I am BEYOND excited to be announcing the first Interview With post of the year. Today I have with me an author who's book I had been eyeing up for eons before buying (so sorry about that) and I did a little happy dance when she agreed to take part in the interview series. So without further ado, I give you; Audrey Greathouse
Hi Audrey, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My end goal is to be a community builder and get people involved in art experiences. I'm a huge admirer of artists like Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, and Neil Gaiman who prioritize reaching out to fans and channeling their energy into mass-participation projects. I really want to publish fantasy and science-fiction novels until I'm ninety, and branch out with my storytelling wherever the opportunity presents itself.
2. Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Gwendolyn Hoffman is remarkable for being the first teenager to fly to Neverland. She's special, because she's not excitedly looking forward to the future the way so many YA protagonists are. I think Gwen represents a rarely discussed but near-universal desire to hold onto childhood even as the best aspects of adolescence start to find us. She has a great bond with her little sister, Rosemary, which I think is also rare in YA. She lets her little sister be her principal motivating force, and really sacrifices a lot chasing the impossible dream of Neverland.
3. Would you mind sharing a favourite quote from your book?
I'd say one of my favorite quotes come from the mermaid astronomers as they explain what has happened to the night sky as mankind grows up to be less superstitious and more reason-driven:
“The constellations have left the stars and the man has left the moon. Your adversaries are emptying out the sky, Peter. They discover more and more every day, but they assign numbers and letters where once they gave names and legends. They are stripping the sky of its majesty. That is why the stars will not aid you in your battle—they are unable. They are too governed by physics and cannot bend to manifest their prophecies. They have whispered our destinies to us, but now it is in our hands to enact them.”
4. Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s? (* please provide a link to trailer if you have one)
I don't have a trailer for The Neverland Wars. I've seen authors have a lot of fun making them, but the production is a huge commitment and I don't think it is the best marketing tool. I've never actually met someone who decided to read a book because of a trailer. Maybe one of these days though!
5. Where do your ideas come from?
Somewhere in my brain, presumably... a lot of my ideas occur to me while I'm watching music videos. Most well-written songs feel like they are hinting at a larger story, maybe only giving you the emotions of an event the songwriter is singing about. Combined with the quick cuts and visual element of a flashy, four minute film, it is a lot of stimulus that often feels like it is begging for more narrative. I'd say that's what plants the seeds of many of my ideas.
6. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Both! I always start with a solid outline, but ideas take me where they want to. I can't imagine working without an outline... the story always takes on such a life of its own anyways. As William Zinsser says, “Writing is no respecter of blueprints.” Outlines are my little way of maintaining some semblance of control over the story, and making sure there actually is a full story there before I commit to getting it on paper.
7. Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I'm a very erratic writer. I can't get through a day without at least journaling or outlining an idea, but when it comes to actually sitting down and drafting, I tend to be seized by inspiration and pound out a manuscript in two or three months... my entire sleep cycle shifts closer to 3am-12pm when I'm writing.
8. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Not unless I'm struggling. If I'm having a hard time powering through a book I'll sometimes aim for 1,000 words a day, but more often I think in terms of chapters and try to get a chapter a day done when I'm writing. There is a sense of closure, catharsis, and accomplishment when I get put a scene down, and those little victories help me battle the daunting task of writing a whole novel.
9. How much research do you do?
As little as I have to, which is why I write fantasy. Nine times out of ten I'd rather make something up than break my pace writing to go look something up. Research is an invaluable part of the process though, so I've learned my best stories are the ones written on subjects I'm going to enjoy researching. For The Neverland Wars my research almost exclusively existed of going through Peter Pan and making careful notes so I could be sure not to contradict anything cannon. It's really important to me that I stay true to the original text, and build on it, continuing the story for a twenty-first century audience rather than retell it as if this Victorian story were unfolding for the first time today.
10. Do you ever get writer’s Block?
I think everyone does, but there are authors who think it is out of their control and there are authors who know writer's block hits when you haven't put the requisite work in. Outlining can be a great preventive treatment, and on rare occasions you can just “come back to it later,” but ultimately the only cure is just sitting down and powering through until you're back on the horse. The worst scenes I've ever written were when I was trying to power through writer's block, but everything afterward flowed alright, and having to rewrite one bad chapter is a small price to pay to not be paralyzed by writer's block.
11. What book/s are you reading at present?
I've been going back through The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is the best-selling novel of my favorite novelist, Milan Kundera. He's an intensely philosophical writer, and I highly recommend him. I'm rereading William Zinsser's On Writing because it's really just the best guide on writing out there and I'm diving into NaNoWriMo. To balance all that out, I've been taking it easy lately and reading a lot of comics. I collect comics from the original 2000's Harley Quinn series and love them to death.
12. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Now that is a question! Giving away books is the cornerstone of any good promotion plan for books, but there is a fantastic range of ways you can do it, as well as end goals you might have. I believe the best strategy for my work and my goals is to give away advanced reader copies, run giveaways, and give books to reviewers. There are a lot of self-published and indie authors who deal primarily in ebooks and have permanently-free books up on the Free Kindle Store now, but since The Neverland Wars is primarily selling as a print book, that doesn't make a lot of sense for me.
13. Did you format your own book?
Heavens no. I don't know the first thing about ebook design or book printing... it's one of the many services my publisher provides that allows me to focus on reaching out to readers and writing instead.
14. If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I'd be in marketing and sales. Business was my best subject in school and I think my passion for promotion has been a tremendous boon to The Neverland Wars. I love doing face-to-face sales. Marketing is basically competitive psychology, and I have always been a very competitive person interested in how other people's minds work. I like convincing people of things, whether that's convincing them to buy aphysical book or convincing them to suspend their disbelief and dive into one of my stories.
15. Are there any more ideas for future books on the cards?
Absolutely! The Neverland Wars sequel, The Piper's Price, is slated for release Febuary 21st, 2017 and the final book of the trilogy is in its early stages. I've also got an ace up my sleeve I'm looking forward to pulling out soon... a very involved and passionate sci-fi novel that's been my pet-project while dealing with the logistics of publishing The Neverland Wars.
16. Advice to aspiring writers?
Write and write a lot. When you have a finished book, try to publish it and write another one while you send it out. The next one will be better, but make sure you keep writing even when you start sending that one out. If you submit your work before you are producing publishable work, you'll learn a lot about submitting and get used to rejection early on. Once your writing is good enough, you'll already know how to maximize your chances with your submissions.
Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. She is easily excited and has grand hopes for the future, which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. She can usually be found somewhere along the west coast, and at audreygreathouse.com
The Neverland Wars on Amazon.com:
The Neverland Wars on Goodreads: