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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Ask Me Anything - fiction

 Its been a while since I did an Ask Me Anything style blog and also a while since I wrote about my fiction so I thought that would be fun to do today. I've collected some questions from social media and am answering them here for everyone. Feel free to add additional questions in the comments if you'd like. 

Nicole: What’s your favorite fictional book that you have written?

My answer: That's actually a tough question because my fiction is my fun writing so I tend to be really fond of it. If I had to pick only one though I'd probably say Convergence (book 9 in Between the Worlds) because it let me explore some really interesting things, like writing a story where there isn't a 'villIain' per se even though there are antagonists and a world saving crisis.  

Alexandra: Who is your favorite character to write dialogue for, from your new high fantasy series, and why?

My answer: My favourite character to write dialogue for in Into Shadow is definitely Calla. She's snarky and smart and insightful and that's a fun combination when it comes to writing conversations between characters. 

Alexandra: When are we getting more Ciaran short stories?

My answer: Ciaran is such a fan favourite! He is also a really interesting character for me to write because he's much more enigmatic than most of the others in Between the Worlds. My current plan is to come out with either a book or anthology of stories from when Allie first came to Ashwood, to fill in a lot of her backstory with her human family, and Ciaran will feature heavily in that because he was Allie's first friend there and remained her friend across the years. 
I'm also toying with the idea of another wider anthology in the series which could include a variety of character's stories, kind of like in Wandering. 

Ben: What is your relationship to the characters you love? What about the ones you hate? What is your process in creating these characters?

My answer: To be honest I don't feel like a create them so much as that I get to know them as I'm writing. I'll have an idea for a story and as I start the characters unfold with the idea, so that writing them feels less like my inventing these people and more like me meeting someone new. And I think the more you write a character the more you get to know them, so characters I've written multiple books about I feel very attached to. There are definitely some that I love and some that I like a lot less but I think they are all interesting and nuanced in their own ways and I always try to show that even in unlikeable characters. To me a character doesn't feel real unless they seem to have personality and motivations to do what they do, and I like exploring that even with the antagonists. 

TeididhHello. My take on your fiction: I often wonder if you feel that you walk a tightrope of sorts, when it comes to weaving your storey around what I respectfully assume are some very private, secretive experiences and knowledge of the Otherworld. Perhaps not unusual for authors to send-a-message within their work, but what I consider to be your exquisite skill set in such matters tempts me to wonder how you maneuver within these parameters, given my assumption that you potentially deal with consequences that most authors need not worry about.

My answer: It can be a balancing act for sure. I'm writing fiction which means there are things that have to be certain ways or happen certain ways for the plot, but I'm also blending in folklore which I have a lot of respect for; I don't want to contribute to misunderstandings about these beings. And there are certain things that I can't or won't write about or which I feel I'm prohibited form discussing.
I will say that the elves in Between the Worlds do incorporate a lot of my own gnosis around these beings and probably reflect a fairly accurate picture of how I understand them and their culture (at least one group of elves anyway). So you could certainly read the books and winnow out ideas and concepts I may not have explicitly discussed elsewhere about my thoughts on elven culture, personalities, attitudes, etc.,

Cat: I remember one if the most interesting things I read of an author in regard to his writing was Bernhard Stäber about a torture scene he had to write. It was a fascinating insight into where writing stories might lead you. My question then would be, have you ever found yourself in this situation - writing about something you would rather not, taking a character you are fond of down a dark road neither of you wanted to take?

My answer: I definitely have yes. There's a rather infamous character death in Murder Between the Worlds that I didn't plan to write or want to write, but I hit a point in the story where I just knew that was the logical progression as different factors were coming together. I realize I'm the one writing the story and I'm the one who has control over what happens but I feel like to stay true to the plot I need to follow through with what the characters would do in situations, even if what they'd do is hard to write, because it feels more real that way. 

Dave: What way to buy your fiction maximizes your royalties and profits from the sale? How frequently does that change?

My answer: This really just depends on whether its my trad published work, like my nonfiction or Into Shadow, or if its my self published material, like Between the Worlds. For trad published it doesn't matter as much where its being bought as long as its bought new, because that's all royalties paid through my publisher. For my self published books however - unfortunately - amazon is the best option for me because I publish through KDP. I do also have a selection of books on but a few years ago they changed their process for uploading files and that's caused me issues in getting new material up on that site. For my self published material physical copies are also a better option, for me, than ebooks but honestly I'm just happy when people get the books in any form and enjoy them.