Today, I’m joined by the Amazing W.R. Gingell to talk about her latest release with Amazon Scout. This is the second time I have hosted W.R. on my blog and I’m psyched to have her here for Round #2.
Check out her interview and don’t forget to take a peek at her links at the end of the post!
To start us off, what gave you the idea for Clovis’s Dreams?
Ah, that. I didn’t get the idea straight away; I just knew that I needed a character who was able to see a lot, and understand a lot. She had to be able to make the world dance around her in the rhythm she made. At the same time, she needed to be reasonably set apart from the world. I knew that she couldn’t walk before I knew that she Dreamed, and when it came to me that the reason she couldn’t walk was because she Dreamed, and her soul was always so far from her body, it was a delightful surprise.
People ask me about my plotting, but honestly, you blokes—half the time it’s as much a surprise to me as it is to you.
Haha…pantsing seems to have worked for you so far. Is there something in particular that drew you to write a Korean story? You’re studying Korean, aren’t you?
Yes! The Korean language study definitely played into my desire to write a Korean-based fantasy: I love the language, and I wanted to use what I’d learned. At the same time, I’d been watching a lot of K-Drama (one of the easiest ways to learn words and pronunciation is to watch a lot of tv in that language), and I was mesmerised by their method of storytelling. It is completely different to western storytelling.
There are tropes, good and oh-so-bad, that I wanted to have fun with. Watchers of K-Drama should be able to make a game of picking them out, because I really went to town with them. There are multiple threads throughout, because one of the things I love so much about K-Drama is the multiple thread approach. (That nearly came back to bite me, though, since toward the end it was hard to keep them all in hand.)
And then there was that character I fell in love with, who wasn’t given a happy ending, and so I decided I would write one for him…
I did pick up the K-Drama influence! (And loved it.) Are there any qualities/faults you have that you recognize in any of the characters?
There are always faults of mine in the characters I write. Whether they are MCs or side characters, there’s always a good chance that any bad thing in them is something I’ve seen in myself.
I’m not gonna be too specific, though; I prefer to be a sympathetic character, and I’m nothing like cool enough to be an anti-hero…
It’s okay to be a nice person, you know that, right? 😉 Most of your work is self-published, but Lady of Dreams was released with Kindle Scout. How has that been different?
SO different! It’s been really hard to be so far separated from the book in terms of what I can and can’t do promo-wise. My last book that I released by myself, Blackfoot, did much better in terms of preorders and sticky rank at a reasonable place. However, Blackfoot is the 2nd book in a series (and the 3rd or 4th in that world), so not all the factors are equal. And Lady of Dreams has only just had its first published week, so it’s too soon to say how well it’ll go.
There’s also not much need to worry about it, so if there’s distance, there’s also less worry. I mean, there’s nothing I can do for it: Amazon’s taking care of that baby now. Well, I can probably try to use BookBubs perclick ads, but that’s about the extent of it. So the bad is also the good, in one sense.
“Different” can be like that. How soon can readers expect that next book in the series?
I’m hoping to have finished and published the 2nd book by the end of this year. First I have to finish the scifi I’m working on (the 2nd Time-Traveller’s Best Friend book) and the 3rd book in the Two Monarchies Sequence, The Staff and the Crown. But Lady of Weeds is due right after that, and if I keep writing at my usual, sustainable pace, all three will be done and published by the end of the year.
That’s the plan…
Plans are fickle things, yes? Especially for authors, haha. Are there any “behind the scenes” tidbits or facts you can tell us about the creation of Lady of Dreams?
I had a very specific playlist while I was writing this book. Well, actually, I had two.
One was The Monkees. They’re my favourite band, and their whimsical, dreamy feel was just perfect to write to. I had originally titled Lady of Dreams as Bright as the Eyes of You, a title which I absolutely loved, and came from one of my favourite Monkees songs, Of You. In fact, every single chapter in Lady of Dreams was titled by an excerpt from a Monkees song that fit perfectly with the tone of the chapter and the book as a whole.
Was. In the past tense.
And then I learned that you have to seek permission to use even a four word excerpt from a song…
Let’s just say it was a nightmare—more importantly, it was a nightmare which I couldn’t afford. I would have had to pay upward of $20k to use the lyrics I wanted to use. Ain’t nobody can afford that.
The second playlist was much less problematic. It was Jung Yong-hwa’s first solo album (yes, you’re right; this is where I stole Yong-hwa’s name from). It had the same dreamy, whimsical feel as the Monkees, and had the benefit of being Korean music with Korean words. I listened to that album over and over as I wrote, and I ended up writing half the dedication of Lady of Dreams as thanks to Jung Yong-hwa. I mean, he’s probably never going to see it, but it made me happy.
And speaking of names…When you’re first learning Korean, it’s really hard to tell what are male names, and what are female ones. I had a lot of trouble that way at first. So when I went to pick names for Lady of Dreams, I picked them the same way I picked Yong-hwa’s name: I stole them. I stole them from my favourite actors and actresses, from favourite characters, and from Korean name registries.
You can just call me the Name Thief.
$20k? GOOD LORD. What would you say to readers, like me, who loved your other work, but are hesitant to read something so different?
“Come with me and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination–” wait, no, that’s Willy Wonka. Seriously, though, the thing about my work is that no matter what genre I write in, you’ll always find the kinds of characters, plots, and values that I typically write. I always try to write fully fleshed characters and interesting dynamics, mad plotlines and weird situations, in whatever I write. I write fantasy, scifi (and now a bit of urban fantasy, shhh!) and the kind of fantasy romance you’ll find in Lady of Dreams.
So if you’re the kind of reader who loves characterisation, well, that’s what I like to do. Come with me! You’ll find that my fantasy is not that much different from my fantasy romance. Although the settings are different, my scifi isn’t all that different from my fantasy, either. And when I’ve finished writing the urban fantasy, it will still have the same multi-layered characters and plots (I hope).
So there’s nothing to lose…
About the Author
W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She loves to rewrite fairytales with a twist or two–and a murder or three–and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.
W.R. 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.
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Read my review of Lady of Dreams | Twelve Days of Faery | Fire in the Blood | First Chill of Autumn
Read W.R.’s guest post on her Shards of a Broken Sword series