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I'm a storyteller; that's what I see as 'my job.'
As well as novels, I also write song lyrics. One of the reasons for this is that I see songs as a kind of 'story pill' – they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I will frequently write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say.
My novels have a strong element of fantasy and are set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere – music is very important to medieval peoples, and this is another reason that I find songwriting so important. When I write the 'folk music' of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.
I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can't 'not' write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a 'high-tech' science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL ('There ain't no such thing as free lunch', credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the 'evil magicians,' something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.