Got a question? It may be answered here. If not, hop over to the contact page and shoot me a line!
This page is broken down into two ‘sections’, one for me, and one for my world, so if your question is about Hevna, scroll on down!
When/How did you decide to become an author?
I didn’t… at least, not yet. I call myself a ‘writer’ because writing is what I do, but I’m reserving ‘author’ for the day I finally have something in print for lovely people to pick up. It’s going to be a bit of a road to get there, but I’m enjoying the journey.
Now, if you want to know when/how did I decide to become a writer, that’s easier to answer.
I’ve been writing for a large chunk of my life, alongside copious reading. It never occurred to me to stop, even after I left the school system, and that may in part have come from going into industries that required me to write things down, and think up new ideas.
True, it’s a huge jump from imagining fun activities for three-year-olds with learning outcomes to fantasy epics… but I’ve been lost in my own little world most of my life, so that part wasn’t too difficult when the time came.
Ultimately, that’s what it all came down to – when. After emigrating to the USA and moving down to Florida, I found myself with the time to focus on a project of my own choosing, and the incentive to give it a try. A dash of emotional trauma may have been the final kick I needed to really get started, but more than anything I needed the time to just think, and create, and to decide this is what I wanted to do. Instead of just telling stories verbally, or through Dungeons and Dragons/White Wolf settings, I wanted to write down something that came from the heart of myself, that might one day entertain others… and would let me explore my own feelings about the world.
Finally, add a dash of determination, and you have a writer. I haven’t regretted it yet.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere. I know, I know… that sounds pithy and canned, but it is true. I’m hardly the first writer to talk about the importance of taking in everything you see and hear for use in your work, whether it be for character ideas or some nuanced piece of information, but it’s said so often because it’s true.
I listen and see everything around me as best as I can, and write down any stray thought that comes to me for plots or the like, in case they turn out to be useful.
But more so still, I choose to consume things specifically for writing. I’m a massive documentary nut, I adore science and I’m always learning. I tend to focus on the natural world, but you would not believe how many interesting stories you can concoct, just from watching how nature affects people.
The Meaning of Power, a trilogy, came from my fascination with volcano documentaries. The volcano in it, Mount Akal, barely features in the entire run of all three books, it just looms in the background, but it is to all intents and purposes the reason the books were ever conceived. Every little thing, from the color of Sarus’ scales to Anka’s favorite flower came from real-life volcano documentaries.
Of course, a simple answer might be just to say that my inspiration comes from writing down what I would want to pick up. I write what I like, and try to keep a positive tone to my writing voice as a counter to a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad.
I live miles away from my dear mother and the rest of my family, so writing lets me connect with them, and lets me build a home where people I care about all live together, inside my head. Not very hard to be inspired by those circumstances!
Do you have critique partners?
Sort of. I am blessed to have both come from, and married into, reading families. Books are a central theme to many of my nearest and dearest and my writing goes out as I write it to my core group of 4-5, plus two or three friends.
But those aren’t crit partners. I think of my core readership as my cheerleaders, and the people I most want to entertain and their job is to make me want to keep going, and occasionally demand I stop messing about and write the next bit already.
When it comes to critiquing, I currently have a very positive thing going on with a critiquing website. Connecting with other writers to point out the nitty gritty I’ve missed, as well as give my style and prose a good looking over, has been hugely beneficial in helping me polish my craft.
While I have no beta readers dedicatedly selected as yet, I also haven’t gone looking for one until I have a manuscript in correct form to do such. I’m looking forward to getting that far this year!
Do you write in UK English, or US English?
Yes. I write in a horrific mix of both, consistently, and drive my poor computer up the wall. After years of being told how to write with lots of vowels in my words and even attending a special class at one point in my life because ‘hope’ can easily (and accidentally) become ‘hopping’ if you aren’t careful… I have given up and just write, regardless of what comes out.
It is then up to my poor beleaguered spellcheck to help me turn it all into US English, for convenience. I use the mighty Scrivener for my drafting (check it out on the links page), and it lets me flick my Frankenstein scrawlings between whichever spelling convention I want to use, thus saving me a lot of grief.
For grammar aid, I use Grammarly, and thus hopefully manage to avoid a lot of cultural pitfalls I’d hit otherwise 🙂
Why is it called Hevna?
When I’m all grown up and fancy, and maybe finally have a work in print, I have no doubt someone will make the correlation that all the letters of ‘Heaven’ are also found in ‘Hevna’, and I shall nod sagely as if that was intentional, because disappearing off to Hevna of a day really is heavenly to me.
But I admit I wasn’t that clever. It’s called Hevna because I made the word up and it sounded right. I don’t know how or why, but when I had finished my first sketch of the globe that would be my canvas, and added in the Storms so I could track them, I just knew it was called ‘Hevna’, and that was that.
What actually IS aether?
If you mean scientifically, I’m afraid you will have to stay in the dark as much as the people of Hevna themselves.
I knew I wanted to have ‘magic’ in my setting, to handle things reality cannot, but I also knew from square one that my ‘magic’ would be very law-abiding, in its own way… while also going somewhat unexplained. This is why I do not call it ‘magic’ in setting, and why the characters of my world do speak of ‘magic’ like we do – something fantastical without limit or rules. ‘Probably not real’.
Aether of course is. Aether is my magic, but it is better named ‘raw potential’. It is both here, and not here, like Shroedinger’s Cat left silver knitting wool all over the place, and it loves copper.
It is linked to the Lodestones, to the Great Storms and the Stars… but if even the great minds of Wessenland’s Collegiates have yet to truly quantify and explain it, who are we to speculate on its exact nature and origin? 😉
Are the Gods real?
How do you define real? Certainly, for the believers of both Lodaism and the Lights, and the other smaller religions all in between, they would be quite adamant their gods are indeed real, at least as real as those of our world.
Do they influence events in Hevna though? Is there a palpable divine intervention? Well, I suppose that all depends on your point of view. Perhaps Anka was always predestined to her fate, or perhaps it was Leona’s protective deities that made her lose her temper on that critical night… or perhaps they simply chose with their own minds.
After all, Gods are better disposed to helping those who also help themselves, right?
What exactly are the Nagu?
Good question, and perhaps we’ll just go for the straight answer this time. True, the people of Hevna have yet to discover it, but Nagu are simply Magus Humans – that is, various strains of the human form altered to make the best use of both local resources and of aether itself.
Nagu have a different enough genetic build to qualify as a series of individual species, however, like Men, they all share a common ancestor somewhere in humanity’s past.