Interview : The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso

Please welcome K. S. Villoso who agreed to my interview. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro was released on February 18th (US) and 6th (UK) 2020 by Orbit in paperback. Art by Simon Goinard and design by Lauren Panepinto.

Fichier 1-20 Could you introduce yourself ?

Hi, I’m Kay, writing epic fantasy under the pseudonym K.S. Villoso. My stories are character-driven, full of heart and emotion and stabbing.

Fichier 1-20 What books, stories or authors have influenced your writing ?

Some of the authors who were heavy influences on me early on include Robin Hobb, Ursula Le Guin, and Guy Gavriel Kay. 

Fichier 1-20 What aspect(s) of the Filipino’s culture can we find in The Wolf of Oren- Yaro ? 

It’s in a lot of things, such as the way they eat (traditionally with our hands), or how they give respect by “mano po” (taking the other’s hand and pressing it on their foreheads). Most importantly, it’s in the structure of the characters and what’s important to them, or what their goals are. Elder respect is one of the main things—you will notice how deeply their elders have influenced the characters’ decision-making, to the point that they’re not even sure if that’s what they want themselves. Filipino culture also prioritizes family above all else—and you see this manifest in Talyien’s choices, even if they ultimately don’t always make sense.

Fichier 1-20 What is your writing process like ? 

Chaotic. 😊 I do multiple drafts, outlines, and revisions until the story “feels right” to me. Every story is different… I never know how hard it will be until I’m done !

Fichier 1-20 The Wolf of Oren-Yaro was first self-published in 2017, how difficult was it to do so ? Has being a traditionally published author made the process  easier ?

Like starting your own business, self-publishing can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. You upload a document and people can read it in a few hours. But making sure that book has quality is a different thing altogether. Let’s put it this way—what you can’t do yourself, you have to pay someone for, and editing in particular can get really pricey.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money even for copyediting my books, so I did a bit of elbow grease myself to polish it up. I went through the novel several times and even then, it wasn’t perfect. 

Publishing traditionally means there are other people responsible for some of the odds and ends of the book, which was a load off my mind. Suddenly not everything is on my shoulders. 

Fichier 1-20 What kind of research have you done to write The Wolf of Oren-Yaro ?

There is no specific research, other than a lifetime’s worth of active reading and thinking and discussions. A lot of introspection, reflecting on page. It’s why I really emphasize the “Own Voices” aspect of my books—I have lived in the Filipino culture my whole life and much of it is second nature to me. This isn’t someone from the outside doing research, but someone from the inside trying to puzzle out their own experiences. 

Fichier 1-20 What were the challenges you faced when writing this book ?

Trying to streamline books’ worth of worldbuilding and history into a single story while maintaining the breakneck pace. Much, much harder than it looks !

Fichier 1-20 What was the easiest and the hardest character to write ?

Talyien is the hardest; she’s just too wild, too hellishly unpredictable, which means I was constantly re-outlining and replotting the story to get it to work.
Khine was the easiest. That sort of character just flows out of me.

Fichier 1-20 Which character from your book would you like to be friend with ? And why ?

I’d like to say Talyien or Khine, but both get into so much trouble that will probably get me killed that I’m going to say Rayyel, Talyien’s husband, instead. Because I assume in this scenario, I won’t have the internet, and he’s a walking encyclopedia. 
What? I’m not married to him…

Fichier 1-20 What books are you the most looking forward to in 2020 ?

I’m very much looking forward to Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter.

Fichier 1-20 Any last words ?

Read The Wolf of Oren-Yaro! The sequel is out very soon, too! 😊 

A huge thank you to K. S. Villoso for answering my questions. The sequel The Ikessar Falcon is scheduled to be released on September 22nd 2020 by Orbit. I hope that you’ve found the interview interesting and that it has made you want to read it !

You can buy it on Book Depository here, on Barnes&Noble here and Waterstones here.

Follow K. S. Villoso on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

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