Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m an archaeologist who specialized in textiles and domestic life of the late Iron Age and Early Medieval period in northern Europe. I’m also a lifelong reader of fantasy and science fiction. This is my third novel in a fantasy series called the Averraine Cycle.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Shades of Winter was inspired by my fascination with the Viking Age, and my research into how the people of that time viewed themselves and others. But it’s also based around themes of loyalty and betrayal.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Well, sort of. I write lying in bed. This started in grad school, when the rooms I lived in were so tiny that there simply was no other place to work. Now I’m so used to it that I can’t see any other way to do it.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oddly enough, Jane Austen. She was a master at fiction structure. But then, I also fell in love with Terry Pratchett, and Elizabeth Moon, and Barbara Hambly, and Lois McMaster Bujold, so I think those authors, too, have sent me in particular directions in my writing.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a romance-fantasy . It’s still in the world of Averraine, but in a different country and centuries later. It’s kind of a mash-up of Jane Austen and fantasy, where manners meets magic and makes mayhem.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I try to connect with readers on social media – not sell, sell, sell, but with my comments on a variety of things. I post a lot of cartoons and memes (mostly things that make me laugh) and when I see something that moves me, I respond. I’ve made some great friends that way, and if, at some point, they get curious about the novels, that’s just icing on the cake.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read. Read a lot. Read things outside your comfort zone.
And live a little. Take a risk or two. You can’t bring anything emotional or wise to a story if you play it safe in real life.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Go big or go home.
What are you reading now?
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. It’s really good.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More Averraine Cycle stuff is in the works These books are stand-alones, but they all eventually tie in together.
After that, I think I’d like to try doing some “urban fantasy” stuff. Just for the change in pace.
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?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. Probably LoTR, a complete Shakespeare, and Pride and Prejudice…and maybe something by Neil Gaiman, because he’s just awesome.