345: Language as World Building in YA Fantasy – Interview with Ellie Cypher

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Ellie Cypher.

Ellie Cypher grew up in Northern California, received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior from UC Santa Cruz and got her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California Davis. She has lived and worked all over the world from New Zealand to Tasmania to the United Kingdom.

When she is not writing, you can find her spending her time caring for all manner of creatures great and small, dreaming about traveling, drinking too much coffee or generally wandering about the beautiful Smoky Mountains with her husband and eleven-year-old black lab.

Today we’ll be discussing her debut novel, a YA fantasy titled The Girl from Shadow Springs.

In this episode Ellie and I discuss:

  • How the first line is usually what pops into her head first and inspires her to write the book.
  • Why the arctic wilderness was the perfect backdrop for her novel as it has “a sense of being alone in a void…massive expanse and insular isolation”.
  • What part language, vernacular, and modulation of voice play in stretching the boundaries of the speech characters use and building the world around them.


Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For info and show notes: diymfa.com/345


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