What was the funniest mistake or incident you had because you are a writer?
You mean, other than the day-to-day Freudian slips I do just while writing? I suppose my inability to properly set up a basic blog recently. I was never into blogging. I tried it once a few years ago and it just didn’t interest me. But I decided that it would be good to give it another go. I researched several hosting sites, and came across one that appealed to me. However, I didn’t realize that viewers need to sign in just to view – so that was an abortive attempt. I’m now on WordPress, which has a much larger audience.
Which writing project took you the most out of your comfort zone?
Oddly enough, my first novel. It was the story of my parents’ love, and was set in the 1960s. I know very little about the normal day routine of that time period, as most of my real life is from the 70s on, and my research into history is from the 18th century back. Also, writing the sex scene of your own conception? Very odd!
You write historical fantasy. What research surprised you most?
Words. Seriously, words. I’ve become addicted to etymonline.com, going through a full manuscript and trying to pick out the words and phrases that are anachronistic. Who knew that goosebumps was 19th century? I become fascinated by the origins of words and get lost down the Research Rabbit Hole.
What’s the most off-the-wall story idea you’ve ever had?
A brother and sister time-traveling team come from the future. They are basically tabloid reporters, going back to get the ‘real scoop’, but have horribly mangled ideas of what actually happened, due to the distortions of time and revisionist history. They often have to pretend they are man and wife to keep the sister safe.
Tell me a little about your upcoming book.
Legacy of Hunger is set in Pittsburgh and then Ireland in 1846. A rather spoiled young lady, Valentia McDowell, is in search of her grandmother’s family, left behind in 1800. She is also searching for a mysterious brooch that was left behind. When she arrives to Ireland, she discovers she’s in the midst of a disaster – the Great Hunger, sometimes known as the Potato Famine.
What’s the next project you’ll be working on?
I’ve actually already written the two prequels to Legacy of Hunger, and am currently working on a book set in Ireland 1797. In it, an antiquarian and his granddaughter decide to go digging about in a haunted cave on their estate. They unearth a huge, ancient stone box, carved with Celtic knotwork and designs. They decide to open it – but are unprepared for what – or who – emerges.
Do you have any revision tips to share?
I usually edit in spits and bursts, but I like to do several read-throughs. I sort of mix and match with copy edits, proofreading and line edits all at once. It’s an organic process, and can jump rails to another chapter at the drop of a hat, but it works for me. Editing and revision is my least favorite part of the process, though!
Any advice for aspiring authors?
The most obvious is write. Write every day. Write a little, write a lot, but write. It doesn’t matter if it’s crap – it will be, at least at first. As you get better at practicing, it comes out less crappy. That’s the easy part. Once you’ve written your manuscript,
then you could take twice as long (I do) to edit, revise, distill, and perfect. It will NEVER be perfect. Art is not completed, only abandoned (da Vinci). Also, have someone – not a friend or family member! – give a read and honest critique. This is invaluable!
I go back and edit parts. I reread previous chapters with a fresh eye, and that gets me back into the mood of the story. And then I find I can resolve my current slump, and forge ahead.
What’s the best part about being a writer?
Having someone else say they enjoyed your tale. It truly is inspiring and uplifting.
You can find out more about Christy Nicholas at greendragonartist.wordpress.com.