Category: Author Interviews

Author Interview – J. Emery

I’m very excited to have my friend J. Emery for an author interview this week!

J. Emery has published two stories this year, a short story called An Offering of Plums and a novella, Help Wanted, which I reviewed here. I highly recommend both stories!

And now, to the questions!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was one of my dreams even when I was little. I’m not sure how I found out that writing was a job that anyone could do but I was determined to be a writer. Of course when I was little I also thought I would be a teacher, painter, and florist at the same time as writing.

I just really love telling stories. I used to make up elaborate soap operas with my sister when we were home from school for summer break. Some of that love of melodrama is still with me too.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

I usually start with a character type that I want to work with and build from there but the plots and aesthetics come from all over the place. I draw a lot from video games and anime. The worldbuilding and mechanics there can be really unique. They’re a part of the story as much as the action. I’m really visual (former painter and all) though so I’ve also had stories come to me just from the way the highway looks in a snow storm.

Help Wanted was more a combination of interesting setting (the magic shop) and the turmoil of early college life and wanting to explore all that upheaval. But with some comfortable magic. Not everyone gets (or wants) to save the whole world. Trying desperately to pass a difficult class is probably a little more relatable.

Where did you get your inspiration for the world of Help Wanted/Ashveil Academy?

I’d joked for a while that I wanted to write a college story. I really like the possibilities of New Adult and all the ways I can work ace narratives and stories with lower/no romance into that age range. There are so many changes happening in a short span of years and a lot of concerns that I can’t really use with older characters. That’s the technical side of things.

On the other side: I really just wanted to write about a character like Em with a quieter personality and a very personal set of conflicts who is getting her first chance at exploring who she is.

Where did you get the inspiration for the main character Em? Did you draw on any of your own experiences when writing this story?

A lot of her questions are questions I also had at that age so this was a chance to explore them a little more openly and say, “Here’s how I felt. Maybe you feel that way too.” And I wanted to allow room for the answer to some of her questions to be “I don’t know.”

I know a lot of people (myself included) who have a hard time pinning down their identity because things shift and there’s no one ruler to measure yourself against when everything is internal. So I feel really strongly about leaving that room to question and accept that feelings and identities can change or shift and we don’t always have to have concrete answers to be considered valid.

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

It will surprise exactly no one who knows me that my favorite character type to write is the sneaky asshole, which is weird considering there really aren’t any of those in Help Wanted. Phineas is maybe a little bit of an asshole to start and there’s a hint of animosity between him and Em at first, but he gets over it pretty quickly.

They’re my favorite though because usually the asshole characters are the ones that do the things everyone wishes they could do. They make messes and they cause drama and I really like to see how all of that pans out in a story. It’s a really fine balance between being a likable asshole and an unlikable one and I like figuring out where the line is. They’re also usually cleverer than I am. Writing is more fun for me when I get to be surprised by my own characters. I never know what they’ll do until they do it.

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

I think my obvious answer is that Diana Wynne Jones inspired me the most because when I was a new writer I felt like all fantasy had to be either Lord of the Rings-type high fantasy with quests and bearded wizards or else it had to be gritty dark urban fantasy and neither of those really appealed to me. So Diana Wynne Jones appealed to me as a kind of cozy weird alternative. That’s also where I got a lot of my love of dry situational humor and sarcastic banter. I reread Charmed Life so many times when I was younger. It’s at least 50% domestic drama. That really stuck with me.

What surprised you most when writing this story?

How attached I got to all of the characters so quickly. I was worried that with the story being so short I wouldn’t get to love them like I do my novel characters. I was wrong. They’re all my children now. I also plan to write at least four more books with them all when I get the chance.

Do you have any favorite tropes?

I am always here for enemies to lovers and people in disguise. If they’re combined in one story, even better. Basically anything that can provide excellent snarky banter is okay with me.

What draws you to specific genres?

I naturally gravitate to fantasy. The world-building is fun to me and the potential for all kinds of unusual stories. Anything I can imagine, I can do. Plus, if I want to write queer characters of any gender in a fake marriage it’s fair game. All I have to do is write a world where that’s an option. Asexual thieves in magical flying cities? Done. I read a little bit of everything but when I write it’s almost always fantasy.

What is your writing process like?

My process varies a lot depending on the story. I don’t outline or do much pre-planning though so my first draft of anything is usually really spotty and full of holes. I’m also a very, very slow writer. I have a couple books I’ve been working on for over two years and I’m still on their first draft. Writing for me is kind of like fumbling around in the dark until I trip over everything I’m looking for. Sometimes twice.

That’s part of why I like novellas. The shorter length means less fumbling around.

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

Probably tacos. My grandparents used to grill arrachera for tacos when we would visit. When I need comfort that’s what I go for. I never had much contact with the Mexican side of my family since they lived further away so food was the one thing we had to bond over. I still think of my grandfather every time I see those enormous jars of pickled jalapenos.

I don’t usually snack when I’m writing but I make myself a cup of tea before I sit down at night to work. If I’m really hungry I might eat a handful of tortilla chips or sour gummi worms. The sour ones are the best.

