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Virtual Book Club: W.R. Gingell

Today, I’m delighted to welcome W.R. Gingell to Virtual Book Club, an interview series in which I put questions to authors about their latest releases. If you’d like to pose a question, you’ll have the opportunity to do so at the end.

W.R. is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.

She loves to twist fairytales and enjoys writing characters with more to recommend them than good looks. Her works so far include retellings of Beauty & The Beast (Masque), Red Riding Hood (Wolfskin), and Sleeping Beauty–with a bit of Rapunzel thrown in (Spindle). She also dabbles in a small amount of Sci-Fi, and has almost completed an entirely original novella trilogy, Shards of a Broken Sword.

Q: Have you always felt driven to write?

Oh yes! Since I first began to read, I’ve been writing. I don’t remember much of my life before I was scribbling awful stories.

Q: Who was it who gave you your first encouragement as a writer?

A visiting author who was speaking in my local library. All the local librarians knew me because I was the tiny kid who walked out of the library almost daily with a stack of books bigger than I was. They also knew I was a writer, so when authors spoke in the library, they let me know. One of those authors had all of us write a piece on the subject he gave us, and when we read them out, he loved mine and one other out of the group. I was about 12. I was over the moon! I was buoyed up for the entire day, despite the fact that my family had no conception of HOW COOL it was that a published author loved my paragraph and gave me a signed copy of his book as a prize.

Q: Is your day job a distraction or does it add another element to your writing?

Both! Sometimes it’s a huge distraction (like when I’m really on a roll with whatever WiP I happen to be writing). Sometimes it provides something for my hands to do while my mind is busy plotting, fixing problems, and working on characterisations and motives. Occasionally the best thinking time is time at work.

Q: If you were trying to describe your writing to someone who hasn’t read anything by you before, what would you say?

Think fairytales with murder, mayhem, and magic. Stories with a touch of the familiar and a liberal dose of unexpected twists. Victorian-style settings and women who aren’t afraid to push to get what they want.   I like to experiment with form, style, and structure, so expect to see that reflected as I grow as a writer!

Q: Is your writing plot-driven or character-driven?

Oh, both, I hope! I do tend to start with characters rather than plots or situations, though, so that probably answers the question more accurately. I really admire a book with a gorgeously built plot. But if it doesn’t have characters I love—or at least find compelling—I’m more likely to put it down than if I was reading a wonderfully character-driven novel with a slightly clumsy plot.

Q: Let’s talk about Masque. What is it about your novel that makes it particularly suitable for book clubs?

It’s pure, unadulterated fun. I know the fashion is for book clubs to read serious, important books, and that’s great too; but sometimes you just really need to talk over a fun, hilarious, enjoyable book. That’s what I’m hoping Masque will be to book clubs.

Q: In which ways was writing your debut transformative for you?

Hugely. Not in terms of self-realisation or important theme, or even in terms of the significance of the novel to the world. No, it was simply that I’d never connected with a character so completely as I did with Isabella Farrah: nor had I ever found the writing process to be so easy. It was eye-opening. Then there was the fact that I learned so much in terms of being a writer, as I wrote it.  Writing Masque taught me that I could actually finish a whole novel. I could write at least 1000 words per day. And it taught me most of all that a first novel, although achievable, is not written in a year. Masque saw round after round of edits, and an almost complete rewrite before I was satisfied with it. The whole process was probably four years or more. Now I finish the process a lot more quickly, but then it was something!

MASQUE - 2000 reduced

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Q: Where does this story fit in with the rest of your work?

I arrived at Fantasy, having made forays into Sci-Fi, Ghost Stories, and screenwriting. Masque is a standalone title, but it does also link into an existing world that I explore in both Wolfskin and Spindle: the World of the Two Monarchies. Although it was the first written of those books, in terms of time-line, Masque is actually the last book!

Q: Calvino said, ‘The hedgehog is the writer who has one unshakable conceptual and stylistic unity, whereas the fox adapts his strategy to the circumstances.’ Which type of writer are you?

Almost certainly the fox. I love to experiment with new things and I’m not averse to shifting my ground if one style is working better than another.

Q: How do you cope with the self-doubt that always seems to plague the creative process?

I don’t. I really don’t cope at all. I spend a month or two after each book is published, absolutely certain that this book is the worst one I’ve ever written, and that no one will ever want to read it. I actually have the doldrums for about two months. 

Q: As a self-published author, how do you divide your time between writing and marketing?

Badly. So, so badly.

Q: Obviously you’re a reader too. Which book/s are you an evangelist for? If they are relatively unknown, how did you discover them?

I have this thing where I have to make sure that everyone knows about Kate Stradling. She’s a fellow Indie author, and if I ever get to the place where my writing is as good as hers, I’ll die happy. She has such a clarity and simplicity of writing, such a delightful complexity of plot, and such wonderfully wacky and layered characters. She writes mostly Fantasy, and if you want to start in on her work, I suggest Kingdom of Ruses first. Of course, if you’re more of a Sci-Fi reader, start with A Boy Called Hawk. Whichever you start with, prepare to be delighted. I can’t stress enough how fabulous an author she is!

Q: Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on the last novella in my Shards of a Broken Sword Trilogy, The First Chill of Autumn. I’m also in the process of plotting and noodling through Blackfoot, the next book in the Two Monarchies Sequence after Spindle, so I’m pretty busy!

Hungry for more?

You can find out more about today’s featured author by visiting her website, on Facebook , on Twitter @WRGingell, on her Amazon Author Page, and on Goodreads. 

Remember, if you enjoyed this post please share it. If there’s anything else you’d like to ask W.R, leave a comment.  

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