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Bella Pagan

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Bella Pagan

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Senior commissioning editor: working on out-of-this world SF, fantasy and urban fantasy (plus other subdivisions, factions and associated areas) for Tor UK. On twitter as @BellaPagan.

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03 Jan 2013

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THE TROUBLE WITH FATE BY LEIGH EVANS: INTERVIEW AND FREE EXTRACT

It seems that I’ve been waiting an age for this moment. The day when I can say ‘Hooray — The Trouble with Fate is out NOW so go get it!’ Well, publication day is *today* so I urge you to waste no time in seeking this out! Leigh has also written a few words on her UK publication and British roots here. This urban fantasy debut is wonderful, funny and poignant and if you love Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs and Keri Arthur this is for you in spades. To give you a taster of what’s in store, there’s a free extract here (click here then on the next link), and you can see the in-house excitement when we did the original deal, oh so long ago, here. We also have an interview wtih the delightful Leigh Evans herself below, to show something of her journey from aspiring novelist to published author.

It’s very far from easy and life often gets in the way, but Leigh never gave up on her need to write, even if this had to be posponed a little along the way! And so, on to our five question interview …

 

1) Have you always wanted to write, and have you written a little here and there?
When I hit thirty-four, I set the alarm for 5:00 am, and wrote for two hours every morning. In two months, I’d accumulated 200 pages. And then one day, I stopped. It had nothing to do with the novel — that pirate saga was going quite well.

The moment that changed everything happened in the kitchen. I was standing beside the pantry. My daughter tugged my shirt. ‘Mummy,’ she said, her tone hurt. ‘You’re not listening to me.’ She was right.

I had stopped listening to her and her little brother. Yes, I still woke my kids with a Mummy-loves-you-hug. And yes, I’d fed them breakfast, and did all the things I used to do. But for two months, I’d done it all on auto-pilot. My body was there, but me? I was still inside my book. Figuring out what would happen next.

I couldn’t seem to detach from the story.

Something strange happened there in that kitchen — I looked at her little face, and knew with absolute certainty that she and her brother could make it with one workaholic parent, but not with two.

Was I right on that? I don’t know. All I can tell you was that I knew that I couldn’t do a good job being both a writer and a Mum. I wish I could have. So many writers are mothers. By continuing their craft while bringing up their kids, they provide their children with a wonderful example of how to combine nurturing with creativity.

But I’m not built that way.

That afternoon, I found a box for my book and put it on the top shelf in the closet. I didn’t try to write again for fifteen years. The decision didn’t come cost free: I’m not a fast writer anymore, nor are my language skills as good as they once were. But that commitment I made all those years ago? It changed me. Filled me and emptied me and filled me again. In the process it softened some things and hardened others.

The bottom line is this: back then, I didn’t have the life knowledge that I needed to write The Trouble with Fate. In the end, I’m glad I waited.

 

2) People talk about ‘that difficult second book’ syndrome. Did that happen to you, having just finished book two (out later this year). Was it a very different writing experience or not so much?
Good heavens. They should have bumper stickers you can attach to your car—‘Beware! Faintly Mad Writer!’ The voices are the worst. Not your family’s — they’re proud of you. Not your agent — she’s cheering you on.  It’s your own voice. It keeps yammering away, never silent. It whispers things like, ‘You’re a fraud. The first book was a fluke.’  It slithers into your brain when you’re staring at the monitor’s screen, and says things like, ‘That’s lame. You know you need to fix that, right?’ The only way to get through the dreadful second book syndrome is to keep writing. Just write through it.

 

3) What quality do you most admire in your sparky protagonist Hedi and why?
Her resilience.

 

4) What’s your top writing routine tip – wait ‘til inspiration strikes, write a set number of words at a set time of day or somewhere in-between?
I work toward a minimum word count every single day. The next question would be ‘how many words?’  Not going to tell you. For all the time I spend on it, the word total is too darn low, and I’d blush with shame to admit it.

 

5) It would be great to have a bit of magic in our lives. What element of Hedi’s world would be great to have here?
I think I’d like to have a friend like Merry. Give me an amulet with an attitude, and magical powers. Give me a friend who’d make me face my biggest fears. Give me someone whose real worth is a light from within. Yup. I’d want Merry.

 

 

 

 

 

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