I have been remiss in keeping up with my interviews and postings as my wife has had another Seizure (she has been diagnosed with epilepsy since last August) and I have been taking care of her this past week. However, I have received budding interest in authors wanting to be interviewed and the well-versed author, Madeline Dyer, was kind enough to volunteer to be interviewed. The following is the result of the Q&A! Enjoy!
First off, tell us a little bit about youHi! My name's Madeline and I love to write fantasy and science fiction. I live on a farm in Devon, England where I co-run a miniature Shetland Pony stud. Currently, I'm studying for a degree in English Literature so I haven't got as much time to write as I'd like, but I'm still managing to fit some in!
Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?I mainly write fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories for a young adult and adult market, however, I also write nonfiction animal-care books too. All my fictional work is traditionally-published, but I self-publish my nonfiction.
When did you start writing? Now, this is a tricky question because I can't really remember a time when I wasn't writing! When I was in primary school (aged nine or ten) I remember we had to each write a short story, and I loved doing this. We wrote our stories by hand, then had to type them up (which I was very excited about, as we weren't often allowed into the IT suite). When I was typing my story up, I took about three times as long as the other people in my class—my teacher got a little annoyed about this—as I kept finding parts that needed changing, or I wanted to add in new parts. Now, I realise this was the process of me editing it and revising the content, something which our teacher didn't ask us to do.
I suppose it was from this sort of age that I started actually writing (as in writing stories that I tried to finish), though with my dad being a writer, I've been exposed to the world of storytelling and literature ever since I was born.
Why do you write? I write because I love writing. Quite simple really! For me, writing has this amazing power; just by putting a handful of words together you can create incredible characters, powerful emotions and fantastic new worlds where anything can happen. I suppose that writing, for me, is a form of escapism.
What would be your choice for a superpower?I love this question! I think I'd like to be able to write stuff down, just by thinking about it. Just imagine it, I could save so much time! Although, I would also like to be able to teleport to places too... That would be cool.
Who is your favorite author? My favourite (yes, I use the UK spelling!) author at the moment probably has to be Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy series, Dark Swan novels and Bloodlines novels. I love the depth that her books have, how realistic her characters are, and how intricate and beautifully-developed the plots are.
What are you reading now? I've actually just finished reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, (which I absolutely loved and highly recommend), so am in the transitory period from one book to another. Next on my to-read pile of books is L.A Weatherly's Angel Fever.
Who is your favorite character to write? My favourite character to write is Jade from my Spirit Of Fire series. These books are written in the first person narrative from Jade's point of view, so I can really get stuck in her head. She's quite confident, but is flawed and struggles with her identity at times. Having said that she's my favourite character, I also love her twin-brother Jack. He's more aggressive than Jade, and very protective of her and their other sister, but he has some pretty witty dialogue which I love writing!
Do you have a writing process? Yes! I'm a planner. I have to plan what I'm going to write before I write it, yet I can't do too much planning, else I lose inspiration, Typically, I make notes on the plot's arc and the characters (because characters are hugely important for me, as they drive the plot) and then go straight into writing the first draft, attempting to write the scenes in a chronological order. Often, as I'm writing, I discover more about my characters and their lives, which can then be further developed in additional drafts.
My first drafts tend to be pretty messy, so the second and third drafts are for cleaning them up and adding in the 'logical' parts. Then I go onto editing and revising, looking for the continuity errors. At this point, I also start writing a rough synopsis. Then it's the final edits and changes.
Typically, a book of mine has six drafts (this was certainly the case for Spirit Of Fire and Untamed).
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Just to write. And write because you want to write, not because you're told to write. Write because you love writing too, not because you want to make money (though if you sell a book, it is a nice bonus!).
What inspired you to pursue writing?I've just always loved reading and writing. As a child/teenager, I read some incredible books (The Railway Children, Winnie-the-Pooh, Five Children and It, Harry Potter, Vampire Academy, Clan of The Cave Bear, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Slated...) and I just wanted to write my own stories!
What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?I love fantasy and science fiction TV and movies! Recently, I saw The Host (adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel of the same name) and loved it, finding it really inspirational. I also regularly watch science fiction and fantasy TV series, such as Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Doctor Who and Merlin (when it was on!).
What are your current projects?I'm currently working on the second Spirit Of Fire book, Blood Of The Phoenix. At 67,000 words, I'm just over halfway through and am loving it! I've also recently finished the editing process of Untamed, which is now being queried to agents/publishers, and having written the first drafts of the next two books in the Untamed series, I'm also outlining the fourth and final novel. And I have another project that's just beginning to form in my mind too (a YA paranormal thriller) which I'm very excited about.
Nonfiction wise, I'm working on the fifth Mad On Animals book.
And, as always, I've got several short stories on the go.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?I'm not sure how many people are aware of this, but a lot of my short stories are published online as well as in eBook and paperback format in anthologies. On the fiction page of my website, I have a section for short stories at the bottom of the page where I list all my short stories, and provide links to these stories to the publishers' sites, where you can read them for free!
If you've read any of my work, I'd love to hear from you! I can be contacted directly through the contact page on my website (MadelineDyer.co.uk) or through Twitter: @MadelineDyerUK
Cats or dogs? Cats!
Coffee or tea? Tea (so long as it's peppermint!)
Favorite food? Pizza!
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla—no contest!
What are 3 things you never leave home without? My phone, my iPod and a notebook (or sometimes my laptop, if I'm taking a bigger bag).
Laptop or desktop? Laptop.
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Richelle Mead, Rick Yancey and L.A Weatherly.
TV or Movies? TV.
Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!
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