Today's Darklight On... is with Maggie Mundy. Welcome, Maggie!
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I have always read a lot of fantasy. Lord of the Rings is one of only a few books I have read more than once. To be honest it was more because it took two reads to understand all those battles. I loved how you could lose yourself in the world these authors had created in this genre. I went to a WEA course on how to write SF and Fantasy and decided I would give it a go, after all they say write what you know. I then went on to Uni to study English and Drama, and I’m still learning. I enjoy spec fic as well because you can stretch yourself by creating worlds and scenarios that are complex, and yet the characters have to deal with human type emotions.
You had a story published in Little Gems Topaz Anthology. Do you like working in the short story length? Or do you prefer longer forms?
I prefer to write novels. I have enjoyed writing short stories but it is an art in itself. I have also been told some of my short stories are more like condensed books. Sea and Vines, my story in Little Gems, was romantic and fun. It was different for me as it had no magic or chopped up bodies in it which tends to be my usual modus operandi.
Are you a plotter? Or a pantser? Or something in between?
I have tried both and would have to say I am a plotter. My first MS was an epic fantasy about 150,000 words and the first part of a trilogy. I have a chapter plan for that book and the other two in the series. I tried being a pantser with the second MS I wrote but found I had to go back because of continuity. That said, I come to a book with an idea and often only know the beginning and the end. Like most writers I find my characters decide where they want to go, and when you lie in bed and can’t sleep, it’s usually them having a go at you because you’re going the wrong way.
Do you have a favourite of your characters?
My favourite will be the one I am working on at the time. I suppose if we didn’t like them then it would be difficult to believe that someone else could in the story. I do have a place in my heart for the first hero I wrote. He was a bit of a Darcy type in a fantasy where he had everything that was his life taken away from him. I think it is the flaws in people’s characters that make them real and human, even if they can shape shift, fly or drink blood.
What are you currently working on?
I have just finished doing the Before You Hit Send workshop with Angela James, of Carina Press, and will be using that over the next few months to apply to the manuscripts I have finished. I also have a MS that is almost done. It has a vampire in an alternate world where he is not sure what he is until a woman from Earth turns up. She knows more about him than he does.
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
I love creating something from nothing and watching people and places come alive on the page. I also like it when something seems to be not quite right and my brain works overtime trying to work it out, and when I finally get the answer it feels wonderful.
What can we expect from Maggie Mundy in the future?
I will have a podcast of a horror story coming out. I will let Eleni know the details. Other than that I will keep plugging away and sending off my stuff.
Who are your favourite authors?
Where shall I start? Jane Austen. I have read all her books, some many times over. No sex, but such tension. J.R.R Tolkien, Katherine Kerr. Stephan Donaldson, Fiona McIntosh. Sarah Dunant. Daphne Du Maurier I have read everything. Christine Feehan. J.R. Ward. Keri Arthur. This list could go on but I will stop there.
What are you currently reading?
I have just finished reading End of the Night Girl by Amy T. Matthews, a member of SARA. It is about the Holocaust, its harrowing, but worth reading. Other than that I have been reading some, how-to books. Selling your Story in 60 Seconds by Michael Hauge. Malicious Intent. A writer’s guide to how murderers, robber’s rapists and other criminals think by Sean Mactire. I know I’m kind of sick reading that kind of stuff. I am also rereading the manuscript I’m going to pitch next week at the conference.
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
Like many others I loved Moonlight. True Blood, Firefly, and The Dresden Files, Stardust. Constantine, The Chronicles of Riddick, Being Human ( English version.) I could go on for ages. Why is it the good stuff always gets cancelled?
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Fiona McIntosh once told me the most important thing a writer needs is a tube of glue to stick your butt to the seat. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. Also try to surround yourself with like minded people. Go to the RWA Conference if you can. I live in Adelaide and I’m lucky to be a member of the South Australian Romance Authors, whose members are fantastic and share their knowledge and enthusiasm. Join a group on line if you live remotely.
Keep learning the craft, and be open minded to critiques from CP’s or competitions. That said always be true to your voice and what you want to say in your own way. It is your story. Read widely. Being at Uni taught me to broaden my horizon and read books I would normally never have considered picking up. I didn’t love them all but they always taught me something. Now go and write.
We'll keep you updated when Maggie's podcast is available.