When I put out a call to writers, I’m always excited to get responses from authors who also take part in other art forms. As someone who draws pictures inspired by my own writing, I took a lot of joy in looking through Mercedes Prunty’s, my next author to interview, website!
Q. What’s life like for you outside out of your writing? How do you like to spend your time when not behind a computer?
A.My life when I’m not writing is spent with my two daughters, my eldest is at school but my youngest is with me most of the time as she only does nursery a couple of days a week. So I’m mostly out and about with her going to toddler groups or seeing family.
Q. Tell us a little bit about the book you’ve recently published. When did it come out, and how did the project surprise you?
A. The book I recently published is called Junia, it’s a Fantasy I’ve set in another world called ‘Junia’. The story see’s a young princess called Mira go on an epic journey learning about the world she will one day be Queen of. A great war divided Junia and with the help of others she wishes to repair the magical bond that was broken but there is danger afoot as a grand dark witch called Andromeda plans on taking the throne for herself to turn Junia to the dark side. Along this journey Mira must collect the element souls which are the gods for each country of Junia each representing a different element, with those she hopes to destroy Andromeda’s plan but only if Andromeda doesn’t get them first. It was released in March this year and I have entered it into the Kindle Storyteller 2017 competition, so fingers crossed 😉.
This book surprised me because I actually started writing it when I went to Legoland with my family on holiday, I purchased a notebook from the Lego Elves section and instantly fell in love with the world map at the back and whilst my family slept I drew my own world map in the notebook and that is where Junia began.
Q. What tips do you have for other mommy writers to work with kiddies underfoot?
A. Just work as and when you can. Some weeks I go days without writing because the kids have been a handful or I’m too tired after having so much fun. But don’t beat yourself up if you have short breaks from writing to spend time with your family because in my eyes they come first, writing comes a close second. I am even known to stay up into the small hours writing if I have an idea because that’s the time when I truly get any peace.
Q. You look like you have a love of obscure movies. Which movie do you recommend that you think is underrated?
A. I love all the Final Fantasy films which my little sister got me hooked on so I would recommend all of those but also The Girl with all the Gifts, a great take on a zombie horror book and I find the zombies represent what would be quite realistic to me.
Q. You have so much artwork on your website. Do you do them yourselves, or do you have someone else in your life who draws for you?
A. I tend to draw a lot of my own artwork, mainly because it helps me imagine my stories better if I can see them my way on paper. I also like to design my own covers more to do with a non existent budget because I don’t want to take anything away from the kids, so if I practice drawing more I hope to make even better covers for my future works.
Q. I’m always interested in why authors choose the way they publish their novel. What made you decide to self publish instead of going the “traditional” route?
A. I mainly chose the self publishing route because I have so many idea’s for stories that to chase agents and traditional publishers would take so much of my writing time. I also like the control I have over my books, I set the price, chose the cover and do all my own self promotion, which I have heard from traditionally published authors that they have to market a lot of their own work too so I thought I might as well just do it all myself.
Q. When you work on a novel, what is your favourite part of your writing process?
A. The first draft. I love just power writing it all down so I know the whole initial idea. It’s exciting getting to know the new story and also the characters and how they grow as the first draft takes shape. My least favourite part is editing but I think that’s more because of how much time it takes.
Q. Which author influenced your writing the most?
Funnily enough when I was younger I was obsessed with the Resident Evil franchise, the games, the films and the books. The books were written by S.D.Perry and I loved them so much I read them to death and had to buy all new ones again so I could re-read them. I think I liked her initial style and the way the horror and gore was described it made it scary not just a gore fest, which I have hopefully done in my horror books the Alone series. But another author who really got me writing the way I do is Laurell K Hamilton who wrote the Anita Blake series, the main reason for this is because she writes in the first person and since writing I find myself writing in first person as well. When I try to write in third person I really struggle and always end up back at first person so I think her writing influenced me as well as S.D.Perry.
Q. In your novel, The Keeper of the Key, Selene is tossed into a world of shadows and monsters. What type of creatures does she find there, and how were you inspired by them?
A. The shadow’s are almost like an illuminati type cult that plans on destroying the world (I think I like the world being destroyed scenario too much) but even though most of them are people a lot of them are monsters with dark powers too. The creatures can be anything from black mists with tentacles to her best friend becoming a source of all evil controlled by the head Shadow Master. I was inspired by them through other films and television shows I had seen growing up but also video games. I love Tomb Raider when growing up and wanted a feel to it a little like that, in the tombs there were always shadows that monsters could hide in and I wanted to play on that feeling of what the shadows in my books could hide inside them.
