I loved her long, well thought out answers (my favorite kind!) and I'm pretty darn sure you guys will love them, too!
Christian, reader, walker of dog, climber of trees, scribbler extraordinaire! I love Austen, Earl Grey tea, and Arnotts’ Scotchfinger biscuits, and although I love fantasy best of all, I’ll read almost any genre. I talk to the dog so that people don’t think I’m talking to myself...
This is my first time coming across your books and I must say the synopses sound really intriguing! What made you step into this ever more competitive world of writing?
I was a late bloomer when it came to reading (in my family at least). They were all prodigies, from my sisters to my mum, and started reading at the ages of three and four. Me? Didn’t show any interest at all until the parents had me read the King James Bible (think ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s) during family devotions, when it finally occurred to me exactly what worlds were available to me through reading. I began to read rabidly at about the age of seven, and began writing from the same age. I don’t actually recall a time when I was reading, that I wasn’t also writing. After a while it became obvious that a lot of the types of books I wanted to read were poorly represented, and I began writing them myself. I’ve always had an active imagination, and writing was one way of making the most use of it. I knew from the age of twelve that I wanted to be an author.
What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of being published in opposition to self-publishing?
Do excuse me while I become slightly long-winded... Ahem...
I’d probably take a caveat here to say that it’s not a difference between publishing and self-publishing (i.e., one being ‘real’ publishing and the other ‘vanity’ publishing) but between trade—or traditional—publishing, and self-publishing. In trade publishing an author has the financial might of a house behind them (though from what I see, new and midlist authors don’t get a huge amount of that budget, and still do most if not all their own promotion) and they have a truly huge reach. That’s lovely, and very useful. It does also mean that the author sees only a tiny percentage of book sales, though.
In self-publishing, all the advertising costs are borne directly by the author. We seek out our own opportunities, and pay for our own advertising. We learn how to budget, what tax information we need to keep, and approach local bookstores ourselves. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a lot of work. The upside of this is that a self-published author gets most of the money from their sales. Also we learn How To Do Stuff, and I love knowing How To Do Stuff.
In general, the difference comes down to:
- Trade Publishing: Potentially lots of exposure and great distribution whether ebook or paperback, all costs assumed by the publisher, but huge amounts of sales needed for the author to make a living.
- Self-Publishing: Starting from scratch with exposure, must pay for all advertisements, meaning costs upfront that may or may not be defrayed by sales, but huge percent of sales go directly to the author, and a low to mid list author can make a decent living (or a decent part-time living). Downside is that you may never break from obscurity, but hey, not all trade-published authors are Dan Brown, either.
That’s reckoning without all the outliers, both trade and self published, who spring from obscurity and make sparkling names for themselves....
I’ve just started reading MASQUE and I'm loving it so far. What are the other books you’ve written so far- and what’s in the pipeline?
I’m so glad! I had such fun writing MASQUE, and I always love to hear other peoples’ impressions of it :)
Other books....well, I’ve been very busy! I’ve also written WOLFSKIN (a Red-Riding Hood rewrite), SPINDLE (Sleeping Beauty), RUTH & THE GHOST (a rather self-explanatory short story), and A TIME-TRAVELLER’S BEST FRIEND (breaking from the mould with a novella length collection of interconnected sci-fi short stories).
Presently, I’m working on BLACKFOOT (another title in the TWO MONARCHIES SEQUENCE which includes MASQUE, SPINDLE, and WOLFSKIN), and I’ve also published the first novella in my SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD novella trilogy.
TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY came out October 30th, and will be followed by FIRE IN THE BLOOD (due December 25th), and THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN (due early 2016). There also may or may not be a fourth novella that will slip into the hardback edition of the trilogy.
Oh, and then there’s all the small, bright, shiny ideas that keep pestering me when I’m meant to be working on the Official Things...
Writer’s block is something really frustrating most authors go through. Is it something you go through as well? If yes, how do you get through it?
I used to have an immense amount of difficulty with writer’s block when I first started writing. As I grew in proficiency and practice, those problems grew less- due mainly, I believe, to the fact that now I know how to fix problems that would before have stopped me cold. A lot of my writer’s block is simply because the story is going in the wrong directions, or the characters are not behaving/speaking consistently, or because the pacing/feel/style is off. When I start to feel weighed down and stuck, I simply spend a morning thinking about the WIP: what is it that isn’t working, and how can I make it work? That usually solves the problem. I fix the character, or the paragraph, or the plot, or the whatever, and I’m free to write again.
Of course, if by writer’s block you mean ‘sheer laziness’, well, I have my share of that, too! I don’t think there’s any known cure, though!
There have been so many fairytale retellings over the years- the Lunar Chronicles are some of which I absolutely loved. What do you think make your ones different?
