Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with fantasy novelist Ginny Atkinson. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Ginny. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Ginny: Well, I’m married with four beautiful kids. I’ve lived in numerous cities along the east coast of the US. My father was in the US Coast Guard so we moved pretty much every four years. We settled down in Southwest Virginia in 1994 and I’ve stayed here ever since then. I started writing in the late 80s to help with the moving and loss of close friends. I put down my pen for a few years, but always ended up coming back to it.
Morgen: It has that draw, doesn’t it. What genre/s do you generally write?
Ginny: I enjoy fantasy. My current series is the stereotypical set on distant planets fantasy. I also have a book on hold right now that is more of a mystery it’s about a serial killer in a small town.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date?
Morgen: What a wonderful title. Is your book available as an eBook? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Ginny: It’s only available for the Kindle at the moment, but I hope to move to paperbacks soon. I read both ebook and paper. There is just something comforting about the feel and smell of a paper book.
Morgen: There is. Most people say they love holding a book, although it’s great having the choice. I totally agree. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Ginny: I consider my characters like my family. It would be hard to pick a favourite out of them. I haven’t really thought about that too much. I would love to see someone like David Wenham play one of my male characters, probably the King in Fire Child. I think that Craig Olejnik has the perfect look for my character Patrick in Fire Child.
Morgen: I don’t know either of them but they’ve been in some great things. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Ginny: Right now I’m working on the second book in the fantasy series ‘Lumenessa’. It picks up right where Fire Child left off.
Morgen: How exciting. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Ginny: I try to write every day. Sometimes when the kids are being kids and running around I so suffer some block, but it never lasts long.
Morgen: I think we all do, even those of us who don’t suffer from writer’s block; we’ll have a slight hitch on where to go next but even just going off to make a cup of tea and come back to it helps. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Ginny: I try to do an outline before each book. Some of the characters tend to deviate from it from time to time, but they always end up where I want them to go.
Morgen: Your characters are better behaved than mine. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Ginny: Most of my characters have traits from people I’ve known throughout my life. Good and bad. Their names really just depend on the “ethnicity” I attach to them. Since I write mostly fantasy I feel like you need to make the character relatable. You have to put them through the same trials that a real person would go through.
Morgen: You do absolutely and none of us are perfect. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Ginny: The editing process is a must, even if you are a seasoned writer. What you might not catch whether it’s grammatically, spelling error or just a wrong character name, your editor should catch it.
Morgen: They should. We’re always too close to our work, plus they often come up with some great suggestions. Do you have to do much research?
Ginny: Yes I do. Most of my world is based off Celtic, Norse, and Arabic mythology. I change certain things to give it my own twist, but the basics are there.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking?
Ginny: Third person all the way. I find first person hard to read and write. As a reader I find myself wishing I could see what the other characters are doing or want to know what they are thinking.
Morgen: That’s true about first person. I’ve just released my first novel which is a first-person present tense chick lit. I started writing it that way, I think subconsciously, but it just felt right, and we get enough from Izzy’s point of view about the people she meets (which are mostly rather peculiar!) so the reader (hopefully) doesn’t feel left out. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Ginny: I don’t think my mystery will ever see the light of day. It’s too violent and has a lot of controversial topics in it.
Morgen: I’m writing a crime story like that at the moment and there are parts in it that I wonder whether I’d be brave enough to unleash on the general public but I do think there’s an audience out there for everything… just look at Fifty Shades of Grey. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Ginny: I love delving into the minds of villains. What makes them tick and all? I do not like the filler lines about describing every hand gesture body movement or a too detailed description of a character. I like to have just enough where you can picture them but not too much. I am surprised by how drained I am at the end of a writing day.
Morgen: Absolutely. The writer and reader have to go hand-in-hand; just walk alongside them not pull them quicker than they want to go – they want to enjoy the ride. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Ginny: Keep it up. If you have a story to tell keep pushing forward with it.
Morgen: You can’t edit a blank page. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Ginny: I have quite a few quotes I like some from my favourite authors. One is from a Sherrilyn Kenyon book “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” And the other is more of a life lesson quote “Never leave anything on a voice mail, text, or the internet that you wouldn’t want played or shown at your trial.” My husband is a police officer and I just find it amazing at all the senseless things that people leave out in the open.
Morgen: That’s true – there are a lot of people out there who wish they’d not put something online… What do you do when you’re not writing?
Ginny: I love to paint, cook, and decorate. I’m like regular Martha Stewart.
Morgen: I’m definitely with you on the painting. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Ginny: Right now, just Amazon.com. I am in the process of creating my own website.
Morgen: I’d recommend a WordPress site (you can have it as .wordpress.com or your own, although the former is free!). If you get stuck, I offer a very inexpensive (£50 / $75 to create or £10ph / $15ph to maintain) blog creation and maintenance service. Thank you, Ginny.
I then invited Ginny to include an extract of her writing…
Shawn walked into the bar looking for the two creatures, he was told could help him find his brother. He went up to the bartender and asked him. The bartender pointed over to the dark corner of the room. Shawn took a deep breath and swallowed spit as nervousness welled up in him.
“Here goes nothing,” he mumbled.
“What do you want, boy?” a dark haired woman with four scars running across her face said.
“I was told that you are really good at finding things.”
“You were mistaken. Now leave.”
“Wait. I’ll pay. I’ll even give you a ship if you can help me.”
“Hmm. Come back to our office and we will discuss this,” the short curvy redheaded woman said.
Shawn followed the two into a back room in the bar. The door was old and it creaked when it opened. He walked into the room and noticed how cluttered one side was. The other was very meticulously organized.
“Have a seat,” the redhead stated.
Shawn sat down as the scarred one asked, “So, what are you looking for? Person, place or thing?”
“Person. My brother, actually. He was taken from our ship halfway to the closest planet from here.”
“How long has he been missing?” Red asked
“Six days and you are just now coming to us? What took so long?” The scarred one asked.
“I thought I could find him on my own.”
“So what have you done?” Red asked.
“Well, I talked with a few people who I thought would know something. But to tell you the truth, I really don’t know where to start.”
“Okay, so who did you talk to?” Asked the scarred one.
Shawn started telling the story of the husband and everything leading up to the disappearance of his brother. Kediri and Ceana shared a glance.
“So what do you think of his story?” Ceana asked Kediri in her thoughts.
“Could be genuine? Could also be that he is the husband looking for the man who banged his wife,” Kediri replied.
And a synopsis of her book…
The Halflings Ceana and Kediri are asked by Shawn a winged Spritling to help him find his missing brother. They quickly find out he has been sold into slavery.
Caught up in a whirlwind adventure to distant planets Ceana finds her family has secrets to hide. Royal secrets.
Book one in the exciting Lumenessa saga the Halflings find out more about their powers and the whereabouts of their missing parents.
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