Q & A with Janis Hill

I would like to thank Janis for taking time to answer the following questions.

Janis is the author of Isis, Vampires and Ghosts-Oh My! The first book in the Other World Series.

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1) What inspired you to write Isis, Vampires, and Ghosts-Oh My!(Other World #1)?

I’m a huge fan of the supernatural, have been for most of my life. And some of the older stuff is the more interesting. Sadly a lot of that older stuff just isn’t used in modern day representations of the supernatural/ paranormal. Nor is it often seen in mainstream Urban Fantasy. So I thought it was time to go a bit old school and get away from the ‘Disneyfied’ version we seem to be stuck in right now.

I know not everyone is going to enjoy it, as they like the modern version, but I also know there are a lot of people wishing to go back to old school… so I’m doing my best.

Plus, I have had the storyline of Stephanie going to an old church, now run by Isis, to find her sister isn’t so dead as she believed, rattling around in my head for some years now. Possibly my view of old churches changed into new things, my mild Pagan faith,  and my love of the supernatural just snowballed one day and this is what came out. I also never planned to make it into a series, but now it is.

2) Will we be seeing Stephanie make an appearance in the next book of the series?

Stephanie is the main protagonist for all the books in this series as they’re pretty much about her journey in the Other World as she finds exactly where she belongs… is it in the Light? In the Darkness? That’s what we’re going to find out.

3) How did you come up with idea for the Other World series? 

Like so many of my stories, it’s just been something that’s been floating about in my head for some years waiting to find the right beginning so I could write it down. One of the very first pieces of the story to appear in my head (as a dream no less) is the one that happens just after the ‘sunbed incident’. Stephanie, her undead sister with autopsy scars showing, a vampire brewing in her subconscious, and the ghost of a Buddhist monk are walking down a rain washed back alley. I then needed to figure out the rest.

4) When you were writing Isis, did you ever feel like you were one of the characters? If so, which one?

Although I wrote Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! in the first person narrative, I’ve never really seen myself as just one of the character. There’s a bit of me in all of them, except maybe Branwyre. Though, having just finished the final edit, I did have a laugh at how much Stephanie swears while complaining about Trishna’s more colourful curses. I honestly hadn’t noticed how much she was actually swearing too… So it’s made me look at myself to ensure I don’t swear as much too!

5) What books would you say have been an influence on you and your writing?

I’m a fan of Kim Harrison and Katie MacAlister and so their books have had some influence on me. But my love of sarcastic first person possibly comes more from the late Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels, aka Barbara Mertz) as her Amelia Peabody series was my first encounter with such a character. And it took me a while to realise she really was writing it tongue in cheek (and I wasn’t just reading that way due to my twisted sense of humour) and I fell in love with her series all the more. It was like a light being shined into my brain – people can write the way I think and talk. Yes!

It was a love of that type of female that then had a friend introduce me to the other authors mentioned. I’d not even heard of them before then as I’d not wanted to have anything to do with paranormal genre as I was so used to it being all ‘blood and gore’ or ‘tits and bums’. I was a dyed in the wool historic crime fiction fan until then.

6) Do you have a regular writing routine? 

Can I laugh at this question? I try to have a writing routine, I really do. Currently I’m a stay at home mum by choice (as in I wanted to be there for my kids and we can just about afford it) so my house and kids are my full time job. My attempted writing routine is that one week I am a Haus Frau (do the house and kids thing) and the next week it mostly all gets ignored while I sit and write and try and get about five thousand words completed a day. Sadly, with the essential cleaning needing to be done daily (dishes, etc.) and the two hour school run I have in the afternoon… I tend to only get a four hour work day and manage half that word count.

Most of my writing actually happens from about one in the morning in bed next to my son as he sleeps. And this usually only happens during the school holidays where I have the ability to write into the small hours and then sleep until nine and not worry about the kids as they’re mostly old enough to fend for themselves when school isn’t involved.

Not too sure if that makes me a terrible writer, or a terrible mother. Ooops! 

7) What 3 words best describe you as an author?

Beginner, but trying?

8)Finally, what’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Seriously, my best advice is to just write. You have a story idea and you would like to see it turned into a book – write. Don’t write a chapter and then spend months proofing it and perfecting it, write the whole story. Don’t proof and perfect it until it’s all done.

Also, don’t sell yourself short. If you’ve been writing stories all your life for fun and enjoyment (like me) you are already a writer. Don’t tell people you want to be a writer – you are one already and be proud. So what if no one has read your work, that doesn’t diminish the fact, you’re a writer.

Also, be passionate. If you want to go from being a writer to being an author, make it happen. Write, finish, polish it and start researching publishers. Ensure your work is completed and written well (no major spelling mistakes, grammar issues, etc) and start submitting it. Don’t wait until it’s polished to perfection as publishers are going to want to change it, no matter what.

Don’t let rejection get to you, we all get rejected in life and not just when being a writer. It’s what we take from the rejection that makes us stronger. If you’re determined to become an author, work as hard at the pitch as you did the story. Learn from your mistakes and learn to sell your idea because if you don’t sell it, how is a publisher meant to know they really want it?

Don’t expect instant success and to be rolling in money. That is a rare thing for an author and happens more from luck than talent.

Consider the smaller, independent publishers too, not just the big ones. I was rejected my all the major publishing houses, but was accepted by Hague Publishing and was only their fourth book signed they were such a young independent publisher. On my second book I went straight to the independent smaller publishers first. Was offered my first contract within four days of beginning the pitch. An author friend of mine, Ann Cleeves, says this is almost unheard of so I was either very lucky of very good. Me, I feel I was lucky.

Simply – be yourself, try your best and write.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janis Hill

Janis grew up in and around Darwin and its rural surrounds. As a child, she spent a lot of time around ‘science geeks’ at the Darwin University, where her father was a lecturer for many years. It took her a long time to realise that not everyone got to grow up like that, or could relate to all the Science Labs scenes in the old Doctor Who.

Janis now lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband and 3 children, lovingly referred to as the ‘Demonic Hordes’. She is a semi-retired ICT Support Officer who, when not writing, takes pride in her work as a Haus Frau while dabbling in the art of translating century old cookery books into modern recipes to experiment on her family with.

For more information visit http://janishill.wordpress.com/

PURCHASE AND SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

To Be Released: August 30, 2014

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