Meet the Author: Life Giver by Lisa Lowell

Today we welcome Lisa Lowell as we travel to rural Silverton, Oregon USA to uncover how a pre-electric typewriter, Powell’s Bookstore, sign language, the dragon of Hindu legend, and elements of magic work together to create Lisa’s current and past experiences. Put on your dancing shoes, let’s dance our way through this one … 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been writing since I was six because my grandmother had this fascinating pre-electric typewriter and I would tangle up the arms just playing on it. I grew up in a family of artists, and rather than compete with them, words became the paint across my pages. I grew up in rural southern Oregon, amid rivers, forest and waterfalls.

It was idyllic and yet I couldn’t wait to get out and see the world. I got scholarships on the basis of my writing and went to university as far away from Oregon as I could get. I traveled to Europe and spent a few years teaching there, as well as doing student teaching in Washington DC, but I always came back to Oregon.

I married a wonderful man I met at church, and we adopted three children. They’re grown now and since my husband has Parkinson’s, I need to do something close to home, so I revived the writing. We still live in rural Silverton, Oregon, but a lot closer to Powell’s Bookstore (google it), which is still idyllic.

In which genre do you write?

I dabble in sci-fi and historical fiction, but most of my present work is pure high fantasy. I need to be able to have some element of magic in whatever I write.

How many published books do you have?

At present, two of my Wise Ones series have been published, but by the time this interview goes to press, my third book, Life Giver will be out (June 9). All nine of the books in the series have been accepted for publication and they’re all written. I just have to tighten up the prose and get my cover artist (sister Paula) to do each cover. That usually takes a year. I also have one book I self-published on Kindle, back before I had a publisher. It’s called Prince of Samaria, and is an historical fiction set in ancient Babylon and Egypt.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I was writing before I actually knew what that meant, but by the time I was in my teens, I felt that call because of all the wonderful books I was reading. I wasn’t in direct competition with my very talented siblings, and writing isn’t an ‘observable’ art, so no one was judging me at home. I used my own illustrations to help with concepts, setting and characterization. Andre’ Norton, Patricia A. McKillip, David Brin and Anne McCaffrey influenced much of my desire to write fantasy and science fiction. They got me through those gloomy teen years where I set down my roots as a writer.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I dance while I’m revising and editing. Sometimes I’ll have my headphones on and the music just begs me to dance to the writing. Because I know sign language (deafness runs in the family and I’m going deaf) I add sign to my dance and I’m also telling the story I write in signs.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

My avatar is the dragon of Hindu legend, Tiamat. She is a three headed destroyer and a character I integrated into one of my Wise Ones stories, I liked her so much. She represents me because she has three personalities, like me. Wild, outgoing artist, cool and logical thinker, calm and gentle mother.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space is a mess. It’s got a plate of carrots and hummus on one side, a glass of water, headphones and post-its festooning all the flat surfaces. The headphones aren’t in use because everyone that will normally be all loud in the house, aren’t home right now. My ‘writing playlist’ is coming from the speakers, (which is saying something because iTunes never works well for me). I can look out the window and see the gardens and directly across from me is the wall with my sister’s painting. I have chocolate kisses squirreled away in the shelf behind me, and the biggest adjustable leather chair to sit in. My mouse and big 17” screen and keyboard are actually clean.

What are you currently reading?

At present, I’m reading the final revisions of my editor on Life Giver, which published on June 9. Before that I was doing my annual reading of Battlefield Earth, and at school I’m reading Outsiders to my class of English 7th graders.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m a workaholic, so I never relax. I play piano, sing, dance, draw, and clean my house when I’m upset. When I must, I grade poorly written essays by 13 year-olds and do some cooking. I rarely pursue my hobbies which include gardening, going for long walks, dabbling in genealogy and teaching sign language.

If you could have a fantasy tea date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

A fantasy tea would have a crowd, I’m afraid. I would want to invite Isaac Newton and Einstein for intellect, Tolkien and JK Rowling for creativity, Leonardo DaVinci, Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi for culture and maybe my mom, just to keep me from being nervous.

