Today we continue the Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour with British writer, Deedee Davies. Tell us a bit about yourself, Deedee.
I’m a short-story author and wannabe novelist interested mainly in the fantasy, horror and science-fiction genres. I’ve had five short stories published to date in publications from Seventh Star Press, Horrified Press and EMBY Press, and am currently seeking a publisher for my first novel. A second book is more or less complete and a third (a sequel to my first novel) is in progress. I’m also a cover artist, with around 30 published book covers under my belt. I live in Plymouth, UK with my partner, 10 spiders and four snakes.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Fortune’s Thief. It was (as most of my work is) inspired by a random thought. I started writing about a man who had been away from his friends and their thirst for adventure for some years, being pulled back into that life. Around that time, I also had another idea about a mystical stone and a magical sword. I ended up working the three elements into one story and out popped Fortune’s Thief.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I think the phrase ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ applies. I have been known to write in bus shelters, pubs, hotels, on trains, buses, parked in my car in a layby, and walking down the street (dangerous, but it has to be done if you want to get those ideas down while they’re fresh!). I also need either absolute silence to write, or else low background noise (like the noise of a coffee shop or pub). If there’s music, my head’s in the music, not the writing. Oh, and the most potent ideas always pop into my head ten minutes after I’ve turned the light off, which is why I keep a book and pen next to my bed.
What authors or books have influenced you?
Clarke Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs are the biggest influences on my writing. Clarke Ashton Smith (and his contemporaries) always drew me in with his rich writing style, while the low fantasy of Howard and Burroughs appealed to me in a way high fantasy never has. Although it’s fantasy, you won’t find elves or wizards throwing fireballs in my writing!
What are you working on now?
A sequel to Fortune’s Thief and a vampire romance novel. No, it’s absolutely not what you’re thinking!
What is your best method or website for book promotion
It’s hard to say as I’ve only had stories published in anthologies, but social media seems by far the best way to get the word out. I have profiles on and constantly update Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon Author Central, Goodreads and AuthorDB.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Go and see what publishers are looking for, find something that appeals to you, and write about that. If you go and write a random story about something no publisher is looking for, it’ll be that much harder to find representation.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write with one person in mind as the audience: it really helps you focus.
What are you reading now?
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I really enjoyed the first two in the trilogy but I’m finding this one slow going, so I’m dipping into the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I’m on my third this month – I think they’re a bit addictive…
What’s next for you as a writer?
To finish my next book and get the first one published. I have three publishers potentially interested at the moment, but I’m finding it a bit of a minefield.
3 or 4 books for deserted island?
The Name of the Wind, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Newnes Golden Treasury, The Mabinogion.
What inspires you to write?
Really mundane, everyday things. I like to take a concept or image that strikes me in everyday life, convert it, add a fantasy twist and run with it to see where it takes me.
Tell us about your writing process
I outline the plot, sketch the main scenes, figure out roughly what’s going to happen – and then often write something completely different.
Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?
Usually I just let the story flow with just a nugget of an idea underpinning it, but I’ve found recently where I’m working on novel-length projects, once I get past 40,000 words, I lose track and I absolutely have to plan it out so that I know where I’m going.
What do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software?
I use yWriter, which is free software and has some fantastically useful tools for planning, outlining, organising your thoughts, characters, items, locations, chapters and scenes. It also has a ‘read aloud’ feature, which helps you to understand how your text flows, and a facility to output to e-book format. I’ve also recently taken up a free trial of Scrivener and may well be investing when the 30 days are up!
Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?
I rarely create character sketches before I start: I prefer to let them create themselves as I go, but I’ve just started doing this with my current book in Scrivener. I’ve found pictures that match each of the principal characters, and have noted the salient details for each. I’ve found it’s given me a much stronger starting point than usual and just looking at the pictures inspires me to write about the characters and envisage what they might say.
Do you listen to or talk to your characters?
While I know some people have characters running riot in their heads with constant internal monologues, my process is to drive their creation, and I usually find that after a short while, they write themselves.
How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?
When I’m having trouble getting the dialogue to come out, I stand up and act out the scene, playing each part and putting myself in the character’s shoes. It works a treat!
What advice would you give other writers?
Write about what you know and love.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the market for e-books will get stronger and stronger, but I’d like to think there will always be a market for the hard copy. While I do have an e-reader, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a bona fide paperback. I’ve also found in my recent dealings with publishing companies that there are a lot of POD publishers out there masquerading as traditional publishers, or who aren’t up front about the fact that they want you to pay for your own publishing. I think there will be more of this kind of approach as POD services become more accessible.
Visit Charlotte Babb for my stop of the tour and an intro to the devious Tegs, Morgana and Stella.
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