R. S. Dabney

Biography

R.S. Dabney’s passion for reading, writing, and exploring thrilling stories about unlikely heroes conquering evil started at a young age, culminating in the completion of her first two novels, The Soul Mender, book one in The Soul Mender Trilogy, and The Peace Keeper. Her favorite books span every genre and she likes to describe her own work as having something for everyone—a sprinkle of suspense, a dash of adventure, and a whole lot of good versus evil.

R.S. grew up running around the red rocks and ravines in the deserts of southern Utah, building forts, fighting battles, and living the lives of all the characters she and her friends created. An avid lover of all things nature and the outdoors, R. S. attended Texas A&M University where she majored in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and minored in Park and Natural Resource Management. She worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for three years before leaving to pursue her dream of writing a novel.

She currently lives in the Big Bend region of Texas with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. When she isn’t lost in another dimension creating havoc for her characters and stories, she enjoys mountain biking, exploring the desert, and eating way too much Mexican food.

Smashwords Interview

What's the story behind your latest book?
The Soul Mender tells the story of Riley Dale, a young woman who is cast into a parallel universe where good and evil seem to have switched places, and everyone, including those she loves most, have an opposite. As her list of enemies grows, Riley must ally with the only people willing to keeper her safe—her lowlife countersoul, and the opposite soul of a serial killer in her world.

What inspired me to write The Soul Mender Trilogy (I was still in college at the time—the same age as the main character, Riley Dale.), and what I hope comes across in a non-didactic way, are my own frustrations with the world and how xenophobic and intolerant many of us have become or have always been.

I grew up in a small, predominantly white town in Southern Utah, but color, religion, politics, etc. never caused me to hate or dislike anybody. I was raised to see everyone simply as people on different journeys in different places, but all with the same core human DNA. When I entered the real world and suddenly heard people using the "N word" and talking about killing Muslims for fun, I felt horrified. I couldn't figure out where that kind of hate came from. So naturally as a writer, I decided to make up an origin for that hate, in the deepest sense of origin, as well as a possible solution.

Overall, this story is about tolerance, empathy, and the world being a solid shade of gray vs. black and white. I put my characters through a lot of hell over the course of three books because the struggle of empathy and love for self and others is often a steep mountain to climb. I hope this doesn’t make it sound like I’m a pessimist. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I like to think I’m a realistic optimist who understands that a glorious happy ending and real change can only come about through deep hardship and pain.

Plus, as a reader, I’m drawn in much more to struggle and hardship than I am to an easy slide through life. Who isn’t?

And like most authors, I write what I like to read.
What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
I am inspired by anyone who has the gumption to put themselves through the grueling and emotional process of writing a book, and then sharing it with the world to be judged. If you have ever written a book then you inspire me.

More specifically though, I will narrow it down to four authors.

At the top of my list is Stephen King. Not just because of his book On Writing, which provided guidance and motivation to me throughout my entire writing process, but also because of the amazingly terrifying yet beautifully written tales he has shared with us. I am awed by his flawless dialogue and creative descriptions and find myself reading his books as study guides just as much as for pleasure. I’ve always thought that if Stephen King read my book and liked it, I’d officially have made it.

Next on the list is J.R.R. Tolkien. When I was young my dad read The Hobbit to my sister and I, and never in my life had I been so taken away to a world of magic, dragons, and unlikely heroes. I used to write spin-off books with Bilbo and his wife Bilaboa (What I named her. I’ve gotten more creative, thank goodness!), and would send them on journeys to vanquish new forms of evil. In college I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy and again found inspiration in Tolkien’s grand telling of good conquering evil and the unlikely heroes who saved the day.

The insanely creative brain of Roald Dahl taught me it’s okay to let your feet leave the ground—to suspend reality to create unique stories that really stretch a reader’s imagination. I was fascinated as a child by an immense peach filled with talking insects; by a giant that blew dreams into children’s rooms. And by an anthropomorphic fox who cleverly outwits some not-so-nice farmers. If anyone taught me that there are zero limits to your imagination, it was Dahl.

And finally, J.K. Rowling. I was eleven when Harry Potter came out. And I spent the next few years attending Hogwarts with my new best friends. I think I read each book at least seven times. Never before and never since have I read a book with such well developed characters who you not only cared for, but really felt like you knew.

These four authors have set the bar high in different areas and provided me with a place in the literary world to aspire to. King with his descriptions and dialogue. Tolkien with his world building, plots, magic, and heroes. Dahl with his infinite imagination. And Rowling, with her exceptional character development and ability to create emotion in her readers.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find R. S. Dabney online


Books

The World Binder
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 93,490. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Riley’s allies are scattered, broken, or dead. In one universe, an army stands ready to destroy the East. In the other, a biological weapon threatens to wipe out the West. Despite the looming devastation, she is no closer to restoring balance to humanity.
The Peace Keeper
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,760. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
To rescue her friends, Riley ventures back into the parallel world she had tried so hard to escape from. As each version of the world and her opponents grow more volatile, Riley must cast aside her own weakness and accept the mantle of Electa if she can ever hope to save humanity from a devastating end.
The Soul Mender
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,280. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
A young woman trapped in a parallel universe must ally with the only people willing to protect her: the debased other half of her soul, and the opposite soul of a serial killer in her world.

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