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Emma Faragher
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Author of the Month > December 2013: Emma Faragher

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message 1: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Congratulations to Emma Faragher for being the Group's very first Author of the Month! Fellow Smashwords authors, release those questions!


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments whoot! :) Ahem! Since I've had the honor to beta-read for the story submitted to Wyrd Words, I was wondering how it's related to the novel! :)


message 3: by Marla (new)

Marla Bradeen (mbradeen) | 49 comments Shifters seem to have a predominant role in your novel, The House . Can you explain what shifters are to someone unfamiliar with the fantasy genre (i.e. me)?


message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Hello all. I know it's not quite December yet but I thought I could get a head start on these questions.

Barbara.
The House is set a few months after Necromancer and the main character is different but they are set in the same world and the same city. Mal will show up in The Solstice and Trix may make a couple of appearances in the Necromancer short stories later on.

Marla.
Shifters, shape-shifters to give them a fuller name can cover a wide range of mythology. Typically you hear of werwolves and usually there is a link to the cycle of the moon.
In the world I've created most shifters are tied to the phases of the moon with the exception of those who were born with ability. Trix is a true-born shifter which means that she was born with the ability and her mother was a true-born shifter, her father was a witch.
Different authors and different mythologies approach the idea in very different ways. Some only have werwolves and some allow for shifters to shift into any animal. For my world shifters can each transform into only one animal but there on no limits on the numbers of different kinds of shifters. Another difference between my shifters and some others is that they retain all of their human capacity for thought whilst in animal form. In some mythologies and books they become slavering beasts but my characters will retain their human personalities.
There is also a great range in the abilities of shifters in The House. The most powerful can slip easily between animal and human form and have enhanced strength, senses and healing. Those with less power can't do all or sometimes any of these things.
In The House there are two ways to become a shifter. Either you can be born one and shifting from the womb (one of the main reasons for shifter miscarriage) or you can be transformed. No biting or scratching, it's a fully formed ritual requiring the consent and intention of both partied. It also has a reasonably high risk of dying which is increased if you are too young, too old, ill or female. The risk is associated with both strength of body and strength of mind. Female shifters tend to be powerful because those are the only ones that survive the transformation.

I hope that answers your questions without too much rambling. Once you get me started sometimes it's hard to stop and that's not even going on to some of the things to be introduced to the series later!


message 5: by Marla (new)

Marla Bradeen (mbradeen) | 49 comments Thanks for the shifters description, Emma. I had no idea!


message 6: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments And they look more interesting than the "usual" werewolf! :)


message 7: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments It's just no fun using someone else's mythology! I simply love working out all the rules of the magic and how they work in the world.


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Emma wrote: "It's just no fun using someone else's mythology! I simply love working out all the rules of the magic and how they work in the world."

that's the best part of word-building! ;) Well done - I'll have to add your book to the neverending TBR pile... sigh!


message 9: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Hi Emma. I see you've published book one of a series. Have you planned a series-wide storyline in advance, or are you going with the flow and seeing where the characters take you?


message 10: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I have all 5/6 books planned out. The first 3 are firm with dates (dates for the setting I have no idea when I'll manage to finish them) and the rest are more fluid in my mind but I know what happens. I've just got a couple of time issues to iron out and a couple of peripheral characters who aren't quite as developed as I'd like. I've also got another set of short stories like those I'm doing with Necromancer but for a character who plays a minor part later on but is quite interesting in her own right. And then another one which might just come after the whole series which is very not solid yet but is yet another character who's story mildly intersects with Trix's but again who is a very different character. I've yet to tackle anything from a male perspective but books 4 and 5 may have short passages from alternate points of view.

The hardest thing about having a while series planned out with all the character development known ahead of time is not being able to tell anyone. Everyone who'd be interested doesn't want to know! And of course every time someone says something about Trix or one of the others and I have to bite my tongue to keep from correcting them because you don't get to find out about it until later in the series. Although it is fun to see what others think will happen when I already know. To be honest I couldn't change it if I tried. Trix, Mal and others (don't worry I already have names but I'll not risk spoiling anything yet) just seem to write their own stories and I just have to take the time to work out a few specifics like the date and the day of the week and the cycle of the full moon 2 hundred years from now. Oh what we would do without google.

