Summer Splash Book Blog Tour ~ Author Interview ~ MADELINE DYER
Summer Splash Book Blog Tour
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When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Ooh, now this is a hard one. I’ve always loved writing. I remember at school when I was about eight or nine we had to write a short story in class. The first lesson we had to write it by hand, and then the second lesson was for typing it up. During the typing lesson, I began rewriting my story as I typed it—which got me in a bit of trouble with my teacher because I didn’t end up with a finished typed version by the end of the lesson. And I couldn’t really understand why I wasn’t allowed to edit and rewrite parts—or why no one else in my class was. I could see parts of my work that I really wanted to change, so I did it. So, I guess that was the first time when I actively engaged in the writing and editing process, even though I technically wasn’t allowed to do so.
After that, I started handwriting some stories at home, and found that I really loved writing. And I suppose it was at this point that I realized I really wanted to be a writer. My parents were very encouraging, but many of my teachers weren’t. In secondary school, many of my teachers laughed at my ambition to be a writer—one even told me I’d be more suited to being a carpet-fitter! But, despite that, I kept writing, and, aged sixteen, I had my first short story accepted for publication. Three years later, I signed my first book deal with a publisher and it was then that I absolutely knew I had to be a writer, no matter what. Writing is part of me and I have to do it.
Do you write in a particular genre or do you like to bounce around to different ones? Is this / are these the genre(s) that you also like to read ?
I mainly write dark speculative fiction; a lot of my work has a dystopian angle as I like engaging with the “What if?” questions, while exploring human nature and the negative effects different societies can have. But I also have a strong love for fantasy and anything set in the prehistoric era, and I write that sort of stuff do. I especially love writing about different fantasy cultures.
I read in a much wider range of genres than I write in. I absolutely love crime fiction and detective stories—and I tried writing in these genres once, but my narrative style just didn’t work. So I stick to writing dark speculative fiction, but read a variety of things.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?
I think I’ll have to go with the dark dystopian genre.
Do you have a favorite genre to read?
At the moment, I love psychological thrillers and have just finished two novels by C. L. Taylor in quick succession.
What books have most influenced your life?
Two of the books that have most influenced me writing-wise are The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel and Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I read Auel’s book when I was about fourteen or fifteen, and it really fuelled my desire to write. I read Mrs Dalloway during my third year of my degree when I was studying a module on Virginia Woolf, and I really loved her narrative voice and the stream-of-consciousness style. I’m not really sure how it’s influenced my life, but it’s an important novel to me which is why I’m including it here.
What author has most influenced your life?
Hmm. Another tricky question! I think I’ll go with A. A. Milne. As a child, my dad read all the Winnie-the-Pooh stories to me (and he did all the voices!) and I still love these stories now.
Do you have a favorite book or series from another author?
I love anything by Richelle Mead!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m quite a creative person, and writing is only one part of my creative side. When I’m not writing, I like to do art—I’ve recently started training as a polymer clay artist.
My other big love is for animals. I live on a farm where we’ve got several Shetland ponies, guinea pigs, fish, a cat, and a rabbit. So I love being with them.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first full-length novel four years ago, when I was seventeen. The first draft took me around four months to write, and I edited it for another six months. It ended up being 137,000 words. I haven’t done anything with this book yet as it needs a lot more editing and rewriting, but it—and the next two books I wrote—really shaped my writing and helped me be able to write the book which eventually became my debut novel.
What is your writing process?
I try to write my first drafts as quickly as possible, and I only give myself a rough outline so as not to stifle my creativity. After writing seriously for a couple of years, I can now manage around 70,000 words in a month. Once I’ve got a first draft done, I’ll then leave it for a month (during which I’ll work on another manuscript).
After my first draft has sat for a month, I’ll go back to it and assess it with fresh eyes. I’ll make a list of all the things that don’t work, and then start on some developmental and content revisions. Usually this involves overhauling the manuscript completely, cutting out characters, writing new ones, shifting the structure and timeline, and adding in