Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Charlotte Langtree, author of The Shadow Queen featured in the Timeless 2 anthology.
1. What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and telling stories since before I could write. I just love jumping into another world. I suppose that’s probably because I’ve always loved reading, too. However, I spent many years of my adult life dabbling in writing but letting my lack of confidence hold me back. When I became a mother, I realized I wanted my daughter to know that you should chase what makes you happy. I couldn’t bear to think of her one day being stuck in a career that made her unhappy, as I had been. It’s not easy to chase your dreams but it’s so very important, and I knew that I had to be the one to show her that it’s the right thing to do. That’s the point when I started to take my writing more seriously, so I guess you could say that my daughter is my inspiration – in so many ways.
2. What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, it’s always the characters who come first. My work explores and focuses on emotion, so it’s right for me that a character is ‘born’ before their story. I might have only the vaguest idea of the theme for the story but, once I know my character, it always falls into place around them.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s really a quirk, but I write whenever and wherever I can. As a busy mama I have to squeeze my work into short snippets of time. I’ve jotted sentences down on my phone during night time car rides (obviously I’m not the one driving!), carry a small notebook with me wherever I go in case inspiration strikes, and have written some of my best work with my little one asleep on me. If I get to sit at my laptop in the morning, I have a cup of coffee. At the minute I’m enjoying a lovely Christmas-flavored coffee. However, if I’m at my laptop in the evening I need a strong cup of Yorkshire tea (often more than one).
4. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
I have almost completed my first poetry collection, which is a real passion-project that examines concepts of love, memory, loss, and so many other emotions through the lens of my own eyes. I am also working on my first novel, which is book one of a fantasy trilogy. I’m in the editing stage at the moment, so obviously I’m drinking lots of coffee and pulling lots of grumpy faces! In all seriousness, I’m very excited about it and hopeful that I may have it finished in the new year. It follows the life of a young mage who’s forced to face up to the increasing prejudice tainting her world when her choices lead her down a difficult road. Why do the leaders of the four clans allow such violence against their people? What secrets have been buried in the long forgotten past, and how do they relate to the current segregation of magic? How far will a mother go to save her child when the growing darkness is turned against her unborn babe? I hope you all want to read more! Feel free to follow me on social media and I will definitely update my pages when there’s more news.
5. Who is your favorite author and why?
This is a really hard choice as it can often depend on my mood. Nick Harkaway wrote my desert island book. Jasper Fforde always makes me laugh. Robin Hobb says such important things about the world through her fantasy work. Cecilia Dart Thornton’s writing is heartbreakingly beautiful. There are also some fantastic indie authors out there. An impossible choice! If I’m forced to choose just one author, I have to say my favorite is David Eddings. Several of his books were read to me when I was six, to check they were appropriate for me to read, and I was given my own copies aged seven. I’ve read them at least once a year since. They are definite comfort reads; reading Eddings’ Belgariad series is a little like coming home. I love the way he builds characters, and I’m sure some of those lovable rogues helped to shape my own character.
6. If you could ask one successful author three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?
I would love to question Jasper Fforde. He has so many brilliant ideas and a wonderful way with words. I would ask what his process is when planning out a new story. The different ways of working really fascinate me, and I’m always looking out for tips to make my own writing process more organised. Included in that would be any tips on editing, which is the bane of my writing life. Secondly, I would ask for his advice on approaching agents and publishers. If I’m feeling deflated, I like to remind myself that his work was rejected 76 times before he found a publisher. Now, he’s incredibly successful as well as fantastically talented. I’m sure he could offer some useful tips in persistence! Lastly, I’d love to know how he comes up with ideas for his Thursday Next series (if you haven’t read those books, you really should!), with a cheeky extra question about what’s next for his most famous character.
7. What are you reading now?
I’m actually in the middle of two books, both of which I’ve read before. The reason for having two on the go is that I have one downstairs to grab if I have a spare few minutes, and another upstairs – I don’t get a lot of time to read with being a mummy, and I never know when opportunity will strike! My upstairs book is The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde. My downstairs book is The Goneaway World by Nick Harkaway. They are two of my favorite authors and I read everything they write.
8. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
These days I have very little time to do anything – I’m sure other parents can relate. I’m thoroughly sleep deprived and take every opportunity to go to bed early! I used to enjoy martial arts and dancing, and do intend to take both up again when I can.
9. What is the best part of your day?
Every moment with my little girl is magical. She is the absolute light of my life and can make any gloomy moment brighter. Nothing is ever boring when she’s around (even if you want it to be!) The phrase ‘pride and joy’ was just three words together until I had her; now it resonates.
10. Where can readers learn more about you?