Friday, June 16, 2017

JM Sullivan Interview

First off, tell us a little bit about you
Ok! Well, hi! My name is JM Sullivan and I am a Science Teacher by day and an author by night. I love reading, singing, all things sparkly and am entirely too dependent on coffee. When I’m not working or writing, you can find me at home dancing around with my kids or watching scary movies with my husband (if the cats give us their blessing).

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?I guess the easiest way to classify my books are as YA retellings. Otherwise, I seem to mix it up a bit within the genre. For example, my debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles is a Dark Fantasy twist of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and my second novel, The Neverland Transmissions is a SciFi spin on Peter Pan. So even though I like to switch it up a bit, I would definitely say I’ve found my happy place in fairy tales and retellings.

When did you start writing?Oh gosh, I’ve written forever. I’ve always loved reading and telling stories, but I didn’t really get serious about my writing until the beginning of 2016 when I committed to completing my first manuscript.

Why do you write?  
Writing is my escape. My life can get pretty hectic between work, family, pets, and and and….writing is the way that I am able to go relax and find a way to organize and declutter the billion and a half thoughts that threaten to drown me every single day. I find that being able to focus my energy and creativity into making something provides an outlet for the chaos and really, just makes me happy.

What would be your choice for a superpower?Any superpower? I would definitely go the Aquaman route! I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and secretly wanted to be a mermaid, so I would totally be down to hang with the fishes.

Who is your favorite author? Oh gosh, this is really tricky, and I don’t even know that I could gie you an honest answer because I love so many authors, but I will say that Marissa Meyer is the RETELLING QUEEN and an absolutely incredible storyteller. To be even have my work considered alongside hers would be the most amazing honor.

What are you reading now?   
Right now I’m reading a couple of different stories. I just finished the cutest YA Contemporary, Chasing Zenn by Wendy Bryant, and I’m in the middle of a YA Sci-Fi, Matched, along with a YA Fantasy, Counting Wolves. I’m enjoying both. June has definitely been a good reading month.

Who is your favorite character to write? There are good points to all of my characters, but I adore Chess. His snark and witty banter always bring a smile to my face, but on the flip side, getting in the head of the Red Queen, my villain can also be entertaining… especially if I’m feeling particularly cantankerous that day ;)

Do you have a writing process? Um…. Does forcing myself to write count? My process really isn’t very organized. Normally I start off with a basic outline for where I want the story to go, but from there I let the story take over. I don’t like being too detailed in my outlines because more often than not I’ll end up changing and veering off on different tangents so providing a starting and ending point with a few key events in the middle to keep me anchored is about as structured as I get.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?Be nice to yourself! Writers (and most creatives I find), are hard on ourselves far too often. An inner critic can help keep you on your ‘A-game’, but only if you don't give it so much free reign that it derails your work. Remember, someone needs your words. No one can tell your stories. To get them out there you have to write them!

What inspired you to pursue writing?I think it was my love of literature and stories that ultimately inspired me. It has always been a dream of mine to become an author and I think it’s because of all the authors and stories that I’ve loved so much over the course of my lifetime. I know what an impact the words of people like JK Rowling and Gail Carson Levine have had on me, I thought it would be so amazing to have my words provide the same things for others.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?To be honest, since I’ve started writing more, my TV time has gone down dramatically, so more often than not if I’m watching something it’s either a movie that the kids are playing while I work, or my husband has hidden my computer and forced me to sit down and relax. When that happens our go-to genre is almost always Horror but sometimes we like to mix it up with some Sci-Fi or Fantasy films.

What are your current projects?Right now I’ve got a couple things on my plate. I recently finished drafting and revising my second novel, a Peter Pan retelling tentatively titled The Neverland Transmissions, and I have begun the querying process towards representation and publication. While I wait on that, I’m currently writing the sequel to Alice, Through the Broken Glass (again, working title, lol). So those are definitely my focus right now, and I’m having a lot of fun with them.   

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for taking the time to read my work. Whether it’s this article, or work on my blog, or my stories, thank you. Your support means the world to me and I am so grateful to you. Without you, my words would have no-one to play with! Thanks so much for keeping them company! I love you guys! :D

Quick Fire:Cats or dogs?  Both.
Coffee or tea?  COFFEEEEEEE
Favorite food?  Pizza
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?  Chocolate
What are 3 things you never leave home without?  My purse, my sunglasses, my laptop
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with?  Gordon Ramsey, Jennifer Lawrence, JK Rowling
TV or Movies?  Movies

Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fanni S Interview

First off, tell us a little bit about you
My name is Fanni (with an “i” not with a “y,” strange, I know, but that’s how it is.) I’m in my late twenties and I live in France, near Paris. I’m Hungarian but nowadays I mostly write in English. My hobbies are travelling, reading, writing and learning languages. I love board games, series and cute crazy stuff. I teach English from kindergarten to middle school.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
I like stories where reality and imagination intermingle, that’s why my favourite genres are urban fantasy, magical realism and cyberpunk. Even when I write realist fiction, I try to make the story “magical” either with the atmosphere or with the story telling. 

I have (too) many WIPs both in Hungarian and in English, but I think I’ll concentrate on the English ones. I hope one day I’ll be able to finish most of them.

The ones I’m most intrigued by are “Glasgow, my love,” which is a multiple-ended love story, exploring various possible endings of a coffee house meeting and “Dreamless” which is an alternative history / Victorian novel where imagination is banned and dreamers are hunted down. You can get to know more about my novels by checking out their Pinterest boards. (

When did you start writing? 
Oh, I started writing way back. My first projects were Sailor Moon fanzines and Knight Rider fan fiction in primary school. Then as adolescence hit I wrote love-hate poems about my crushes. Around the end of high school I started writing stuff which was not completely embarrassing. I started writing in English in 2013 while I was spending my Erasmus semester in London.

