A Pankhearst Interview
Who are you?
Where are you
And how the hell are you doing?
Somewhere between fair-to-middling and SMASHING!
Tell us about your latest book.
Up, Back, and Away – YA Time Travel Adventure story. Wealthy, suburban Texas teenager sent back to England in 1928 (on a vintage English three speed) to find a girl with a gift who was born out of her time and a secret that was not meant to be and then return home with them both.
Why are you publishing independently?
Because doing it any other way would have taken too damn long and demanded too much wasted effort. Likely it never would have happened.
How is publishing independently working for you?
The jury is out. I never expected to make money, which is a good thing because I haven’t so far. I was pleased to have actually produced the book and by the good response I have had from those who have read it (mostly good, at least). The journey has been personally valuable – whether the book finds it audience (my fondest hope) who knows?
Which movie stars would you cast in the movie of your book and how many of them do you fancy?
The aforementioned “girl with a gift” was inspired by Adele and I want her for the movie, of course. I’d like Anna Maxwell Martin for the antagonist, the embittered housekeeper who stalks and tries to thwart our hero (she’s ten years too young but she can act up a storm so no worries). After that, I’ll rely on the casting director chosen by Mr. Scorsese. Lots of room for an ensemble cast of great English actors and a plum leading role for an teenage American actor who will then take the world by storm.
What are you working on now? And can we take a peek?
Would you believe, another YA fantasy? And yes.
Are your stories plot or character driven?
Is “both” too weaselly? I had an idea for the story for my book. I knew what I wanted the story to be about, but as I was writing, I was checking constantly about whether a character would act a certain way and asking myself whether the character’s actions were believable.
Favorite author, and why?
George Eliot. She was a towering genius who wrote like an angel and had fantastic insight about her fellow creatures.
Everyone has their own dream. What’s yours? Best seller, feature film adaption, fame, riches, groupies, a gabillion followers on Twitter?
I would like people to read and enjoy the book and to have bits of it come back to them in moments when those bits might help them through. That would be the best. Next best would be a fabulous film directed by Martin Scorcese (see above, No. 2).
How much of you will a reader find in your writing? If you have a good example, don’t be shy.
Surely my young hero, Miles. He is faced with one daunting task after the next. Whether they are big (e.g., riding his old bike through a mysterious time portal, facing down a London gangster) or small (collecting eggs from actual chickens, learning to light a coal fire) he is always on his back foot. He stumbles around just doing his best he can and trying to do right, never knowing if he really is. That’s been my M.O. as well.
What’s the best advice ever given to you, and by who?
Years ago, I read something on a website by a talent agent in Hong Kong who said that the difference between writers and people who want to be writers is that writers write. They don’t talk about it, plan to write, etc. They sit down and do it. My book took me six years to write, with a few stops and starts, but it really got going after I pledged not to go to bed without at least having touched the manuscript every day.
In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
That anyone in it cares anything about your book.
Everyone has visions of where they see themselves in the future, be it a year or five. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?
In five years, still writing and almost certainly still working my day job. I got a half time job six years ago and told myself that with my reduced work hours I would get in shape and write a book. I did the book. My shape is a work in progress.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
A few friends…
Why did you set your story in England in 1928?
I have this weird, longstanding interest in England, probably as the result of being a lifelong reader. The 20s were such an exciting time, a time when there were modern people and people we would hardly recognize, having been formed in a world now vanished. I also wanted to talk about the big differences between American and English worldviews and I think the contrast was starker then – people hadn’t really started to pretend that there was no class system in England. Also, the options for women then were really so constricted then – nurse, teacher, secretary, wife. The great change in the last hundred years has been in the role of women and I wanted to bring that alive.
What’s with all the bicycle stuff?
I have a weakness for old English bicycles. They are industrial art. When that big hit movie gets made of Up, Back, and Away I fully intend to decorate my new fabulous house with my bike collection.
What are your very favorite places to be?
On trails through the woods of Vermont and in libraries with big tables and lots of old books (and a café inside the building or nearby where you can take a break from reading and go have coffee and something bready with the person you’re at the libarary with).
Kim will be giving away two signed paperback copies of her four star book, Up, Back, and Away during the Reader Meet Author giveaway