After my interview with the wonderful Kate Forsyth, I thought I would be cheeky and ask her if she would like to answer some MORE questions from me. Lo and behold, this fantastic author said yes. So, with much haste and not giving her a chance to change her mind, I emailed her my next set of questions.
One of the questions in here has the most amazing answer, but I will leave that one until last. So here goes with Part 2 of my Interview with Australian fantasy author Kate Forsyth.
Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?
I always have an ideal word length for each book, determined by the genre and the age group of my market – however, I always go over this! My books are always longer than I expect them to be, and really, longer than they should be.
Do you have a target each day?
I usually have a target of 5,000 words a week when I’m actually in the writing stage – however, I don’t always manage this, and sometimes I do much more.
Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?
I try and have a break between books, but it’s never more than a few weeks, and I’m always very busy during that time writing other things – blogs, reviews, articles and so on.
Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?
Yes, I do have characters running around (and leaping and fighting and weeping) in my head. And talking, of course. But I do know they are imaginary.
Do they dictate events and their histories to me?
It’s a much more subtle and organic process than that. I discover their histories as I discover the story – sometimes easily, sometimes with a lot of thought.
After 20 books, how do you keep them unique?
I don’t know. Each story seems quite different to me, and presents new lessons to be learnt and new challenges to overcome.
What is your biggest (self-imposed) time waster?
I can’t really afford to waste time, with three children in the house and ever approaching deadlines. My e-mail inbox is always overflowing, and so I endeavour to keep that under control. I can get annoyed by people constantly joining me up to facebook groups I have no desire (and no time) to join, or sending me messages that say simply, ‘Hi.’ I tend to only answer messages and emails that have a point to them and delete the rest ruthlessly. I never spent hours on twitter, facebook, pinterest and the rest – I turn it all off while I’m working and focus only on the task at hand.
Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?
Of course! I still get excited seeing my books in the shops.
One of our first questions in our first interview was about showing your work to other people. You answered that you do not until completed. My question is around this I suppose – Do you ever have doubts about your own writing? Have you been writing long enough now that you instinctively know that it is good?
No, of course I struggle with constant doubts about myself and my writing. I can be knocked for sixes by a cruel comment or bad review, and not recover for weeks – it stops me from writing, and can keep me from sleeping, so I wish people were sometimes a little more thoughtful about what they say, remembering that the writer is a person with feelings too.
However, I also know that not everyone will like what I do, and that there are many people who do love my work, and so I write for them, and for my own pleasure, and try not to brood too much over those who have different tastes. And I have written enough books now that I know the self-doubt and the anxiety are part of the creative process, and drive me to keep trying to do better, and keep me from becoming too cocksure about my writing, which is a form of creative death.
So I try and embrace my doubts, and my self-criticism, and my fear of failure, and use them to keep my writing as strong and vivid as I can.
This last answer blew me away. It put so many of my doubts about trying to be an author in a little box, which I have now mailed away to some far distant land. I have not received any feedback or reviews for my book, but I hope I remember Kate’s words and can use that energy wisely.
Please go and have a look at her website. She is also on Twitter and Pinterest. Links to those can be found from the website.
I would like to thank Kate for agreeing to be a part of this for the second time. It was brilliant yet again!!!