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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Ilana C. Myer has graciously offered to make herself available to discuss Last Song Before Night. If anyone has questions or comments, please do so here.

Thanks so much to Ilana for her kind involvement, and to Shel for putting us in touch!


message 2: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3083 comments Mod
Hi Ilana,

Could you talk a bit about the central role that music plays in the book? How did you decide to go with that as such an important part of the society? Is music a strong influence in your own life?

Thanks,
Kathi


message 3: by Ilana (last edited Jan 23, 2017 12:29PM) (new)

Ilana C. Myer Hi, first of all I just want to say thanks for having me here! It's fun to have the opportunity to connect with readers. Most of the time I'm just wrestling a story to life, by myself.

I'm also in a good mood because I just turned in the final edits for my second novel, FIRE DANCE. While Last Song Before Night is a standalone novel, I came up with ideas later on for a sequel that is very different, involving Middle Eastern elements and magic.


message 4: by Ilana (last edited Jan 23, 2017 12:35PM) (new)

Ilana C. Myer Kathi wrote: "Hi Ilana,

Could you talk a bit about the central role that music plays in the book? How did you decide to go with that as such an important part of the society? Is music a strong influence in your..."


Hi, Kathi!

I came to music for Last Song Before Night in a roundabout way. I began to think about the book's concept as a college student, when I took a class on Celtic myth. We learned about the Celtic poets and their importance in society. As a writer--as someone who cares profoundly about art--this struck me. I thought: What would it be like to write a fantasy novel where art would be so important that songs are a matter of life and death?

Of course, once I'd decided on the Celtic poets, I thought some more and realized that the troubadours are another historical phenomenon that I just love. So I decided to combine them. That was the seed of the novel, and it grew from there.

As far as specific music, though, I can tell you that when I wrote the prologue of the novel (now located deep in the novel, following edits) I was listening to Loreena McKennitt's CD, "Parallel Dreams," on repeat. :)


message 5: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2117 comments Mod
Which part was the prologue, initially? I'm always interested to hear about how things change as editing progresses!


message 6: by Ilana (new)

Ilana C. Myer Shel wrote: "Which part was the prologue, initially? I'm always interested to hear about how things change as editing progresses!"

The very first thing I wrote was the section from Edrien's point of view. That was meant to be a prologue. My editor felt that the opening should be more exciting (I think that was the comment--this is a long time ago!) but otherwise liked the piece, so I kept it and wove it into the last third of the book.

LAST SONG went through a great deal of editing. It's a process that taught me a LOT, so that ultimately, there was comparatively little that needed changing in FIRE DANCE. I did numerous revisions on my own--something like six initial drafts--but by the time of submission it was close to ready.


message 7: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3083 comments Mod
Ilana wrote: "As far as specific music, though, I can tell you that when I wrote the prologue of the novel (now located deep in the novel, following edits) I was listening to Loreena McKennitt's CD, "Parallel Dreams," on repeat. :)"

What a great tidbit of info. She is one of my favorite artists and this fall I had the chance to hear her in concert, which was a rare treat. Thank you for sharing.


message 8: by Ilana (new)

Ilana C. Myer Oh, wonderful! When I was living in Israel I flew to Greece just to hear her sing in concert. :)


message 9: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3083 comments Mod
Without being spoiler-y, having written a novel that is a stand-alone, and then writing a sequel, did you find yourself wishing that you had written things differently in Last Song Before Night because of the direction you wanted to go in the sequel, or is the sequel removed enough from the main story of Last Song Before Night that you could choose which threads to weave into the sequel? Maybe what I'm asking is: is the sequel a new story in the same world or a connected story? Does that make sense?


message 10: by Ilana (last edited Jan 25, 2017 02:04PM) (new)

Ilana C. Myer Kathi:

Great question!

FIRE DANCE picks up about a year and a half after Last Song Before Night left off, and involves most of the (surviving) characters from the previous book. It encompasses Tamryllin, the Academy, and the heretofore unseen land of Kahishi. The ending of LAST SONG has far-reaching consequences for these places, and it is these consequences that FIRE DANCE explores.

At the same time, FIRE DANCE is an entirely new story, so someone who hasn't read the previous book can easily jump in. There is a host of new characters and the story is in its way self-contained. While there is setup for the third book at the end, there is also a resolution of major plot threads.

So the short answer is--it is a connected story, and a new story. A bit of both!


message 11: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3083 comments Mod
Thanks! My usual routine with a series is to not start the first book until the series is complete. I have broken that rule a few time, but I try not to because I don't remember the details well enough from one book to the next, and I don't want to take the time to reread, although I've done that on occasion, too. Connected yet mostly self-contained sounds good.


message 12: by Ilana (last edited Jan 26, 2017 12:21PM) (new)

Ilana C. Myer I also never remember details from book to book in a series--when I was reading Harry Potter I would always forget who Luna Lovegood was--so I made sure FIRE DANCE would provide just enough background details to remind the reader what happened, without bogging down the story.


message 13: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 966 comments Good to hear from you, Ilana. I do not read a lot of fantasy, but I will add your book to my TBR simply because I love Loreena McKinnett so much! Glad she was an influence on you.


message 14: by Ilana (new)

Ilana C. Myer Nick wrote: "Good to hear from you, Ilana. I do not read a lot of fantasy, but I will add your book to my TBR simply because I love Loreena McKinnett so much! Glad she was an influence on you."

That's very cool, Nick! I got a chance to interview her once--it was pretty surreal.


message 15: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3083 comments Mod
I just want to thank Ilana for joining the discussion and answering questions. I love it when we get authors to join in--such a treat! So, thank you, Ilana, for your book and for your generous presence in our group!


message 16: by Ilana (new)

Ilana C. Myer It's been a pleasure, Kathi! I'll be around, and get notifications when people post here. If anyone asks a question later on, I'll be happy to respond.


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