I hadn’t really thought of it as a career. Like a lot of writers I had a job and a family long before I considered sitting down and writing. When you have responsibilities it’s harder to just do your own thing. The children and a rare medical condition stopped my career in the wine trade, and writing became a legitimate way of spending my enforced time at home. Writing at first was getting down that story we all have inside us. Now though, I write all the time, skipping from one form to another, novel, short story, and poetry, depending on my mood and what as ideas come to me. I just hope I live long enough to publish all of the stories germinating in my head. It’s a slow process.
So, what have you written?
I have written the three volumes of The Green Woman series, two volumes of a follow-on series, plus a volume of in-world stories connected to The Green Woman. There’s a two part sf/fantasy story and the first part of a historical fantasy ready to query and/or start editing. There are also two short volumes of stories based on Norse and Irish mythology that I need to get on with editing.
The Dark Citadel is currently a finalist in the MARSocial Author of the Year contest. There are plans to make a film of the winning entry. We have all been tweeting and promoting all the entries like crazy to create a big media buzz. You never know, we might one day get to see Deborah, my heroine, in the flesh.
Where can we buy or see them?
Only the first volume of The Green Woman series, The Dark Citadel has been published so far. The second volume, The Subtle Fiend is in the final stages of editing and I hope to publish it very soon. The collection of in-world stories, In the Beginning I self-published last November. Some of my poetry has appeared in Poetry Nook magazine, and The Bamboo Hut, an on-line poetry revue.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The story of The Green Woman is quite complex and has several distinct strands that don’t come together until the final volume. The central character though is Deborah, a girl approaching the end of her schooling, or what passes for schooling in Providence, and on the point of taking up the rest of her life as wife of the executioner’s disturbed son. Deborah has had a tough, loveless life, taken away from her disgraced High Caste parents and brought up by a couple who dislike her intensely. But she is not typical of the average Providence schoolgirl and she refuses her destiny.
Deborah isn’t a particularly likeable girl to begin with, but she is courageous. I forgive her the rather arrogant, selfish side of her nature because she grows in maturity and tries to overcome it. Although her outbursts are often motivated by self-interest, she does protest about injustices even though she knows the penalty will be unpleasant. I hope she comes over as human, with failings and strengths. A flawed hero is much more interesting in my opinion than a perfect specimen.
What are you working on at the minute?
At the minute I’m wrapping up The Subtle Fiend. Ideally I would like to release it on February 1st, the feast of Imbolc. As many people will know, Imbolc is one of the big fire festivals in the Celtic calendar and it’s rather appropriate for this book. Then it’s on to editing volume three of The Green Woman. I’d also like to get some of my stories into shape for release as they contain some of the writing I’m most pleased with.
What genre are your books?
My books are all fantasy. Even the more gritty, post-apocalyptic story is essentially a fantasy. I have difficulty keeping fairy stories and myths out of my stories. Satan in particular has a habit of cropping up in one form or another.
What draws you to this genre?
Fantasy is probably what I enjoy reading most these days. I read to escape into a different world as I am growing increasingly depressed by this one. My childhood favourites are all fantasy stories, and I have never lost the taste for the magical. I wanted to write books I would actually like to read myself. I almost gave up on my first draught of The Green Woman because I wasn’t convinced I would like it enough to read it.
Where do the your ideas come from?
That is a very good question. Most of the time I see a scene and know who the characters are and what they’re doing. I don’t know what they’re going to do next, but it’s a start. Once that first scene is fleshed out, the characters let me know where they’re going. They need taking in hand once the story gets going because they don’t always know what’s best for the plot.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
When I first began to write it was about the things I knew intimately. Then I wrote a story about a bog man in a museum and realised I’d enjoyed writing that story more than any of the semi-autobiographical stuff that preceded it. The first step forward was the jump from introspection to exploration of the imagination. That has led me to taking established stories and retelling them, which strangely enough doesn’t come over as a simple rip off. The old legends were once considered historically accurate, and the characters real people. Taking their stories seriously has been an exercise I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Who designed your book cover/s?
The first cover was designed by Kelly Shorten at Musa Publishing. She had to work within set parameters but was very good about letting me choose the images, colours, and type face, out of what was available. I have created the covers for my self-published books; it’s something I enjoy doing. They all have covers before I even start the editing. I know nothing at all about computer graphics and don’t have photoshop, but since the best covers have to be simple and clear, that isn’t too much of an obstacle.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I’m sure it does. It’s the first contact the eye has with your book, before even scanning the blurb. I personally wouldn’t even bother reading the blurb of a book with a seriously ugly cover. I know it isn’t fair, that not everyone who is good with words is also good with graphics, but that’s the way it is. I can’t help thinking that anyone who can tolerate showcasing their work with a hideous cover has no aesthetic sense at all.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
More books are being published than ever before. There are more and more aspiring authors, and small publishers are springing up to cater to that market. Now, with self-publishing, anybody can be a published author, and self-pubbing carries less of a stigma as we are getting used to the idea that the traditional publishers don’t necessarily pick the best books. So why go with a small publisher? If your book is accepted by a good small press where it will get professional editing, professional cover art, and marketing, you have three good reasons. Unfortunately many small publishers don’t edit, produce nasty covers from stock images, and do no marketing whatsoever. In that case, there is nothing at all to be gained from giving them your book.
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1