Tag Archives: Joanne Hall

My Writing Process – Blog Hop

I was tagged by author Joanne Hall – www.hierath.wordpress.com – to partake in My Writing Process Blog Hop! Here’s my effort!

 

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m trying to complete the first draft of The Sinner’s Daughter, which is a follow on story from The Reluctant Prophet. It’s nearly finished, maybe another 20 – 30k and that draft will finally be complete. I’m also starting to draw up a draft of the third book in the series, as well as tinkering with a post-apocalyptic work set in Ireland. I wish there were more hours in the day for writing! (Sigh)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s a difficult one because some of its themes you would see in other books, though I hope my own take on these themes are different. My works, though fantasy based, don’t draw heavily on magic or wonderful and imaginative creatures. My stories are character based and focus a lot on the inner workings and development, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t have the other themes in my books. The books I’m currently working on are based in first-person and from a female perspective. I’m hoping I am able to portray they characters as strong women, despite the fact they are not warriors who can kiss ass. Hopefully that makes my books differ from other works of its genre.   

Why do I write what I write?

I tend to write stories that capture my own imagination and for the most part, fantasy had been the strongest influence on my own writing. I also have a lot of ideas that aren’t related to the fantasy genre, but for the most part, fantasy based books encourage my own imagination the most and I like losing myself in different worlds and places when I write.

How does your writing process work?

I am not a person who organises their writing with plans, although I have tried very unsuccessfully to do that. I like letting my mind roam and see where the story goes. When I’m writing I might have some ideas fleshed out in my head, but I have no idea what journey might be involved in the characters getting to that point. So I guess I’m a pantser in that respect.

I also spend a lot of time re-reading my draft as I go along, especially if I’m feeling stuck at a certain point. It gives me time to think over the story and link the threads together. One thing I love to plan is the map for the book, as imagining the scenes and places grounds a lot of the ideas for me as I’m drawing it up.

I wish I could say that I’m strict with myself and can write a certain amount of words a day, but I tend to have 0k days and then a 5k splurge another. A true pantser then! 🙂

 

And as a finale, I get to tag a few authors now to hop along this blog! Good luck!

 

Dean Lombardo – http://authordeanlombardo.wordpress.com/

C.N Lesley – http://cnlesley.com/

Emma L Clapperton – http://emmalclapperton.wordpress.com/

Jane Dougherty – http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ 

 

 

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Author Joanne Hall and the Bristol Con.

The talented and all round lovely Joanne Hall, author of the fantasy epic, Art of Forgetting: Rider, answers some of my questions regarding the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention being held on the 26th of October 2013 in Bristol.

  Author and Chair of the Bristol Con, Joanne Hall.

For someone like me, who has never been to a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention, what can someone expect going to the Bristol Con?

BristolCon is a fairly compact SF/F convention – we usually have around 250 people, so it’s small enough to be friendly. There are really two sorts of conventions; there are the big media conventions like DragonCon or MCM Expo, where the focus is very much on cosplay and events with TV and film celebrities, and then there are smaller, more intimate conventions like Wiscon, where the focus is more on reading and writing and speculative fiction. BristolCon falls into the second camp. There are panel discussions and individual presentations on subjects of geeky and writerly interest (this year, for example, we have “How to poop on a Fantasy Universe and Other Grubby Goings On”  and “How Humans are Biologically Weird”, to name but two) We also have an art room, a dealer room full of creative people, live music, a very hard quiz, kaffeeklatsches (small meetings of no more than ten people with a famous author, over coffee) etc. It’s a chance to spend the day hanging out with like-minded people talking nerdy and having a few pints!

 

In what capacity do you work at the Bristol Con? How many years has it been up and running?

I’m the chair, which means I get to boss the rest of the committee about and make sure everything’s running smoothly, and catch any dropped balls along the way. We’ve been doing it for five years now; the first year we ran for an afternoon and had sixty people, so it’s grown a bit since then.

 

What’s involved in getting the Con ready?

