Welcome to Author Thursday hosted by Never Too Old for Y.A. & N.A. Books group on Goodreads.
Today we welcome author Christy Hall to the group and blog for an interview.
She and her sister, Amanda Gerry, have written the Shardwell Series which includes these books:
So, let's hear what Christy has to say!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
We have loved reading since we were little. We are especially drawn to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I have always wanted to be a writer, but I loved the idea of being a high school teacher as well. So I did both.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
About a year to do all the outline and first draft. We then wait 3-6 months and work on something else before we come back to it for final editing. It distances us from the story and adds clarity so we can identify our plot/character mistakes.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Mostly by extracting parallel social issues from our own culture. But we also love to explore other cultures’ themes as well.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
We write a chapter a week. My sister blocks it out and adds the dialogue. Then she gives it to me to add description and flourish. After that, she edits it a final time.
How are you able to balance the other aspects of your life with your writing?
We work at the same school and carpool. Most of our outline happens in the car, so we get about 2 hours a day of brainstorming. We also do a lot of work together on family vacations. Writing is our hobby, so while others spend their time scrapbooking or hiking, we choose to write instead.
What elements do you think make a great storyline?
Definitely a deep understanding of the Journey of the Hero, theme, symbolism, and culture. I am a world builder—setting, history, and politics add important aspects of realism to our novels. My sister believes in characters: their challenges and growth is most important to her. Together we make a balanced team.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Finding a publisher and marketing the novel. As I writer, I think of myself as an artist. The commercial/business side of things frustrates and discourages me.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
We have two published novels in the same series, Phoenix Angel and Guardian of Time. We have two more in the working stage (also from the same series) Child of Stone and The Mystic. My absolute favorite is Guardian of Time because it’s so melancholy, and I have a soft spot for Japanese culture, which is the basis of the setting.
Do you have a favorite character?
Raeylan is my favorite. I would marry him if he were real. My sister’s favorite is Kyle. She likes the tough guy thing.
Where do you write?
I write at home, on vacation, and when I’m stuck in my office after work hours.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
We wanted to use an established publishing house, but the market is so difficult that we decided to just go ahead and release it on our own. Also, we’re kind of perfectionists and didn’t want to compromise on the cover (another plus of self-publishing!).
Have you gotten feedback from family about your books? What do they think?
Our family loves our novels, but of course they’re biased.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love reading books and watching movies. I also spend a lot of time working in my flower garden.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Never give up. If you have a story you want to share with the world, the only way to get it published is to persevere. And always do your research, both for your writing and for the industry.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired you to write?
My favorite author is Tolkien: though I love Lord of the Rings, The Sillamarillien is my favorite of his works. He had such amazing detail in his cultures and history that I can’t help but stand in awe of his genius. Tracy Hickman and Margariete Weis also inspired me to write.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
We have a group of students who like to test read our manuscripts. They point out plot and character flaws that we don’t catch. Also they are great motivators: they pester us for chapters if we are writing too slow.
Are you working on anything now?We are currently doing the final edit and cover art for Child of Stone, the third book in the Shardwell series. The fourth novel, The Mystic, is roughed out and we are just starting to outline the fifth.
Thanks so much for stopping by today Christy! It was great to have you here!