Immi, thanks for visiting The Fictionistas! Give us your standard bio—and then add some little nugget that you don't usually tell people:
As a child, I loved reading so much that I not only read in bed, at the table and in the bath, but in the shower and - not so successfully - on my bicycle.
I enjoyed books in a slightly unorthodox way, too - many of my childhood books have ragged edges where I tore paper from the margins in order to eat it.
I wrote my first book at eight. It was entitled The Dragon in the Teapot and would probably have been a huge hit if I hadn't lost the only copy on a family day out.
Some years later, I'm pursuing a career as a writer with more success. I write stories for young adults and adults - in the genres of fantasy, science fiction and romance, for preference. And I always make copies of my work.
I live with my partner and our two children, near Sherwood Forest in England. I still read in most places, but I no longer eat paper.
Some little nugget…hm. Well, generally people don’t know how cross I am! It’s not their fault they don’t know this, because I’m hampered by such extreme politeness it’s pretty much a social disability. But underneath the non-committal smile and the slightly detached stare-into-the-middle-distance expression, I’m often seething with rage and offendedness—about injustice and racism and classism and sexism and rudeness and people who don’t try to put themselves in other people’s shoes and people who repeat every little incorrect stereotypical soundbite as if it’s a proven fact they’ve personally researched themselves…
Um, yeah. Deep breaths. Let’s talk about something fun now!
Ha-ha....look, I got her all worked up. Now tell us about your Young Adult novella, Falling, and how people can buy it.
Falling is a futuristic version of Rapunzel. In it, my heroine, Linnet, is trapped, not by the wicked witch of the fairy tale, but by the social expectations of the world she lives in. I had a good time writing this, translating the fairy tale elements into science fiction ones. I’m particularly fond of my twist on Rapunzel’s hair! The book is available for download at Drollerie Press – http://www.drolleriepress.com/ww.drolleriepress.com/ – for $1.99, as well as my short fantasy story, Frayed Tapestry, and my upcoming dark fantasy romance, Fire and Shadow.
I read Falling and fell so in love with the richness of your worldbuilding and the fact that this isn't your Grandma's Rapunzel. What draws you to rethinking fairy tales? I was fascinated by the social commentary, also. Do you layer that in after, or was that the goal from the beginning?
Well, first, thank you for the compliments!
I love rethinking fairy tales partly because some of them are just so weird. They leave all kinds of unanswered questions. What was wrong with Rapunzel’s father, that he could so easily give her away? Why did the witch want her to stay in the tower her whole life? It’s a fun challenge to think of convincing reasons for some of the things that, in the fairy tale, ‘just are’. I had to do that in my most recent story, The Path, a version of Red Riding Hood, because it suddenly crossed my mind that it makes no sense for the wolf not to attack Red Riding Hood when she’s on her way to her grandmother’s—why does he have to wait until she gets there? And why would a normal mother send her daughter into such danger just to visit her grandmother?
The social commentary just kind of creeps in while I’m writing—probably from all that repressed anger I mentioned earlier! It’s certainly never a goal from the beginning—I don’t think I’m skilled enough to do that without it being clunky or tedious. And, you know, fiction’s primary purpose is to entertain—there’s something a little icky about deliberately setting out to convey a ‘message’ instead.
But once the social commentary makes its way in, I’m very happy to let it stay. I like layers.
What draws you to Epublishing? Are you content to stay there, or are you still looking to go to print?
Epublishing is great for my shorter works—the print market for short stories and novellas is pretty limited. Also, it’s fabulous to write a short story and have it released as an individual book, with its own cover art and everything.
I also like that my stories are instantly available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
And I love my publisher, Drollerie Press. They specialise in what is one of my favourite niches—fairy tales and myths, woven into shiny new stories.
However, while epublishing continues to be my chosen medium for my short stories, I’m aiming at the bigger print houses for my longer works. Too many people simply won’t read ebooks—I want to reach those readers, too!
Also, the ebook format means that the books generally aren’t available in libraries, and never in second-hand bookshops. So I have some ethical issues with my books only being available to the relatively well-off (those with computers and internet access).
What advice do you have for young writers?
Oh, I’m going to be boring here. Read. Read lots. And don’t worry if your writing temporarily takes on the style of whoever you’re reading—that’s part of learning. Your brain soaks up techniques and styles, just as it soaked up words when you were learning to talk, and they’ll end up combining into something that’s uniquely yours.
Also, take all advice with a large pinch of salt. I don’t mean ignore it—writers always have to be able to hear ‘this doesn’t work’. But there’s lots of advice floating around, and not all of it is going to apply to you and your work. Get second opinions, work things out for yourself, and remember that the best writing lessons for you are in your favourite books.
And finally, if you were stranded on a deserted island and your ipod had only three songs on it...which three do you hope were on there?
Well, seeing as I’m on an island and no one is going to be aurally distressed by my singing along to songs I can’t really quite manage, I’d go for West Side Story’s ‘Tonight’, Eminem’s "Lose Yourself’, and Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody". And by the time I came off the island I would know absolutely all the lyrics.
Immi is also giving away a copy of Falling or Fire and Shadow (reader's choice) to one lucky commentor before Saturday at 11:59. Winner announced Sunday!