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I just finished The Cruel Prince by Holly Black not too long ago and I’m honestly still thinking about it. Jude made that book for me. Otherwise I’m about to dip into my backlog of queer romances. It’s just hard to pick one when they all sound so good.

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

Ooooh, that’s tough. I would probably just go to Portland because that’s where my sister lives and I haven’t seen her in about a year. But if I could bring someone with me I might have to make a couple stops along the way, hit a bunch of art museums and things. Not in a thief kind of way, just to go look at stuff.

 

Thanks again for the interview!

About the Author:

J. Emery has been slowly writing their way through every fantasy trope since they were little (some of them more than once). Maybe someday they’ll have covered them all. And also made them much more queer.

In their free time, they can be found gaming and documenting the whole thing on their twitter at @mixeduppainter. Their ridiculous levels of terror over horror games are near legendary.

Check out J. Emery’s books on Goodreads!

Author Interview – Lore Graham

I’m pleased to bring you an interview this week from Lore Graham! Lore’s newest book, Under the Midnight Sun, will be out on August 14th! Check out my review of it here!

underthemidnightsun400

And now, the questions!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

The realization that I want to be a writer has crystallized slowly over the years. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a kid, but more recently I’ve realized that it’s closer to a compulsion. I just don’t feel satisfied with my life if I’m not writing.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere! Inspiration is all around me – movies, music, books, nonfiction articles, things that have happened to me. Figuring out how to channel my inspiration is the hard part.

Where did you get your inspiration for the world of Under the Midnight Sun?

The world of Under the Midnight Sun is heavily inspired by medieval Scandinavia and the Vikings, as well as sword & sorcery fantasy. I picked the elements I wanted to keep (such as a warrior-centric culture and the presence of midnight sun in the summer) and the ones I wanted to change (land-locked instead of sea-faring, different relationship norms), then elaborated from there.

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

I have a particular fondness for writing anxious characters because I’ve struggled a lot with anxiety and worry throughout my life. That said, I don’t center all of my stories around anxious characters, because I like to play with lots of different character types.

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

My best friend and editor, Jack, provides me with ongoing inspiration and encouragement. Under the Midnight Sun wouldn’t exist without him!

What surprised you most when writing this story?

I was pleasantly surprised by how much some of my secondary characters grew. I tend to start writing drafts with only a vague idea of the secondary characters, so I love seeing how they come alive while I write.

Do you have any favorite tropes?

I really enjoy rivals-to-lovers and enemies-to-lovers tropes. I like seeing two characters who come in with a conflict and get on each others’ nerves faced with a mutual obstacle, and seeing that relationship progress as they develop mutual respect, understanding, and trust.

What draws you to the romance and fantasy genres?

I’m drawn to romance because I appreciate the guarantee of a happy ending, which is important for me when I’m reading stories about queer folks. I’ve always loved fantasy because I enjoy magic, monsters, and fantastical worlds.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process varies somewhat project by project, as I tweak it every time. I usually plan my stories extensively, and once I get writing I try to keep a consistent pace so that I can make it all the way to the end without losing steam.

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

I have too many favorite foods to pick one! Writing fuel is easy though; baby carrots are perfect for mindless snacking while I’m working.

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I’m almost finished with Alonso Munich is Now Dead by S. Gates which I’ve quite enjoyed! It’s a bit of a thriller as well an urban fantasy romance, as Alonso tries to figure out why he’s a vampire and how he’s lost five years of his memory.

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

Iceland! I’ve never been. I want to visit at least once in my life to see the Aurora Borealis.

 

Thanks so much for the interview, Lore!

About Lore:

Lore Graham is a queer writer who lives in Massachusetts. Ze primarily writes sci fi and fantasy romance, but dabbles in poetry and nonfiction as well.

Lore is passionate about spectacular worlds and queer characters. Ze is transgender and agender; zir pronouns are ze/zir/zir or they/them/their. Outside of writing, ze enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with zir cat.

Check out Lore on social media!

Goodreads

Twitter

Lore’s Website

Author Interview – Kay Berrisford

Today I’m bringing you Fiction Cove’s first ever author interview! I’m super excited for that to be with the wonderful Kay Berrisford!

Kay is the author of the Landlocked Heart series, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, and Bound for the Forest.

I first found Kay’s work browsing pre-order titles on the Less Than Three website while waiting for my pre-order listing for my own book to go up. Kay’s book The Lonely Merman caught my eye because of the title. I’m a huge lover of mermen so my curiosity was piqued immediately. After reading it, I connected with Kay on Twitter, and now we talk and support each other in our writing. I’m very honored to call Kay a friend!

Now let’s get to the questions!

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t really think of myself as a writer! Whenever I try to believe I am, a voice in my head shouts loudly, “Who are you trying to kid?” On the other hand, I’ve always made up stories, and sometimes I write them down. There’s never been a time when I didn’t make up stories, so I don’t think there was ever a moment I decided I wanted to. It’s just an essential part of what I am.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere, but mainly from other books and from history.  I have studied history extensively, I work in a museum, and so I get bombarded with great ideas all the time. I once attended a talk by Terry Pratchett, and he said he got most of his ideas from history and non-fiction books (like me) but that, interestingly, he didn’t read much other fiction at all (quite unlike me!)

