Sunday, 18 December 2016

Author Interview: A. W. Exley

Today I'm delighted to welcome author A.W. Exley to the blog to talk about her writing.

This author is close to me as she is my Auntie and I am so proud of her. I don’t review her books on the blog but I asked her if she will do an Interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?
Books have always been my escape, and from that it became natural to create my own worlds and stories. Unfortunately I didn't grow up in a supportive environment, I was told writing was stupid and a waste of time. While that person could never stop me from writing, I did learn to hide it. For years I wrote in secret, worried that my stories were indeed stupid. But the thing is if you never try, you never know what you might achieve. I decided I wasn't going to let one bitter person stop me from reaching for a dream. So I figured it was well past time to try and get one of my stories published. That journey led me to a new career as a writer.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I like exploring different worlds and different times. Plus I get to talk to imaginary characters all day long! And if one annoys me… I can kill them… ;)

Were any characters inspired by anyone in real life?
Yes! But I'm not telling… lol People are so different and part of the fun of being a writer is watching for character quirks or traits that you can use in a novel. Characters have their own motivations that drive their actions, sometimes you might be inspired by a large chunk of a real life person or you might just pick up on one little thing they do.

What is a typical writing day like? What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode? 
Coffee! I cannot write without coffee next to the laptop. Other than that the only other 2 essentials are music (I can't write if its too quiet) and I have a big art pad that contains my plot outlines. Coffee sits on one side, plot outline on the other and then I'm all good to go J

What authors have influenced you as a writer?
Growing up it was definitely Anne McCaffrey. I devoured her books and I loved how she created this vast world with so many different characters. An author who isn't an influence, but whose books I really enjoy is Elizabeth Hunter. If I want to kick back and relax, I'll usually reach for one of her books first.

When planning a new novel which comes first, the plot or the characters?
That's a hard one! Usually it's an idea, like what happened if zombies invaded the ball in Cinderella? From there I figure out who is the main character and the idea keeps growing and getting bigger until it forms itself into a book.

If you get a plot block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it?
If I get stuck, I jump to a point where I'm not stuck. I loosely plot my books so if I hit a tricky bit I move on to the next scene. I believe that you should keep moving forward and it's better to something than stare at a blank screen.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That it's actually really hard work! A lot of people have an idealised view of life as a writer, but it takes hard work and dedication to stick to a regular schedule and produce a number of books a year. I'm learning constantly about story and character and I regularly pick up craft books or do online courses so I can keep improving as a writer.

I really enjoyed Obsidian Eyes. Will it have its own series or will it be a standalone?
There won't sorry L It was intended to be the first book in a long series, but it never found an audience and only ever sold a few copies.

Will Paniha’s Taniwha be e-book only or will it come out in paperback?
At this stage it will be e-book only.

What are you current projects?
I'm currently finishing up my YA series, Serenity House. Those books are based on fairtyales, set in the Edwardian era and have a smattering of zombies. Book 4 is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty and will wrap up the entire series. 2017 I will start a whole new series in a new world.

Some of her books:
Nefertiti's Heart (The Artifact Hunters #1) GoodreadsAmazon, Book Depository  
Ella, The Slayer (Serenity House #1) Goodreads,  AmazonBook Depository 
Obsidian Eyes GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository 

Thank you Auntie for taking the time to do the interview!

Author Bio:

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita's life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes fantasy historical novels with heart from her home in rural New Zealand.

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