What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Fairy Roots is my latest book. It's the latest in the Vampires Don't Belong in Fairy Tales series but it's a prequel to book 3. It's based on my webcomic of the same name, which I started just for fun. I use it to test out characters and world build. A webcomic is a great way to get ideas out of your head and it's somewhere I don't need to worry about word count or things irrelevant to the plot. Fairy Roots is a romance, which I usually don't have much space for in the other books, but in the webcomic there's a lot of room to play around. While playing around, I found that these two characters liked each other, and their romance developed over a few years. There was a lot missing from the comics because it was too plot heavy or not funny enough, so I thought I'd try to write it into a book. I'd never written a romance before, so I wanted to challenge myself. It took five years just to get a first draft but I'm really happy I managed to finish it.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don't think I do anything unusual. I write mostly on my laptop, but I try to take something to write on everywhere I go, which these days is an app on my phone. It's hard to edit on a smartphone, but I've written huge chunks of first drafts on it. If I'm not working on a first draft, I instead read books for research. I set myself a word count to reach every day that I'm working on a first draft, or a certain amount of chapters to do if I'm editing.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My first influences were Patricia C. Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, both of which I picked up when I was 11. These are still some of my favourites to this day. Another massive influence is Terry Pratchett, whose books I have been reading since I was fourteen. I used to get the new one every year for my birthday.
What are you working on now?
I'm doing research for the latest book in the Vampires Don't Belong in Fairytales series. I have a few webcomics of it too, as I work out characters and plot. It's about a vampire called Hettie, who wants to be the Otherworld's first magical girl. She's not impressed with all this bat and cape nonsense and lurking around in castles - she wants to fight bad guys wearing frills and using sparkles! The Otherworlds has no idea what a magical girl is, and she only knows vampire magic, so she moves to Fairyland to learn 'sparkly magic' and recruit some other girls for her team.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don't give up. You face rejection at every stage of the process, before and after you get published. It's hard to get people interested in something they're not familiar with, but keep trying. And also that not everyone will like your work, but some people will love it. Keep writing, keep improving. Read 'how to write' advice even after you have a few books under your belt. And learn about marketing. It doesn't matter how good your book is if no-one knows it exists.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When I was doing NaNoWriMo, we were e-mailed tips each week by established authors. And if not for one of those e-mails, I doubt I'd be a published author today. There's a point in every manuscript where you start to hate it. All the flaws you need to fix blot out anything good you've written, no-one will like this book, what were you thinking?! You have to write past this point. Your writing pace may slow to a crawl, you might hate every line for days, but keep going. You'll write past it and be able to see the good again, and have a million ideas to fix that plot hole and that unlikable sidekick. Until I got that e-mail, I thought it was just me. I thought I was just no good. I'd never finished a manuscript before because I got to that point and stopped. If not for that advice, I wouldn't have a finished a manuscript to this day.
What are you reading now?
Rejected Princesses. It's about amazing women in history who you've probably not heard of. I'm really enjoying it, it's very inspiring.
What's next for you as a writer?
I need to improve my website and I want to pitch some of my books as cartoons/shows, so I'm working on converting them into scripts and writing a series guide.