Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve completed 5 books, either fantasy or science fiction. I have a YA alternate history fantasy coming soon after The Third Kind of Magic which I wanted to publish first since it was close to my heart.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I get tired of seeing so many traditionally masculine fantasy books, some of which seem quite sexist to me, being marketed to children. I wanted to write about a world where traditional society means, as it often did, that women had their own sphere of influence, not better or worse than the men’s, but maybe mistrusted by Outsiders who have a more traditional, patriarchal culture.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so. I do like to start out writing longhand, it seems to use a different part of my brain than typing does. The flow is different.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many it would be impossible to list, but I will say that as far as witches go, Terry Pratchett’s are my favorites.
My biggest influence as a child was Dr. Doolittle – I fell in love with a world where children and animals were considered just as important as white male Englishman – and so were Africans and Native Americans. Pretty radical stuff. Oh yes, and talking animals of course. That’s a direct influence on this book. The impulse to communicate with other life.
What are you working on now?
I am revising the sequel to *The Third Kind of Magic* which will outline other kinds of magic not addressed in the first book, and take on the power struggle between the old and new cultures directly.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I am still learning about that, so I am reluctant to offer advice. Nicholas Erik’s free guides have been enormously helpful to me.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep going! Don’t be discouraged! No one knows what you’re capable of doing, not even you.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Our taste and vision always extend beyond what we can do today. Our task is to keep moving in the right direction.
What are you reading now?
I finished reading *The War I Finally Won* a few days ago. I was skeptical an American could pull off a British war story, but I think she did it. And what kids’ will take away from it has nothing to do with whether the British slang was exactly right or not — it’s a very moving story about a young girl developing from being the one who needs others’ help to heal from her own miserably abused childhood to being willing and able to help others. Great stuff.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Just finding time to write on the next books – I have a sequel planned for my YA set in Restoration England also. With pirates!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Ha! First off, a survival manual. I don’t remember how to purify water…
So hard, but I would have to say *Lord of the Rings*, my favorite Terry Pratchett book (which changes, but might be a Tiffany Aching book…) and this may sound weird, but *The Reawakening* by Primo Levi, the sequel to Ecce Homo, the first Auschwitz book. It’s such a hopeful, joyous book. And a book of Buddhist teachings. All of that might keep me sane and healthy.
Then maybe a collection of Virginia Woolf’s essays.