I was lucky enough to get to chat with author Madeline Dyer about some of her upcoming works and what she’s all about. I asked her a few questions and I’ll post links at the bottom so, without further ado, here is the interview:
Hi Madeline! Thank you for speaking to us today :) can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and hobbies etc. Hi! I'm primarily a fantasy and science fiction writer, although recently I've delved into writing non-fiction, too. I live in Devon, UK, fairly near Dartmoor, and am the co-owner of the Goldsytch miniature Shetland pony stud. Other hobbies of mine include inline skating, reading and drawing. Wow, that's awesome! I've never tried inline skating. So, onto books. Are you an indie author or traditionally published? My fiction is published traditionally, but I self-publish my non-fiction. I decided to do it this way round, as I feel that if a fiction book is traditionally-published, the reader is kind of offered the guarantee that it is a good book—after all, other people must have liked it for it to be accepted for publication. You've published several non-fiction books about animal care. Are animals a big part of your life? Tell us about your pets/animals. Yes, so far I've got three titles in my 'Mad On Animals' series available for purchase in ebook format on Amazon. Ever since I was little, I've been around animals. The Shetland stud that I co-run at the moment is the same stud that my parents started up in 1982, and one of our current stallions is one that my parents bred nearly 25 years ago! At the moment, I live on a farm where we have ponies, guinea pigs and a cat. Oh, and there are cows in the fields and barns too. So, yeah, animals are a big part of my life. And that was why I decided to write about them, because one day, I was like, “Hey! I know a lot about animals; I could write a book on them!” And that was how the 'Mad On Animals' series came about. So, about my pets: I have a cat called Sparkie, my guinea pigs are called Hazel, Orchid, Pixie and Aurea (pronounced Ore-ree-ah), and my little Shetland herd consists of Victor, Gradbach, Tulip, Rosie and Bluebell. What made you take the jump from non-fiction to fiction? Actually, it was the other way round. Ever since I was little I've been writing fictional stories. I suppose what made me decide to delve into non-fiction was the decision that I could self-publish those and get some money from them—with all my fiction being traditionally-published, there's a lot of waiting going on all the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing the non-fiction just to get money; I'm still doing it because I love writing the ebooks (and I equally love deciding which of the photos of all our animals are going to go in them!), but by self-publishing, I have more control, and can ultimately release more non-fiction books a year than I do fiction. I decided to write my first non-fiction book, 'Guinea Pigs As Pets', after I'd finished the sixth draft of one of my fantasy novels, 'Spirit Of Fire', in the early summer of 2012. What fiction genre do you write? Well, it's hard to define an actual genre, as my books tend to be a mixture of several, but I mainly write fantasy and science fiction for a young adult market. My NaNoWriMo 2012 novel was a YA dystopian story (around 70,000 words) with some science fiction and horror elements. But, yeah, in general, I write a mixture of urban and high fantasy. Oh, and there's always a little romance intertwined too... Sounds interesting. Can you tell us about the next book you'll be launching? Oh, now this is a tricky one. In terms of fiction, I have no idea at the moment. I mean, I have a few short stories out there being considered, and a YA fantasy novel, so it depends ultimately on if they get accepted and when (fingers crossed). The next non-fiction book that I'll probably be releasing will either be the fourth title in the 'Mad On Animals' series, or a new one on the craft of writing that I started recently. But neither of these are in any way fit for launching yet! Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Are you a plotter and a planner or do you just start at the beginning and let the words flow? Do you have a special place to write? Hmmm... my writing process... Well, I definitely am a planner. I have to know what I'm going to write. But, at the same time, I like to have a degree of freedom, so my plans aren't that rigid and allow for several different directions to be taken. Generally, I'll develop the finer details of the plot, and add sub-plots into the narrative, as I write the second or third drafts. And then the fourth, fifth and sixth drafts are a little more technical—all the grammar and actual execution stuff gets corrected here, as I self-edit. My first draft is definitely my most creative draft, and I absolutely love writing a first draft. It tends to be in this draft that I discover the biggest problems with the plot, and ultimately decide whether this is a viable book. Keeping my motivation and inspiration flourishing are integral parts to my writing process. I try to think about the idea for as long as possible, before writing anything other than notes and plans. And when I do start writing the first draft, I try to write at least 3,000 to 5,000 words a day, and to never miss a day until that manuscript's first draft is done. It kind of feels satisfying to write 'The End' on the bottom of the last page. I wrote the first draft of 'Forbidden Hearts', which is just over 70,000 words long, in 24 (consecutive) days, and the second in the series, 'Forbidden Embrace', which is 72,000 words, took just over a month. On the other hand, the first draft of 'Spirit Of Fire' took four months (113,000 words) to write, but this book was way more complicated than any of those in the Forbidden series. And I could only write at weekends when writing 'Spirit Of Fire', so I guess it all evens out. My short stories, on the contrary, rarely take me more than a couple of days to write and perfect. Do you have any experiences that influence your writing? Well, the easy answer would be 'no'. But, really, any author's work is shaped by their experiences, even if it is subconscious. In my fantasy books, I'm really into looking at kind of philosophical issues, like what it means to be human. And, both the Spirit Of Fire series and the Forbidden novels look at inequality in a big way. I agree - all authors writing is shaped by their experiences. So, now we've dealt with the book stuff, let's have a few fun questions! If you could have dinner with any three people on the planet, who would they be? Oh, what an interesting question! Well, I'd have to say that one of them would have to be Richelle Mead; her Vampire Academy books, Bloodlines series, and the Dark Swan books have been hugely inspirational to me. As for the second person, I'd probably have to go for another writer Maybe Becca Fitzpatrick—I loved her Hush, Hush sequence. And, kind of for aesthetical reasons, Louis Smith would be the third person. And, besides, I used to be a gymnast too, so we'd have plenty to discuss! Lord that boy is fine! *fans self* Gotta love a guy who can dance! So, do you have a favourite book/author? I sure do! But, I have lots, and choosing just one is tricky! I'd probably have to go for 'Last Sacrifice' by Richelle Mead. Or 'The House At Pooh Corner' by A. A. Milne. And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be? Just to keep writing. Write for at least half an hour, every day. And make sure that you're writing because you love creating new worlds and getting to know characters, not because you want to make millions from your upcoming best-seller (although that would be a lovely bonus!).
That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for talking to us and giving us a little snapshot into your life.
Madeline’s website is: http://www.madelinedyer.co.uk
You can follow her on Twitter here:
https://twitter.com/MadelineDyerUK And some of her fantasy short stories are free to read at the following links: 'A Dead Vampire' (Mad Swirl) http://madswirl.com/content/stories/Dead_Vampire.html 'The Eight Thousand And Third Day' (Yesteryear Fiction) http://www.yesteryearfiction.com/2011/07/71311.html 'The Photograph' (Yesteryear Fiction) http://www.yesteryearfiction.com/2011/07/7111.html 'The Power Of Blood' (Mirror Dance Fantasy) - This is one of my favourites! http://mirrordancefantasy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/power-of-blood.html