I would not have much to ask because with that for a crowd it would be very entertaining just to listen to them talk to each other. I might introduce everyone and then ask one open ended question like, ‘What are you doing right now, creatively?’ I figure that would get the ball rolling and I could listen in and just enjoy the conversation. I’m an introvert and would bask in their ideas.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve learned that I’m not a weirdo, at least in the writing community. All the writers I’ve met have strange ideas and odd habits. They’ve all come into their art in ways that are driven and almost manic. They too have grown more confident and improved their skill without having to be embarrassed by their gifts. I’m not alone in seeing the flaws in my writing and never being satisfied, no matter how many times you revise and edit. I’m grateful for the endless ideas others share and how it stimulates ideas of my own. I’ve learned that I love being a writer, instead of being ashamed of it.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done to help create a scene or plot?

I once asked a friend if I could make a noose and pretend to hang her. It was research for book #2 of Wise Ones and I was afraid that if I googled it, I’d see the real thing and the therapists would be sent to me, putting me on suicide watch.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

My journal is more of impressions I get when I read scriptures. I used to keep a journal, back when I was a teen, but I cringe now at how selfish and self-centered I sound, so I don’t bother reading it. When I was in fugue states, I was depressed and wrote my stories, not journaling. The two are almost opposites. A journal is for when you have nothing to write.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I did my student teaching in Washington DC, three thousand miles from home. While I was there in the parking lot of my apartment building, I ran into an old friend from Göteborg, Sweden. She too was there to study and we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in years. It was as if God wanted us to meet up and remind ourselves of our friendship.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? What do you do to prepare yourself?

I listen to Sia’s Elastic Heart and spend quite a bit of time praying. For me, public speaking is teaching mode, and I’ll have to be flexible (Elastic Heart) and inspired (praying) in order to not sound like a teacher. Outside of teacher mode, I get so nervous my hands shake and I cannot read what I’m looking at, so that’s where prayer comes into it.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the days when I could go out into the fields behind my house, climb a tree or lay down in the tall grass and read or draw or daydream. My mother would stick her head out to call us in for dinner, shouting because she figured we were nowhere near, but I would pop up in the grass just feet from the door and smile at her.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I would love to join Calvin and Hobbes on his adventures. He had the intellect of Oppenheimer and the whimsy of a child. What a fun combination. I hope I keep that myself.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

For me, I would want to be Mohan, the dragon. First of all, his innocence and curiosity would appeal to me. I would go see how things had changed in the Land, and then I would fly up and have a chat with Owailion. Why was he being such a doofus? He needs to change his attitude and come rejoin the world. Besides, he needs to explain what was written on those runestones.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last movie I watched was Aquaman (I don’t get out much) and I went to that only because my husband insisted. It was his thing, not mine. I don’t like movies much because they don’t have closed captioning and so I cannot follow them very well. I’ll wait until it comes out on Hulu, and only if it is a movie of a book I’ve read.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

I’d say, “How do you do? Come in!” He would say, “I am in need of magical help because obviously some wicked witch has cursed me. No one wears sombreros any more.” Magic, I can do.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I believe God has a hand in all things. He lets us fight our own battles and do our own thing, but He needs us to be in the right place at the right time to help answer prayers.

I remember a story of a man who took his two sons hiking on a ridiculously long hike up a mountain. One of his sons got stung by something and was going into anaphylactic shock, but it was nine miles back down the trail and he had to carry his boy. His other son had to carry the packs and it was too dark by the time they were coming back down. The younger son, who was about six, led the way and insisted they needed to take a right turn, not the left down the trail. The father was too busy praying that his son would live to get off the mountain to argue. Then he heard the cries of someone else on the mountain and they stumbled into three little girls who had wandered off from their camp to gather wild flowers and were now lost. The father then had five children to get off the mountain. In the end, he managed to get them all down and to the medics, but when he collapsed at home he heard a voice. “I could not answer your prayers. I needed you to answer theirs.” That’s why his son was stung. That’s why he was led on the wrong path. God was using him as an instrument to help others.

