L.C. Conn - Magical Dragons, Hidden Plots and Conspirators
L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyard encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby, and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia in 2008, and became a stay-at-home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a series was born from a kernel of a dream. L.C has now published the seven-book fantasy series, The One True Child Series, and also the stand-alone Realm of Dragons, Fight for the Crown. Both the series and book have been released with the American-based indie publishing company Between the Lines Publishing, under their Liminal Books imprint. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Realm of Dragons: Fight for the Crown.
Please give us a short introduction to what Realm of Dragons: Fight for the Crown is about.
The Realm of Dragons is in peril, greedy forces from outside wish to overthrow the crown and take its lands and resources for their own. But there are four who can rescue it. Teagan, banished from the Realm onto an alien and dragon-less world. Muniath, the Master of Dragons who has sunk into the depths of despair. Scetis, alone for most of his life and unaware of who he is. And the Dragon King Vojin, who only appears when the throne and the Realm are in danger. They must work together to uncover the plot and save not only the Realm but also the dragons that inhabit it.
What inspired you to write about someone who was banished from her magical home of dragons and now lives on Earth?
Initially, the world that Teagan and her father were banished to was not Earth, but as the story developed it seemed a good fit. Most cultures on our planet have their own myths and legends about dragons, or creatures similar to them. So, I liked the idea of a real dragon flying about our world. Also, the landscape of the southern part of the South Island of New Zealand is just perfect to imagine a large dragon flying through the peaks and valleys. And I can’t help myself in placing our world in the midst of a fantasy story.
Tell us more about Teagan Loinsigh. What makes her tick?
Teagan, through her circumstances of finding herself on an alien world, is shy. She has been told by her father she can’t talk about their life back in the Dragon Realm, or the dragons themselves. Also, they moved about a lot, so making and keeping friends was hard for her. Her natural affinity with lizards she misunderstands as being concerned about the environment and dedicates her studies to that end. She has a naturally caring nature, and has learned to protect herself buy being quiet and withdrawn. But all this changes when they step back through the portal and are once more on their own world, even more so when she becomes who she is meant to be.
What fascinates you about dragons?
One of the first books I can remember reading about dragons is “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It was the adventure of the story and finally meeting the dragon that I think first sparked my interest. I have been collecting dragon figures for many years, starting when I got my first full-time job. I love how there are so many different types of dragons, the diversity of them means that there is always a new type to discover and learn about. I also love stories that don’t depict them as merely village-destroying, sacrifice-eating creatures, but as magnificent characters that have thoughts, feelings, and wills of their own. Which is why I have depicted the dragons in my story as such.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I have always been into music and play the alto saxophone, but not as much as I would like at the moment. My dog isn’t a fan. I can cross-stitch, crochet, and craft. I have a love/dislike relationship with baking, I love the result, but dislike actually bringing the ingredients together and the clean up. I can grow roses like they are weeds, but every other plant gets infected by my black thumb. I also create the videos for The Cobra Car Club of Western Australia’s YouTube channel.
What makes Muniath Magaoidh so special?
In my mind Muniath was always going to be one of those roguish characters everyone loves, despite his womanising and drinking ways. I tried to start him out that way, except he wasn’t having a bar of it. Yes, in the beginning of the tale he is drunk and in a bad state, but that is more in a depressed sort of way, rather than just out drinking with the boys. As his character develops, we learn he does have a little bit of a reputation, but the reason behind his drunken state is a story that is tragic. I also always imagined him to be one of those men that can’t seem to settle down, but as soon as they met that one person, they fall hard and fast.
Intrigue and conspiracy are important themes in this story - why did you take this approach?
