Interview: Devorah Fox
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Name: Devorah Fox
Interviewer: A.L. Mabry
It’s time for another author interview! I love interviewing other artists. This is like the highlight of this blog for me right now. Today we have literary fantasy writer, Devorah Fox.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
If memory serves correctly, I recall writing a novel in the 3rd grade. It was about a Korean orphan who immigrated to the U.S. No one told me back then to “write what you know.” I also illustrated it and remember not being able to decide which I liked better, writing or illustrating. Decades later I found myself doing both professionally.
(I have always ignored the “write what you know” rule. I find it boring plus I love doing research. I bet your story was far less creepy than the first one that comes to mind. ~A.L.)
Do you have any strange or interesting writing habits?
During National Novel Writing Month 2014 I hit on what I will make my Standard Operating Procedure. I got up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and wrote for an hour or so in longhand. Once I turned on the computer to check email, Twitter and Facebook my stride was broken and I never did get any more writing done. However in that hour of predawn semi-darkness and complete quiet, I got into The Zone and cranked out an entire scene, sometimes a whole chapter. So, even though the marathon is over, that’s how I continue to work.
(Sometimes I wish I had the patience for longhand writing. Ok, I have the patience I just have really crappy handwriting. ~A.L.)
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
I’m usually too cautious to get myself into compromising situations. On the rare occasion that I have, I have found it works simply to wait it out. Often the circumstances change and the problem disappears.
(I use this method in my housework. ~A.L.)
Are you involved with any writing groups or websites?
I belong to the Rockport Writers Group and the South Texas Scribes, local writing groups whose members are astounding writers and from whom I have learned so much. Just going to meetings and getting to spend a couple of hours with other writers is enjoyable. The guided writing exercises that we do are often the only chance that I get to write fiction. Read-and-critique sessions are a special treat because of the variety, not to mention the caliber, of the writing.
I also belong to several Facebook groups, some of them closed. We trade lessons learned about marketing and beta-read each other’s work. The support has been invaluable. Though I have yet to meet any of the members in person I feel a close bond with them.
(Hey, Wendy Strain was in the Texas group too! ~A.L.)
Are you loyal to one genre or do you like to play the field?
I used to be surprised to find myself writing high fantasy since what I usually read is Mystery/Thriller. I do have a thriller title to my name (“Naked Came the Sharks”) and two more thrillers in progress. Recently, though, I took at the short bits and story ideas in my project file. Most of them have an element of fantasy to them so that’s more of a natural inclination than I thought.
I’d also like to try my hand at Romance and Steampunk. You could say that I’m fickle when it comes to genres, but I think that’s OK. I feel that I should select whichever genre best suits the story that I want to tell.
(Keeping your options open, but with your own set limits. I like your discipline. ~A.L.)
Do you spend a lot of time researching (plotter) or do you make things up as you go (panster)?
I’ve done it both ways. I find that making enough of an outline to have a road map works best. Pantsing has proved to be more stressful because I approach the page with no clue as to what to write and I panic. As for research, the King Bewilliam books require tons of research into the Middle Ages. Even though “Naked Came the Sharks.” is contemporary I had to verify certain details for that as well. I don’t do much research upfront. I don’t always know what I need to know until I need to know it, so I end up researching as I go along.
(Ah, the Blank Page Panic. I know it well. ~A.L.)
Do you (or do you plan to) write stand-alone stories or series?
In its original concept “The Lost King” was supposed to be a stand-alone story. However readers asked “when’s the next book coming out?” and I realized that I had more story to tell so I wrote “The King’s Ransom” and that led to “The King’s Redress.” King Bewilliam, the lead character, continues to be challenged by life so there are additional stories to come. I also fell in love with Holly and Rusty from “Naked Came the Sharks” and want to write more about them (I know they’re up to something!)
(I find that my characters always have more story to them than I originally plan for as well. ~A.L.)
What are you working on right now?
I have three projects in the works. One is a spinoff of “Naked Came the Sharks” which I’m writing with another author. Another is a contemporary thriller that I started about a decade ago. The story continued to nag me so I keep chipping away at that. Then for National Novel Writing Month 2014 I began “The Redoubt,” Book Four in the King Bewilliam series which I hope to launch in 2015.
(I’m glad to know that working on multiple projects seems to be the norm. ~A.L.)
If you could ask your main character one question, what would it be?
The question is “what do you want?” and the answer drives the story.
(I do this too but sometimes I have to sort out what they want from what I want them to want. ~A.L.)
What do you think the secret to being a good writer is?
It helps to read a lot and then to ask “what made that such a satisfying read?” (or unsatisfying as the case may be.) I also pick up techniques from movies and TV shows. I pay attention to how characters reveal themselves as well as how the story is told. I’ve learned a lot about pacing that way.
(That’s a great idea, I hadn’t thought of, it makes perfect sense when I think of all the “ah ha” moments in my favorite books/shows. ~A.L.)
Who would play you in the story of your life?
Someone who looks good sitting in a task chair and staring at the monitor. I will say at least once a year during National Novel Writing Month I find myself reenacting the opening sequence from “Romancing the Stone,” where Joan Wilder is frantically trying to meet her deadline and she’s got Post-It notes stuck all over the place that read “Buy Toilet Paper” “Buy Cat Litter”. Meeting my daily word count towards the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days is Job #1. I do run low on toilet paper and cat litter. Meals get sketchy, I’m overdue for a haircut, my car badly needs a wash …. I know, that’s actually me playing Joan Wilder but let’s go with Kathleen Turner.
(I had a month like that where I was watching every single episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ok, not exactly the same thing but who doesn’t love getting lost in fantasy if only for a month? ~A.L.)
Ok, so now you are totally in love with Devorah and you want her books, right? Right! Pop over to Amazon to get her books!
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