Author Talks on BookLikes! It's time for second part of interview with Gothic steampunk author Elizabeth Watasin. If you haven't read first part, go here: Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One. Enjoy reading.
Dark Victorian is outlined to about 8 books. We'll see, I may try to cut it down to 6, because at this rate it would take me a book a year. Within the same universe as Dark Victorian I have my Elle Black Penny Dreads. They were an effort to return to more simple, Gothic horror heroine stories and I find them lots of fun. I guess there would be one Elle Black novella per Dark Victorian book, because the stories run concurrently.
While Artifice and Jim Dastard are fighting greater supernatural evil in London, Elle Black, who's a Victorian telekinetic and housewife, finds herself solving mysteries that are no less horrible. She's basically a heroine who'd rather brew ginger beer, look pretty for her wife, and putter in her garden, so it's great fun dropping her into these frightening situations.
Yes, besides the Elle Black series I've a YA contemporary fantasy novel that needs perfecting and finishing. Wit's World: Never Was (which I may change the title), was what I was working on before I became frustrated and decided to work on the Dark Victorian. "Wit's World" is a very big, epic storyline. Emma Daring loses her twin sister in a theme park in a duplicate dimension, and she goes in to rescue her. It has several sets of twins and covers probably three eras of the theme park and three generations of people, and of course it's set in a massive theme park. So I have to go back into that and fix it, especially after my writing experiences with the Dark Victorian series. I'd released the story as a serial in my newsletter a few years ago and some readers would really like that book finished!
I can't read any contemporary fiction except my own, that's true. I need to be in my own world, not sucked into someone else's. Also, if I've yet to solidify and build the world I'm going to immerse myself in, I shouldn't read stories that are similar--no matter one's good intentions, there's always the possibility of unconsciously picking up 'story' from someone else. So I read no contemporary fiction but I do read lots of non-fiction for reference and research and some fiction from the Victorian period--like Jane Eyre or penny dread stories. I like reading those to gain understanding of voice, insight to the period, and experience authenticity.
Hm! If I were aware of more stories like the ones I tell, I might collect them. I think like lots of book lovers, I accumulate way more books than I've time to read, and my first criteria for fiction is whether I find the premise very intriguing. If I may experience something I've yet to know or the characters are ones I'd like to know, then that's a story that interests me. So it's not a matter of genre as it could be a biography, historical-based, a mystery, a horror, magical realism, literary fiction, speculative fiction, and so on.
Heck yes, but they are all children's books. If I were only allowed to have a very few books on a desert island, I would pick the Mary Poppins series by P.L. Travers, illustrated by Mary Shepard, and The L. Frank Baum Oz series, illustrated by John R. Neil. Tick-Tock of Oz, for example. I probably love the book because it has the most female characters in relationship to male ones who are substantially involved in the story. And they're varied and wonderful. Besides Betsy there's the effervescent Pollychrome, the demure Rose Princess, and the incredible Queen Ann Soforth. It is certainly not the best Baum book and it is uneven, yet it is adventure, it is innocent, and delightful. If anyone still had a child inside themselves to nurture, then these books are for them.
First bookish memory?
How odd, I'll take that as what books I first remember encountering rather than what I read. That would be my dad's Thai-English dictionaries, which were these thick, pocket-sized editions, probably from the sixties, with very thin pages that were already acidifying. I remember looking at the Thai and English letters and then drawing on them with a blue ballpoint pen to connect the symbols together. I was probably about four years old.
Any favorite quotes?
Yes! Here are three to put in your pocket:
Be as thou wast wont to be.
See as thou wast wont to see. -
- Oberon to Titania, A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare.
Not knowing when the dawn will come. I open every door. -
- Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems.
To write with taste, in the highest sense, is to write with the assumption that one out of a hundred people who read one's work may be dying, or have some loved one dying; to write so that no one commits suicide, no one despairs; to write as Shakespeare wrote, so that people understand, sympathize, see the universality of pain, and feel strengthened, if not directly encouraged, to live on. -
- John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers.
You can follow Elizabeth Watasin's blog on BookLikes here: 'Tis Nyte! by Elizabeth Watasin.
It was a great pleasure to interview writer, illustrator and artistic soul in one body. Thank you, Elizabeth.