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We caught another author with the promise of a choccie fish!

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, V. L. Dreyer On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.

Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Comfy?

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway?

Depends on my mood, location, and budget at any given time.  I’ll pretty much eat anything that isn’t spicy.  Not a fan of pizza, though.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Is “exhausted” a mental status?  If so, let’s go with that.  Perpetually exhausted, that’s me!

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

Sometimes even I don’t know.  I just… do it.  Magic!

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

Although I’m an author in my own right, I’ve been feeling extremely drained since the end of my best-selling series, The Survivors. Since then, I’ve mostly just been freelancing as a publishing assistant, helping other authors learn to self-publish.  Lately, though, I’ve become caught up in a very interesting business venture that is translating Polish and Norwegian best-sellers into English.  It’s fascinating work. Boy, can those Poles and Norwegians write!

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?

Nescafe Caramel Latte sachets.  Don’t judge me, “real” coffee is too strong for my fragile stomach and tea makes me ill.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

Wait, how did “typical day” become “TELL US ABOUT YOUR UNDIES”?  Haha!  Random.  Um, I wear control top briefs because they’re super-comfy.  As for my day, that’s a bit of a weird one.  I suffer from a conglomeration of physical and mental illnesses, which pretty much control my life.  I don’t live on a 24 hour day anymore, I just sleep when I need to sleep and wake up when I’m done sleeping. As a result, I tend to live on a 30 hour day, so some days I’m diurnal and others I’m nocturnal.  When I get up, I make breakfast, bathe if necessary/can be bothered, check my emails, then settle in for a day/night of alternately working and playing video games to keep myself awake.  It’s not very efficient, but when you’re as sick as I am you just do what you gotta do to keep going.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

Ugh, I’m so sick of being inside her head.  Four books was enough, it’s time for someone else to have a turn.  I liked her at first because she was strong and independent and sassy, but writing a series in the first person means you develop a very intimate relationship with a character, and I find that after a while intimate relationships become very taxing.

8. Who are your favourite writers?

J.K. Rowlings, because she is an inspiration to us all and I want to be her when I grow up. Terry Brooks, because he is a sweet man and treated me like a colleague that one time we had booths opposite one another at a convention – he even gave me a hug!  Swoon!  Oh, and Jennifer Fallon, because she is a badass, tough, smart lady and I respect the hell out of her.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

My mum, my readers, and my author friends.  There are a few authors who either started writing around the same time as me, or who apprenticed to me for a while when they were newbies and are now more successful than me.  I’m super-proud of them for succeeding, but my pride drives me to strive to compete regardless of how much I love them.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

Honey, I barely put pants on myself.

11. Describe your perfect day.

Curled up in bed with my cats, listening to the driving rain on the roof.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

I LOVE villains, villains are the best.  My favourite at the moment is Cad Bane from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  There’s something fascinating about people who aren’t villains because they’re evil, but because they’re totally mercenary and in it for the money.  I love fictional bounty hunters and mercenaries.

13. Do you have any quirks?

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it’s safer to assume that I have ALL of the quirks, because I probably do.  Examples?  Um… I can’t let a typo pass in my social media posts, I have to go back and fix it or it’ll drive me crazy.  Yet, I don’t even notice typos in other people’s social media posts.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
The Fifth Element, because LEELOO DALLAS MULTIPASS shut up.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

I don’t think anyone enjoys the editing process, except possibly editors.  And they’re crazy.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I’d like to spend a year in every country, so I can truly experience the world.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?

I hate pizza.

18. What were you before you became a writer?

I’ve always been a writer in some form, but I’ve done all kinds of things.  Collections, food service, call centre, tech support, graphic design – I even have a really random degree in Fashion Design. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

Writing my first book, probably.  I was having a nervous breakdown because I’d just been told I was going to go deaf over time, and with my existing spinal injury that pretty much limited my employment opportunities for the future.  I freaked out, and wrote a book.  No, really.  I just freaked out and wrote a book, and finished it in a month.  After eight months of editing, that book became the first novel in my series, The Survivors.

