I was tagged twice in the same week (same day) for the My Writing Process Blog Tour, so, I have both Zoe Harris and Clare Davidson to thank and introduce you to (if you haven’t come across these lovely ladies already).
Zoe is an Australian now living in Bærum ( just outside Oslo), Norway. Zoe makes up one half of Grimbold Books, and is the driving force behind Tenebris Books. She also writes her own fiction, and will be my editor when I submit WT to Kristell Ink… Phew!
Clare is a mother, wife, teacher and writer, based in Lancaster, England. She first published the fantasy novel Trinity in 2012, before going on to work on her YA Paranormal series Hidden. The first two books in the series, Reaper’s Rhythm and Broken Bargain are available now.
The next part involves me answering a few questions:
What am I working on?
Well… I’m still working on Warrior’s Touch at the moment, although, I am in the final stages.
WT is the sequel to Healer’s Touch, which was released early in 2013 and enjoyed a quiet first year in the market. Then Kristell Ink did a promo in February this year and, well, it’s done quite well. So, yes, people are waiting on WT. I’m working on it!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Probably the easiest way to answer this is to look at what my work is like… When I began HT, my goal was to write a book that would affect me the way David Eddings’ Balgariad and Malloreon had. I think the big thing about those books versus many other epic fantasy novels is how they were written: in Near 3rd-person POV. So, I chose that style as well. I see it becoming more popular, though.
The next thing I found I liked in my favourite books by authors such as Iain Banks, Terry Pratchett and, later (after starting my own writing) Joe Abercrombie, was how they could look at a situation from all sides of the argument. Yes, one side could be clearly “right” and another clearly “wrong”, but these authors will have you questioning your opinions at times. It can make the writing hard, sometimes, not knowing if your “good guys” are really right and your “bad guys” really wrong, but it’s fun, too.
And, finally, I have enjoyed reading over and over (and over and over and over…) books like Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger and Cross Stitch/Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because, well, I am a woman and sometimes us ladies like to dream about a certain kind of man…
And so, I write fantasy, which is often known for its distant narration, and I try to get the reader as close to the action as my writing ability allows. And I write fantasy, which is traditionally known for its black and white heroes and villains, and I try to create a somewhat sympathetic “bad guy” and a somewhat imperfect “good guy”. And I write fantasy, which doesn’t often cater to the female reader in certain respects, and I try to introduce a little bit of sexy in amongst all the grit.
Why do I write what I do?
Well, they say “Write the book you want to read”… and that’s where HT came from. From here on out it’s about me challenging myself to be a better writer.
So, I wrote HT because whenever I pick up a book I am hoping I will fall in love with the characters. It hasn’t happened in a long time. I don’t know if that’s something to do with my age, or the books I read… I can’t say. I did fall in love with Llew and Jonas and Anya (shy smile… she snuck up on me), and even Braph a little bit. I hope readers do, too.
Also… fantasy = horses.
How does your writing process work?
I’m working towards a streamlined system that I haven’t quite discovered, yet. I do struggle between a desire to plan things so I don’t feel aimless and a desire to write words so I’m meeting a word count goal, and also just writing for the pleasure of it. It’s hard to make the time for the third one when there is the day job and the three-and-a-half-year-old to entertain and care for, and the housework and cooking to do, but I do still think it’s important to now and then sit down and “free write” just to get back in touch with why I write.
You see, I’m the kind of writer who says “Oh, I only took up writing back in 2009…” and then I think back a bit more and realise how much I loved writing my journals as a young teen (or how much I loved spelling the more complex words in primary school!)… I just liked the act of shaping words in pen on paper… but I never considered myself a writer, because I was known for my horse drawings… and I didn’t like English class in school (I think because it took the fun out of books and movies and was so much more subjective than maths… which was comparatively easy).
I do tend to start with a fairly loose outline, basically made up of what I expect to be the “plot points” (if you study story structure, you’ll know these… if you don’t, happily remain ignorant and just enjoy the stories!). Then I’ll just write, usually finding my muse helpful in coming up with fun and exciting scenes to get me going. Eventually, it all becomes work and making the story satisfying to readers other than me becomes more important. That’s when I’ll reassess the structure and decide how much of my initial writing gets to stay as-is, where-is. It’s never a waste, because the “free writing” discovers things my analytical a to b to c brain could never come up with.
I’m a plotster… I plot and write by the seat of my pants. Both methods can lead me wrong, and both methods can help immensely. Last year, my WT outline led me down the wrong path and I didn’t listen to my gut instinct until a lot later, hence me still working on it. But I know an outline is important in giving the story direction.
I dream of being able to write full time, and when that happens I think I will let myself do “discovery” first drafts (seat of pants writing), followed by a dissection and analysis, followed by an outline and structured second/final draft… But I need time for all that. And right now, I don’t have that. So it’s: do the best I can with what I have.
And the last part of the blog tour is where I pass the torch to two-three other authors. I have chosen three.
First is young Australian Author, Aprille Legacy. Her début novel, Soul Fire, is reminiscent of Harry Potter in that it moves into a wizard-training school setting, but the teens are older and the focus is less on the school and more on the issues going on in the realm the school is situated in… if you get my meaning. Basically, there is much more to this parallel reality than the school…. Aprille has recently released her sequel to Soul Fire, Soul Blaze.
Second is clever, funny and cleverly-funny (witty?), Sonya Lano. Born and raised in Texas, now living in the Czech Republic with three cats. Sonya’s writing ranges from incredibly funny to angsty and dark, and usually has a romantic (or less than romantic) flavour to it. If you like my writing, I think I can safely say you’ll like Sonya’s. From her darkly romantic Heiress of Healing (Heiress of the Seven Cities #1) to her delightfully cartoonish Never Trust a Prince, you can rest assured you’re safe in Sonya’s hands.
And third, but by no means least (of course!), I also pass the torch to Joanne Hall, who lives in Bristol, England. Joanne writes fantasy. Her latest published novel, The Art of Forgetting: Rider, was published last year by Kristell ink (see the link? Yeah?). The sequel, The Art of Forgetting: Nomad will be released soon! But these are by no means Joanne’s only endeavours… check out her website for the full list.
Thanks for stopping by!
I’m trying to help my home city, Dunedin, New Zealand, win 1Gbps fibre Internet in a New Zealand-wide contest. If you’re on Twitter, a tweet about how awesome Dunedin, NZ, is (even if it’s just that I live there… or that HT was written there), including the hashtag #gigatowndun, or #gigatowndunedin, would be super duper appreciated! It saves me one tweet.. gives me more time to write (o; For those not on Twitter, you could like the GigatownDunedin Facebook page and comment on their posts… including one of the above hashtags (and only one… both is counted as spam and discounted from the contest!). Or, if you’re really dedicated, you can sign up at https://gigatown.co.nz, and nominate Dunedin as your city of choice… This may result in a few emails (very occasional) that mean little to you, though.