We cannot always understand why things are happening, but we need to have faith that it is for a reason. Witness the meeting in Washington DC with my old friend Karin.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Why must you sit there, even though you know you’re not supposed to? What is so fascinating about that (garbage, crotch, pile of nasty). Where is my phone and why did you feel a need to chew on it?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I am not a procrastinator – which technically is the lack of a personality trait, but it is part of me. I get things done. I’m not weighed down with fear, indecision or reluctance. I barge in and get it done. In that way, I’m like Rashel, the female MC in my latest book. I admire it in her, but it gets her into trouble too, just like me.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I’d love to go back to Washington DC once again and finish exploring. Do you know how many museums are involved in Smithsonian? I love to explore the memorials, museums and sites, not because I love politics. I love history and art. The city simply oozes with those things, and I love to learn. It’s like Disneyland for grownups. I couldn’t see it all in the four months I was there.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been on a solo date before. I went on a solo trip through Europe, which was great fun. I went through all the museums and small villages I could see on my Eurorail pass, and without the tourist guides. I distinctly remember sailing among the islands outside of Göteborg and wondering why it was July and the sun wasn’t setting. It could have been California, except it was so cold I had on a jacket.

I remember taking a camera and photographing Michaelangelo’s David’s hands. You could distinctly see the veins and those carefully manicured nails. I was there the year after the Wall fell in East Germany and I picked up a piece of rubble (I can only assume) from it, complete with vandalized paint. That’s the kind of date I’d like to take again. It took two months, so it might not feature as a date, but that’s what I’d like to do again.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My most recent book is called Life Giver. It is book #3 of the Wise Ones series. In this book Yeolani, who is a reluctant, irreverent magician, learns from all the ways he can mess up, that he has something to give, despite himself.

One thing you should know is there are nine books in the series and they’re all written and accepted for publication. I wrote them backwards. The one that is now #9, Sea Queen, was the first because it started out as a simple story about how a girl became a queen and all the adventures that would take her through that transformation. When everyone read it, they enjoyed it but wanted to have the backstories of all the other characters. So each book in the Wise Ones focuses on one of the other magical people and how they came into their power.

Thank you Lisa for being a part of MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about you, your history, and your writing life. Here’s to your continued success on this writing journey! –Camilla

Book Trailer for Life Giver

Where to Buy:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZgkeYQ

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KG7GWG

Lisa Lowell’s Books on US Amazon: https://amzn.to/31ReqGS

Social media

www.magicintheland.com

https://www.facebook.com/vikingauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Book Trailer for Talismans

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Second Skin by Sue Bentley

Today we welcome Sue Bentley as we travel to Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of the UK. Join us as we discover how Daisy Meadows, the Northamptonshire shoe trade, mixed-media, being self-taught, and Hay-on-Wye contribute to the fairy tale of Sue’s writing life. Get comfortable and slip into your imagination. Let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Northamptonshire a County in the East Midlands of the UK, where I was born. I write in different genres. My series of children’s books are contemporary. But my books and short stories for Young Adults and Adults can have contemporary, historical or fantasy backgrounds – or a mixture. I enjoy a certain darkness and suspense in the books I read and my own books often contain these elements.

I have written around 80 books, plus a number of short stories, under various pen-names as well as my own – Sue Bentley is my own name. As Lucy Daniels I contributed to the Animal Ark series and as Daisy Meadows I wrote some of the early Rainbow Magic books. Having ‘cut my teeth’ and learned a lot about writing to length and making every single word work for its living, I wrote my Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies and Magic Bunny series – around 60 titles. They are all still in print and sell very well around the world.

