Every month I’ll write a quick roundup of my recent goings-on. This is mainly for my benefit, because I’m forgetful and often need evidence (tentative as that may be) that I’ve achieved something or done something worthwhile for my career/health/relationships etc.
It’s also a way to roundup the best bits featured on the blog this month. Your time is limited, so I wanna help you get to the good stuff and get on with your day 🙂
It’s time for a cuppa and catchup! I recently interviewed internationally-acclaimed author Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates (you can read my review here). Tim’s also responsible for the swashbuckling tale ‘On Stranger Tides’ which inspired the Monkey Island games and the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He’s also credited as being one of the Fathers of Steampunk!
Rachel:Lovely to have you aboard, Tim! Tell us a bit about yourself and what creative stuff you’re working on at the moment.
Tim: Well, my first novel was published forty-one years ago, and I’ve had fourteen in all so far. That’s fairly slow work, but I use the excuse that they’re generally pretty long, and research and plotting eat up a lot of time.
I’m halfway through another novel now, and I hope to have it finished by summer, roughly. It’s contemporary, set in Los Angeles, and it involves freeways. And of course supernatural stuff.
At least right now I do. It’s not that I don’t have ideas. Believe me. The problem is that I dwell too much on the end result. I want the end result – a finished, polished story – right now.
All that other gumpf in between – the typing, the self-doubt, the numerous, numerous revisions – makes my teeth itch. Sometimes when I’m in the thick of that stuff, I enjoy it. Right now, I loathe it, which means that I unfortunately loathe a rather sizable part of the writing process.
So many writers I speak to deal with the conundrum of loving writing and hating it at the same time. So what can we do about it?
It’s time for another Cuppa and Catchup! Today we have the lovely Holly Raychelle Hughes on the blog. Holly’s a fiction writer and essayist who has written about the many pitfalls for people trying to get by in the film production and creative industry, as well as her own painful experiences. She wants to see a safer, more respectful Hollywood, where everyone is treated with dignity and can speak freely of their troubles without fear. She’s also my friend and fellow Pitch to Publication comrade. 🙂
Hi there, Holly! Thank you for stopping by the blog 🙂 Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re working on at the moment.
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit, Rachel! I’m a writer juggling querying and revisions on a young adult manuscript called DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL.
When I’m not hitting refresh on my inbox, I’m working on character development for my next young adult book. I also I try to write several essays a month, too. And when I’m not writing I’m in my office working as an intuitive healer and medium.
Every now and then I’ll invite an author, artist or other creative type-person onto the blog for a quick chat about their work, their future projects and just general life gubbins. To kick off my ‘Cuppa and Catchup’ series, here’s my lovely friend and Yorkshire-based author and artist Meg Cowley!
Hi there, Meg! Thank you for stopping by the blog 🙂 Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re working on at the moment.
I’m an author and illustrator from Yorkshire, England, and I love all things fantasy, magic and dragons! Fantasy heavily inspires everything I write, and fantasy and nature inspire my art. (What is fantasy anyway, but nature, embellished!)
Right now, I’m drafting the Shattered Crown (Caledan#3) and plotting the first in my next series, which will be an Arthurian retelling with a twist! In terms of illustration, I’m planning a full-colour, romantic, illustrated retelling of the traditional Arthurian tale, which will also be available in black and white/greyscale as a colouring book.
Tim Powers is famed for his historical fantasy novels, specifically his ability to pick a seldom-explored pocket of time and create a rich narrative within it. One such book is The Anubis Gates, a fast-paced Victorian adventure following Brendan Doyle, a sharp-witted historian who must rely on more than his knowledge of the future if he’s to escape the past alive.
One thing I love about Tim’s writing is how immersive it is, and how organic the settings feel. He has a rare ability to create a vast swell of characters that are fully realised and beautifully fleshed out. In The Anubis Gates you’ll find Horrabin, a truly terrifying nightmare-clown of a creature and one of my favourite literary villains. As this book came out in the eighties, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s to blame for many a reader’s clown phobia! I guess ultimately, one of the endearing qualities of The Anubis Gates is how strongly you feel for the characters. You either love them, loathe them, or in Horrabin’s case, a bit of both!
There’s quite a tragic edge to one of the magic systems in The Anubis Gates. Brendan gets caught up with a character called Dog-Face Joe. Without giving too much away, the myth of Dog-Face Joe leaves few survivors in its wake, and you feel a heavy sense of gloom for anyone who falls foul of it. There are real consequences here, a real alchemy of sorts for everyone who gets mixed up in the story’s dark arts.
Some readers are skeptical of books with multiple POVs, but Tim moves nimbly between several characters’ heads in quick succession without making the writing feel choppy or superficial. Indeed, being able to move between completely contrasting characters gave the story more definition, in my opinion.
I see a lot of talk about having a message in your writing. In a world where it seems to be all about some lesson writers want their readers to learn. It’s refreshing to reach back a couple of decades and read a book that focuses solely on entertaining and dazzling you for a few hundred pages. I cried at the end of The Anubis Gates, because it’s beautiful and cathartic and neatly wrapped up, and because I would like to see more books of this breed out there in the world. Luckily, Tim’s furiously working away on more stories as we speak, and has an impressive back catalogue to peruse. Don’t mind if I do!
Read this book if you:
Love classic adventure stories such as Indiana Jones or The Mummy
Love historical fiction, specifically the Victoria era or post-Enlightenment
Love flawed, multi-dimensional characters
Enjoy multiple POVS and no one can tell you different, damnit!
Have you read The Anubis Gates or any other of Tim’s books? Tell me all about it in the comments 🙂