Today, this blog has the honour of having an interview with author Iris McKairin. Destiny’s Champion is her brilliant novel, which I have had the pleasure of reading. Recently, I contacted Iris and asked her the following questions, which she kindly answered:
Where do you come from and has your city/town/village influenced your writings so far?
I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA). My mother contracted polio shortly after my birth and, while she thankfully fully recovered aside from a bit of lingering paralysis to the left side of her face, her physician warned her not to attempt any future conceptions, leaving me an only child. Although I cannot say that where I am from ever influenced my writing, I do believe having no siblings led me to seek company in creativity.
This blogger: I am sorry to hear that about your mother, although I am thrilled to hear that she pulled through. Plus, that’s a fascinating take on how being an only child affects the mindset. Indeed, your seeking of company in the form of creativity leads me onto my next question…
Where you get the idea to write Destiny’s Champion from? Was it because you were seeking the above-mentioned company in creativity?
On the latter part of the question, maybe. I mean, it could be a factor, certainly. I would say, though, that Destiny’s Champion is comprised of pieces of role-play written over the course of several years. When I stepped away from writing it in August 2016, the characters stayed in my heart and soul, begging me not to leave them to silent posterity.
You have written Destiny’s Champion in a unique, non-linear way that I have never come across before. What inspired you to write the narrative like this?
Inspiration took an unconventional turn when it called me to publish Destiny’s Champion. Rather than altering the role-play into a full narrative, I chose to leave the writing in its original format. (Hence, the subtitle Pieces of A Life.) I realized it was risky, yet felt it was the best way to keep the characters true to their conception.
In one of my blog pieces, I have written that there are two reasons why people decide to write a book. The ‘spark’ and the ‘push (of motivation).’ What was this spark and push for you i.e. what made you decide: I have to write Destiny’s Champion?
I believe the ‘spark’ was a continued yearning to write role-play/fanfiction. It was something that I had immersed my imagination in for many years, but was no longer able to actively pursue due to my work schedule. Family and friends encouraged me to give life to these pieces in a novella and, once the characters got wind of it, I was left with no choice! After all, would YOU dare say no to a superbly skilled gladiator with gladius in hand or the deific cunning of Athena’s son?!
This blogger: (laughs) No, absolutely not! That sounds dangerous lol. Nevertheless, I am happy that your friends and family encouraged you to go back and write this wonderful story. Don’t let them take too much of the credit though. (*winks*.)
Which of your characters is most like you?
Janus and I are soulmates. We’ve both experienced the pain of deception and betrayal, resulting not only in a shattering loss of self-esteem, but the cutthroat loss of reputation as well. Choosing to rise above the falsehoods, we set out to prove ourselves worthy of past glory by vowing a commitment to the revelation of truth.
This blogger: Wow! I am sorry to hear that for you. Nevertheless, you have used your feelings in a super positive and constructive way. For that, I can only commend you (and Janus as well, for that matter). You are an inspiration to anyone for how a person should react after being hit by a crushing setback.
Destiny’s Champion is set in Roman times. Are any your characters based on real people who lived back then? If so, why did you choose them?
Interesting that you should ask. While reading Destiny’s Champion, you may have noticed the occasional reference to Janus having been deprived of his name by his Dominus as further humiliation for the loss of his title. IF I were to disclose his name … it would be Gannicus, history’s very real gladiator who escaped his chains to fight beside Spartacus in the Third Servile War (73-71BC). My first encounter with Gannicus was his portrayal by the Australian actor, Dustin Clare, in the STARZ television series Spartacus. What can I say? His bestial strength and primal sexuality were too much of an attraction to ignore!
This blogger: That is really interesting about Janus and Gannicus. I did not know that. Thanks for pointing it out.
Have any of the characters been influenced by other historical or fictional figures?
Absolutely! Aetius, the subject of the ‘bonus’ feature story in Destiny’s Champion, is a fictional character intimately associated with two mythical characters – Athena, the Grecian goddess of warfare; and Hades, the Grecian god of the underworld. How their lives intertwine, however…? I will only say it’s divine! 😊
This blogger: (laughs.) Good answer!
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
Never allow jealousy to force you away from yourself. In the end, you will see it bears no weight other than that which burdens its source.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Stress, stress, and more stress.
How has writing changed you?
I have been left to question the behavior of those with whom I’ve written over the years. Many of my writing partners used the ‘safety glass’ of their computer monitors and the ‘beyond reach’ of being online as grand excuses for influencing cruelty and deceit, leading to the decimation of my naivete. I can’t say this was necessarily a bad thing in its entirety, for it opened my eyes to precaution for my future endeavors.
This blogger: That’s great advice! You should go to schools and educate teenagers on that vis-à-vis internet trolls.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
That depends upon the content. AND whether or not I have had enough sleep! (*winks*.)
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love spending time with my family. My son and daughter are the most wonderful ‘kids’ a mother could ask for. Their children, my 3 grandsons, are following in their footsteps. I adore playful moments with my two rescue dogs, Nasir and Magic. Lastly, I love celebrating my birthdays at Disney World – NOTHING compares to cake and ice cream at the ‘happiest place on earth’!
This blogger: That’s really nice. Moreover, it shows that you care about what is most important in life. May you enjoy spending time with your family (and birthdays at Disney World) forever.
End of Interview
That ends our interview with author Iris McKairin. I would like to thank her for her time and to say that it has been a pleasure getting to know her. I wish her all the best going forward with her future writings, her family and other ventures.
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