20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Sleeping or playing games.  I’m a ridiculous gamer, I’ll play anything once.  The Steam Summer Sale is the bane of my financial existence.

21. Who is your ultimate character?

I’ll let you know when I figure that one out.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?

I don’t drink.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Purse.  Let’s see… wallet, phone, keys, screwdriver, tissues, several kinds of pills, spare coffee sachets, a very sad squished chocolate bar, business cards, notebook, several pens, tiny can of deodorant, emergency bandages and splints, reusable grocery bag…  I’d say I’m pretty apocalypse-ready.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Yes, yes, no, yes.

25. Ebook or tree book?

Both.  I prefer eBooks but find I can’t actually read them without automatically going into “editing mode”. Paperbacks, I don’t go into editing mode.

26. Favourite apocalyptic scenario?

Any.  I love apocalyptic scenarios in all their forms.  Corny natural disaster movies are also a favourite of mine.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?

Originally, on the bus, using a tiny netbook.  Later, in bed.  Now I have an actual office, and find it really hard to get anything done.  I’m tempted to just go sit on a bus just to work.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)

I agree with marketing. The other hard thing is dealing with negative reviews, but you do eventually grow a thick skin.  I reckon one of the most important things a young author can do is find a “vent partner” – someone you can whine to about all the hard sucky things that happen in private, without letting it show in public.  You gotta keep these things private, because doing it publicly will hurt your sales.

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about V. L. Dreyer in the following places …

http://vldreyer.com/
https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaLDreyer
https://www.facebook.com/groups/cheekykeaprintworks/

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Please welcome Antony Millen to the hot seat

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Antony Millen. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Comfy?

Not really. There’s an orange-flavoured light reflecting off that metal plate and the Glock is positioned at an awkward angle.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

In my speak, it’s Acropole Pizza from Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Is “flawed” a status?

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

Either sporadically and tangentially or routinely and methodically. There is no in-between.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

I released my third novel, ‘The Chain’, at the end of 2015. It’s set in the year 2043, in a time when surveillance dominates the globe. Control is held by a world-wide governing entity called The Global Domain via an anti-encryption programme called ICALL. In an attempt to disrupt this system, a resistance group known as Arachne enlists the two teenage sons of one of their own to follow a chain of clues leading to a flash drive containing the plans for ICALL which could be used to dismantle the programme.

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?

Back to Nova Scotia again – a large double-double from Tim Horton’s. Cheaper, faster and better than any cappuccino in New Zealand.

 6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

During productive writing periods (meaning the period of drafting over several months), my day starts at 5am. I follow a routine of tea and breakfast, followed by meditation/prayer, a very light work-out, and reading a page from Stephen Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’. I write until 7am when I start my routine for going to work. In the evenings, after everything to do with work and home is taken care of, I spend time on marketing, editing, brainstorming, corresponding, accounting, submitting to journals, and generally anything to do with being an independent writer trying to create and manage a portfolio and reach readers. Finish the day at 10pm by plotting the next day’s work. In terms of underpants, my answer is in this response, but you will need to read between the lines.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

Hmmm . . . which main character? I’ll pick Conrad Murrihy from my first book, ‘Redeeming Brother Murrihy’, because I was surprised at the response to him by readers. I see Conrad as cynical, devoted and a bit stunted in his relationships, but only because of his loyalty to his mother and to his homeland. Apparently his comments about New Zealand, as he reluctantly travelled around here, led some readers to see him as whinging and even xenophobic. Insular, I can accept, but I don’t see him in quite the negative light some have.

8. Who are your favourite writers?

John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Maurice Shadbolt, Anna Smaill, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, James K Baxter, Louis L’Amour, Bruce Springsteen, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

My kids. Other writers and creative people in multiple fields My wife. My parents. My mate, DTH.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

No, that’s stupid.

11. Describe your perfect day.

A day at home alone.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

Darth Vader. I don’t love to hate villains, I often admire them for their intelligence, even if they are morally skewed. I tend to hate weak characters who are arrogant.

13. Do you have any quirks?

Many. Most are hidden – I think.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?

