PODCAST SHOW NOTES
Episode 17 is here... Join hosts Veronica and Darren for discussions about building fantasy based worlds to explore what it means to be human, the possibly secret link between toilet paper companies, mainstream publishers and lockdowns, and a truly beautiful interview with author L.A. Webster who teaches us that today is the perfect day to chase your dreams! Not only that, but there's a gripping reading of L.A. Webster's work by none other than author Emily Wrayburn! A whole heap of entertainment is waiting for you to push play, so we hope you can join us for another jam packed episode.
When did you first admit that you were a writer?
Quite late in life actually. Since childhood I’ve had the wild, fantastical dream that maybe, just maybe, I could be a writer – a real, published one with books that other people might read and love. But it was only after I turned 50 that I decided to be brave enough to see if I could do it. So I spent several years learning and experimenting with the first draft of Greenhaelan. My only goal back then was to find out if I could finish a novel at all. And I found that I could. The first time I typed The End I was so exhilarated. It felt like nothing else I’d ever experienced. And then I spent another five years trying to make it better. Last year I published it and finally started calling myself a writer. So it took a while!
Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?
Of course I want to reach an audience who’ll enjoy my books, but I write for me, or someone exactly like me, if there is any such person. If don’t love it, it gets cut. If I love it, it stays. As many authors have said before, I write the books I want to read. I don’t know any other way to do it.
Is there a message in your books? What’s the main message you’d like readers to take away after reading your books?
There is a spiritual dimension to my books because there is a spiritual dimension to my life. But I don’t sit down with a message in mind and try to shoehorn it into the narrative. It just comes out, as all creative people’s values emerge in their work, whether deliberately or not. However, I will say that I want my books to bring joy and hope and possibility to people’s lives. I’m not interested in adding to the despair or cynicism in the world.
Who is your most or least favourite character to write?
This is interesting to me, because it took me by surprise. In Greenhaelan, my favourite character to write was Kelan, the teenage boy who gets into and out of quite a lot of trouble, mainly of his own making it must be said. I only intended him to be a very minor character, but he kept pushing his way in and being so easy to write about and such a joy to me that I gave up resisting. He has a smaller role in the second book I’m editing now, but will be the main character in the next one. At which point he’ll probably turn around and become a real slog to write about. Writing is like that.
As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?
A pantser every time, although I prefer the term ‘discovery writer’ because that’s how it feels. I start with a single character and a single idea, maybe a scrap of setting, and I discover the rest along the way. It’s as though the story is already there, waiting for me to find it. It’s a very slow way to write a first draft, but so much fun, almost like reading a book rather than creating one. I keep going to find out what happens next and who pops up to be written about. Having said that, I am very deliberate and structured in the way I approach things after that first draft is finished. I create tables and lists and scene summaries and character profiles, the lot. I have an idea that I might try doing some plotting ahead of time for the third book, just to see if it works for me. But I’m not holding my breath.
What’s your writing routine – if you have one?
This is where I get to sing the praises of the #6amAusWriters on Twitter. This group of early morning Australian writers has been such a huge part of my routine for over a year now and I would not have achieved as much as I have without them. I get up at 5am and am writing by 6, usually accompanied by coffee and my dog sleeping in a basket beside my desk. I work for around 2 hours, checking in with the group a few times. Then I go for a walk. Early morning writing has changed my life. It’s the most productive time for me by far. Some time later in the day, and it varies, I’ll sit down and do another 1-2 hours. That’s on weekdays. I usually take weekends off.
What’s your writing goal for the next twelve months?
Firstly, to finish my final edit of the second book in the series, Skalsinger, and publish it. And then I’m being ambitious. I want to have a first draft of the third book, Charm Shaper, completed by the end of 2021. Both the previous books took me 2 years to finish a first draft, so I’m pushing it, but we’ll see.
Any final words for potential readers or writers?
For potential writers, I’d just say: go for it! Writing is wonderful, surprising, frustrating, hard, joyful and more rewarding than almost anything I’ve ever done. You won’t know what it will be like for you unless you try. So what are you waiting for?
And as for readers: well, I’d love you to check out Greenhaelan and see if it’s for you. And watch out for Skalsinger coming in the next few months!