Monday, March 9, 2009

Behind the Pages

… with R.J. Anderson

Have you ever wondered what was happening behind the pages? Some of these questions may not be related to reading or writing but I wanted to know more about the author as a person.

Q: What part about writing is your favorite?

I find getting the first draft of a story down to be really, really hard and often discouraging, because what ends up on paper is so far from the ideal in my mind. I enjoy revision a lot more, knowing that I'm making the story better and bringing it closer to that ideal. So far as the actual writing process goes, I'd have to say revision. But my favorite part about being a writer is sharing my work with readers and hearing what they have to say about it!

Q: In your opinion, what television show is a must-see?

Oh, that's an easy one. I've been completely devoted to Doctor Who since I was eight years old. It scared the wits out of me half the time (I was an easily frightened child – the curse of an overactive imagination!) but I just loved everything about it – the idea of this eccentric wanderer travelling through time and space and having all sorts of different adventures. And bringing ordinary humans like me along with him for the ride! What's not to love?

Q: How has being an author changed your life?

On the negative side, I have to say that writing is a lot more like work now than it used to be. I really have to struggle sometimes to recapture the thrill and sense of inspiration that I used to get when there was no pressure and no deadlines. One day I hope to be able to get back to the place where I can write something just for fun and not even care that it isn't saleable – like fan fiction, or a gift story for a friend.

On the positive side, it is REALLY nice not to have to write query letters to agents and editors any more. I was always terrible at those.

Q: What is your favorite dessert?

Mmm. I love dessert. Anything chocolate especially, I'm so there. But the dessert that's dearest to my heart is a funny-tasting yellow loaf cake with currants that my mother only bakes at Christmas. The recipe came from my Cornish grandmother, who died before I was born, and the cake itself isn't particularly sweet or rich at all. But a slice of Saffron Cake hot from the oven makes me feel happy in a way that Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mousse Exploding Delight or whatever just can't. It's a family thing.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I have three boys under the age of nine, what is this "free time"?
Seriously, though, when I get the chance, I enjoy playing the piano and singing. I'm a pianist and occasional soloist at my church.

Q: Do you have a favorite book, maybe from your childhood or teenage years?

I've talked about some of my childhood favorites elsewhere—Lewis, Tolkien, L'Engle, the usual classic fantasy crowd—so I'll cheat a bit and mention a book I didn't actually discover until I was 23. Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice is an episodic mystery novel that pairs Sherlock Holmes with a smart-mouthed, left-handed, Jewish fifteen-year-old girl sidekick—and it's brilliant. I fell in love with that book so hard that I read it twice in 24 hours. Then I started up a web page about the Mary Russell books and a mailing list so I could discuss them with other fans. And I wrote my very first fan letter to Ms. King – three pages of excited burbling which make me cringe now, but she received it very graciously and wrote me a lovely reply. Fifteen years later, I'm still a fan of the Russell books—and of Laurie King as a person, too.

Q: What character from Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter* are you most attached to?

I love Knife, but I have to say the character I have the most fun writing is Thorn. A lot of my friends who've read the book are begging me to write a book from Thorn's perspective—I can't see myself doing that because she's really too old to be a protagonist in a tween/younger teen novel, but I might write a short story for her one day.

Q: Do you have a blog or a website?

I have both! You can find my blog at here and my website at here . I'm also active on Twitter -- @rj_anderson.

Thank you for stopping by, Mrs. Anderson! Good luck on all of your future books.

R.J. Anderson is the author of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, also known as Knife in the UK. She is married and has three kids while living in Canada.

*(see my review of Spell Hunter here)


  1. great interview!

    a soloist? wow O.O

  2. I loved reading this interview. Great questions!

    By the way, I love your new template but it is a little hard on the eyes.


I always like reading comments! So go ahead. It's easy as one, two, three.