Star Wars: A New Hope. The hero’s journey, Han Solo’s gun, lightsabres, the Millenium Falcon, Vader, victory without too much moral ambiguity to sift through. A fun ride that captured my imagination at age 7 and still does.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

I do! I work through it diligently and in an ever-refined, disciplined and efficient process. Maybe not efficient, but I am getting better at it and see it as a time to develop lyricism if I can call it that in what I do.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Still home.

17. Favorite Pizza topping?

Cheese. Is that a topping or the topping over the toppings?

18. What were you before you became a writer?

A dreamer, a wanna-be believer, a reader, and a man with a fever that only went away when I finished the draft of my first novel.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

I leave little to chance – my life is rarely random. Or it’s all really random, it depends on my propensity for procrastination at the time. I tripped a girl on the school bus once. Still don’t know why I did that.

20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Watching a Montreal Canadiens ice hockey game online.

21. Who is your ultimate character?

Either Allie Fox from Paul Theroux’s ‘The Mosquito Coast’ or Indiana Jones or Han Solo. Probably any character portrayed by Harrison Ford.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?

Beer, though not as much as I used to.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Nothing. #minimalism

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Laptop

25. Ebook or tree book?

Tree book, but I read on my phone too. #minimalism

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

Emptiness and void, scrounging around, discovering relics with a close family member without worrying about zombies or Mad Max.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?

In my den/office/son’s former bedroom.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)

Making time – but then making use of that time once I’ve made it. Not making excuses.

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Antony Millen in the following places …

Website: http://antonymillen.com
Blog: http://antonymillen.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/antony_millen/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maplekoru/

And of course, Antony’s books are available in our store.

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Helping us help you

Good morning authors and readers,

Hope you’re enjoying this rather beautiful crisp winter weather. It’s much easier to cope with winter when it isn’t raining and blowing a gale!

Now to the point of this blog post …

We do have a request, instead of buying a coffee today (or tomorrow) would you please donate that money to our give-a-little page and help us keep our doors open? Seriously every dollar will help.

Here’s the link: Writers Plot Give a Little

We truly appreciate your help.
And would very much like to continue providing support for Kiwi authors.

Thank you,

Cat and Caro

PS: please share the link on your social media and whatnot  😉

The A-store is coming along. Cat added another page this morning and more books to the other categories. We’re getting there! It is quite a slow process.

Upper Hutt can really turn it on some days!
Upper Hutt can really turn it on some days!
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Our first victim for 2017 is Belinda Mellor!

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Belinda Mellor. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a headshot every time.

Belinda Mellor
Belinda Mellor

Comfy?
Yes, thank you. I have a cup of tea and a square of Marmite flavoured chocolate.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Fish, if it’s light and fluffy, with chips if they are hand-cut and crispy. Otherwise Indian, but not too hot; I’m a woos. (Is that how you spell woos? It doesn’t look right.) Look, I used a semi-colon and I used it correctly. That makes me a proper writer.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Do you REALLY want to know? Let’s say ‘confused’ and leave it at that.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
No idea. It’s a mystery to me. I wait for my muse (apparently her name is Sylvia) and then hope for the best. She’s a bit casual in her time keeping. She’s never admitted it, but I suspect she has other people she inspires on a more professional basis and just fits me in when she has the time.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
Works – plural. I’m sort of torn between a third book in my Silvana series and a folklore-inspired YA story.
Silvana was supposed to be finished with the two books, The Greening and The Turning, until I had a sudden realisation of what happens next. The two form what I like to term a ‘fantasy biography’, so they have what I thought for years was a fixed ending. But, while the first book focuses on Fabiom, the second has his son, Lesandor, as the character with the most page-time (although the point of that is how the son’s actions impact the father, as much as telling Lesandor’s own story). However, although it wasn’t a deliberate intention, the books can be read somewhat allegorically, with specific humans representing all of humanity, and the Silvanii – the Tree Ladies – representing nature. In that way, the story doesn’t end with one man. So, like the previous instalments, Book 3 will be largely about a new generation – with Lesandor’s son, Jarin, taking centre stage, but Lesandor’s story continuing, as his father’s did in the previous book. It might be called Silvana – Restoration, but then again, it might not.