I start my exams tomorrow so I might not be able to post for a few days but I'll check in if I can. It might help me keep my sanity. Night all and happy reading.


message 11: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Emma wrote: "It's just no fun using someone else's mythology! I simply love working out all the rules of the magic and how they work in the world."

I'm wondering whether you had the basic framework of magic rules before you began, and if you add variations as needed. Also, do you add a little, or a lot of your detail after you have finished the basic story?


message 12: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Stan I knew all the rules of my world before I started to write. I tend to most the vast majority of the detail in the first pass and then adjust it during editing. That way I find the narrative flows better and I get less continuity issues. It also means that I can add in little hints and bits of information which become more important later on.


message 13: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments My exams are officially over so I should be able to answer questions quickly. Especially now I've figured out how to download the app onto my phone! I'm going to be doing some more writing and hope to have another free short story for you next week. I just need to get it edited and figure out a cover for it.


message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Yay, Emma! :D
I was about to say - kudos to you for knowing all the rules of your world before you started writing. My first fantasy stories (written in my late twenties or the early 1990s) were rip off of Dragonlance and the D&D books... although you write paranormal/urban/magic realism fantasy, so it's sort of easier (I mean, you mentioned it's Earth, right? Not another planet). But it's still world-building (one of the best aspects of writing SFF), and I think you're very good at it, so I'll be cheering for you (and hopefully get to read your books next year)! :)


message 15: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments My very first novel was set in a complete fantasy world and I am playing around with some more pure fantasy too. I can't write much of anything if I don't already know all the rules! For the Trix SinClara series I also worked out a lot of technology and government structure and such as it's set in the future and I wanted to at least know the reasons behind some of the things myself so that they'd make more sense to the reader. But I'm not a big tech person and I've had several people laugh about the fact that I didn't include a version of google glasses. Which is mostly because I think I'd walk into even more stuff if I wore something like that. I'm also quite scientific so it was fun to think about things like energy and farming and travel and how it all works together.


message 16: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 413 comments Congratulations on finishing your exams! You can be a person again.

I just wanted to chime in and say that I really enjoyed your worlds in the bits I've read. The way you work out the rules for magic and how it integrates with technology and the society as a whole is clearly demonstrated in your writing.

If anyone gives you a hard time about not including Google Glass in your stories, just tell them that the folks at Apple told you it would never catch on. (Insignificant Tangent Warning: If Apple made a version of Google Glass, would they call it iEye?)

I should ask a question, since that's why we're here. In a fast paced life, burn out is an ongoing threat. Do you find that writing refreshes you or do deadlines drain you? Is your writing an escape, a task to be completed, a compulsion, a second career, a hobby to be indulged as time permits, or something else? How do you feel when you've finished a long writing session?


message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I tend to describe writing as my sanity. It's a way for the worlds inside my head to get out so that I can spend more time in reality! After a long writing session I usually look at the time and have to suddenly run and do something because I've not looked at the clock in several hours. Life is always going to be fast paced for me but I still manage to fit a lot into it. Studying, ballet, sword fighting, reading, writing, flute, violin etc etc. I try to do all of my hobbies at least once a week and sometimes I succeed. Studying has been my main focus for the last 2 months but December should be a nice change and I suppose writing does relax be to some extent as long as it's going well anyway!


message 18: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Emma wrote: "...sword fighting..."

For real?


message 19: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Yes, I've started a class with 19th century sabres. It's great fun and an amazing work out but I've only been doing it a few months. Mostly I started as research for editing and overhauling the first book I wrote: Immortals' Fire, but I do love it and its so cool.


message 20: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Emma wrote: "Yes, I've started a class with 19th century sabres..."

