Monday, 15 April 2013

Meet a Writer Monday Presents...


1. Tell me about your book ‘Mortal Instinct’ and where you got your inspiration for it?

My initial inspiration came from my disgust at the lack of SF/F stories that were driven by well written female characters in all the main roles – not just relegated to the ‘damsel in distress’ or faithful sidekick’ tropes. This was back in the late 80’s when, at least in Australia, women SF authors, let alone characters, were few and far between.
I wrote the initial draft and realised that I didn’t know enough of the craft of writing to bring to this reality what I saw in my minds eye. Fast forward a whole bunch of years and many more drafts, and voila, we have Mortal Instinct, the first book in the Gallery series. (which at last count is five books!)
 I also wanted to write a story that was a rollicking good yarn, without using a single male pronoun. It’s not that there aren’t any male characters in the universe I created. They’re just not mentioned.

2. If you could interview anyone from your life. living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?

My Maternal Grandmother. She died when my mother was a baby so neither of us got to know her. My father’s family came from a long line of English working class stiffs, but all I know of hers is that she was Irish.
I’d like to think that Irish blood is where my storytelling and affinity with the ‘fey folk’ come from.

3. Ninjas or Pirates?

Pirates. They have a far more stylish dress code. And those three-masted ships? – things of beauty. Not that there won’t be pirates in space, (when we get enough of a foothold for booty to be there for the taking) but I think the brocade, sashes, and cutlasses of the waterbourne pirate will always have a place in my heart and wardrobe. And, a pirate can take ninja classes, but I doubt a ninja would be able to function with that level of ... erm ... ostentation!

4. What is usually your first thought in the morning?

Who snuck in and turned my alarm on while I was asleep!

5. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they are writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?

What would I do? If I had the time, I would ask them to give me an ‘elevator pitch’. If they didn’t know what that was, I’d tell them to go find out, and write one. Then they’d be most welcome to find me when they’re done and we’d talk some more.
What advice would I give? To keep writing, no matter what, and don’t stop until they hit, ‘The End’. Then evaluate.

6. Are the names of characters in your novels important?

Names are always important. They not only have to fit the character visually (the configuration of letters on the page) they have to sound right when the reader tries to pronounce them, even if they only do it in their heads.
Western culture also has given us a set of preconditioned responses to certain names, to the way consonants and vowels are organised, and like it or not, these things also influence how a characters ‘characteristics’ and name will mesh for the reader.

7. Who would play you in a film about your life?

 I’d love to have Adele (the singer) play the younger me, and Kathy Bates to bring it home in the second half of the movie. Neither women look much like me, but their energy rocks!

8. What are the most important attributes to staying sane as a writer?

Having a non-lethal (short or long term) drug and/or habit of choice. Mine are tea and bicycling. (what did you think I was referring to, eh?) Something to get out of the chair for. To provide a physical outlet when things get so stuck you hair’s standing on end.

9.  Is Elvis really dead?

Yes, no, possibly. But what really blew me away the other day was reading that his granddaughter, Riley Keough, is 24. 24!

10. What is your favourite quote?

Master Yoda: ‘There is no try, Do, or do not’.
That doesn’t mean a silly win-at-all-costs-mentality that certain sporting goods companies promote, or anything like that. Or that if you trip then its ‘game over’.
What it means for me is to set my mind to a task, to take a stance, (even if it evolves over time) to believe in something, and follow it through to its end, (whatever that may be – which can also evolve) until it’s accomplished.
If I trip, then I dust myself off, forgive myself, (oftentimes the hardest part of the process) and resume my journey. Which leads me to my second favourite quote by that wonderful author, Anon: ‘99 times fall down, 100 times stand up’.

11. What are your current projects?

Right now I’m getting wound up for what promises to be a big creative year.
I’m working on Book 2 of the Gallery series, “Journey of Echos’. It’s at that awkward teenage stage where the first draft finished and editing is about to get underway.
I am stretching myself by writing a whole bunch of short stories, (I see myself as a novelist mostly) that I think I’ll self publish, probably in time for the Christmas stocking-stuffer rush.
I want to finally organise the account of my Shamanic Journey and Teachings into something resembling a workbook that’ll make sense to someone other than myself.
In my spare time I’ll work on a few ideas I have for a historical mystery series, with a dash of Steampunk for seasoning, set here in the Lower Mainland, (of British Columbia, Canada) at the turn of the century. The 19th century, not the one we just left!
Last but by no means least, I will be publishing an episode of a story called, ‘Identical’ on my blog once a month, or more frequently if I can find the time (who needs to sleep, right?)

