I’m not going to lie–one of my favorite things about being an author, especially an independent author, is getting to meet other authors. Unlike much of the world, I’ve found the book community to be a really team-focused, everybody-can-win environment. Which is how I was lucky enough to meet and interview W.R. Gingell, a fellow fantasy author.
Today is launch day for W.R.’s latest novella, “The First Chill of Autumn.” To celebrate, W.R. has graciously stopped by my blog for an interview!
Welcome, W.R.! So tell us–how did you first get started writing?
Well, I remember that my first story was written in 1st grade, and was something about a family following a sea-turtle into the sea and having an adventure underwater with mermaids, shadowy, dangerous sharks, and underwater volleyball (?!) That wasn’t really the start of it, though. I wrote that because I was told to write a story. I don’t think I wrote it because I wanted to write it. The second was a 10-page saga (IT WAS A SAGA IN MY TINY MIND, OK?) when I was about grade two, and that was written because it was adventurous and featured my then-best-friend Kylie. It involved lions, tigers, bears, and anacondas (on an Australian mountain, no less. My tiny mind had no idea of geography, just which animals were the most ferocious and adventurous). It was, oddly enough, written from 1st person POV, but with the actual heroine being observed from that POV. I think that shows some greatness of mind…or maybe I was always just a bit weird…
That story was closer to being written because I wanted to write it, but I didn’t really begin to write because I wanted to write until I was about ten or eleven. That was after years of reading and having my head stuffed with ideas that just wanted to come out, and when I began to really write, I never looked back. I started with drawings and character-word lists, but found that stopped me really writing; so I gave up on those and concentrated on getting the actual story down. I don’t think any of those earlier projects were ever finished, but I do remember my first finished book (80k-odd words, I think) at fourteen. It was called Those Mad Bradleys. Since then, it’s seen a complete rewrite, and will see another before it is (hopefully) released next year…
Wow! You got started early! So what draws you to fantasy/fairy tales?
I’ve always loved fairy tales. There’s a magical, dangerous feel to them, and all the earlier ones were written with huge spaces for creative freedom in their plainness. It meant that I could take them and shape them and turn them into whatever I wanted to, while still keeping the magic.
What inspired your current series?
I have two current series. One is the Two Monarchies Sequence, which is one book in (I’m working on the second at the moment); and the other is the Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy, which is being finished May 31st! TMS was inspired by fairy tales (Spindle is a sort of a cross between Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel), and SOABS was inspired by Jack Heckel’s Charming Tales, which are light-hearted and rather hilarious. His dragonish POV and a tickling question or two that his books raised in my mind went on to be the story seeds of two of those novellas.
Did anything unexpected happen as you were writing your new book?
No😦 I’m such a boring person. Though I did get a resurgence of bronchitis, if that helps?
Oh, wait! I rediscovered my love for Owl City and found out that I can write standing up (and dancing), so there’s that…
I think that counts as interesting! So why did you choose self-publishing? What’s your favorite thing about it?
Ah! My creative freedom! My much-larger-cut of the royalties! Seriously, though, I love almost everything about it. I originally chose SP over TP (wait, that doesn’t sound right…) because I loved the immediacy of it, the better pay factor, and the fact that I wouldn’t have to change things I loved because someone else had a different vision for my books. I love being able to choose my own cover artist. I love learning what works and what doesn’t work in advertising. I love the new worlds that have opened up to me, and the new people I’ve met. It gets overwhelming sometimes (especially when I’m sick), but by and large, there isn’t much I’d change about it.
Wow! Especially because you run all aspects of your writing business, you have to be really disciplined. So what gets you into creative mode?
Sometimes it’s music. Sometimes it’s a day-dreaming session. More often, I’m not in the mood, and I have to sit down and write anyway. Sometimes you have to wake up the creative mode before it wants to get out of bed. It’s a moody teenager, but it’s worth making it work for you rather than the other way around.
I love it! What are three books you’d want with you on a desert island?
Oh, so hard! I would definitely have Pride and Prejudice. I would also probably cheat and take my Barchester Chronicles omnibus (thus bringing about six extra books); and I would bring either Kate Stradling’s Kingdom of Ruses or The Legendary Inge.
An omnibus is possibly cheating, but since I’d do the same, I’ll overlook it. Which character in your new book do you relate to the most? Why?
That’s also kinda tough. It would be either Aerwn or Dion. Dion for the pure fact that her physical weakness of shaking and throwing up when under pressure or under unpleasant circumstances is something that I struggle with on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. I’m used to being forced to do things while feeling awful, just because they need to be done and I’m the one who has to do them. I feel for Dion because she has to do much bigger things than I need to do, while feeling worse.
Aerwn, I relate to because she’s the one looking on. She wants to be the one to do things and she’s impatient, because she knows she’s not the one who has to do the things. She has to sit back and watch, because she’s not the special one. So she has to do what she can in the background. She has to fight and struggle and work, and she’ll never be the hero. But she keeps working anyway, because what she’s doing also needs to be done.
Thank you so much for stopping by, W.R.! It’s great to hear about your creative process, and congratulations on your new book launch!
Here’s where you can find a copy of “The First Chill of Autumn” online. It’s only 99 cents at the moment, so check it out!
B & N
To follow W.R., check out her blog and sign up for her e-mail newsletter!
Here’s her author bio:
W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She loves to rewrite fairytales with a twist or two–and a murder or three–and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.
W.R. spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.
And a description of “The First Chill of Autumn”:
Llassar is an occupied country– but nobody seems to know it.
Fae began to filter slowly into the land shortly after the birth of the crown princess, Dion ferch Alawn, supposedly fleeing a dark threat in Faery known as the Guardians. But that was fifteen years ago, and now there isn’t a town in Llassar that isn’t populated by or under the control of the fae.
Smaller, weaker, and less talented at magic, Llassarians are quickly finding out that there’s no fighting the invasion that crept in so quietly and politely. Even the castle isn’t free of fae: those closest to the king and queen are faery advisors.
When Dion ferch Alawn returns from a carefully sanitised tour of Outer Llassar, the most exciting thing she expects from the near future is the present her twin sister Aerwn promised for their seventeenth birthday.
Then her carriage breaks down, and Dion gets a taste of what the real Llassar has become: desperate, enslaved, and ripe for rebellion. Getting home safely is just the first problem she faces: the real struggle begins when Dion returns to the castle. Her new knowledge is inconvenient and unwelcome– to declare it, treason.