Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog. (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.) I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Madhvi Ramani, had some very creative responses which I’m sure will captivate you, as well. After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm and wit. And now, I turn the microphone over to Madhvi …
1. Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself:
Hello! I’m Madhvi and I write short stories, children’s books, plays and screenplays. I grew up in London and currently live in Berlin with my (mad) German husband.
2. Please provide the link to your website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc:
Facebook: The Nina Series
Blog: An English Man in Berlin
3. Have you published any books? If so, please share the links to purchase them:
I have a cute series of chapter books about a girl called Nina, who goes on fantastic adventures around the world using her aunt’s travelling spice shed (you’ll have to read the books to find out how that works).
And, out soon:
I’ve also published several short stories in magazines and anthologies. You can find them via my Amazon Author Page.
4. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why?
So far, all my work has been traditionally published. This seemed like the best option when I started out because I had no idea about the business of publishing. However, I would love to produce my own books and have more control over my work, so I’d be interested in self-publishing in the future.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading? What is the last book you read)?
Oh so many! I’m currently reading every single Joyce Carol Oates book I can find (there are lots). I also recently enjoyed Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series. Favourite authors include Roald Dahl, Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, Elena Ferrante, J.M Coetzee, Hilary Mantel, Doris Lessing, Kazuo Ishiguro…
6. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
I like paperbacks from used bookshops or libraries, because they smell of secrets, dust, and disintegrating paper. I also have a Kindle, which is great for journeys. I don’t like hardbacks, because they’re heavy to hold and carry around, and I’m lazy.
7. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
All of the above! Recently, however, I’ve tended toward first person present tense, because of the immediacy. I think there’s value in making the reader physically and emotionally feel what the character is experiencing as much as possible.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:
8. What is the title of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
Nina and the Magical Carnival.
9. What is your novel’s genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
It’s fantasy-adventure for children aged 7+. I try to write intelligent children’s books. Books that children can go back to, or that the adults reading to them can also enjoy. I create diverse characters, and positive role models for girls.
10. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story? What inspired it?
Nina has to perform in the school talent show, but she doesn’t know what to do and time is running out!
When her teacher mentions a magical fantasia that can help, Nina sets off to Brazil in her aunt’s travelling spice shed to find it. There, she has a great adventure involving a mysterious costume, a samba parade, and a top-secret mission!
Carnival, with its masks and costumes, has always fascinated me – it’s an expression of freedom and creativity. When I wrote this book, I was having problems with my own work, because I’m a perfectionist, so I basically gave Nina the same problem, and worked through it. That’s really what this book is about –getting in touch with your creativity.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:
11. How often do you write?
A few hours every day.
12. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
300 – I’m slow! I comfort myself with the fact that Flaubert was slower (then again, he was Flaubert).
13. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I edit as much as I can, then give my work to my writers’ group, and edit it again with their notes in mind. Finally, the editors at the publishing house have look at it.
14. What inspires you?
Newspaper and magazine articles, titbits of conversation, daydreams, people I meet, places I go.
15. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
Coffee is good. And my laptop. That’s all…
ABOUT YOUR WORK:
16. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
Nina, because she has access to a magical shed that can transport her anywhere in the world in an instant!
My fiction for adults is darker – I make horrible things happen to my characters, so I wouldn’t want to be any of them…
17. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
Research is fascinating, and I’ve accumulated much random knowledge doing it. Recently, I’ve become an expert on is wine-making in Biblical times (for a short story called Noah, in Triangulation: Parch).
18. What is the most difficult thing you have researched for your fiction and why?
I researched acrotomophilia, or amputee fetish, for a horror story a while back. Once you go down that research hole, you emerge a little disturbed. (If you’re curious, the story is called The Dark Room, published in the anthology Night Terrors II.)
Thank you, Madhvi, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.