Women in SFF Author Spotlight – Anamaria Borlan (THE BLUE WINGS)
Anamaria Borlan is a Romanian writer of SF and Fantasy. Her greatest achievement is the novel The Blue Wings = Aripile Albastre (Aoi tenshi monogatari is the original title), a large epic novel, volume one has 10 books.
Anamaria is also the founder of the Antares Science Fiction & Fantasy Club Brașov, Romania, which has had an uninterrupted activity for 38 years. Presently she is the Honorary President of this club, established by her in 1981, when she was a very young schoolgirl, very passionate about SF and fantasy.
Annually, the Antares Club organize a very large, nation wide and even international SFF literature and arts festival, named AntareSFest, festival for which we received last year, The Grand National Literary Award. Of which she is very proud, of course!
Her most important achievement is, at the moment, The Collection of SF&F Short Stories for the Blind People – very enthusiastic science fiction and fantasy readers, in Braille alphabet.
Anamaria’s novels are currently written in Romanian and Japanese, but will soon be translated into English.
Welcome to the Hive, Anamaria. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I am currently reading some Romanian SFF authors, great work, interesting ideas and catchy plots! Also, I’m re-reading Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, a realistic-fantasy novel, like most of his novels.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I like medieval fantasy and high fantasy too!
I think I am the Druid + Monk class D&D – based, let’s suppose on my primary abilities as wisdom – a priest of the Old Faith, wielding powers of nature, moonlight and plant growth, fire and lighting, adopting animal forms and, at the same time, a master of martial arts, harnessing the power of the body in pursuit of physical and spiritual perfection. Abilities that I can lend to my team in defending and protecting against the dungeon monster, using resourceful magic-based solutions but also using some physical strength, fighting bare-handed only when it’s worth it.
That would be fun!
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?)
Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I usually like to work in a quiet environment, but sometimes I enjoy some soft background music like jazz, blues, and symphonies.
I build my ideas – that come from thin air! – in my mind, I envision them like I would watch a movie and then I draw the characters, the environment, the plot or plots, the narrative lines established in the essential points and then the action flows itself – sometimes even without my help !
I like to do research work for documentation and I am very thorough. The historical or scientific facts are very important in a story or novel. I also empathise with my characters, it’s important to sensitize the reader, leading them to have some kind of affinity in discovering traits, power and weakness or the abilities in creating the characters. It is like building a pyramid, from bottom to top, with bare hands.
I write fiction (fantasy or SF) every day, for exercise.
What (or who) are your most significant female fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
I like, I love Ursula K. LeGiun. Then Octavia E. Butler, Margaret Atwood, Marion E. Zimmer Bradley, Zen Cho, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice, Diana Wynne Jones and so many other great fantasy authors.
I would like to meet and work with Michelle Michiko Sagara West!
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
Recently I watched movies like Interstellar, Alita: Battle Angel, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. TV shows like The Witcher, Games of Thrones, the Expanse, Dr. Who, Arthdal Chronicles, Death Note.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Well … I would read, I would stitch handcraft pattern, walk my dog, watch a film or an episode of some fantasy or SF from a series, whilst thinking and plotting my next novel.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I recently completed writing two novels, now I’m working on the next one and in mean time writing two short stories for two anthologies.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
The most helpful piece of writing advice I received was: write fiction every day!
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I tell myself that a short break is good for venting the mind which is overwhelmed with ideas, thoughts, problems from work to solve …
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Japan. I have loved Japan since childhood, their history, culture, arts, literature, everything.
Who are your favourite female characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of female character you enjoy writing?
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Maeve Millay from Westworld, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Xena, the Warrior Princess
Yes, I enjoy to write about female characters who know what to do, how to do it; they are not perfect, are not very strong, but it does not stop them from fighting for their beliefs. They know how to motivate others, take unexpected actions if danger shows, if necessary to fight dragons and monsters, E.T.s or villains. They are ordinary women or girls, we meet them all the time in our life, make our lives to be so beautiful and bearble. True tough and strong people
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
The Sun Sword Saga by Michelle West
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
I like to believe that my writing work, Fantasy and SF, is interesting, well written and appealing. Hope the reader will find themselves in my characters, facts, thoughts, actions and empathize with them. We are our own characters, eventually.
Thank you so much for joining us today Anamaria.