Sharon Green's Pointed Views
Writing five distinctly different points of view into one book might get an author labeled schizophrenic, but not if that author is Sharon Green. Mixing a strong plot and five fascinating characters, she produced a unique "blending" like none other.
With over 30 novels under her belt, this grande dame of fantasy has plenty to say about her latest series, Roger Zelazny, and publishers. She even climbs on a soapbox or two to tell us how she feels about life, love, and cooking lasagna.
Crescent Blues: The Crystals of Mida came out in 1982. Your latest, The Blending, a four-book series for Avon, came out in 1996, with the fourth book due out in February of 1999. What has changed for you, writing and publishing-wise, in those years?
Sharon Green: To begin with, The Blending is a five-book series, and book five will also be out in 1999, in August. Writing for Don Wollheim and DAW (publisher of The Crystals of Mida and other early books) was more of a family thing, with Don being in charge and at the same time being in close communication.
These days publishing houses are ruled by a very distant "bottom line." And a lot of good writers are being turned away because their sales figures don't meet the bottom-line people's standards. Of course, if those bottom-line people bothered to advertise the books a bit more the sales might increase, but these days too many people don't believe in making money by spending money.
Sharon Green: Well, I decided to look around for something different, something not everyone and their grandmother was already doing. Most fantasy has that "small group" who are able to do magic, so that was the starting point which had to be thought about. What's different compared to the usual? How about everyone being able to do magic?
There are other stories in that same general category, but I don't have the nerve to think about one of them. Doing it would make what I went through with The Blending look like child's play, so let's not go into it.
But I would like to mention who caused me to start thinking along these lines: the late Roger Zelazny. His work was always so far above the ordinary that it completely amazed me. I read his Madwand stuff and not only enjoyed the work for itself, it made me wonder. Zelazny found another way to look at magic, so he inspired me to try to do the same. My effort isn't anywhere near his, but I like to consider it a step in the right direction.
Crescent Blues: The Blending feels like something of a departure from your earlier series -- Diana Santee, Jalav, Terrillian, Silver Princess. Can you provide our readers with a little background on this complex series?
Sharon Green: It suddenly came to me that it was time to do something different, and The Blending turned out to be it. I had no idea how hard it was to write that many points of view, but the book demanded it so I had no choice. You do understand that books write themselves, and those of us who put them down are nothing but glorified secretaries, don't you? Any writer who speaks the truth will tell you the same thing.
Crescent Blues: In The Blending, readers see the story through the eyes of five people -- Tamrissa Domon (Fire), Lorand Coll (Earth), Jovvi Hafford (Spirit), Clarion Mardimil (Air), and Vallant Ro (Earth). How have readers responded to having so many main characters? Were you surprised by their reactions?
Sharon Green: It was very gratifying to hear from fans that they were able to identify with all the characters. The people in my books are very real to me, and it's my job to make it the same for those who read the books.
In a situation like The Blending, you do have five very different individuals who have to learn to get along. What each one is like dictates what their actions will be in a given circumstance, so you have to know "where they're coming from" in order to understand why they're at the point they've reached. I find people to be endlessly marvelous, and I really did want to share some of that feeling.
If I succeeded, I couldn't be happier -- and I'm always surprised to hear that what I did worked out right. My first efforts at writing were horrible, and much of the time I still have that impression of "not even coming close" to haunt me. I consider it a very good thing to be worried about not getting it down right. It keeps me from getting lazy and doing only half the job.
Crescent Blues: How hard is it to switch from character to character?
Sharon Green: The hardest part of switching around is remembering…