1) How long does it take you to complete a novella?
It really depends on the novella. If I’m writing in a world I’d previously created, as I was with LET ME FLY FREE, then it goes a lot faster than if I’m starting from scratch. I write pretty quickly once I know what I’m doing, but it takes me a while to get to that point… the plot outlines, the character sketches, the backstory, the world-building. It’s hard to say how long all this pre-work/planning took me for LET ME FLY FREE since I’d developed the world a few years earlier when I was writing the other Fated Stars novella, TELL ME MY NAME, and I had a series arc with all these characters already created. It took me a month or so to get back into the Fated Stars headspace, and then another few weeks to plot out the novella. Once I had all that done, though, the actual writing process only took maybe a week. Then came the edits…
2) Why did you choose to make Let Me Fly Free a novella rather than a novel?
LET ME FLY FREE is a prelude to a fantasy series that will see a great, ancient evil–banished at the beginning of time–returning to destroy the world. The first full-length book in the Fated Stars series is currently with Glass House Press for edits, and it’ll depict the beginnings of this evil’s rise. Elaia has an important role to play in the series, and LET ME FLY FREE is something of an origin story for her–a glimpse into what her world was like before the madness began. Given the amount of material I had for the story, a novella was more appropriate than a full-length novel.
3) I noticed that you take pride in the main character being a heroine – what is the main message you would like to send to your readers on this?
That women and girls are complex, multi-faceted individuals who can shape their own destinies, and the stories we tell about them should reflect that. That there are many ways for them to be strong, to be intelligent, to be wise. That they don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.
4) Are you looking into writing a sequel for Let Me Fly Free?
Since LET ME FLY FREE takes place pretty much right before the main events of the Fated Stars series (which is somewhat hinted at in the novella), I don’t intend to write a direct sequel in the traditional sense of the world. That being said, Elaia will be back in the main Fated Stars series (having been deeply affected by the events of the novella) and will have an important role in shaping the plot–and the fate of the world.
5) If you were given a chance to write the story a little differently, what would you do?
That’s hard to say at this time since I feel like I just finished working on it! I suppose that, in a parallel universe, I’d have liked to have spent a little more time exploring the enchanted forest Elaia calls home, but doing so would have killed the tension of the plot (which pretty much hits the ground running… it would have been odd to take a detour!). Of course, there will be more opportunities for me to show what the enchanted forest is like in the main series 🙂
Do you have a question for Mary Fan? Ask away in the comment section.
Thank you again, Mary Fan!