, in what we take from it, and in what we leave behind—is better than building disposable things in quantity. It's a question of legacy. What kind of ancestor would you like to be?Your specialty is fantasy. What bit of advice do you hear over and over about how to build a world of fantasy? Also, what’s one piece of advice you’ve heard on this subject that was rare and resonated with you?
Building an imaginary world that feels deep and unique is a huge task; you have to think about everything from geography to customs, trade, daily life, and social organization. There’s an amazing list of questions about this on the SFWA’s website.
But none of this is worth diddly squat if it’s just window dressing. During an interview on my blog with world-building guru Kevin Mowrer, he told me...
“The thing that we all strive for in good storytelling is human authenticity. The world itself must be crafted to have meaning and metaphor that is aligned and contributing to all characters and themes in every way possible. The world births and shapes our characters.”
That resonated deeply with me and informs every choice I make.
In your writing career, who’s had the biggest influence on you? What did they do to inspire you to keep writing?
A tough question! Influence comes from so many quarters—from the books that carried me out of dark times and gave me hope for a better life, to my two children, who need proof that choosing a creative path doesn’t have to mean destitution, and my mentor, Ellen Hopkins, who offered me a home when I lost mine and demonstrates every day what it takes to be a successful professional writer.
If you could be any hero, real or make believe, who would it be and why?
If I’m being serious, the answer would be the incurably curious figures of history, who sought the truth of how the world works, despite religious or political oppression – Paracelsus, Galileo, yes, but really any seeker.
And if I’m being light-hearted, then Robin Hood, because he was unselfish, irreverent, merry, and valued his friends.
If you could pick a word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Scatter-brained. Wait, is that one word or two?
That quote by Kevin Mowrer is a powerful one, thank you, Lia! It was more than a pleasure to interview you, it was an honor!