How did you get started in writing?
Hmmm…never an easy one. I think I’ve always subconsciously been a writer. I always had an over active imagination and spent a large chunk of my waking life in a fantasy world or daydreaming. Admittedly that may have been due to boredom and a desire to have things the way I wanted them.
At school I was pretty poor in English. I could write good poems (good-ish) but was abysmal at literature and couldn’t have cared less about analysing the language in adverts which seemed to make up most of my A-level. I got a C.
When I was 16 I had an awful crush (obsession) with a guy I met on a school trip. I went to an all girl’s school and he went to the boy’s one across the road. For my Classical Civilisations A-level, we had a trip to Greece to see all the sites we had studied. The boy’s school joined us for their Ancient History class. The boy I wanted got with someone I vaguely knew from my class and I was distraught. When we got back, I was constantly seeing them together and I had an awful crush on him for about 4 years, even after leaving school.
One day I was so down about the whole thing, having seen him again, that I wrote a diary from the school trip. I then scrapped it and wrote it from his perspective, as if he had been in love with me the whole time. I kept writing and 91000 words later, I had gotten it out of my system. It was complete fluff, and will never see the light of day as it is just angst! But reading back on it, there were parts that I thought were ok. That book was saved onto floppies and stuffed in the loft, forgotten about until recently.
I decided to become a teacher, teaching…English….I then realised teaching doesn’t actually involve spending time with kids anymore and is just paper work so gave up after a year. I also couldn’t afford it.
Retail called and swallowed me up for entirely too long.
One day I was sat at work, praying for time to go quicker when I started daydreaming that the place was shut down by soldiers and so my zombie novel was born. And it went from there.
What’s going to happen to XXXX?
Ah, I can’t tell you that. Where would be the fun? Just as a magician never reveals their secrets, I don’t like to ruin books by posting any more info than is in the blurb. As for the future of a particular character, I’ll have to let them tell me that when they’re ready. And yes, that sounds slightly schizophrenic. I find being a writer is like having a lot of children, each vying for your attention. Some will have good days, some bad. Some will fill you with inspiration and others will be quiet for months before something random will set off a thousand ideas for them.
I want to be a writer….
Stop right there! There is no ‘wanting’ to be a writer. Be a writer! Write every chance you get, even if it’s on scraps of paper that you never use. KEEP EVERYTHING! It will be useful to see how you have progressed and may be useful in future. I regret everything I ever threw away, even stuff from when I was writing teen angst rants. It can all have its uses. When you are not writing, read. Read everything you can get your greedy little hands on. As for what to do with that novel you’ve just finished (your baby!) get a copy of Writers and Artists Yearbook and start sending it out. Obviously ensure it’s spellchecked and grammatically sound. Also see if you can find someone who can check it over for you so that it makes sense, then send it to every agent relevant to your genre. Most importantly….DON’T GIVE UP. EVER. You might think you suck. You might be getting told that you suck. But you don’t. Even if you eventually just put your work on your own website, do it and keep doing it.
I have a drawer OVERFLOWING with rejections and yes, it hurts, each one. You get to the point where you don’t even bother opening the responses and you can just tell it will be a rejection, but you only need one acceptance! Never ever, ever give up. Ever. Even when you’re 100 and can’t physically write anymore, get a Dictaphone. Walk the road of a dreamer. Work hard and stick at it. Anything is possible.
Ouch. Before all ‘this’ I adored fanfics. But! I find it a waste of talent. If you can write that well, write your own stuff and submit it to agents! There are also the legal problems involved. I personally would say read something new, read everything you can! Not the same characters from someone else’s perspective!
I am but a humble writer, not a movie exec. If movies or tv are ever made from any of my work, it is very, very unlikely that I will have any say in casting. I have no experience in casting so would leave it to the professionals. I can not get you a role or work on any projects unfortunately.
Can you read my work and give me your advice….
I’m afraid not. It’s just not possible for so many reasons, the main ones being your intellectual property. The other being a huge lack of time on my part. Find yourself a beta on a writing website and swap stories, that’s the best way to go.
Can I interview you/ask a questions?
Yes! I LOVE doing interviews! Feel free to contact me here or on facebook for such things! But please, new questions!
Ideal Cast for your books if they were made into movies?
Oh my! Daniel Isaac for Jack in my Zombie book, though he’s too old now. Jackson Rathbone would be my Lucifer or Barachiel. I think he would do wonderfully as either. As for the rest…..I’m sure we could find a part for Jared Leto or Johnny Depp…. ;p
Do you plan your books chapter by chapter?
No. I once planned out a book and I hated every second of writing it, and that was evident from reading it. It took away any excitement and creativity I felt for it. I’d read so many articles about authors planning and thought it was obviously what people were supposed to do. To put it nicely, it sucked! Write how you WANT to write, or the work will suffer. I tend to write whatever scenes come into my head and then stitch it together at the end like a patchwork quilt.
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Um…..not many at the moment unfortunately. Due to trying to promote ‘Of Darkness and Light’ I’ve spent about 90% of my time making bookmarks, doing giveaways, advertising…. I do still write, but not great volumes of text like I want to. Hopefully it’ll settle down again soon and I’ll get back into it.
Who is your favourite character to write?
I have lots depending on what mood I’m in. Sometimes the characters will just ‘talk to you’ and it will be very easy. I find Barachiel and Lucifer come very naturally and easily. Lucifer especially, though sometimes I have to rein him in a bit. 🙂
Who are your favourite authors?
I don’t really have favourite authors as I tend to read so many that I don’t dedicate myself to one author and read everything they write. Some of my favourite books are; The Walking Dead graphic novels, The Hunger Games, Empress Orchid, How to be a woman, Battle Royale, Geisha of Gion and I’m currently reading the first book of Game of Thrones.
I’ve written a book. How do I get it published?
Ensure that the book is completely fixed as far as grammar, punctuation and spelling are concerned. Also ensure that all copy editing is done (i.e the layout of the page) you can find people to do this for you if you struggle. Once that is done, you can either go it alone via self publishing, or get an agent. Most publishing houses will not even look at a manuscript that is sent it by an individual. They have to receive it as a referral from an Agent. Get a copy of ‘Writers and Artists Yearbook’ (UK) (your local library may have a copy) or the equivalent in the country you’re in. Find agents that work with your type of novel (I.e YA etc) and follow their guidelines to apply to them. Expect to be waiting about 3 months to hear back from them, but don’t be surprised if it takes 6 months or longer. Apply to several (or all) at once to ensure you’re not wasting your time waiting forever.
If you choose to go the ‘Self Publishing’ route, you have two choices; e-book (which is usually free if you do it yourself via Amazon etc) or a self publisher that works with novels. Self publishers will charge you! Be aware of this. They will pretty much print ANYTHING if you have the money, so if you’ve been rejected by agents and publishers, this is an option. You could be looking at about £1000 to get it all ready for print and some copies. I’m not an expert on self publishing, so look up their websites in your country and see what you think.
Is there going to be a follow up to ‘Of Darkness an Light’?
Yes. I’ve posted the first chapter on this blog. It’s called; ‘Of Blood and Feathers.’ It just needs a HUGE amount of work. The series is a trilogy. The second book was finished about a year ago, but due to the changes made in the first, I have some serious rewrites to do. I’ve been so busy promoting the first book, it may be a while before it sees the light of day as it is going to take a while.
What else are you working on?
Way too much! I struggle to stay on one book at a time and will write manically for about a week or two on one, then think of a great idea for one of the others and start again on that. I am really annoying myself with it! I need to focus and get to work on the follow up to ‘Of Darkness and Light’ It’s just so easy to be distracted. I’ve posted my unfinished (it has an ending but needs a LOT of work) Zombie novel; ‘Love on the run (from Zombies) on Wattpad, so go take look. Also a new YA Paranormal Romance is currently being critiqued, so we’ll see what happens there x
Copyright Lily Crussell 2012 ©