Category Archives: Author Interviews
For the first of my two stops on the blog tour for Forsaken Genesis I’d like to welcome author M. J. Marinescu with a guest post on the best things about being an author.
Hi everyone, today I’m going to go over some of my favourite things about being an author. This is by no means a be all end all list, but it’s just some of the things that I love most about my job.
Being your own boss: As an author, you get to be your own boss (for the most part). Some traditionally published authors do have a boss in a sense, they have a publisher who gives them a deadline or an agent that schedules events and meetings etc., but for the most part, even they are in control of their own day to day activities.
Self-published and Indie-published authors are in even more control of their day to day routines. This can be good or bad for people. It takes a highly motivated and driven person to succeed as a self-published or Indie author. You do not have an agent or publishing house marketing your work, so you need to get out there and do it all yourself. Being able to set your own schedule and pace can be very rewarding.
For me, this isn’t so bad because I love interacting with people, especially fans, not even necessarily my own fans but fans of sci-fi and fantasy in general. I, like many other writers, do have deep running anxiety about “being out in the world” but you need to learn to deal with the butterflies and get out there and spread the word.
Working at something you love: This should probably go without saying, but I love telling stories and sharing them with people. Shortly after I learned to read and write I started creating stories. My first story ever written was about a spacefaring penguin. I remember being so happy and proud of it and bringing it in to my kindergarten teacher. She was even impressed, and we used to read them out to the class. Ever since that day I was hooked.
I know it’s totally cliché to say but if you’re doing something you love you never have to work a day in your life.
Interacting with readers: The best part about writing to me is seeing peoples’ reactions to my stories. Having them fall in love with and/or hate certain characters. Reading fan theories or forums discussing little details most people may overlook. These are the best things about being a writer. There’s nothing better than knowing people love your work, the world and characters you’ve created. If I can make someone’s day a little better through my writing, then I’ve done my job, and without the wonderful fans, I could not do what I do.
Creation! A God am I: I love being able to create worlds and people. Something that I have really noticed lately, in Hollywood especially (sorry to call you out Hollywood) is the lack of original ideas or willingness to take risks on new ideas. We’re seeing this more and more with all the reboots from 80’s and 90’s movies and cartoons and generally predictable movies.
One thing that I enjoy doing is taking ideas and putting my own spin on them. You can see this in my novel Forsaken Genesis. While it’s an “Urban Fantasy” I have taken things and thrown them all together. It’s why I struggle to give my book a genre because it combines so many elements of different ones. Is it Cyberpunk? New Adult? Young Adult? Urban Fantasy? LGBTQ+ Fiction etc. etc.
Being able to let your imagination run wild to create fantastical worlds and places is a wonderful feeling. One word of warning, however, is that to always make sure you have a solid foundation for your worlds and abide by the rules you have created. One of my pet peeves as a fan (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this) is when a writer sets up a world and tells us the rules only to have something come along later and change things on us. Gravity will always be gravity, I don’t expect to wake up one morning, take a step outside and float off into space so don’t do that in your writing either. This may be a bit of an extreme example, but the notion holds true. Your readers deserve better than that so think twice before you do something “against your rules”.
The other thing I love about being free to create the stories I want to tell is that I can do just that. I can tell the story that I want to tell. If you want to see more diversity and representation in movies, art and literature sometimes you need to get out there and do it yourself. I pride myself on having diversity in my stories that doesn’t feel forced. My characters are who they are, period. They aren’t held back by their identity or used as a “token” they are fleshed out beings and I hope people can smile and feel proud and even relate to them.
There’s nothing in the world I would rather do than tell a good story.
So those are some of the things that I love most about being an author. What do you all think? What are some of your favourite things about writing? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other questions or even if you just want to talk hit me up on Twitter @MJMarinescu. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this, hope you all have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.
Come back on Halloween to find out more about Forsaken Genesis.
Today I’m pleased to welcome Lisa Lueddecke to the blog with a very insightful piece on why writing your second published book can be tricky.
Writing that Difficult Second Book
Writing my first book, A Shiver of Snow and Sky, was one of the most exhilarating, organic things I’ve ever done. The story came from me so easily, to the point where I could write more words per day than I ever had before, for any consistent amount of time. I was bursting with ideas, and trying to find room to fit them all into one story, working hard to ensure that any future readers, if I were lucky enough to get an agent and a publisher, would see the world as I saw it. Could feel the world as I felt it. I wrote obsessively, over long and delirious hours, unable to quiet the characters and the scenes floating around in my mind. I wrote from before dawn, until afternoon or evening. I sometimes carried a notebook with me, so I didn’t forget anything if I was away from my computer.
