jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)

This morning may we present Urban Mythic author Anne Nicholls!

Tell us a little about yourself and what you like to write.

I like writing uplifting, adventurous, exciting, humorous stories - all sorts of things that have a feel-good factor.  It's the creativity, I think.  Writers always get the best out of stories they write, even more than stories they read.  I guess writing is the 3-D version!

What was it that inspired "The Seeds of a Pomegranate"?

Two things: I like the idea of the exotic along with the cosmopolitan and the ordinary down-home all working together in our multi-racial society.  We're not the only folks who have a tradition of magic and fantasy so how great that there's this new enrichment coming into Britain!  Also the possibilities of creative magic, and the friendship aspects.

How urban do you like your fantasy and who are your must-read authors?

I like all kinds of fantasy (and many other streams of fiction).  For urban fanasy I enjoy Benedict Jacka and I'm just getting into the Iron Druid books by Kevin Hearne.  Mercedes Lackey's Bedlam's Bard series are fun, as are her Serrated Edge books.

Tell us about your involvement with the David Gemmell Awards?

Dave Gemmell was a very dear friend who was our best man when Stan and I got married.  We miss him greatly.  We admired his spirit of "stand up and be counted" so that's what we wanted to do with the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy: make it the readers' choice so it's as democratic as possible.  Anyone anywhere can vote for books in English so it's truly egalitarian and international.  The awards ceremony is a real pleasure in itself.  We get to meet people we might otherwise not have the chance to, for example, Olof Erla Einarsdottir who won the Ravenheart Award.  She flew over from Iceland just to be with us, which was fabulous!  Plus we wanted to raise the profile of fantasy fiction generally, and support artists and authors.  It's amazing how time-consuming the committee work is but good fun and rewarding too.

With your other hat on you’re a qualified counsellor and writer of self-help books – do you find this perspective impacts on your fiction?

It does and it doesn't.  That's to say, obviously it offers deep insight into people and their motivations, and it means I want to make ever piece of writing I do as emotionally rewarding for the reader as I can.  On the other hand I have to make sure counselling language doesn't intrude because it's more analytical than dramatic.

What are you up to next?

Right now I have all sorts of things to look forward to: the launch of three anthologies in which I have stories (Urban Mythic, Pulp Heroes II and Legends) at the World Fantasy Convention; the Gemmell Awards which are also at WFC this year; another story and a novel that I'm writing; doing more paintings; and just generally having fun with friends and family.  I also enjoy my counselling work as I love to see people making positive changes so they're happier and can achieve their goals.

[Anne Nicholls's published works include the acclaimed novels Mindsail and The Brooch of Azure Midnight.  Her short story Roman Games was reprinted in the Year's Best Fantasy.  She is now principally known for self-help writing  and for her paintings, which are also gaining a following.]

jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And today in the Ancient Wonders interview spotlight, is the fabulous Anne Nicholls...

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I love a good story: thrills, adventures, heroism, the writing of wrongs.

What inspired you to write “Dragonsbridge”?

I wrote “Dragonsbridge” after I got back from a great little fantasy convention called Les Féeries du Bocage, held in a friendly village in rolling French countryside an hour south of Paris. We were sat next to Pierre Dubois, a famous TV presenter of all things to do with Arthurian romance, which was what I did my thesis on. And of course we were quite close to the forest of Brocéliande, which I looked up on Google Earth. Hmm, hidden valley, Celtic deities, portals to Otherworlds, and just desserts (and I don't just mean those fantastic lemon tarts you get in France!).

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

If I could TARDIS into any specific place and time in history it would have to be the Library at Alexandria in time to get the scrolls out before the ravening religious nutters set fire to it. I so want to see the maps of Atlantis, talk to the scholars and curators (after all, the TARDIS has a translation and interpreting program) – and enjoy the weather after all this late, blasted snow! I could free a couple of slaves who'd be grateful as well as good cooks and go off and have wonderful lives of their own. And I'd just generally enjoy ancient academia – before coming back to now with a small but tasteful treasure trove.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Hmm, ancient landscapes and sites. Well, all landscapes (except urban ones) are ancient. It's the colour, the exoticism, the thought that so many different peoples have lived their individual lives shaped by the great cultural sweeps of history, climate and location, that's what appeals to me. What about Florence in the time of Lorenzo? Wouldn't you just love to see the procession he organised for his betrothal, him in his gold-bedecked armour, the courtiers in their jewelled robes, the musicians and the artists before Savanarola burned their pictures? The valleys of the Pueblo Indians when they were still alive? Tahiti before cargo cults? The great greenwood that carpeted the length and breadth of England as the last ice-age retreated? Charnwood Forest when it fringed a tropic sea?

What do you have coming out next?

I'm in the throes of finishing three short stories for Alchemy Press, and a couple of novels – one historical and one a fantasy, so I'm keeping busy. In fact, at times my life feels like a Heath Robinson contraption edited by Escher. Luckily I'm enjoying the ride.

[Anne Nicholls, has had ten books published in SF and the self-help fields. Her highly acclaimed novels Mindsail and The Brooch of Azure Midnight appeared under the name of Anne Gay. For four years she was the editor of LineOne's Science Fiction Zone, which had around 140,000 readers every month. She is currently working on a YA fantasy trilogy. Anne also features in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky link

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