And then there was peace

What is that I hear?  Nothing… quiet, peaceful, shhh, don’t spoil it!  The radio isn’t even on.

Oh, the bliss of being able to think without “Muuuuum?  Can I have something to eat?”  “Muuuuum?  Where is my lego truck?”  “Muuuuuum? Where did I leave my shoes?”  “Muuuuuum?  Can I go for a swim?”  “Muuuuuum?  Is it lunchtime yet?”

Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, and I spend time with him, but that is the problem.  I don’t get much time to myself to think, and when I can’t think or write, I tend to go a little crazy, and these holidays have been particularly bad!  Man I couldn’t wait for 7th February and now I have a nice quiet and CLEAN house – all to myself!

I have two stories I am itching to work on, one is an historical novel based in Nelson, and the other is a fantasy novel based on a dream I had the other night…  Very interesting time, first time I have had two stories wanting to be told, but I will only focus on one at a time.  So the Historical novel is in April and the Fantasy will be my SoCNoC Novel.

Amazing how liberated I feel, just having my boy back at school and some time to think!  Thank goodness sanity is coming back!

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Genre – Hot Topic

My friend Cassie recently did a post on Genre, and how she was feeling trapped into writing the same genre every time she wrote a story.  Which made me think about my own writing.

While I don’t like writing chick lit, or murder mystery or anything more mainstream, I can’t say that I am stuck in any particular genre either.  The first two (four if you count each separate story in the soon to be non existent trilogy) stories I wrote were fantasy, because that was what the characters insisted on.  But the next one I want to write is more historical – it is still fantasy, but it is also based on mythical fact from ancient Greece, so a bit of research had to go into the story.  The one after that, well who knows, it all depends on who will pop up next I suppose.

What I suppose I am trying to say is that I am not driven to write any particular genre, I am driven by my characters.  Tycelon and Delonia were definitely Fantasy, as are Fabyan and Danya – although their story is more of a romance than action as in Chrystias.  My characters invade my life for the duration of writing.  I lived with Tycelon for close to 6 months, and now while I am editing the story, I can hear him in the background, not as forceful as he used to be (Boy was he forceful!). 

Currently, I have Medusa fussing around in my brain, trying to make me see her as a real person, which she no doubt was at one stage in history, all myths started with a base in reality!  While I haven’t concentrated on bringing her into the light of day yet, I can hear her giving me little snippets of information about her character, her mannerisms, her personality that will be reflected in the story, and hopefully I will be able to do her justice.

So I don’t feel trapped by any particular genre, I suppose it depends on the setting the characters give me, and if one should turn up who wants to be chick lit, then I guess I will have to write it – it had better be a good story though!

Scheduling Time

Avatar CatherineIt’s pretty sad when you have to schedule time to write.  But I am, it is the only way I will stay sane.

The house we moved to is bigger, which in one way is good, but in others, it definitely isn’t.  It means more cleaning, more time spent doing tasks that I didn’t have to worry about before – on the plus side, no more mopping the entire house!  This house has carpets, but it still means vacuuming, and three times a week according to the schedule.

So, I scheduled my jobs into my day.  Pretty sad, yes.  But if it means I can get my jobs done in the morning, then the afternoon is mine to do with as I see fit, visit friends, critique stories, WRITE MY OWN!

I have been doing this for three days now, not counting the weekend.  Wednesday I split up all the jobs I do around the house (dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, (dishes and laundry are done everyday anyway, so they aren’t really factored in), are all divided up between Monday and Friday. 

Thursday was my first day – the schedule works!  I got most of the jobs done, plus some extra’s (including cleaning the entire kitchen which hadn’t been done since BEFORE we moved in…) and Friday’s work as well (I’ll explain later) and then Thursday afternoon, I sat down with my own story and edited it, putting some of it into the computer.  Two hours where I got to do things I wanted to do.

Friday, my son had athletics day at school, and seeing as it is his first year, and he is my only son – I attended with Nanna and Poppa and had a ball.

Saturday and Sunday, we went camping, but I took the editing with me and I actually got some done while camping (yahoo!)

Monday and guess what, I have completed my Monday list of jobs and I am sitting here writing my blog!  I am so loving this!  This afternoon, what I edited will be put into the computer and I will be another chapter closer to finishing this round of editing.  I am actually starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (and NO, it isn’t an on coming train!)

Speculative Fiction – Interview with a Horror Writer

After reading Lee Pletzers The Last Church, I discovered a passion for NZ Horror and Lee Pletzers work. 

I asked Lee the tough questions…

Avatar CatherineWhat would you do if you couldn’t write? (Explode? Be a mad scientist?)

 

Lee PletzerI haven’t a clue. I like making movies and I have some basic director skills, so I would probably have gone to film school. Photography is also a skill I have. I take some interesting shots. If I couldn’t write, I am sure I would find some other medium to express my creative side.

 

Avatar Catherine If you were stuck on a desert island, what 5 things would you take with you and why?

