Welcome to my site, Christine! I love your author pic - where are you? Looks fascinating to this Brit currently hiding in her conservatory away from the non-stop rain we've had in the UK this early summer. Shall we get started with the interview? Okay, here goes...
Who is your favourite author and why?
I realise you have asked me who is my favourite author but I have
dozens of favourite authors in a lot of different generas: – sci-fi &
fantasy authors like Frank Herbert, Tolkien, Douglas Adams and C.S.
Lewis whom I admire for the depths of their milieu, I also love the
'Many Coloured Land 'series by Julian May for the same reason and also
because she deftly takes many characters, develops each individually
and creates a universe in which they are utterly believable.
I also like non-fiction like last year's 'The 4% Universe' by Richard
Paneck an admirable book which successfully describes physical and
cosmological information which we would otherwise miss out on. The
findings of this book have a lot of potential for those of us who
write science fiction, as well as metaphysics. I'm sure Robert Persig
would be interested in this information. His book 'Lila' is a very
interesting discussion about what it means to be human and the
metaphysics of the best in life.
I love Hunter S Thompson whose work does not fit any category
particularly but who had an unparalleled vision of life and an ability
to communicate with unique humans which anyone who is a writer would
do well to study. I love John T Nichols' book 'The Milagro Beanfield
War' which is quite simply full of the most marvellous
characterisation and is one of the funniest books I have ever read.
David Gregory Roberts 'semi autobiographical book 'Shantaram' is also
a book with studying and thoroughly enjoying because of its
descriptions, characterisations, unique dialogue and combination of
spiritual and human development. It is not often we get to live in the
mind of a person who has committed crimes and been through experiences
which, fortunately, most of us will never need to go through.
I could go on and on with amazing books I have read.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was five years old and sat at my little desk as my mother
taught me how to write with a pencil on a blank sheet of paper I
realised that I could have this excitement for the rest of my life by
writing books. I went on to virtually teach myself to read, and by the
age of eight was hand sewing and covering with fabric tiny books full
of quotations of CS Lewis.
I was also at that age beginning to read the adult Encyclopaedia Britannica, studying classical mythology and writing synopses of CS Lewis' Narnia novels. I began poetry and haiku around aged 11/12 and began my first novel, a work of around 10,000
words, in the summer holiday when I was 16 years old. I have a degree
in history and I also love oral history so for me writing is a battle
between the focus I want to give to fact as well as the attention I
wish to give to fiction.
Describe my writing space.
Essentially I can and do write wherever I happen to be. I am
fortunate to have a life full of travel, so when I am not at my
beautiful Edwardian house surrounded by big trees, I might be in a
car, writing on my laptop; or sitting on a hilltop or on a beach
somewhere with a notebook and a pen or pencil. I use Dragon Naturally
Speaking so that transcribing my handwritten notes is now easy, as is
adding to and amending them. I am considering attempting to use my
iPhone to write a novel. A challenge, I think! But certainly doable!
What am I reading now?
The 'Seventh Scroll 'by Wilbur Smith, part two in his series set in
ancient Egypt which are fascinating adventure romances and I have been
studying his style, which of course is very successful; to see how we
can improve the novel AJ Burton and I are working on: Atlantia Soul
Mates I :-The Secret Empire
How many books have I written? Which is my favourite?
I have five finished novels: three erotic romance novels which were
trade published. (Available as e-books from smashwords.com - links
here http://christineleovlealand-author.blogspot.co.nz/) I have
researched three biographies and had one published:-' Barry Brickell -
A Head of Steam'. (Available from me) I have also hundreds of Word
files of unfinished novels. Also some unfinished non-fiction work
including my autobiography. I have substantial writing for about eight
more books. Some history, one is a fantasy novel, and some are general
fiction and chick lit. I have also self published two volumes of
poetry. XKISS is available directly from me and self published a craft
book. I aim to republish this book very soon.
I like all of my books, I put my heart and soul into each one, so it
is impossible to say that one is more me then another.
What comes first, plot or characters?
I am not so great on plotting, I am the kind of writer who sees the
scene happening in front of me and I describe it. I also have the
visual, mental, spatial ability to see scenes in my mind in three
dimensions and to be able to view a scene from any angle, rather as a
movie director might see a fight scene from the vantage point of a
moving gantry, for example. To me writing gets boring if I plan too
much. Better writing happens if I work as if I were driving at night,
allowing what happens next to be illuminated as I write. That means it
is as exciting for me to write as it is for the reader to read.
Neither of us knows what is going to happen next! Of course plotting
and other concerns like continuity and building character are
implemented in all the rewrites I do.
Do I ever suffer from writer's block?
I suffer more from writer's procrastination! It's often much easier
to do the dishes, or mow the lawn or weed the garden; than it is to
open a file and continue editing and rewriting. It would be nice if
all one needed to do in writing a book was to finish the first draft.
However, I don't believe that anyone should publish a first draft
unedited. The best advice is to write your draft, put it aside for a
few months, work on something else in the meantime; and then go back
to it. You'll be amazed at how many flaws, faults, mistakes and
continuity problems are suddenly visible after you've left the book
for a while. I find reading the entire book aloud reveals more
mistakes than any other test procedure!
What do I like to do when I'm not writing?
I am usually very busy as I run a small engineering company as well
as my own publishing company. I love to travel, meet new people, I am
always interested in learning new information about health and healing
and hearing people's stories. I enjoy belly dancing and aim to do some
snowboarding this winter. I have a large garden and I grow some of my
own food. I love hunting for fossils and studying geology and
palaeontology. I also hang out on Twitter which I really enjoy.
Connect with me there I am @loveleov.
Tell us about your latest book.
Atlantia Soul Mates I: The Secret Empire will be my next published
novel which I have written with my friend and cowriter AJ Burton. It
is set in a steam punk Atlantis and is an adventure romance. Klaus
Meinbach rescues Helena of Delphi, a Greek priestess of Apollo. By
Atlantean law he must kill her, however he believes she is descended
from a shipwrecked Atlantean sailor and also, of course, he cannot
kill her because she is the first woman he's ever been romantically or
sexually interested in. So yes, Klaus is in a bit of a bind! Gradually
they grow to love and trust each other and work to try to win the
legal battle for Helena's life in the Atlantean courts.
Our Atlantean miliu has been really exciting to write – we have
invented some new technological gadgets and reinvented some old ones
for the people of Atlantis. The Secret Empire began as one book of
87,000 words which we wrote in eight weeks last year. However it has
proliferated into two books with two sequels to follow; The Atlantia
Soul Mates series will even include Nikolai Tesla - he features in
book four! Check out this blog
(http://longshippublications.blogspot.co.nz/) for sample chapters and
publication news about The Secret Empire.
What's next for me?
Working with AJ on the rest of the Atlantia Soul Mates series. Plus I
have several pet projects of my own writing to finish and finish
rewriting. I have dozens of stories I wish to publish; I really want
to publish 'BI' a novel about being a bisexual woman, and 'Doors' a
fantasy novel set in prehistoric New Zealand. Orson Scott Card defines
the genera of fantasy as " having leaves " while science fiction "has
rivets". So while I privately think of this novel as science fiction,
its real genera is fantasy. H - a,ha! there are lots of trees and
nothing is riveted - yet!
The reality is that I have enough great ideas for books to keep me
writing and publishing for another 50 years!
Great interview, Christine - thanks for being here. You sound like a very busy and committed writer, i wish you all the luck for future success. Okay, Christine is waiting to hear from you! Questions? Comments?