Chrys Cymri

In celebration of her new release Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons  and brilliant series The Four Kingdoms we’ve invited Chrys Cymri to tell us a bit more about her work and herself. Penny and Fianna have their own character reviews on the FF blog, so head over when you’re done!


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Priest by day, writer at odd times of the day and night, I live with a small green parrot called Tilly because the upkeep for a dragon is beyond my current budget. Plus I’m responsible for making good any flame damage to church property. I love ‘Doctor Who’, landscape photography, single malt whisky, and my job, in no particular order. When I’m not looking after a small parish church in the Midlands (England) I like to go on far flung adventures to places like Peru, New Zealand, and the Arctic.

When did you know you were a writer, and do you remember the first significant thing you wrote that convinced you?

When I was twelve years old I wrote my first short story, and enjoyed doing so. By the time I was a teenager I’d written over 1000 pages of a novel, simply because if I didn’t get the story out the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. That has continued to be the case.

Tell us about your latest work, Penny White & the Temptation of Dragons:

Penny is a full time Christian minister who loves science fiction and single malt whisky, and does her best to be a good priest to her village community. She stops one night at a traffic accident and stumbles over a dying dragon, who asks her for the last rites. This draws her into awareness of a world parallel to our own, in which beings we would classify as mythical (dragons, unicorns, vampires) live and cross over to our own world. She gains a falcon sized gryphon with sarcasm management issues as a partner, and finds herself romantically torn between a darkly beautiful dragon and a handsome human police officer.  The novel is written to be fun and entertaining.

What (or who) was the inspiration for Penny?

*cough* She’s loosely based on me! I’m a full time priest and I love ‘Doctor Who’ and single malt whisky. The gryphon and the snail shark who come to live with her were based on my small parrot, Xander.

What did you find most difficult to write?

My aim is ‘show not tell’ which means finding ways to let the reader know how a character is feeling rather than telling them. I think love is the most difficult. Finding ways to show that the characters love each other in that very reserved British way. And that love can be exasperating as well as fulfilling. Getting the balance right between Penny and her much younger brother, James, was perhaps the most challenging.

What was the most important theme to get across in the book?

I have a loose theme for each of the books in the series (I’m working on the sequel and I have three more in planning). For the first book this was about family. What the dragon family are willing to do to one of their own members, how Penny goes from living alone at the start of the book to having a family by the end (albeit a rather strange one of brother, gryphon, and snail shark). The second book is going to be about deception, how we deceive each other, although sometimes for the best of intentions. But I wouldn’t say that the themes are woven into the novels in any heavy way.

What was your favourite scene or line of the book?

When Penny rides a semi-drunken dragon with a snail shark perched on the dragon’s head. The image makes me chuckle every time.:


What (or who) was the inspiration for Fianna in The Four Thrones Series?

In too many fantasy stories, the men get to be the knights and the women sit at home and do needlework. I wanted a kingdom in which women were equal to men. As for Fianna herself, her break up with her father is drawn upon my own feelings when my father started dating, a couple of years after his divorce from my mother. I can now look back upon that time and realise that I was being an unreasonable teenager. But when I wrote her story, I wanted to let the reader realise that for him/herself.

What was your favourite scene or line of the book?

In the second book, when the unicorns enable Fianna to reconcile with her father. And the act also enables the main unicorn character to see his own father in a different light.

What was the most important theme to get across in the book?

Forgiveness, of each other and of ourselves.

Tell us about your back catalogue:

I have three other books available. ‘Dragons Can Only Rust’ and ‘Dragon Reforged’ were published by TSR back in 1995. Those editions have been out of print for years, and as the rights had reverted to me I was able to self publish them. The story is that of a robotic dragon searching for self-forgiveness after killing his master. The other book is ‘The Judas Disciple’, a sort of modern take on the story of Jesus and his betrayer.

Do you have a favourite of your own books?

How can I? They are all my children.

Do you have a favourite character from any of your own books and why?

Morey. That gryphon is so much fun. I’ve always wanted a small gryphon of my own.

Do you struggle to avoid clichés in characters?

Whether I write clichéd characters is perhaps best answered by my readers. I would hope that I do avoid them. My full time role as a priest means that I come to know some people quite in depth, in all their complexities. We are all a mixture of both good and selfish intentions.

What are your favourite genres?

Fantasy and science fiction.

How do you inspire or motivate yourself to write?

The characters demand that I write. I think they are all stalkers.

Being an indie author, have you always self-published?

My first two novels were professionally published, but because they sold only around 5000 copies each they weren’t reprinted. After trying and failing to get a new agent, I decided to self publish. I love the creative control, but I do find the marketing difficult.

If you could have written any female character in any medium, who would it be and why?

Captain Kathryn Janeway of ‘Star Trek: Voyager’. She was a ground breaker at the time, and when scriptwriters were at their best they managed to give her a convincing take on how a strong woman would lead. At other times the scriptwriters got it wrong with her, and I would have liked to have been part of the team to keep her character more consistent.

How do readers get hold of your work?

There will be Giveaways for ‘The Temptation of Dragons’ on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and BookLikes. Plus anyone who subscribes to my email list can choose an electronic copy of one of my books for free.

Where can readers get in touch?

My email address is chryscymri@gmail.com. I can be reached via my website. My website has the links to my various social media profiles.


Penny White and the Temptation of DragonsBook Review, Character Review

The Four Kingdoms SeriesBook Review, Character Review