How would you describe your story in one sentence?
The Seelie Princess is about Clary, who has been brought up as a human child but really comes from a land called Seelie; a fact she discovers when one of Seelie’s arch-enemies finds her on Earth and tries to steal the powers that Clary doesn’t know she has.
What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?
My daughter, who had an unfortunate experience with a teacher when she was at primary school.
Which authors have influenced you?
JK Rowling for the world she created (like many, I suspect!), Terry Pratchett whose Discworld writing was sublime.
Which are your favorite literary genres?
I write for children in the fantasy/fairy tale genre but my own favourite (adult) reads vary enormously. I love the above-mentioned authors (particularly Sir Terry with his fabulous Discworld), enjoy Charlaine Harris (vampires and shapeshifters – the Living Dead series), Tess Gerritson (crime) and some romance (if I’m in the mood for that!) There are also some truly amazing Indie authors whose work I love, particularly in the Fantasy arena.
What makes a book/story special for you?
One that draws me in to the story instantly.
Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?
I’m from the U.K. so my stories are inevitably set here because it’s familiar. Some parts of this country are truly beautiful. I’d love to be able to write something set in a different country/culture but would never do it because I’d be bound to get something terribly wrong and inadvertently cause horrendous offence!
How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?
I wrote the first book in just over three months; revision and editing took a further two. I sent it out to be proof-read and edited and revised accordingly in the areas that I agreed needed to be revised. The second book was written in two months – it pretty much wrote itself, which sounds daft, but I started and the words just appeared on the page. It’s been out for editing/proofreading and I’m now finalising it for publication at the end of this month.
Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?
I am lucky enough to know a proofreader and editor who helped me with this. My first book cover was created on KDP as I was totally broke and couldn’t afford to do it any other way. It will probably change once the series is complete! The second book cover was created with the tremendous help of Roy Mauritsen who read that I was having problems with creating one and kindly stepped in to help. We ‘met’ through a fabulous group on Facebook and he is a brilliant author in his own right, as well as an artwork master. Check his Shards of the Glass Slipper site – you’ll swoon!
What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?
Writing is the fairly easy part – editing is not. Revisions and re-writing are hard work, but doing it helped my work tremendously. Publishing via KDP was unexpectedly easy – in fact, too easy as the first issue of The Seelie Princess went live with a couple of awful bloopers that weren’t caught (I am so sorry, to those of you that bought/downloaded this original version – let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you over a PDF of the proper version!) What struck me as unusual was that nobody, and I mean nobody, told me that these bloopers existed! They were just kind of… accepted and ignored. It’s much better now (not perfect – no book is ever going to be perfect to the person that wrote it – but the bloopers are gone!)
What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?
My daughter. As I mentioned, she had a problem at school which was the main inspiration for the first book in the series, as it had a huge effect on her at the time. I wanted to put my main character in a similar(ish) position and then let her gain the upper hand. The main hurdle was finding the time to put it down. I wrote at all hours of the day and night – whenever I had a spare hour or so. I was as sleep deprived as a new mother! (Still am as the new release beckons!)
What would you do differently on a next project?
I’m tentatively branching out into writing books for younger children at the moment. I used to work in early years and know how important it is to spark an interest in reading with children from 4 to 7 years. It’s the most important life skill they can learn. A child with an imagination will go far in life!
Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?
Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book – just tell your story! Get it down, then put it away for a couple of weeks or so before you re-read it. You can pick up a lot of errors that way and can also see where it needs to be expanded or revised. Also, do a spell and grammar check – nothing loses readers quicker than a poorly spelled, book! Get the ‘their, there, they’re’ kind of thing nailed. Use a thesaurus. Do a search to see how many times you have used the word ‘very’, then change it – for example: change ‘she was very hungry’ to ‘she was ravenous’ – it makes for more interesting reading. Get it edited. Join writers groups on social media – the advice and confidence boosts these places give out is an amazing help for a new writer.
Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?
authorjmturner.wordpress.com/ this is my blog – you’ll find I write about things that interest me, whinge about the world (occasionally!), give out info about my books and any offers/competitions that I have running in relation to new releases. I have also recently added a section which offers reviews of books I have read and liked that I think you might enjoy.
www.facebook.com/authorjillturner I post on here quite frequently with updates of what’s happening with me, artwork I like, other author offers, my own offers (and occasional freebies) and things that make me smile!
jillturner.net my original website which has been somewhat superseded by my blog!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jill-Turner/e/B0142S490M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 this is my author page on Amazon where you can buy my books –
What are you planning to write/publish next?
Book two of The Seelie Princess Trilogy Rise of the Dragons is due for publication on October 31st 2015 and can be pre-ordered from 21st October on Amazon. Check my author page for details.