Friday 20 January 2012

The Write Way with Alyxandra Harvey

I finished reading Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey in one evening! It is that good. So then I pestered the lovely Emma from Bloomsbury to get me an interview with Alyxandra and she waved her magic wand and granted me my wish. Read below to discover Alyxandra's writing secrets. 
1) Your new book Stolen Away is AMAZING. What made you want to write about faeries?
 Thank you so much! I’ve always loved to read Faerie stories so I was eager to tell my own version. I love the possibilities, and the poetry of it.
2) From vampires and ghost to now faeries, which subject do you enjoy writing the most about?
 I love the traditions behind Faerie and the way everything is just a little askew. Magic shines through...and magic is as dangerous as it is beautiful, which I think is part of the allure. And I love the history of vampires, of characters who could have met Anne Boleyn or Robin Hood or Boudicca. Ditto ghosts...  I just love them all!

3) My favourite character has to be Jo, but which character did you enjoy writing about most?
 Isadora was fun because I was able to subvert different Faery archetypes in one character; especially the Victorian “flower fairy”  against the darker UnSeelie Fae.
4) I love the twists and turns the story takes, especially with Antonia’s story, did you plot it all out before you wrote it?
 Thank you! I don’t generally plot very much beforehand. I usually jump right in because most of my stories follow from the characters’ motivations and actions. Some parts of the plot end up being a surprise to me too, which I find exciting. That said, it’s important after that first draft to go back and tighten and polish so that all the puzzle pieces fit.
5) I love the budding relationship between Jo and Eldric the most. Will there be a sequel or will they feature in a companion novel?
 I would love to write a companion novel for them.  There is nothing currently planned or contracted for that however.  As with all sequel books, to make that a reality the readers would have to love the book enough to request it from their bookshops, libraries  and ebook site. Readers are powerful creatures!

6) Being an experienced writer, do you find the process gets easier with each book you write?
 Every book is different, so I’m always surprised at which parts suddenly seem easier and which have turned into mysteries overnight.  The hope is that each book is better, and while I’d obviously prefer the road to be smooth, there’s just no guarantee for that. Some days feel like arduous work and some days feel like ice cream and puppies.  The point is: words get onto the page, puppies or not. ;)
7) What kind of research did you need to carry out before writing Stolen Away?
 I’d already done quite a bit of research because I’ve long had a fascination for Faerie, Ancient Celts and Victorian history... so this was a great excuse to read more and dig deeper.
8) Do you try and aim for a daily word target when writing?
  I like the idea of schedules but my inner rebel just laughs at me every time I try to adhere to one. My goals are fairly simple: write every day. One page is good, 5 pages is best. On some days, a paragraph will do . . . as long as I keep one foot in the world of my book.

9) Do you edit as you go along or do you wait until the first draft is finished?
 I do a bit of both. I look over what I’ve written before I go to sleep and make changes,  and in the next day I’m better able to move on to the next scene.   
10) When is your ideal time to write? Morning, afternoon or evening?
 I tend to write in the afternoon into early evening but that can change on a whim.  If I’m on a tight deadline I’ll be in the studio all day and all evening, even if I’m just sitting in the space.  I’m big on taking helps me to figure out the next part of the I just like naps. ;)
11) Which authors inspired you whilst growing up?
  I loved the Bronte sisters, Tennyson and Jane Austen.  I also read a lot of fantasy novels and romance novels (and still do!).

12) If you could have written any other book in the world, what would it be?
  Oooh . . . I adore Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Wood Wife” by Terri Windling but I’m not sure I’d want to have written them exactly. I’m just really, really glad they exist.

13) What are you working on right now?
  I have just finished the last book in the Drake Chronicles series (#6). It’s quite a bit longer than the others. It’s a very strange feeling to have completed a series. I sincerely hope to be able to visit that world again.
Once I’ve gone over it for a bit of polish, I’ll start thinking about my next book which is a YA about three friends in the early 1800’s who discover they have a family history of witchcraft...

14) What advice would you give unpublished authors?
 The bad news is: there’s no secret handshake.
The good news is: there’s no secret handshake
Carry a notebook with you to jot down ideas. Read lots. And then read some more.
To find out more about Alyxandra Harvey:
Twitter: @AlyxandraH


  1. I really must start carrying a notebook with me, great advice :)

  2. Terrific post! I love this series, Viviene! Her writing goal may be simple: "write every day"; but it obviously works! :)

  3. Oh my heck! The UK cover is SO much prettier than the US cover! Wow. What a difference!
    I've added this to my wishlist.

  4. Fab interview as always - it's interesting that writing doesn't necessarily get easier the more books an author has published.

  5. That cover is so pretty and the book sounds really good.
    Pride and Prejudice *sigh*


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