On The Sofa With Joanne Hall
This sounds such a cliché, but we’re really proud of our diversity here at Grimbold Books. We have talented authors from America, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Norway, and each and every one of them brings something unique to the publishing world.
But it’s not just their skill at weaving stories we’re interested in; we’re really lucky to have warm, funny, open and genuinely lovely people on our books (no pun intended!), and so we asked them if they would share a little bit more about themselves with us, and, in the interests of disclosure only (hehe) we thought we’d then share with you:
We’re starting with the lovely Joanne Hall. Her novel, The Art of Forgetting: Rider will be released in paperback and ebook format on the 30th June 2013. Jo currently lives in Bristol with her partner and gorgeous doggy, Lyra. A full-time writer she also set up and co-manages BristolCon – the premiere science fiction and fantasy convention in Bristol.
Fun and Pointless Nonsense Round
Jo, let’s kick this off with some non-writing related fun.
There’s a zombie apocalypse (bear with me), and you find a decked out RV with supplies, weapons, bug-out bags and everything you need to survive for a good few weeks on the road. There’s room for 4 more people, who would you pick and why? I’ll even let you pick celebrities (if you want).
Well, I’d have to start with my boyfriend, Chris. He’d be fairly useless at running away from zombies (he was once killed in Dead Rising by a granny, because he “couldn’t kill an old lady!”. But he makes the most awesome pasta and he keeps me sane, so I can’t leave him behind.
Secondly I’d have George Romero. I know he’s getting on a bit, but I figure no one on the planet is a bigger expert when it comes to zombies, and if anyone can advise us on how to stay alive, it’s going to be him.
We might end up having to repopulate the planet at some point, and Captain Jack Sparrow has experience with the undead, so I think we might have to bag Johnny Depp and bring him along….
And my best friend, Kate, because we’ve been through a lot together and she’s the person I can rely on to help me decapitate and bury the bodies.
So where would you go with your posse in the RV?
There’s a huge MAKRO near where we live, they have everything from industrial-sized tubs of coffee to chainsaws. I think if we hole up there we’ll be able to feed and defend ourselves for several years before we re-emerge to repopulate the planet….
Your best friend has been bitten. Do you…
1)Bring them with you?
2)Leave them with a weapon?
3)Double tap bullet to the head?
Double tap – it’s what she would have wanted…. (Always double tap, and don’t forget to check the back seat.)
How long do you genuinely reckon you’d survive?
I reckon if no zombies get in and we don’t kill each other through sheer irritation, probably six months. Or until the coffee runs out, which might be sooner…
Explain your answer and satisfy the interview Master to progress to the next stage…
Terminator 2 or Aliens? Oooh, hard question! If it had been between Terminator 1 and Aliens it would have been Terminator all the way, but Hicks…. T2, I think, just edges it. I love all the Terminator films except T3, which doesn’t exist….
Inigo Montoya or Jaime Lannister? (pre-hand chop) Inigo Montoya. The accent, the swordsmanship, the overdeveloped sense of vengeance, the not-sleeping-with-his-sister. Jaime took a really long time to grow on me in the books, and I still have my doubts.
Also, and this made me sniffle a bit, Mandy Patinkin’s father died shortly before he filmed the Princess Bride, so when he says “I want my father back, you son-of-a-bitch” he really means it.
PS3 or X-BOX 360? I don’t have either, but I’d like a PS3, if you’re offering. Always been a Nintendo household!
The ability to fly? Or the ability to breathe underwater? Flying, every time. How amazing would that be?
Chris or Liam Hemsworth? Christian Bale
Scarlett Johansson or Kate Beckinsale? Natalie Portman
About You, and Your Writing
Now the warm-up rounds are out of the way, let’s hear about you.
Tell us something about you that not many people know.
I worked in record shops for eight years and I love buying rare and weird vinyl – funny colours, collectable packaging, imports. I really love it when I find something brilliant in car boot sales and charity shops that isn’t worth anything much to anyone else but is really exciting to me!
One thing I’ve noticed is that you have a terrific sense of humour – tell us a joke 😉
A man walks into a bar and says “ouch!”
(Most of the jokes I know are awful 😉 )
Writing exercise: In 20 words or less, tell me what thrills you – in writing, in reading, in life in general… What excites Joanne Hall?
New experiences, hearing a brilliant tune the first time, reading something until 4am because it’s too good to put down
Can you remember the first piece of fiction you ever wrote? If so, what was it? Will you share it here? (If you can)
It was a story about a lion with a bad foot, I was five, and I drew pictures and stapled the pages together and gave it to my granny. She kept it for years – don’t know if she still has it!
When did the ‘itch’ to be a writer start?
About then. As soon as I could write. I was about six when I found out that people could get paid for writing stories and it was actually regarded as a job, and from then on that’s all I wanted to be.
