A HOUSE OF LIGHT AND STONE
Giving a voice to the silent. A House of Light and Stone is the first full-length novel from writer E. J. Runyon, which follows the daily struggles of an abused young girl as she takes her first tentative steps into growing up. Secrets and lies abound in the backstreets of late-sixties Los Angeles, and coming of age here is no mean feat. For Duffy, whose talent and creativity far exceed her years, growing up is about making immutable choices and learning one simple lesson: that understanding oneself is absolutely everything. In charting Duffy’s quest, Runyon illuminates the dark corners, shedding credible light on a subject that could easily slip into the realms of melodrama. The result is something believable and profound; a true testament to the strength of the human spirit.
PURCHASE LINKS for A HOUSE OF LIGHT AND STONE
Interview with EJ Runyon
E.J. Runyon lives in the US Southwest. Since 2002 she’s found herself moving on to smaller and smaller desert towns, while working to become the author and writing coach she planned to be. First, she quit working in software and sold her home to finance her degree in Creative Writing and her Grad-work in Online Teaching and Learning. She’s never looked back since. Now, her life revolves around her own writing and Bridge to Story – an online creativity coaching business that she runs– and you know, being a better person day to day. E.J.’s passion is focused on writing fine prose and on getting folks writing, her aim is coaching them in writing well. She participates yearly in National Novel Writing Month – an event she’s been involved in since 2001. Her first collection of short stories, Claiming One was published by Inspired Quill in 2012, which was followed in 2013 by Tell Me How to Write a Story, a guide for writers new and old alike.
Thank you for this opportunity, EJ. Let’s start at the beginning. Who designed that eye-catching cover on your debut novel?
That was Venetia Jackson, out of the UK. Is it fab or what? We all went around a few times, IQ, she and I, and that was the end result. I love what she captured of the novel’s essence in her work, back and front covers. I’ve used her artwork to make many Book Memes for posting to FB and a lot of folks mention how much they think of that cover. Lots of thumbs up.
Have your life experiences influenced your work in any way?
For real long time, my life experience was to work really, really, hard and ignore my art, as if it was something to shove aside for a later time. The biggest shift in that experience was realizing I was really good at working hard and really good at writing, so why not work hard at the writing for the rest of my life?
I think that’s the biggest life experience that’s influenced my work. Because now that’s all I do. I work at my writing and I work at other people’s writing. And I work really hard at both.
As a writer, are you a planner or do you jump right into it?
I’m the type who gets an idea in the form a scene or a line of dialogue that pops up in my mind then I jump right into planning what I’m going to do around it.
I’ve written ending lines first. And then built backwards. When it comes to planning, mine takes the form of a whole bunch of ”What if…?” questions that I ask. Mostly about how would someone react…, what would happen when…, how would they think…, what would lead to…
Answers to those types of of question make it very easy for a not-much-of-a-planner to get a grip on what the story might end up being about.
How long have you been writing?
As a non-dilettante, non-lip service, not posing at it, really siting down and writing, then editing writer-person, since 1992.
That’s when I became very serious about everything. Even though my doing so was small and confused. And very novice at my attempts.
I started sending my work out in 1996 or so. The first short story I sent out got accepted. In 1997 I stopped my day-work to focus on a group of 8 short stories, by 2001 it was on to novellas via NaNoWriMo. Then in 2011, the first short story collection got accepted, then the first novel…
Now there’s three titles out by Inspired Quill, and I’m self-publishing my 2001 novella this year. In 2010 I built my Bridge to Story coaching site. And Writer’s Digest has let me guest-blog a time or two for their ‘There Are No Rules‘ web posts. But as we see, there were years of revisions in the mix. This year it’s another Writer’s Guide. Next year, another novel.
You’re also a skilled story editor, how much of your time is split between writing your own work and editing others?
I work maybe 14 hours out of the day, because I run my own business and no one can say, Hey stop that!
And I’d say it’s about 40%/60% for my work/their work.
That’s just because any time where there’s no editing to do, the full time then goes to my own work. As of 2015 I’ve got three other novels ready to go for submissions. And five others under final round edits. In the years altering with placing those novels to good homes, it’ll be working to put out writing guides.
When you’re not writing or editing, what hobbies keep you busy?
What I enjoy is miniatures. 1 inch scale types. Though I’m much more the armchair enthusiast. I’ve only made a few things of my own that I’m really proud of. I did splurge once and got to go to a Miniatures conference, where I signed up for a class in ¼ scale room box creations. I made a spectacular (in my eyes) adobe casita, and furnished it to look like a painter’s studio. It was brilliant. Out in the patio were planters with flowering bushes, a tree, a cat, brickwork, and a tiled fountain. Best time in my miniatures career to date.
What book or books are you reading at the moment?
I’m re-reading a few things and also working through a list of 50 books that I planned for this year’s reading agenda. The re-reading is above and beyond the 50 books. And I usually have two or three things going simultaneously. So as far as re-reading goes, it’s Catherine Ryan Hyde’s ‘Earthquake Weather’. And for the book off my 2015 list, this week it’s, Lev Raphael’s ‘Rosedale In Love (The House of Mirth Revisited)’. Strangely, I happen to post a lot on FB with both those authors.
And lastly, do you prefer mermaids or flapjacks? 🙂
If you mean which do I prefer for a nice long chat, I’d have to say Mermaids—hands down.
Now if you meant what I’d like to share with a Mermaid I’ve experienced an excellent conversation with, that would have to be the flapjacks. No question. 🙂
Of course we’re keeping this one, that’s the most sensible answer to that question I’ve ever heard! Goodness, I’m building quite a collection of authors here, I’m gonna have to build a bigger pen…
Blessed be, my darling pixies