Flames of Nevyana Blog Tour: Crawl into Edward Willett’s Mind. What Does Success Mean?

Do you know Edward Willett? Well, you should! Award-winning fantasy of science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, plays, science columnist, play
wright, performer, jewel of Regina, Saskatchewan…and brand new author of The Flames of Nevyana.
Whenever someone makes a living as a writer, I have certain questions I like to ask. Ed was kind enough to answer in detail.
Q. What does writing success mean to you? Awards, money, readers, all of the above?edward-willett
A. To me, what feels like success varies depending on the day of the week.
Well, not quite, but almost.
When I receive an award (and I’ve received a few—a Saskatchewan Book Award for my YA
fantasy Spirit Singer [Tyche Books]; an Aurora Award [the top award for Canadian science
fiction and fantasy] for my science fiction novel Marseguro [DAW Books]; even a City of Regina
Heritage Award for Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw [Red Deer Press]), then naturally it
feels for that moment that awards are what writing success is all about.
When I sign a contract that means I will soon be receiving money with which I can a) pay the
water bill; b) get the car serviced; c) pay off Visa, then money certainly seems like the best
measure of writing success. Since I’m a full-time writer with no other source of income, this is
certainly one kind of success I’m constantly seeking.
When I find a glowing review of one of my books, particularly if it appears in a prominent
publication whose reviews are influential, then the getting of good reviews seems to me the
perfect measure of writing success. In the immortal words of Sally Field receiving an Academy
Award, “You like me, you really like me!”
When I write a sentence or a scene or even, if I’m lucky, a whole chapter with which I am utterly
and complflames-of-nevyana-coveretely satisfied, then that seems like a good measure of writing success. I have
pleased my most persnickety critic, myself. (To paraphrase Sally Field, “I like me, I really like
But thinking long and hard on this question over the years, particularly when doubts as to the
wisdom of my chosen career arise, I’ve come to the conclusion that what meaningfully defines
writing success is readers. Writing is, ultimately, a form of communication. As writers, we strive
to transplant the ideas, characters, situations, and entire worlds we imagine into the
imaginations of other people. It’s a monumental task. When it works, your writing is successful
—it’s that simple, and that hard.
Alas, we don’t always know when we’ve succeeded. Most readers never bother to reach out an
author whose work has entertained, enlightened, challenged, or changed them. If you become a
bestseller you can assume you’ve reached a lot of readers, so perhaps that is a measure of
success, but the truth is, every writer is successful whenever he or she manages to bridge that
gap between his or her mind and the readers, to open up a new world of imagination.
I like awards, I like money, I like reviews, and I’d love to be a bestseller. But ultimately, I think
every book I write is a success—and therefore I am a success—so long as somewhere there is
a reader who loves it.
Thanks, Ed! I really appreciate you coming by to educate us. Now can you tell us about your new book,The Flames of Nevyana?
Blue Fire is both blessing and curse.
A gift from the gods, its mystical light and energy powers and protects the land of Nevyana, but it also divides her people into three distinct groups. In the wrong hands, it becomes a formidable weapon. When sacred objects for channelling Blue Fire are stolen, sworn enemies Petra, Amlinn, and Jin set out to find them, and their paths converge on a collision course with the truth. Can they bridge the centuries old division between their communities? Or will their search for the truth and the explosive power of Blue Fire signal the end of Nevyana?
Cool. Can I read more?
You can read the first two chapters here.
Wow. Thanks, Ed! May you find success in every shape and form.