This is my first ever interview with an author and it went smashingly well.
Erin Stevens is the author of Updrift, she is kind and thoughtful, her writing is just beautiful, she sent me out her novel to review for my blogs and my instagram page.
That was my first ever book with a signature in it!
Down Below is the interview. I hope you enjoy!
Q: What inspired you to start writing?
A: I remember pretty much always wanting to write. I think I attempted my first story when I was nine and it was so bad, even young childish me knew it. I literally burned it. I read fiction then and now like I breathe, which is to say constantly; and it was more than just a pastime, has always felt more visceral and necessary to me than that.
I think incessant reading wired me up strangely too, so I constructed a kind of narrative filter through which I apprehend my experiences. And view reality. I’m always working on how I would express in words what I see happening around me. But I didn’t give myself permission to take a serious run at story-telling until five years ago. I think I was able to write Updrift because I loved the story, and because the genre felt approachable to me.
Q: Where did you come up with the sirens/ mermaids idea?
A: My dad had a collection of maroon-colored, leather-bound Harvard Classics, among which was an anthology of fairy tales as they were originally written or told. If you’ve read these stories, you’ll know what I mean when I say many of them could easily be recast as horror stories today. I mean, “The Little Match Girl?” “The Red Shoes?” They’re ghastly! But they’re powerful too, and Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” utterly captured me, heartbreaking as it is.
That one never, never left me, and when I first started writing seriously, TLM’s mythology was the one I kept coming back to. I very much wanted to show that deeper struggle Andersen portrayed so beautifully, to tell a tale with modern romantic sensibility, but include the raw emotional edge of the first “true” fairy tales.
Q: Was it a hard process or was it an easy flow of writing?
A: Oh I so very much wish writing was ‘easy flow’ for me! My ideas tend to be fluid – although not always – and my stories have good “structural muscles.” But the writing part is pretty much two-stage (okay, maybe eight- or nine-stage…), because I’ll write a section, move on to another, then go back to what I originally wrote and try to strike a better balance between the words and the sense they make.
Q: How many times did you have to go back and edit before you were happy with the final piece?
A: I know I just said eight or nine above, but it’s been more than that, and I really didn’t count. I’d say a bunch over about two years? The tricky part of editing for me has been satisfying my own sensibilities, because I like my narrative to reach into you emotionally without throwing you into despair, and that’s a subjective dance with words sometimes. And then after I’d gotten Updrift “right” in my mind, I worked with a professional editor who did a rock star job but made significant changes to the story. Sorry I don’t have a cleaner answer for this one!
Q: What was the hardest process you went through?
A: The querying and subsequent rejection/apathy is every bit as bad as everyone says. If you have the mental strength to walk away from that process I admire and envy you!
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: I have several more siren story lines I’d like to write out, and I intend to develop those – they’re a grotesque mishmash of notes and strange ideas at this point! Elsewise, I’ve drafted the two books meant to follow Updrift – Breakwater is next, and Outrush comes after that. So I hope to bring those out and share them with readers who like my little take on sirens and humans.
Q: How important are reviews to you?
A: Ugh – such a good question. The good ones I don’t credit, and the negative ones can destroy me for an afternoon, which is why I mostly avoid reading all reviews. But you need significant numbers of them to progress through the e-sales algorithm that allows your book to be seen by readers, so I do court reviews. Now if you’re talking about pre-publishing reviews to help strengthen your writing, I’m mostly for it and I did a ton of feedback participation exercises back in the day. I even wrote a humorous essay for my blog on the subject in case you’re interested: http://errinstevens.com/good-advice/
Q: What is your favourite part of Updrift?
A: I love the emotional interplay and loyalty between sirens and humans. I think Kate is so attractive to Gabe initially because of the fierce bond she shares with her mother, and I love that. I think overall the idea of emotional responsibility lends a unique appeal to the intimacy the couple experiences.
Q: If you looked back 10 years ago, would you have thought you’d be where you are today?
A: Absolutely not. I used to think of novel writing like I would neuroscience or engineering, and who do I think I am to attempt anything in either of those fields? But there came a day when I could no longer not try to write the stories in my head. Regardless of the difficulties, I’m much happier when I write.
Q: Any advice for upcoming Authors/ and aspiring writers?
A: Write every day. Be militantly kind to yourself and others. Militantly! And do not under any circumstances ever, ever give up.
Well, that’s a wrap, I hope you enjoyed her answers as much as I did!
Below I have Links where you can check out the novel Updrift or the Author herself.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25114259-updrift (contains buy links)
Instagram & Twitter: @errinstevens
Pinterest: Updrift & Mermaids