Author: Barnara Dyson-Williams
Publisher: Synergy Books
The following interview was conducted by: Theresa Derwin: Click here to read Theresa’s reviews.
With the galaxy size success of Star Wars Episode III, it is evident
that the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre is appealing to kids of all ages, including
Seniors. Barabara Dyson Williams, author of the "Road of Silk" and self-confessed Sci-Fi nut,is one such representative of that demographic. She's here to give her perspective on Sci-Fi, Fantasy and the meaning of life (And it's not 42!)
You have recently published "Road of Silk", a fantasy novel about the
trials faced by Queen Yasamin of Gwendomere. Tell us a little bit about
I have taken a young naïve girl and thrust her into the middle of
politics between warring kingdoms. She is required to marry the King of
the most ‘evil’ kingdom in order to save her people. She agrees to this
‘sacrifice’ to save them. On the way to Dragonval the ship is blown off
course and she spends quite a while marooned with the leader of the
King’s soldiers and a young man who was taken prisoner and with whom she
falls in love. She matures and also learns that she carries the ‘seeds’
of both the Followers of the Light and the followers of the dark. The
book is a story about relationships and making choices and accepting
responsibility for those choices and how those same choices affect not
only herself, but also those around her and those generations to come.
What was the inspiration behind the novel?
First of all, I wanted to introduce a female as the central character in
this book in a genre that has been male dominated for years. Again, it
was finding a way to show accepting responsibilities for our own choices
and learning to live with them. By setting this in the fantasy genre,
people get this message without feeling they are being ‘preached’ to.
Who is your favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy author and why? For that matter,
what is your all time favorite Sci-Fi or Fantasy book?
Actually I have many favorites and would be hard-pressed to single it to
one. I have to admit, though, LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR Wars have
always held a special place in my heart.
It's clear from your work that you have a deep passion for the Sci-Fi
and Fantasy genres. How far does this love for the genre stretch back?
I could almost say half a century, but not quite!! But I can say for
many decades. I was first introduced to Fantasy when I was required to
read LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY in school. I fell in love with it and
began actively seeking out more books in that genre.
Nowadays, it seems that everyone in Hollywood is re-imagining
renowned Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels, (take Speilbergs latest slant on "War of
the Worlds" for instance), and putting their own Blockbuster style spin
on it. Right now, Lucas's 3rd (or would that be 6th!) installment of his
Star Wars Saga is kicking up a storm at the box office. What do you
think it is about these genres that appeals to the mass public, and
Senior Sci-fi fans in particular?
I think this genre appeals to the mass public on several levels:
needless to say, this genre truly ‘fires’ imagination and the galaxy is
literally the limit for our imagination. The action,I think, this makes
it particular interesting for the younger groups. There are always other
strands of stories that runs through this genre as well, for example,
romance. So there is a little of something for everyone. One of the
major factors in this genre is it forces us to realize that the world is
a big place and there are probably other forms of life out there. It is
one of the few genres that has the capacity to make us as humans on
earth all work together and put aside our differences (a very good
example of this is Independence Day). I think the other biggest factor
is probably the idea that no matter what the odds, no matter how much
the good guys are outnumbered, outmanned, or any other negative thing
you can think of….in the end, good always triumphs over evil. Most may
not realize it on a conscious level, but it is something we all want to
believe and be reassured about…especially with so much unrest and
uncertainty in the world today. For a few hours, at least, we can
believe that ‘life’ is happening as we would like for it to.
What do you think will be the impact of the Star Wars movie for
Senior Sci-Fi fans?
I said this to many people before the movie actually aired and now
having seen it I believe I was right. At this point, the senior
population is one of the largest in America, and therefore has a great
impact. The first episodes of Star Wars were chocked full of action,
action action. Now that we (Senior Citizens) have experienced more life,
we also want a little more from this genre…we want to see meaning behind
the characters and their motives, we don’t just want to see battles. I
saw much more of this in “The Revenge”, we saw more internal struggle
along with the physical fighting.
Of course, I have not seen the new War of the Worlds movie yet, but I
have a feeling that some of this inner conflict will be seen in this
movie as well.
As a Senior Sci-Fi Fanatic, and a Sci-Fi author to boot, what do you
feel you bring differently to the genre, from, say, the J.K. Rowlings of
the world who gear their fiction towards a younger audience?
I think first and foremost the one thing that I have brought that is
entirely different to this genre is the fact, as I mentioned above, I
have introduced a heroine in my trilogy in a genre that is known for its
With the recent increase in cinema aimed towards the younger Sci-Fi
fantasy fan (Take Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett, Star Wars and Spider
Man for example), how do Seniors Citizens economically impact the box
Perhaps I have entered my second childhood because I actually enjoy
those movies myself! But seriously, I think senior citizens will also
impact the box office by taking their grandchildren, etc., to see these
movies. Most of these movies like Harry Potter, Spider Man still show
the same theme…good eventually wins over evil. Especially with the
movies you mentioned above, I feel most of us as senior citizens would
rather our grandchildren see these kind of movies and learn lessons from
them (and kids do learn lessons though they may not realize it as it is
happening in an entertaining way) because there is definitely less
violence (horror), sex scenes, etc. happening in them than most movies.
If I had to chose one of the above movies to take my grandson to as
opposed to say “Halloween”, “The Darkening”, etc. I would most
definitely take him to one of the sci-fi-fantasy movies.
Do you have any more projects planned for the near future?
I am in the process of writing the prequel for my trilogy. The Road of
Silk is one of three books in the series. Once it is finished and to the
publisher I will begin the third novel.
Thanks for answering my questions and I look forward to the next installment. Good luck with the book.