A little something different on my blog today, I’m welcoming a fellow author and very dear friend of mine, Lynn E O’Connacht for a chat about her stories and some general silliness.
Lynn E. O’Connacht has an MA in English literature and creative writing, but wouldn’t call herself an authority on either. She currently resides on the European continent and her idiom and spelling are, despite her best efforts, geographically confused, poor things. Her tastes are equally eclectic, though fantasy will always be her first love. She has been chasing stories one way or another since she was old enough to follow a narrative.
Find out more about her writing at www.leoconnacht.com!
BL: So tell me about your debut collection, Feather by Feather.
LEO: I’m tempted to be cheeky. >> But ‘Feather by Feather and Other Stories‘ is a collection of a little over 40 pieces of prose and poetry. The pieces are predominantly speculative fiction (and predominantly fantasy at that). It’s my debut collection. During 2011 and 2012 I released a fair amount of my short work online for free, which can be quite difficult for people with disabilities to read. That’s why I wanted to collect all of the stories together into a single collection: because I hoped that this would help make them more accessible to anyone who needed the options that ebooks offer. The free stories have all been collected into a free sampler available from my website and I added about half as many stories to the paid version to off-set the cost a little and keep the project financially more feasible for me. I hope people will enjoy the stories! I had a lot of fun working on them and it’s been a lovely experience to share them with the world. ^_^
BL: It’s quite an eclectic bunch of tales. Do you have a favourite? (Personally, I love the Witch and the Changeling, and I also really like the poem Breadcrumbs. Oh, and Jan, of course, I loved Jan in The Little Engine That Couldn’t!)
LEO: I love Jan too! Such a sweet little engine. It tries so hard. That story always makes me cry. I can’t help it. And I’m glad you like Breadcrumbs. It’s one of my favourite poems in the collection and I’m super-grateful to jjhunter who helped me into making it as awesome as it’s become. I couldn’t have done it on my own! As for my own favourite… It depends on when you ask me, really. Right now I’m terribly fond of Sea Foam and Silence. I love the mermaid in that, though I still don’t know her name. She just… loves life itself so very much and she always manages to cheer me up. One day I will see about turning her tale into a proper novel, but it’ll probably be a while. I’ve got a few other projects to work on first, as you know, so we’ll have to see how it does.
BL: Speaking of other projects, what are you working on right now?
LEO: Right now I’m focusing on two different projects. One which I’ve promised to be a bit mum about (but it involves ghosts! In space! Sort of. Possibly.) because it’s a gift story that… may have gotten a tad out of hand? It was supposed to be a short story. It is currently a novella and my idea of editing involves ‘add all the words to make things make sense to people not me’, so I suspect it’ll end up somewhere on the blurry line between a long novella and a short novel.
The other one is a serialised novel (or two, depending on how the editing goes. Probably two), that I’ll be launching on the 20th of March. It’s a fantasy of manners story about a small girl finding herself and her place in the world after losing her mother. It’ll be the first time I’ve serialised a story, so I’m very excited to see how it goes! It’s a story that’s quite dear to me, but it’s also quite old and I’ll be tinkering with it as it goes along. I’m inviting SFF readers interested in more diverse SFF (well, fantasy in this case) to come along for the ride as I polish it up. Diversity and representation FTW! (That all said, I seem to find it ridiculously hard to talk about the actual story. >>)
BL: I know what you mean. Sometimes the older the story and the characters, the harder it is to talk about them.
LEO: Maybe it’s because we’ve talked about them for so long we’re all talked out…
BL: Possibly. Ghosts in Spaaaace! sounds intriguing too, but I’ll not ask any more about that right now.
LEO: I hope the friend I’m writing it for will like it when it’s done and that other people will enjoy it too. It’s a bit frustrating to deal with a story that uncooperative, but the end of the rough draft is in sight! WHOOHOO!
BL: Good luck with getting it done! But, back to the questions. Serialising a novel sounds like quite an undertaking. How are you going about it, and how can I/people read it?