We start organising next years con even before this years has taken place, by approaching the people we’d like to be Guests of Honour next year (I could tell you who they are, but then I’d have to kill you…) Then we spend the next few months encouraging interesting potential panellists to sign up. I should explain that with smaller fan-run conventions everyone except the Guests of Honour pays an entry fee, even the hard-working committee. Then once we have loads of signups, as well as dealers and artists, about three months before the con the committee come together and toss around ideas for panels until we have about twenty-five potential panels. Then Meg, our supreme programme wrangler, sends the panel suggestions out to the people who have expressed an interest in being on panels, and they pick the ones they most want to be on. This ensures that people only end up doing the panels they are really interested in appearing on. Then we take the most popular 14-15 panels and build the programme around them. The programme is almost the last thing we do, only a few weeks before the big day.

There are a million other things to do as well, but BristolCon has a great committee and after five years we’re beginning to get the hang of the small stuff!

 

Who’s involved in this years’ Con? Can you drop us a few names?

Our Guests of Honour this year are Storm Constantine (Chronicles of the Wreaththu), and Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines), and our artist GOH is Mark Buckingham, who draws Fables and has worked on Sandman.

We always try and involve lots of local writers, such as Gareth L Powell, Emma Newman and Lou Morgan, and this year we have Mary Robinette Kowal flying in from Chicago – it was a nice surprise when she signed up!

 

Where in Bristol is the Convention being held?

It’s at the Hilton DoubleTree on Redcliffe Way, next to St Mary Redcliffe which is a beautiful medieval church. It’s only five minutes walk from Temple Meads Station, so it’s easy to get to from London and Birmingham.

 

Do people dress up? Can people expect to see Orcs, Wizards and Sci-fi heros? Or is it a more formal setting?

People haven’t tended to dress up in the past, but if people want to dress up, we’re not going to discourage them! Some of the committee do like to put on their best frocks – it adds to the sense of occasion. And we’ve had a number of people come in steampunk garb in the past. We certainly don’t discourage people from dressing up, but there’s no maskerade or costume competition like some of the bigger cons have.

 

What other events can people expect? Are there readings and book signings?

This year we’re launching “Looking Landwards”, an anthology of agricultural SF, and there will be readings between the panels and signings at lunchtime. Because it’s quite an informal con – there’s no green room or anything like that – most authors are happy to sign things during the day, or over a pint in the bar. It’s a really good chance to meet your favourite authors in an informal setting and find out how lovely they are!

 

Will you be doing a reading? If so, from which book and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I will be doing a five-minute reading after the panel I’m on (The Evolution of Genre), and I’ll be reading something from my heroic fantasy “The Art of Forgetting : Rider” but I’m not sure what yet – it’s hard to find an extract without spoilers!

  follow the link for more info on Joanne and her books.

http://hierath.wordpress.com/

For those interested, or wanting more info, where can they find it? (and any other relevant links!)

The first place to look would be the BristolCon website : www.bristolcon.org We also have a Facebook page, and you can follow @BristolCon on Twitter – we’re all very friendly and if you say hello we’ll say hello back!

Month of Reads – September

Ah, back to what I love to do most after writing! Reading of course! And this month isn’t so thin on the ground with my reviews, as the last couple of months were. I’ve read some cracking stories and here’s my view of those reads.

The Art of Forgetting - Rider (Book 1)

The Art of Forgetting – Rider, by Joanne Hall

Genre: Fantasy, Epic

Plot: Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit. There, struggling with his own memories of his father, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. Until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life, but the fate of a nation.

Review: Occasionally you read a story and you become immersed within the tale before you realise it. That’s what happened when I read, The Art of Forgetting. There is a lot of depth and thought put into this story and the main character, Rhodri. Although not unique to many stories, this coming of age tale explores some of the nitty-gritty of adolescence, not only about trying to find acceptance and discovering oneself, but also exploring themes involving sexuality and gender roles. These themes I found reminiscent of Lynn Flewelling’s books and writing, which is a pretty darn good thing, because I love her books!