For the past five years or so, I have been writing novels for Young Adults, which like Harry Potter are read by many adults.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Subconsciously I always knew I’d be a writer. I’ve been obsessed with books and reading since, forever. I went straight from school to work in a public library. It was the perfect job for a bookaholic. I immediately read everything on the ‘Restricted’ list! Each book had a big red stamp on the title page – very dangerous and exciting! I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘Restricted’ book any more.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing place looks like my study would if it were better organised. I love my room – every writer should have one of their own. It’s quite large, with a desk and work space at one end. There’s a reading space and table and chairs at the other end, and far too many books. I still love actual books for research, there’s nothing like flipping pages and making notes – but I use on-line resources too. At the moment books are stacked all over the floor. It drives me mad. I’m constantly in a state of trying to sort them out and get more bookshelves. I will be doing it at any moment…but I have a book to finish writing first.

Do you have a current work in progress?

My work-in-progress (WIP) is entitled Frozen Charlotte and is a Victorian mystery inspired by the shoe trade in Northamptonshire. I am enjoying researching it and spend a lot of time at the local Records Office and visiting people in the shoe trade.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

When about to speak publicly or read from my latest book, I’m usually fairly relaxed and looking forward to meeting readers. I scrub up a bit, so I feel I look my best and that helps me feel confident. No one wants to see me in my tracksuit or pyjamas, which I might stay in all day when I’m fully immersed in my WIP. But when appearing at Althorp Literary Festival a couple of years ago, I was suddenly struck by the most awful stage fright. I think it was the weight of history associated with the place. We live fairly close and the whole tragedy of Princess Diana dying was so terribly poignant. I’m not a great royalist, but she seemed to embody something we all related to. I stood by as the funeral cortege passed within yards. I had dreadful anxiety for an entire week before my Althorp event. On the day I took some Rescue Remedy – which I swear by for all kinds of emergencies great and small. Once I was there, I had a wonderful time, meeting readers, fellow authors and Earl Spencer was a most generous, warm and charming host. That year Althorp had their first ever Children’s Literary Festival. My event centred on my Magic Kitten series, and the lovely Bernie Keith from BBC Radio Northampton was my wing-man. The event was voted a great success. Phew – the relief! I’d probably be just as nervous if I was invited back, but would do it again in a heartbeat.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

When I’m not writing or marketing my books, I’m thinking about writing, making notes for the next book or researching it. I love to read for pleasure whenever I can and always learn something new from every book, which I’m sure translates to my own writing. Writing is what I do, and what I am. I’m hard-wired to make sense of the world through the written word. Even in the early days writing was never a hobby for me. I make my living from writing and, like most successful authors, have completed a long apprenticeship. I am entirely self-taught, did not go to university. So I’m living proof that anyone can become a writer.

In a conversation with a published author, he told me he was not going to write any more as he had, ‘other hobbies to take up his time’. I had to resist telling him to, ‘wash his mouth out with soap!’ I’m sometimes asked if I’m still writing – fair enough if I haven’t seen someone in a while – but my pet hate is reference to my ‘little hobby.’ (It’s the ‘little’ that really gets to me) I doubt if anyone ever asks a plumber, ‘You still fiddling with taps and wash basins, mate?’ or a brain-surgeon. ‘Still messing about inside people’s heads?’

I’m also a sometime artist in mixed-media, but I’m a writer first and foremost. I’m sure if I cut myself I’d bleed words – it would be a paper cut, obviously!

What do you miss about being a kid?

I suppose the sense of freedom of living in the present. The lack of worry about this complicated and troubling world. I love children; their innocence, their honesty, the joy they take in every new discovery. I hope I’ve retained some of that. I do find joy in simple things like a butterfly in the garden and along with The Other Half (OT) laugh at the absurdities of life.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I love the UK in all its aspects. I am a very English writer and feel a strong sense of place. I do love the green and pleasant hills and forests of my homeland, Wales, Ireland and Scotland also have such individual beauty. I’m particularly fond of Dorset, with its rolling countryside and Jurassic coast. We visited Lyme Regis recently, a favourite of mine where we scoured the beaches for fossils washed in on the tide. I found one small perfect Ammonite in the wet sand, while the dark cliffs sulked behind me and leaked trails of blue-ish clay onto the beach. Those cliffs are scary and prone to rock falls, but the wild seas, wind and rain are exhilarating. I also love Hay-on-Wye. It’s my perfect town where every shop is either a book shop, an antique/vintage shop, or a café. Bliss. I simply browse for days.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? 

