The League of Scribes: Interview With Gwen Dandridge

Each week, The L. Palmer Chronicles channels the Bright Fires of Awesome from the Dragon of Shininess to open up a portal through the universe to bring you a member of The League of Scribes.

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The League of Scribes is a legendary group of authors who write grand adventures in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. They are able to write rich, compelling stories while keeping content in the PG –PG-13 range.

If you have been on a quest to find clean sci-fi and fantasy novels, you have reached the right place.

This week, we present:

Gwen Dandridge

Gwen Dandridge, Author:

Otherwise known by her Code Name: Owned by a Golden

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About the Author:

For the last twenty years I’ve had one golden retriever or another—you never own them, they own you.

My romance with fantasy was started when at age eight I discovered libraries, in libraries were fairy tale books. After that, I always expected to find a fairy beneath each flower, each rustle of leaves.

From there I went on to Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. But my love went into a full blown affair at an Outward bound trip when half-way down the Colorado river one of the men talked about reading the Hobbit. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve been a member of SCBWI for fifteen years and function as the SCBWI CenCal listserv administrator.

I worked as a system’s analyst (Oracle databases) at Santa Barbara Community College but much of my outside work time is spent doing art of various sorts: stained glass, pottery, basketry, large boulder mosaics, silk wall hangings, etc. I have a B.A. in Psychology, a two year certificate in Computer Information Systems and many classes in Writing, Art and Art History.

I should note that the only purpose my degree in psychology has only been to understand dragons, jinns and rarely seen creatures. I bake regularly and garden seriously (I have over 40 different fruit trees on the property).

Reading is my passion as is notable by the walls of books in my house. My golden retriever even works for literacy as she participates in a Paws to Read program at our local library.

In my computer are manuscripts evolving and growing as each day goes by, hopeful to be set forth into the world as a book

A Sample of Gwen Dandridge’s Work:

The Dragon’s Choice

The dragons came from beyond the Crystal Mountains, demanding a virgin sacrifice…and Princess Genevieve learns she’s it when she’s handed a golden token–the mark of the chosen.

Genevieve accepts her fate. She must, in order to save her kingdom. But the journey to her final destiny is complicated by the arrival of Chris, a 1970s Berkeley co-ed.

To Chris, the whole scenario reeks of deception. Where she comes from, corsets are for burning and virgins are hard to find. She’s sure the dragons are out for more than innocent blood, but the only way to find out what they really want is to accompany Genevieve on her journey. Not what she had planned for her sophomore year of college.

Genevieve is duty-bound–unless Chris is right. Then her sacrifice would mean nothing. Other than woe to those who duped her.

Interview

Who would love your books?

Anyone over the age of eleven who loves a tale told well. My books are meant to entertain, to be a book that can be read on many levels and also, I hope, to make one think. I like opening minds to different ways of thinking in the gentlest possible way, including mine.

No matter what culture or time I write about, my woman/girls are never weak. Each protagonist has different strengths and weaknesses but these aren’t girls who sit on their hands waiting for rescue.

What was the inspiration for your latest book/series?

The Dragons Chosen started with the premise of what would happen if a traditional princess was paired with a fairy godmother who wasn’t old and sweet. What if the two were opposite in how they saw the world and their role in it?

If a movie of your book were made, what movie(s) would it be most similar too?

Closest would be the Hobbit only with women!

Do you use music while writing? If so, what music do you use? Is there a theme song for your book?

Nope, aside from my humming it’s quite quiet when I write. I do love Celtic music though!

What authors or books inspire you most?

So, so many authors have formed my understanding of what a good fantasy should be: Robin Hobb, Juliet Marillier, Lloyd Alexander, Patricia A. McKillip, Robin McKinley, Tolkien (of course).

The books that inspire me most are ones where the hero or heroine is isn’t perfect but works through whatever flaws they have to succeed.

If you were conquering the world, what fantasy or sci-fi creature/race/entity would you build your army out of? Why?

Well, I’m not likely to go about conquering the world. We’ve all seen how badly that can turn out, but I wouldn’t mind having a pet flying dragon nesting on my balcony.

Would you rather ride a galactic unicorn or a space dinosaur? Why?

I love horses, so any possibility of a unicorn would rock!

When did you decide to be a professional writer?

I was asked to write by a friend of mine in order to make math easy for middle graders. That’s what started me off, nothing deep or earth shattering. Of course, that too has changed a little. Now I write to figure out the stories – I also want to know what happens.

Are you a planner, a discovery writer, or a hybrid?

Definitely a discovery writer.

I usually know the start of my book and the ending but as the book evolves both are likely to change.

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

READ!!!!!! Get in a good Writers’ Group. Learn your craft! Okay, maybe that’s more than one, but they are all critical for writing a good story.

Where do your books fall on the Rating Scale of PG to PG-13 Content (1 = How To Train Your Dragon, 8 = The Dark Knight, 10 = Borderline-R-Rating).

If you include all my manuscripts in progress, all the way across the spectrum. The Stone Lions is probably a 4, and The Dragons’ Chosen a 6. While I don’t wish my novels to offend and I want them inspiring, I do not wish to ignore life. So while I might not highlight certain subjects, I don’t ignore them either. Many, many teenagers and children deal with lots more drama than any of us wish. Books allow you to understand you aren’t the only one on the planet going through difficulties. That’s why books are important. Not only do they amuse and instruct and entertain, but they also give hope.

If you live in a fictional world (besides one you’ve created) which would you choose and why?

I think I’ll stick with the world I live in for now. If I could pick and choose, it would be a world where everyone is fed and sleeps safe at night.

To explore the worlds Gwen Dandridge has created, check out the book below:

The Stone Lions

The Dragons’ Chosen

To Interact with Gwen Dandridge, check out the links below:

Readers:

  • Do you have any more questions for Gwen Dandridge?
  • What do female dwarves in Middle Earth look like?
  • What superpower do you look for in a unicorn?
  • If you could choose anyone as your fairy godmother, who would you choose and why?

If you would like to join the League of Scribes, please e-mail lpalmer@lpalmerchronicles.com

Side Note: A great group of independent authors of clean sci-fi and fantasy authors are running a giveaway of a Kindle Fire and a whole pile of books (well, e-books) now to February 5th. Click below for more.

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