It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.
I am honored to continue this series with author Jemima Pett.
You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.
If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, please enjoy this interview with Jemima Pett:
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Most of my stories creep up on me, then tap me on the shoulder until I write them down. From that point of view, I write selfishly, what I want to write, but at the same time, I write the kind of stories I like to read (although there are loads of things I read that I wouldn’t want to write). So, I hope, for some readers, I deliver what they want, but it’s probably a select group of people who like the things I do!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t believe the only person you’ve shown your manuscript to. Just because something needs work does NOT mean you’re rubbish, even if they say it is, and you can’t write for toffee. Not all friends support you.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I could name half a dozen (or more!) indie-authored novels I love that are clearly under-appreciated. The first that sprang to mind was The Ninja Librarian by Rebecca Douglass. It’s true that Rebecca has become a writing buddy, but it’s my admiration for her splendid world centred on Skunk Corners that led to our ongoing communication.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read my book reviews, but not as often as I used to. I occasionally notice a book has new reviews, then I check out what people are saying. I think I learnt a lot from the first ones I read, especially to remember that readers bring their own worlds to the book, and that’s part of the fun of reading. If they are Goodreads reviews I may ‘like’ them, good or not. And I have asked one or two people to explain a criticism, so I can understand their point of view better. But only if I can do so without sounding as if I disagree (and always trying to keep my emotions well controlled!) I remember one criticism of my first book that the ‘baddie’ seemed to give in unreasonably easily. All I can say is that I know why he did… and you can read between the lines in some of the later books where he turns up. If they stick with me through to the last book they’ll have a complete understanding!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I don’t hide personal secrets, but I do tuck things in that will get developed later. My editor hates this. She feels I should leave them out if they aren’t directly relevant to the story. If this were not a series, I’d agree with her!
Do you Google yourself?
Very occasionally. It’s sometimes useful to see whether the SEO is working properly and listing my blog posts, and whether new books are showing up in searches. Also, I was given the advice when I started out, to Google your name, and remove anything online that you wouldn’t want your readers to find. If you couldn’t remove it, then write under a different name.
I discovered the fun of Googling one’s own name when I started a new job just as the boss was having a significant birthday. Everyone was being asked to contribute an anecdote about him, and of course I was too new to have any. So I googled his name, and found he was also a notorious money-launderer in Italy, a Historical District in some city I’ve forgotten, and also a Professor of History at an Oxford college. It turned out he knew the professor…
What is your favorite childhood book?
Black Beauty. Or Wind in the Willows. Both have equal worth for adults and children. Black Beauty was written for adults, to raise awareness of animal cruelty. I only realised about five years ago that Anna Sewell wrote it when she lived about four miles from where I live. Wind in the Willows has a chapter that I used to skip when I was a child—it seemed boring. Once I started I revisiting it, I began to think it was the most beautiful chapter in the whole world (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn).
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Ignore people who say scientists can’t write. We make time to read both science books and novels, so why can’t we write, too?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? Define ‘write a book’. Sometimes stories come together, and I can write two or three books in about four months. But then the storylines will take a while to simmer till the next one is ready to write. So that can mean leaving it for years—at least one, possibly two or more. And if you get stuck… my sixth Princelings book took about four years (and was originally scheduled to be number five). The first in my science fiction series didn’t take so long to get out in what I thought was the finished version, but I withdrew it after a month because it clearly wasn’t good enough. That’s three years ago in April, and I’m just about ready for the final edit before I republish.
Editing. Writing a story is one thing, editing it is quite another. That’s where you really find out if you have it in you to ‘write’ a book!
Jemima Pett has been living in a world of her own for many years. Day-dreaming in class, writing stories since she was eight, drawing maps of fantasy islands with train systems and timetables at ten. Unfortunately no-one wanted a fantasy island designer, so she tried a few careers, getting great experiences in business, environmental research and social work. She finally got back to building her own worlds and wrote about them. Her business background enabled her to become an independent author, responsible for her own publications.
Her first series, the Princelings of the East, mystery adventures for advanced readers set in a world of tunnels and castles entirely populated by guinea pigs, now has eight books online and in print. Jemima does chapter illustrations for these. She has also edited two volumes of Christmas stories for young readers, the BookElves Anthologies, and her father’s memoirs White Water Landings, about the Imperial Airways flying boat service in Africa. She is now working on a science fiction series with asteroid miners working in a far-flung part of the galaxy called the Viridian System, in which the aliens include sentient trees.
▪ US/Worldwide: http://www.amazon.com/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/
The Princelings of the East series:
- The Princelings of the East
- The Princelings and the Pirates
- The Princelings and the Lost City
- The Traveler in Black and White
- The Talent Seekers
- Bravo Victor
- Willoughby the Narrator
- The Princelings of the North
also available in ebook from Smashwords, B&N, iTunes and Kobo; The Princelings Box Set 1 (Books 1-3)
The Viridian Series:
- A Viridian System Sampler
- The Perihelix (due April 2018)
- Curved Space to Corsair (due October 2018)
- Zanzibar’s Rings (in preparation)
Connect with Jemima Pett
Blog: Jemima Pett, Author: http://jemimapett.com
Facebook: The Princelings of the East https://facebook.com/princelings
Twitter: @jemima_pett http://twitter.com/jemima_pett