Interview: S.E. Bennett

em terça-feira, 28 de março de 2017 |

Today I bring you an awesome interview with the lovely S.E.Bennett!

If you're new here, know that I've read her book The Tower Must Fall that I absolutly loved -> review here

If you don't know the book, shame on you 'cause you're missing out hon!

Back to S.E.Bennett!
I reached out through Curiosity Quills Press and she was so kind as to answer my silly questions!

Here's a quick blurb about her: 

Resultado de imagem para SE BENNETT''SE Bennett lives by the seaside on a green and distant island, where she studies biology and spends her summers writing. She finished her first book for young adults, Cipher, two days before her 21st birthday, while studying at the University of London, and remarks that if faced with the trials of her heroine, she would probably have just gone back to bed and stayed there''

Hello! Thank you so very much for agreeing to answer a few question so that our readers may get to know the master mind behind ‘’The Tower Must Fall’’

A: Thank you for reaching out, Tania, I’m so please you enjoyed the book!

A few random questions, answer the first thing that comes to your mind!

·         What’s your favourite place to write?

         A: I love to write when I shouldn’t be writing! Meetings, lectures… I always seem to be most creative when I should be paying attention to something else.

·         Favourite colour?

        A: It varies… at the moment, I’m a little obsessed with Monet’s waterlilies, and I seem to be drifting towards blues and greens. Maybe I’m just really ready for Spring! It’s been a very long, dark winter here in London.

·         And book?
        A: My favourite book… that’s such a tough one! I love Neil Gaiman, so I might say Good Omens is my favourite, but I’m also a bit of a weirdo and I love reading sci-fi horror, so one of my all-time loves is an author called John Wyndam, who wrote Day of the Triffids.

·         Playlist for your life?

         A: I actually have a playlist that I played on loop during the year I wrote The Tower Must Fall – it’s lots of Neutral Milk Hotel and Amanda Palmer, and a bit of classical music thrown in there to get me thinking about German culture!

·         Morning or night?

         A: I think I’m a bit odd for an author – I’m pretty much useless after 3pm, I have to get all my work done in the morning!

Now to the real questions:

·         Where did you get the inspiration for The Tower Must Fall?

        A: I was travelling across India with a good friend of mine, whose mother is German, and she was telling me all of these amazingly dark fairy tales – the kind of story where the meaning has gotten a little garbled over time, and all that’s left is the image of a girl or a boy, hidden behind a legend. I loved them!
That said, Enyo existed before The Tower was born. I wanted to write a character whose central quality was vanity – a quality that, in women, is considered frivolous and negative, but which in Enyo is a valid part of who she is, a potent driving force in her need to protect and defend who she is. Enyo has enough self-love to pull herself out of any situation, and to put herself first when she needs to. I wanted to show that character to my readers – it was a lesson it took me a long time to learn.

·         Is there a process you go by before or while writing your books?

      A: I try to, but it doesn’t always work! I tend to start by planning a 100k novel, then dividing it into three sections: beginning, middle and end. Then, I’ll divide the total into about twenty 5k-word chapters, and plan roughly what happens in each.
The Tower was completely written 3 times before I found my legs with it – it’s a huge world, and I needed to find my feet! It took longer than anything I’d ever written before. My advice to any author would be don’t feel like you have to stick to your plan, but definitely have a plan! Otherwise your goals will seem impossible, and you’ll never get an idea off the ground.

·         I saw that you’re a biology student (so am I!) and that got me wondering, are you ever asked how comes you like to write but have followed a science career? (I get them quite a lot!) What’s your usual answer to that?

       A: My bio is a little out-of-date – I’m now a graduate, working in science communications. I get that question a lot, too! For me, the two were never mutually exclusive – I love to write fiction, and that makes me a great non-fiction writer, because I have a good grasp of narrative and how to keep a reader interested. Even an academic reader! Basically, there’s no law that says you have to love just one thing. Every skill you gain in your life makes you more, not less – as long as you practice all your arts, I think you’ll always find they support and feed each other.

·         Why re-write the fairy tales? And why make them the way you did, was it to fit the story or did you fit the story around them?

Resultado de imagem para the tower must fall         A: The fairy-tales are great, but they’re not the core of the story in my mind. What I wanted to show was that you don’t have control of how people perceive you, or how they remember you. That the story changes, depending on who tells it, and unless you make an effort to make your own truth known, you have to accept that you might not like what is remembered of you. A lot of the time, young women are obsessed with how they’re perceived – being seen as brave, or pretty, or clever – and I wanted to show that the effort you put into that might not be as effective as you hope. Enyo, on the other hand, is obsessed with how she sees herself – she wants to be the kind of person who can keep a man alive, who can protect, and she’s unconcerned with how the Cryptids or the humans perceive her. It’s freeing, and it means that (spoiler!) in the end she’s able to write her own story.

·         Are you happy with how your book is being received by the audience?

      A: I didn’t expect such an amazing response! I love speaking with my readers – they’re the best people, and their reactions are so honest. It’s been amazing.

·         What’s the sweetest and/or weird thing, a fan has ever said to you?

      A: One of my good friends, after reading the book, has taken to shouting ‘filthy Cryptid!’ at me whenever I annoy her. It weirds me out every time she does it!

·         What advice can you give to young or inexperienced writers that are looking to start their career?

