Friday 3 July 2015

Interview with Molly Ringle

Today, I have a wonderful treat for you: The unsinkable Molly Ringle is talking about her writing life and the wonderful adventures of her books (especially her Chrysomelia series surrounding Greek myths). Check it out!

Molly Ringle has been writing fiction for over twenty years. With her intense devotion to silly humor, she was especially proud to win the grand prize in the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with one (intentionally) terrible sentence. Her academic studies include a bachelor of arts in anthropology (University of Oregon, Clark Honors College) and a master of arts in linguistics (University of California, Davis). Molly lives in Seattle with her husband and kids, and worships fragrances and chocolate. 

So, let's start with the basics: tell me about your writer self.
What's your process from plotting to publishing? Walk me through it, if you could.
A walk through...well, it's often a jumbled process, about as easy to walk through as a forest choked with blackberry bushes. These days I usually start with rambling free-write journal entries in which I figure out the characters, main themes, setting, etc., for the prospective novel. Then I hone that to a basic plot outline: what happens in what order. However, it should be noted that by the time I get to revisions, or even to the end of the first draft, I have changed nearly every one of those elements at least to some degree.
Do you listen to music or snack? 
Dreadfully cliched, but the writing snack of choice is usually chocolate. (Dark chocolate, at least. The good stuff.) While doing the actual writing, I might listen to instrumental relaxing music, as music with lyrics or a rousing beat is too distracting. But for each book I do usually have rousing songs with lyrics that remind me of the story, and I listen to those while thinking about the story at times when I'm not doing the actual writing. Taking walks or doing chores, say, are good activities for enjoying those inspiring songs.
Do you have a favourite genre to read or write in? 
I'm a fairly eclectic reader. I like to be reading one (or more) fiction and one nonfiction book at any given time, but I go through the fiction faster. Though I'll read nearly any genre, I do find myself picking up fantasy more often than usual lately, both urban/paranormal (our world with a magical twist) and high fantasy (different world than ours, usually with a map in the front). I've also been writing more fantasy/paranormal lately, and am likely to stick with that a while. But even when I write real-world no-paranormal fiction, I've always put a love story front and center, and that's likely to remain the case with my stuff for a long time yet.
How did you go from Bachelors in Anthropology to Writer? Or did it start out the other way around?
It was the other way around. I was already writing novels in my free time in high school. Dreadful ones, but it was good practice. When I went to college, I started out an English major, thinking to become a writer as my future career. But then it seemed to me that the English curriculum mostly involved reading literature and arguing about what the author meant, which was something we'd never know the answer to. And since I was likely going to read those books on my own anyway, I'd be better off using college to learn things I wouldn't learn otherwise. My boyfriend at the time (husband now) had just decided to be an Anthro major. I liked the look of the curriculum, so I switched to that. And since it did give me cool insights into the culture and prehistory of people around the globe, I think it has contributed to my novel-writing. But then, just about any type of learning can.
How did you get started in writing? What keeps you here? 
As a kid, I got started because I wanted in on the magic that books provided me. I wanted to be the creator of stories that sparked that same magic in other people. And I wanted a world to play in where I controlled everything. Those reasons are all still as relevant as ever, and have been why I stick with it.
For people just starting the Chrysomelia series, what would you say to them? 
If you don't know much (or anything) about the Greek myths, don't worry, because you should still be able to follow the story. If you do know the Greek myths, don't worry, because even if I twist and change them in this series, I also treat them with great love, and have included lots of little references and details that mythology geeks can delight in. I aimed to make the series accessible to people with any level of mythology familiarity, though whether I succeeded is a matter for readers to decide.
If you could be roommates with any of your characters, who would you choose? 
It's bizarre, but the one who jumped to mind is Daniel Revelstoke from 'Relatively Honest.' He's good looking with a charming London accent, he's easygoing and flexible where his friends or roommates are concerned, and his romantic problems are probably pretty entertaining to watch. Sophie and many others from the Persephone books are surely lovely roommates as personalities and habits go, but they have a very dangerous cult on their tail, so I wouldn't want to share a house with them just in case I became collateral damage.
Do you prefer writing stand alones or series? Or does it really just depend on the story? 
The Chrysomelia Stories (the Persephone series) has been hugely cool and rewarding as a writing experience, and has attracted more readers than my stand-alones so far, so I'm glad I embarked upon it. Still, I've found writing a series to be insanely complicated and challenging, so I've vowed to go back to a stand-alone after this one. Maybe some year if I'm crazy enough, I'll take on another series.
How much control do you get once you hand over your book to your publisher? 
The editor and I go back and forth with revisions for a while, but once the final galleys are approved, the book is pretty much locked in. Once it's released, we then share marketing duties more or less equally--contacting book bloggers or other review sources, signing up for contests or events, and so forth. I've been lucky in my editors so far. They've all taken a personal interest in these stories they've helped polish up, and seem to be almost as proud of them as I am, and I've never felt like I've lost creative control.
So what's next after Immortal’s Spring? 
Probably a stand-alone paranormal romance of some sort. I seem to be leaning toward the idea of sinister fae folk, or goblins, or something of that ilk, living in the forests around Puget Sound (my current hood). I'm still in murky journal-brainstorming phase, so we'll see what shakes out.
I'm not even going to ask for writing advice, I'll just direct people to your blog. Unless you want to offer advice? 
The most important advice is to keep writing. Keep in practice. Even those free-write journals of nonsense count, because it's like doing your scales when you're learning to play an instrument. Set the bar low: 300 words a day is what I aim for. Also, be humble. Be kind. You don't want to make a name for yourself by tearing other writers down, oozing snark, or grandstanding about your own work. Talk instead about what you like and who you admire, and if you can't keep quiet about why some book doesn't work for you, be constructive and mature in your review. Be grateful to those who take the time to give you feedback, and listen to it, and always be willing to learn.

No comments:

Post a Comment