When I did get lucky enough to get an agent and a publisher, I got something else as well: a two book deal. Instead of just editing the first book and preparing it for publication, I had to then think about writing a second one. This was good for me, because I already knew the story, and I knew how it would fit into the world and the bigger picture. I knew roughly where I wanted to go with it, and I thought that I would sit down and do what I had done before: let the story take over, and just write. But instead of writing thousands of words a day, I was writing a few hundred words per day, maybe a thousand. I found myself being extra careful, second-guessing myself and my voice, and editing as I went along. I realized very quickly that it was a completely different experience than writing my first book, because I knew that this one would be published. People were going to read it, and I knew when they would read it, and it silenced that thrilling voice and that sense of excitement that had been so vibrant the first time around.
For me, it wasn’t a case of having run out of ideas. I knew my world well, and I knew what stories still lay beneath its icy surface, waiting to be told. Instead, I found the knowledge that, as soon as I was done with it, and sent it from my computer, people would read it. It wasn’t simply between me and my keyboard, and even though I had hoped to be published while writing the first one, I didn’t know if I would. I just wrote it for me. Being published changed my relationship with writing, and in a way, I think it had to. It is different writing with deadlines than with all the time in the world, and it’s different writing to be read than writing for yourself, at least in my experience. While this is something that I am still working on to this day, I did manage to get through writing that second book, and I’m taking the things that I learned into writing new things. Publishing will always have deadlines, and books will always have readers. My job is to train my voice to carry on, and to be brave enough to keep telling stories I love, even though some things have changed.
A few things I did to try to make writing my second book a little bit easier:
• I set up a designated writing space that I found inspiring, devoid of clutter or too many distractions.
• I would turn off my wifi from time to time to keep myself from checking Twitter or other social media websites.
• I would play music I found inspiring for that scene, or music that I listened to while writing the first book.
• I made sure to take walks outside, or to at least sit outside to get some fresh air. It always seemed to reset my mind.
It may not always be as easy as it was when I was writing my first (published) book, but in time, I can learn to let go of the worries and the pressures and just do what I love the most: tell stories from the heart, and then set them free to find their homes.
A STORM OF ICE AND STARS by Lisa Lueddecke out now in paperback (£7.99, Scholastic)
Something doesn’t add up about Archie and Pye…
After a disastrous day at work, disillusioned junior PR executive Tom Winscombe finds himself sharing a train carriage and a dodgy Merlot with George Burgess, biographer of the Vavasor twins, mathematicians Archimedes and Pythagoras, who both died in curious circumstances a decade ago.
Burgess himself will die tonight in an equally odd manner, leaving Tom with a locked case and a lot of unanswered questions.
Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations, involving internet conspiracy theorists, hedge fund managers, the Belarusian mafia and a cat called μ.
Jonathan Pinnock is the author of the novel Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens (Proxima, 2011), the short story collections Dot Dash (Salt, 2012) and Dip Flash (Cultured Llama, 2018), the bio-historico-musicological-memoir thing Take It Cool (Two Ravens Press, 2014) and the poetry collection Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff (Silhouette Press, 2017). He was born in Bedford and studied Mathematics at Clare College, Cambridge, before going on to pursue a moderately successful career in software development. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. He is married with two slightly grown-up children and now lives in Somerset, where he should have moved to a long time ago.
(Incidentally I first met Jon on a writing forum Slingink and am happy to have kept in contact to see his success now).
What came first, character or plot?
Probably character. My plots tend to be pretty sketchy at first until I find out what’s going on, and it’s definitely the characters – and, specifically, the way they interact – that drives the development of the book.
Who is Tom Winscombe and how is he placed to handle the mystery he is landed with?
Tom Winscombe is a junior PR executive who has lost his way in life, to the point where at the start of the book, he has just set in train a sequence of events that will wreck his career, leaving him with plenty of time on his hands. He is, in pretty much every respect, very badly placed to handle the mystery he is landed with. However, he does have three things on his side at the start: 1) a suitcase containing the clue that will solve the mystery (once he manages to open it), 2) an ability to stumble on solutions to problems without really intending to (although he does also have a habit of creating problems that didn’t previously exist) and 3) a good heart. You can probably think of him as a less furry Paddington.
Why a mathematical mystery?
Good question. It was originally going to be a literary mystery, but I realised that I didn’t really know a lot about literature although I did know quite a bit about maths. So it became a mathematical mystery. Also, there aren’t a lot of those about, which is always good.
Who are Archie and Pye?
Archie and Pye are the Vavasor twins, mathematicians who both died in mysterious circumstances ten years prior to the opening of the book, giving rise to a whole swathe of conspiracy theories as to what actually happened between them.
What does Vavasarology mean to you?
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? You’ll have to read the book to find out… (Sorry)
I wonder if anyone here got close?
Here was mine:
What are your top 3 editing tips?
Top 3 editing tips: 1) Listen to your editor – mine (Abbie Headon of Farrago) was absolutely brilliant at pinpointing all those bits that I knew deep down weren’t any good, but hadn’t admitted as much to myself yet. 2) If in doubt, cut. 3) And then cut again.
I really enjoyed Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens and suspect Jon’s wit and humour will shine through again in The Truth About Archie and Pye. If you are a fan of maths, mystery or mirth pick up a copy.