Putting her Melbourne based life-style and marketing career on hold, in 2003 Louise and her husband took off on a great Australian adventure. One four-wheel drive, one map, one year; that was the plan. Thirteen years, many thousands of kilometers, and two kids later, they are yet to return to Melbourne. Now living on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast, Louise is using her writing background exactly how she dreamed one day she would; writing, publishing and promoting books. Louise writes contemporary women’s fiction as well as adventure/fantasy stories for children aged 6-12. She is best known for her popular children’s series, The Crafters’ Club. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Louise at one of her favorite haunts; the pool, the Noosa river or at the beach with the kids. When the sun goes down, she would love to say you’d find her curled up with a glass of wine and a good book, but as anyone with young children will testify, that is part of her fantasy life, not her reality. Still, with an ever growing ‘to be read’ pile, Louise loves every opportunity she gets to switch on her kindle, press play on an audiobook or smell the crisp, fresh pages of a new release from a favorite author.
* * * Author Interview * * *
Hi Louise, and welcome to our Fantasy Sci-Fi interview space shuttle. I’m really pleased to have you beam in here because you are my 8-year old daughter’s favourite author at the moment. She has read all 7 of your Crafters’ Club books and loves hearing all the Minecraft adventures.
What other writing have you done besides your fantasy Crafters’ Club series?
I have written four full-length manuscripts for adults. Two are romantic suspense and live at the VERY bottom of a drawer and are unlikely to ever see daylight. These were books I learned a lot about the craft of writing. The other two fall under commercial women’s fiction and are currently in submission with publishers.
What made you choose this genre?
I chose children’s adventure/fantasy in an attempt to get my own son reading fiction. His interests at the time were Minecraft and aviation and I decided setting an adventure in the Minecraft world held a lot of possibilities and would be a lot of fun to write.
That is such an awesome idea. Congratulations.
Just out of curiosity, how much Minecraft do you play yourself, and are you good at it?
I’m afraid I don’t play Minecraft at all! Initially when I decided on the idea for the books I thought I would have to spend weeks getting up to speed. I downloaded it and after about fifteen minutes realised I didn’t need to be able to play the game myself to write a story. Of course I needed to learn as much about the game as possible but not with my own hands on the controller! I spent quite a lot of time initially watching the boys play and asking them to show me various things as I formulated ideas for the types of adventures the characters could have. With each book now I often go straight to YouTube videos to check how to do certain things or to see what a mob looks like or a particular biome. As a result I have a fantastic understanding of what you can do in Minecraft, what you need in order to craft certain things, what potions will do to you etc, etc. My knowledge however does not translate to me picking up a controller and having any real idea of how to move around. Luckily I have four fantastic beta-readers for the series who are all aged between eight and ten and are Minecraft experts. They pick up any Minecraft related errors I’ve made or tell me if there is a quicker/easier way to craft something or get out of a difficult situation.
And here I was, picturing you playing computer games all day to be a Game Master. LOL. I think it’s very clever, because you come across as so knowledgeable about the game. I won’t tell the kiddies 😉
Have you used any real people in your characters?
The two boys in the Crafters’ Club are based on my own two sons. Their personalities definitely shine through in the characters but some days I must say I prefer the fictionalised versions of them to their real selves! The fictionalised versions are much more amenable and don’t talk back!
Do you have another job outside of writing?
I work in a part-time marketing role for my husband’s software company however I am hoping over the next twelve months to be able to say I am writing fulltime.
What are you working on now?
I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment. Book eight of The Crafters’ Club is in its final proof-reading stage and I am planning book nine which will be the last of the Crafters’ Club books for now.
I’m also working on the second book of a new children’s series titled The Secret World of Curly Jones. I am hoping to release the first book in this series around October.
Great. My daughter just got book 7 two weeks ago and will be eagerly awaiting the last books in the series. We suspect a certain character is going to be causing a lot of mischief for the other characters.
What’s your writing routine?
When I’m writing a first draft I usually set the alarm for 5am and try and get 90 mins of writing time before the rest of the house wakes up. This is definitely the most productive time of day for me before my brain switches into mum/employee mode and gets jumbled with other things! I use school hours as well but find this less productive for writing a first draft so tend to use it for editing/admin and marketing. I will also try and grab the occasional weekend day when writing early drafts of a story.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
I tend to get writers’ procrastination rather than writer’s block. I find if I just start writing it eventually flows so am never staring at a blank screen. Social media however, is a wonderful/terrible distraction when procrastination kicks in.
Describe your road to publishing your book:
I made the decision to self-publish The Crafters’ Club as I saw an opportunity with the interest in Minecraft and I didn’t want to wait for months to go through the submission process with publishers. It has been a very steep learning curve but one I’ve really enjoyed and gained so much from. In addition to selling via Amazon and my own website, the books are represented by a distributor in Australia. This gives me access to bookstores Australia wide.
The first two Crafters’ Club books have also just been picked up by Scholastic in the New York for their school’s book club market. They will distribute them to their book clubs in the US, Canada and the Philippines which is very exciting.
Sounds like you’re onto a winner there. Well done.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I worked directly with a wonderful illustrator/cover designer, Lana Pecherczyk for the Crafters’ Club covers. I had a basic concept of what I wanted the first book to look like and how that would flow through the series and Lana brought it to life. I was blown away when she sent through her first pencil drawings and have loved every cover since. She’s currently working on the cover for the first book in The Secret World of Curly Jones series. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love going to the beach with the kids and pretty much anywhere I can swim. I do squad swimming year round but love the opportunity to splash around in the surf or the river too.
Where do you like to travel to?
I’ve traveled to a lot of National Parks throughout the world and love beautiful places where I can camp and hike. I also love to snorkel so reefs are also high on the list.
Favourite food: Thai
Best holiday spot: Fiji (only because I just went there and had an amazing snorkelling/jetski adventure)
Favourite song at the moment: Be the One
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Star Wars
Best superpower: Read people’s minds
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: To snorkel at Raja Ampat, Indonesia, known as one of the best snorkel locations in the world.
Thanks to Louise Guy for sharing your thoughts with us all today.
Folks, if you like to play Minecraft (or your kiddies do), I’d recommend you check out The Crafters’ Club series. They are really cool and our librarian says they are the most popular book in the library at the moment. Well done, Louise.
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
Louise Guy’s links
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