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Carol Berg
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Carol Berg   Carol Berg is the award-winning author of over 10 high fantasy novels, including The Lighthouse Duet which recently won the Mythopoeic award and the Colorado Book Award. Sheís also won the Geffen Award and the Prism Award, plus her books have been finalists for the Romantic Times Reviewerís Choice Award, the Compton Crook Award, and the Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage Award.

Buy Carol Berg's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 01/14/2010 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Carol Berg

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

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Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a bonus question here. You have a lot of experience with the high fantasy novels. In your opinion, what makes a good fantasy novel?

Carol Berg: Well, what I like to read in a fantasy novel is a human story, even if your characters are not entirely human. I like the impression that this is a place that could exist, that I could walk into and be at home in and that I would meet people who are just like regular people, even if they have heroic tendencies, even if they have strengths and abilities that are beyond those that people I know. I like to read it as history. I donít like magic that solves every problem.

Matthew Peterson: Uh, huh.

Carol Berg: I like where the people who inhabit this world have to solve the problem and it might happen that the challenges that are set in front of them are not challenges we might walk into in downtown New York right now, but thatís the way I like to approach it.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

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Matthew Peterson: Alright, guys, Iím adding this next part, just because itís kind of funny. I messed up in the main interview and this is my prediction that I would mess up on this name.

Matthew Peterson: It should be easy. Iíve had a couple people, theyíre like, ďI really, really hate radio interviews.Ē And then at the end theyíre like, ďOh, that was really good. That was really easy.Ē

Carol Berg: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: So hopefully youíll say that itís easy too.

Carol Berg: Iím sure.

Matthew Peterson: Iím the one that has the tough part. Iíve got to pronounce some of these names.

Carol Berg: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Bridge of Darnath?

Carol Berg: DíArnath.

Matthew Peterson: D'Arnath, okay. And, letís see, make sure I get the other one, D'Arnath, you know, Iím going to mess up on that. [laughs] Letís see, whereís the other one. I was like, ďI gotta make sure . . .Ē Oh, Rie Kira...

Carol Berg: No.

Matthew Peterson: Ray?

Carol Berg: Rai-kirah.

Matthew Peterson: Rai-kirah.

Carol Berg: Keera, uh huh.

Matthew Peterson: Keera, okay. I have some hearing problems, so my wife is always joking that I always say everything wrong, incorrectly.

Carol Berg: Well . . .

Matthew Peterson: ĎCause I hear it differently.

Carol Berg: You know, if you havenít heard it aloud, then you donít have as much guidance, so itís Rai-kirah.

Matthew Peterson: Rai-kirah and Bridge of DíArnath.

Carol Berg: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, I was interviewing someone who won the Mythopeic Award, and we both on the air, we were like, ďLetís look that up, Ďcause we donít know how to say that.Ē You know, I think itís Mythop-A-hic or something like that and we looked it up. And I have this speaking dictionary, and itís Myth-o-pee-ic, and Iím like, ďOh! Okay!Ē

Carol Berg: Right, right.

Matthew Peterson: Itís just one of those words you just donít say.

Carol Berg: Yeah, some people pronounce it Mythop-O-ic, but itís really not. Mythopeic. Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: Because it kept me focused on what was happening, because I didnít have to worry about back-story because I was writing a letter to my sister and I didnít have to worry about what was going to happen: ďOh, that was the last time I ever did that.Ē Because how could I know? Iím writing a letter about what just happened, so it was kind of a fun exercise. And over a space of about a year and a half, we wrote 64 letters and made a whole story. And it was, even though the writing was dreadful, the story was pretty darn good. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah.

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: But it kept nagging at me that here I had this young man who had endured a dreadful childhood, and he was riddled with guilt and had no normal relationships during the years of his captivity. And it worried me. I guess, maybe as a mom, it worried me. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]

Carol Berg: And I know that we donít end up being the adult that we are at 16. And so I had this bit of another story, and it kept bothering me what I was going to do with it. Was this a standalone that was a fall along to the three book series, or was it somehow a part of the arc of the existing book, even though it seemed like the story was over?

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: So he, you know, was in a lighthouse, which was the connection here. But it also spurred me to think, ďWas there anyone at the time when the Romans left Britain who understood what that was going to mean for Britain and eventually for Western Europe?Ē As the Roman Empire contracted, was there anyone who had the breadth of vision to understand what that meant? And there it sat for a little while, as well. And of course, being a fantasy writer I said, ďWell, what if there was?Ē But of course, I didnít want to write a story about Roman Britain; I wanted to write something about my own world.

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: And so here was my reluctant novice, who is looking for a place to avoid a famine, because the world was in great trouble. A very prosperous kingdom was on the verge a great dark age, and we didnít know quite how it was happening.

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: So there is, you know, political intrigue in the Lighthouse Duet. Thereís political intrigue, and thereís the personal story of Valen and why heís been running away from his family, who actually are a very prominent family who have magical blood. Magic is the characteristic of a certain number of families and thatís it. And yet heís forsaken it all and run away, and so thereís his personal story. And thereís the story of why the world is on the brink of an environmental disaster. Winter has settled in--very great climate change. So thereís famine and things are just getting worse every year. So thereís all these different threads and sometimes just one book canít hold it. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. Do you plan on adding any more to this?

Carol Berg: Thatís again... thatís one that I feel is complete. The story arcs were tied up.

Matthew Peterson: You couldnít call it the Lighthouse Duet anymore. [laughs]

Carol Berg: Thatís right. I couldnít. Someday I might return to that world, because it was a very rich world and Valen turned out to be an extremely intriguing person. You know, heíd been looking for his place in the world and by the end of Breath and Bone he had found his place in the world, and it was a really interesting place. So again, I might have to go look in on him sometime [laughs] and see what heís doing. Meanwhile, Iíve got other books, other stories to write.

* * * * * * * * * *

Carol Berg: [regarding the The Spirit Lens] So itís a little bit different kind of a world, little bit different tack than Iíve taken before. ĎCause it really is a murder mystery investigation, of course, which uncovers a lot more.

Matthew Peterson: Do you have any idea of how many thereíll be?

Carol Berg: Thereís three. Itís scheduled to be three and the first one is called The Spirit Lens. The second one is called The Soul Mirror, which will come out in 2011, and the third one is called The Daemon Prism.

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