Today I have some wisdom from the amazing AMY WILSON to share with you all :)
Celebrating the release of her latest (and most fantastic) new book, A Far Away Magic, she was kind enough to answer some of my questions.
Here we go...
A huge, huge welcome to my blog. First off I just want to say I LOVED your books. You totally caught my attention with A GIRL CALLED OWL and now you dazzled me with A FAR AWAY MAGIC! I’m so excited to see what you will write next :)
Oh gosh, thank you so much, it means so much to hear, especially while I’m in the sticky bit of the next thing!!
So to jump right in, your second book, A FAR AWAY MAGIC has just released. Was this one harder or easier to write than you’re first book?
It was different! I was lucky in that I’d had the first chapters for a little while, so I already had the main gist of the story and the characters in mind, and very lucky that when we sent through ideas for book two it was the one that Macmillan went for – I was desperate to write it, and sort Bavar out! I do remember getting to about 17,000 words and feeling very lost, because I hadn’t really planned the middle section. I prefer not to plan, but in the end I always, always have to, even if it’s quite a brief timeline. Once I had the plan, and I knew what obstacles needed to be overcome, it was a lot of fun to write. I loved all of the characters and they were so strong in my mind, so I just got them going in the right direction and let them take the lead.
I loved the monsters, the Raksasa. Are they based on any real myth or folklore? What was the inspiration behind them?
I got the original inspiration for the Raksasa from the night gaunts in HP Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, but when I researched them I realised they were figures from his dreams and so I felt that I needed to move on from that a little. I did some research in Breverton’s Phantasmagoria, and found the legend of the Orang-Bati of Indonesia, ‘strange human/bat monsters’ who prey on children in the island of Seram. I put those two ideas together and called them the Raksasa, which is a Malaysian word for monster, as well as being a mythological creature in Hindu mythology.
Bavar’s house is pure magic! Is the setting based on a real place? And where do you get your ideas to create such a magical world?
I think mostly through a lot of reading! I was partly inspired by the Dower House in Bristol, that overlooks the M32, but only in that it is a grand old yellow house; the actual structure and all of the inside comes from my imagination, with a lot of inspiration from old gothic houses in books like Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The book is split into dual POVs of Angel and Bavar, but did you prefer writing in one voice more than the other? And if you could have added a third perspective, whose would you have chosen?
Ooh! Well, the two voices happened quite naturally - I’d write in Bavar until he ran out of steam, and then Angel would step in, and vice versa. I didn’t think too hard as I wrote, because I was scared that if I did I would start worrying about keeping them distinct, and it would all come to a shuddering halt! If I had to choose another character to write from I think it would have been Bavar’s grandfather - the bronze statue – just because he’d have such a different take on things, and I like his blustering.
Do you have a favourite scene from the story? Or is there anything that didn't make it into the final version that you would like to share?
I loved spending time in Bavar’s house; the kitchen, with Aoife’s amazing/gruesome baking, and the corridors and huge halls upstairs where the ancestors all come to life. And I particularly enjoyed writing the cemetery and woodland scenes, Bavar was so comfortable there, it didn’t feel creepy to him because he knew it so well, and I loved that Angel saw the beauty of it, despite all of the darkness.
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? And how long drafting A Far Away Magic took?
It’s a little bit scatty! It usually starts out with a few chapters that explore a character who has come to me, and then I try to work out what that character needs and where we’re going. Plotting is the area where I tend to need a little outside help, I get a bit lost in the middle, as I said earlier! The first draft of A Far Away Magic took about three months, I think. I juggle it with looking after children and animals, so I write when I can, where I can, and try not to put too much pressure on myself.
Are there any writing resources or tips you would recommend to aspiring writers?
Do try to get to the end. It’s hard, and I think sometimes it’s even harder if we don’t quite believe we can do it. When I’m in the sticky bit I doubt it, every time, but it is possible, and once you have the whole thing drafted you can go back and work on any of those bits that didn’t feel quite right along the way.
And finally - what are you working on next? Any juicy tip-bits you can share?
I’m working on my third novel with my editor Lucy at Macmillan. It’s currently in the editing/re-drafting stage and it’s been quite a different experience for me, because this time I had the idea and the setting before I had my main character. It took me quite a while then to find her! I’ll hopefully be able to reveal more about it very soon.
Amy thank you so much for your time! I throughly enjoyed A FAR AWAY MAGIC and will be recommending it all my young students :)
Thank you for having me, it’s been such a pleasure!
GIVEAWAY - UK ONLY
As part of the blog-tour, I have 5 copies of Amy's books to giveaway!
Both are spectacular MG Fantasies! If you would like to get your hands on a pair, just leave a comment below with either an email or twitter name with which I can contact you.
Winners will be drawn on March 17th :)
Meanwhile you can out my reviews of Amy's Books below:
A Far Away Magic