LEO: Thank you! I think serialising a novel is indeed quite an undertaking (and I’m serialising effectively two in rapid succession if all goes to plan! *eyes life* Do not mess up my plans, life.) I’m pretty much figuring things out as I go along, to be honest. I’ve never done anything like this before. I didn’t plan on releasing the serial until some time next year, but then the latest round of “Women (and actually anyone not a white, straight male) are destroying SFF!” happened and… Yeah. I threw my plans around just a tad. We need quality fiction that celebrates diversity and I was already planning to serialise it for free (mostly; you do need an internet connection) anyway. So why not invite people to help me make the story even better and spread even higher quality stories? It could be fun! (I hope it’ll be fun for everyone involved, anyway.)
A Promise Broken, which is the first book of the serial, will be available on my website and updated twice a week or, if announced otherwise, once a week for a while, depending on how much backlog and life-interference I have at the time. It’s a work-in-progress and while I have a fair chunk of backlog finished, I anticipate this year being pretty hard on me and I might need to spread it out a little thinner than I’d like, especially if it turns out that I need to do some major fixing in the storyline. So… I’m reworking the story as I go along, but I have enough of a buffer than unless something big happens readers really shouldn’t notice anything. I’m also trying to bring up some discussion points as I work on it to hopefully get some dialogues about representation in fiction and writing in general going. ^_^
BL: Sounds like it’ll be fun, interesting and scary all at once! I can’t wait to come along for the ride.
LEO: I hope you and anyone else who joins me will have a lot of fun with it!
BL: I’ve no doubt that we will. But now, before I let you go, we’ve just got time for some Quick Fire Questions!
So, what would be your ideal superpower?
BL: If you were a book, what would your title be?
The Life and Times of Lynnet the Little Lion of Lyonnesse. I’m not even sure I spelled that right. >>
LEO: Is it Lyonnesse? *brain-ded*
BL: Google it.
LEO: Ooooh, good idea… One n! I thought the double consonants looked weird. I can’t spell when I’m not editing. >< IT MAKES NO SENSE, but there you go.
BL: Whoever said anything had to make sense?
BL: It sounds very poetical too. Would it be a lyrical poem?
LEO: Knowing me, it’d probably be a sestina, I think. Maybe multiple ones interwoven together so you’ve got more options… DON’T GIVE ME IDEAS LIKE THAT. >< *watches her brain run off on the tangent of plotting how to weave together multiple sestinas into a whole*
BL: Ha! Welcome to my world – only with prose, not poetry.
LEO: Maybe you could do it like that interwoven sonnet structure… Crown of sonnets, I think it’s called.
BL: Yeah, good luck with that! *ahem* And after that tangent I guess we only have room for one last question. So, what’s your ideal sky?
LEO: Sunny with a hint of fluffy, white cloud, a wonderful soft blue and a sun that does not hurt my eyes to look at. ^_^
BL: And on that lovely note, it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks for chatting with me today, Lynn!
LEO: Thank you for having me!
Feather by Feather and Other Stories is available now:
Amazon US, UK
Kobo and B&N
It’s a lovely, highly readable collection of tales and poems that range right across the SFF spectrum, with plenty of little surprises to make you smile, laugh and even, perhaps, shed a small tear.
Thanks to Lynn’s generosity you can download Feather by Feather and Other Stories for $3.00 – that’s half price! All you need to do is enter the promotional code – QZ99L – at the checkout to qualify. Don’t forget to add the code. If you don’t, you won’t get your discount! The code runs until next Monday (24th March) so don’t miss out!
And if all that talk of a Fantasy of Manners has interested you in Lynn’s new serial, check out her website for more details. It all kicks off on March 20th and I can’t wait to get to know these characters again.
Finally, if you’d like to read my interview on Lynn’s blog, you can find it here. Over there I talk a little bit Orion’s Kiss, the Aekhartain, what’s coming next for them and my writing in general, before we get derailed by a desert kelpie. Don’t believe me? Go take a look!
Big thanks to Lynn for doing this interview and for hosting me as well!
And now to end with a giveaway: I have one shiny ebook copy of Feather by Feather and Other Stories to giveaway to one lucky commenter. If you want to take part leave me a comment below! (If you already have it, you can still enter and I can give it as a gift to someone of your choice.) This competition is open to anyone with an email address, and closes on Friday 21st March! So spread the word the internet world and enter now!