“Practice your craft” Interview with Author Roz Marshall

July 28, 2016 , In: Author Interviews, Books , With: No Comments

Roz-Marshall-250Roz lives in Scotland with her husband and the obligatory dog and cat. She has been writing since childhood, including screenwriting, songwriting, web pages and even sentiments for greeting cards!

After Hugh Howey picked her short story The Final Solution as a prizewinner in a Booktrack competition, she found her way into Samuel Peralta’s Future Chronicles and her story ‘Unicorn Magic’ was selected for the anthology Chronicle Worlds: Feyland.

That was the start of a four-part series, The Celtic Fey.

Part 2, Kelpie Curse is available now, and parts three and four will be published soon.

Website: co.uk/books/

Facebook: facebook.com/rozmarshallauthor

Goodreads: goodreads.com/roz_marshall

Amazon: amazon.com/author/rozmarshall

Mailing list: co.uk/signup/

Roz Marshall wanted to write since about 12 years old. Although stories about horses were her prime addiction of the time, she soon moved onto writing songs and then web-copywriting. It wasn’t until she became more interested in TV Drama that she began to write fiction.

“Evening classes in creative writing and then screenwriting led to one script I wrote getting longlisted for a BBC drama competition. But scriptwriting is a hard industry to break into (especially if you don’t live in London), and very competitive.” Putting her dreams aside, Roz didn’t find them again until she stumbled upon the world of indie books and read the self-published version of The Martian by Andy Weir. “It was the book I read after that which was probably the main inspiration – it was so poorly written, I thought “I could surely write something at least as good as that.” And here I am… (hopefully writing a little better than that!)”

Kelpie Curse, Amazon

Kelpie Curse, Amazon

Now, Roz writes her books as a “planster,” or a combination of using an outline and writing by the seat of her pants. I asked her about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing to see if she had decided against following Weir’s (and other authors’) footsteps.

“Indie all the way! I read David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital quite early on and was convinced that the math favored indies and that the only reason to deal with a publisher would be for a print-only contract. I’m also not bothered about having my books on library or bookstore shelves – I’m quite happy if they’re on people’s Kindles.”

Roz also enjoys the amazing support the Indie book community provides to fellow authors. She has appeared in one of Chronicles Worlds anthologies called Feyland due to joining their Facebook page and getting to know the authors there. “The previous year, I’d been over the moon when Hugh picked my short story The Final Solution as a finalist in a HWH competition on Booktrack. So, when I heard that Samuel was planning Chronicle Worlds: Half Way Home, I was ultra-keen to submit a story to this anthology (and have done since).

But at the same time, Samuel was also planning Chronicle Worlds: Feyland, which sounded like the sort of thing I’d love to write (I did!). It had an earlier deadline, so I switched my writing schedule and started on Unicorn Magic, my story for the anthology. Which kindof fulfilled my childhood ambition of writing about horses…”

Roz sticks to her roots of writing short stories, so writing in Feyland was a natural progression for her. One of her series is episodic in nature and she likes to write quickly progressing plot lines.

“Perhaps because I originally wanted to write one-hour episodic TV drama, my stories focus on one or a few point-of-view characters and usually a short, dramatic period in their lives. I’ve a couple of ideas for something longer but it’s also easier to find the time to write shorter and you can release more often so I’m comfortable with that for now.

The episodic series you mention, Secrets in the Snow, was born out of my original TV series idea – to write dramas about the lives and loves of a Scottish ski school, focusing on one instructor each episode, and based on my experiences working in the Scottish ski industry (we have one, believe it or not!). There’s an over-arching series arc about the main character (the ski school manager) and the later stories are romances (with some of the build-up in earlier episodes) so those tended to be a little longer. But each episode is a self-contained story, usually with some un-answered questions about another character which leads you into the next story. It’s not been a huge seller, but a lot of people that start the series end up reading it right through, which is gratifying.”


Why do you think people feel drawn to the Science Fiction genre?

“People read to escape, or to vicariously experience the more interesting life of the hero or heroine. What could be more escapist and interesting than reading about the future and new worlds or new civilisations?

Writing my Celtic Fey series (see below) – technically science fantasy or urban fantasy rather than science fiction – was huge fun as I could let my imagination run riot, and also blend in descriptions of our Scottish countryside and elements of our mythology. When one of my readers said that they loved my portrayals of Feyland, little did they know they were actually reading about the Highlands of Scotland :-)”

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

“Haha, I started writing my skiing series under my married name, in case any of my ex-colleagues thought I was writing about them (I wasn’t!). Most of my characters probably have an element of me in them though, and a heavy dose of imagination and ‘what if?’.”

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch? 

“I read very widely – from Sci-Fi to Urban Fantasy via Thrillers, Fantasy and Post-apocalypic with a smattering of Historical Romance, Crime/Mystery and Women’s Fiction. Basically anything that’s a good story and well-written with interesting characters! In the cinema I prefer sci-fi, thrillers or fantasy (as long as it’s not just a special-effects fest) and some chick-flicks when hubby isn’t around 😉 I won’t watch the more violent horror/slasher films (though I’ve watched and read the occasional zombie story).

The TV dramas I love are similar: a good story with a mystery at its heart, like Lost or Game of Thrones, or a character-based series like Hamish MacBeth or Call the Midwife.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

“At the beginning, I’d have said that the main thing is just: “Write!” Do it every day, practice and you’ll get better and it’ll get easier.

But now with the benefit of a few stories on my Amazon bookshelf, I’d also say that you need to practice the right things – to work on your craft. Your earlier stories will never be as good as your later ones (I’ve gone back and re-written a few of mine), and probably in a few years time you’ll look back at what you wrote today and cringe… But readers are generally less critical than other writers (or ourselves) so if you can write a gripping, page-turning plot with engaging characters, you will sell books. Which you can only do if you write every day, and then publish…”

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

“Currently I’m working on my Celtic Fey series, which is a spin-off from Unicorn Magic, my story in Chronicle Worlds: Feyland. Part 2, Kelpie Curse is out now (amzn.com/B01HCHJWK2) (at the introductory price of 99c!) and I’m in the middle of writing part 3, tentatively titled Faerie Mountain.

The series follows Scottish teenager Corinne MacArthur, who uses the immersive virtual reality of the Feyland game to escape the sadness haunting her everyday life after she loses a loved one. On her first quest in the game, she is saved from certain death by Elphin, a mysterious character who is not all that he seems…

The later stories follow Corinne and Elphin’s adventures in both real life and Feyland, and along the way they meet unicorns, kelpies, legendary kings and vengeful witches – and discover that the Feyland game blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy in ways both surprising and frightening…

Join my mailing list (rozmarshall.co.uk/signup/) to be first to hear about the next release, and any special offers or events I’m taking part in.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“This weekend (28-30 July) I’m hosting 50+ Urban Fantasy authors who’re holding a Free/99c eBook sale at rozmarshall.co.uk/sale/. Come along and grab a bargain!”

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Roz Marshall is giving away three e-book copies of Kelpie Curse! All you have to do is click the photo below to enter. This is a GREAT way to be introduced to a new-to-you author. 😀





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