How long have you been writing for?
A long time. I wrote a few paragraphs and had ideas from around the age of eight but have been writing seriously (and finishing ideas/writing) since the age of thirteen.
How many rejections did you receive before you first became published and how did you stay motivated?
Complicated question! My first published work was a poem and this was, luckily for me, the first piece of work I submitted anywhere. However, my first short story was published in 2012. I received 2 or 3 rejections before that story was published.
I must admit I’ve been quite lucky on that front. However, I’ve had a lot of stories be rejected since and my rejections folder, like most authors, is much larger than my acceptances folder. Only including my current email address (and I’m positive I’ve missed some), I have 10 rejections and 4 acceptances.
I keep motivated because if I don’t write my conscience yells at me and makes me feel guilty. Writing is also a great escape from real life for me. I often get into phases of reading, researching, lazing about and writing but I always go back to writing in the end, even if I have to force the words out and set myself steep targets. It’s often helpful to change my scenery or format of writing, too.
Favorite Author and book when you were a child?
This would be Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree series. I believe my favourite was The Enchanted Wood.
What music do you listen to when you write?
A mixture. My favourite music genres are rock, metal and alternative but I have dabbled in Celtic and electronic or pop and drum and bass styles for some of my stories. I try to fit the mood of the piece and often swap to high tempo music to get the words going by faster.
Any superstitious rituals that you go through when beginning a new story?
If I have a title when I start, I’ll be sure to check it doesn’t already exist as a title on other book sites first. I also often pick character names where the meaning reflects their character in some way. Not sure either of those are superstitious, but otherwise I just get on with the writing.
Favorite book released in the last year?
Hard one. I probably read something like 80 books a year, and many have been released for a while as opposed to new releases. My favourite read so far this year was C L Bevill’s Veiled Eyes. I would say my favourite new release was Tanith Lee’s A Different City.
Favorite book released in the last 10 years?
Another difficult one. Has to be the Temeraire series. Dragons instead of aircraft in a time of Napoleon…Can’t go wrong! The books have an Anne McCaffrey vibe, and they’re great work, really suck you into a new world.
Favorite quote from a book that is not your own?
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
– Lemony Snicket, Horseradish
Favorite quote from one of your own works?
“I looked out the window at the identical houses, all in a row and numbered, but noticed something strange. Why were the numbers even on one side and odd on the other? It was like the number man had zigzagged across the road, drunk, as he did his job.”
(From my as yet unpublished novel, While I Slept)
Advice for new writers who are struggling with character creation?
There are a lot of good character name generators out there, as well as scene generators, which can get you started. You can also observe strangers in the street and put characters to gaits, etc. I think my favourite way of creating a character is picking a name, a scenario, and then just starting to write. I don’t like to plan much more than the basics. The characters usually make themselves heard.
If you’re really struggling, perhaps try creating a character based on personality types, such as the MBTI personalities.
E-Reader or Physical copy?
Both. I tend to go for physical copies for my favourite writers, or for reference books for research and writing info, whereas I tend to go for ebooks where I can’t wait for the paperback to arrive, where they’re significantly cheaper, and where I’m new to the writer.
What first inspired you to become a writer?
I started off being more interested in artwork than writing, though I always did a bit of both. Writing took over as I got older and realised I was much better at writing than artwork – and it feels easier to hide your mistakes! I also think it was a chance for me to write more stories that I wanted to read as there never seemed to be enough off-beat fantasy out there.
Tell us your favorite joke.