 

Lee Pletzer1)     A solar powered laptop so I could document the events of a zombie invasion and have several hundred ebooks to read as I wait for a rescue ship after I emailed my location.

2)     A rifle for fishing. I would save one bullet in case my email didn’t get through. Plus, I don’t eat fish.

3)     Sunglasses (for sunny days. I have light sensitive eyes having spent most of my childhood in a room with a pad and pen).

4)     A sleeping bag and pillow, in case it gets cold at night.

5)     My ipod (solar powered computer will be able to keep it charged — AC/DC on a desert island! Ye ha).

On second thoughts I think I should have answered with: Pocket-knife / Bottled water / filtering system to turn sea water into drinking water / matches to light a fire / SOS knowledge. But my brain doesn’t think that way.

 

Avatar Catherine If you couldn’t use the computer for a week, how would that affect you?

 

Lee PletzerI would have a lot of email to read after that week, but it wouldn’t affect me too much. I would read all the time and handwrite some notes.

 

 

Avatar CatherineBut Seriously… 

What made you decide to write?

 

Lee PletzerI don’t think there was any actual decision on taking the plunge to write. I just sat down and wrote ever since I was a kid. I have always loved books and I wanted my family to read my stories.

There were no thoughts of becoming rich and famous when I was a kid, I just wrote when I had an idea.

My first long short story came about when I was 13 and in Whangamata and it was raining cats and dogs (the poor little pets hit the ground with resounding thumps — occasionally a whimper before impact) and I was bored. No TV, nothing to do and I had an idea of an alien race entering Earth and taking over. It was set in another dimension. It took two weeks to write and was over sixty pages long.

I never made a conscious decision to write, I just did it and didn’t stop.

When I was eight a teacher would send me and my friend to the playground during Social Studies to write a short story. It had to be two pages long. We had trouble understanding Social Studies. Each week, we wrote a short story, usually vampires (Hammer Horror fan here, from childhood) and the teacher decided to read my story out in front of the class. I had made a spelling error writing bloood (blued) instead of blood and everyone laughed (me included), but then the teacher said: ‘Lee writes ten times better than all you put together.’ Head swell moment that lasts even to this day.

Avatar CatherineWhy write Speculative Fiction?

 

 

Lee PletzerBecause it is the fun genre. You have freedom to explore the imagination in fun and exciting ways. My SpecFic is always a mixture of horror / action / SF or Dark Fantasy.

 

 

Avatar CatherineWhen will the next Lee Pletzers book be out?

 

 

Lee PletzerIt was released last Saturday 05-09-09. Currently stock is sold out but if you order you will be next in the line. Amazon is waiting for some more books from my publisher.

The link is: http://is.gd/2W62x I use the short URL as Amazon URLs are very long.

Publisher is: Black Bed Sheet Press. 

As for my next book: The Game, I have no idea. My publisher hasn’t mentioned any date yet, so I suspect it will be next year.

 

Avatar Catherine What is the Last Church about?

 

 

Lee PletzerI was going to say, check out what Amazon is saying but there is no description there yet. So, http://thestoryteller.co.nz/lastchurch.html will take you to a page where there is a book trailer and a description, plus several advanced reviews.

I could copy + paste the information but the trailer does a real good job, and it’s short. It will barely touch your bandwidth.

 

Avatar Catherine Why did you write it?  What inspired you to create this novel?

 

 

Lee PletzerThe only inspiration I have is the need to write a story that popped into my head. There is no special message, political or otherwise in any of my work. I just want to tell you a story and if I scare you or excite you, then I’m telling it right.

 

Avatar CatherineAnd the really tough question… 

What are your thoughts on publishing in NZ?

 

Lee PletzerOh, don’t get me started on this topic. There is a reason most authors in NZ are published overseas (USA / Australia / UK). NZ publishers aren’t interested in horror, sf or fantasy–regardless of what they say. They want NZ based books about the NZ spirit. Books that I don’t read or write. In an interview on radio a HaperCollins editor said he wanted to see more SF in New Zealand, but when he rejected my friend’s novel, he said there was no place for SF in NZ publishing houses (this person is a member of SpecFicNZ).

There are some books that make it through: Bloodline (SF/Fantasy) for example. A good story but the writing needed some flavour.

I tend to buy from the small press in the US/UK as most of the SpecFic in these houses are good reads with exciting storylines and themes that aren’t currently profitable for a major publisher to invest in. Although I have heard that Pocket books is buying up zombie novels as zombies are the new vampires. Apparently.

 

Avatar Catherine Anything else you would like to tell NZ about Speculative Fiction?

 

 

Lee PletzerGive it a try. Order books online, explore the small press, discover the new breed of horror writers, you may be very surprised (as I was, hence my decision to find publication in this realm).

 

 

Avatar CatherineLee, I appreciate your time and your assistance.

 

 

Lee PletzerNo, thank you for the interview.

It was my pleasure and I look forward to reading it in the SpecFic Blog week.