Also today for you, I have A. A. Warne talking to me on Meet the Author. She’s talking about allowing herself to write badly, why she likes to read books that others haven’t read for hundreds of years, dinosaurs, art, who she’d love to share a beer with and her upcoming book, The Reluctant Wizard due out in September……
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
I started writing ten years ago and gave myself permission for a decade to develop the craft. Yes, I’m patient. But as a practicing artist (potter and painter), I knew that any art form, including the written word, would take significant time to develop. At that time, I just had my first child and I had given up work. My life was thrown a little bit sideways because I didn’t have the time or energy to practice any art. That was the hardest part and I found I wasn’t coping with all the changes.
So I was given a book to read. At first I laughed. I wasn’t a reader. But I forced myself to read it. Then I went out and brought book two, then three and before I had reached the end of the series, I was brainstorming my own ideas for my own books.
Writing became a practical artform because when my baby would wake, I closed the book and didn’t need to clean the mess, and could go straight back to it as soon as I had time.
Writing as art gave me the creative space to be the best person I can be. Now my stories are my gift to the world.
As for ideas – they never stop popping into my head. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I can have a simple idea to a complete series just jump into my head like it had been there all along. It’s all a matter of getting it down on paper before I forget it.
How many books have you written and published?
Written? Too many to count. I have many, many stories that wont ever get published because I gave myself permission to write badly. I hate the idea of perfection. It doesn’t exist in our world. Aiming for it, will always result in failure so I didn’t allow myself to write for an audience. Instead I told myself to write as badly as I could. Then I taught myself how to correct it, make it shine, fix it, re-write it better again. Who knows how much recycled paper I went through, but in the end, I became a writer.
The stories I have written for the world are being polished and I have a full publishing schedule over the next couple of years. The Reluctant Wizard is coming out in September this year and I’m very excited to share that soon.
At the moment I have three books published. Concealed Power, which I co-wrote with Brittany Crow; Heavy Dirty Soul; and an anthology called A Fantasy Christmas: Tales From The Hearth. I also have a short story called Portals published in the Beginnings anthology.
How long does it take to write a book?
How long is a piece of string! Ha! It all depends on my publishing schedule and my how I’m going with research. Anything due for publication has my full attention so I don’t miss the deadline. But when I am between deadlines, I tend to buckle down in research and learn very widely and extensively in the topics that I’m exploring. Sometimes this helps the writing process as I have scenes that just pop into my head and I’m forced to write them down as quickly as I can before I forget, and other times, I’m stuck on a topic that I have to finish before the creative thoughts start.
Heavy Dirty Soul took over two years to write and polish for publication. It was by far the hardest book I had written and that’s why I wanted to publish it. Each chapter is in a different country, different timeline and although they’re the same characters, they were also different. It starts off in England in the 1400s and finishes in underwater city in the far future.
Whereas The Reluctant Wizard has taken a year to write because I haven’t had to juggle research. But then again, without research there is no limitations and I’m left to discover just how deep this story can go.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Tough question. I love all of my stories and quite often for different reasons. Concealed Power was co-written with Brittany Crow, and I loved the process of brainstorming. We were constantly challenging one another and the story was just shaping beyond what both of us had originally planned. It was like we gave life to the characters, and we were capturing their moments.
But to answer your question, I love the stories I’m working on in that moment. Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches on The Reluctant Wizard. This story is huge. It’s the first time I’ve ventured into middle-grade fiction and it turned out to be one seriously epic story. In fact, it’s so massive that I feel like I’ve just scrapped the surface. So I feel like I have an amazing series to explore. There is so many things to be excited about. The story is a little bit darker than the average middle-grade, which I believe children are desperate for. The plot deals with real-world issues, but also has down-to-earth kids that can be placed in outrageous situations and be practical about it.
I feel so lucky that this is a story I get to share with the world and that’s why my son is on the cover.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
An artist. It didn’t matter if I was going to paint, make pots, build houses, whatever, I needed to create and I still do. Now I create worlds and use the written word as a medium and this allows the audience to explore it with me. I still practice a lot of art forms especially with my children, but writing gets most of my focus these days.
Name one book you think everyone should read and tell us why?
I don’t have a specific book in mind, but I’m the type of person who will refuse to read what everyone else is reading. I’m that person who goes through old boxes of books at garage sales, finding the forgotten books that probably no one has read in over a hundred years. Those are the books that let me think differently to everyone else. It’s great when a book gets heaps of publicity and everyone runs out to grab a copy and society is talking about literature, I’m all for that. But when it comes to my own reading and research material, I want what no one else has read. I want to be able to think differently.
If you could be, or meet, any mythical creature, what would you choose and why?
A banshee. No idea why, but they’ve always fascinated me and never seem to make appearances in literature anymore. Are they physical? Spiritual? Part of the air? Fascinating creatures!
I also would like to have a beer with Shrek. I could imagine nothing would go to plan. Not a fan if he breaks out in song, but I bet he’d have more dirty jokes away from the camera.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why?
To the dinosaurs! I would love to see if there was actually humans interacting with them. Perhaps not, and then I’d be the only one, but I bet there was. Imagine taming one. Or even herding them. Would have been a fascinating world.
Describe yourself using three words only.
Madame of Darkness.
AND FINALLY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT BOOK AND WHERE WE CAN FIND IT?
The Reluctant Wizard – due September 2020.
Follow #RWiz on all social media accounts.
The consequences of magic…
…are never what they seem.
Night is Warlock time.
Day is Wizard time.
And everyone has to live with that deal.
But Warlocks and Wizards don’t make deals.
They’re at war. And Eli is right in the middle of it.
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much for this fab interview! It’s always so interesting to learn about each author’s writing process, how their books come together, how long they take and where their ideas come from! If you ever find a time machine, let me know how it goes with the dinosaurs – it would be so interesting to know!! I love the fact that you’d love to share a beer with Shrek! And that you’ll hunt out the books that haven’t been read for years – having a different perspective from everyone else is a great idea! Looking forward to adding The Reluctant Wizard to my TBR – it sounds fab (and I love that your son is on the front!)
If you have any questions/comments lovelies, then you know what to do!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday