Good morning world, from a sunny morning in the U.K. I’m back after a few days hiatus with another author interview for you all. It has been a struggle to work on my own projects lately mainly through a bad relapse of chronic fatigue, but the good news is I’ve had a slew of authors offering to be interviewed. Already I’ve had four interviews conducted with around forty people asking me, so this is going to be a great thing for the author market and the future of the blog! For all those who have expressed their interest, I thank you greatly, and will get to all of you as time goes on.
Today’s interview is with a good friend of mine Angie Grigaliunas, whose dystopian fantasy novel Sowing releases worldwide today. I hope you guys enjoy!
1. First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hi! I’m 28, married, love cats (and most animals)… Erm…yeah… I’m really short/small, kind of dorky and klutzy, I’m scared of bees and heights, not scared of snakes or spiders (if they’re outside)… I’ve never been farther west than Missouri. No, wait, Texas. Unless where I was in Texas wasn’t as far west as where I was in Missouri. Now I have to find out. Hang on. *finds a map* Okay, the place is Texas is slighter farther west. Mystery solved.
Did I mention I’m slightly crazy? Ha! I should have…
Also: ice cream. I need it. Cookie dough. If you want to be my friend, give me ice cream. I may or may not be easily bought.
Also also: sarcasm. I don’t know if I can speak without using it. I mean, for an extended period of time. Unless I’m not speaking. Though, I’d probably still be thinking in sarcasm… (And we wonder why my characters are sarcastic. Just kidding. No one who knows me has ever wondered that… Ha!)
I write fantasy/dystopian. More dystopian than fantasy, though there are different races and such. It’s also medieval. Beyond that, I have a more fantastical story (with magic and dragons!) as well as an Ancient Rome-thingy in the works. I pretty much just write what I’d like to read, so…
2. How do you develop your plots and characters?
Oh, gosh. They kind of develop themselves. The plot often grows out of “what if?” questions, but the characters have minds of their own. I have almost entirely given up on trying to make them be what I want them to be. Every time I say, “This person is going to be _____, _____, and ____,” they decide to rebel and be the opposite. -_- How dare they. This is what I get for writing a dystopian story about rebellion…
3. Tell us about your current project.
Sowing is the first of a planned series (eight books!); it follows two sisters as they try to navigate and find their places in their oppressed, war-torn world. Here’s the blurb:
People are dead, slaughtered like animals in the night.
The reigning power, the Hulcondans, blame rebels. Rabreah, a rebel, knows it’s a lie. Her younger sister, Ariliah, doesn’t; like the majority of the townspeople, she believes those in authority, swallowing their words with complete trust. Besides, she’s too busy fighting her own silent war at home. While Rabreah dedicates herself to truth and freedom, Ariliah is just trying to survive their mother’s abuse.
But as unknown forces threaten to rip their world apart, the line between friend and enemy blurs. All is not as it seems.
In fact, nothing may be.
4. Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
I feel like I have four: Ariliah, Rabreah, Sorek, and Masrekah. 😛
Ari is sweet, naïve, and compassionate, but she has dealt with a lot of struggle and pain over her life. She’s perceptive and can read people rather well, and she tends to enjoy spending time alone or with animals. Definitely a reserved, quiet girl.
Rab is fiery and passionate, a rebel at heart, and her sister’s protector. She’s strong and opinionated, stubborn (sooo stubborn), and tends to act before she thinks. But at the same time, she has a deep love for people and would do anything for the ones she cares about.
Sorek is the rebel leader, manipulative, and super snarky. The man loves his secrets and plays everything very close to the chest, yet if you can catch a glimpse of the fire inside him, you see someone completely different. He’s far more compassionate and damaged than he lets on.
Mas is a Hulcondan and the second in command in the city. He’s vengeful, ruthless, and cold, but certain people bring out another side to him. He may or may not be far more complicated than he appears. I can’t say much about him. He’s really fun to write. He argues with me a lot. Or, rather, he demands his way. And he usually gets it. Grr, characters.
5. What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Read a lot and get into a good, solid critique group. Be willing to learn and listen to others. Look for inspiration everywhere. It’s there.
6. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world building within your book?
I started off the story imagining what a world might be like if a group like the KKK ruled everything (except against a creature-race called itzalin), and as I wrote, it became less KKK and more Nazi-like. So I pull a lot of inspiration from there.
7) What inspires you to write?
The annoying characters in my head. 😛 No, I just have to create. I don’t know how to stop doing it. It’s how my mind works: I see or hear something, and I start making a story out of it. Breathing inspires writing.
8. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Of writing Sowing in particular? Hmm… Well, the massive changes, for one. The series originally started in a different place (what will now be events in book three). Following great advice from my editor, I went back to write what happened before…and that changed everything. Rab didn’t want to be dead anymore (her death was the original catalyst), and since Rab wasn’t dead, Sorek wasn’t either (originally, the rebels were executed), and then Mas decided he wanted to be more than a backstory character, and “my story” became “their story.”
I hate them all. No, kidding! Totally kidding. I lurves them so much.
But yeah, so, that. Shifting everything, creating Rab from out of nothing. Ari was developed, but Rab had been dead. She had no personality apart from “she’s a rebel and Ari’s sister,” so I had to figure out who she was, who Sorek was, all the rebellion stuff…
I still struggle with the rebellion stuff. Pulling inspiration from real-life rebellions helps!
9. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Oh, gosh. Um…I love Rab and Sorek’s banter…I love the dances at the festival… I don’t know if I can pick a favourite. I love writing scenes where you get a feel of the characters who aren’t narrating the scene. Like, when I’m able to give some insight into Sorek or Mas or someone like that.
10. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Pfft, what haven’t I learned? This has been about six years in the making, so…where to start? I’ve learned about myself and my abilities and habits, I’ve learned I need feedback from others, I’ve learned to take and give constructive criticism… I’ve also learned how to navigate Amazon/KDP and Createspace, haha! Among like a million other things. I’ve also learned actual history that I either never learned or forgot.
11. It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
Like I said, they kind of create themselves. I use some psychology stuff I know…I do lots of research… And I interview them, ask them why they are the way they are.
12. What are your future project(s)?
The rest of this series! I have a few others things in the works: what I call my “Vidar story” (named for the main guy) that has magic and dragons and such and a duology set more in Ancient Rome. Not entirely sure where either of those are going. Aaand…I totally already mentioned those, haha! Oh well. *hammers my story ideas into your head so you don’t forget me*
13. If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
But…but…pfft. Um…probably something in social work. Or an activist or something.
14. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Facebook is the best! I am on Goodreads and have a blog as well. Twitter, I’m hit or miss with. Instagram is the same way, though I’m trying to do more there.
A great interview from such a talented author. The most important thing about this lifestyle is to help each other out, and do what we can for each and every author. I may have another author interview later this week, so watch this space. Tune in on Wednesday or Thursday for my latest Robot Wars article, as well as a roundup of events in the past week. Feel free to comment with any other questions about the blog, I love hearing feedback, share it out to the world!