Then there’s The Daughters of Chalice Moon, which was started (cough cough) as a Millennium project. It’s the story of two sisters, Jade and Emerald Green, who think they are twins, but in fact one of them isn’t even human: she was supposed to be swapped at birth for the human girl, but the exchange went wrong. The other main character is a human boy, Jasper, who was successfully swapped and who was brought up in Faerie, who makes his way into the human realm when he discovers his true identity. His faerie counterpart is the antagonist. I’m toying with the idea of splitting it up into several shorter books, as it had become rather unwieldy, which was one of the reasons I shelved it (emigrating was another).

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
I always look for ethically produced foods where I can, but they have to taste good too. If I could get it easily (and I’d sold enough books to be able to afford it, given how many cups of tea I get through in a day) I would love to just drink oolong tea from what I believe is the one and only NZ tea-growing estate, Zealong, just outside Hamilton. Otherwise Scarborough Fair makes a decent black tea.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
No lucky underpants. I just have to be really comfortable, and warm, but not too warm.
Nothing gets done before I’ve had at least one cup of tea, of course. I seem to have collected lots of animals so there is the morning feed to do before I can really settle to anything else. Fish, budgies, dogs, my daughter’s bearded dragon if she’s away. That’s the ‘house’ animals (the budgies have an aviary on the deck). Then the chickens and goats. Another cup of tea. If I have an editing job on I try to do some of that before my own writing, otherwise I might get carried away and not get any done at all. Some time in the day I like to take the dogs to the river, or for a gallop around the paddocks. I’m not very organised and my days are not structured. We have a veggie garden and that needs a fair bit of time, and I always seem to have things to sort or try to organise, rarely with any degree of success; I must try to declutter one of these days. I like to cook, so mid-afternoon I might start on dinner if I’m feeling creative food-wise, or else I might catch up with one of my neighbours for a coffee. Before I know it, it’s time to see to the animals again! We eat any time from 6.00 to 9.00 (my husband is very understanding). We might go out in the evening once or twice a week – he plays music sometimes, and we like to go to the theatre or to support anything that his students are involved in (he’s a teacher), but not too often as we live in the middle of nowhere. When do I write? Good question. Anytime, really. I used to be a ‘7.00 am – 9.00 am’ writer, but that was many years ago, before I had my daughter. Before that, when I was at university, I did my creative writing late at night. Now? I don’t even know when my best time is. Perhaps I need to find it again.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
Fabiom, deep sigh. I’ve known him for so many years now. He can still reduce me to tears, and often does. Fabiom came into my life long before I was married or became a mother, but oddly, our parenting journeys have far more parallels than seems reasonable. I originally met him in a daydream. One of my favourite mental explorations was always around a human meeting and falling in love or developing a deep friendship with a nature spirit. I never analysed it back then, but I guess it was my way of exploring humanity’s relationship with the natural world. That, coupled with my love of mythology, was the basis of his story. He is the archetypal ‘warrior poet’ – he is, actually, a poet, as well as a first-rate archer. But, more than that, he is just a lovely human being – he has to be in order to win the love of a Silvana: they are very picky! In his original incarnation he was a bit too good to be true, but by the time the book was finished, he wasn’t quite so perfect or so obviously bound to succeed at whatever he turned his hand to. In fact, he became slightly unpredictable, which is what I really like about him. He is utterly honourable but sometimes acts before he thinks – which is wonderful for me, though a bit disconcerting for some of the characters he shares the books with. I have sketched out a few short stories where he appears as a secondary character, but the possibility of spending a little more time with him and getting to know him even better is rather wonderful. Like me, he had a very complex relationship with his mother, which was quite fun to explore, too.

