Monday, 7 March 2016

Author Interview: Selina Fenech

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Spotlight on an Author
First Monday of Every Month

It’s an undeniable truth that Selina Fenech has been lost to the realms of fantasy since she first laid hands on books. Faced with overwhelming heartache that our own world wasn’t so full of magic and adventure, Selina did the only thing she could. She began creating her own worlds of magic by painting and writing.
Then one day, the other children told her that books weren’t cool. Selina turned away from books and writing and submerged herself in her visual art. She became a successful fantasy illustrator, supporting herself with sales of her art that now have a worldwide following. Australian readers will recognize Selina’s fairy and fantasy artwork from bookmarks available in most major Australian bookstores. But the desire to tell stories remained. Because books are cool. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
Born in 1981 to Australian and Maltese parents, Selina lives in Australia with her husband, an unnamed cat, and her cute monster baby who’s far too clever. During her life Selina has found ancient Roman treasure, survived cancer, had knights joust at her wedding, been mugged for doughnuts, made a living as a visual artist, and shared her imaginary worlds in paintings and now in her novels.


Which books have influenced you and your writing style the most?
I love Holly Black and Scott Wsterfeld’s books and was reading a lot of them around the time I was learning to write. I’m not sure if they influenced me, but I certainly aspire to their quality of storytelling.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d love to have Hugh Howey as a mentor. He’s always seemed so down to earth, clever, kind, and savvy regarding all things publishing. Plus, you know, he writes amazing stories and beautiful prose. He’s the full package.

Did any of your characters turn out differently to how you first envisioned them?
I try to have a clear image in my mind of my characters before I start writing them, and mostly they stay that way. I’m very much a planner and plotter and my characters are all very well behaved (for me, maybe not in their stories as much!).

What are the most difficult and the most fun parts of the writing process for you?
I love worldbuilding and plotting, the brainstorming parts. I also kind of love editing. It’s the sitting down and doing the hard yards of writing the first draft that I find the hardest.

How do you research your books?The internet mostly! I’m a bit of a recluse and spend heaps of time online. So when I’m researching, it’s my go-to place for info. And the resources these days are incredible compared to years past. When researching real towns as settings I can “walk the streets” with google maps, or if I need firsthand experiences from professionals like doctors or police there are blogs and AMA threads. I’ve even watched videos of people having their dislocated shoulders being relocated, just to make sure I was writing it right!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?
What I like to write the most is unexpected twists, and I like to try and create stories that are unique. I like challenging expectations. Also some of my books are illustrated (by me!) which I think is a major part of my work.

Would you say that your books have any kind of underlying themes or messages, even if you didn't really intend there to be?
I try to include strong themes in all my stories. Memory’s Wake is about finding family, the meaning of identity, growing identities, self esteem and more. Emotionally Charged is about the responsibilities or exploitation of power and how appearances can be deceiving.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?
People assume a lot of things about the Young Adult genre, but I think pretty much any assumption is wrong because the YA genre is so incredibly broad. I’ve read YA books that cover almost every topic, genre, style, and issue.

What does your writing space look like?I have a writing and work computer on one side of the room, and my art desk on the other side, and a wall of books across between the two.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring authors?Just keep (swimming) writing! Writing a book is daunting because it IS a lot of work, but just keep chipping away, and before you know it, you will be done!



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