That is amazing! That's taking research to a whole new level. I notice that you're a musician, too. Does music feature much in your books?


message 21: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Not really. None of my characters are particularly musical. There's some dancing and listening to music but so far none of my main ones play an instrument. I'll have to have a think about that but some of the periferal characters later on are rather musical.


message 22: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments The sword fighting is pretty cool. You mention research, how much do you usually do for your world building?


message 23: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments It depends. I've done quite a bit going along. I'm a medic so I try to think through the biology myself and work it out. I've done quite a bit of research into both ancient Cornish and celtic and Cornish pagan deities for the next could of books. I've tried to make the transport system, government and technology realistic, especially with things like inflation and housing and such but those aren't my areas of expertise so it took a long time to plan out. There's a scene in a morgue in the solstice which I wigged out about but then the junior I was shadowing had to go sign a death certificate which turned out to be informative for both my learning and my writing. It was a lovely morgue, all the doors were a very cheerful green and I confirmed my suspicions that they wear scrubs rather than white coats. Nobody wears white coats in British hospitals. Ironically the medical scenes and hospital scenes are some of the hardest to write because I spend ages thinking about what would happen if actual drs I've met we're confronted with the supernatural. Although it is pretty cool to think about what it's all going to be like in a couple hundred years. Although with the supernatural healing most of the characters don't spend that much time in hospitals anyway, let alone normal NHS ones. And yes the NHS is still around in my future. It's near and dear to my heart and I just couldn't face being cynical enough to have it sold to the highest bidder as some fear will happen.

On an update note. I've finished the first draft of my next Necromancer short and once it's edited it's going to be proofread. And then I need to come up with a title and a cover. I'm hoping to put both that one and the first one out as free ebooks by the end of the month. But this one is set after The House and will spoil a couple of major plot twists I'd read before so fair warning. Not all of them but at least one. It's got more of how Mal and Ali are working out living together and learning who they are and what they have to do to stay away from the Covenanr. Mal is so very close to being properly grown up (necromancers don't fully come into their powers or become fertile until they are 28 or so) and she's got a few more creative uses of her power in this one. More real spells than the last one. She does some more raising in The Solstice though (my terrifying to write morgue scene).


message 24: by Marla (new)

Marla Bradeen (mbradeen) | 49 comments Okay, so now I feel really lazy for using Google to do most of my book research.

Emma, you are really impressive. Where do you find time to do all of this? Do you spend much effort on book marketing and, if so, what have you found to be the best use of your time with regard to that activity?

Everyone besides Emma, Goodreads Reviewers' Group members can vote for Emma's The House to be selected as that group's January read.


message 25: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I takes a long time to get book stuff done as my degree is very intensive and takes up most of my time (I don't mind as I love it). But I do use google for a lot of it. I just take the basic facts and then think through them with a pen and paper and make (really basic) drawings of things so I know what they look like. I make the buildings on the sims sometimes so that I can remember what's where!

Did you know that there aren't any Cornish English dictionaries? It's very frustrating but there are some great websites.

I don't do a lot of marketing because I can't afford it. I didn't start writing to make it rich and I published because it felt silly to have these books sitting around on my computer. I would like to regroup the cost of the cover at some point but I'm generally relying on word of mouth. When I've got more books out I might do a small ad campaign or something but with only one book it doesn't seem worth it!


message 26: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I think you have a good attitude, Emma. A lot of people think they will make a living from writing and mostly that isn't the case. It't great you have managed to do so much work, what with everything else you have going on, you are far more motivated than I am:)

What degree are you doing? I know what that is like, although mine was a while ago now.

