Launch Party Q&A

Posted: December 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Mary time to clear a path

Transcribed and correctly ordered interview questions from yesterday’s launch party follow. There were some great questions in there. Thank you for coming up with these, thank you for participating and thank you for supporting my efforts! I shall squeeze in more of these wonderful quotes wherever I can. And now the Q&A:

Why did you decide to make both main characters female?

It just kind of fell about that way in the end. Part of Rose’s inspiration was a real-life amnesia story which made the press a few years back, the ‘Piano Man’ story if you remember that one. I got absolutely transfixed by this story for no decent reason, but during creation, I decided to merge the character idea with one I had during my university project. So we ended up with Rose.

How much has being a LRPer affected the way you think about storytelling – if at all?

It absolutely has. Likewise with tabletop gaming. It knocked on from getting to know a character, to world-building info. It’s very much like being a Games Master.

I had the honour of talking earlier this year at Nerd East, up in Durham, on something very relevant to this. Have a look on my blog post here (and the two which follow) for a lot more on that topic.

Who’s your favourite character?

It’s a tough answer. I have to go with the two leads, Rose and Tally. Rose has taken me on a journey since her inception that has taught me more than any of the others in the story. But Tally, in my original draft only around to move that bit of plot forwards, just crowbarred her way into my plans. You’ve got to work with that.

What is the capital of Poland?


What have you learnt throughout this process that you will carry forward in the series?

‘Active’ narrative. I’ll let Penny [Freeman, my editor-in-chief]  fill you in on that one, but it has been the biggest single editing mission I undertook.

Through your writing experience, what were the things that brought you the most joy? The most frustration?

Hmm. For the first, when I have had readers get back to me about certain characters and give the exact reaction I was hoping for from them. To hear the words, ‘the boy’s not right’ when someone I know was talking about Thomas Barber was just fab. Or when I was told Tally and Kara’s voices were coming through, clear as a bell.

For the second, those awkward moments when I had doubts about a story point I’d put down in an earlier draft, and had these confirmed at a later point. Thankfully I had really good assistance on that count.

How would you describe your perfect Sunday?

Uninterrupted lie-in, Sunday roast, a good match and an evening’s gaming. Winner.

What was the first thing you decided on when you started writing the book?

The first things were that amnesia was to play a role with the main protagonist. The next was direct interaction with undead entities. Then the Underground thing came in. And away we went.

To what extent do you think your Oblivion Storm fits into the ‘urban fantasy’ genre & how would you define that genre overall? (It’s a term I’ve only heard in the last couple of months & I’d thought at first that it applied to fiction set in the modern era so clearly I need to know more.)

I could go on a nice lengthy essay on this one, but the Wikipedia definition is pretty good, I think. I based a good chunk of that talk (linked above) around it.

That said, I’m finding books both easier and harder to place in various categories. Back before the Urban Fantasy genre was kicking about, things were getting lumped into the gothic/vampire/werewolf/ghost/zombie sections, separately. But more mixing and matching came up over the time. I’d say Oblivion Storm fits the boxes quite well, but as we discovered, ‘paranormal thriller’ covers some of it too. Just ask my editor Penny about trying to sort that one out!

Did you make an effort to write your female characters different to how you’d write male?

Kind of. I think a way of writing the characters shone through after a while. The hardest part for me has always been just getting that ‘voice’ to sound as I want it to, regardless of gender. Barber actually took an awful lot of thought because although he is certainly not the lead antagonist, he is suitably significant that I felt he warranted some present back story.

Now that you’ve finished writing, what are you doing tomorrow?

First of all recovering from today, second having a read of a rather good WIP from one of my Next Big Thing bloggers. Third, hoping for a quiet evening in!

What’s Book 2 about and when is it out?

[CLASSIFIED, SUBJECT TO OUTLINE APPROVAL]. I can tell you that we will have a different main protagonist but one you have already met by book one. This will also mean a different kind of story. But I’m looking forward to getting it together Work will commence/continue in 2013.

Simpsons or Futurama?

Futurama. Tin foil helmet conspiracy theories and Slurm factories just edge it for me.

Truthfully, what did you do right after you finished editing!

You know that bit at the end of Return of the Jedi when Admiral Ackbar just leans back in his seat in relief after the second Death Star blows up? Pretty much that.

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