8. Who are your favourite writers?
I’m still reading all of these authors:
The first writer who really inspired me was CS Lewis, I would have been 7. Then I was introduced to Tolkien (I was 9 and I won a copy of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as a school prize). At 11, at secondary school (this was in England), we read Gerald Durrell’s Bafut Beagles in English class. At 13 a friend insisted I read Ursula le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as I was insisting she read Lord of the Rings. At 17 or 18 I stumbled across Terry Pratchett, though it would be many years before I fully appreciated his genius. At uni – where I was studying Theology and Religious Studies – I lapped up every fantasy book I could lay my hands on from a small bookshop in Bristol that specialised in the genre, and there I discovered many new authors: Katherine Kurtz was my favourite, with Anne McCaffrey a close second. In my late 20s I read a review of In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin and soon owned everything he had ever written.

The NZ Book Discussion scheme gave me Colin Cotterell – who writes genteel crime novels set in Asia: something I would never have picked up on my own, but I’m very glad I did.

In the last few years I have also discovered some wonderful new authors via the internet and writing sites, Brett Adams and Ashley Capes (both Australian) among them.

And let’s never forget Homer (the Greek one, not Simpson). The Iliad and The Odyssey are long-time favourite reads.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
Other than my terminally unreliable muse, you mean? Currently I’m not very impressed with either my productivity or with how I am using (or rather not using) my full potential. Perhaps if I give this question some serious thought I might actually be inspired to do better. That would be good. Can I come back to this in, say, six months’ time?

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
Budgies, no. That would be silly.
Sadly, the cat died a few months ago. And she wouldn’t have approved.
One of my dogs is a Samoyed who has enough spare fur to make me extra-warm (or even extra, warm) clothing, so no, not her either. However, the newest member of the family is a greyhound, so of course I do. She has pyjamas, and they have Elmo on them.

(Totally understandable, I also have a greyhound and Romeo adores his jammies. I may be addicted to making him fleecy jammies – Cat. :))

Silvana: The Greening by Belinda Mellor

11. Describe your perfect day.
A balanced one: Some time spent writing; some time spent with my husband and my daughter; some time spent being creative in the house or garden; a little bit of personal development; learning something new; a walk somewhere beautiful; good food and a glass of wine with friends….

Otherwise, a really productive writing day – one of those days with ‘Ah-ha!’ moments regarding plot or character development.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I like anti-heroes, but favourite villain? I’m struggling with that one.

Okay, I sort of cheated and Googled ‘best literary villains’. That wasn’t much help, so I looked up ‘sympathetic villains’. They suggested Severus Snape in Harry Potter but I don’t think he’s really a villain. And Moby Dick certainly doesn’t count! So, having found no inspiration on-line, I’m going to go for Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s demon Crowley in Good Omens. I think it’s stretching it to call him the villain, to be honest, but he’s the best I can come up with – and a brilliant character from a brilliant book.

13. Do you have any quirks?

I don’t eat chocolate fish… in fact I try not to eat fructose, except in fresh fruit (and Marmite flavoured chocolate). I’ve been on a bit of an anti-sugar crusade for several years (long before it became fashionable) – but Marmite trumps all (this is UK Marmite, by the way. NZ Marmite has sugar in, and tastes totally different, but I won’t be rude about it. I could be, but I won’t be). I also eat lots of saturated fat. I am tired of being lied to by the food industry.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
Ooh. Tricky.
Jesus of Montreal – best subtitled film.
History of Violence – best storyline (though not my usual style)
Toy Story (all of them. But #3 if I had to choose) – best animation (and I am a huge animation fan, so that’s saying something).
Oooh! I don’t know. These are hard questions!!! (Yes, I do know what they say about multiple exclamation marks.)
But, I’m going to say Lord of the Rings, because I could watch it more times than any other film and still enjoy it. The reason – because I’ll never forget the heartbreak of listening to Pippin sing as Faramir and his men rode into hopeless battle; nor the shiver I felt when I first saw the lighting of the beacons. I would like to be hypnotised to forget that, and then watch it again as if for the first time.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
I don’t hate it. Sometimes it’s hard. But I get a real thrill when I have a sudden inspiration of how to make the work better than it was.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Here works for me. New Zealand is country #3. I’m English by birth, Irish by blood. We came to New Zealand from Ireland for a year, possibly two – that was ten years ago. There are lots of places I’d still like to explore, but I think I’m home now.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?
I’m quite adventurous when it comes to pizza toppings, so long as the base is thin and crispy and, preferably, hand-made. Lots of cheese, lots of herbs, and then a little bit of this and that and that (anchovies are fine)… We have a wonderful pizzaria in Nelson, besides the cinema. Anything there is okay by me.