There are lots of things you can do marketing-wise on a budget.


message 27: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments It's nice to meet someone else who published because the book was already sat there on the PC! I feel so amateur on some of these threads. Anyhow - well done on getting a whole book finished while at Uni.. It's not so much the time as the brain drain that would do me in there. Work takes more time, but it's not as heavy on the grey matter.


message 28: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I'm doing a medical degree. So it does take up most of my time but I do love it so much. I find that I'm always looking for ways to rationalise the magic. Not to make it not real but to put it in an equation. I've never understood putting all your effort into trying to make it big writing. I'm of the mind that I wouldn't want to be famous on the same level as some of the top grossing authors anyway. It would suck not to be able to leave the house without makeup incase someone took a picture but I have to admit that author famous seems to be one of the better fame pathways. Your characters and the actors that play them will always get more attention and you just get the money from it! And I feel like an armature most of the time around here anyway, like I'm a child again with my hand in the air shouting 'me, me, pick me!'


message 29: by Marla (new)

Marla Bradeen (mbradeen) | 49 comments Except for running one Goodreads giveaway, I have yet to spend money on marketing either. Even with three books, I'm not sure it would be worth it. And although I do write just because I like it and would do so even if I never made a dime, I have to admit that I wouldn't mind becoming a best-selling author either. So, for me, I think I would be foolish to ignore marketing efforts completely, but at this point I feel most of my time is better spent simply writing.

But enough about me! Emma, did you find collaborating on an anthology any different than writing and publishing on your own? Was there a joint effort between the contributing writers to edit each other's work, or did you mostly only work together when it came to compiling the individual short stories into a single collection?


message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments I beta-read for Emma, and she beta-read for me, even if I ended up changing the story for the anthology! ;) And that's a question for Steph, LOL!
Sorry, I'll shut up now *hides in a corner*
Go Emma! :D You're on the right path! :D


message 31: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 413 comments Beta reading for each other was a fun way to collaborate. I think several of us felt much more invested in the anthology that way.

Emma's story was great. (I'm not just saying that because she's holding a sword. Really.)


message 32: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments The anthology was a lot of fun, it is good marketing, apparently as well.


message 33: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Haha, there's more sword swinging wielding in the next necromancer. And even some in the solstice. Still from Mal rather than Trix but at some point over the next few books Trix is going to need some weapons training. I'm just not sure who from yet.

And it was nice to be able to have a relative stranger beta read for me with the anthology. Hopefully it will also bring up all our sales. I wouldn't mind the money of a best selling author either but I'm a student and therefore living on a student budget at the moment. Although myself and my housemate managed a huge Christmas dinner in our tiny student kitchen with one oven and a hob that's temperamental for 9 people for a fiver each. Including mulled wine, dips and pudding. Sorry, had to mention it, we were amazing. All in 2 hours from start to serving!


message 34: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I am happy to run an author interview with anyone on here, I do have a bit of a queue but drop me a pm or email to libraryoferana@yahoo.co.uk and I will send over the questions.


message 35: by Marla (new)

Marla Bradeen (mbradeen) | 49 comments Ah, yes, I remember my student days. I don't miss them, but they were fun.

I like how you all beta-read each other's anthology stories. That sounds like an excellent way to get relevant feedback.

A.L., thanks for your interview offer, but I don't think I fit with your blog genres (my books are more humorous mysteries bordering on chick-lit). If that's not an issue for you, let me know and I'll send you an email.

Emma, at what point do you seek feedback on your stories? Do you wait until you think everything's perfect, or do you like to have other people look at earlier versions in case they have ideas to help you work out the rough parts?


message 36: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments In general I like to have done the vast majority of my editing before anyone reads my work. Now that I've got someone to proofread my work I won't get beta readers until after she's through with it as I did for the anthology. Mostly because I'm dyslexic so I can't tell when there are spelling mistakes and sometimes miss grammar and word errors too. (It's harder to spot on the computer) although I've yet to try the text to speech software with regards to my novel writing as opposed to essay writing. Apparently a lot of people get diagnosed at uni since if everything else is good you can compensate up till that point.

