Interview with Barbara Underwood, Author of the Rhuna Series
Interview with Barbara Underwood
What were your goals and intentions in this series of books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goal was to present information and theories about “Ancient Mysteries” such as Atlantis and the building of pyramids and other megaliths all over the world in an enjoyable fictional setting. It was also my intention to include social issues that have shaped mankind’s past and continue to confront people in our day.
So far, at the completion of the fourth book in the series, I am pleasantly surprised to see how well the series is developing and that it encompasses many subjects that I wanted to share with my readers.
What are some of the references that you used while researching these books?
My interest in ancient mysteries began after reading Thor Heyerdahl’s books about his discoveries of megaliths on Pacific islands, and how they appear to be connected to megaliths in the Americas and other continents. From then on, I read countless books on the subject, tending more and more into the New Age and esoteric/occult area, where fascinating theories began to spark my imagination.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
The easy-to-read style and viewpoint from the main character, Rhuna, even though it is written in the third person. Readers see the world through her eyes, and relate to her because she her thoughts and feelings are clearly expressed.
Keeping track of each character, especially as the series developed and more characters were added. Intertwining each character’s goals or actions with the main plot and subplots is also challenging.
What did you enjoy most about writing these books?
Letting the characters develop themselves, once personality and their circumstances were established.
How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your books?
As mentioned above, reading Thor Heyerdahl’s books sparked my interest in the subject of ancient civilizations and how many things are still unexplained by conventional history and science.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
Perhaps from my father, who could express himself better with the written word than speaking face to face. He also read books to me as a child, but other than that, I can’t think of any particular thing or person that inspired me to write. It was something I just enjoyed doing since early school days.
How long have you been writing?
Since early school days. Writing something for a school project in 5th or 6th grade wasn’t enough, so I began to write about things in my spare time. Later, I began writing letters to penpals all over the world, and as an adult I became involved in various things which allowed me to write newsletters or reviews, while still writing accounts of my travels or other experiences to share with penpals.
What inspires you?
The mysteries of ancient civilizations and the concepts found in New Age and esoteric works: it makes me want to write about the fabulous wonders of the world in which we live.
What do you like to read in your free time?
Currently, I enjoy reading the two series by Charles Todd, namely Inspector Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries set in the WW! period; The Pendergast series by Preston and Charles, the gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thompson, all books by Sarah Rayne, and the Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’ve just finished the fourth book in the Rhuna series, and I’m preparing ideas for the fifth book, as well as one or two short stories, also featuring Rhuna.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It crossed my mind several times during school days, but I took serious steps towards it in my mid-twenties when I began a correspondence course in professional writing.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your books, but nobody has?
How much of myself and my own life experiences do I put into my stories. The answer is quite a lot!
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