Saturday, November 12, 2016

Author Interview Lucy Fenton, author of The Ragged People

Hey guys, 

Thanks for joining me again for another interview with another fabulous author.

Lucy Fenton lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children. In addition to her cake- making business, she works as a freelance copywriter and pens occasional articles for various online magazines.

Not being one of those people who had a burning desire to be anything in particular, Lucy. worked her way alphabetically backwards through the available degrees at Sydney University. Surprisingly, given the amount of fun she had at school, Lucy finally managed to graduate with a completely unemployable degree in Philosophy. A Law degree soon followed, however, simply to make it possible for some organization to hire her.

After ten soul-destroying years wandering aimlessly in the corporate wilderness, she threw it all in and reassessed. Deciding to bring the “one day I will write a book” idea to the present, she started and hasn’t stopped. As a huge fan of the romance genre, she writes the kinds of books that she enjoys to read.

In her spare time, Lucy…actually she has no spare time. She sleeps or reads copious amounts of romance novels instead of sleeping.

Thanks for dropping by today Lucy, can you tell us a bit about you as an author? 

In a nutshell, my writing is a bit dark and twisty. I’ve tried to write straight forward novels but they always end up more than slightly odd. People who know me are often surprised by my writing, thinking I would write “nice” novels in the style of Alexander McCall Smith.

What do you find to be the hardest part of being an author?

Elderly relatives wanting to discuss sex scenes you’ve written (shudder…)

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Making things up. I spent my corporate days meticulously researching and citing references so I really love the freedom of writing whatever I want and no one can tell me that it’s wrong. Except my editor, who frequently does.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?

I read almost anything but I have a passion for the conflicting genres of traditional gothic novels and modern surrealist literature. I also love a good space opera or steamy romance. I think reading widely, no matter what, helps expand the mind whether or not it’s directly relevant to my own writing. So in no particular order: Anne Radcliffe, Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Will Self (Great Apes is one of my all-time favourite books, though my book club hated it with a passion and banned me from picking any more books), Robert Jordan, Anne Rice, J K Rowling and Colleen McCulloch.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?

I believe it exists but I don’t generally suffer from it. What I do suffer from is being easily distracted either by people or ideas for new books. When wrapping up a book, I’ll get the uncontrollable urge to just start working on something else because in my head it’s finished, even if not in reality.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write?

I like to write in cafes where they bring me things to eat and drink though I’m most productive at my desk. Also less likely to gain weight as I have a weakness for blueberry muffins.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

In the morning straight after school drop off as I tend to lag in the afternoons.

How do you like to reach your readers? (Social media? Book signings? Blogs etc)

I’m doing a couple of book signings next year but mostly social media. To be honest, I’m still surprised when people contact me, though it does make my day!

Can you tell us about your latest book? (is it part of a series, genre)

“The Ragged People” follows on from “Superstition”, starting at the beginning of Arden’s last year at school. Everything is going fine until she is terrified by something lurking in the shadows. Everyone tells her it’s nothing, but not convinced, she looks into it some more and finds that something horrifying is going on.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Every book I’ve done takes me a year, give or take a month depending on how much editing I need to do.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?

Good versus evil and how it is mostly a matter of perspective. Can “bad” people do good things and vice versa? Does intention matter and how much? Who decides what is good and what is bad and how well can that be done without the benefit of hindsight, knowing the outcome?

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?

I have an idea and run with it, then cut and paste madly. Rewrite it a lot then hire a really good editor! I’ve tried to be logical and methodical about it, but it doesn’t read as well. I lose something by being too planned, possibly because I get bored and it shows.

Do you have plans for further instalments?

Yes – possibly up to five.

Do you have a plan for your next book?

I have an idea… Golems…

Some general writing questions

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?

Definitely ebooks – I love being able to flick between my favourites or get a new book in seconds. I also read a book a day and don’t think I could afford that many paperbacks!

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?

I’ve done both and each have advantages and disadvantages. For me, I like the flexibility and control of self-publishing, but traditional publishing still opens many doors that are closed to self-published authors in terms of marketing and distribution. The thing I find hardest is marketing, and regardless of which way you go, you still have to do most of it yourself, though publishers do give you some guidance as well as a boost your credibility. Is it worth giving up control of your book and the bulk of the profits for it though? I still run each book via my agent, but the big ones are taking so few risks that they’re not interested unless it’s absolutely brilliant, rather than merely entertaining. I think the industry is changing, but it’s hard at the moment because the traditional publishers are shrinking but at the same time, there is so much out there of variable quality in the self-published market that it’s hard to get attention. Sometimes it feels like I’m jumping up and down in a dark and empty room. It’s frustrating, but knowing that I’d write even if no one was reading means I’m not disheartened by it.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Ignore the doubts and keep on going. Also have a few friends who aren’t authors who will tell you that you are brilliant, even when you’re not because no one starts out amazing and you have to keep going if you’re going to get there. Author friends will try to manage your expectations, which is the last thing you need when you’re starting out. Live the dream and enjoy it! There is more than enough reality waiting for you later.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, your book and your advice with us this week. It was a great journey and as a fellow writer who doesn't know what sleep is, it is good to know there are others out there like us. 

If you'd like to know more about Lucy, you can reach her here:
Twitter: @lfen
Amazon Author Page:

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