If anyone wants to beta read or read to review for the Solstice let me know and I'll contact you when it's ready. I'm aiming for April at the latest for publication and I'm going to go through and edit the first 10 chapters and send them to be proofread in the next week. I've hit a bit of a slump because I'm busy making Christmas presents and getting anxious about my exam results.


message 37: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 413 comments When you are focused on writing (as opposed to researching seal buttering, panda shaving, or electric eel wrestling), do you read as well? Some writers I've talked with prefer to read works that inspire them with ideas. Others prefer to block out all other books so they can focus on their own. Does reading inspire you or distract you?


message 38: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I couldn't stop reading to write a book as then I'd never read. The two are very separate for me. Both are relaxing and both can be frustrating but in different ways. Writing is frustrating when it's not going right or I can't figure out what comes next whereas reading is frustrating when I don't know what comes next! There are so many books I'm waiting for in 2014 its silly. I should just avoid starting series which aren't finished. I can't cope with the lose ends. Not that that stops me with my work. Although I like to leave the reader feeling like that story is done while still wanting to know what the next one is rather than stopping mid-story!


message 39: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Have you many embarrassing old manuscripts hidden in a drawer?


message 40: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Not really I'm afraid. I've got one on my computer that I'm gradually editing/ rewriting but I need to decide whether to send it more YA or adult since right now it's in the middle. I wrote it about 5 years ago and it's the only other full length book I've got. I wrote a few bedtime stories when I was much younger but I think I can be forgiven the terribleness of them because I was only about 10.

Eventually I'll get Immortals' Fire up to standard and publish that too. I've got the first couple of chapters on my blog if anyone fancies having a look.

Also news: I passed my exams! So now I can focus on making Christmas presents and writing.


message 41: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Go Emma! :D


message 42: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments Congrats Emma!


message 43: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Nice one:)


message 44: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Thanks all. And luckily I have my least intensive placements first next year so I should be able to keep up and get The Solstice done. I'm currently trying to balance writing with making Christmas presents. Knitting on 3 1/4 cm needles is incredibly frustrating but it serves me right for asking what people want for Christmas. Why did it have to be hats? Scarves, those I can do...

Update on the writing, anyone want to know what happens when you mix spell books belonging to ancient celtic gods and humans looking for fairy wishes... I can't decide whether its funny or terrifying but I'm hoping to find a balance of both. I also need to find somewhere to teach me how to pronounce proto-celtic.


message 45: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Emma wrote: "...Also news: I passed my exams! So now I can focus on making Christmas presents and writing."

Congratulations! And you make Christmas presents as well? How do you find time to anything?


message 46: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I am in a perpetual state of panic...


message 47: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 413 comments As far as your question about funny vs. terrifying is concerned, I think it depends on one's point of view.

In general, swordplay, knitting and panic don't always go well together. I know if I was going to duel someone who was freaking out over knitting a hat, I would have to rethink my life choices.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the voices you hear as a writer. Through emails, reviews, editors, proofreaders, forums, etc. you hear from a number of people about your writing. In much the same way that the contents of your refrigerator clamor for your attention when you're hungry, you may pay more attention to some voices than to others. Some of these may make very convincing arguments and may influence your decisions. (Yes, I'm looking at you, leftover pizza...) Where was I? Right. Voices. Who are the voices that sway your decisions about your writing? Do you have specific people you trust to guide you? Do you pick and choose the salient bits and then go your own way?

I'm not just asking that because someone picked off some of the pepperoni, by the way.


message 48: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments I don't really get that many comments. I don't have a big enough reader base for it I guess. I have a couple of friends who tell me a couple of things but so far they love it and they don't want to know what happens next. I nearly shouted at my friend the other day when she went to pick up my book of notes on the characters and story lines. She dropped it like it was on fire.

I listened to the reviewers when they said I needed an editor, or rather proofreader and I listen to her. She's family and she likes my writing and characters so she always has useful things to say. Like pointing out that Trix can seem a wee bit arrogant sometimes when that wasn't my intention. It allowed me to put in a couple of things to balance Trix out a bit.


message 49: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments Since it's christmas tomorrow I thought I'd do a discount voucher/ coupon thingy on smashwords for The House. I'm also trying to do a cover for the short stories so they will be out at the end of the month to celebrate handing over to someone else.

The voucher runs out at the end of the month. I hope this is alright to put here, just thought it would be a good place for if someone was thinking of reading it while they could still ask questions. (Not that I'll stop responding to everyone at the end of the month but still)

EM95G


message 50: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Got it. Thanks, Emma.


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