2. The Title of Your Work or Group:
I have two series, currently. Rebellion and Revolution are the first two books in a trilogy of fantasy adventure stories, featuring a young woman who trains to become an assassin. My most recent work, Watersmeet, is the first Twelve Baronies novel, a series of stand-alone, optimistic, romantic stories set in a fantasy world on the edge of its own industrial revolution and enlightenment period.
3. Where are you from?
England, is the short answer. I was born in Luton (just outside London), but I grew up in Lancashire and consider myself more of a northerner. And now I live in the Cotswolds, which is incredibly pretty and green, with a landscape that feeds my imagination every day.
4. In what genre do you write?
I've dabbled in all sorts, but the ideas that really stick tend to be fantasy and sci-fi, often with a side of mystery or romance.
5.In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
Watersmeet is fantasy for readers who are feeling a bit worn down by the current fashion for grimdark realism. You can pick it up and know that you're going to get a happy ending, with characters who are doing their best, even if sometimes their best efforts leave something to be desired. It's the kind of thing I love to read when I'm feeling a bit down, pure escapism.
6. What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens.
I'm extremely haphazard. I usually have a number of projects on the go -- starting things is easy, it's finishing that's hard. And I write from the middle, whatever scenes come into my head with the most force are the ones that get written first. It makes editing hell, and continuity errors abound for the first couple of passes, but it's the only way my mind seems to work.
7. Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!" ?
Ha! I'm more the opposite. I write something, and I love it while I'm working on it, but then I just want to hide it in a drawer. Even handing things over to my husband or editor is nerve wracking, I don't enjoy the waiting, but it's important to see what someone else makes of my words. You only learn through feedback, but the most useful feedback is always the critical kind, so you have to develop a thick skin to handle it.
8. Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
I started off with neither, and now I have both. I wouldn't go back to DIY!
9. Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
Wow, just one? That's really tough, but I think I'd have to go with Frank Herbert and the Dune series. I grew up on those books and I just wanted to live between the pages. All I've ever wanted as a writer was to create something half as compelling.
10. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finishing! Because I write disjoined scenes, there's a lengthy phase of tying everything together, and then gradually working through the whole manuscript time and time again to draw everything more tightly together and make a coherent and consistent whole. It takes ages, which is okay, but knowing when to stop is a challenge.
11. Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
I write them, but I'm kind of a method actor. I back my characters into difficult situations and then I try to place myself in their shoes, with their skills and experiences, to understand what's got to happen next.
12. Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
I think that's inevitable, really. I can only see the world through the lens of "being Rachel" -- no matter what other worlds and characters I imagine, I'm imagining it from the position of being myself. There are always going to be elements of me in there.
13. Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
I'm always going to keep some kind of day job -- or jobs, really, in my case. I'm a research scientist, and I also do recipe development on the side. Living the rest of my life gives me fuel for writing: I think I'd go mad if it were just me and the blank page, every day.
14. If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
I'd really like to talk to Hedy Lamarr -- there aren't many women who've so conspicuously succeeded in both artistic and technical careers. She's obviously much more famous for her film work, but I bet she'd be at least as proud of her scientific achievements and I'd love to discuss that with her.
15. There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
Fantasy is obviously a hugely popular genre, but the intersection of fantasy and romance is something that appears far more often in contemporary settings (urban fantasy or paranormal romance) rather than secondary world, high fantasy environments. I think being an academic also gives me a slightly different approach to some authors, in that I like my characters to apply some basic scientific method to their understanding of magic.
16. In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
It's true, marketing is really hard, especially if (like me) you hate singing your own praises. For me, the best way is to focus on getting my books read, rather than on making sales per se. I give a lot of books away. For as long as I have a day job, I don't need the money, so I can afford to play the long game. Even on a really tight budget, you can give away ebooks at no cost, and every fan you generate through a freebie will tell their friends, potentially leading to more sales in future. In my experience gifting books to people directly is more effective than just having them free to download from Amazon (though I do both); they're more likely to get read rather than just languishing on someone's extensive TBR.
Links to find and follow her work:
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/rachelcotterill