Sunday, 30 June 2013

Happy Book Birthday to Joanne Hall and THE ART OF FORGETTING: RIDER!

Today is the official publication day for Joanne Hall's THE ART OF FORGETTING: RIDER (book 1 of The Art of Forgetting sequence). Joanne is a fellow hound minion, the driving force behind the awesome BristolCon, and an all-round nice person, and when she asked if I'd like to read an early copy of the novel, I jumped at the chance – and loved it! Compelling and beautifully written, it's not a book I'll be forgetting any time soon. So to help celebrate her book birthday, I asked Joanne to pop over to the blog and answer a few questions. Take it away, Joanne!
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote little stories right from when I could first write, and I used to fold them into “books” – I think my granny still has a book I wrote about a lion when I was about five. Then when I was about six or seven I discovered that writing books was a proper job that people did, and I ditched my initial plan to become a Jedi and decided I would write books instead.

What drew you to writing fantasy/SF?
When I was growing up, the house was always full of books of all kinds. My dad would take me to the cinema to watch fantasy films, and I was lucky enough to grow up in the 1980’s, which was a great period for family friendly fantasy and SF films. My mum and her brother are both SF and Fantasy fans, and they let me raid their bookshelves as much as I liked. It was my Uncle Rob, when I was moaning that I’d read all the good books in the school library and I was bored with reading about kids like me, who lent me The Belgariad (I think I was about ten). About the same time a girl I was friends with at school lent me Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight – those are the books that are chiefly responsible for making me the nerd I am today. I read everything in the genre that I could get my hands on, which wasn’t much as we lived in a tiny village with no bookshop, and it was a long trip into town to go to Smiths or Waterstones, but my mum was a passionate library-goer, and it was through the library that I discovered David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, Marion Zimmer Bradley... It seemed natural that the stories I wrote were fantasy, because that was what I loved to read.

Who inspires you?
I suck up inspiration from all over the place, like a blobby old sponge. It can be anything – there was a story on the news last night about a man who goes fishing every morning in the Fukushima fall-out zone, even though the fish are radioactive and he has to put them back, because that’s where he used to fish and now it’s the only thing in his life that’s normal. That kicked off all sorts of story ideas. As for people; my friends who are also writers inspire me and push me on to do better. Inspiration – it’s kind of a hard thing to quantify....

What is the best and worst advice you've been given about writing?
“Write what you know” is terrible advice, and it’s one I hear a lot. If everyone just stuck to writing what they knew, where would speculative fiction be? Far better to write what you love, what you’re interested in, what you feel passionate about. And if you don’t know about what you’re writing about, get out there and learn about it!
The best advice always seems to come from my friend Gareth L Powell, who posts regular advice columns on his blog, but most of my favourites, and the advice I turn back to over and over again, are the ones about getting the ruddy thing finished. All first drafts suck; you can’t edit a blank page; get it written, then get it right. I find myself repeating these on a regular basis!

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming published author?
I wrote a book (Hierath), I sent it out to everywhere I could think of, I amassed a lovely collection of “Thanks-but-no-thanks” letters, and while I was doing that I wrote another book. By the time the second book was finished, I had an acceptance for a trilogy from Epress Online, a small press publisher based in Florida, so I wrote the third book. Publishing takes a really long time, so while I was editing the books that they had accepted, I started work on another book.
Sadly, the two woman who ran Epress, Joan McNulty Pulver and Margaret Carr, died within a few months of each other, and the company folded and the rights where returned to me. So I had three books out but no publisher, one finished manuscript (The Art of Forgetting) and another one that was halfway through. So I started looking for a publisher all over again, and I can tell you it’s no easier second time around. I found my current publishers, Kristell Ink, on Twitter. They’re a new publisher based in Oxford, and I was keen to go with them because they had no upper word limit (Art of Forgetting is loooong….). It didn’t take long for them to get back to me, and they said they loved it, only… “it’s a bit long….” Which is why it’s coming out in two volumes!

