Writing Fantasy And Being A Pro Novelist With Philippa Ballantine

In this interview, we discuss fantasy, tips for writing first drafts, where Pip gets her inspiration and the busy life of a pro-novelist. At the bottom of the post is a short video excerpt from the interview.

Philippa Ballantine is an award winning author and podcaster from New Zealand. She primarily writes fantasy novels and her latest book, Geist has just been released from Ace Books.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • About the book ‘Geist’, out now, a supernatural fantasy where the paranormal is real. An order of Deacons are dedicated to protecting people from the paranormal geists. The next book ‘Spectre’ will be out next year.
  • Why Pip loves writing fantasy. It is where anything is possible. If you can imagine it, it can be. There are no real boundaries. A planet in another universe or an alternate history.
  • Tips for writing your first draft for NaNoWriMo: Learn to keep writing and don’t look back. Don’t edit as you go. Just keep powering forward.
  • Include the senses in your writing, for the reader to empathize with the characters.
  • Create vivid characters and remember they don’t have to be perfect. Flawed is good and more real. We talk more about Sorcha, one of the main characters in ‘Geist’.
  • What are the things that feed the imagination for writing fantasy? Pip talks about history and how it has informed her writing, as well as her love for people in daily life and how just looking around you can inform your writing.
  • The life as a professional author. Pip gave up her day job as a librarian to become a full time author and talks about how her life is different now. There is no weekend for a writer! These few months around a release date are important for marketing, and with 2 more books next year, Pip has a busy schedule.
  • Do publishers help with any marketing? Ace Books have done postcards at ComicCon and more as well as providing advance reader’s copies. But it is up to the author to do other marketing activities. Pip is doing a blog tour and podcast tour, has done a book trailer and is promoting all over the place.
  • On the writer’s work ethic and how it has taken Pip from 13 years ago as an independent author to 3 books being released with 2 NY houses.
  • The editing process and how critical it is to improve your book. It’s like polishing a rough diamond. A good editor shouldn’t take away your voice.
  • On relocating to the US in order to get face time with the US audience. Pip is doing various cons in the next year. Does a ‘foreign’ author have to relocate in order to do well in the US market? Pip is on a B1 marketing visa.
  • On what is coming next. May 2011 steampunk romp Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: Phoenix Rising. July 2011 – Spectre, the sequel to Geist. Diversity is also important to be a successful author.

You can find Geist on Amazon.com here.

You can find Philippa Ballantine’s other books and podcasts here.

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