A Pankhearst Interview
Who are you?
I’m Angelika Rust, Austrian, female, 35 years old, loving wife and mother of two, owning a dog while owned by a cat.
Where are you?
Glued to a keyboard in Braunschweig, Germany.
And how the hell are you doing?
Fine. Honestly. A light sneeze, but other than that I’m fine.
Tell us about your book.
It’s a fantasy tale called Ratpaths; the story of a young thief caught between the machinations of the rightful ruler and the resident crime lord, of conflicting loyalties and honor.
Why are you publishing independently?
Basically because I got sick of waiting for publishers to answer my query letters, and because I wanted to see whether I could pull it off.
How is publishing independently working for you?
So far, so very good. I get more support than I’d ever thought possible, I learn a lot, and wherever I turn these days I seem to stumble into someone willing to believe my dream. It’s amazing. You should try it, too.
If your book was a song, which song would your book be?
That song has yet to be written. Combine the anger, determination and suspense of a Nick Cave tune with the self-mockery of Del Amitri to get an idea what it might sound like.
Are your stories plot or character driven?
Character driven, definitely. I absolutely dislike it if the characters need to bend to keep the plot going. I’d rather change a scene or end up with a completely different ending than force a character to do something he wouldn’t do, just for the sake of the plot.
Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
Fantasy readers, of course, but those who’re sick of sparkling vampires, omnipotent wizards, divine intervention and mythical creatures. My book doesn’t contain even a single ounce of magic. You’ll find neither elves nor dragons, nor chosen teenage heroes, and the characters need to get by on their wits and luck alone.
Everyone has their own dream. What’s yours? Best seller, feature film adaption, fame, riches, groupies, a gabillion followers on Twitter?
I wouldn’t mind the Hollywood movie, of course, but…do you know LARP? Live Action Role Playing? Where everybody creates a character, dons a costume and pretends to be that fictional person for a few days? Well, my dream is to be on a LARP one day and to stumble upon someone who created a character using my book as his background story.
Do you outline or sketch the entire book before you begin writing or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?
I generally have a basic idea where I want to go, and then I fly, because I let the characters take over. I don’t create roads and walk them, but rather create the roads as I walk them, constantly scrolling up and down, adding here, deleting there, as everything takes shape in my mind the moment I start to write.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I raise my kids, walk my dog, teach English for charity, read other people’s books and drive them nuts with editing notes, sew more or less elaborate LARP costumes, and try to make it to at least two LARPs per year. I love music, too.
Define a great book.
A great book is one where all the plot strings tie up neatly at the end, with none dangling around loosely. One that keeps you guessing, and surprises you with unsuspected turns. One that makes you laugh or cry or rage or triggers some other honest emotion. One where the characters are clearly defined, with believable motives, and act as they would, not as the story needs them to.
What is your favorite book? Why?
The Lies Of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. Because it is a bloody great book. See last question for definition of great book.
You’re an Austrian. Why the hell do you write in English?
I tried to write in German, honestly I did. It didn’t work out for me, though. For one, German has merely a third of the verbs the English language has. Which means, if you want to be precise, you need to work with a lot more adverbs and adjectives. That will inevitably lead to ungainly, chunky sentences. Plus, with German you need to be careful. Something that still flows naturally in English will turn out cheesy and pathetic in German, like a line from a cheap country song.
Will there be a German version one day?
Probably, yes. My husband has got it into his cute head to do the translation for me. I’m curious what he’ll come up with, especially with all the songs and turns of phrase I’ve created.
Angelika Rust on the web