1. Anita, you started writing about finance. How did you move on to fiction. What prompted you?
Actually, it was the other way around. I won a few short story competitions in every genre, and wanted to try a novel-length fantasy thriller, but I went to a writers’ workshop, where the author told me that I was starting too hard, and that I should write something I knew about. At first I laughed, thinking that would be a short book… and it was. Your Mortgage and How to Pay it off in 5 Years, by someone who did it in three only took me a fortnight to write, but went on to become one of the top 10 bestselling business books of the decade, while I went back to my goal of producing a line of thrillers.
2. My interest is mainly in your fantasy series Diamond Eyes, Hindsight and Leopard Dreaming. What sparked the idea for this series?
Twelve years ago, on the way to see an eye specialist for my own problem, my young son asked me how eyes worked, so I used the diamond from my engagement ring to show him how a crystal can bend light, just like the crystallised skin cells in our eyes… diamond… eyes… and it grew from there.
3. Tell me a little of what the series is about?
Mira’s eyes crystallised more than usual during puberty, and now she can only process light from previous time “layers” … i.e. she can see the past. Anywhere from yesterday to a million BC, depending on which coloured filter sunglasses she wears – so that also makes her the perfect detective, because she can witness any crime, anywhere. Only down-side; she has a knack for seeing the very worst of humanity, and witnessing murders, just as the killer returns to the scene.
4. How did you find the ‘voice’ to write for young people?
Actually, this series is rated M, so it’s mainly for adults and very mature teens. And there’s a range of voices, with nine heroes over the course of the trilogy, including a sociopath who speaks in a different voice for each of his seven personalities – some of them quite lyrical or riddle-icious.
5. Do you have a routine you do before you write? And what time of the day and for how long do you write?
Anytime, anywhere. Sometimes I don’t even need to wake up. Sometimes it pours out, and sometimes I just stare at the same sentence for days until I crack the perfect way to say it with mood, pace, tension, subtext and so on. Obviously, saying something in writing is relatively easy, but it’s squeezing in all the subtext without creating ambiguity that’s the best part of the game for me. And tightening it up, so there’s no repetition – to the point where every word is critical, and that changing a single word can throw out a whole paragraph or page.
6. You have dabbled in a number of genres – crime, fantasy, sci-fi. Do you have a favourite?
That’s like asking me which child I love most … so I hug them all at once in each story by layering the genres like a symphony that give the over-riding impression of an urban fantasy.
7. I told you I was surprised when you said you have an agent, after you are already a successful published author. Why an agent now?
To handle the movie deals and international rights sales, so I don’t need to bother learning the ins and outs of contract laws in other countries. Alas, they only *look* the same on the surface.
8. What books are on the drawing board?
Another two in the same world as this series…
9. Give an excerpt from your fantasy series.
Browse inside Diamond Eyes Here: http://browseinside.harpercollins.com.au/index.aspx?isbn13=9780732291365
and Hindsight Here: http://browseinside.harpercollins.com.au/index.aspx?isbn13=9780732291372
10. Give us some links to your books and ebooks.
11. Lastly, a few words about yourself.
See the homepage of my new website, (still tweaking it during a rebuild): www.anitabell.com