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Ciaran Corby

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How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for what feels like forever! It is in my blood. When I was nine years  old or so I'd write stories about my family's pet birds. Of course the stories were made up, though the birds were quite real. I can't remember what they were about now, except one was about some sort of horror or other they got themselves into one Halloween night. At any rate, I'd write these stories, then take the pieces of paper and punch holes in them  through which I'd weave strands of pretty colored yarn so they'd be little books. As I can't draw a bloody thing, they had no pics on the covers, I'm sad to report.

Are you formally educated or mainly self taught?

A bit of both, actually. I completed high school, then took some history in college before studying in the medical field. When it comes to writing, though, I learn by practice and from studying the methods of the authors I admire such as Diana Wynne Jones, Roger Zelazny, and Patricia Wrede among others. I did a lot of self-educating in those fields that most interested me as well, checking out text books and reading them when I'd the time. Those were mainly books on ancient history, mythology and true crime. *chuckles* That is an odd mix, but I'm an odd bird.

Do you remember your first publishing gig?

*smiles widely* Indeed I do. It was last year, and was a short story called Siren. Though it wasn't by far the first thing I'd written, it was the first to be published. It holds a special place in my heart for two reasons. The first, of course, is because it was my first published story, and the second is because I'm extremely fond of the characters. Later I submitted stories I'd co-written several years ago with my partner Coal, and they were published as well.

What inspired you to write in this genre?

I live and breathe fantasy, and I'm best at writing what I'm the most interested in. I relate to fantasy and mythical creatures more than most other things. I feel at home with them. They are my friends, guides, and they give me a warm place to nest.

How do you come up with all of your colorful characters?

Here is where I may begin to sound a bit crazy, but you asked. *laughs* I don't exactly come  up with them. They sort of come to me, popping themselves and their stories into my head. They nag at me so I can't think much about anything else until I write them down. These characters and their stories have taught me much about people. That we are much the same in our feelings and reactions no matter what world we come from. When these characters share their stories with me, I feel I am supposed to pass them on. I am honored to be able to write so that I may share their knowledge with others.

Who are the authors who have inspired your work?

I don't think any specific author has inspired any of my own books. The authors who have inspired me as a writer, though, are Diana Wynne Jones, Roger Zelazny, and Patricia Wrede. If anything has inspired any of my stories, I'd have to say it is fantasy music rather than fantasy authors. Heather Alexander is my favorite singer because she is a wonderful modern bard who sings all about the things I adore, faeries, dragons, wizards, and pirates oh my! I've not written any stories about any of her songs, but when listening to her music, a few stories of mine have popped into my head.

How do you network?

You did have to ask about one of my short comings, didn't you? *big smile* Ah well, I do have to have one or two, do I not? Networking is something I'm not the best at as I'm such a quiet sort as a rule. It is hard to put myself out there so I leave a lot of that to my publisher. I do go out on my own seeking out reviews and interviews from exciting publications, though, as well as speaking of my work on some  yahoo groups. I'm much better at writing than networking. I hope to  learn as I go and improve on the networking, though.

How long does it take you to write a book?

*laughs* That all depends on the  book. If the characters are easy to understand it is a lovely downhill ride that feels more like I'm reading than writing. I love it when that happens! It is the sort of  writing I enjoy the most. At such times I'll write 10 or so great pages in less than 3 hours. I'm totally lost in my work, and time rushes by. Soulbreaker was like that. Then there are those books that sort of drag, and I'm lucky to write 3 pages in as many hours. I have a general idea of the way the story is meant to go at those times, but there are still lots of holes that are slow to fill. When I co-wrote A Dragon's Valentine with Coal, we were stuck for almost a month before something that needed to be added to the plot suddenly came clear to me. Before that it was like the characters wouldn't allow us to move on with things until we understood what they wanted. That is what I call writer's block. When the character won't move, the story won't move. Then I have to wait it out.

How much rewriting do you do?

That depends on the book. There  is this one book I've been working on for 9 years that I'm still fussing about with. I really annoy myself when it comes to that bloody book!Every time I think I'm finished, I'll reread it in a few months and think of more details that must be added. Then there are  other books that come out just the way I want them the first time other than a few changes here and there. When it comes to my general style, I try to make the first draft perfect even if it means looking over each line I write and changing one little word before moving on. As a rule, though, it depends on the book because each is different.

Do you work with an editor?

Yes. My publisher has editors who put me through the ringer...ur, edit my work. *winks*
We authors need the editors, though, as it is good to see our work through someone else's eyes to  give us perspective. Also as I want my work to be the  best it can be, I am glad of the help.

How has e-book publishing worked for you?

At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to  do E-Books as I'm a bit old fashioned, but really it has been a great start! Everyone is on their computer these days, and people are even reading books on their phones, so it is becoming a popular market. My publisher also releases their books in print, though it tends to take a bit longer. Still having both options is nice.

Do you work with multiple publishers?

Not as of yet, but I think I may like to in the future  as it could be another way to network. That book I've been working on for nine years I plan to send to Baen, for example. *crosses fingers* 

Have you self published before?

No. I'm just not business minded enough to bother with it, honestly. I'm totally into being creative,  and awful at the business end so I leave it to people who enjoy and excell at it while I stick to the writing.

How much time do you spend on marketing your stories?

Much less time than I spend writing. Again I'm not the best at the business end. My publisher does a lot of that, but I do try to put myself out there as best I can. I have business cards I put out all sorts of places where fantasy readers can find them, I network with magazines for reviews and such, and I've given a few free short stories to online Zines just to get my name out there.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Nurture your inner child as that is the part of you where the stories come from. Join role play groups to practice writing. It is also good to  get your original characters into a good  role play game as it can help you to get to  know them in all sorts of situations. Write as often as you can, and never give up! Be interested in constructive criticism, but don't let anyone else tell you how to write  as you must have your voice. Don't let rejection get you down. It is usually that the person who rejected you just likes another style better. There are many published authors that I may have rejected had I been a publisher, but as they are  rich and famous I'm sure that doesn't mean much. Keep that in mind when you get your rejection letters and try again. Practice and allow yourself room to improve. Never stop writing! 

You can purchase Ciaran Corby's books at: CIARAN CORBY MYSTIC MOON PRESS

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