I suppose it is the times we live in. There are a lot of conspiracy theories that run rampant through our societies, also real plots of subterfuge in the way our differing nations deal with each other and secrets. Accusations of election tampering, hacking of government computers, and just good old-fashioned spying. Also, the way counties are all smiles and handshakes together, but behind the scenes it is a different story. I have always watched the news and taken an interest in international affairs, so I think a little has leeched its way in the plot for Realm of Dragons.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
I think that would have been Scetis Mordha. At first, he was supposed to be so different. I had his character set and where he was headed was a completely different path to the one in that ended up in the story. I had to confine whole reams of pages to the ‘To Be Used For Other Stories’ file after I came to know him and his back story better. I found him to be very complex.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time! I am a great proponent of the phrase; ‘This is their story; I only write it down.’ Characters change all the time as I am writing them and the story develops. As in my answer to the previous question, Scetis was one of those, another was Loxa and so was Squirt. It happened in The One True Child Series also with the character Tony. He was only supposed to be a bit part, a security guard, but he pushed his way through to actually be a major character by the end of the series. Squirt in Realm of Dragons is another example of this happening. He was only supposed to be at Vojin’s beck and call, but his character shone through and he pushed his way more into the story with his sarcasm and insights.
You grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. How has this influenced your writing?
It has influenced it a great deal. A big chunk of Realm of Dragons was actually written when I went back to my hometown for a visit in 2018. I wandered the parks and riverside that was my “backyard” growing up, and found places to stop and write. Upper Hutt even made it into Realm of Dragons, as it is the town Teagan and her father reside in. The whole surrounding area, and in fact the whole of New Zealand, is an amazing place to grow up. For a kid with an over active imagination there are many magical spots to daydream and make up stories in. I made a video of my “backyard”, if you are interested, here’s the link, https://youtu.be/cGXv_HwklVE
Tell us more about the cover and how it came about.
I didn’t think about the cover until it was time to start the editing process. My first original idea was a dragon eye, more specifically Gremlin/Vojin’s eye depicting the silver pupil. But then I remembered there were so many other dragon books out there with a similar theme. The amulet that King Urmond gives to Teagan just before she and her father head through the portal seemed like the obvious fit. The emblem of the Dragon Realm set with an emerald stone. The background of the mountains I also thought necessary. The realm is located in an alp-like setting, with deeply carved out valleys and high snow-capped peaks. The back cover lets you know that you are not on our world, but another, with the inclusion of the twin moons, and a dragon silhouetted against them. I made a mock-up of what I wanted and two incredibly talented artists were set to work to put what I envisioned into reality. And boy did they do an amazing job. I love this cover.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
An average writing day for me is getting housework done first and out of the way, with the music turned right up. A quick bite of breakfast and a cup of tea, while watching a few YouTube videos comes after. Then heading to my office, I turn the music down to something soft and unobtrusive. I then spend a little time tidying my desk and move things around before getting down to writing. It depends which story I choose to work on, whether or not I use my computer, or a notebook and pen. I work until lunch, take a break, usually outside if it isn’t too hot, and get back to it after about an hour. I spend the afternoon either writing some more, typing up what is in my notebooks, or editing. At around three, three-thirty, I finish up and potter around the house tidying and getting dinner prepared before my hubby comes home. I am very lucky that I can work on writing full-time.
But, in telling you all this, there are those days when not much gets done. We all have them. The days when we feel a bit down or tired. The trick is not to let these days string along for too long, otherwise you fall out of the habit of writing. Storytelling takes time and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
What are you working on right now?
At the point of answering your questions, I have a few stories on the go. One that was supposed to be a lovely romance about a damaged woman who finally finds love, but it has turned into an almost horror. One about an Agent of Death, who is out to rescue his neighbor. And another that is related to the Realm of Dragons, this one is still in its infancy, as I am slowly piecing the story together. Also, there is one that has been in the back of my mind for a while, an addition to The One True Child Series. Though I have had a few false starts on this one and I can’t quite pin down the story yet.
Besides these four, I am also going through a few stories I have completed but not done anything with yet. The editing for these has been interesting, as I remember who I based characters on and the situations that inspired the story in the first place.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Your readers can find me on the following links. I am always happy to talk to readers and answer their questions. I love getting feedback on your thoughts, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Email: [email protected]
Web Page: https//lcconnwriter.wordpress.com/