18. What were you before you became a writer?
A very small child. As for what other things I’ve done besides being a writer, well, I was a secondary school teacher, but I didn’t enjoy that very much. I’ve had lots of other jobs, but I’ve not actually ‘been’ anything. Happily, I’ve had several jobs that were writing-based.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
I agreed to marry my now-husband twenty-four hours after he came for a visit. I had known him for twenty years but I had only seen him once, and then quite briefly, in the eleven years before we got engaged. Is that random enough? Otherwise, dog-sledding midwinter in Lapland under the Northern Lights…
Oh no. I’ve just dredged up a memory that I suspect I have tried to suppress – I once dressed up in an all-encompassing milk-carton outfit and walked around the streets of Wexford (in Ireland) in a promotional thingy – that was in the days when I was part of an arts theatre company. I couldn’t see a thing and kept tripping up and down the pavements onto the road.

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Either messing around with animals or trying to organise ‘stuff’. I have an excess amount of stuff and it badly needs organising, but it’s not being very cooperative.

Silvana: The Turning by Belinda Mellor

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Faramir in Lord of the Rings (another ‘warrior poet’ type).

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Guinness (my Irish heritage); Red wine (made in New Zealand, of course); Cocktails – not overly sweet (that could be my English upbringing, I guess).

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
Not prepared for anything, I’m afraid. Lots of stuff, almost none of it useful. Except for a teabag. I always carry at least one…

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
Mac, always and forever. In any form. The more the merrier.

25. Ebook or tree book?
Tree book. Preferably a book about trees.

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
If it happened in real life? A very sudden, unexpected and instant destruction of everything while I’m asleep would be my choice.

That would make a lousy book though, wouldn’t it? … and they all died, but no one saw it coming. The End.
In the case of zombies, I’d be in trouble. I actually have a longbow, but I’m a lousy shot. I bought my husband a crossbow, but that’s too heavy for me to pull – I guess I’d have to bash them over the head with it.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
If I know what I’m going to write – that is, if I’ve ‘lived’ the story fully enough in my head – I’ll type it at my desktop Mac, in a little alcove in the living room. If I’m ‘making it up as I go’ then I’ll use a good quality biro and an A4 wide-lined pad and I could be anywhere – except at my desk. Sitting on the bed with the dogs works quite well if it’s colder, or outside on the deck in good weather.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)
Marketing – absolutely! I’ve identified my ‘ideal’ reader, at least for Silvana (this is based on feedback, and it’s not what I would have expected): she (yes, she) is slightly older, possibly even older than that, well educated and most likely with an artistic side. She is not a habitual fantasy reader, in fact she very likely doesn’t read any at all, normally. So, she is someone who probably wouldn’t pick up my books unless prompted by a friend and then she’ll be very surprised how much she enjoys them. She also spends minimal time on the internet so doesn’t leave book reviews (but is quite likely to send me a lovely, handwritten note). If anyone has any idea how to reach that demographic I’d be delighted if they’d share that information with me. I was thinking of having tee-shirts printed with the words: ‘I didn’t expect to like this book, but I loved it … when is the next one coming out?’ But I realised it would be pointless as these are not the sort of people who wear tee-shirts with slogans on them – bother! Another marketing idea down the drain.

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …
Too late! He did flip the switch. My spell check changed randomly to Italian. I couldn’t work out why it was telling me that every. single. word. was ‘not in the dictionary’.

 

You can find out more about Belinda in the following places …

Website: http://silvana.belindamellor.com/
Blog: https://treeandleafblog.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silvanastory
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BelindaAnnMellor/