Friday, September 28, 2012

Interview with Elizabeth Baxter

Well we have reached the last full week and the penultimate wrter in out month long series of author interviews.  So today, I am introducing you to Elizabeth Baxter, the author of the already published Circle Spinner and Other Tales.  Here she will tell us about her writing habits and her up and coming work.  I've been a bookworm since I was five years old. The first book I ever read was a crappy story about a boy going shopping with his mum. I picked it up from my brother's bedroom floor and suddenly those strange shapes on the page made sense. I could read! Hallelujah! I was soon working my way steadily through the school library and it wasn't long before I realised that stories about dragons, elves and great big talking lions were by far the most interesting. And that was it, my obsession with fantasy fiction was born.

I wrote and published my first book when I was seven. This was a rip-roaring adventure tale called “The Golden Pheasant,” about, well, a golden pheasant. I wrote out three copies on bits of paper pulled from my school books, bound them in covers made from old cereal boxes, and gave them out to my teachers. And that’s it. I was a writer! (Ahem.) These days I write fantasy novels and short stories, published both in the UK and US.

When I’m not writing I enjoy playing tennis (badly), playing the guitar (very badly) and watching cricket whenever I can. I’m also intent on cramming as much world travel as I can into one lifetime. Funny, but my list keeps getting longer. You can never see it all can you.

1)      Tell me a little bit about your latest book?

Summer Storm is the first instalment of my fantasy series, The Wrath of the Northmen. This is a series about a world in decline, suffering from the clash of old ideas and new. The characters struggle to reconcile opposing forces and find a way for their world to survive. Summer Storm is a novella that introduces the series. It tells the story of Falen, a feisty young woman growing up in a male dominated society. She wants to prove herself and gain recognition from her father but she quickly learns you should be careful what you wish for. 

2)      How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to reflect what the story is about and also the main character. Falen is  a feisty, know-what-she-wants kind of gal so the idea of a storm suited her perfectly.  

3)      Do you write in the same genre you like to read?
Absolutely. I read fantasy. I write fantasy. As a kid my parents despaired of my obsession with it. They thought it wasn’t healthy for me to spend my time reading about elves and dragons. But hey, here I am thirty years later and it doesn’t seem to have done me any harm. 

4)      What are your current projects?

The second book in The Wrath of the Northmen series, Everiwnter, is currently being edited. Then I need to do the re-writes of this (which I hate doing), ready for release in October. I’ve also got another book on the boil called The Last Priestess, the first book in a new trilogy due out in November. The phrase, “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” doesn’t even come close! 

5)      What are your challenges in writing?  What elements do you find difficult?

Dialogue. I really have to work at this. I tend to write just as people speak so I end up with long, rambling conversations that go nowhere. Readers don’t want  to hear all the ums and ahs and pointless small talk that happen in real conversations, they just want the important stuff. So I find myself trimming and tightening my dialogue a lot. 

6)      Are there any downsides to being a writer?

Rewrites. Grrr. I love doing the first draft. That’s when writing’s fun – getting all those words down and creating all these exciting people and places. But when it comes to the rewrites, that’s when writing feels like a proper job. 

7)      How do you come up with your characters?

I think my characters invent themselves. They tend to just show up in my head, suitcase packed and ready to go, saying, “Here I am, come write my story.”

8)      If you could choose one writer to be your mentor, who would it be?

Terry Pratchett. That man is amazing. I read one of his latest book a few weeks ago and thought, right, this guy has written so many Discworld novels, his work must be getting stale by now. How wrong I was. I enjoyed it as much as his very earliest novels. To keep his writing fresh and entertaining for so long shows unbelievable talent.                                                                                    

9)      Favourite book?

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy. What else?

10)   What are you reading now?
       Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson and Circle of Sorcerers by Brian Kitrell. Since I got a kindle I always have a traditionally published book and an indie book on the go at the same time. It’s really broadened my reading horizons.
Circle Spinner and Other Tales
Circle Spinner and Other Tales is available on Amazon

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