Sunday, January 6, 2013

Beth Barany - inspired by fairy tales

Hi Beth and welcome,, I must apologise. Blogger seems to be having problems with uploading pictures. Never mind, we'll press on regardless.

Please tell us a little about your adventure 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer at age 7, but in that unconscious confidence we have as kids. My next flash of "I can do this!" came at age 13, when a teacher required us to do a lot of creative writing for class, and I churned out things like a diary of a young girl coming West during the Gold Rush in California. And then, I really felt like a writer, for real, at 18 years old when I consciously journaled each day, and decided that just because I wrote daily I could call myself a writer. After that, my goal became getting published, and I no longer questioned if I was a writer really, but I did wonder if I was a good one. Another question entirely!

What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first novel because I just wanted to prove to myself that I could actually write a novel. I was specifically inspired by a sentence pulled at random from a Virginia Wolff book for a creative writing exercise in a writing group, something about a dog hopping on three legs. That sparked my first novel set in 1850s Paris, France, that will forever remain in the closet. (Though I forever still love Paris and remain fascinated about that time in Paris when most of the grand boulevards were built.)

What books have most influenced your life most?

I would say that the stories that influenced me the most are fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk, and other Jack tales, like Jack the Giant Killer. I really liked Jack's courage and adventurous spirit, but, you see, he was a boy, and I'm not. I was upset that all the tales I read were always about Jack. What about girls doing those things? Why was it always boys going on adventures in all the folk tales that were read to me? Wondering that inspired me to start my first fantasy story, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, that started when I was 20 years old, and when I was just starting my adventures.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I have written three nonfiction books and four novels. Only one of those novels is published, so far. I'd have to say my favorite is always my next book. In this case, it's the one that's coming out next, the second in my YA fantasy series, Henrietta and The Dragon Stone. More on that below. My next favorite book is the first in the series, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

I prefer to write fantasy and paranormal, anything with elements of magic and the fantastical. I grew up steeped in fairy tales and folk tales and have always loved these seemingly timeless stories that feel rich in symbolism and yet relevant somehow to our lives now. Anything without magic seems only half-baked somehow. I suppose I see life through a magically-tinted lens.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

Sure! My next book out will be Henrietta and The Dragon Stone, due out in March 2013.

This story picks up where Henrietta The Dragon Slayer leaves off and continues Henrietta's adventures with her friends, up against a new scary foe.

Here's the blurb:

Henrietta the legendary ass kicking dragon slayer wants to return to her village with a hero’s welcome. But an unknown sorcerer is after her, her Dragon Stone, and everyone she cares about. Can she claim her newfound powers sparked by the Dragon Stone and keep her loved ones safe, especially her more-than-friend and her stalwart bodyguard, before the sorcerer destroys her and everything in his path?


Chapter One—Invitation
Battle-hardened and brave
Ready for the fight
Henrietta the Dragon Slayer
Swings with all her might
—From the chorus of the Song of the Dragon Slayer

Henrietta strode away from the tavern, fists clenched so hard they hurt. At two paces from the forest edge, the ground crunched in the black night behind her. Even with her ale-fogged brain, she sensed the presence of a man, smelled on him soot, leather and metal, and knew he was armed, but wore no armor.

She didn’t have time for this.

“What do you want?” Henrietta whirled to face the thrill seeker, her long sword drawn, her long red hair whipping across her chilled cheeks. Above her head, the bitter wind keened through the forest trees.

The man hovered five feet-lengths away from her, out of sword reach, his face shadowed by the light of the tavern behind him. “I heard your story back there.” His voice, thick with a foreign accent she couldn’t place, held no compliment. “I hear you’re looking for a new quest.”

“Who gave you that idea?”

“The Song of the Dragon Slayer.” The man’s tone was flat.

So he wasn’t a fan. She didn’t care. She cared that he didn’t move any closer. Empty hands at his sides, a sheathed long sword at his belt, he was broad shouldered and taller than her by half a head.

She re-sheathed her sword reluctantly. “So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s only a song.”

“A song about you. That is why you must come with me now.” He stepped toward her, his face still hidden by darkness.

“No, I must not go with you. Leave me be!” she said annoyed and angry. There was a thrill seeker in every town. Facing him, she stepped back to have room to swing her sword if necessary, her hand waiting on her sword pommel. “There’s plenty of others in that tavern to harass.”

She didn’t want to play “who’s the best warrior” just now. The drink had touched her head more than usual, without its usual lovely numbing affect. “Who are you anyway? No, I don’t want to know. Just leave me be.”

“I am a knight, doing his duty. Assessing.” He didn’t move any closer.

Like she needed to know that. Then she opened her big mouth.

“If you’re a knight, where’s your armor?” As soon as she heard herself, she knew that was a dumb question.

“I do not need armor for this.” He said the words as if she wasn’t worth a gnat on sheep’s berries. “You will come with me now,” he repeated.

He dared to order her?

“I will do no such thing. Weren’t you listening in there?” She gestured toward the tavern where she’d just told and re-enacted her tale. A thrill seeker who ordered her? What was this nonsense? “I did my quest. Now leave me to my peace.”

He didn’t budge his bulky frame. What was he waiting for? A royal invitation to depart?

Heaviness pressed against her chest like an anvil, preventing breath from fully entering her lungs.

She’d done her dragon slaying and military campaigns. Done. Finished. Fini.

“There is much coin and glory for the one who takes the Emerald Dragon’s Dracontias,” the stranger knight said, disdainfully.

How much coin? But that didn’t come out. “The what-ias?”

“Thought you knew everything there was to know about dragons.”

Politeness wasn’t this man’s strength.

“Yah, that’s me. A walking, talking dragon-spouting slayer, at your service.”

The man snorted. Very elegant.

Award-winning fantasy author, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes to empower girls and women with her kick ass heroines who have to save the world against great odds. In her off hours, Beth enjoys walking, capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) reading and watching movies with her husband, author and singer/song writer Ezra Barany. More her novels on her site:

Beth's books are available on Amazon, Smashwords,, iBooks, and Kobo. Go here to download a sample of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer:


1 comment:

  1. Jean, Thanks for having me on your site! It's a pleasure!