Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview with author Elizabeth Baxter

1.) What urges you to write in the fantasy and science fiction genres?

I think it stems from my reading choices when I was little. I learned to read at a very early age. I think I was about four. I worked my way through the school library and found that the really interesting books were the ones about dragons and wizards and great big talking lions. I mean, who wants to read about this world? Boring. So it isn’t a big step from reading about all these other worlds to creating ones of my own. In fact, I think I was six when I wrote my first book (I use ‘book’ in the loosest possible term).

2.) In the past, the speculative genres tended to be dominated by male writers and possibly male readers. Do you think this has changed in recent years?

Absolutely. Name some of the most successful SF authors in recent times and you’d undoubtedly get J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer in there somewhere. In fact, I wrote an article about this topic over on my blog. You can read it here.

3.) Who are some of your least favorite authors, and why?

Stephanie Meyer. Now, let me qualify that. I wouldn’t say she’s one of my least favourite authors, but she has written some of my least favourite books. I hated the Twilight Saga. Sure it’s been unbelievably successful, but it’s one of the few books I’ve ever thrown across a room in frustration. Reason? Bella Swan. She’s a terrible role model for young women. Dumping her friends for a boy she’s known for two minutes? Letting him watch her sleep and thinking that’s normal? Married and pregnant by eighteen? Yuck.

4.) Do you think indie authors are better served by doing all their own work, or by hiring others for some of it (editing, cover design, etc.)? Or does it depend upon the author and/or situation?

If you’re a good cover artist, good editor and understand html formatting, do everything yourself. If not, hire people who are. You can learn to do all that stuff, but it takes time, patience and skill. You’d be better off using that time to write, I reckon. I’m very fortunate in that my other half is both an artist and an editor. Ah, I knew he’d come in useful one day.

5.) If you were given the opportunity to write a media-tie-in novel, would you take it? And which world or universe would you prefer to write in?

When I was about twelve I wrote a book based in Narnia. This took place after the Last Battle and told the story of how Peter and Tirian cause a war because they both want to be king. So I guess that would be a fun tie-in to write. Failing that, I’d love to write something based in Middle Earth. I think I’d focus on The Shire and it’s goings on.

6.) I checked out your blog and ... Oh, my gosh! A woman who reads Steven Erikson! I swear, if I weren't already married, I'd look you up and propose! Sorry, that probably sounds kind of stalkerish, doesn't it? Okay, I have to act all professional and interviewery now. Uh, so the question is: What do you love most about the Malazan novels by Erikson?

What’s not to love? Steven Erikson’s books are amazing! I think it’s the sheer scope that I find most appealing. You have the T’lan Imass and Jaghut that have lived for hundreds of thousands of years, gods that have lived even longer, dragons, immortals and scary black dogs straight out of the Hammer House of Horror. And against this backdrop you have some very human stories playing out. The plight of Iktovian and Beak made me cry. Fantasy writing at its best.

For more on author Elizabeth Baxter, check out:
Her blog: Small Blonde Hippy
Author of Circle Spinner and Other Tales


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember the dramatic shift from mostly male authors in fantasy to a large number, if not even a majority of female authors. It seems to have happened mostly in the 80s to me, or at least begun to happen.

Ty Johnston said...

I didn't notice this until about the year 2000, but I also didn't read hardly any fantasy from about 1987 to 2000, mostly horror and non-fiction.