TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin is as pumpkin does. I have no idea what that means.
If you’re all up in my face on Twitter, then you know that I talk to J. Liz Hill all damn day. I adore her. One of the kindest, most generous and thoughtful people on the planet, and she will destroy you with her writing habits. I mean this girl writes all the time. And never complains that ughgh my muse has been kicked in the face and can’t get up or I’m just too tired from living life to create as I am supposed to do. She is an inspiration and a half.
AND YET SHE NEVER TALKS ABOUT HERSELF AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HER BOOK, BOUND, AND NOW THE SEQUEL IS UPON US ALMOST AND YOU NEED TO KNOW.
So first, this:
1. Give us a quick few lines to sum up Bound and Possession.
Faylanna graduates from the academy where she learned magic only to find her father has made some sort of deal that involves her, though she’s never been apprised of this. When she flees from his men rather than go along with this, she meets Tavis, who’s on the road himself in search of his long-vanished mother. They help each other through difficult events, and all the while, Faylanna wonders whether she should at last give in to the pressure to make a choice that will be with her for the rest of her life: To bind her magic to that of another.
Faylanna and Tavis face new challenges, each learning things about themselves that have been kept secret from them by everyone around them. The truth changes the nature of their lives. When Tavis’ mother is kidnapped in an effort to resurrect old plots they both thought finished, the race is on to save her. As the secrets pile up, their weight might destroy Faylanna and Tavis.
2. What’s your favorite supernatural/mythological species to write about and why?
Angels, hands down. I love anything with wings, really, but the idea of angels has always fascinated me, especially the fall from grace that they’re capable of. Come to think of it, that might explain my next project.
3. Tell me your favorite line or paragraph from Bound or Possession.
This is one of my favorites that doesn’t give anything away. It’s from Possession, part of a scene between Tavis and Faylanna.
The light from the hall had ruined his ability to see in the darkened room for the moment, but he heard her cross to him. When she was close enough, he reached out, put his hands on her slender waist and pulled her closer. His own relief was overwhelming as he slid his arms around her. Laying his head on her chest, he listened to her heartbeat and it reminded him that there was still one constant in his world. She tangled the fingers of one hand in his hair and her other arm went around his shoulders. He loved that no words were necessary with her at that moment.
4. Tell me a little about your writing process, and how you maintain such a rigorous schedule.
My writing process. Well, it usually starts with an idea or a character and I make notes as more of it comes to me. I write everything down, no matter how crazy it seems or unlikely. Eventually, the idea feels more like a story than disconnected notes and at that point, I organize the notes in a program called Omni Outliner. Once I’ve done that, I outline the whole story from beginning to end, covering all the major events. These things often happen while I’m editing other things and making notes on other stories by the way. Note-making never stops.
Then I start writing. Well, I start the first draft. Everything else (except the occasional note) stops at this point. Everything is about writing the draft. I put in long days (5-6 hours after my day job, all day on weekends) of writing. Over time my average words per day has increased, but these days, it takes me about 20-30 days to write that draft.
After that, I leave it alone for at least a couple months before I start revisions. I typically go through three rounds of revisions. One for major story stuff, one for wording and continuity and a final one that I do out loud. It’s good for catching repetitive wording and anything that’s leftover from previous edits (I call them the ghosts of edits past)
How do I keep it up? I never stop. Momentum is a key part of this whole thing, and that’s easier to maintain than have to rebuild, so I just keep rolling from one thing to another. Don’t ask how many novels I’m juggling through this process. The number scares me if I think too much about it.
5. What’s going to make readers fall in love with Bound and Possession?
I think readers will love how Faylanna and Tavis negotiate their relationship, not to mention how they each try to cope and help each other cope with the trials they both face. For them, falling in love with each other is just the beginning in many ways.
6. Now you. Tell us your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing. Twitter doesn’t count. 😉
Playing video games. I love anything with a good story, so I mostly end up playing roleplaying games, but I loved the storyline in the Halo series. I find there’s a lot to be learned from them anyway, on a craft level, but I just plain enjoy them as a way to get my mind off working.
7. What’s the thing you’ve never done that you wish you had and/or plan to do?
I’ve never been on a vacation to anywhere tropical and beachy. I’d love to stand on the beach with the sand in my toes and the ocean lapping at my feet. That’s not in the current budget, but maybe in the next couple of years I can do that.
8. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
The problem is that I rarely think the things I do are cool. I mean, it’s just me doing them, right? I guess going to Norwescon earlier this year was pretty cool. I did it all on my own, without knowing anyone else who was going. It was scary and I may have ended up texting a friend in a panic at one point (I totally did), but I went and participated in stuff. I ended up having fun and I’m going back next year.
9. Dinner party, and you can invite 6 people, living or dead. Who are they and why?
Anne McCaffrey – Because she was the author who inspired me most to start writing myself.
Carol Berg – Because she’s my favorite living author. I met her briefly at Norwescon and she’s fabulous. (I somehow maintained my dignity and didn’t turn into an brainless fangirl)
Julie and Kristen – Because we really do need to hang out. Seriously. IRL.
(Side note: We eat a lot. This may be something the host of any dinner party may want to rethink.)
Trent Reznor – My all time favorite musician. How could I not have him there?
Keanu Reeves – For a long list of reasons, particularly that I find him fascinating and would love to have a conversation with him.
10. Describe your perfect day.
It’s going to sound kind of corny, but writing. A day where the story’s flowing like a torrent and it’s raining outside. Good music playing. A hot coffee at my side. That’s perfect to me. Since I live in Vancouver, you can imagine, I get these from time to time. 🙂