12. Do you recall how your interest in writing occurred?

As a child I read voraciously, in part to avoid an unpleasant home situation, (but I truly loved books and reading for its own sake) and then in my highschool library as a means of avoiding bullies and skipping classes. One day I read a book so badly written (in my humble opinion) I had to restrain myself from tossing it across the room. It was only fear of the librarians that held me in check! It was about that time I discovered Science Fiction as well. From then on I was doomed to live up to my boast that I could write something far better than that drivel. I followed my heart and have been writing Speculative Fiction ever since.

13. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’ve reinvented myself quite a few times, so it’s hard to pick a ‘me’ to talk to. If I went back far enough though, to my childhood, it would be two things, ‘remember, and ‘fight back’.

14. If you had your own talk show, who would the first three guests be?

In no particular order: Kate; the Duchess of Cambridge, Hilary Clinton, and K.D.Lang.
Hilary, because I’d like to know how it feels to wield that much power. Kate, because I wonder if she really knew what she was marrying into. And K.D., because I love her singing, and I reckon we could be great friends.
And one more. Lana Wachowski, for giving up so much to ‘pay it forward’.
Mortal Instinct is set on the world of Argol, a planet of the Gallery – a vast other-worldly web of corridors spun from the body of an Immortal. These glittering corridors link the worlds of the Mortal Realm. Anyone brave enough to step through a Portal can journey through the system of corridors and end up anywhere in Time and Space.
A short-tempered Immortal and three women with commitment issues must harness the most powerful force in existence to save the Gallery.
They are aided by a thrice-born warrior who cannot die, a bureaucrat who has lived almost forever, and an Archivist who knows too many secrets.
Using technology and magic, they leave the convoluted politics of their home world and journey through the fragmented corridors of the dying Gallery into realms of otherworldly existence where only the strong and talented survive.
Their lives entwine in unexpected ways as they struggle to fulfill their destiny while being unsuspecting pawns in a game that lasts for a thousand generations.

About Widdershins
Widdershins was born in England, grew up in Australia, moved to Canada in 2004. She's married to the love of her life. She's a writer and shaman, a bicyclist and a feminist. She's been an architect, a seamstress, an athlete and a field hand.

Writing is her passion and her profession, novels specifically, and always with lesbian characters.
She can be found at her blog Widdershins Worlds.
She can also be contacted via the link on her ‘About Me’ page.


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog, Sonnet ... and providing such a wonderful array of 'outside-the-box' questions to choose from.

  2. Funny you should comment about the lack of females in sci-fi. Husband has entertained me the last couple of nights with the first 2 Lord of the Rings movies, which I haven't ever watched since we saw them in the theaters. I'm shocked by the total lack of females besides the elves who have spray oil on the camera lenses to make them ethereally beautiful. No brave females, a la Xena...or Buffy. When I complain he reminds me when Tolstoy wrote. Sigh...I'm sure glad we've progressed...or have we?

  3. Hiya Fiona, thanks for dropping by

    ... We have progressed a lot since J.R.R.'s time that's for sure, but not as much as we'd like.

    I'd like to walk into a bookstore (virtual or otherwise)and see just as many SF/F book titles that feature women heroes as men, by as many women writers as men, and have no-one thinking it's a big deal.

    I'd also like that for SF/F LGTBQ titles as well.

    As the darwinian selection process weeds out the Indie/eBook market, I hope to see both those things come about, because the traditionally male (or male agendered) gatekeepers will have gone the way of the triceratops.

    Agendered - a new word I just invented - someone who has a specific agenda or has one thrust upon them.

  4. Great interview! I'd have to agree that pirate ships look pretty cool :) I had to laugh at your story of what sparked your interest in writing. I've read a couple of books that were that bad. (And I read them - what does that say about me?!)

  5. Hiya Janna ... I reckon it says that now we really know the difference between a good book and a bad one! ... Sometimes it's like watching a train wreck - you know what's going to happen, but somehow you just can't look away.