Welcome to my blog, Kira, lovely to see you.
Tell us about your latest book, the first in a series.
“The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning” is pure fantasy and I describe it as Sword and Sorcery because that is essentially what it is – Dungeon, Magic, Monsters, Heroes and adventure.
What inspired you to write this series and in this genre?
Originally the first novella started out as a longish story for inclusion in a Fantasy anthology. I sent it in and the editor rejected it because it was too much like Dungeons and Dragons.
At that point I looked at it and realised that I was unconsciously drawing on all the Fantasy Role-Playing Games I’d ever played, the ones that I watched my partner playing on his PS3 and my entire collection of fantasy novels. So I said “What the heck!” and rewrote it, going out of my way to use as many fantasy clichés as I could. The story grew into an original world and lengthened into a novella. So it’s really my homage to all that fantastical history that came before.
As far as writing the series is concerned, I didn’t actually set out to write a series. I got involved in a thread on Authonomy with several other RPG Buffs at the same time as I was writing the first story. We attempted to set up a RPG of our own, with me as the Games Master, but because of the time zone differences between us, it didn’t work out.
The story that was unfolding however, started getting a life of its own and turned into the second book of the series!
I chose to write in Fantasy because it means I can do what I like. I can create worlds, creatures and people without worrying about standing on anyone’s toes – it’s all clearly fictional you see!
Do you make a plan for your novels or do you just write them spontaneously?
Most of the time I start out with an idea in my head and off I go, but after about a thousand words or so, I’ll sit back and work out where I think the story is going. If necessary (i.e.: It’s a series of stories or a novel) I will open a brand new notebook and start building the world from there.
Sometimes, however, I build the world and then set a story in it. I find that more difficult, especially when I decide to have a timeline and have to have certain people at certain points…
How long did it take you to write this first novel? Did anything change much
The first version of the story took about three days to write. The rewrite into novella form took longer, I’d say about two months. After that I edited and re-wrote four times before the story came to the notice of Diane Nelson at Pfoxmoor. It took three more edits to get it to gleam and a last once over for polish. All in all, it took just over a year and a half to get it to where it is now.
It went from a very rough adventure story to a smoother and more shiny piece of work that I am very proud of. Most of that I lay at the feet of four people – John Booth, Rob Grindstaff, Maria K. and most of all, Diane Nelson.
You have described a very complicated and well imagined universe. What inspired you?
I draw inspiration from many different places. Real life, TV, Console and Computer Games, RPG rule books, Fiction Books…
In fact, it’s a little difficult to avoid the fantasy clichés when you’ve read so many in the genre. At a quick glance… *glances around her shelves*… I’ve got over twenty different fantasy authors and I’ve collected most of their series’ for all of them. So instead of copying their work, I try to give it my own twist.
I learned how to build a fantasy world from David Eddings and refined it with studying how other writers did it. Maps are a huge part of that for me, because knowing where the characters are going, what weather they are experiencing and what creatures are likely to live there, helps me to write their experiences as if I am there… having a vivid imagination helps too!
What was the first story you wrote and when?
The first story I ever wrote was a fan fiction of Enid Blyton’s Far Away Tree series. I was eight and I wrote and illustrated it, then bound it and gave it to my mum for Mother’s Day…
How do you feel about publicising yourself?
To be honest, I’m terrible at it. If I could afford to pay a publicist to help me with it, I would because while I don’t mind networking… procrastinating… on Facebook, Twitter bores me to tears, LinkedIn confuses me and MySpace / Google+ seem pretty useless.
I can’t boast about my work – I’ve tried before – it never sounds right and I feel really guilty about it for some reason… so publicising myself is incredibly hard.
One of the things I need to do is get my book reviewed, but finding fantasy reviewers who I am not friends with and I don’t have to pay is causing me some trouble! I’d like it if people would leave reviews after they’ve bought my book – I don’t care if they liked it or hated it, I just want to know that someone out there is paying attention to it.
Do you think the idea of books fitting into strict genres is going out of fashion?
It depends on the author. Some people have no problem fitting into a strict definition. Others can’t seem to do it if they try!
I fall into the latter category. My fantasy work is just one string to my bow, I also write children’s rhyming stories, poetry and YA under Kira Morgana. The problem tends to come when I’ve been writing as A. E. Churchyard for a while. Those books are very definitely adult! A.E.C. writes Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Crime.
Now I look at it, there is a certain bleed over between genres in all my stories… I actually have to work hard to write a pure genre book.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in future, unless they are secret?
As well as the next four books of the TTATE series for Pfoxmoor (book two is in Editing at the moment), I’ve self-pubbed a story collection as Kira Morgana and a short story as A. E. Churchyard.
I also collaborate with illustrator / translator / author, Maria K. on a Children’s Fantasy series called “The Land Far Away”. We’ve published two books already this year and we’re aiming for a third to be launched in November.
I run a webzine “Welcome to Wherever” which has a book out on kindle at the moment and has a poetry collection and an anthology coming out next year.
I take my contracts very seriously though and “The Tower and The Eye” books are top priority.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B004UKPFQA
The links for The Tower and the Eye