Greetings Brave Adventurers,
I have the privilege of having YA fantasy author and poet, Maureen Flynn on my blog today for an interview about her self-published verse novella, ‘My Heart’s Choir Sings’.
HFA: Tell us a bit about yourself, Maureen. When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember and I’ve always written speculative fiction. My first two ‘novels’ were written in Kindi and Year One. The first was a story about a family of mice outsmarting a hungry cat and the second was about Reepicheep the mouse from The Chronicles of Narnia going on a quest and finding a pet dinosaur. I can’t remember why. I had a thing about mice back then.
I also had a thing about fairy stories. They appealed to me as a child because I could draw my version of the story out in coloured textas. My younger brother was very ill and for the first four years of his life he was in the permanant ward of Sydney Children’s Hospital. I used to write and illustrate stories for my brother, for his doctors and nurses, and to brighten up the hospital room.
I’ve just gotten a manuscript assessment back on my first novel and I am working on a first draft of a second fantasy novel. I am also looking at submitting short stories this year. In my spare time I am a bit of a professional social media addict, professional reader, and a sometimes free verse poet.
HFA: Who are your literary heroes?
This question is surprisingly hard for me to answer because I have a lot of varied heroes. Sometimes, an author’s actual work won’t appeal to me, but their dedication to their craft does.
Off the top of my head and in no particular order the following authors are my literary heroes; Isobelle Carmody, for her refreshingly original imagination, Philip Pullman for his clear and crisp prose, Juliet Marillier, for her beautiful way with words, Kate Forsyth, for her never ending energy when it comes to helping emerging writers and for her buisness woman smarts, Daniel Handler, for his fabulous intertextual word plays and Agatha Christie, for her surprisingly astute human observations. A wide mix, I know.
HFA: What’s a typical writing day like for you?
At the moment, it’s not even worth describing. I work for an NGO with people with a disability and as it is school holidays, we are all inundated with shifts at the moment. I also tutor english and am promoting my ebook, My Heart’s Choir Sings. This actually is no excuse by the way. I should be writing every day.
Normally, I write in the mornings. I try and aim for about 1000 words a day of a novel or short story. It isn’t pretty but that’s not the point. I’m just trying to get something down on paper. I usually write my free verse poetry at night. So basically, I write prose in the morning, poetry at night. Go figure. Then once I’ve written a scene or a poem, I edit it a bit before moving on. I don’t like to get caught up on editing because it’s too easy to keep rewriting the same part over and over again.
HFA:‘My Heart’s Choir Sings’ is your debut release. Tell us a bit about it.
I am very proud of my first ebook release. My Heart’s Choir Sings is a verse novella that took me two years to write, edit and publish. It it the 25 poem eulogy of Stuart Hinchcliffe; a man who loses his fellow creative and partner in tragic circumstances. As Stuart sorts through their old London flat, each object and line of paper and book brings back memories. Who is to blame for what happened? Can Stuart move on from his grief and rage?
The poems are free verse but I wouldn’t call this a simple collection. Though there are anchoring moments or poems, I wanted to go for a post modern effect where past, present and future isn’t fixed. It’s the history degree coming out in me, I guess. I hope that the fun for readers comes about in intepreting Stuart’s poetry. As much as he tries to reveal his nameless partner’s soul to us, it is really his that rises closer and closer to the surface with each new poem.
HFA: You also write YA fantasy novels. Which do you prefer – poetry or prose?
I don’t have a preference. I love the emotionally charged language of free verse, the simple imagery and the precision of form. Prose is fun because you can write great, big, sprawling fantasy novels full of political machinations and romance. In my short stories, I do a bit of a Margo Lanagan and combine the two. I gave one of my short stories, Snake Eyes, as a gift to an aqaintance and she actually asked me if I wrote poetry because some parts were written in that same sparse style. I can’t sustain that in a novel, as Margo does, but I do love that style all the same, so I use it when I can.
HFA: What’s your next project?
I am currently working on two projects. The first is a verse novel based on the ‘historical’ Merlin of King Arthur fame. I have always loved that legend and it is fun to try and Dorothy Porter what sometimes feels like stale subject matter. I have probably written roughly a quarter of the verse novel. I think it will be called ‘Harp Song’ and I really hope Tegan Ivison can come back to do another beautiful cover!
My second project is my untitled YA fantasy novel about a Prince who must rescue the heir to the throne after he is turned into a bear by an evil enchanter. It has everything that I love in good fantasy; mystery, politics, a bit of gothic terror, grey characters, and of course, lashings of magic. It also harks back to my fairy tale days. Some things never change.
Maureen writes young adult speculative fiction novels and short stories and she reviews genre fiction and films, interviews authors and discusses writing at her blog, InkAshlings. She also writes free verse poetry in her spare time. Her verse novella, My Heart’s Choir Sings, is currently on sale for 99c on Smashwords and Amazon:
You can also like the facebook page below:
Otherwise, You can find Maureen at her website, on Goodreads or on twitter: