CHCC YA Fest is taking place at Robert Jeyes Library in Chadwell Heath Community Centre in Romford on Sunday 13th May. The festival has an incredible line-up of events, including author panels, a writing workshop, a Literary Agent talk, a scavenger hunt with a prize and table top Quidditch! Tickets are available for around £10 at chccyafest.eventbrite.co.uk.
To celebrate the festival, we have a guess post from Alexandra from The Hufflepuff Nerdette. Alexandra interviewed authors of The Witch’s Kiss series – Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. Both Katharine and Elizabeth will be at CHCC YA Fest – make sure you get tickets if you live nearby!
What is your writing kryptonite?
Twitter! It’s so easy to spend way too much time looking through our social media feeds when we should be writing or editing.
What made you want to write this book?
Initially we thought it would be fun to write a gender-reversed fairy tale (The Witch’s Kiss is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty), but we ended up also using the books as a way of thinking about grief, and family, and forgiveness – important themes to us, since we’ve both lost people we love.
If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?
DO NOT GIVE UP! Have some confidence in yourself. Keep writing. Believe you can do it.
What Hogwarts house would the main character of your book be sorted into?
We think Merry is a mixture to be honest: there’s definitely a lot of Gryffindor in there (she’s pretty brave and somewhat headstrong), but also a tiny bit of Slytherin (by the last book she’s really powerful, and she’s definitely not going to let anyone get in the way of her saving her brother).
While you were editing your book, what were some thoughts that were going through your mind?
Well, we always try to make sure our characters’ voices are authentic – that people will believe in them. When we were editing our third book, The Witch’s Blood, we spent a lot of time thinking about how the book fits into the overall arc of the trilogy, and making sure that everything we said was consistent with the first two books.
What is your writing process like?
Somewhat chaotic! We always start with a detailed outline and with the intention of writing alternate chapters. But in reality, we write at different speeds so we get out of sync. And then we edit the outline as we go along too, so the story evolves as we we’re writing it. Plus, you can never tell when a character is going to get difficult and start arguing with the dialogue you’re planning to give him or her…
What advice do you have for other writers?
Get the first draft FINISHED. Even if it’s rubbish. The worst thing to do is to start editing before you’ve done that first draft, because the danger then is that you’ll never finish it.
How much research do you do for your books?
Quite a lot. We wanted the system of magic in The Witch’s Kiss series to have an organic feel, so we read a lot about witches in English history and about the traditional use of herbs, metals, etc in magic. We also created spells in different languages to give the feeling of something which has developed over time. For the sections of the books set in the past, we researched the Anglo-Saxons to make those bits feel as realistic as possible. We even had a go at learning Old English!
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The first page, definitely. Even with a detailed outline, finding the way into a new story when you’re starting that first draft is daunting.
What do you find is the easiest part?
Editing – refining what you’ve got is so much easier than that dreaded first draft…
Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?
Sounds daft really but just keep writing. Sit down and force yourself to put something down on paper, even if you delete it all later. Just showing up to write is the key thing. Finding a trusted friend / family member who you can chat to about your ideas is also really helpful.
How can your readers discover more about you and your work?