Anne-Mhairi Simpson in the HOT SEAT

For someone who likes to write about dragons, you’d think Anne-Mhairi could handle a bit of fire. But as soon as she sees the HOT SEAT , she begins to shake and sweat. She tries to back out, but the door is locked. Sorry, Anne-Mhairi. No turning back now. πŸ˜€Β 

Let’s get started. What genre(s) do you write?


Gday, Anne-Mhairi!

I write fantasy. Sometimes it’s full-on high fantasy, sometimes it’s parnormal fantasy – I tend towards a combination of both those. And sometimes it’s something off the wall but with fantasy elements (my flash fiction S.M.U.R.F is an example of this – it’s on my website, if anyone’s curious :D) I’m a big fan of paranormal romance fiction, so it’s wonderful there is a broad spectrum there!

[CJ: I like the sound of S.M.U.R.F. I’ll have to check it out!]

Tell us about your recently completed book, For The Love Of Gods… in a limerick!

There once was an Emperor’s daughter,
Whose father’s enemies were looking for slaughter.
Dad said “You’re half witch,
And you’ve got to ditch.”
So she went to Earth where War promptly sought her.

[CJ: Nice work. Awesome limerick!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I actually write full time. [CJ: You lucky thing!] I ruptured a disk in my lower back late last year and eventually lost my job because I couldn’t go back to work [CJ: Hmm, maybe not so lucky]. So I’ve been doing nothing but writing this year!

Because of my back I’m also sadly limited in terms of what I can do, but I’m very happy to have been able to get to Readercon this year and see some Twitter friends who I’d never previously met. All in all, I don’t even mind having a dodgy back if it lets me do things like this!Β Β 

Tell us a little about your writing process.

So far I’ve been a kind of pantser/plotter hybrid, in that I made copious notes on characters, world politics, animals, etc before I started For The Love Of Gods but then just sat down and wrote the book.

However, since I intend to make the Nexus Chronicles a fairly long-running series, I realised during Readercon that I would need to sit down and plan out the series and the individual books rather more carefully so as to have direction, focus, long plotlines/character arcs, etc. That way I’ll be able to enjoy these worlds more fully and hopefully allow my readers to, as well.

[CJ: Sounds like a good plan. Pardon the pun… ]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

Terry Pratchett and Anne McCaffrey, without a doubt. They both invented worlds very different to ours, but so minutely developed that the stories just pulled you in. I also love Anne McCaffrey’s books because she presented a sci-fi route to getting full on dragons. I’m a massive fan of dragons. Any world which doesn’t have dragons is sadly lacking.

[CJ: Does that include ours? :D]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Convincing myself that I’m not a complete idiot for wanting to do this as my full-time job for the rest of my life. It’s very hard to get to the point where you can make a living from writing, regardless of whether you self-publish or go traditional. We all hear about the major success stories (Amanda Hocking, John Locke, Edwards & Voss) but they are in the minority.

There are many more people who are making a living from self-publishing, but it takes a lot of very hard work to get there and I have major self-esteem issues, so carrying on when I just want to burn the notebooks and cry is definitely the hardest part.

[CJ: I know that feeling. We all go through periods of self doubt (and sometimes those periods are longer than we’d like to admit). But I have no doubt that if you keep at it for long enough, you’ll be successful.]

For the record, the second hardest part is acknowledging that what you thought was perfectly ready to go, isn’t.

[CJ: Yep, I agree with you there too. Nothing more humbling than going back to the drawing board.]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

I imagine this was how prehistoric man felt when first coming face to face with a sabre-tooth tiger – ‘I’m not coming out of this alive’.

[CJ: Tee hee hee!]

What fictional character are you most like and why?

*racks brains to think up a fictional character who’s a complete weirdo*

Ok, having asked Twitter, I totally agree with the assessment: Bridget Jones! She struggles with her weight, drinks too much wine (given half a chance), wants to be more than she is and will only step up to the plate when the world is all but lost. I’d rather be more like Lara Croft – I have shades of her, an adventurous streak a mile wide, but I’m definitely much more like Bridget Jones. Except that I don’t smoke.Β 

[CJ: As long as you haven’t been filmed sliding down a fireman’s pole, I think you’ve got one up on Bridget. ;)]

If you could no longer write, would you channel your creativity into a different artform? If so, what?

If I could no longer write I would… wow, I don’t know what I’d do. My brain shut down just trying to think about it. I really can’t imagine what else I would do. I like writing screenplays, but that’s still writing, isn’t it? Um, sorry, can’t help you there.

[CJ: I warned you they were tricky!]

If someone important in your life told you that you had to stop writing or you’d never see them again, what would you do?

Walk away. Without hesitation. If anyone said that to me, they would no longer be important in my life. No one worth caring about would tell me such a thing.

[CJ: Strong answer. I like it. :)]


If you’d like to hear more from Anne-Mhairi, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. πŸ˜€



Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

16 responses to “Anne-Mhairi Simpson in the HOT SEAT

  1. Thank you so much for having me. It was great, although the pharmacy is running out of that burns cream for my, er… behind. The questions were really hard! Sorry I wussed out on one of them – I still can’t think of a good answer!

  2. Fun interview–I’ve never heard of asking your interviewee to create a limerick! (I’m not sure my brain works that way….) I’d love to take a turn in the hot seat sometime!

  3. Amy

    Great interview! For the Love of Gods sounds like my kind of book – very catchy limerick! πŸ™‚

  4. I love these interviews and Anne-Mhairi sounds like fun πŸ™‚

  5. Anne-Mhairi – Wow are we connected. πŸ™‚ I’ve had disc issues for years that finally gave out a couple years ago. Oh, BTW – there is a new artificial disc just released from Cornell. There is hope! Also, try RFA treatment, if you haven’t yet. I’m able to walk through a store and sit more than five minutes. Woot! Anyway, I wrote five novels while down. There is a light to every dark side. Hang in there, girl. I’ve got your back. πŸ™‚ I’ll go check out your short story.

    • Wow, you two do have a lot in common! I hope this new artificial disk provides a real solution for both of you. And at least you both have writing to keep you sane in the meantime. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for dropping by, Ciara.

  6. Great interview! It was inspiring to hear about the way you focused on the bright side of your injury. I wish you the best.

  7. wow! Cool interview and cool blog. Hi Cally I am very new on this writers Campaign, hoping to look around and get to know you.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s