Monday, November 10, 2008

Interviews Galore

Playing on iTunes: "New Resolution" by Azure Ray

I AM BACK FROM VACATION!!! YAY!! Oddly enough, I am incredibly excited about this.... I feel like I haven't been productive for weeks.

Oh wait....

I haven't.

Well, in any case, I am starting my blogging extravaganza back off with a bang!! Today, I have an excellent interview from Celine Keirnan, author of "The Poison Throne" of the Moorehawke Trilogy.

Wynter Moorehawke, an older than her years master craftswoman, spent her childhood within the royal court. Skilled at diplomacy and game playing, she returns to her kingdom after a five year's absence to find that the Inquisition has become a real and present danger. Friendly spirits, speaking cats with no inhibitions, and days of joy in general are distant memories riding slowly from her on the wave of revolution.

Does Wynter's only chance of survival lie within or without of the resistance?
Together with her powerful friend, The Lord Razi, and his mysterious friend Christopher Garron, Wynter must try and restore the Kingdom to its former stability and peace. But this new Kingdom is a dangerous place, where all resistance is brutally suppressed, and the trio run the constant risk of imprisonment, torture...and death.

Some parts of this synopsis were taken from

1) How did "The Call" happen for you?

I actually don't remember too much about getting The Call regarding being published, believe it or not! I think I might have blown a few brain cells with the joy of it. But I clearly remember my agent's first call. I had received an e-mail from her to say that she was reading the ms for the Poison Throne whilst on holiday, and that she would like to ring me when she came back. She gave me a time and a date, and I spent the next week frantically spinning in place. On the day of the actual call, I spent the entire waiting period compulsively dusting and polishing ( I don’t think my kitchen has ever been cleaner! A state so rare that I think it tore a hole in the fabric of time and space.)

She called. We clicked immediately. She is just the most wonderful, warm, honest and tough woman you can meet. At the time, I didn't think she was calling to offer representation, because she doesn't rep in my genre at all. I thought she was ringing to give me some advice on how to present the project and perhaps offer contact names in YA oriented agencies. I was wrong. She loved the book, and despite not repping YA, she took me on! Seriously the most fortuitous moment in my life. She thought the book would be a very hard sell, though, as it is quite dark and complex, and warned me that we might have no bites for a year or so. She had contacts in the children's book world, and though she felt they would not publish The Poison Throne because it was too dark for their catalogue, she asked could she show it to them for advice. I said sure. To her surprise, they loved it so much that they decided to take a chance on it.

That's awesome!! I guess it's pretty rare to find an agent willing to represent you when they don't even represent your genre. She must really be behind your book 100%!!!!!

2) Since you seem to have blacked out on the day you received your publishing news (I think we may be able to associate that with over the moon euphoria) tell us how you feel about your publishing house. Are they what you were looking for in a "publishing partner"?

Like I said, I think I blew a few braincells that day because I have no memory what-so-ever of the moment! I'll tell you something, I couldn't have landed myself with a more dedicated publisher. Wow! The O’Brien Press are passionate about books. Every single person working there is so enthusiastic and committed to the industry. I love going to their offices because the atmosphere there is so organic and lively. It reminds me of the small independent animation studios who live and breath their craft - that level of passion, you know? But coupled with an amazing business sense, and great organizational ability. They are just tremendous.

Not only that, they are so enthusiastic about the Poison Throne! It's like the entire company has committed themselves personally to making it a success. I have no illusions about the fact that I've been incredibly lucky to get this amount of commitment. Also the O'Brien Press's international contacts are immense, I was stunned at the speed with which they got international offers for the book.

3)Writing a book, as any writer knows, is NOT an organized process. Characters are sometimes developed on restaraunt napkins and plots are fleshed out in five different notebooks at once...not to mention your computer. How organized is your writing process?

When I'm working on a project I force myself to sit and write at least four pages a day. Regardless of quality. I call it my four pages of s**t. I'll do that, then the next day I'll edit the daylights out of it, before writing the next four pages of s**t which will be edited the next day. I usually polish a chapter until I can take it no further, then hand it over to my amazing beta readers who tell me what works and what doesn't. So, in terms of the actual physical process, I guess you could say I'm very organised. At least prior to the whole publication round-a-bout I was! These days I do nothing but run about like a headless chicken or work on edits. Though I'm enjoying it, I must say I'm looking forward to getting on to writing my next book.

4)What is your planning process? Do you outline or just begin writing?

Usually by the time I get around to writing, the idea has been in its box for so long that it comes out fully fledged plot-wise. Then I throw the characters at it and see what happens. More often then not, the characters surprise me in how they react to things, and that's what makes the writing process interesting. Often I'll get to a point in a story where the characters do something completely unexpected, and I'll realise that what I had been anticipating was how I would have reacted and not how they would react. They're constantly taking me by surprise. It's thrilling when that happens.

I never write plots down. I think it's too much like writing the story and (for me) drains the sense of the unexpected from the writing process. I like to feel as though my story might shock me by running down a secret passage or turning a hidden corner. It's a kind of fake sense of suspense, as I always know where I’m going from word go, but it’s there and it keeps the process alive for me. Which is why I don't analyse stories too much before writing and why it makes me very uncomfortable to discuss stories before they're written.

Mind you, when timelines get complex I will write notes. Like: JoeJoe was born in 18** and so was 10 when Marietta turned into a fish, or, It takes seven days to get from the palace to the picnic. On day five the sandwiches will be stale. Characters must stop for bread. That kind of thing. it stops me panicking about small details and lets me concentrate on the immediate scene.

Writing is definitely half the adventure of the book. Your methods seem to make you just as surprised as your reader!

5) A lot of writers tend to procrastinate on their daily writing. What are your favorite methods of procrastination?

I don't tend to procrastinate when it comes to writing. Maybe writing is me procrastinating about real life? I adore research, though, and I tend to get lost in it, allowing one thing to lead me to another as I get deeper into a subject. This can lead to hours and hours of research as opposed to writing. This is generally a good thing for me. I find it leads to ideas or adds depths to my plot or characters that I might not have considered before. I'm looking forward to the research process on my next book as for the first time I'll be accessing old files in the central library. A very appealing process.

It sounds like you were born for this career!! So, on that note...the final and most important question.

6) How did the idea for "The Poison Throne" come to you?

Hee. I have this thing, this kind of visual in my head? Of a dark room with lots of boxes in it. Each box has a story in it, and they sit there 'til I’m ready to work on them. Inside the box, while they’re waiting for my attention, they percolate, or they grow. Like coffee, or fungus.

Anyway, The MooreHawke trilogy began while on holiday to the South of France, it was a little story about a carpenter’s daughter, a missing prince, a ghost in an avenue and, perhaps, the mention of a talking cat. It was intended as a sun soaked, bright, action adventure type thing. My kids like to tell me that it went into the box a happy, skipping child and shambled out the other end a drooling blood-soaked monster. I suppose they’re not far wrong.

That's fabulous!! I really can't wait to get my hands on a copy!! You better believe I will be recommending it to everyone. Thank you for your time Celine, and good luck on your next book!

"The Poison Throne" is out in stores and online now. I (and probably Celine, as well) would absolutely love to hear what you thought of this fabulous read!! Send your reviews to and I will post them in future entries.


Tabitha said...

Great interview! Thanks!! Gonna have to add this one to my teetering TBR pile. :)

Pink Ink said...

Great interview, Terra. That's encouraging to hear of an agent who took on a book that's not even her genre of choice.

Welcome back from vacation. Hope you had a wonderful time just kicking back and relaxin'!

Janna Qualman said...

Whoa! What a great new look! And a great interview, too. :)