Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ruth Nestvold interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I'm not a morning person. I write best in the evening, sometimes even until late at night if I'm on a roll.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I almost always start with pen and paper. Brainstorming on paper in a spiral notebook (and not some kind of beautiful journal) seems to signal to my brain that I don't have to take it seriously, which is incredibly liberating. I just keep throwing ideas at the paper until something sticks, until I get that "Ah-ha!" moment where I know I've found something I should do with the idea.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

All kinds of things. A snippet of conversation, a turn of phrase, a newspaper article that makes me mad or sad or curious, a historical figure I want to read more about, a literary convention I think it would be fun to play with ... Anything can be inspiration, when it comes right down to it. If you twist it and turn it enough to be able to see it in an unusual light, it can be material for a story.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

When I'm creating new material, I tend to use daily and/or weekly word counts to keep myself on track. When I'm rewriting, revising, editing, I will use goals involving a set amount of time (two hours rewriting) or how much to accomplish within the novel (edit two chapters a day). Fixed goals are very important for me because it's so easy to get distracted.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

The first short story I sold was published in Asimov's in 2000, so long before anyone seriously considered self-publishing an option. I started putting up ebook versions of my previously published fiction last year, and with the exception of "Dragon Time" my daughter helped me do the cover art (she's an old hand at Photoshop). With "Dragon Time" I just saw this lovely dragon art by Dean Spencer and had to have it for my short story, even though I know sales for stories and collections are pretty low.
When I got the English rights back for my novel Yseult (it was originally published in German translation) and decided to go indie with it, I knew I wanted to do it right, which meant getting a professional cover artist. I saw Derek Murphy's work mentioned on a blog post I read, so I checked out his site. I really liked what I saw, so I hired him for Yseult. He was great to work with, and when I get the next Arthurian novel, Shadow of Stone, ready to publish, I will probably hire him again -- if he isn't completely overbooked.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I've always been making up stories. I can hardly remember a time when reading and writing weren't a part of my life.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I've had a Kindle for about a year.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

Some of my favorite authors are Ursula Le Guin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tracy Chevalier, Jane Austen and T.H. White. Right now I'm reading George R. R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I don't really have much of an opinion. I never watch them, and presently I have no plans to make one.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

I don't have a release date yet for Shadow of Stone, but I guess you could still call it my latest book. The title for that one comes from an important object in the book, a standing stone erected on a grave. The metaphorical shadow cast by that stone plays an important role in the book.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

My present work in progress, Fragments of Legend, takes place on three different levels of time and revolves around a literary mystery concerning the German medieval epic, the Nibelungenlied. A kind of secret history fantasy. 


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Ruth Nestvold 

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