Monday, July 28, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Angie Fox

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Angie Fox.

Angie, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Angie: I just finished the second book in The Accidental Demon Slayer series. It’s tentatively titled The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, after the popular book, The Dangerous Book for Boys. My heroine is desperate to learn how to be a better demon slayer and let’s just say things get out of hand rather quickly.

Debra: I imagine it would. Like the ghost busters there probably aren't many people lined up for that job.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Angie: I read as much or more as I write. My favorite genres are paranormal, historicals, light contemporaries and cozy mysteries. I think appreciating the work of other writers helps me realize that maybe a particular scene or character that I’m having trouble with isn’t such a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. After all, I’m sure these authors have had to battle with a character or two and look how well their books have turned out!

Debra: Yes, I so agree. And it helps to talk to other authors as well, to see that we aren't alone in our challenges.

Angie: I also have two small children and spend a lot of time outside with them, appreciating crumpled up leaves and various blades of grass, chasing down rollie-pollies and wondering why the sky is blue and how come trees grow in dirt instead of on the sidewalk. I’ve yet to satisfy my daughter with an answer on that last question.

Debra: There's something about seeing the world from a child's eye view that brings everything into focus, isn't there? Somehow adults lose that, unless they go looking for it again.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Angie: Yes. I’m a big believer in following my story in new directions, because if I’m enjoying the surprise, chances are my readers will too. When I sat down to write The Accidental Demon Slayer, I had no notes about a sidekick for my heroine. But in the second chapter, when she’d learned she was a demon slayer and all hell was after her, she took comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, “This is a sweet moment. How do I throw her off?” Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I had fun with it. In fact, I suspect Pirate the dog is my editor’s favorite character. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if Pirate helped talk my editor into buying The Accidental Demon Slayer.

Debra: As a dog lover I am now doubly intrigued. Wouldn't it be fun to have a talking dog?

Angie: For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Debra: Not exactly dreamed, but I did think of the idea for this book at about 3:30 a.m. as I fed my infant son. I was the only one awake in the house (he promptly fell asleep as he ate) and since he was a newborn and I was waking up with him every 2-3 hours, I’d say my world felt a bit hazy at that time.

Debra: Hmm, maybe there is something about that haze which was similar to a dream state?

Angie: I’d do a lot of thinking about books I’d read or books I’d like to write. When I had an idea, I’d jot it down for the morning. Usually, when I woke up the next day, I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of my notes. But then one morning, I saw this idea: “What about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches?” And I thought, “Hey, now that might be fun!” Five months later, I had the completed manuscript for The Accidental Demon Slayer.

Debra: Fascinating.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Angie: I think I’ve read every Nancy Drew book at least once. I also loved Encyclopedia Brown and a series called The Mad Scientists’ Club.

Debra: If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Angie: I think I’d write the paranormals I’m writing right now. I just love creating new worlds and the characters that inhabit them. I can’t think of a better way to go.

Debra: Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Angie: My characters had to take bigger chances, have more to risk and lose. It’s easy to say, but a hard thing for a writer to do. It’s a vulnerable, risky place to be. I knew my story was big enough to sell when instead of ending my writing sessions thinking, “I hope that’s good enough to impress an editor.” I ended them thinking, “No. I did not just write that. I did not just make my character defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.”

So my advice to other writers would be to write big, dream big and enjoy the ride.

Debra: Excellent advice.

Angie, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

Last week was like a dream (well actually it was a dream come true) with the release of my first novel, A Desperate Journey, from Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

It is now available in eBook form and will be out in print March 31, 2009.

buy my book here

visit my website

1 comment:

Angie Fox said...

Thanks for having me, Debra and congrats again on A Desperate Journey!