Hi, Kate Coe and Welcome. Would you like to begin by telling the readers something about yourself?
I’m an accidental librarian, a DIY enthusiast, a crafty geek and a writer. I currently live in Stonehouse with an engineer, two disdainful cats and a very grumpy bearded dragon, work part-time in a library and spend the rest of the time alternately writing and wondering which part of the house to tackle next…
What is your series about and what inspired you to write it?
The Green Sky series is a world of magic that’s just discovering technology, and follows the effect that the technology is having on the people and the world in general. It’s a mix of fantasy and sparkpunk and is very character-focused.
The series itself came from a wide range of places. The original story was a very ‘fantasy’ one – a quest, a magical girl, a love story – and then I started re-writing, and two of my characters fell in love. It sent the story off in a completely different direction, but it also let me broaden the world. I realised I could add new lands and new ideas that I already had, and I started thinking about how magic would actually work – and then started wondering what effect technology would have on it. A lot of strands wove themselves together, and I realised that this was a world, and these were characters, that I wanted to keep writing about: I wanted to know what would happen next!
How long did the first one take to write and how many times did you go through it before it was finally done?
I’ve been writing it since I was 14, but it’s gone through at least three different revisions! The current version was started around about 2010 and has mostly remained intact from that first draft. The next two books were a little slicker at two years, and I’m currently down to about six months per book.
Where do your settings come from? Are they taken from real places, made up entirely, or a conglomerate of the two?
Some of the names are real (I didn’t realise that Oare and Huish are real villages until a few years ago…) but most of the places are conglomerates. Taderah is a land of forests, based on the Redwoods and all the woods I used to walk through as a child; the islands of Tao are tropical, balmy and beautiful – and also happen to have islands floating in the air. A lot of the places are from maps I drew as a child of imaginary lands, but they are also based in some degree of Earth reality because it’s a lot easier to imagine places based on real geography!
Who is your favorite character and why?
I think my favourite has to be my Lord-turned-engineer, Toru. He’s charming, witty, ruthless and a pain in the backside – mostly because he keeps accidentally crashing his planes and causing absolute havoc!
As a close second, my favourite group of characters are the Mages, because I love breaking the fantasy stereotypes. It’s all very well being able to make something float through the air, but you’ll get a thumping headache after doing it – and you still have to earn a living! You can’t be a snooty Mage in a society where you have to get your hands dirty every day.
What inspired a series of novellas rather than a novel?
I tend to be…how did my English teacher put it…a rather “sparse” writer. I don’t like long descriptive passages and absolutely hate telling the reader more than I have to, and I find novellas suit me as my Green Sky stories naturally end at about that point. I can write novels – and have written two! – but I much prefer not having to stretch the length just for convention’s sake.
Are you an outliner or a pantzer when it comes to start a book? If the latter, do the ideas come to you in one big lump, or are they piecemeal?
Oh, absolutely a pantser! The ideas are completely piecemeal; I’ll usually start with an image or a scrap of conversation, and then go from there – what’s that character doing? Where are they? Why are they there? What’s going to happen next? What else is happening in the world that I can bring in? How does that change things? And then I’ll have scraps of conversations, things that need to happen, events that I have to put in – and somehow it comes together in a vaguely coherent plot. Yes, I’m quite a strange writer, but it works.
Finally, where can the book be purchased and what are your plans for the next ones?
The first book, Green Sky & Sparks, is available from Amazon and Smashwords in paperback and ebook. Grey Stone & Steel is due out in Winter 2015, and as I’m currently writing the 5th and 6th in the series, I hope it will continue onwards for a while yet!
My review of Green Sky and Sparks
By Elizabeth Hull on July 16, 2015
The people are defined by occupation and also by race. I especially like that one set are warrior/protectors and this includes their women. Equality appears to be far more developed, which is a refreshing change.
Starting off is Catter Jeck, who is tasked with finding a place that is the hub of all magic, which he can get near as he is an archivist and not a mage. His mission is made much easier when he teams up with Toru, the Lord Heir of Melton, who is also an air mage, something he uses to power his flying machine. Toru comes across as an explorer fired with enthusiasm but held back to a certain extent by his position in life, although he has a solution for this. After an accident, Toru finds himself mind linked to an injured female healer recently bereaved. Not a good thing to happen, and yet very useful when Toru and Catter need help later.
Loved the way this played out and am looking forward to the next instalment.