If I could turn myself into one of my characters for the day, it would be either Flame the Magic Kitten from my children’s series. Or Aledra from my novel, Second Skin. Both characters have special abilities, so I could have a brilliant adventure travel to the bottom of the sea with Flame or fly beneath moon with Aledra. How wonderful, before I then returned to writing.

My new novel Second Skin, was recently published, Summer 2019. It’s the first book in a new series, entitled Bridge of Fire. I adore its beautiful book cover!

Thank you Sue for joining us on MTA. It’s been wonderful getting to know you through this interview and connecting on social media. My daughter, Lillian Darnell, loved (and still does) the Rainbow Magic books and the other children’s series you mention. I am incredibly inspired by your path to success! Thank you for sharing with us! – Camilla

Book Blurb for Second Skin.

Young-Lady Aledra Jewel-Wing is Drakkoni, one of a race of shape-shifters who rule over Esra, a wild and beautiful continent. Aledra has grown up on a remote farmstead, is about to meet her estranged father; the commander of the king’s army. When attempting to save a life she rises into her fearsome soul-double, and soon becomes a fugitive, on the run from her father and a pitiless bounty hunter.

Where to Buy Second Skin:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/31DlPcP

UK Amazonhttps://amzn.to/2Z5rkiP

We Other, published by Endeavour Media is out now. It’s a dark re-working of the fairy-tale tradition. I’m in love with its wonderful new book cover for the Anniversary edition.

Book Blurb for We Other.

Jess Morgan’s life is chaotic. When a shocking new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear everything she believed is a lie. Life on a run-down housing estate with her alcoholic mum and violent boyfriend becomes the least of her worries. A dark and powerful destiny awaits that will test her to the limit.

Website and Social Media links.

https://www.suebentley.co.uk

https://instagram.com/therealsuebentley

https://twitter.com/suebentleywords

https://facebook.com/suebentleyauthor

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits by Andrew John Rainnie

Today we welcome Andrew John Rainnie as we travel to Glasgow, Scotland to learn how traveling the world, a red panda and Thundercats have come together as part of Andrew’s life. Grab your boomerang and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Andrew John Rainnie, and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a writer, filmmaker, dreamer and gamer. I’m a strong advocate for animal rights and an independent Scotland.

In which genre do you write?

My first attempt at publishing a novel was actually a non-fiction travel blog I kept when I was traveling round the world. My fiction has so far been epic fantasy, but I’m hoping try different genres in the future. I have been jotting down ideas for a stream of consciousness drama story for a few years, and also have loose plans for an urban fantasy book series.

I also write screenplays, usually in the horror/thriller genre. I like the challenge of looking at a genre and working out how to write a story within the conventions of what an audience/reader expects, but also subverting those to better the story.

How many published books do you have?

Technically two! I self-published my travel blog, My Right Leg Is Tastier Than My Left, back in 2013, I think (it’s not on sale now as I’m planning on doing something different with it). I was just curious as to how the whole self-publishing process worked and had a wealth of material from traveling for a year.

I then self-published Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits in 2014. It was the first book in a planned trilogy.

After that I also made a book of short stories available based in that world called Tales of Vengeance. Then while working on the sequel, the first book got picked up by a publisher along with the second book. It was due out last year but I was making a short film, getting married and moving house, while also trying to do significant redrafts. It is almost in a state I am happy with, so hopefully it will be published this year.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

From a very young age. I used to write short stories all the time as a child, and not just a page or two, but like 10 page epic tales. My school teachers used to hate me because when we were given a writing task, I would hand in several pages more than anyone else.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I struggle to write at a computer sometimes. I find sometimes there’s a bit of a fug, although IU have since acquired a mechanical keyboard which makes it sound like you are using a typewriter.

But if I find there is a problem with the flow of ideas, I’ll just sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and write freeform for an hour. It does mean I then have to type those notes up, but I find switching between the two keeps my ideas fresh. I also like to drop my friends’ names in as minor characters. There are at least four in the new book!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Good question! I am very tempted to say a dog (because I love dogs and yet live with two cats) but I think probably a red panda. They are very playful and creative.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Well we just moved home and I claimed one of the smaller rooms as my own personal office, so I have a big wide desk populated by toys and notes and pens. I have a boomerang and a Frisbee and a toy space gun all hanging on the wall, all mementos from my travels. Hopefully I’ll get more artwork up on the bare walls soon.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently working my way through Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m a few chapters from the end of the first book, so will move on to Life Debt afterwards. I’m hoping to finish them before The Rise of Skywalker hits in December(I don’t get a lot of reading time).

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I don’t have much of a life anymore. I work full time, I have another job writing copy, I have a couple of screenwriting commissions. I also make films and promo videos. My wife rarely sees me.

When I get a spare five minutes, I love nothing more than playing video games. I just love disappearing into these rich worlds filled with colourful characters and stories. I was halfway through the new God of War before we moved house, but I’m on a bit of a video games ban until I finish the new book. My pile of unplayed video games almost rivals my pile of unread books!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Terry Pratchett. I renamed a character in the second book as a small tribute to him. He managed to create several series of books, especially the Discworld, that told very human stories dealing with contemporary issues, while based in this absurd fantasy world. And it’s a credit to his storytelling and world building that it works so well over 40 books.

I read an interview with him where he told a story about someone asking him what was the first thing he figured out when creating a city like Anhk-Morpork, and they were disappointed when he answered that he works out where the water comes in and the sh** flows out. But that’s how you build worlds. You make sure they work within the logic of the world.

I learned a lot from my decades wandering the Discworld, but I would have loved to have had the opportunity to sit down with him over a beer and pick that fantastic brain of his.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I am my own worst enemy. My background is in screenwriting, so I try and plot or structure as much of the books as I can before starting to actually write it. But sometimes I’ll get bogged down in the detail, or conversely leave a very vague plot point because I haven’t quite worked it out, and when I come to write that chapter it’s like hitting a road bump on a skateboard going at 50 miles an hour.

I am completely thrown off and have to sit and rework it based on my characters and how I think they would act or react to the situation. Yet, if you plot too much, it can sometimes kill the creativity, so it’s about finding that balance.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I do all sorts. I like trying different writing techniques, so for one story I recorded me speaking in the character’s voice, like a stream of conscious narrative. For Spirits ofVengeance, I remember there was a fight scene across a battlefield, so I had to work it out using Lego toys (I collect Lego) because it was just so confusing.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

Apart from when I was traveling, no. I try and write a minimum of 3000 words a day. Keeping a diary would just add to that.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I have been very lucky in my life, and could answer this question a million different ways. I was inspired a lot when I traveled the world, seeing the Earth, this planet that we live on, all of us, together. I loved meeting new people, experiencing new cultures. I think if everyone traveled, the world would be a much better place. I was traveling on my own, and so many people showed me so much kindness (I think maybe everyone thought I was having a mid-life crisis) but it makes me well with tears just thinking about it.

Anyway, you’re looking for a specific example. I’ve already mentioned how I adored Terry Pratchett, so here’s a cool story. I was in a Japanese restaurant in Glasgow with several of my friends. One of my friends Steve was visiting from Japan where he was teaching English, so obviously we took him and his Japanese girlfriend to a Scottish Japanese restaurant. It’s one of these restaurants with long tables and benches.

So our party sits down, there’s maybe 10 of us, and just as I sit I look at the next table, and there is a guy sitting there that looks the double of Terry Pratchett, so much so I do a double take. I mentioned his to my friends who glanced over and they were said no, it’s not him, he’s not got his signature hat on.

