15 October 2018

My first online interview conducted by Crystal Reavis

Thank you Crystal for the opportunity.

Can you tell us your name?
My name is Lou Page and I write under the pen name ‘Amanda Crozier’ which also happens to be my birth name.  I was adopted from birth so only had the name for about 3 months as a baby.
What is your genre? 
How many books do you have published?
The first book of the Dragonlore Trilogy was published in April this year.  The second book of the Trilogy will be called “Weather the Storm and will be available, either later this year or early next year (2019).  A short story called “The Inheritance” was published in an anthology called “Life’s Like That!” in 2014 and a Nativity poem in “Anthology 2013”.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Two things!  Holding the first physical copy of a book that you have written and edited.  Also reading my own book on my Kindle as a reader rather than an author editing..
What is your least favorite thing about being a writer?
The frustration of either people not giving a review, or being told “I don’t read that genre without even finding out what the book is about.
Who if you have any are your influences? 
My love for dragons was instilled when a friend bought me two of Anne McCaffrey’s books (Dragon Riders of Pern Series) whilst I had to lie flat following a back injury. So Anne and Todd McCaffrey, Robin Hobb and Christopher Paolini have all had their influence as they write about dragons. A certain well known online dictionary is a constant companion when I write, for when I am not happy with a word, or want to find an archaic version of a word, so that is an influence on the language I use.
 Have you ever gotten writer’s block? 
I have been lucky in that I have never experienced it. But then, I only ever write because I want to, not because I have to.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be? 
I cannot think of anything.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 
It has not changed the process of writing, other than I am, perhaps, more confident in myself.  However it does mean that I have less time to write as I have to give some of my time now to promoting the first book.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I don’t know about quirk, but I keep a time line as I write so that I don’t add or lose a day for any character. I see what I write, as I write, in my head, as if I am watching a film. Sometimes a scene will come to me before I have got that far and have to get it written; ready for when it will be needed.
Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day? 
No. I write as it flows until there are other calls on my time such as feeding my family, visitors, appointments, work etc.
How long does it take you to write a book? 
No idea.  I have never timed it.  The first book was written over several years with long breaks between writing.  It was only when a very good friend, who is a creative writing teacher, encouraged me that I really started putting in the time in to finish the project.
What does literary success look like to you? 
In some ways it is holding that first hard copy and seeing my book on my Kindle nestled amongst all my favorite authors.  And yet, also, the ultimate dream is to write a best seller and have it either televised or made into a film.
What is your favorite childhood book? 
As a very young child, my father used to read to me at bedtime from a series of little books about Blackberry Farm and the animals who lived there.(Author: Jane Pilgrim)  As an independent reader I loved Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” books.  As a teenager I read Agatha Christie’s books and westerns.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? 
Lord of the Rings.  It is fantasy at its best and has stood the test of time.
What inspired you to start writing? 
I used to love writing at school and never had any trouble achieving the required number of pages or words – it was more the opposite, having trouble keeping down to near the number required.
Since the year 2000, I have been a volunteer at the local Primary School, listening to children read and working with those who require extra support for reading. One day, whilst sitting in the school library at lunchtime an idea came to me for a children’s story.  I did not do anything about it for a long while, but the idea kept nagging at me until I eventually began to write.  Just when I got to the ending where the dragon egg hatched, I realized that this was no ending, but merely the beginning of something far larger.  A rewrite of the start and four hundred pages later it was obvious that it would not all fit one book so then idea for the Dragonlore Trilogy was hatched.
The Nativity in verse was something we needed at the Pre-School, where I used to work, for the children’s Christmas performance.  I was unanimously volunteered at a staff meeting by my colleagues to write it.  Cue one evening during the autumn half term, trying to cook tea with one hand, and scribble the words down with the other, before they disappeared from my head. Somehow, I got it all down along with words for a new simple song and the evening meal was actually still edible!
When did you start writing?
In school, but then did not start again until more recent years.  Although in the interim years I did end up as secretary for various committees so ended up having to pen minutes for an assortment of meetings.
What is the most surprising thing you described about yourself since you started writing?
As an author, I think I have grown in confidence and I am surprised at how easy I find it when talking about my work. Three years ago, I knew virtually nothing about social media platforms, and in that time I have learned so much – it has been a steep learning curve and I am still learning. If someone had told me, even a year ago, that I would have my own website, I would have just laughed at the idea and not believed a word! (A room full of manual typewriters was ‘cutting edge technology’ when I was at school).
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 
So many things!  Obviously I am an avid reader. I stitch cross-stitch, tapestry and embroidery that go to customers worldwide. I make bead woven and wirework jewelry. I enjoy photography and gardening. I love rock music, dancing and enjoy live theatre, especially musicals. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles and computer gates too.
 What advice would you give to new and aspiring authors? 
Don’t give up!  Do not rush to get to the end – let the story flow naturally to its conclusion.  If it is rushed the reader will sense it and be disappointed with the ending.
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