However, these are not the only topics this book revolves around. Joanne Hall has created a richly developed world, where she has taken careful consideration of not only the majestic a fantasy world can offer, but also its flaws and political instabilities. This runs parallel to the struggles Rhodri faces even before he joins the King’s Riders, and follows him as he grows into a young man. The characters each bring their own strengths and flaws, and at times the story weaves its way heartbreakingly towards the truth: not only for Rhodri, but for his friends. I admit, I was a little teary in one scene, but I’ll say no more as I don’t want to spoil things! But it’s the little intricacies of the characters – none are perfect – and the plot, that show the author to be a master of observation.

It had a conclusion which has left me wanting more and now I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

Rating: 5 out of 5 for an honest, thought-provoking book!

Child of the Ghosts (Ghosts, #1)

Child of the Ghosts by Jonathan Moeller

Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Mystery

Plot: For fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Sword & Sorceress”, Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, and Jennifer Roberson, here is a new story of a woman’s fight against an ancient evil. When her life is torn apart by sorcery and murder, young Caina Amalas joins the Ghosts, the legendary spies and assassins of the Emperor of Nighmar. She learns the secrets of disguise and stealth, of assassination and infiltration. But even that might not be enough to save her. For the evil that destroyed her family seeks to devour the entire world…

Review: To be honest, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic coming to read this book. I have no idea why really. It had been sitting a long time in my Kindle Library, but I decided it was unfair to leave it unread. At first I was thinking my first impressions were correct, but I was utterly wrong. The more I delved into Caina’s story, the more immersed I became in it. In many ways, it is like a cleverly laid out mystery. Threads, plots and subplots are entwined into a fantasy world and poor Caina’s horrific childhood experiences mark her for something different.

After a necromancer and her mother nearly kill her, she escapes and is taken in by the Ghosts, and taught to be a nightfighter – an assassin/spy. Caina is a strong and clever character with an uncanny gift for observation. She is taught and trained in every aspect of being a nightfighter, a lot of her skills use her wiles along with her fighting prowess. I have to admit, she’s a pretty awesome character.

The story builds momentum as Caina attempts to destroy the necromancer who destroyed her life and her family, but not everything is as straightforward as it seems. There are some great adventurous moments, but occasionally I felt the world created lacked some detail. But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and will definitely read the next in the series.

Rating: A slow smouldering 4 out of 5 stars

Awakening Foster Kelly

Awakening Foster Kelly, by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Genre: Fiction, YA

 If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster  Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. 

At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone. This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin.

Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it. In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.

Review: Awakening Foster Kelly is almost like reading a dream. In many ways it feels as though its floats upon one and you wonder where the tale will take you next.

The story is centred on Foster Kelly, a seventeen-year-old shy, young woman, who has brains to burn and musical talent to boot. It is written in the first person, so the reader has a keen sense of the character, who she is and where she needs to go. It is a beautiful thing to see her character develop as the story progresses.

Now, it is a long book and I think one that takes time to read. Some might find the prose flowery and tangential at times, but I have to say, I am a fan of the poetic and I thought a lot of this was beautifully written. Only occasionally did I feel that it interrupted some of the scene flow, but overall, I loved the style and the story.

Some of the characters left me smiling, especially Emily and her twin Jake. The banter between the two and their strong personalities are at times very comical, in light of the seriousness of Foster’s character. At first I wondered where Dominic (the love interest) would fit in, especially in light of his rather horrid behaviour to start, but he begins to redeem himself as the story goes on.

There are lovely little points of interest, which keep you reading on. You want to find out the little mystery behind Dominic and it was a really pleasant surprise when I reached the end and discovered the twist. I won’t give anything away – it has to be read to be discovered!

A beautiful book.

Rating: 4 sparkling sapphire gems out of 5

Kiss of Fire (Imdalind #1)

Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Plot: Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn’t know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn’t want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won’t let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.

The scar is the reason she is being hunted. If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air. Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.

Review: Oh, I hate it when I write a load of good reviews and then I just have to write this. Ugh!

Good Points: The writer definitely has some talent and can write.

Bad Points: I just felt I was reading another twilight or something similar. Nothing about this felt original or different and there were times when I just had to sigh. And I hate that, because I want to love everything I read. I’m not even going to go on, I know some people will love it, but honestly, it was not for me.

Rating: Very sad 2 out of 5 (and I’m being generous, because I feel guilty)