Q. Which of your protagonists do you find is the most like you? Which one is the least?
A. I think Stacie from Alone is a bit like me in the sense I gave her blonde hair and mine is naturally blonde. I saw a lot of protagonists that were heroines with dark flowing brunette locks and wanted someone I could connect with. I would also like to think that in a situation where the world was overrun by zombie like creatures I would be a survivor like her. I think Selene would be the least like myself but in a way they are all extensions of me so I can’t completely rule her out as not being like me a little bit.
Q. What do you find is the most rewarding part about writing?
A. Holding the published paperback copy in your hands, the smell of the new book and the feeling of accomplishment but also the proudness of my husband. He supports me so much with my writing and that is really rewarding because although they might not get anywhere in the book world he is proud of me and that makes it worth it.
Q. Some authors spend years editing their work, others don’t have an editing process at all. How long do you usually spend on your novels, and what advice do you give to fellow writers when it comes to editing?
A. Each novel normally takes me around a year to write and edit. I tend to write one for a couple of months, leave it and start another one, then go back to the first one, finish it and edit it. My advice when it comes to editing is; mistakes happen!! I have to edit all my own work I cannot afford for a professional, I also know someone who had her work stolen by an editor who published the work as their own and she had to fight and spend money on Solicitors and Lawyers to get it back which scares me, so I find trusting people with my work hard due to her experience. But I would say we are only human, there is going to be the odd spelling or grammar mistake no matter how many times you read it. I love my mistakes because to me I know that I made that work by myself, it was all my hard work and dedication that gave birth to my book baby and no one else.
Q. Do you set writing goals for yourself, or do you prefer to have a more freeform style with your work?
A. My writing is more freeform, I just write and hope to finish by a certain time of year. I normally publish books around March and August time so I just aim for those months with my works that are nearly complete.
Q. Which villain from a book or movie do you love the most? Which hero do you love the least?
!!!SPOILERS FOR WALKING DEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN UP TO SEASON 7!!!
I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead and the Villain I love the most on there is Negan. He’s a lovable rouge even if he did kill my Glenn (highlight for word) which I don’t think I can fully forgive him for. I like how funny and charming he can be but also the dark, evil side is a bit attractive haha. The Hero I’m not the most keen on is Bella in Twilight, I actually loved the books and I liked Bella in the book but in the film I found her irritating and not at all like I’d imagined her but I guess that’s the risk with book to film adaptations.
Q. Who do you find yourself relying on the most in your writing life?
A. My husband, he is quite knowledgeable about things and I’m always asking him questions. He also advises me on the storyline and the characters. He is also like my agent as he’s always telling people about my books and getting me a few more sales.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure “cliche character trait” do you love, even when everyone else says it’s over done?
A. The teenager that is the ‘One’ the chosen one. I know people find it overdone and annoying but I love it and enjoy reading and writing it.
Q. Tell us a little bit about the world of “Junia”! What’s your favorite part about world building?
A. Junia is a world built on magic and shaped like a pentacle star, each section or country represents a different magical element and has different cultures and races living there. I love world building because I can make it how I see fit, I make it fit my book not the other way around.
Q. The release date for your fourth book, Junia was set for April 9th. How do you prepare yourself for book release dates and how’s the event planning going?
A. The release party was indeed the 9th April although it had been out since mid March. I prepare by using apps on my phone to create fun games, create pictures with snippets from the book and teasers, I always buy one of my books to use in a competition that someone can win. It takes a lot of planning it’s not something you can just throw together. I also make my book free to download as obviously as an author you want as many people to read it as possible and leave a review or two 😉. Next up I want to do a signing day at my local library or supermarket but I have to wait till pay day to order some more books.
Q. What’s next on your agenda? What’s your next project and when do you plan on finishing it.
A. I’m currently writing the final book in my Alone series, the end to my own zombie apocalypse. I’ve written half of it but with getting Junia ready it did take a little bit of a back seat but now I can plan and write again for it. I plan for it to be released around August time if I get my butt in gear that is.
Thanks for having me. xxxx
Want to learn more about Mercedes Prunty, her love of vampires, and the world of Junia? Check her out below!