I am also often inspired by travel: new and beautiful places can inspire new ideas, settings, and characters. Much of Dragon Rider, the third Landlocked Heart book, was dreamed up on the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales (although I set it in Cornwall!)

 

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

I like writing angsty, tortured characters the best.  Although I started writing the Landlocked Heart series from Ben’s (the human’s) point of view, I enjoyed writing from Lyle’s (the merman’s) point of view the most, because frankly, he was the more tortured and whumped of the pair.

 

Do you have any favorite tropes?

Oh, plenty! I’m a particular fan of “enemies to lovers” stories, which are always fun to write as well as read.

 

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

Megan Derr, Megan Derr, Megan Derr. I love everything she writes, especially her fantasy stories, but pretty much anything.  Her characters are always incredibly strong and her world-building just stuns me. Reading her books makes me want to write, to up my game, and try and create something that’s even a faint shadow of her awesomeness. She’s also been incredibly supportive of my writing. Along with Sam and Sasha at LT3 Press, Megan’s the reason I’m publishing again.

 

What draws you to the romance and urban fantasy genres?

I love reading them! With urban fantasy, I love taking the world around me that I know and adding that little ingredient of magic that transports us somewhere really special. It’s probably my favourite genre to write, although I also like writing historical fantasy. That’s a lot more hard work—all that bloody research!

 

What is your writing process like?

When I write, I’m mega disciplined. On a writing day, I sit down and aim for at least 3000 words, and usually I hit my target. I use my time at work—in between my days off to write—in daydreaming, brainstorming, and planning. Although, to be fair, apart from a couple of abortive weeks last October, I’ve only written for ten months in the past four years and not since last July. I’m kind of “all or nothing at all.”

I spend more time editing than writing, too. I actually enjoy the process of editing my own work more than the initial drafting.

 

Did you draw on any specific mythologies when creating your characters and world? What were they, and what made you want to play with those elements?

I’ve always drawn a lot on English folklore (the Green Man, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter), which is most evident in my Bound for the Forest series.  I grew up surrounded by these stories, so it seemed a natural place for me to play.

For the Landlocked Heart series, I drew on fairy mythology, which I love, although I kind of made up my own merfolk mythology. Landlocked Heart is actually set in the same universe as my previous historical fantasy book, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, just two centuries later. Lyle (Landlocked Heart) is from a different tribe and species as Raef (The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate) but they are from the same origins. One of the characters explains all the history behind this in Dragon Rider (the third Landlocked Heart book) but I cut it in edits, because it slowed pace.

In the final Landlocked Heart book, The Isle of Eternal Happiness, I drew a little on the mythology of lost islands, like Atlantis, which was fun.

 

What surprised you most when writing the Landlocked Heart series?

That I loved writing it so much! I hadn’t written in nearly three years when I sat down to write The Lonely Merman, and I’d often thought I’d never write again. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. Lyle and Ben have been among my very favourite characters to write ever.

 

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

I usually write in in the morning, so sorry to be mega dull, but my fuel is coffee, breakfast cereal (Weetabix) and then peppermint tea! At lunch, I sometimes treat myself with pancakes piled with banana and ice-cream, though.

 

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I’ve just started Dragon Magic by Megan Derr, which I’m loving. I was lucky lately to get a sneak preview of the second book in the Masks series by Amara Lynn, and that was pretty awesome too.

 

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

I love Italy, so maybe a sun-kissed villa in Tuscany, with a month’s supply of yummy food, a swimming pool, (heated for April!) and endless days to daydream and write.

 

Thanks for the interview, Kay!

Kay’s final book in the Landlocked Heart series just released on March 14th, and Bound for the Forest was just re-released with LT3 on April 4th. Now is a great time to check out Kay’s stuff, since everything on LT3’s site is 29% off for their anniversary sale! Links to Kay’s work will be at the bottom of this post!

 

About Kay:

I am, and always will be, the nerdy book-loving girl in the corner. I’ll never be one of the cool, popular kids, even among fellow readers, writers, and book lovers… and I’m okay with that. I’ve been making up romance stories with m/m protagonists since the days before the internet, before I’d any idea what sex was, and when I believed I was the only little girl whose imagination worked like that. How am I supposed to stop now?

I try to squeeze in writing between a 6-day-a-week job in Customer Services. Yayz!?! My romance tales contain an unholy concoction of fun and fantasy (dragons, fairies, elves, and mermen, anyone?) alongside a strong dose of angst and hurt/comfort.

I am a bit of a social media recluse (sorry!) but I love to connect with readers. You can email me at kayberrisford @ yahoo.co.uk and I lurk on twitter a little – @kayberrisford

 

Links to Kay’s work:

Amazon 

Less Than Three Press 

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