Why do you write?
I love making up worlds and I’m also awfully curious about the life of others. When I was in middle school I thought I wanted to be an artist, but I wasn’t skilled enough to draw the things I saw in my head and I wasn’t patient enough to try to learn it. In the end, I found out that I can also draw pictures with words and I’m much better at that.

What would be your choice for a superpower?
I’d like to be able to stop time, so that I can get a few more hours to write when the writing bug bites me. My biggest problem is that I’m very enthusiastic and I fall head over heels for story ideas and I work like a madwoman in the beginning. Then something interrupts my process or I have a lot of other things to do so I get out of the mood. Sadly, I’m a bit like Dory from Finding Nemo: Look, a new idea! 
I think stopping time could definitely help with this issue.

Who is your favorite author?
Neil Gaiman is my absolute favourite, he is also my role model. I also like Antal Szerb, a Hungarian writer from early 20th century. He has pretty good English translations, I warmly recommend him because he shaped me a lot as a writer.

What are you reading now? 
I’m reading J. M. Sullivan’s debut novel, Wanderland Chronicles and The Hollow City from Ransom Riggs. I also started re-reading an Antal Szerb novel because I found a good French translation. I want the summer holidays to start already so I have more time to read.

Who is your favorite character to write? 
I like characters who are easy-going and make me laugh, they’re very fun to write. Sometimes I create characters because I’m inspired my one of my celeb crushes and I want to spend some time with them at least on paper :D

Do you have a writing process? 
Not really. Ideally I just sit down and write but for that I need peace and like 0 distractions. Approaching deadlines do miracles to me and I can write 2000 words in 1-2 hours. I like these marathons because although the stories aren’t perfect, at least I got them done. Usually I return to them a few weeks / months later and make them into something good. If it’s a longer story, I like to create Pinterest boards and Spotify playlists because this way I can bottle up the mood of the story.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
I know it’s a cliché but really, please read. Read the classics and the big names but read also indie authors because, besides helping fellow writers, you can discover hidden gems.

If you feel writing is your way, don’t let others discourage you. Listen to the critiques. Take what you need and try to improve your writing. Everybody has to work on their writing even the big names. Some stories will be better, some stories will be worse. 

I know it’s difficult to face mean words and rejections, but if the other person is an a*hole it’s really their problem and not yours. If they’re nice and fair about your opinion, take notice and don’t give up. Maybe they weren’t just the right audience for your story.

Try to find writing buddies. Join a Nanowrimo community, sign up for Scribophile or any other writing group. Read and critique other people’s writing. The easiest and least painful way is to learn from other people’s mistakes.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
I’m a serial hobby-abandoner. I’ve done folk dancing, karate, modern dance, guitar, cross-stitch, etc., but I just fell out of love with them after a while. Writing stayed with me. I write because it makes me happy and I can get transform my troubles and pain into something (hopefully) beautiful. Of course, I also want to be rich, famous and beloved but if only my friends read me I’m fine with that too. 

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
It’s been a very good year as for series. I follow Dr. Who, American Gods and the new Twin Peaks. I also love Parks and Recreations, Black Adder and Buffy. My newest love is Gravity Falls.

What are your current projects?
It’s really high time I finish my first novel, Londemonium. It’s an urban fantasy set in Hell and London. In Londemonium Hell is a multinational company, led by its eccentric CEO, Luke Seyton. The characters include: Gregor, a German programmer who descends to Hell to retrieve his abducted crush; Molly, a feisty Irish girl in look out for her heritage; Aiko, an English-Japanese girl who wants to make sense of her life and Raphael, an immigrant angel, who desperately wants to fit in.

I’ve recently come up with a summer project for myself, we’ll see how it works out. I’m planning to write a tween novel about an adventurous summer holiday. I imagine it as a blend between Gravity Falls and Doctor Who with a lot of humour and excitement. My idea is to use the cards from a Dixit (it’s a very good association-based board game with gorgeous art) expansion which would give the writing process some randomness and excitement. I can’t wait to start.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
You can never be too nice. Be nice. I really, honestly believe in the power of politeness and kindness and I try to make the life of others easier. If more people did the same, we’d live on a much friendlier planet. I also believe that hard work and determination pays off. 

I want to bring people stories that show the lives of different people because knowledge and empathy usually walk hand in hand. I also want to write stories which give hope and consolation on hard days.

Quick Fire:
Cats or dogs? Owls! Okay if I have to choose between the two I’ll go with cats, but I love dogs too.
Coffee or tea? Usually coffee, but I also like herbal tea..
Favorite food? Sushi and Japanese food in general. Also cheese sticks. 
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla.
What are 3 things you never leave home without? I have type 1 diabetes, so it’s essential to have my blood sugar checker, some sweet things in case of an emergency, and my phone + earbuds
Laptop or desktop? Laptop. I haven’t owned a desktop for many many years.
Who are 3 famous people you would want to hang out with? Neil Gaiman, Tom Hiddleston, Steven Moffat
TV or Movies? We don’t have a TV in our flat, although we do have Netflix. I like to go to the cinema every now and again for a change, but I prefer the cosiness of my bedroom.

Bio: Fanni Sütő is a writer in her mid-twenties. She writes in Hungarian and English; poems, flash fiction and countless unfinished novels. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants. 

Twitter: @Fanni_Pumpkin

Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.