Today's Darklight On... is with Sandra Harris. Welcome, Sandra!
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I think it was more a case of speculative fiction chossing me. I have always found even just a little paranormal edge to a story fascinating. Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy M*A*S*H so much with Radar's ability. :) Like a lot of the writers here, I grew up with the original Dr Who with Tom Baker as my favourite, though my Mum was always partial to John Pertwee. Another favourite was the original Avengers - and I'm not talking comic books here. The TV series with Steed - and in my opinion his best companion - Emma Peel. Each episode always had a paranormal twist and they always gripped my interest. Still do in fact!
Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
The first book I wrote was straight pantsering. It also took twenty years to write, life does have a habit of interferring and, to be honest, it was more of a hobby than the obsession it has now grown into. I believe I'm morphing into something of a plotter for the major points and then winging-it to fill in the gaps.
Do have a favourite of your characters?
I have to admit I fall in love with each and every one of my heroes. Though I have to admit that the two men in my current ms probably qualify - and always will - as Favourites.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently about half way through a sci-fi ms that is the first in a series of three. Though, like Douglas Adams, there may be a fourth in the trilogy. :) And am editing and polishing with the best cp in the entire world, a finished sci-fi which I hope to submit to Ellora's Cave by the end of the year.
What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
Doing it well. I get an absolute thrill when reading something I've written and it evokes an emotion and I think 'hot damn! I wrote that!' That and talking with my cp on Skype for hours :))))
What can we expect from Sandra Harris in the future?
Sandra Harris has far too many interests, but first and foremost she is a writer. I've managed to set up a website with blog, though I only manage a post every now and then. Like everything else it's a WIP.
Who are your favourite authors?
Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.
What are you currently reading?
Heavens, any number of things. I'm trying to catch up on my RWA Hearts Talk and Australian Sky and Telescope magazines and have just started a novel by Robert Mason called Chickenhawk.
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?
Heck no! There are just way too many good ones out now. Of course the original Star Wars will always hold a special place in my heart, but now there's Hell Boy, The Fifth Element, Tremors, Ghost Busters, Galaxy Quest, Aliens, most of the Star Trek movies (old and new), the list goes on. As for TV series, I have always loved the original ST series and of course Stargate - oh be still my beating heart! :)
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
What do they say in Galaxy Quest? 'Never give up! Never surrender!'
An author whose work I really enjoy has a saying 'Know Thyself'. It's good advice. Find out what works for you. I know some writers sit down each day and demand a certain number of words from themselves. If that works, then do it. My writing is a bit like leapfrogging across a pond on stepping stones. I'll write madly for a bit (the leaping from stone to stone) then I need to regroup, have a think - either about the story or something completely different (standing on a stone) before leaping off once again. I don't believe there is a specific formula that you can say 'use this and it will work' for everyone. Everyone is unique and so is there writing style.
Of course having said that, there's no reason why I might not phase into a writer that sits down each and every day and writes 'x' amount of words.
So, be flexible, find out what works for you and it's OK to say to yourself 'to heck with this, I'm never writing again' because if you are truly an author at heart, you'll always come back to it. Last count I think I've given up at least a dozen times. :)
Thanks for giving me a spot in the dark, Eleni. You know, I think my imagination works better here. :)
You can visit Sandra at her website.