So we continue with our meal, while this man who may or may not be my favourite author gets up and leaves with the two people he was sitting with. They pay for their meal and then he goes to the coat stand in the corner and picks up his hat, and it was Terry Pratchett! There had been a sci-fi convention in Glasgow that weekend and he was one of the guests.I thought that was cool.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I hire an impersonator! In the party we had for the first book launch, I had someone shout a page number and read that page, which was unfortunately as it had a lot of difficult character names, so maybe next time I choose the page beforehand.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The sheer lack of stress, or worry. I mean, when you are a kid, you are fearless. I mean I was quite timid as a child (my parents would probably argue otherwise) but I think there’s an innocence and naivety that allows you to go do stupid things regardless of the consequences. As an adult, you’re like “I would love to have this cake but I also have bills to pay.” I guess I miss the freedom of it, or perhaps the sense of adventure, of the unknown, because everything is unknown.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I instinctively want to say Thundercats, but I have actually re-watched them recently and they have not aged well at all. But what has I guess? I think I like the mythology of it rather than the show itself. Your brain remembers the sweeping arcs and major plot points, but forgets there was an episode where everyone was tripping on some psychotropic plant or fighting robot-pirates.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I’d probably turn into Innes Vangar. He’s a former soldier turned marauder. He’s sharp tongued, loves a drink, and runs towards danger. He’d have an amazing night out in Glasgow!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last move I saw was Detective Pikachu, and pretty much because I love Ryan Reynolds. For my sins, I have never played a Pokemon game (I probably will soon as there is a new one coming out for the Nintendo Switch), but yeah, it was enjoyable fun.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Hey gringo.” I then go get my sombrero (I genuinely have one) and we go the nearest Mexican restaurant to play in our animal-themed mariachi band with an alpaca and a chameleon.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m not religious (not in the way I think there’s a big beardy guy planning or lives), but I think things do sometimes happen for a reason, and it is up to us to take those opportunities when presented. Other times I think things happen because you put in the hard work. But still, I’ve had my fair share of coincidences to believe there is a pattern within the chaos.

An example – I was traveling in New Zealand on a bus tour, and you kind of get to know everyone straight away. I met these two lovely Welsh girls and must have been in their company for a couple of weeks when they were looking through their old photos, and spotted me. We’d been sitting next to one another on a flight from Singapore to Australia two months beforehand.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

1. What the f*** do you want?
2. Why do you get pissing on the carpet?
3. Why don’t you love me?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Perseverance. There’s a certain stereotype that Scottish people are hard-working, and I’m the perfect example of it. I just don’t know how to stop doing something until it is done. I rarely quit.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

In my country? So many places! I live in Glasgow, which is to me one of the most amazing cities in the world. We just have a great culture and we’re a very artistic city. But other than Glasgow, I’d say the Highlands. Scotland has a lot of mountain ranges, but the Cairngorms are just amazing. If you visit the town of Aviemore, there is a road that takes you to the visitor centre, going past Glenmore Forest and Loch Morlich which has a lovely sandy beach. It’s beautiful.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day,weather, place, etc.

Sunny day. Brunch at Brewdog Berlin.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

I’m just finishing off the second book in the Spirits of Vengeance saga, called The Assassin of Araneque, and plotting the final book, The Rise of Rakkatoa.

However, the first book in the series, Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits, is available online at sites listed below.

About the book:

It tells the story of Kamina Elloeth, a young tree elf who is thrust from the safety of her forest home on an epic adventure with a mysterious ranger and her ghostly brother.

I really hope you enjoy reading it and the sequels!

Thank you Andrew for being a part of Meeting the Authors and sharing a bit about you and your writing life. –Camilla

Where to purchase the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JEaAfr

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YIl4hk

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Spirits-of-Vengeance-by-Rainnie-Andrew/9781911424307

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/spirits-of-vengeance/andrew-rainnie/9781911424307

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirits-of-vengeance-andrew-john-rainnie/1120792102

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!