Writing memes . . .

30 Days of Writing Questions was from a meme on A Broken Laptop.  It became 25 days of writing as it applied to my own writing life.  It should really be answered one question at a time in depth each day you blog but Time is at a premium just now.  So here goes my abridged version. If you subscribe to my blog and read this, please assume you are tagged and play around with it and pass it on.

1.  Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

Very obvious answer in respect of my mainstream writing.  The world of Eirie which approximates our own but with the world of Others lacing in and out of the mortal world and creating magnificence and mayhem.

In terms of the fan-fiction, I am writing a story of Guy of Gisborne and am keen to continue my research of the Plantagenet dynasty and the Crusades.

2.  How many characters do you have? In each of my fantasy novels, I have two protagonists, one male and one female. And a small supporting cast. Do you prefer males or females? I have no preference.

3.  How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)? I have always disliked made-up names that sound as if one reaches into the Scrabble box.  I love Celtic, Irish and English names.  In my own fantasy fiction, I err to magic realism and have chosen the names that could come from my own world: Trevallyn, the Raj, the Han, the Pymm Archipelago, Veniche.  Nicholas, Liam, Adelina, Ana, etc etc.

4.  Tell us about one of your first stories/characters! In high school, I wrote a spy story from the second world war.  Heavens knows why.

5.  Where are you most comfortable writing? On the couch or at my desk in the window overlooking the garden.  At what time of day? Whatever time I feel like.  Even at night in bed sometimes.  Computer or good ol’ pen and paper? Both.

6.  Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters? No.  Never.  Silence and the sounds from the garden and the beach are the musical undertones.

7.  What’s your favorite genre to write? Fantasy, although I am beginning to skirt around historical fiction.  To read? Historical fiction, a small amount of commercial womens’ fiction, chosen fantasy authors.

8.  How do you get ideas for your characters? Someone I know or have met or perhaps elements of a character I have seen on TV.  Describe the process of creating them. The personality must be remodeled to what I imagine that particular character would be like.  From surface detail to soul detail.

9.  What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Hmm. Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts! Finnian of the  Færan allowed himself to be interviewed by me on Mesmered’s blog. It is the hardest interview I have ever done, because I am beginning to query the manuscript and thus tried hard to reveal as little as possible about the character whilst trying to arouse interest in the A Thousand Glass Flower (working title)

10.  Who is your favorite character to write? Guy of Gisborne just flows onto the screen. Least favorite? Nicholas in The Shifu Cloth because he is mute and it is so hard to have him express himself without dialogue and yet he is my main protagonist in The Shifu Cloth.

11.  In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? A Thousand Glass Flowers. Any side-notes on it you’d like to share? For me, there is never a war, meglomaniac kings, religious issues or natural cataclysms.  My stories are my characters’ battles with their own experiences and inadequacies.  I hate overt world-building.

12.  What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not? Celtic, Asian, Middle eastern . . . you name it!

13.  How do you map out locations, if needed? I draw my own map.  Do you have any to show us? No, but in the front of the first two books, The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch, a professional designer took my ugly drawing and turned it into a wonderful map.

14.  Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not! Dorothy Dunnett.  Sei Shonagon.  Rosamunde Pilcher.

15.  Do you write romantic relationships? Yes.  How do you deal with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? Romance between my characters is important as a vehicle for so much emotion.  But I am not a romance writer.  My characters do have sex, but it is only ever hinted at.

16.  What are your favorite character interactions to write? Verbal interactions.

17.  Do any of your characters have children? Yes.  How well do you write them? That’s for others to judge.

18.  Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not. Not applicable.

19. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)? With a mainstream work up to second draft: a year whereupon it goes to the UK to an editorial group, then another year as I begin to shape it.  For the fan-fiction, an hour or two whereupon it is then posted on my blog or on Wattpad as an e-book.

20.  How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? Very, if it serves the story.  That’s the writing life.  What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone? Soul stealing and a death mesmer.

22.  Do any of your characters have pets? Yes, Lalita has a graceful and loving hound in A Thousand Glass Flowers. Tell us about them.  No, because the animal is quite pivotal to the plot and the book is being queried.

23.  Do appearances play a big role in your stories?  Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters. I have a character sheet with vital statistics and one word backstories and I then scour the net and mags to find faces I like and pin the image to the sheet, to give me something concrete to focus on.

24.  Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Currently I am writing about a man who is unable to speak.  In my first novel, The Stumpwork Robe, Ana was in the midst of the most dreadful grief so that it affected her being.  I studied the effect of grief on thinking processes, from my own experience and by reading a number of specific reference books.

25.  How often do you think about writing? Constantly. Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters? Never.  Except that each of my books has been inspired by something from real life.  The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch were inspired by stumpwork embroidery which you seriously must google. A Thousand Glass Flowers was inspired by a millefiori paperweight my son bought me in Venice.  And The Shifu Cloth is inspired by amazing Japanese fabric called shifu.