Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Words with... Natalie Wright

Thanks to Natalie Wright for this interview. To win a copy of her YA fantasy novel, Emily's House, all you need to do is leave a comment... 

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

By day, I’m an attorney and divorce mediator. By night, I write stories that take myself and my readers to another world.

What books have you written so far?

I have published one book so far, Emily’s House, which is the first of a three-book YA fantasy series, the Akasha Chronicles.

What works in progress do you have?

I’m currently working on The Deep Beneath, Book 1 of the H.A.L.F. Trilogy. It’s a YA science fiction novel, full of government conspiracy, human-alien hybrids, and a lot of action and danger. Think X-Files meets Area 51, but with teens! 

I’m also hard at work on the follow-up to Emily’s House. The second book, Emily’s Trial, finds Emily a year older, getting beyond the ‘Freak Girl’ status and navigating her first love. But will she use what she learned in the Netherworld wisely? Book 2 will test her and her friendships. If she thought what she went through in Book 1 was hard, Emily hasn’t seen anything yet!

I’m also putting together a novella that will be a companion to Emily’s House and the Akasha Chronicles. It’s the story of Saorla, Emily’s ancestor, who we met in the first book. I had a lot of material that I cut, so for those who enjoy the ancient Celtic backstory, the novella will explore that further.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

Emily’s House, being my first, took quite a while. From concept to completion, it was about four years. My second, The Deep Beneath, will be a little more than two years from concept to completions. Emily’s Trial will hopefully be about a year from concept to completion. I’m getting faster!

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

When I first began writing, I found it hard to write the ‘bad guys’. I think I was afraid to go there. But, once I got into it, I LOVE IT! The dark characters are so much fun. So far, my favourite characters are the dark ones, Dughall and Macha (a nasty pixie) from Emily’s House. In The Deep Beneath, I created a character named Commander Lilly Sturgis. She’s like a soothing mother to her hybrid creatures one minute, and then she’s like ‘Mommy Dearest’ the next! And, in Emily’s Trial, one of the villains from Emily’s House is back (but I’m not telling which one!) and the readers will also meet Ciardha, a powerful entity with a seriously bad attitude and an axe to grind.

Of all the characters I’ve created so far, I think I’m most like Emily Adams, but wish I was more like Madame Wong.

Who is your hero / heroine?  
My favourite heroine is Katniss Everdeen. The Hunger Games is my favourite series and Katniss kicks butt. I love that she’s not perfect, but she can be counted on to do the right thing. She’s strong and powerful, but not because she has superpowers or paranormal abilities. She’s a real person on this real Earth and she finds the strength within to be a hero. I think she’s a masterfully crafted character.

Which book do you wish you had written?

The Hunger Games trilogy. I aspire to write as well as Suzanne Collins and I hope to have a story premise as amazing as The Hunger Games plop into my head some day.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – because they seem like a funny pair of blokes and I’d like to pick their brains about writing! And Maggie Stiefvater – because she is a multi-dimensional person who seems fun and entertaining. I get the feeling you could talk to Maggie about any creative subject and she’d have a great story to tell. 

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?  
I am self-published and happy to be. Unlike a lot of writers, I did not attempt to get a traditional publishing contract without success and then decide to self-pub. When my manuscript was ready to start queries to agents/editors (last spring), I knew that it would take between two to five years to see my book in print with traditional publishing – IF I could find the right publishing house for it. My decision was to spend that two to five years writing and publishing books, building an audience, connecting with readers rather than querying and waiting – LOTS of waiting and have no book in print. I think it was the right decision for me. I am loving it!

But self-pubbing is not for the faint of heart! You have to work your *ss off, not only in writing the book, but finding the right team to put a quality book into print. Then you have to commit time DAILY to nurturing your network and contacts, and staying on top of promotional activity and social media. It takes an extraordinary amount of time. And the writer needs to be committed to the long term. 

For the vast, vast, vast majority of writers – whether traditional or self-pubbed – it takes years to build an audience for your work. There are no shortcuts. It’s about solid, consistent work. But I love each part of it so, for me, it feels like fun, not work!

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
I do have a blog, http://NatalieWrightsYA.blogspot.com. I post three times a week. Monday is ‘Manic Monday’ where my posts can touch on anything I’m inspired to write about. The posts are sometimes humorous, other times thoughtful/philosophical, or maybe inspirational. Wednesday is ‘Writer Chat Wednesday’ where I post interviews and Skype interviews with authors. I focus primarily on YA writers, but I’ll chat with anyone who I find interesting. Then Friday is ‘Book Review Friday’. I also post about giveaways and blog tours there.
Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…
2. In the deep and darkest reaches of the dank forest... small Maggie skipped as she sang a merry tune. It was forbidden to enter this part of the Great Forest, but Maggie was not fond of following rules. She was required by curiosity to explore uncharted realms as it was the forbidden places that promised great discovery.

Because Maggie was impatient, she had not listened to her elders explain why entering the Great Forest was forbidden. A great power lay buried beneath the rotting oak leaves and fertile soil. A darkness long ago banished to the depths by a sorceress.

“Oh, what a beautiful mushroom,” Maggie squealed. She reached down to pluck the bright red fungus. As Maggie reached down for the mushroom, she was soon enveloped by the Earth, her open mouth filled with rotten leaves and musky loam. Her screams were buried with her.


At Barnes & Noble and at CREATESPACE.COM: http://bit.ly/tYU7tK

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E-Book also at SMASHWORDS.COM:     http://bit.ly/ttW6dl

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