Interview With Author Celyn Kendrick
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
If I were to describe myself, it would be "a font of useless trivia." When I'm at the YMCA in the pool and people have a question (and can't look it up online) they'll ask me… I live in New England with an Australian Shepherd and English Shepherd, travel a lot, and enjoy learning about… anything. I've played and toured in bands internationally (fife and drum corps and competitive pipe bands), compete in canine sports (obedience, rally, agility, barn-hunt…), etc.
I've written seven books, although only the first two are published at present, with the third in editing.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Green Hills Series was inspired by a 166+ mile long thru-hike along the Offa's Dyke Path. It starts at the Irish Sea in Prestatyn, Wales, and ends in Chepstow at the Severn Estuary and follows along the English and Welsh border. Over 600 stiles and more elevation gains than Mt. Everest! Spending that much time walking in sheep pastures gets you thinking, and having pheasants fall out of trees on you at dusk make you wonder that the fairies perhaps aren't imagined! There's certainly something "magical" about Wales, and it sticks in your soul long after you've left. It's no wonder it's the land of bards and poets. Hiraeth is definitely a phenomenon that summarises Wales!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Probably. I don't imagine you mean turns of phrase or grammar though. I'll often close my eyes, half asleep and just type on the keyboard to see what comes out, following the weird, obscure, shocking, or anything else that comes out through my fingertips—good or bad.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I think I have to say Anne Rice, as she's the first author I read prolifically… I enjoyed the philosophical and theological debates, the art history and other aspects, but I think she also taught me the importance of not losing the reader when she'd get on a rambling tangent, and I'd set the book down for six months, and could only pick it up to "force myself" to finish it. Likewise, Nora Roberts, while I'm not sure she's what I'd call a "wordsmith", has excellent scene and sequel, and I snack on them like potato chips as a sort of guilty pleasure. Books like Lord of the Flies and Kafka's Metamorphosis really stick with me for the varying layers and meaning woven into every scene/word. I try to use a lot of metaphor, puns, and allegory in my work, as this was always taught in literature classes as "what makes a classic book." I'm finding, however, that in the age of genre-fiction there is sadly very little below the surface, which makes my writing/books a bit hard to categorise. My books are very character-driven, but they also have mysteries, dragons, and other little "flash-bang" elements one finds in contemporary/genre fiction.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently editing Green Hills and Fairy Bells (book 3 of the Green Hills Series), reading a tonne of other author's books in round-robin reviews, and writing some new nebulous rambling thing that will hopefully show itself to me the way Green Hills did.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
So far, it seems my audience has been friends and family—which makes it awkward as there's rather blue humour and spicy bits.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Spell and grammar check! The biggest takeaway I've gotten from round-robin author reviews is that very few have spell and grammar checked, much less hired a professional editor to help with development/flow before they release their "masterpiece" into the world. This tends to flood the market with unintelligible "stuff," making it hard for indie authors to legitimately stand out with professional publisher-grade work.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Whitespace matters. Whitespace is as much a part of the flow, dialogue and message as the words. If your eyes can't track the words on the page if you can't discern the end of one thought and the beginning of a new one, if you can't find natural places to put a bookmark that will leave you wanting more… you have a problem with your writing. Perhaps now your words, but words are meaningless unless they are received.
What are you reading now?
I just finished a binge of reviews for other authors, so I'm taking a short break to regroup and get my own work done.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Celyn Kendrick awoke from disturbing dreams one morning to find herself transformed into a monstrous bug. Although I suppose that's been done before. But it seems this is what being an author has resorted to these days—one cockroach among many. It feels like nobody reads anymore. Their eyes are filled with social media and nonsense, not something that makes them think or feel.
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?
The Mists of Avalon, James Joyce/Ulysses, War and Peace, and something by Sarah Lark. Why? I only heard the audible version of Mists of Avalon and remember it being fantastic. Sarah Lark because she's a favourite and there's plenty there to chew on for a while, Ulysses and Tolstoy because they're bucket-list items but I can't get geared up to read them without being on a desert island.
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