Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
What I've enjoyed about Rachel's setting is how well realised not only the place is – true British eccentricity and charm all rolled into one – but the characters. Although everything about Laverstone is fictional, it still had me hitting Google. It just has to be real, I told myself.
Screaming Yellow is a novel I can fully recommend. Even though, as editor, I've lost count of how many times I've read through it, I always find some other small detail to have a quiet chuckle about, passages where the author paints characters or bits of dialogue that remain with me. Who'd have thought a small town could play host to a gloriously decadent cast of characters, where a bit of bondage, needle play and polyamory are the order of the day?
So, without further ado, I welcome Rachel to my world, to share a little about hers.
Why Laverstone? Tell us about your town.
Laverstone has been building, location by location, for the last six or seven years. It is a small (fictional) town in the south of England, bordered on the east by a range of hills and in the north by the M4 motorway. To the west and south are chalk downs. It first came into being as the setting for my novel, An Ungodly Child, and has grown slowly every time I add another tale to the mythos. Laverstone is a sort of Glastonbury without the head shops.
Have you had any real-life experiences creep into your writing?
Always. The kinky sections of Screaming Yellow were all based on personal experience and expertise, as was the polyamory and the social mechanics of The Larches. I've written non-fiction about BDSM and my partners and I have taught workshops on techniques. In the other books the fight and sword scenes are all as realistic as I can make them. I am a trained swordswoman and practice jiu-jitsu and budo. The dogs are used to me choreographing scenes with sword or werewolf-repellent silver-topped cane.
Which one of your characters would you have high tea with, and what would you discuss with them... Or do with them?
High tea? There's a phrase I haven't heard since childhood. My first answer is Jasfoup, of course, and I would discuss the nature of Fallen Angels with him, but he only has a bit part in Screaming Yellow so I'd pick Inspector White and take him to the Philadelphia on Old Oxford Street, a little past Meinwen's witchery shop on Knifesgate. He must have some tales to tell, don't you think?
Who are your favourite authors and what is it about their writing that excites you?
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen are, in my opinion, the finest humorists in print. There isn't a book of theirs I don't pre-order as soon as I can. I've learned a great deal from them both in terms of character, pace and setting.
Iain Banks and Kate Atkinson share similar fields of excellence in their writing. Characters and attention to detail within individual lines. These people don't just write, they compose.
Finally, Agatha Christie. What a marvellous lady. I'd read everything by her by the time I was 12. From her I got the love of the mystery, the chase, the clue and the sheer delight in (literary) murder. Miss Marple is lauded in Screaming Yellow, and Laverstone boasts a public building named in her honour.
What sparked off Screaming Yellow? Was it an a-ha moment or a concept that slowly crept up on you?
It began as an attempt to write a non-paranormal novel. Laverstone is full of ordinary people and I wanted to reflect this in a way that would appeal to those with no interest in demons and vampires. I was also fed up with the way BDSM is portrayed in literature as a bad thing – an immoral, "sinful" pleasure that should be punished. I wanted to show it in a positive light and highlight the love between dominant and submissive personalities. It amused me to have a Catholic priest as a main character. I was raised Catholic.
I also wrote the first draft in a month and asked some friends in the scene to look it over. They seemed happy with it and so I tried to place it. It sat for a few years until a publisher was interested "if I took out all the BDSM". I did but they wanted me to take out the polyamory too, which was integral to the plot. Fortunately, Lyrical Press liked all the sex.
Tell us more about your creative process. Where do you work? Are there any good habits for writers?
I write at home, on a desktop PC and start every day with a series of four poems – a cinquain, a haiku, a takna and a Fib – which I post on my livejournal (friends only but happy to add readers). I catch up online (newspapers and blogs) and write 2-500 words on an ongoing novel at jasfoup.blogspot.com. Later in the day I post a long-form poem (I send these to magazines and anthologies and occasionally publish a chap book) and write for whatever short story or novel I'm currently working on. I walk my dogs and pet my family often. My tip for writing is to have a hobby that's not writing.
My homepage (also includes artwork) http://www.leatherdyke.co.uk/
My Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0043VKG6U
My livejournal: http://leatherdykeuk.livejournal.com/
Jasfoup's Blog: http://jasfoup.blogspot.com/
Friday, October 8, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
At the moment it feels like I’ve been very busy but there are many projects still up in the air so I don’t really want to make mention of them until they’re finalised.
On the editing front things have been great, I’ve been working hard with my current batch of authors and am glad to see how some of the manuscripts have evolved to the point where they’re ready for the final stages of production. Authors are sometimes daunted by the amount of work that goes into their edits but what I tell them is simple: “You can never edit enough.” Every manuscript I take on receives a preliminary read-through before I offer my recommendation and a contract is mailed. After that, I ask most first-time authors to revise according to a checklist that catches the most common gremlins. My veterans mercifully figure out their gremlins and catch them before submission, so unless something is drastically wrong, that step can be skipped. Two rounds of content edits usually follow. I read the manuscript through from beginning to end each time.
I sometimes even complete a third round. Yes, that’s me reading the same novel four times in the space of a few months. After that the manuscript goes through to a line editor who catches anything I may have overlooked and **gasp** I read through the entire novel again after the line edits. Yes, dear authors, by the time I’m done with your novel, I’ve read it five or six times. So please return the favour by reading through your galley once or twice and really looking for gremlins. That’s after you’ve paid attention to my editorial requests. Yes, I know they’re requests and require you to change your precious words, but it’s because I’m investing my time and interest in your work, to both our benefit.
Reading… I think it’s quite clear I don’t get much time to read for pleasure, but I have been enjoying reviewing for the newspapers again. There aren’t a lot of reviewers who handle the fantasy and science fiction releases, which I’m more than happy to take on. This is a great way to read new books without paying for them while also getting my name “out there”. **waves nebulously in the air**
I must gush about Giles Kristian, whose Lords of Thunder I’m reviewing at present. His combat sequences leave me breathless and I reckon he’s got a handle on pre-Christian Scandinavian cultures and then some.
My writing’s going well. I don’t have another release until December, when Tainted Love (written as Therése von Willegen) hits the vendors, but I’ve completed my next erotic romance, Hell’s Music, which is sitting with a trusted beta reader, and I’m revising The Black Goat, a sort-of steampunk colonial-era fantasy involving a shipwrecked botanist-turned-vampire. Please don’t ask me where I got the inspiration for that one. I still don’t know but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
As always, I’ve been helping behind the scenes with BlackMilk Productions’ assorted short indie film projects. We’ve had a very busy past few months since completing post-production on Regression, and the boys and gals have been at it to wrap The Lovers, which is showing at Shortcut #6 on October 19. I’m not quite sure what my “official” designation is, because I do everything from running to helping pack up the set or removing fake blood stains. Oh, and sometimes writing press releases or sourcing poets. Or make sandwiches. Odd little things, I know, but it makes me warm and fuzzy when I see my name in the credits under “special thanks”.
One thing I’ve learnt: there’s no such thing as “let’s make a quick movie”. Oh, and it’s never cheap, either.
* * * *
I’m always on the look-out for new authors. If you have a novella or story you think may interest me, please take a look at the Lyrical Press website (www.lyricalpress.com) to check the publisher’s submissions guidelines and mail me at email@example.com
Some of my favourite authors include Storm Constantine, Jacqueline Carey, Neil Gaiman and Poppy Z Brite. Although I’m not restricted by genre, I prefer works of fantasy (urban or epic) and horror. I will consider well-written erotica and some science fiction (but please, no colonisation efforts to Mars where Earth is conveniently wiped out by falling debris, okay?).