I still haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles! I feel very badly about that- they sound wonderful! The plus side to that is now all of them are out, and I can read them all without having to wait agonizingly for the next book...
I believe the biggest difference in my own books (in comparison to the generality of YA and NA around now) is in my characters. My female characters tend to be strong, determined, and self-sufficient. I usually have romance, but my female characters aren’t defined by their romances, nor are they ‘completed’ by them. Nor do they run the annoying opposite, where they are at all costs shown to be superior to men, and show up their male protagonists at every opportunity. They are equal with the men by being their own selves.
The plot, characters, writing, and why, even book covers are important when it comes to books. What, in your opinion, is most important when putting out a book for the world to read?
ALL THE THINGS. ALL THE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.
Ahem. What I mean by that is, when I pick up a book, I want it all. I’ve read too many books to be kept at a book if the characters are off, or the plot complete with gaping holes, or the writing abysmal. One thing is enough to stop me reading, and a bad cover—though we are told never to judge by one—is enough to prevent me ever reading.
I need complete, multi-dimensional characters, great writing, and a good plot- at the very least. I may be a snob. Sorry :( But on the bright side, this carries over to my own writing, and I try very hard to make sure that the book I put out has all the things I consider to be staples of a good read for myself. And I try to make sure that my book covers give some reflection of that unique and well-written content that I strive to have.
Your book covers are really intriguing. I’d even say some of them are unique. Tell us something about them and how they came about!
That’s a rather interesting story! MASQUE and WOLFSKIN were complete first, but SPINDLE was the first to have a cover. This happened because when I was scouting covers and designers for the other two, I happened to come across Joleene Naylor’s Rejected Book Covers Flickrr page. I scrolled down casually and caught sight of one entitled Dark Fairytale. I knew it was perfect for SPINDLE straight away, despite the fact that SPINDLE was still only about 1/3 complete. And when I contacted Jo about it, she was also willing to work with me on the others in the TWO MONARCHIES SEQUENCE despite the fact that she wasn’t really accepting new clients. After that it was just a matter of finding the type of elements I wanted for each cover—backgrounds, suitable girls, lovely borders—and making sure that they all matched in font and style. Jo is wonderful to work with, and produced some truly lovely book covers for me. I look forward to working with her again on BLACKFOOT’s cover.
Fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance- who are some of your favorite authors in general? Would you say you’ve been inspired by any of them?
Do you have about ten hours so I can gush about ALL MY FAVOURITE AUTHORS and OH MY GOODNESS, ALL THEIR WONDERFUL BOOKS!
No? Okay, I’ll try to keep it on the right side of TL;DR.
Jane Austen, O. Henry, R.L. Stevenson, Talbot B. Reid, Steven Brust, Joan Aiken, Diana Wynne Jones, Kate Stradling, Patricia C. Wrede, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander... and Oh! So many more!
The greatest influences have probably been Austen, Patricia C. Wrede, Kate Stradling, Steven Brust, Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones. Each of them have taught me so much in the way of either characterization, style, plot, content, etc. I’ll never be able to repay that debt. Added to the gift of teaching I received from each, is the gift of a cracking good read every time I pick up one of their books.
You’ve come a really long way since you started writing! Any tips you’d like to give the readers of the Regal Critiques?
As readers I’d say: Read what the heck you like, whether Tolkien or Twilight, and never be ashamed of it. Style and substance are both relative, and what is rubbish to one person is another’s beloved treasure. You don’t have to love Lord of the Rings. It’s okay. And you don’t have to love Twilight either.
As potential writers I’d say: Just write. Keep writing. You’re gonna write rubbish at first, but in between the reams and reams of rubbish is going to be a golden sentence or two. And in a few years, that’ll be a golden paragraph or two. Just keep going. One day you’ll be great, but only if you keep at it. And read. Never stop reading. That’s how you learn how to write.
Ooh, but wait! You’ve got something really exciting happening at the moment, haven't you? I've caught a glimpse of it so many times on my Twitter feed and I've to say it's really cool- spill the beans to our readers!
On Feb 1st, 2016, MASQUE will have been published for one year. In celebration of that fact, I’ve decided to run a month-long celebration on my blog. The celebration includes related short stories, blog posts on the book, and last but not least, a big giveaway that’s open worldwide.
Up for grabs is a signed paperback of MASQUE, a Tea-Time Necklace by Purple Bird Creations, a pair of 24k rose gold-plated MASQUE earrings, and an I am ALWAYS up to something... MASQUE t-shirt! Entries will be awarded for tweets, likes, and newsletter signups (where signups can get more free stuff! Yay!)
About W. R. GingellW.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.
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