Was there ever any other vocation/career in mind? If so, what was it?
I toyed with the idea of becoming an astronaut, or Jedi. I told my careers advisors at school that I wanted to be an author and they kept trying to make me do journalism. I’m not sure they knew what to do with me!
How did you celebrate writing the closing words to your first novel?
First I danced around the room a bit, then I had a cup of tea, then I rang up everyone I knew. There might have been a trip to the pub, too (there usually is…)
When writing, do you plot and plan or are you a pantzer?
I’m a total pantzer. I usually know the end, and a couple of incidents that have to happen, but I find getting there is half the fun! If I over-plot I get bored; I like it when the story takes off in strange and unexpected directions.
If you could sit down for a coffee (or mead!) with any of your characters, who would you pick and why?
I think Rhodri and Astan would be entertaining drinking companions; I’d like to stand them a pint in the Islanders and listen to them chat about horses for a couple of hours.
Do you ever use personal experiences for inspiration when writing?
All the time. Not just my personal experiences, but other peoples, things I see on TV, songs, magazine articles. Everything is fodder; if you’re a person who hangs around with writers you learn that really fast!
The Art of Forgetting:Rider is an emotional rollercoaster. Do you have a favourite scene?
The part where they fight the demon in the river, I enjoyed writing that bit. It was nice to see the King’s Third in proper action, and I liked the sense of menace of the creature under the bridge. Two scenes that have always stuck in my head were the Water in the Water in Lord of the Rings, and the creature in the trash compactor in Star Wars, I wanted to get over the idea of the unseen lurking beastie that could snatch you away without warning (Jaws as well, now I think about it.) Originally that scene wasn’t even in the book, but I wanted some action on the road between Northpoint and Hierath, and something that would cement Rhodri’s growing disenchantment with the way the King’s Third did things. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
The Usual Interview Questions
Is there a particular book/books/author series that has influenced your writing?
As I said above, I liberally steal inspiration from everywhere. I’m a big fan of David Gemmell, Joe Abercrombie, Juliet McKenna and Raymond Feist, and there are probably elements of all of them in my writing – a friend of mine said that the book “Art of Forgetting” reminded her most of was David Gemmell’s “King Beyond the Gate”, which I hadn’t read at the time, so I went straight to it to find out how much I’d accidentally ripped off! (not all that much, as it turns out, but if I’m going to be compared to anyone, I’m happy for it to be him.)
Who’s your favourite author?
I have lots of favourite authors. As well as the people mentioned above I love Anne McCafferey, Terry Pritchett, Iain Banks (with or without an M), George RR Martin – I could just go on about authors I love all day!
How important is social media in today’s world of writing?
I think it’s very important, and also very distracting! Without Twitter I wouldn’t have found KI, and I probably wouldn’t have made contact with a lot of authors, agents and industry people. Social media is great for making and maintaining contacts, and for making friends, but at the end of the day sometimes you have to switch it off and get on with doing some actual writing!
Do you have any tips for writers?
Finish what you start, don’t worry that your fist draft sucks, get it written then worry about getting it right. Don’t be disheartened by rejections, everyone gets them. Listen to advice, but don’t let it dictate your story. If ten people tell you you should change something, you should probably change it. Always act professional if you want to be professional, because what goes on the internet stays on the internet. Above all, never give up, never surrender!
Any questions for me?
I’d like to know how you go about choosing books for KI? What is it that makes you read a manuscript and go “wow, we have to have that?” Or is it some unquantifiable thing?
Also, which writers do you recommend that you think should be better known than they are?
Tough questions! For me personally (Sam), I have to be drawn in within the first 10-20 pages. There has to be passion in the writing. Oh, and there’s usually an energy to the author’s writing that excites me, or the story is incredibly unique.
When I get to the end of a full manuscript, and I find myself thinking about it later that day or week – then I know it was a good ‘un!
Oh, now that last question is haaaaard! There are so many wonderful writers out there that I’m actually having difficulty picking just a few… but I’ll give it a go! In the interest of fairness – I won’t pick Kristell Ink authors!
Ok… here goes… an eclectic mix!
Indie Press/ Self Published Authors: David Alastair Hayden (Wrath of the White Tigress), Andrea Baker (Worlds Apart: Leah), Lisa Wiedmeier (Cheyenne), Ella Ardent (The Plume).
Bigger Press Authors: Lauren DeStefano (Wither), Karen Chance (Touch The Dark), Adam Dalton (Empire of the Saviours), Elizabeth Moon (The Deed of Paksenarrion).
There. That’ll do. I could seriously go on and on with lists of writers I’ve come across that have blown me away, but these 8 have something special in their stories and writing.
I’m currently reading through our submissions, and there are some very special writers coming through Kristell Ink. The talent leaves me gobsmacked.
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