In the continuing monthly series of author interviews, today my guest is fellow 47North author Neve Maslakovic, author of The Incident series and all around great gal.
Why did you write The Incident series? What is it about this project that makes you happy or proud?
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of being able to go back in time to see what life was like, not for kings and queens, but for ordinary people. Since I can’t actually step into a spacetime warper myself, this series is my way of doing so vicariously. I get to go to a different place and time in each book along with my characters, from the ancient Roman world to medieval Americas.
What was one of the first books to inspire your interest in this genre?
My writing contains elements of both science fiction and mystery. As a child, I read and re-read everything by Jules Verne and Agatha Christie, so I’d say my interest has a lot to do with the works of those two authors.
Who influenced your voice as a writer?
That’s hard to answer, because I feel like I learn something from every book I read!
How did you learn how to write? How did you develop your style?
Apart from a handful of writing classes, I’m self-taught. In general, I think the only way to develop – or rather, find – your writing style is by, well, writing. And then writing some more. And more, until you discover what works for you.
What is your process when you begin a new project?
While writing the current book, I’m always mulling over the next one in my head. So when I finally sit down to work on it, I already have a good idea of the main characters and of some of the story. I never have a full outline, though – I liked to be a bit surprised as I write. It keeps me interested!
What are some writing tips or tricks that work for you?
One that comes to mind is to jot down a page-full of quick notes on the scene you plan to write that day. That only works if you know what’s going to happen in the scene. If you don’t, then the opposite approach often works for me, and that’s to just sit down and start typing and see where your characters take you.
What advice do you have for people who want to become writers?
Find a support network of other aspiring writers. I can’t emphasize this enough.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
We’ve just wrapped up the editing for Book 2 in the Incident series -- The Runestone Incident is slated for release in February 2014. I am now hard at work on Book 3 in the series!
You're in heaven (so anything is possible) and you own your own television network. What shows are on your channel?
Since anything is possible, I’d be watching never-filmed episodes of the TV series Firefly, which was canceled after only one season.
What is your favorite pen to write with?
I do all my writing on the computer, except for the occasional jotted down note or sketch. For that I use a gel pen, blue or red.
Favorite beverage while writing?
Dark chocolate mocha from Caribou Coffee, in a mug, not a paper cup.
Name five books you love.
How about I do five authors instead, since that’s somewhat easier. Besides the aforementioned Jules Verne and Agatha Christie, I’d add Jasper Fforde, Connie Willis, and Isaac Asimov. And Douglas Adams. OK, that’s six authors.
Beautifully embossed leather bound editions or paperbacks with great pulp fiction covers?
Hmm, leather bound would look nicer on the shelf, but paperbacks would be lighter to carry around in shoulder bags, so I’ll go with paperbacks.
What is your favorite quote about writing?
I have many of them, but the one that comes to mind is from Annie Proulx. I had to go look it up, but here it is in full:
“What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, 'Write what you know.' It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don't develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.”
Neve Maslakovic is the author of the Incident series, as well as a stand-alone novel, Regarding Ducks andUniverses. Before turning her hand to writing fiction, Neve earned her PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford University's STAR Lab (Space, Telecommunications, and Radioscience Laboratory). Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Neve currently lives with her husband and son near Minneapolis/St. Paul, where she admits to enjoying the winters. Her next book, The Runestone Incident, is due out in February 2014.