Today is my stop on the Thief’s Magic Blog Tour 🙂 Thanks to Hachette for organising the tour and to Trudi for answering my questions.
1. How did you come up with the ideas for Thief’s Magic?
It’s the most complicated evolution of a story plot I’ve had. Back when I was looking for a publisher for my first series, the Black Magician Trilogy, I wrote a book called Angel of Storms about a woman named Rielle in a multiple-world setting. Since most of the writing advice I’d encountered said it was unlikely my first book would be published I reused a few ideas from the trilogy. But the trilogy was published so I had to put Angel of Storms aside. As the years have passed I’ve considered how I might extract what was original from what was reused.
Then, at Worldcon in Melbourne in 2010, I saw a panel discussing other kinds of ‘punk’ than steampunk and cyberpunk. I got to wondering what ‘magicpunk’ might be like. I also had been sitting on a story idea for a character imprisoned in something, perhaps in a book. Those ideas came together to form Tyen’s story, and then I realised his story and world would work very well alongside Rielle’s.
Once blended, I had enough plot for three books. Thief’s Magic is the first part of that story.
2. Describe your writing process? Are you a planner or do you write by the seam of your pants?
I’m a planner, through and through. I plan almost everything, writing an outline of the story before I start writing, creating a spreadsheet if I have several point of view characters so I can be sure their stories align to best effect, and I even write a quick description of a scene before writing it. I have RSI, so I don’t want to be using my hands any more than I have to. It also acts as a ‘carrot on a stick’ for me, as the anticipation of getting to exciting scenes keeps me motivated and inspired.
3. What makes you happy?
People being nice to each other. Ordinary moments of beauty and kindness.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Like any skill, it takes practise, study and feedback. So write heaps, read heaps and get lots of feedback. Enjoy yourself! What’s the point working so hard if you don’t love it? Learn everything you can about the industry and don’t be quick to judge anyone or believe in conspiracies. Most of the people working in it love books. Don’t get hung up on awards, reviews and bestseller lists. I write for the people who love my books. Trying to please everyone only leads to disappointment, while reaching one reader who adored my stories is worth a hundred who thought it was ‘okay’.
5. What are your writing goals?
To keep coming up with fresh, fun stories to write that other people will enjoy reading. Does that sound simple and easy? It’s not, I assure you!
6. When are aren’t writing, what do you get up to?
Painting is my other passion. I’ve started doing portraits in the last few years, which is challenging and very satisfying. To relax I garden, cook and explore different crafts – weaving being my main craft at the moment.
7. What are your favourite books?
Fantasy is my favourite fiction genre, and I have far too many favourite authors to list. For some names you can go to my Recommended Reading pages on my website.
I also love to read what I call ‘History of Stuff’ non-fiction, which are books about the history of things rather than people or countries. For example, the book “Salt” by Mark Kurlansky, which I read as research for my Doctor Who novella, “Salt of the Earth”. I find these kind of books are a great resource, as they give you a glimpse into how people of all classes and different cultures lived.
8. What is the most important thing you’ve learnt in your writing journey?
Do daily backups.
Seriously. Every other answer I thought of I had to admit I had learned as much from non-writing as well as writing activities. But losing good words from not backing up… there is no worse authorial pain!