I recently came across a new author (via twitter) that I wanted to share with my readers, whether they are looking for a new book series or developing a collection of Fantasy Fiction for their library. I’ve always been a fan of strong female characters and strongly feminist novels (see my discussions of authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Mercedes Lackey if you don’t believe me) in fantasy fiction. Growing up, most of my fantasy books were all male-led expeditions into the unknown, and I appreciate the alternative perspective now as an adult. Recently I discovered the work of Resa Nelson and her Dragonslayer series, and felt compelled to discuss this author for inclusion in public library’s collections of fantasy and science fiction.
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction as a professional since 1988, and is a longtime member of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). She is also a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Previously Nelson has been the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine (for 13 years) and has been a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold 200 articles to various magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Her first novel was The Dragonslayer’s Sword, and it was recommended for the Nebula Award. It was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. In The Dragonslayer’s Sword, Astrid is a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. When a strange gemstone emerges from her body, it sets in motion a calamitous chain of events that threatens to destroy her life. As the story progresses, Astrid learns the truth about the people she knows and loves as well as those she has disdained, and the ultimate secret of her mysterious past and the family from which she was separated comes to light. Throughout the story, Astrid is constantly confronted with who she thinks she is and the person that she truly is beneath all the layers she has created to keep herself safe.
In the final pages of her book The Dragonslayer’s Sword, Nelson’s About the Author section discusses some of what went into the writing of the novel, and her methods of preparation are quite intense. While conducting research on The Dragonslayer’s Sword, Nelson took a course in blacksmithing, where she learned how to build a fire and forge iron and steel, and she also took a course at the Higgins Armory in Worcester, Massachusetts in how to use a medieval sword, which led to her joining the Armory Guild. She also studied foil fencing for a year. Nelson participates in the guild’s study of fight manuals from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and participates in demonstration of historically accurate sword techniques. The swordwork in her novel is based on her studies in these techniques.
There are four novels in the Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword, The Iron Maiden, The Stone of Darkness and The Dragon’s Egg. In addition, Nelson is the author of Our Lady of the Absolute, a fantasy tale of ancient Egypt. You can follow Resa Nelson on twitter @ResaNelson, and check out her books by following the links provided above.
Join me next time as I sit down with Resa Nelson to talk about public libraries, her writing, and the preparation she goes through in writing a novel.
Until then: Keep reading, and may all your stories be epic.