What is your dream writing day like?
Get up, have a cup of tea, walk the dog in the sunshine, write 1500 words of scintillating brilliance before a lunch of coffee and calorie-free cake with a good friend, write another 1500 words of scintillating brilliance, walk the dog, come back to find tea cooked for me by my boyfriend, curl up with a movie or a good book (This Never Happens)

And what's your actual writing day like?
Fall out of bed, groan at my hair, drag the dog around in the rain, stare at a keyboard until my eyeballs bleed, fart around on Twitter, type a bit, delete it, do some admin, fart around on Twitter some more…  I try and write 1000 words a day between bouts of hideous procrastination and furious admin-ing, and I usually get most of them done before lunch, because I’m more awake in the mornings. But I’m the world’s most easily distracted person, so it doesn’t always work out like that!

What's your favourite...

Star Wars : A New Hope. PROPER Star Wars, watched at an impressionable age. I’ve seen it a million times, but if I turn on the TV and it’s on I’ll still drop whatever I’m doing and watch it. Other favourites are Labyrinth, Terminator, Dogma and The Princess Bride.

Song/piece of music?
“Motorcycle Emptiness” by Manic Street Preachers. The Manics are my all-time favourite band, I’ve seen them live dozens of times. I worked in record shops for years, and I’m into all kinds of music.

“The Lord of The Rings” – I don’t read it that often, but when I go back to it I’m reminded why I love it – it’s the perfect fantasy novel.
Links – my blog – publishers
@hierath77 – Twitter 

About Joanne
Joanne Hall is the same age as Star Wars, which explains a lot….  She lives in Bristol, England with her partner.  She enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, playing console games, watching movies, eating chocolate and failing to exercise.

A full-time author since 2003, Joanne’s “New Kingdom” fantasy trilogy was published by Epress Online, and was a finalist in both the PLUTO and EPPIE awards .  Her short stories have appeared in many publications, both print and online, including Afterburn SF, Quantum Muse, and The Harrow.
She has had short stories published in several anthologies, including “Pirates of the Cumberland Basin” in Future Bristol, and “Corpse Flight” in Dark Spires.  Her short story collection, “The Feline Queen” was published in March 2011 by Wolfsinger Publications, and her fourth novel, “The Art of Forgetting”, has been accepted for publication by Kristell Ink and will be released towards the end of 2013.

For the last four years, Joanne has been the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only!) science fiction and fantasy convention  She also runs the Bristol Fantasy and SF Society Facebook group, and occasionally works in an editing position for Dark Ocean Studios, a small comics company based in San Jose, as well as taking on freelance editing projects.

She is the co-editor, with Roz Clarke and Rick Novy, of “Colinthology”, a tribute anthology to the late Colin Harvey, which also includes her short story “Lukewarm in Lynhelm.”  “Colinthology” was published as an ebook in October 2012 by Wizards Tower, and launched at BristolCon.
She sometimes answers to “BristolCon” and talks about herself in the third person on the internet.  She is always happy to hear from readers, either via the “Talk to Me” form or via Twitter ( @hierath77 ).


A young boy leaves his village to become a cavalryman with the famous King’s Third regiment; in doing so he discovers both his past and his destiny.

Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit. There, struggling with his own memories of his father, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. That is, until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life but the fate of a nation. Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit. There, struggling with his own memories of his father, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. That is, until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life but the fate of a nation.Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit stationed in the harbour town of Northpoint. His training reveals his talents and brings him friendship, love and loss, and sexual awakening; struggling with his memories of his father who once ruled there, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. That is, until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life but the fate of a nation. Then, on his first campaign, he is forced to face the extremes of war and his own nature.

This, the first part of The Art of Forgetting, is a gripping story about belonging and identity, set in a superbly imagined and complex world that is both harsh and beautiful.

What others are saying about THE ART OF FORGETTING: RIDER
‘A roistering romp, with darker undercurrents... Intriguing characters in a setting both familiar and different'
Francis Knight, author of ‘Fade to Black’, Orbit publishing

‘...another excellent addition to Joanne Hall’s rapidly growing collection of published works.’
Robert Harkess, author of ‘Aphrodite’s Dawn’, Salt Publishing.

‘With characters real enough to touch and a storyline that tugs on the heartstrings . . . a tale that will linger long after the pages close.’

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