Recently, I had a guest post on Tales of Today and Yesterday by an new author, Claire Banschbach. She agreed to do a writer’s question and answer for me, which means we get to see a little bit of what it’s like to be a newly published author.
Michael Gunter: What exactly made you want to start writing, initially?
Claire: I’ve been devouring books since I learned to read. Even as a young kid I liked to try and write stories. Most were really short and not very good. But then the LOTR movies came out. I started reading the books and loved everything about them. That’s when I first started coming up with ideas for my own story. It took several years, much daydreaming, and probably trying to avoid homework before I started writing it down. Long story short, I wanted to create my own story that I would want to read.
Michael Gunter: You’ve said before that you don’t like talking about your writing. Was there a specific reason behind that? As a published and appearing author, is that changing any?
Claire: I didn’t like talking about my writing with the general populace mostly because of the kids I was in high school with. Granted I was homeschooled, but I still felt like they would have judged me a lot. So, that feeling didn’t induce sharing. I didn’t really talk about it to my family much about it just because as I was starting to write I was completely immersed in my own world and I loved it there. I didn’t want intruders. But then I started to want some feedback and that’s when my sisters came along. But now that’s changing. It’s getting easier to talk about fantasy and my book to other people. And part of it too is that I have to talk about myself. I’m not really an attention-monger, so “marketing myself” doesn’t come as easily to me as it might to others. I’m finding people who are genuinely interested in me and my book so that makes everything easier.
Michael Gunter: What exactly was involved in the publisher/writer editing of The Rise of Aredor?
Claire: Tate Publishing is a really great company in that they work closely with their authors and don’t just dictate what will happen with the book. I sent them my final manuscript and their editor went over it. It got sent back to me with the editor’s comments and corrections. I had the power to veto or accept their changes (I accepted all of them). Then it went to formatting where they laid it out as it would appear in print. Then back to me to approve. Next step was a proof to approve and then it went to print. The hardest part was the editing. I had to do one last round of editing before I sent it off the first time to make sure I had everything in there I wanted. Then back and forth with the company to make sure everything was just right. Overall, the entire process took about a year, from signing a contract to getting my first shipment of books and publicity materials in.
Michael Gunter: In one of the podcasts of the popular “Writer’s Excuses”, the well-known author Brandon Sanderson says that one of the things he never expected as a “wannabe” writer was the cross-purpose deadlines. Working with one deadline, only to be interrupted by another one, just as urgent. Have you run into this yet?
Claire: Not yet because I don’t set personal deadlines for myself. I usually tried to free up my schedule when my rep sent me the latest corrections to approve. Deadlines only really changed once for me when she initially told me I had longer to edit but then moved up the deadline by two weeks. That was pretty exciting.
Michael Gunter: What, for you, is the hardest part of reviews and criticism of your books?
Claire: You get so used to your friends and family editing and reading for you and loving your work that once it gets out into the real world you discover that maybe not everybody is as enthralled with your book as you thought. Some people love it and some people nitpick a little. I haven’t run into any serious criticisms, just some things people thought could have been done better or according to their own reading preferences. Most of the time I can agree, tip my hat to them, and move on and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes in the future. So, that’s the hardest part is just to understand that you will get criticized for some things despite what your loving friends and family say.
Michael Gunter: If you had a chance to write a book in some universe that you enjoy reading (Star Wars, LOTR, Narnia, etc), would you do it? Or do you prefer to stick to your own brick and mortar?
Claire: I think I would go for Narnia. I know you could find some similarities between my book and The Chronicles of Narnia. Before I really started to make The Rise of Aredor a reality, I dabbled in some Narnia fanfiction. But I also love to write short stories in my own universe, plus planning more potential stories for later on down the road.
Michael Gunter: Okay, one last question. If one of your books were to be made into a movie, would you go see it?
Claire: Definitely. Unless the film company ruined it, then I would turn into a giant green rage monster.