Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Interview with Anna Dickinson

It’s one day until Journeys comes out, and I’ve been joined by Anna Dickinson, one of the fantasy anthology’s contributors (alongside myself).

1. Could you tell us the title and a one or two sentence premise of your story in Journeys?

"Tomas and the Virgin"

A boy and his father set out to capture the vanishingly rare Golden Roc. The hunt ought to be routine-- Tomas and his father are professionals, after all -- but the virgin they're using as bait just won't do what she's told.

2. When writing short stories for anthologies, do you prefer to have them be stand-alone or tied into your other works’ worlds?

Stand-alone. Then I can go wherever I like with them.

3. Over the time you’ve been writing, have you changed the way you do things, whether streamlining the process or moving from spontaneity to planning, or vice versa?

My first foray into writing was totally unplanned, and took me forever to finish (actually, it still might not be completely finished -- I keep meaning to go back to it). Since then, I've tried to have a general idea of where I'm going, although that's not always where I end up.

I can't plan things out in detail because it sucks all the joy out of the writing process for me. If I get stuck, I'll use planning to work out what I'm doing, especially the conflict diagrams from Storyteller Tools by Harold Page.

4. Besides fantasy, the genre of Journeys, do you write in other genres or in differing styles (grimdark, high fantasy etc)?

I mainly write YA contemporary fantasy, with mobile phones and buses and supermarkets, so Journeys was a bit of a detour from my comfort zone. I really enjoyed it, and now I'm working on a Regency romance (with magic!) to see what it's like to write about another historical period. Unfortunately, although I intended the romance to be about muslin and ringlets, it's turning quite dark.

5. What are your inspirations? Are they mostly historical/literary, and how much do other modern writers influence you?

I find this a really hard question to answer. There are authors I love and would give an unspecified number of fingers (or toes) to write like: Diana Wynne Jones. Holly Black, Patricia McKillip, for example, but inspiration is a slippery thing, and ideas tend to just appear.

6. If readers enjoy Tomas and the Virgin which of your other works would you recommend they try?

I don't have much else published yet, but if people like Tomas, they'd perhaps also like Lara, the heroine of THE BOY BY THE LAKE in Woodbridge Press's THE HAUNTING OF LAKE MANOR HOTEL. That story's full of bone-filled lakes and man-eating trees. There's kissing, too. [Excellent recommendation, as the authors of that anthology are renowned for their talent and attractiveness. Also, check my story in it too – TW].

7. Beyond your own work, what do you like to read?

All sorts of things. The authors I mentioned above, fantasy, YA, classics (especially Austen and Dickens). I'm currently reading THE GODDESS PROJECT by Bryan Wigmore and chewing my nails off in envy; I just finished THE CALL by Peadar O Guilin (I'm still a bit traumatised). I loved Melina Marchetta's fantasy series, I have a secret enthusiasm for Tessa Dare's comic Regency Romance, and when Nathan sent us the prompt, I started re-reading The Belgariad (I remembered the series as being mostly journey, which it is).

8. In between answering inane questions and writing, how do you like to unwind?

Unwind, you say? When I'm not writing or reading or faffing around on social media pretending to have opinions on things I don't know about I'm responding to the cries of "Muuuuuuum!" when my kids can't find their socks/ a glass of water/ a school book.

Thanks, Anna. You can find out more about Anna and her writing here:


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