K.M. Tremills recently challenged me to answer the following questions about my writing:
1. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently co-writing a retelling of the fairy tale, Bluebeard, with my sister Roberta Cottam. The book has just come back from the Beta readers this week and so we will begin the final rewrite. As well, I’m writing a series of short stories for a fairy-tale/myth retelling book I’m co-authoring with Roberta Cottam and Kate Tremills.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Stylistically, I am greatly influenced by 19th century novelists (the Brontes, Anne Radcliff). I attribute this to my degree in English Literature where I fell in love with the traditional Gothic novel. The women who wrote these were pioneers in writing, exploring subject matter considered controversial at the time. When we read Jane Eyre today, it’s hard to imagine it was subject to censorship laws and deemed unsuitable for female readers. As well, I love to play with genre. The Shoemaker is a mix of horror, fairy-tale, 19th century gothic and romance. Bluebeard blends genre as well, but I don’t want to spoil anything by naming them here …
3. Why do you write what you write?
I am fascinated with characters who are wounded, haunted or are considered outsiders. This possibly connects to my childhood as we moved approximately every 4 to 5 years for my father’s work and were at times posted in remote locations. So I experienced being the outsider for most of my childhood — and while that place can be somewhat lonely, it’s also a great observation post. Additionally I’m rather obsessed with darker subject matter. There is something compelling to me about the very thin line that exists between dark and light, love and violence, good and bad. Which is why if you give me a protagonist (or indeed, antagonist) with a wounded heart, I will adore the heck out of them.
4. How does your writing process work?
Because I’ve never written what I’m working on before, I tend to approach each thing I write differently. It’s rather like, in discovering the story I must discover how to tell it. This process can be exhausting and I wish I could pick one method and stick to it. I’ve written incredibly detailed outlines that were 30-40 pages long or had no outline at all. I’m not very consistent when it comes to the process. However, I do write very quickly — sometimes I can’t keep up the pace set by my brain!