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Interview with MT Ceres

Louise Ceres, penname MT Ceres, is the author and creator of the Gaiadon Universe. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and is an avid reader of SFF.

Ms. Ceres is a full-time writer, with works of epic fantasy fiction published traditionally and independently and her poetry published by Lothlorien Poetry Journal. She calls the North Lake District in the UK her home, where she shares her space with two cats and two kids.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
I am a vegetarian.

Q.2 What inspired you to write about the Gaiadon Universe?
Initially, the inspiration came from my late father’s illness and how I processed his decline and my own feelings around that in my traditionally published work Shadow on The Other Shore. However, the work was back and forth to the publishers and took a decade from concept to publication. 

So, in the meantime, I wrote about the South of the planet Gaiadon, which is relatively free from demon control, and about several characters I had mentioned very briefly in Shadow on The Other Shore. 

I really wanted to explore the different power the fabled Witch Queens had, how they influenced the socio-political landscape, who worked with or for them, and what side they were on. (Picture of the Witch Queen, Pai, also known as the Sea Hag).

Q.3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Absolutely. Book three of Gaiadon Lore will be published in early 2024, and then I can begin to work on the very messy draft WIP for Bloods Bane, Book Two.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Excellent question. How emotions are projected without the character becoming two-dimensional. As I also write about talking animals, a-gender folk, and aliens, I think the opposite sex is easier in some ways, but do I use the same method to overcome the difficulty of drawing out authentic emotional responses? 

I am careful with character motivation and the forces of change they are experiencing, regardless of gender or species, then I can draw out the subsequent emotion. For example, while Scamall na Mara is an archetypal greedy pirate and is motivated by a need to have what others desire, leading to disastrous consequences in the war between the Light and the Dark Flames, we find out in Gaiadon Lore that his greatest treasure, the one he has hidden from the world, is, his parents. 

Furthermore, they are not his biological parents but the people who took him in as a foundling. The exploration of this scenario really opens up a wealth of emotions for this character.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I do now, but at first, I did write to see where the story took me as I had the time to do so then. But now I have a structured approach, especially as the Gaiadon Universe is quite mature in terms of world build and milieu.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
If I was only writing and not doing anything else, approx. two years for 150k words.

Q.7 What’s your writing schedule while working?
I write full-time, but I do have to fit it in with my family commitments and with my self-care regime. Writing takes a lot from you, and it is important to keep fit and flexible. It also depends on where I am in the process. I love plotting in a journal in bed!

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would read and review.

Q.9 Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Another great question. First and foremost, I am a storyteller, and I write the kind of stories I want to read. My style has been likened to the ‘Russian style’ where which means that my work is often allegorical, has metaphors, especially in relation to mental health, contains propaganda and rebellion, and engages the reader in political, social, religious, and ethical/moral concerns. However, a key part of my work, particularly for character development, is the concept of ‘Wyrd’, which is the Anglo-Saxon concept of ‘Fate’ driving personal destiny.

Q.10 It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing. Tell us about your marketing campaign?
Initially on social media and by connecting with other authors, poets, and artists who would be a good match for my brand, to build connections and generally get the word out there. Build a little momentum before choosing a service that suits genre and reader profiles, such as Authors in Focus, arranging blog tours, readings, and competitions. Keep at it, but it will eat into your writing time.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I do think about this from time to time and always settle with an elf (Tolkienesque), but it would either be a woodland elf like Tauriel or the young Galadriel as depicted in Rings of Power. I cannot see myself plucking the strings of a harp, but I can see myself gutting Orcs and fighting Sauron.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books, who would it be and why?
Micah Apollon from Shadow on The Other Shore because he’d be good company and a bit of a laugh, but because out of all my characters, he could have had it all if only he had toed the line, but instead, he fought for what was right and put people first, at great cost to himself. I really admire that quality in anyone and wish more people could do the same.

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your books?
Wyrd, fantastical world, and amazing characters.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
So many to choose from, but it must be The Eye of Hiriwa Pourewa, Cassandra Novantae, for the sheer scale of her commitment to the Light Flame, the things she has done and given up, and how it ends for her. (Gaiadon Lore).

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
I do my own covers then I have complete artistic control over how I use them in my campaigns.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I have taken some of the names of my characters from the side of trucks! Velig the Butcher, and Movria, to name two. Other character's names are from translations to other languages, Scamall na Mara means Sea Cloud (from Scottish Gaelic), and some are based on characteristics, for example, Rodney Weaselton (weasel), Reynard Wyburn (fox and Wyburn from old English, meaning war hero).

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I find them useful if the review has constructive feedback. One or two stars, without a narrative explaining why, is not a review as far as I’m concerned, as it gives nothing to future readers and doesn’t help me develop my craft either.

Q.18 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Four books so far. Black Void is my favorite, but I am working on Book 3 of Gaiadon Lore. It is my best work to date, explores Life-Death-Life, and it is almost finished.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) you are excited about? What are you reading right now?
I am re-reading JV Jones, A Fortress of Grey Ice as well as poetry from Lothlorien Poetry Journals.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
In a nutshell…it’s a funny old world, but seriously writing is a vital part of my life and how I express things that matter, especially themes that have meaning to me and impact others in society. 

Sometimes, it seems nonsensical to do what we do as indie authors. Here we are, on this journey, which is often a solitary experience with little recognition and less accolade, but then one day, you get a great review, or someone says, ‘I loved your book,’ and it makes it all worthwhile.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring my interview. Much appreciated.