     A: Just keep practicing! I completed my first novel mostly as a project, to see if I could write a novel-length piece, but I still occasionally set myself challenges – I try to write a 500-word story, or 5000, or 50,000. Getting used to different lengths is so helpful when you’re trying to learn narrative and character development!
If you need non-judgemental feedback, I’d 100% recommend writing fanfiction. Those communities are the sweetest, most helpful people!

·         Do you have a favourite place to write? Or some kind of ritual to gain inspiration?

        A: I like to write somewhere cool, with lots of tea to hand. I struggle to think with my mouth empty, so lots of gum and healthy snacks, too! I also can’t write lying down – I absolutely need a desk.

·         Do you get writer’s block? What you do when you get writer’s block?

         A: I often do! It’s really hard, doing work that requires you to stare at a screen all day, to come home and write. I’m still struggling with it, but I’d recommend taking your laptop on holiday somewhere and turning the WiFi off. Make yourself write as a form of entertainment! To paraphrase Rainer Maria Rilke, you should write because not to write was never an option.

·         Will there be a second book? Or do you consider this story over?

        A: I have plans for a second book, tentatively called The Moon Turns Wild. At the moment my writer’s block is terrible, but I know it’ll be set mostly in the Eastern city of Ivory, and will take place about 25 years after The Tower.

About the book! 
Attention: some of this questions may contain information about the book. Questions with spoilers will have a * mark.

·         Did you change many aspects of the story while writing it, or is it pretty much what you had originally planned?
Resultado de imagem para curiosity quills press
     A: I changed so much! In the original, each chapter corresponded to a card of the tarot deck. It was too limiting, so I dropped it, but I still think the idea was a good one…
* * Lets talk about Enyo and Marek! Do you have a ship name for them? I think I call them Marenyo!

    A: That’s amazing! I went for ‘Ekko’ when I was thinking about it to myself, but I think yours is better…

·         * I really liked their dynamic, specially how, even though they were kind of into each other and many times disagreed on how to proceed, they still respected each other’s decisions! I think, it has become rare in many books! How did you come up with the idea to their characters and their relationships? Actually, how did you come up with all of your main characters?

     A: This might get a little spoiler-y…! As I say above, Enyo was originally supposed to be a fundamentally vain character. I wanted her to love herself, and put herself first, but in such a way that the reader would never think badly of her for doing it. In my head, Enyo is a creature of infinite love, and it’s at the core of the story that she is fighting to defend that gentle side of her. I’ve known so many women like Enyo, who love so quickly and so deeply, and sometimes the people that they love don’t deserve that honour – in the book, that person is Morrigan. One of Enyo’s journeys lies in discovering how to claim back love from people who don’t deserve it, and how to prioritise her own needs, even sometimes over those of the people she loves. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and I don’t think she’s done learning by the end of the book. It’s also a big part of why she feels so protective of Liesel – in some ways, Enyo and Liesel are learning the same lesson about life, and about love. They’re learning to protect their hearts, and fight for what they believe in.

Marek is so important in Enyo’s character development, because it’s at the core of his personality that he never asks for anything he doesn’t need. His relationship with Enyo is the opposite of Morrigan’s; Morrigan’s love is conditional on Enyo’s devotion to the Animus, on her devotion to the cause. She loves Enyo, in her own way, but she can’t help but hurt her, because she cannot accept her for what she is. Marek, on the other hand, is always totally accepting of Enyo. At the beginning, that means being respectful and a little scared of her – though, in Marek’s mind, these two things can sit alongside love quite happily. He was, after all, raised by some formidable women! Marek doesn’t want Enyo to change – he wants her to accept who and what she is, and after he realises he can’t force her, he takes a step back and tries to support whatever she decides to do. I sincerely hope every one of my readers has someone who loves them and is able to support them the way Marek does for Enyo. 

·         Another character I really, really liked was Annika. Can you tell us if, after everything, there will be love in her life?

     A: Annika’s great love is her sister. My own sister was quite unwell while I was writing the book, and I wanted to write this fierce, wonderful young woman who was growing up quickly, but still needed protection. Annika’s relationship with Liesel is growing and changing, and once her sister doesn’t need her as much, there’ll be space in her life for someone else. Perhaps someone who’s loved her all along, and travelled by her side…

·         Is there any special motive why you choose a rose for the most important object of the book?

      A: Roses come up again and again in fairy tales… I love this comic called Fables, which has the character of Snow White’s sister, Rose Red. I love the idea of someone filled with colour and life who never received the same fame as her sister! I also liked the idea of so much power in something so delicate and seasonal.

·         *Okay, I don’t know if you can answer that, but it’s really plaguing my mind! Is Gespenst form Enyo’s family?

     A: This is something that I meant to be completely obvious, and only after the book was in print did I realise it was far too vague! Gespenst is Enyo’s father. He’s not overly paternal, but he’s determined to be a part of her life. The point at which he comes into the book is important – at the beginning, Enyo would have thrown everything away for a chance to know her father. By the end, she has a family of her own, and if he wants to be in her life he needs to do it on her terms.

That finishes my questions!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

A: Keep reading, keep writing, keep doing what you love. The only boundaries are the ones you set yourself.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my silly questions! It was so very nice to get to know ‘’The Tower Must Fall’’. I hope I get to read more stuff from you in the future! Wish you the best of luck in everything J

Did you like the interview?
Do you find this kind of posts interesting?
Let me know in the comments!

3 comentários:

  1. Really anxious to read this book! :)
    With love,
    Banal Girl

  2. Adoro a ideia de entrevistarem escritores internacionais, muitos parabéns meninas pela iniciativa.