Hello everyone! I’m sure that you can tell from my recent posts that I am such a huge fan of the Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer. So in honour of the War of Mist release day, Helen kindly agreed to do an author interview for my blog. If you haven’t read the first two books check them out here!
Before I dive into the interview, let’s start with a little context.
About the author…
Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Her debut novel, Heart of Mist, was the bestselling first instalment in her trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. After writing literary fiction for a number of years, she was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy by reading the work of Sabaa Tahir, V.E. Schwab and Sarah J. Maas.
Helen holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing, and a Master of Publishing. She is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), one of the world’s largest online learning platforms for emerging writers. She is now a full-time author living amidst the mountains in New Zealand.
On being a full-time writer and publisher…
I’m always curious about the different paths that people take to becoming writers. Did you always know that you wanted to be an author or did you explore other options before deciding this was your passion?
It’s a fascinating question because everyone’s so different! For me, I’ve wanted to be an author since I was seven. I remember the first story I ever wrote, I remember getting published in the primary school newspaper and thinking, this is what I want to do. I went straight from high school to a creative writing degree at uni… I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do!
How do you balance being an indie publisher and an author?
With great difficulty! At the moment it’s incredibly stressful, with my own book due out in less than a week, and then it’s less than two months until another Talem Press author’s debut releases.
As a publisher, how do you go about selecting pieces that you want to publish?
We do an open submissions call where authors can submit their fantasy manuscripts to Talem Press. From there, myself and our Editor Claire manage the inbox – reading every submission carefully and determining if it’s the right fit for our list.
We look for strong female characters above anything else!
The strong female characters in the Oremere Chronicles drew me straight into the book and was a huge part of the reason why I loved the series so much. With that in mind, let’s move onto the section of the interview that’s about the series itself!
One of my favorite aspects of the series was the strong, realistic female characters. How did you go about balancing strength and vulnerability in a character?
Thank you so much! That’s something I work really hard on! The characters developed over a long time, so it’s hard to say how I went about it exactly – I tend to layer in character traits and flaws over the course of many drafts.
However, I think it’s important to note that every character is flawed and has limitations – otherwise they risk being those cookie-cutter characters who no one can relate to!
How do you think your writing style has changed throughout the series? (I.e. What has writing such a lengthy series taught you about writing itself?)
I like to think that I’ve improved as a writer over the course of three books! I’ve learnt a lot about sentence structure thanks to my wonderful editors, that’s for sure. And character development and motivations thanks to my beta readers.
But the biggest takeaway from this series for me is the importance of planning. I’m a planner in day-to-day life, but when I started Heart of Mist (Book I), I didn’t really know it was going to play such a massive role in my career.
For my next project, I’m going into super planner mode – I’ve got spreadsheets and a story bible and everything!
To end the interview with something fun, I wanted to do a few rapid fire, bookstagram-style questions!
- Favourite fantasy novel you read this year
Relic by Bronwyn Eley (the September Talem Press release) and another debut from TP that I’m not allowed to tell you about yet!
- Last book you bought
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (I’m late to the party on this one, but it’s incredible!)
- Another author you would love to meet
V.E. Schwab for sure. Would love to go to a bar in Edinburgh with her and talk about everything under the writing and publishing sun!
- Coffee or tea?
- A bookstagram you love
Well, besides yours… I love @abookishpeach, run by the lovely Jen in Georgia, USA.
- A genre you never read
Horror. Never ever. I’m a wuss.
- A guilty pleasure?
Trashy TV – Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City…
- Handwritten first drafts or typed first drafts?
Typed. But I do hand write from time to time when I’m stuck!
This wraps up the interview – thank you so much for reading! If you’re interested in following Helen on social media, check out the links below!
Helen’s Social Media Links
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helenscheuererauthor/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenScheuerer
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenscheuerer/
Writer’s Edit: https://writersedit.com/
Talem Press: https://talempress.com/